Category Archives: Personal

So Long 2011 – Metrics

2011 won’t be missed for many reasons, three months living in a hotel being one of them, but in terms of races, the year wasn’t bad.

By my record keeping, I logged, 1 Ironman, 2 marathons, 1 1/2 ironman and three Olympic tris. Personal best times in each category, an ambitious schedule in ’12 will make beating those times challenging, especially with IM St. George on tap, but hopefully on the marathon and Olympic distance races I see potential.

According to my TrainingPeaks account, which I only started updating as of May 9 this year, and through today, December 31, I completed:

1482.96 miles bike (Garmin connect said 2,248.75 miles, exc. commuting)
191,226 yards swim
58.69 mountain bike
242 miles brick
447.36 miles run (Garmin connect said 864.53 miles)

I can imagine maybe 1k miles on the bike, several hundred running and a few tens of thousand in the pool before then. Plus several hundred days of commuting to work.

All in all, not a bad year, and hopefully a good foundation for IM St. George in May and a run for a Boston slot in October.

ChesapeakeMan Ultra Triathlon Summary – Lengthy

Training for this race started on May 9, and about 250 hours went into it. Plus the forgiveness of the family to embark on such a foolish venture. Full metrics are pending. This was an intimate race, well organized, with great volunteers and participants. If Eagleman is as good, that must be a great race. It’s the people, not the landscape on this one…

I arrived in Cambridge, Maryland on Thursday afternoon, with the goal of scoping out the bike course and taking a swim before checking in and eating the pasta dinner. The course was less than two hours from DC, an easy drive. Continue reading

I Opted Out

Inevitably, the law of averages caught up with me today. As I waited in the Transportation Security Administration line at National Airport, I had a sneaking suspicion they were pushing everyone through the millimeter wave scanners. Sure enough, after I had stripped down to be sure I wouldn’t trip the mag, I was directed (as it seems, were the majority of passengers) to the wave machine.

Faced with the choice of the pat down or the scan, I took the option to “Opt Out” and have the pat down instead. I stated my intention in a friendly manner as the TSA agent directed me to enter the wave machine; he asked me to stand to the side and called out for a male screening. Continue reading

LASIK, One Year On and the Full Story

In late 2009 I made the decision that I would investigate having LASIK surgery performed on my eyes to correct my fairly abysmal vision. This was a good time for me have this discussion with my eye doc, Dr. Bindal,  because I had somehow lost or had stolen from me a very expensive pair of Oakley glasses on the Amtrak from NYC.

Scaredy-cat is an understatement for how I was at the time about having anyone touch or even put drops in my eyes, which was the reason I had procrastinated for so long. I also was aware that the technology behind the surgery has progressed at a healthy clip over the year, so why not, I thought.

One of the first tests the doc gave me was to see if I was even a candidate for LASIK. This test involved testing my eyes, an in particular, the cornea depth. They accomplish this by poking a lighted probe into your eyes after administering a drop to numb the eye. Brilliant. I mean really, who came up with the winner of an idea that poking things into eyes is an effective way of determining the candidate. Anyway, I somehow managed to make it through having my eye poked, I recall this took some time, as I backed away from the probe each time the probe came near. Continue reading

Black Watch

Shock and awe, ringing ears, and profuse swearing – key elements that made the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Black Watch simply captivating.

I know what you’re thinking, nothing is that good, these statements are like the drivel on film posters “A Must See!!!” or “Two Thumbs Up.” In this instance, the production (it’s more than a play, and I certainly wouldn’t detract from it by calling it a musical) in parts rivals the impact one would get at a screening of an action film. It’s the real deal, and as one of the reviews said, “Beg, steal or borrow to get yourself a ticket,” The News of the World.

Black WatchFrom the moment of seating in the Sidney Harman Hall at the Shakespeare Theatre, one is in the midst of the action, loud bagpipes play and roboscans fill the stage; which I would characterise as abbreviated in the round, audience seating behind what would be the traditional proscenium, and also in the expected area in front of the stage. With the troops wagon on stage right and scaffolding on either side, one had a real sense of depth on an otherwise bare stage. Suspension of disbelief was not an issue here. Continue reading

Working on it…

I know the point of a blog is to have fresh content all the time, and I knew this would be a problem when I started this page. That said, once I finish reading the current book I am on (a long-term effort over the Christmas holidays and into the new year), I will work on new content. Promise.

PS – Go Frogs

First Drive – BMW 335d

This morning, I took up an offer at BMW of Arlington (soon to be BMW of Alexandria) to test drive a 2011 BMW 335d.

The model we took out was a black four-door saloon, with the sports and cold weather packages. Shod in pretty nice 18’s with low profile run-flat PZeros (I think).

For about $52k, this isn’t a cheap motor, especially considering this wasn’t even optioned out to the limit, but it is a nice ride.

After pressing the start/stop button and starting it up without a wait for glowplugs, I half expected a pretty loud noise until it warmed up. It was quiet, just about as quiet as my funfer is in the morning. That was impressive.

Venturing onto the roads, we took it on the secondary roads before having a pretty good run on I395 and I495. I let the car shift itself until we hit the on-ramp for the highway (only autos are available – for shame BMW-USA), then put it into sport-shift mode. The car has paddles on the steering wheel, and given the sport-size wheel, everything was in reach and really comfortable. I kept catching myself going for the clutch and gear stick, but that was inevitable.

Putting your foot down, even in the sixth at moderate speed, the torque is quite impressive, almost pulling like a 540i. Considering this is a normal automatic gearbox, not an SMG or DCT, the shifts are remarkably responsive. You quickly forget you are driving an oil burner, and it corners  well (some Dinan parts would spice it up) – that’s more a testament to the large shoes as opposed to the (blech) run-flats I suppose. Turning the nanny switch off, I imagine this is a car that could spend a lot of time going sideways on a track day.

I found the visibility not as good as the 5 series – but that’s inevitable given the car’s smaller size.  A diesel coupe would be a definite win too. It seems that they really restrict the range of diesel (and small in general) models for the US market. Hopefully this tide is shifting as people want small, fun, economical cars.

Bottom line, if this car had a more appealing interior (this one had saddle brown leather and wood trim), this is one I could definietly see myself in. There are tons of incentives too, so this could be a pretty reasonable car to purchase in late-December if one is so-inclined to take advantage of the tax perks.

Still, I say that now, but I cannot wait for the new 1 Series M Coupe to come out, hopefully in Q1 2011.  That will be a car for a test-drive and euro-delivery.