Monday, August 20, 2007

Wisdom is overrated

I had my wisdom teeth removed last Friday. At the age of 34 it seems a little late to have this done, but periodic infections and the fact that they weren't ever going to find the space they need in my mouth dictated that they find another place to reside.

Overall, Friday’s events went better than I thought. I didn’t exactly know what to expect given the range of stories people opted to share with me, but the procedure itself was relatively painless (thank you, scientists who discovered nitrous oxide and novocain, and a good oral surgeon), and I switched from prescription painkillers to ibuprofen as of Saturday evening. I am still in the take it easy stage where I can’t really run, lift weights, or really do much of anything that puts pressure on my head (makes my mouth hurt in a weird way) – as you can imagine, that is the hardest part of it all.

On the bright side, the healing seems to be going well, my mouth has stopped randomly bleeding, I’ve become an expert rinser, and, perhaps most importantly, the procedure is behind me.

In this time of healing, I've spent a lot of time with the cats. I've been reminded that they really do sleep a lot. In fact, it is their main activity. If I move around they'll follow, but when I stop they find a comfortable position and nod off. Perdiodic playing, but mostly naps.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be back to running or at least something involving exercise. I am getting antsy. I went for a decent walk last night which felt good, but I paid for it with a headache that reminded me I am still not 100%. Twenty fours more hours of relative stillness will perhaps do the trick, and I will try for a 2 miler at a slower pace. If nothing else, to get over my fear that my mouth will bleed when my feet hit the ground with any force.

Plus, after a four day diet of yogurt, cream of wheat, bananas, and other soft things, I wouldn't mind something crunchy.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Race Report: Falmouth

There are big races, like any one of the Rock 'N Roll marathons. There are small races taking place in any given town each week. And then there are the big small races, which is where the Falmouth Road Race fits in. My goal was to drink enough water, run the whole distance, keep a decent pace amongst the jockeying for space, and have fun. Using that as a measuring stick, all goals were accomplished.

The race is in its 35th year, and attracts an elite field as well as the rest of us schlubs. Thanks to P for standing on the sidelines and getting the following shots of the elites:

She got a few schlubs, too... And cheered me on at just the right time. Seeing her on the sideline around mile 5 provided more energy than a GU packet, for sure.
The course runs 7 miles, shifting between an oceanside and inland route. Before the gun went off, the requisite patriotic tunes were sung. In Falmouth, there a little extra special something when they sing "America the Beautiful," though, as the author was born in the town. Made me love New England a little more somehow.

The field was packed - 9,000 - 10,000 runners all headed the same way on a two lane road. It was generally 10 across at any given moment, so when I'd find myself between packs (is it just instinctual that people group together?) I'd shift the pace to try and stay there. Inevitably, though I'd want to push ahead and poke my way forward through the next group. I passed a lot of people, a lot of people passed me.

Miles 1-3 went fast, with rolling hills and a mix of sun and shade. Then the shade parts became fewer and far between, making the "this is fun!" part harder to remember... I considered talking a break at mile 5, but didn't want to lose momentum. Shade returned, and I regained my stride. By the time I got to mile 6 I was speeding up, and rather sad that it would soon be done. Mile 7 came too soon.

I saw more kids in this race than I anticipated. Pairs of siblings, parents and kids... Clearly this is a race that people choose as their one race a year, and the tradition is passed along in their family. One sign I saw along the way was cheering on over 6 family members.

Another sign on route simply read, "Good job, mom! Can we please keep our txt messaging?" Well done, kids.

I'd like to publicly thank all the local residents who pointed their garden hoses into the street, thus providing a brief respite from the heat. You'd know when one was coming as the entire field of runners would shift to one side of the street in the hopes of getting hit with a few drops. And thanks to the kids who made up their own water stations along the way. Far less congested than the official water stations (although thank heavens for those as well). All totaled I'd say I poured more water over my head than into my mouth. Hooray for the people who shared ice from their coolers with whomever needed a cube.

I can see why people come again and again to this race. Well organized, local feel, nice peeps, a mix of everyday Joe and world class runners. Falmouth, I'll see you next year!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Falmouth, by way of New York

This weekend is the annual Falmouth Road Race, a beautiful 7 mile course. It is my first year running it (had to get in by lottert), and I'm very much looking forward to it. I've heard only good things, and I know a few folks who are running it this year, so all in all I will be in very good company.

Initially P and I thought we'd spend some time on the Cape as long as we had to head to Falmouth (which, if you look at a map of MA, is the flabby part of the upper arm that forms the Cape). We have yet to make the pilgrimage to Provincetown this year, and thought this might be the time. Park ourselves on a beach, eat some good food, people watch, ride bikes along the dunes, etc.

Then P had a flash of brilliance: instead of the 4 hour drive to the tip of the Cape, how about heading to NYC instead? "This is the weekend we should head to Coney Island," she said. Brilliant, that girl.

Shockingly, this pair of NY Jews (her from Manhattan and me from Long Island) has never been to Astroland. We, who shaped our honeymoon around rollercoaster parks east of the Mississippi, have never ridden the Cyclone. And sadly, this is the final season the amusement park that graces the place. The property has been sold, and will be developed in to something that seems to be more Disney than Brooklyn. It's sad.

At least the Cyclone will be preserved, given it's national landmark status and ownership by the City of NY.

We have also been wanting to head to the MOMA to see the Richard Serra exhibit. The images I have seen are quite striking, and in person the enormity will be brought home. I have a small fear that I will feel like I am walking through a giant steel maize maze, but I'm keeping an open mind.

Looks like there's also a documentary about the font Helvetica showing. What is it about typeface that intrigues me so? We see it all the time, in various formats, yet there always seems to be a cool history attached if you take the time to look for it. Did you know Helvetica is considered "the official typeface of the twentieth century?" Methinks I'm about to get to know this little sans serif friend better.

Given the weather predicted for the weekend, and the possibility of flash flooding, I'm thinking we'll head to the museum today, and then Coney Island tomorrow. This is a switch in plans, as we were hoping to go to Coney Island on a non-weekend day. Saturday afternoon we'll leave the city, head up the coast, and find some place to stay on the way to Falmouth.

This may also be the trip that we allow ourselves to walk through the doors of the three story Container Store that is around the corner from where we are staying. All of those pretty stuff-holding objects and promises of organization have a dangerous cash sucking ability.

As for the road race, which originated this whole trip in the first place, my game plan is to run today (hello, Central Park!) and take Saturday off. Even if it rains I should be out there on the road. I went for one of the wettest runs in a while earlier this week, where my socks just became puddles and my shorts simply clung to my legs. Felt good to be out there, though. Sort of like swimming on pavement. Somehow it reminded me of my early days of running when I only went out at night and ran through the snow and ice. At that point I wore any old cotton t-shirt and sweatshirt, insulated rugby pants, and whatever socks I had that seems cushy. Compared to those days, this is nothing.

Saturday I must remember to drink lots of water and eat food that provides some good fuel, even though it will mean being on the lookout for bathrooms while we are inevitably wandering about the city streets.

On a completely random note, I know the HRC presidential debate on gay issues was held last night. One of the three people on the questioning panel was Melissa Etheridge. Really? I like her and all, but is she going to become our Bono?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

If I was a better capitalist

P turned me on to a local t-shirt store that I recommend you visit for all of your various t-shirt needs. Nice people, local business, good shirt material, and entirely customizable. Makes it all too easy to go overboard wth snarky little messages.

We ordered my brother in law a giftie there, specifically a shirt that reads, "Muggle." Harry Potter fan and all that. I hadn't seen one around, so we had it made. The store owner places every new design in a book on the counter for customers to browse, with our shirt being the latest addition.

Lo and behold, prior to me even picking up the thing, someone else ordered it from the book. And others have expressed interest.

I'm kinda peeved, as he gets the credit for our idea, but I figure that we aren't the only one with a muggle shirt, and I'd like to guy to stay in business. If I were a better capitalist I'd have a warehouse of random ideas that think could sell.

Maybe I can find someone to help me with my latest concept involving hot liquids....

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

singles remind me of kisses, albums remind me of plans...

We went to see Squeeze in concert on Monday. For some reason they decided to kick off their US tour in a local, small, and great venue in Londonderry, NH. This venue has managed to become a cool landmark in the area, gaining enough of a reputation that people will frequent the place trusting that Scott Hayward, the proprieter, has good taste and will book good shows.

It has also become a place where previously big - and generally of the New Wave sort - bands (Squeeze, Thomas Dolby, The English Beat) come to play. Who would have thunk that little Londonderry would become a destination?

The show was great - they were a tight unit, and knew their audience. Lots of familiar tunes were played ("Up the Junction," "Cool for Cats," "Black Coffee in Bed," etc) with enough other tunes ("Slaughtered, Gutted, and Heartbroken," "Slightly Drunk," "Messed Around") to make the Squeeze fan happy. They could have stretched things out a bit to make it sound less adherent to studio versions, but whatever. A small detail for a band that is a) just starting to play together again, b) not completely comprised of the original members, and c) playing somewhere that is remotely close to my home.