Saturday, August 26, 2006

What is a BiKathlon?

A BiKathlon is the BK version of a biathlon, which I plan on completing today. My BiKathlon consists of a three-mile run and a 50-mile bike ride. The three-mile run has already been completed this morning in 28:00:14.

I am about to hop in my car and head to my parents' place in Toms River to get my bike and complete the second part of the BiKathlon. Of course, I have to get my bike's rear, flat tire fixed first. I just hope the bad weather expected in Ocean County this afternoon holds off until I'm done with the ride.

I just have to find a way to add 14 miles to my 36-mile route (which I'm going to work out now). If I can ride the 50 miles, that will put me at 202 miles during the months of July and August, eclipsing my 200-mile goal. Of course, when I set that goal, I didn't think I would have accumulated another 20 miles running during the month of August.

But it's all part of my fitness initiative...and my training for the Mercer County 5K Heart Run I am participating in Sept. 16...and for which I still need donors! Hint, hint!

UPDATED 4:00 p.m., 8/26/06
Well, I probably could have completed a 50-mile trek today. My legs felt good...the bike felt good (with the rear tire repaired). Unfortunately, the ominous clouds in the sky forced me to cut the cycling portion of my BiKathlon to only 10 miles (I have to check on this, but I think that's about right). Of course, no storm ever came and it has only drizzled off and on since I started--and ended--my ride. But I chose to be cautious...and this means I'm still at least 40 or so miles short of my 200-mile goal by the end of August. So I have decided to bring my bike back to Bucks County and try to get in as much riding as possible before the end of the month and hope I can make up the 40 miles.

Friday, August 25, 2006

YouTube: Peter Gabriel - "Lay Your Hands on Me"

Well, my friend Jason wanted to know if I was still alive based on my lack of recent activity on the ol' blog, so I figured I would post this YouTube video of a great 1987 Peter Gabriel peformance of his "Lay Your Hands on Me" (which should not in any way be confused with the immensely craptacular song of the same name by Bon Jovi).

Back in PG's younger days, he would do a little crowd surfing during this song. Of course, as he got older, he stopped doing it. But the energy of the performance lives on in this video.

This is just so freakin' awesome...

Monday, August 21, 2006

I hate asking for money, but...

...I have officially registered for the 15th Annual Mercer County (NJ) Heart Walk and 5K Heart Run on Saturday, Sept. a runner.

Yeah...I never thought I'd be doing that either...but I am. It's for a good cause and, since I'm participating with my colleagues, I will be scoring brownie points at work.

But here's the deal...I need to raise some funds for this, so I could use your help. If you go to my Heart Run page, you can make a modest donation to the American Heart Association to support my endeavor...which would be awfully nice of you.

My personal goal is to raise $200, although I really didn't choose that. It was a default setting when I registered. I would love to raise $200 or more, but I'd settle for $100...that way, I can get the official Heart Walk t-shirt!

Here's an added incentive...should I raise the $100 t-shirt minimum and ironically drop dead of a heart attack during the Heart Run, my largest donor will get the shirt! If I survive? Well, I'll e-mail you a photo of me wearing the shirt.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Can't stop running

Thought I would use a Todd Rundgren song title for the purpose of this post... I recently started running regularly each day. About two weeks ago, I missed a weekend of bike riding so I decided to hit the track at the middle school next to my apartment complex in Fairless Hills, Pa. I have been trying to do a mile a day ever since.

However, this morning, because of an opportunity to participate in a 5K run/walk on Sept. 16, I decided to try a 3-mile run. I am happy to say that I made it...and completed it in 30:29:40. Not great, but I'm going to try to cut a few minutes off of that between now and 9/16.

My mile times started out at 9 1/2 minutes and quickly improved to about 8 1/2 minutes. My last two mile runs have been completed in 7:59 and 7:58, respectively. So my goal is to complete the 5K run within 26 minutes.

Anyway, all this running—along with my usual cycling routine—has become a primary component of a personal weight-loss initiative. When I had my heart disease scare last December, I tipped the cardiologist's scale at 208 pounds (with heavy shoes on, I might add).

Although my heart checked out OK, I went for a follow-up visit in mid-July. That time, I weighed 195 pounds (again, with shoes on).

Well, since then, I have kept a closer eye on not what I am eating, but how much I am eating. I'm trying to eat portions closer to the listed serving size and limiting my daily caloric intake based on my basic metabolic rate (generally, this is my current weight multiplied by 10).

As a result, I'm down to 179 pounds right now...I don't remember the last time a "7" occupied the middle column of my weight. My target weight is 168 pounds, which would put my body mass index number at 24.8 and within the realm of normal I have 11 pounds to go.

Based on the rule that 3,500 calories equals approximately one pound of body fat, I need to shed 38,500 calories. I am trying to cut out at least 3,500 calories each week. If I can hold to that, I will reach my target weight in roughtly 11 weeks.

But I have set a goal of reaching 168 pounds by Nov. 12.

That date is also my friend's wedding anniversary so this will also help me remember to send a card.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tour de BK '06 RIde #7...The Big One

Well, I did it. I just completed the 36-mile, Toms River-to-Manasquan Inlet bike ride (see route on map below) in 2 hours, 17 minutes for an average speed of 15.7 miles per hour.

The ride put me at a total of 152 miles for the summer, leaving me 48 miles shy of my goal of 200 miles by the end of August.

I actually plan on going on an 11-mile ride later this afternoon to see a friend of mine, so look for an update later today if that happens.
UPDATE 10:04 PM ET - 8/13/06
Well, I couldn't go on the 11-mile ride because my rear tire got another flat and there was no place open to get it fixed.

Once again, I didn't stop to rest. The best part of the ride was that it took me 1 hour, 3 minutes to complete the first half of the ride, which was done in nearly ideal conditions. Plus, I got real close to breaking the speed limit on that bayside road with the "your speed is..." radar sign. It read 24 mph as I rode close to reaching the 25 mph speed limit. I need to go over the speed limit at some point this summer...I just HAVE to.

Coming over the Mantoloking Bridge on the way back was a dream. With the wind at my back, I shifted into high gear and got real low. I went flying down the descent and for about a mile down the road. I must have reached at least 45 mph during that felt like the fastest I have ever gone on a bike.'s the route:

Thursday, August 10, 2006

BBC: Series 2 of "Doctor Who" to hit SciFi Channel in September


Although the SciFi Channel has not said anything yet (oops...see update below), the BBC has announced that series two (or, in U.S. terms, season two) of "Doctor Who," which completed its original broadcast run on BBC 1 last month, will begin showing up on U.S. television screens in September.
The run will kick off with a two-hour premiere package that will include David Tennant's debut, The Christmas Invasion.

Chris Regina, Vice President of Programming, SCI FI Channel, said "Our audience has clearly embraced 'Doctor Who' and it has delivered a significant increase in viewers in the time period. We are looking forward to keeping the momentum going with David Tennant as the new Doctor."

Executive Producer and Lead Writer Russell T Davies says, "We were delighted by the first season's success in the US, and can promise new thrills, new laughs, new heartbreak, and some terrifying new aliens in Season Two."

Also, the BBC's "Doctor Who" Web site currently features a photo of David Tennant as the Doctor with Freema Agyeman, who will play medical student Martha Jones—the Doctor's new companion—in series three of the programme (love using these UK terms).

UPDATE 8/11/06
SciFi Channel's SciFi Wire reported the news about the second season of "Doctor Who" a few hours after the BBC announcement Thursday.

Photo: The TARDIS, Rose (Billie Piper) and The Doctor (David Tennant). Courtesy of the BBC.

Movie Trailer: Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny

Ah...Tenacious D hits the big screen in the "motion picture experience of the century"...coming soon!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Chase-ing history...and the wild card!

During the first game of a day-night doubleheader against the Florida Marlins on July 30 (a game I attended), the Philadelphia Phillies traded All-Star outfielder Bobby Abreu—one of my favorite players and one of the best yet one of the most misunderstood players in the game—and starting pitcher Cory Lidle to the New York Yankees for four minor leaguers who are not likely to amount to much.

In other words, it was a salary dump, which was something Phillies general manager Pat Gillick—known for his honesty and candor—had said he would not do. In any event, a couple of nights earlier, the Phillies traded starting third baseman David Bell to Milwaukee for a suspect minor leaguer; and relief pitcher Rheal Cormier was sent to Cincinnati for another minor leaguer on July 31.

So the "fire sale" and Gillick's comments after the Abreu/Lidle trade that he did not expect the Phils to contend again until after 2007 seemingly meant the team was giving up just not on this season but next season as well.

Well, somebody forgot to tell the 25 men still playing that they weren't supposed to be contending again.

Instead, the Phillies have started playing their best ball of the season and have climbed right back into the thick of the National League wild card race. As of this morning, the Phillies are just 2 1/2 games behind wild card co-leaders Cincinnati and Los Angeles—and only two games out in the all-important loss column.

Now, the Phils still find themselves three games under .500 at 52-55, but the entire National League save the New York Mets completely sucks so they actually have a chance.

What is responsible for all this? Well, the pitching has been getting better except for Jon Lieber. Rookie left-hander Cole Hamels is starting to show glimpses of the future star he is projected to be. Brett Myers has been stellar despite some off-the-field problems a few weeks ago.

The Phils' offense has also picked it up, scoring 63 runs over the last seven games.

The star of this offensive onslaught: Phillies All-Star second baseman Chase Utley (pictured above), who is currently riding a 35-game hitting streak, which ties the record for longest hitting streak by a second baseman set by Florida's Luis Castillo a few years back. Utley is one game shy of tying the single-season franchise hit streak record set by teammate and shortstop Jimmy Rollins at the end of last season. Rollins wound up hitting safely in 38 consecutive games by getting hits in the first two games of this season.

Utley is hitting .330 this season and leads the NL in hits (144), multi-hit games (46) and runs (93).

Meanwhile, 2006 Home Run Derby king Ryan Howard continues to enjoy a tremendous sophomore season, batting .287 with 36 home runs and 94 runs batted in.

One of the great surprises and one of the great stories is 33-year-old rookie catcher/infielder Chris Coste. A journeyman minor leaguer, Coste finally made his major league debut this season. However, he went 0-for-14 and it seemed he was more story than substance. But injuries required the Phillies to give him another chance and Coste responded. This real-life Roy Hobbs is now batting .375 with four homers and 19 RBI. Even more amazing are his situational stats. With runners in scoring position, Coste is batting .542 with 13 RBI. In the same situation with two outs, he is batting .600 with five RBI.

Will the Phillies pull off one of the most improbable playoff runs ever? Chances are slim. However, if the Phillies go into Shea Stadium this weekend and take at least two of three from the NL East-leading New York Mets after a convincing sweep of the NL Central-leading Cardinals in St. Louis, I think I'll really start to believe...again.

(Photo: Kyle Ericson/AP via