August 31, 2005
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Congratulations Cleveland on no longer being the most impoverished city in the nation. According to the latest U.S. Census figures (story here), Cleveland dropped to a tie for 12th place in this distinguished category. Receiving the crown this year is Detroit Rock City. The census shows that the poverty rate in Cleveland dropped from 31.3 percent to 23.2 percent in the past year. OK, what that really tells me is that these census figures are really whack. Unless I missed the day where it rained money, something like that doesn’t just happen. Smells like some bad data to me.
Hopefully this new figure is more accurate and that 31.3 percent was just some crazy number that some overpaid idiot bureaucrat pulled out of a hat. Apparently the margin of error is 4%. What they call a “survey” doesn’t even deserve to get published with garbage data like that. If I had done in survey in my 5th grade math class and reported that the margin of error was 4%, I would have gotten an F. So given that margin, Cleveland might actually have a 27% poverty rate, or maybe just a 19.4% poverty rate. Yeah, no real difference between those two…
August 29, 2005
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Lately I’ve been using my Netflix account to get TV shows on DVD of stuff I either don’t have access to (HBO) or things I might have missed (Adult Swim). However, this evening Kristy & I watched the movie ‘Saw‘. I had heard a few people explain the general premise of the plot, but was not expecting much. I was wrong. I think this is the best thriller since ‘Seven‘, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. [WARNING: No spoilers below, just the basic plot premise…skip the paragraph if you don’t care to know]. The movie starts with two people waking up in a big open bathroom-like room, chained to opposing walls, with no idea how they got there or who the other person is. In the middle of the room is a dead man who appears to have shot himself. Sounds intriguing, eh?
I highly recommend it if you’re into psychological thrillers like ‘Seven’ and ‘Silence of the Lambs’. You won’t be disappointed, and will probably end up thinking about it for days like I’m sure I will. Any other DVD movie recommendations before I return to the land of TV shows?
August 26, 2005
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I now have my first 5K race behind me, having completed the inaugural Merrill Lynch Bull Run last night in Brecksville. The attendance wasn’t that great, but I had a fun time. The course was rather challenging as it was almost all hills, and being a loop meant I got to take on both parts of the hills…the ups and the downs. I finished in 24:00 (7:45 mile avg), and only found out today when they posted the results that I won my age group (25 to 29). Now I wish I would have stuck around as I might have gotten a ribbon or something which I could have added to my collection from 8th grade track back when I was a sprinter. Overall, I finished 33rd out of 123 runners. I’m very happy with my performance and hope to do a lot more of these types of races after I get done with the marathon (just 35 days from now).
August 25, 2005
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The highly publicized year-long campaign by the city of Akron, OH to try to figure out how to be “cool” reached it’s climax last night as the city’s hired consultant, Rebecca Ryan, unleashed her 18 recommendations for the city to achieve “cool” status. You can find the entire list (complete with editorials) on RubberBuzz, the definitive online rep for Akron.
Personally, I think it’s mostly hot air. The entire campaign itself is pretty silly. A city trying to figure out how to be cool? Glad those aren’t my tax dollars commissioning that report. I agree with Joe from RubberBuzz that a lot of it comes down to jobs. You can only do so much, but if people can’t find viable employment, it ain’t gonna work. And some of the stuff like “complete the towpath”? Uhh…they’re already doing that. And trying to go out to cities where Akron-ites have fleed and win them back? Why not focus on what you have now? I wasn’t expecting much from this report, and that’s pretty much exactly what it gave us.
August 25, 2005
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Seems as though my lapses between posts keep getting longer and longer. Sorry about that. Been enjoying some better weather (i.e. not as hot), running, riding bikes and being outdoors. Last Saturday, Kristy & I went on a bike ride and got caught out in the rain twice. The second time, it was a crazy downpour which completely soaked us in the three or so minutes it took us to reach shelter at the Boston Store on the towpath along with several other cyclists.
I returned to the towpath the next day for a 17-mile run, my longest yet. I was doing pretty good until I seemingly “hit the wall” at mile 14, when my body really wanted me to just stop. I managed to keep going and finish the entire distance. The plan is to do 18, 19 & 20 mile runs the next 3 weeks and then back off for a couple weeks before the marathon on October 1st (only 37 days away now!). Tomorrow I’m doing my first 5k (having previously just skipped ahead to doing a 10k). It is the “Merrill Lynch Bull Run” in Brecksville, just a few minutes from home. I’m hoping it’s not too awkward. I’m so used to the longer distances now and pacing myself that it’s probably going to be hard to find a good pace. After I get done with the marathon, I plan to focus more on shorter races and improving my times. I’m not ruling out another marathon in the future, but I want to get back to running just for the sake of running instead of following a schedule.
August 15, 2005
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Been missing in action once again. Hard to find time to do anything lately with extra hours at work, keeping up with my running and trying to keep up with the rest of life. So, here’s a recap of some things I’ve been doing during the absence:
– Checked out Shuhei out in Beachwood. It’s a Japense restaurant that is often called one of the best sushi spots in Cleveland. Was not the best I’ve ever had and the atmosphere was a little too stuffy for my tastes (i.e. older crowd with a lot more money than myself). But the sushi was good and not super-pricey.
– Since I was out in that part of town, Kristy & I headed out to the Cedar Lee Theatre and saw the movie ‘Happy Endings‘. It was an ensemble comedy starring, amongst others, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lisa Kudrow and Tom Arnold. It wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but it was entertaining and was far from the cookie-cutter comedies that Hollywood seems to churn out these days.
– The next day, we headed out east to Lake County for Vintage Ohio, a big annual wine-tasting festival in Kirtland, OH. I never realized it was such a popular event. There were a few thousand people there and it was a perfect day for it. Basically it’s a bunch of Ohio-based wineries giving people samples of their goods, along with a bunch of food and other samples, live music and other merchants. You get a glass and stand in line at the different tents and try whatever you like. You are given a card which gets marked each time you get a sample, but if you were to even half-fill the card, you’d be pretty darn drunk. I’ve never been a big wine drinker, so it was nice to get a good sampling of some different kinds which I would otherwise likely never have tried. My favorite wineries were Breitenbach Winery (in Amish Country) and Heineman Winery (in Put-In-Bay).
– This past weekend, after I got off work Saturday afternoon Kristy & I headed to Schneider’s Bike Shop in Cleveland and picked up a new bike for Kristy. She got a Giant bike, pretty similar to the one I got there myself about a month ago. Schneider’s had a good selection of bikes and the best prices I had seen anywhere in the area. Definitely the best shop I’ve been to around town. We then hit the towpath for a quick ride before the rain hit.
– Yesterday, I woke up early and hit the towpath for my long run of the week. 16 miles non-stop in just over 2 1/2 hours. I felt pretty good for most of the run, thanks in part to the overcast sky and mid 70s temps. It wasn’t until after the run that my body reminded me that it doesn’t really like running that much. But it will get over it, it always does. 46 days and counting to the marathon.
August 8, 2005
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I ended a very hectic week with a great weekend. Kristy’s birthday is on Monday, so I found a bunch of fun activities to keep us busy for the weekend and help to celebrate things a little early. I’ll post some more about this when it’s all over (following Monday night’s evening out).
I did manage to squeeze in a run today. Things have been tough lately as I’ve been have some bad knee pains (which I believe is Ilitobial Band Syndrome) which have forced me to cut back some on my runs. But today I got back to my schedule and completed a 14 mile run. I felt pretty good during the run and shortly thereafter. However, after getting home, the pain hit me as I started to get out of my car. But I’m happy with my progress. My pace today was over 30 seconds better than last Sunday’s long run pace! And I’m now officially halfway through my 16 week program. 8 weeks down, 8 more to go. 54 days until the marathon!
August 1, 2005
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This morning, I went for my weekly long run and ended up doing my own personal half-marathon (13.1 miles). I had some lingering doubts back when I started training (which I always tried to push into the back of my mind) about whether or not I would be able to make it this far. I know it’s only halfway, but it’s a big milestone for me. It also marks the halfway point of my training. Although it was only the 7th week of the 16 week program, weeks 15 & 16 are tapering weeks where I drastically reduce the amount of work I do before the marathon (which is the “long run” for week 16), so it’s essentially 14 weeks of hard training.
There has been a lot of stuff going on in my life lately, and it’s sometimes hard to find the time to get my runs in (especially since they keep getting longer and longer). But lately, when that moment actually arrives when I start running, the rest of the world kind of goes on pause for me, and it’s just me and the path ahead of me. Over the past few weeks, I have really been able to get in a zone and actually really enjoy running. Hopefully that is the way it will be from here on out, and possibly for many years to come.
August 1, 2005
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Yesterday I returned from Missouri which I visited for about the 50th time. Usually the trips are to visit all of my relatives, of which about 80% live in Missouri. This time it was a little different as I was helping my brother move. He got a nice apartment out in Ofallon, MO (which is about 20 minutes west of St.Louis) and moved out there because he was transferred with his job. This is the fourth state he’s lived in over the past few years, so I hope it works out this time, because moving isn’t so fun.
We left Wednesday morning in a 3-car caravan, which is never fun. Especially since my brother was in front with the moving van which lacked cruise control, so we constantly sped up and slowed down. And of course, our entire drive through Ohio (about 4 hours) was rain-filled. But we eventually made it to St.Louis and I got a run in on the hotel treadmill and prepared for the actual move-in on Thursday. The move-in went better than expected. He had a lot of junk, but nothing the 4 of us couldn’t handle. On Friday I got to see a number of my relatives and enjoy some BBQ (though it paled in comparison to KC’s). Saturday’s flight home was uneventful, except for when they started the engine on the runway and it seemingly started snowing, as little white pellets rained from above onto the passengers (self-included). It was apparently ice so it was harmless, though it did make a number of people slightly less comfortable about the flight.
Tonight, Kristy and I caught up on some ‘Six Feet Under‘. We’re only one episode behind now, and I think some big stuff is about to go down. People keep saying this season is bad, but I’m really into it. Obviously the writers have a lot of freedom since it’s the last season, but I think they have done a good job of striking a balance and still making it interesting without getting too crazy. I think after watching 4 seasons of it over the past couple years that I’m emotionally invested in the characters (I know, it’s just a TV show and that sounds lame, but it’s true), and I’m as eager as anyone to see what ends up happening to each one. I really have never followed a TV show as closely as I have this one, so it’s new to me to have something like this to follow each week.