Harlem River Ride

July 5th, 2010

Many, many July Fourths ago, before Google Maps or Garmin GPS, before to the city's best efforts to develop greenspaces, and well before being a husband or a father, I set out to circumnavigate Manhattan on my bike. I managed pretty well below 125th Street, but was thwarted by the vast complex of unknown bridges, urban developments, and industrial wastelands of the city's northeastern reaches.

Since moving to the Upper East Side in April, I've endeavored to tackle those unknowns, searching Google, pouring over DOT and MTA maps, and ...

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City Island

May 10th, 2010

It took me less than an hour back in the city to spot a dead body.

I opted to shake of my sixteen-hour commute from Yemassee, SC, to New York, NY, on Amtrak's Silver Meteor last week with a bike ride (inspired secondarily by a rapidly approaching triathlon in July).

I pedaled my Cannondale north to 103d Street, then east across the pedestrian bridge connecting Harlem to Ward's Island. Ward's and the adjacent (and connected) Randall's Islands are home to huge tracts of grassa and athletic fields, as well as several public facilities, ...

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Golf In The Kingdom

March 23rd, 2010

Say what you will about what Justin Timberlake's done for the sport, golf still isn't very rock 'n roll.

I play once a year nonetheless, always with my father. Perhaps its the long walk, or the inherent futility of knocking that tiny ball all that way into that tiny hole, but the sport is rife with philosophizing.

It's that kind of sport, really, one streaked with the patina of fathers and sons and the wisdom -- half-baked, penny-ante and bona fide -- that passes between them.

Those lessons are captured in books with titles like ...

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My Actual 3:51:05* New York City Marathon Playlist

November 4th, 2009

A friend of mine emailed me a page from The New Yorker yesterday. The black-and-white cartoon showed two PacMan-like faces staring at one another. The face on the left's speech bubble said "Marathon, Marathon, Marathon, Marathon, Marathon." On the right, it simply said, "Zzzzzzz."

That pretty much sums up the days following any marathon, let alone a PR. It was my best marathon ever. I ran the first 13.1 miles in 1:57:02, the second in 1:54:04 to finish in 3:51:05 (an average speed of 8:50 per mile). I was the 9239th male finisher, and ...

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The 3:51:05 New York City Marathon Playlist

November 2nd, 2009

With over 40,000 runners making individual Odysseys across 26.1 rust and wind-swept miles, the New York City Marathon is nothing if not cinematic. Add some stakes (like shattering an eight-year-old personal best) and a throbbing soundtrack, and the race is truly epic.

I've run to the music of this city for years. The rush of West Side traffic, lapping of Hudson and waves and rustle of Central Park trees was welcome refuge from headphones and headaches alike, a place where my thoughts could stretch out and get lost. This year, though, as ...

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Run This Town

October 30th, 2009

If I could run the marathon right this second, I would.

Sunday marks my tenth New York City Marathon in a row (and my eleventh overall). For the last four years, I've run with Abbi. I love running with her (though I'm not sure she'd always say the same about me). Our pace is governed by the collective; if she's wiped, I slow down and vice versa (and trust me, it's gone both ways).

This year, though, I'm running solo. I'm racing myself. My goal is to beat my 2002 personal best of 3:56:24. That means running 9:00 miles. Not ...

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Rockaway Beach Or Bust

August 10th, 2009

I've lived in New York City for nearly fifteen years, but have only recently begun to gain some sense of its true cultural and geographical diversity.

Once again, I spent Sunday morning running the city. Last week, my goal was Hell's Kitchen to Coney Island. This week, it was Rockaway Beach or bust. Our friends, Rene and Marlyn had invited Chris, Meg, Abbi and I to join them for an afternoon of sun, and sand and salsa. The goal, then, was to jog some eighteen miles through Manhattan and Queens to their apartment where Chris, Meg and ...

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Coney Island Or Bust

August 2nd, 2009

As the crow flies, Coney Island is a mere fourteen miles from Midtown Manhattan. Unfortunately, I am neither a crow, nor do I fly.

Last Monday morning, NY1's Pat Kiernan forecasted Sunday as a "perfect beach day." Which is when I hatched my plan to run to Coney Island, meet Abbi there, and spend the afternoon lounging in the sun and exploring Brighton Beach.

I spent all weekend preparing, which is to say, I didn't do anything at all but sit around carbo-loading and drinking lots of water. I was in bed by nine last night, and up this ...

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The 2009 Brickyard 400 (Or, Speedway Nights: The Ballad Of Jimmie Johnson)

July 27th, 2009

First rule of Nascar is you don't talk about Nascar.

It's not that facts, statistics, cultural judgments, stereotypes or general biographical data aren't valuable. They are.

Of course (like you), I knew nothing of Nascar until last year's Brickyard 400. This (now seasonal) confab was born of a conversation at my bachelor party and the desire to a) in Indianapolis (a city, sorry dad, with few other event-oriented justifications for visitation) and b) spend more time with dudes.

Before last year, I couldn't fathom why someone would sit ...

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All Stars

May 13th, 2009

I'm pretty sure it's the oldest thing I own: a tattered, No. 80, nine-inch, horsehide-covered, cork and rubber-centered regulation baseball with with seven faded words written in capital letters: 1981 Pinto North All-Star Ben Wagner.

I hit the first RBI in that all-star game, a triple. It was a scorching-hot July Fourth at Ridgeland Common in Oak Park, Illinois. There was red, white and blue bunting and everything. Of course, it was tee ball, so that triple didn't add up to much of a baseball career, and doesn't mean much now. But it ...

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