My Infrequently Updated Blog. The web-based journal of M. Forde, computer nerd, endurance athlete, and DeLorean owner


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    10 Dec 2010

    'Cause your mornings will be brighter
    Break the line and tear up rules
    Make the most of a million times "no"

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    01 Dec 2010

    FreeBSD 6.4 EoL
    As of yesterday, FreeBSD 6.4, and with it the entire 6.x branch, has reached its End-of-Life. It's time to upgrade (or maybe upgrayedd, for a double dose of something-or-other).

    So herein lies the problems. Months (years?) ago, I attempted to upgrade tak to FreeBSD 7.2. I plugged in a SATA disk into my workstation, installed the OS, reconfigured all the daemons, services, and functionalities tak has running, copied over a snapshot of all the data, and then edited the fstab to match the device names as they'd exist on tak.

    I removed the IDE root disk and installed the new SATA disk and tak and watched the kernel fail to find the root disk. Or the other SATA disk in tak.

    Based on the bug reports in the FreeBSD Gnats system, and various conversations in the mailing list, it seems Asus, who made the motherboard in tak, used a slightly non-standard SATA implementation on this particular board. Between the 6.x and 7.x line, some work had been done on the SATA drivers in FreeBSD and mad them more standards-compliant (a good thing). This, however, broke SATA on this Asus board.

    Tak is about 6 years old now, and other than some over heating issues, serves its purpose well. So do upgrade to FreeBSD 8.x on an IDE disk and replace the other SATA disk with another ATA disk, or do I build a new, lower-power, higher-performance system?

    If anyone actually reads this, feel free to use the new comments feature to give me feedback. I think it's working.

    [/unix] [permanent link]

    25 Nov 2010

    Happy Thanksgiving
    I'm thankful for my friends and the support structure they provide.
    I'm thankful for my family. While they're not always supportive* they're always accepting.
    I'm thankful for my freedom, and the men and women protect that freedom.
    I'm thankful for running, and the years it's added to my life.
    Every Thanksgiving old mike would consume 1350 calories worth of Cool Ranch Doritos for breakfast before gorging at the traditional dinner. I'm thankful old mike's dead.

    *Running 50 miles in a weekend is not "running too much."

    I felt the need to document all that I cooked today.

    • regular stuffing
    • stuffing with sausage
    • cornbread stuffing (made from corbread I baked early in the week)
    • carrots with brown sugar, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon (bake until awesome)
    • steamed broccoli
    • asparagus sauteed with garlic and lemon juice
    • baked sweet potatoes
    • mashed sweet potatoes
    • smashed potatoes
    • zucchini with pancetta, garlic, and onion
    • beer bread (oatmeal stout)
    • stuffed mushrooms
    • baked macaroni and cheese
    • mashed turnips
    • sauteed mushrooms
    • cheese lasagna
    • meat lasagna
    • roasted turkey

    I think that's everything.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    14 Nov 2010

    2010 New York City Marathon
    One week ago, I ran the New York City Marathon. As noted many times throughout this blog, this race was something I've been working toward since December of 2008. This event was the culmination of nearly two years of hard work and dedication. And it was worth every single mile I've run over the last two years.

    At 9:40, the cannon was fired and the marathon started. Within minutes, I was crossing the starting line and running over the Verrazano Bridge. Not only was I running in the footsteps of the current world record holder and the first American to win New York in 27 years, I was running in the footsteps of legends.

    About three and half hours later, I entered Central Park for the last few miles of the race. I looked around and had the odd sensation that I was home.

    It's difficult to put into words the feelings of that day. Despite having completed three sanctioned marathons prior to this day, crossing the finish line was something I couldn't believe I was actually doing.

    It was absolutely amazing.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    13 Nov 2010

    Pre-Race Thoughts
    Last Saturday, I sent a letter to the Giraffes mailing list. I've decided to post here.

    In March of 2008, Brian told me I was running a 5K with The Giraffes. He didn't ask and he didn't give me a choice. Two days later I got off the couch, got on the treadmill, and started running. Six weeks later I ran my first race with this team. This team saved my life that day.

    Nine months later and a hundred and one pounds lighter, I got this crazy idea in my head. I decided I was going to run a marathon. I thought, if I'm going to run a marathon, I'm going to run the biggest marathon in the world. I'm going to run the New York City Marathon.

    I did some quick research about how to get in and found the 9+1 qualifying method. A couple of days later, I told Brian I was going to spend 2009 working toward guaranteed entry for the 2010 NYC Marathon. Almost immediately, he sent out an email to The Giraffes saying, "Mike and I are doing this and so are you." I'm paraphrasing, although it was quite close to that.

    So on January 10, 2009, five of us piled into the car and drove to Central Park on a frigid Saturday morning and began our journey with the Fred Lebow Classic.

    We continued to run, and picked up some new members along the way. Some with an impressive history of ultramarathons, and some just starting out.

    Those of us who first set out that day in January reached our goal and qualified for NYC 2010.

    At some point we decided we should run a marathon prior to NY, to get an idea of what we were really getting into. We chose Philadelphia, and for several Giraffes that day, it was our first. It was the day we joined the ranks of the one tenth of one percent of the population who can call themselves marathoners.

    While training for Philly, I fell in with a group of runners from my hometown and began running with them. At first it was short runs during a 5K training program they were running, but soon thereafter, they began including me in their longer training runs on the weekends. They introduced me to a number of other runners. Eventually I convinced (most of) them to sign up for the Giraffes mailing list.

    For the past two years, I've run with these people, the original Giraffes and the runners who have joined us along the way. And through it all, this team is what has kept me going. Through inspiration, through motivation, through friendships, through training runs and races, you've kept me going. You have been my support system.

    And now I sit here on the eve of the New York City Marathon, less than 24 hours from the start of the race, less than 24 hours from realizing our goal we set for ourselves so long ago.

    To all of you who have been with me for this journey in some way, shape or form... To those who got the team started and pulled me in, to those who saved my life... To those who persevered through qualifying races under grueling weather conditions with me... To those who got food poisoning with me from Macaroni Grill the night before the Scotland Run 10K... To those who got me through the last 5K of Philly... To those who made the 22+ mile training runs a little more bearable at the end... To those who have shown their support in any way they could...

    I offer you my eternal gratitude. I would not be where I am today without all of you. I love you all.

    One final note. To those of you joining me in tomorrow's running of the New York City Marathon... Kick ass and chew bubble gum.

    M. Forde
    "Running never takes more than it gives back."

    [/running] [permanent link]

    30 Oct 2010

    It's been a while...
    I haven't updated this blog in quite some time. A lot has happened since the last post.

    First and foremost, I spent about two months volunteering as the Cross Country team's coach for the local Middle School. Due to budget cuts, all athletics programs were cut. The local Police Athletic League stepped up and volunteered to take over the programs. Many of the teachers who have coached in previous years did not want to do so now, so the PAL went looking for volunteers within the community.

    A friend of mine with whom I train put me in contact with the PAL and after an application and vetting process, I became a Rutgers Certified coach and began my duties.

    The team was relatively small, seventeen boys and six girls. Having never really worked with kids before, I was glad that this year's team was half the size of last year's; however I was still apprehensive about working twenty-three middle-schoolers. Thankfully, several parents helped me throughout the season. One in particular was there with me for almost every practice and every meet.

    I tried to emulate the aspects of my middle and high school coaches that I thought worked, and tried different approaches in an attempt to avoid the aspects I had never liked. I wanted to motivate and inspire these kids.

    I told them about my history as a runner: my experience in 8th, 9th, and 10th grade, my first 53-minute 5K on the treadmill in March of 2008, my marathons, my personal records, and my improvements over the last two years. I told them I would never make them do any thing I wouldn't do myself in training. And I ran with them. Whether the day's training was 100 and 200 meter repeats, running the course, "time on feet" running, or fartlek's, I ran along side them.

    During one session I was catching up to the lead group, the fastest of the 7th and 8th graders, and asked, "Are you really going to let an old man with bruised ribs keep up with you?" One of them turned and said, without breaking pace, "You're not that old and you run marathons."

    During the Cross Country season, in the last six weeks or so I've run a few races and set a few PRs. On September 19, I ran the Marathon Tune-Up 18 mile in Central Park. I set a new 18-mile PR at 2:27:34, taking 18:56 off my time from last year. Also of note, I didn't end up in medical being treated for hypothermia this year.

    The following week I ran the 5th Ave Mile. I shaved 9 seconds off from last year's race and 3 seconds off my previous best in training. My new mile PR is 5:25.

    About 2 weeks later I ran the Hartford Marathon. My friend and I got there very late the night before the race. Because we were stuck in traffic for about four and a half hours, my friend missed the on-site registration. He debated what to do while we went to dinner at a local tavern. I promptly felt sick after eating.

    The next morning we got and got ready to run. I still felt sick from the night before and threw up the previous night's meal shortly before we went to the registration packet pickup. I got my bib and timing chip and my friend failed to convince the race officials to let him enter. When he asked, "can I run unsanctioned?" the response of the somewhat sympathetic official was, "I can't tell you that you can." So my friend decided to run unsanctioned. After all, no one said he couldn't.

    We lined up in the corral. Despite the way I felt, I knew I had to go out there and run my best marathon. I had told the Cross Country team what Prefontaine had said, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." I had to go out there and try to PR. But as Yoda said, "Do or do not; there is no try."

    I started the race keeping the 3:45 pace group in my sights. My friend kept along side me for the first three miles then fell back a bit. I had some conversations with two runners in the pace group, Gavasker, the pacer, and Jen, a woman who was looking to BQ. I kept with them the whole way and finished in 3:43:32.

    Unbeknownst to me at the time, my friend dropped out at mile 8 and made his way back to the start/finish area. He was there at the finish line, waiting for me as I crossed the line just ahead of Jen who BQ'd with 2 minutes to spare.

    The next morning I went out with some other friends and ended up running another 24 miles putting me at 50 miles for the weekend. Monday evening I ran in a charity 5K with another friend, and then took a few days off.

    Since then, the Cross Country season has ended. They had their last meet, a few more days of practice, and then this past Wednesday they had team photos followed by an end-of-season pizza party.

    At the party the kids presented me with a plaque to say "thank you." I damn near cried when I unwrapped it and saw the photo taken at one of our practices. But if anyone asks, I'll deny that part.


    The 6th and 7th graders also asked me to come back and coach next year. During and since the season, I've run across some of the kids in town. Every time, they come up to me and say, "Hey coach!" And that means the world to me. It makes me think I've succeeded, that there's a possibility I've inspired them to keep running. Hopefully they'll love running as much as I do, if not more.

    I've encouraged the kids to enter our town's annual 5K next weekend and several of them have signed up. I'm looking forward to running with them again.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    31 Jul 2010

    If my calculations are correct...
    Over the course of the last two years and four months, I've changed considerably both mentally and physically. I lost 108lbs and then put on 6 while marathon training. This 6lbs was purely lean mass (muscle, bone density) and I'm now at about 6% body fat.

    Running is known to increase bone density, and the various forms of exercise I use in my training increased my muscle mass as well throughout this transformation. I've been curious to know just how much fat I lost.

    If my calculations are correct, throughout this process I lost 123.96 pounds of fat and gained 21.96 pounds of bone and muscle resulting in my current net loss of 102lbs.

    Why is this filed under the Running section? Because running was what enabled this transformation to happen.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    26 Jul 2010

    Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta..
    After I finished my run tonight, still in my soaked running gear, I walked directly to local grocery store for chocolate syrup and had the following conversation with the woman at the check out counter.

    her: Over ice cream or chocolate milk.
    me: Chocolate milk.
    her: Nothing hits the spot like a cold glass of chocolate milk.
    me: Especially after a long run.
    her: How far did you run tonight?
    me: Half marathon. My third in three days.
    her: God bless you. God bless you.

    Then, as I walked away she said, "Nice legs."
    "Thanks. I've worked hard for those."

    [/running] [permanent link]

    04 May 2010

    If all goes according to plan...
    This time tomorrow, my car should be on its way to Texas.

    [/dmc] [permanent link]

    02 May 2010

    2010 New Jersey Marathon
    I was registered for today's NJ Marathon in Long Branch. I lost a few weeks in training due to some IT-band issues, and earlier this week was stricken with a bout of bronchitis.

    I got down there today, and 30 minutes before the race start I did a quick quarter mile and decided I wasn't over the bronchitis enough to run a marathon today. It was difficult for me to be there as the race started, watching my chance at reaching my goals disappear. As the morning went on and clouds disappeared and the temperature rose, my thoughts changed.

    Not running today was probably the best and hardest decision I've made in a while. Often the right choices in life are not the easiest to choose, no matter the circumstances.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    26 Mar 2010

    Yay Socialism!
    That was sarcasm. Socialism is bad news. It leads to the government controlling every aspect of your lives. Take for example this story or a bit closer to home, this story.

    [/politics] [permanent link]

    22 Mar 2010

    2010 NYC Half Marathon
    Yesterday was my best half marathon yet. As I stood in the corral waiting for the race to start, the chill in the air was a welcome change from the heat and humidity of last year's race. The decision to move the race from August to March was a good one. The course is definitely a fun one. It starts with an 8 mile loop around Central Park before exiting onto 7th Avenue. From there, the route goes to 42nd street, through Times Square, and out to the West Side Highway where the course finishes near Battery Park.

    I started out with the goal of beating my time from last year. As long as I did better than 1:51:49, I'd be happy. I was hoping I'd finish within a minute or two of the half marathon PR I set back in January, but I wasn't counting on it.

    As I ran I looked at the split times, and roughly gauged how I was doing, trying to stay on target for something close to 1:37 finish, but primarily making sure I was doing better than last year's 1:51. At mile 8, just before exiting Central Park to head to Times Square, the clock time was about 59 minutes. I realized that the winner of the race was about to finish, if he hadn't already, and I hadn't even made it out of the park.

    This year's splits were much better than last year's.


    This is the first time I've run negative splits. What really amazes me is that not only was the second half faster, but every 5K split was faster than the previous. There was an excitement exiting the park. There was an amazing rush turning the corner onto 42nd street. The crowds were great, cheering every runner as we passed by.I remember around the mile 11 marker realizing I had a chance to PR, estimating my time at about 1:36, and picking up the pace a bit. I started passing people left and right. One runner saw me and yelled, "Go, man! Go!"

    Out of about 15 to 16 thousand people that signed up, 11,493 finished. I finished in 895th place; far, far, behind the winner who took home $20,000.

    Universal Sports had a live telecast of the event. I set the DVR to record it before I left, but I haven't had a chance to watch it yet. It likely focused primarily on the professionals who ran, including the Marathon world record holder, Haile Gebrselassie.

    This was a great race on a great day.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    12 Mar 2010

    Not a Paper Cup
    I recently ordered the Not a Paper Cup from ThinkGeek. It looks like a paper coffee cup but is made of ceramic. The lid is silicone instead #6 plastic. It should be awesome. It's not.

    Advertised as 12 ounces, it actually only holds 8 ounces. Right there, it's at most 66% as awesome as it should be. As one friend put it, "That is significantly less awesome."

    Now that I've used it I'll say that it's about 0% awesome and 90% suck with 10% fail.

    The silicone lid tastes, well, like silicone. It adds this horrible flavor to every sip. I like my coffee to have a strong coffee flavor, not a strong coffee plus silicone flavor. Maybe that's just me...

    The double walled construction of the cup, in theory would add an insulating layer to keep the coffee warm longer than a regular paper cup. This was not the case and in a test yesterday, I found that the standard paper cup kept the coffee warm for about an hour and a half longer than the Not a Paper Cup.

    In summary:

    • Holds 8 ounces instead of 12 (as advertised).
    • Silicone lid adds odd and horrible taste to coffee.
    • Doesn't keep the coffee hot as long as regular paper cups.

    • Don't buy one. If some one gifts it to you, well then that person must hate you or not understand coffee.

      [/musings] [permanent link]

    Coogan's 5K - Update
    Officially I ran my best 5K to date. I finished in 19:41 averaging 6:20 per mile.

    It was a rather hilly course, starting at 173rd and running up to the Cloisters. After circling the museum, the same route was taken back to 173rd.

    On Saturday I said I was going to PR. I was told that was a bit a of a lofty goal given how hilly the course was. Sunday morning I woke up with a bit of discomfort after gorging on sushi the night before and thought I might not do well.

    As I stood in the corral, those feelings changed. I knew I was going to PR. And I did.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    07 Mar 2010

    Coogan's 5K
    Unofficially I just PR'd at 19:44.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    02 Mar 2010

    6790 test.

    This mobile text message is brought to you by AT&T

    [/mobile] [permanent link]

    21 Feb 2010

    Run for Haiti
    Yesterday I posted on the mobile section that I had finished the race coming in number 256 of 8704. The statistics have been updated and I need to post a correction. I finished number 266 of 9421 at a time of 27:17.

    This was of course about a minute slower than the Grid Iron classic where I PR'd, but I finished in the top 2.8% this time.

    Yesterday's race raised over $400,000 for the relief effort in Haiti, with over 10,000 people registering and making donations.

    Yesterday's race was also the first time I had run in a week. Last Saturday (February 13) I ran 31.73 miles. With the upcoming race schedule and training for the New Jersey and Pocono Marathons in May, I figured it would be best to actually rest.

    It felt good to run again. I missed it.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    20 Feb 2010

    256/8704. Not a PR time, but not a bad showing.

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    [/mobile] [permanent link]

    07 Feb 2010

    Game's over! The Who just won!

    This mobile text message is brought to you by AT&T

    [/mobile] [permanent link]

    04 Feb 2010

    A couple of things....
    First, am I the only one who gets freaked out when seeing a Toyota in my rear-view mirror?

    Second, google calculator has failed me. I keep trying to do conversions using Joules and it keeps giving me search results for physics forums with no calculator results. WTF google? WTF?

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    02 Feb 2010

    On sunday I ran...
    27.22 miles because I felt like it.

    I woke up Sunday morning, ran some errands, and then met a friend for a run. While I was waiting for him, I ran a one mile warm-up. Then he and I set out and ran a half marathon.

    I felt pretty good afterward, so a little while later I set out to do another 10K. That 10K turned into an 8.4 mile hill work out.

    I realized I was only about four miles shy of a marathon at that point and I still felt really good. After a short break I went out one more time. Four and a half miles later, I was back home and had logged the most miles in a single day that I had ever done, breaking my previous record by a mile.

    It felt absolutely amazing.

    Can every body feel like I do? Can't you can't you trip like I do?

    [/running] [permanent link]

    31 Jan 2010

    It's gotta be the shoes
    Yesterday I picked up the pair of shoes in which I will run the New York City Marathon.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    24 Jan 2010

    1:37:50. New half marathon PR.

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    [/mobile] [permanent link]

    10 Jan 2010

    Here's my review of the movie.

    There's something about the giraffes if you believe we're apples and oranges. I was disappointed by the ketchup, but the mustard was surprisingly good.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    09 Jan 2010

    Qualifier #1 done.

    This mobile text message is brought to you by AT&T

    [/mobile] [permanent link]

    07 Jan 2010

    I Hate People

    I saw that on the news last night and it made me sick. There is no reason for this. This is just senseless abuse.

    It'd be nice to see him in prison getting kicked around his cell by another inmate, but that likely won't happen. Under the current laws, he can only be charged with a misdemeanor.

    Haven't there been studies indicating a correlation between abusing animals and becoming a serial killer?

    [/musings] [permanent link]