Why I was so happy to run 5 miles in 63 minutes today when I was doing it in 50 earlier this year

I went for a run in Frick Park, my usual 5-mile route, which I haven’t done in a while. It took me 63 minutes. Earlier this year I was doing it in 50. My fitness is pretty low right now, as I explained three days ago. But I’m happy to be on the upswing. I’m getting out there, not pushing too hard, but challenging myself. I have faith that I will get back out of my slump. Read On →

RIP, Eydie Gormé

I learned that American singer Eydie Gormé just died.

I actually knew very little about her until reading about her death.

But she made a huge difference in my life!

Eydie Gormé

Read On →

Emerging from my three months of illness, self-pitying, and self-loathing

Yesterday, I reported on my feelings after having a very painful and embarrassing performance in the Liberty Mile road race. I resolved to slowly return myself to health and fitness, starting immediately. Recently, Leo Babauta wrote a great blog post that really spoke to me, “The Fear of Being Found a Fraud”. Basically, he writes advice, but he’s not perfect, and doesn’t always successfully do what he preaches. I periodically have feelings like that, since I write about stuff too and also post “advice” links on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Read On →

Getting up when reality punches you in the face: running the second Liberty Mile in Pittsburgh

Last year, I reported on the excitement I had running in and watching the first GNC Live Well Liberty Mile. I was so excited about running it again that late this May, having mostly recovered from my Pittsburgh Marathon disaster, I quickly pre-registered for the Liberty Mile for this year. I anticipated training to run well in this year’s Liberty Mile, given that I was not really trained last year.

Unfortunately, this year I have been in very poor shape since the marathon, because of a whole series of health problems and disruptions in my life resulting from a skin rash I got during a Rachel Carson Trail hike in May. The upshot is that I have been running (and exercising in general) very little in the past three months. As the Liberty Mile approached, I wished that I had not registered for it at all.

So I faced a dilemma: what should I do about the race?

Read On →

A haircut leading to my playing "I'll Always Love You" on flute

New floor Celebrity wall I got a haircut from my barber Joe, whom I have been seeing for sixteen years now since moving to Pittsburgh. Unexpectedly, this led me to “discovering” a piece of music and going home to play it on flute. I was happy to arrive with only one other person in line, just getting into the chair, because Joe has a policy of not taking reservations, and “if you leave, you lose your turn”: Read On →

A new hike in Frick Park with Abby

It’s August and Abby and I have been upset that, unlike all the other years since we’ve been together, most of the year has already gone by without our having gone on a substantial hike together. This is a big deal because hiking is one of the things that first drew us together and that we most enjoy doing together.

The reasons for this utterly unfortunate situation:

  • Abby broke her foot in February, at the same time she started a new job, and this totally threw both our lives into chaos. Her full recovery was very slow, and she has still not regained her fitness, and is not in any shape to do any of the Pittsburgh Hiking meetup hikes that we normally start doing in the spring and throughout the summer.
  • I got occupied with Pittsburgh Marathon training, then after the marathon, during a hike, came down with a skin rash that resulted in a lot of trouble for me despite multiple trips to the doctor and treatments, still not completely cleared up even today, and that resulted in my not only losing fitness but also being wary of going out on hikes.

Anyway, we decided that the past is the past, and we should start doing some smaller-scale hiking on our own, just to enjoy being out together again. Today we simply chose to do a little exploratory (for me, anyway) hike of Frick Park. The hike was probably just over 4 miles long (including walking to the park from home and back), so it was quite short, but it was good.

Here’s what I discovered:

Read On →

I miss playing chess at the Pittsburgh Chess Club

I haven’t played in any chess tournaments since winning this year’s Pittsburgh Chess Club Championship: I had too many other projects I wanted to work on. But I’ve been missing chess in the past week or so. I can tell because I’ve been playing chess against myself in daydreams. I think I need to start playing again. I stopped by the Pittsburgh Chess Club to check out the action. Henry was playing against Ed Dean; I wanted to say hello, but he didn’t even see me during the several minutes I was present watching people’s games. Read On →

All India: great new Indian restaurant in Pittsburgh

I have a new favorite Indian restaurant in Pittsburgh: All India in Oakland on North Craig Street. Being a fan of Indian food, I’ve tried basically all the Indian restaurants in the city for over a decade in Pittsburgh. Many are not worth mentioning at all. Some I have enjoyed to a degree, but none have really excited me. Until now. The relatively new All India is now my clear favorite. Read On →

More summer musical partying, and another ten-year-old dream fulfilled!

Abby and I went to a party at Gina’s. We hadn’t been over in more than half a year. We had a great time, sharing a ton of food (I made a cabbage dish of my own invention that included onion, garlic, olive oil, cumin seeds, thyme, lime juice, salt and pepper) and hanging out inside as well as in the backyard. I somehow started an arm wrestling competition with the guys, and then we challenged each other to pullups and chinups too. Read On →

Second year at July 3 music party: still only listening without playing

Last year Abby and I went to a July 3 music potluck/party at Susan’s for the first time. We attended again. I brought my flute. Again I enjoyed hearing two groups of people playing music. I am not so much into the “old time” music, however, which the group outside in the backyard was playing, so I hung out inside instead, where I liked much better the blues guitar and ukulele and singing and piano. Read On →