jump to navigation

The Heat Is On August 29, 2008

Posted by thepixelsuite in Running.
Tags: ,
add a comment
A little relief

A little relief

flikr photo by keltane

Mr. Sun outdid himself yesterday and brought some really hot weather to the city. I had a short run on the schedule, which I could have skipped since it was so hot. Instead, I decided to take advantage of the heat and do a little warm weather running. I might have waited until after sunset to run in the cool of twilight when the temperature had dropped a bit, but I decided to use the hot weather to challenge myself.

For many reasons I’m fortunate to live here in San Francisco. But when it comes to training for long-distance running, you just can’t beat the weather. There’s never any humidity (unless, of course, it’s raining). When it does get warm the fog rolls in and cools things down, and even on the hottest days there’s usually a steady breeze. Personally, I love blazing, hot weather, but I know it’s difficult to train and run in. In fact, my first attempt at humid, hot weather running was almost an epic fail, when I tried to get in a few miles on a trip to New York City. After a strong start, I had to slow down and then walk for about a mile before I could pick up my pace again in the cool shadows of the tall buildings on the tip of the island. I certainly learned something about acclimatizing myself that day.

Yesterday I chose to run in the face of Mr. Sun’s onslaught because I thought it would be important to train, however briefly, outside of my comfort zone. While I’d always like to race under overcast skies and in cool temperatures, there are going to be times when the weather doesn’t cooperate, and race day will dawn on the warm side. You only need to look at what happened at the last Chicago Marathon to see how conditions can change from year to year. I stretched, strapped on my waterbelt, and stepped off running at a much slower pace than I usually do. To me it was important to get the miles in under sunny skies without overdoing it. By the end the sweat was really pouring down, but I finished and felt pretty good. I couldn’t see, though, how I could possibly go a whole 26.2 miles in conditions like that.

Of course, there was a time when I couldn’t see how I could run 26.2 miles at once, and now I know I can.

Get social or comment below!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements

The Marathon Effect August 25, 2008

Posted by thepixelsuite in Running.
Tags: , ,
add a comment
Looking good!

Looking good!

photo by Michael Dawes

So, I think the “marathon effect” has worn off.

Slowly and steadily, my mile pace times have slowly and steadily edged up to what they were before my big race. What I call the marathon effect-the euphoria channeled into your running making everything seem easy and possible after completing a marathon-has dissipated. I’m still pretty high on my ability to handle the challenges running presents, and I have several future races and events in my sights. But the speed and effortlessness which marked my first couple of post-marathon runs has evaporated. It was a nice, long runner’s high while it lasted, but it’s back to balancing out the grind of training with the simple joy of running.

Get social or comment below!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Hey, At Least They’re There August 23, 2008

Posted by thepixelsuite in Sport.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Were you on the edge of your seat when the American men came from behind to beat the French in the relay event? Did you gape in astonishment when Usain Bolt flew down the track toward the finish line? Do you tear up when you hear your national anthem played at the Olympics?

If so, DFL is not the blog for you, so don’t click the link.

If, instead you derive a small sense of glee when you see not one, but two teams of elite American runners drop the baton during the relay event, then Dead F’ing Last may be right up your alley.

And, hey, go China!

Update 8/23/08 at 1:19 PM

I don’t know if he was a nice guy or not, but sometimes last place gets you a bit of fame. From the NBC Olympics website:

The men’s marathon at the 1996 Atlanta Games was won by Josia Thugwane of South Africa, who was shot in the chin by robbers when he picked up a hitchhiker five months before the Olympics. But some two hours after Thugwane finished, Abdul Baser Wasigi of Afghanistan was still out on the course. Wasigi never made it to Barcelona in 1992 because his country was in war-torn chaos and he injured a hamstring shortly before getting to Atlanta. Long passed by the elite runners, Wasigi limped forward, often with spectators running beside him offering him water. As he approached the stadium, the grounds crew had already began covering the track in preparation for the closing ceremony. The volunteers cut a piece of white plastic tape and wrote “ATLANTA 96” on it and stretched it across the finish line. When he entered the stadium, hundreds of volunteers lined the track and applauded the effort while the band played. Wasigi’s time of 4 hours, 24 minutes, 17 seconds was the slowest in Olympic history and 1 hour, 24 minutes and 22 seconds behind the runner who finished in next to last place.

Get social or comment below.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Give Them An Inch And They May Run A Mile August 22, 2008

Posted by thepixelsuite in Running.
Tags: , ,
add a comment
Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

photo by GISuser

You’ve made up your mind, trained for weeks, and now you find yourself and hundreds or thousands of other like-minded runners about to embark on 26.2 miles of marathon goodness. You’ve got your waterbelt, maybe a GU or two, or three, and in your mind’s eye you see the course map and recall the race strategy you’re going to employ to get to the finish line. It’s likely even at this moment, you’ve never given any thought to whether or not that 26.2 mile distance the race organizers have mapped out is accurate. If you’re trying to qualify for Boston running too short a distance would be a disaster, but how about those poor souls who have to run too far like those who endured the 2005 Lakeshore Marathon? As Mark Cihlar, founder and chair of the event, wrote to participants afterwards, “The marathon course was exact – exactly 27.2 miles: Last minute adjustments from the move to the Great Lawn, inclusion of Navy Pier, and park district construction caused us to miscalculate and we foolishly added an extra mile – how terrible!”

So perhaps as you stand there ready to race you have asked yourself, “How do they calculate the official marathon distance?” According to this article on mapping the Beijing Olympics course, the answer is a little bit more low tech than you think.

Get social or comment below!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

An New Athletic Cold War? August 21, 2008

Posted by thepixelsuite in Running.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Instant athletic success?

Instant athletic success?


photo by prashant_zi

Update-don’t worry about the Russians, take a look at the horses!

Hey. It wouldn’t be a good Olympics without talk of doping right?

Despite years of training and competing in qualifying events all over the world, whenever groups of elite athletes gather you often hear whispers of this runner or that gymnast doping. When a runner breaks the tape several strides in front of his nearest competition, when a cyclist “comes out of nowhere” to ride well, or when a group of athletes from a given country begins to win an unusual amount of events, fans, and sometimes vanquished opponents, begin to ask questions and point fingers.

Remember the East German swim teams of yesteryear?

So, while I’ve watched these Olympics, I’ve tried hard to ignore suggestions of doping and drug use and instead enjoyed the simple pleasure of watching the best athletes in the world performing at the top of their games. As the Olympics draw closer to their conclusion though, a tendril of doubt creeps into mind courtesy of Amby Burfoot’s latest post from Beijing. In it he questions the disparity between the success of female Russian athletes and their male counterparts. Furthermore, he claims, “It’s easier to get significant improvement in women’s running performance through drugs than it is with men”. Given the skewing of the Russian running team toward women, Burfoot seems to suggest the Russians juiced their women then sent them to the games to win medals.

Does his hypothesis hold up? I don’t know, and I think he’s actually making a larger point about Russian doping in events outside the Games. However, if you look at the medal standing as of today, the Russian women have won only two medals in running events along with the gold in the 20K Walk to go along with the gold in the Men’s 20K Walk. And the American women? I count three medals plus the bronze in the heptathlon. Those results don’t contradict Burfoot’s assertions, and he does offer up past evidence of Russian doping. But for myself I’m going to sit back and enjoy the rest of the Games, and root for our team while enjoying the spectacle of it all.

Get social or comment below!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Slow News Day August 20, 2008

Posted by thepixelsuite in Photos.
Tags: ,
add a comment

Not the Yellow Rose of Texas

Not a lot going on today, so I thought I’d throw up a nice shot of flower to brighten everyone’s day.

Don’t Judge The Torah By It’s Cover August 19, 2008

Posted by thepixelsuite in Architecture.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment


Today I had the opportunity to go a an tour of a new building here in San Francisco whose unique architecture has upset many residents of the neighborhood in which the building is sited. As detailed in this article by the San Francisco Chronicle’s John King, “not everyone’s a fan.”

When the project was approved by the Planning Commission in 2005, 300 neighbors signed a petition against it. And now that it’s done? “I don’t think we’ll ever get used to it,” a next-door neighbor said last week. “Nobody on the block likes it. Would you? “

One dominant feature of the Congregation Beth Sholom’s new synagogue is the exterior of the sanctuary which resembles a half-pipe more suited for a skateboard park or a ship in dry dock. I often work in the neighborhood, and when I saw the building going up, my gut reaction was negative. Overall, I like the modern feel of the exterior, I just don’t think the building fits into the neighborhood (a reaction shared by quite a few people apparently). My opinion of the synagogue changed a bit today after I had the opportunity to take a guided tour of the interior.

Simply put, the building is beautiful. It’s glass, concrete, and wood accents are very modern, but there are many touches that link the congregation to its past. First there is a small chapel located to your right as you enter. Stained glass panels from the synagogue which was formerly on the site but was razed to make room for the new building grace three walls of the chapel and are gently backlit in order to show them in their best light. Along with some offices, a library, and multiuse rooms, there is a lovely garden on the south side of the property bordered by a neighboring building and sheltered by the overhang of the sanctuary bowl.

The main attractions, however, are on the second floor.

Walking up a broad staircase from the entrance lobby, you come out on a large open space perfect for receptions and celebrations. Many of the neighboring buildings are below the height of this deck, so instead of views into surrounding apartment buildings, you look out onto treetops and open sky. To the north is a gorgeous, large hall featuring champagne colored walls and lots of natural light, ready for celebrations and receptions. And then there’s the sanctuary itself.
This is where the menorah-shaped exterior makes the most sense. Another space filled with natural light, it is divided into two sets of stadium seating where congregants can see one another during services thus emphasizing their communal bond. The ark is set in the eastern wall of the sanctuary so, when congregants face it, they are facing Jerusalem. And, while that detail may not justify tearing down the old synagogue, that building didn’t facilitate the ark’s placement in the proper part of the sanctuary.

Exiting the sanctuary and retreating downstairs I also noticed the top of the roof of the structure supporting the curve of the sanctuary is decorated by large stones which I thought added a soothing decorative element. Ultimately, I think the exterior of the new synagogue purposefully invites a little controversy with its mismatched elements and the cheek-by-jowl nature of its placement in the neighborhood. But, when you’re inside looking out, all of the elements of the building come together in a calming, quiet matter.

Get social or comment below!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Sleepless in San Francisco August 19, 2008

Posted by thepixelsuite in Television.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Rise and shine!

Rise and shine!


photo by josémaría

At the end of last night’s broadcast from Beijing, Bob Costas introduced a short, humorous segment dear to the hearts of all of us late-night viewers. Normally, I don’t care for the human interest segments and endless interviews with Michael Phelps and members of his family which NBC runs instead of showing us sports coverage. But I liked this piece because it tapped into that feeling of camaraderie an audience develops when we experience a televised event at the same time. Along with a couple of tongue-in-cheek tips on how to deal with and recover from watching Olympic coverage late into the night, there were a couple of person-on-the-street interviews (probably a couple of low-level NBC staffers and interns) on how they deal with multiple nights of following Olympic coverage into the wee hours of the morning.

Not only did I like the video because it dealt with the issue of sleep-deprivation which I’ve been experiencing over the last week as I’ve tried to consume as much Olympic coverage as I can. But it also reminded me of one of the things I love about live, televised events in general. Watching a recap of yesterday’s events or using Tivo to time-shift your viewing is fine. For me, though, if I can’t be there at an event like the Super Bowl, the Olympics, or even a political convention, I like watching it live knowing I’m experiencing things as they unfold with millions of other viewers. Watching live television you know you’re cheering or groaning or throwing things at the screen or feeling excited at the same time as fellow viewers. Don’t believe me? If you’re a political junkie, record election coverage on your Tivo this upcoming Election Day and watch it the day after. Even if you’ve been able to keep from hearing the results, I guarantee you’re not going to get excited watching what you recorded.

 

Social it up!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine