Friday, February 26, 2016

Of Mules and Men: Beast of Burden Winter 50 Race Report

"...You talk of making a canal 350 miles through the wilderness! It is a little short of madness to think of it this day." - President Jefferson to Joshua Forman in 1809, upon Forman's request for federal funds to build the Erie Canal.

For decades, various New York State lawmakers had been meeting with engineers to discuss plans for a major transportation project. The Empire State's leaders were looking for ways to connect some of New York's lakes and waterways to allow for easier navigation across the state from east to west. As early as 1785, the argument was heard that a man-made waterway from the Hudson River to the Great Lakes would be feasible. After several plans, proposals, and subsequent rejections for funding from Washington, the state legislature finally passed a bill to approve construction of a massive canal. New York Governor DeWitt Clinton played the primary role in engineering and commissioning the project. On July 4, 1817, Gov. Clinton ceremoniously shoveled the first patch of dirt in Rome, NY, and construction of the Erie Canal was officially underway.

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"How many first timers do we have at The Beast today?" the race director asked through his megaphone, making himself heard over the din of the nervous, frozen crowd. Roughly half the field raised a hand, myself included. I looked around at the assortment of runners surrounding me at the starting line. Many had brightly colored clothing, allowing them to stand out

Friday, February 12, 2016

One Year In Ithaca

[The following post is something I wrote a year ago, in February 2015, as a guest writer for the Finger Lakes Running & Triathlon Co. Blog. I'd say that another year spent in Ithaca has only reinforced the opinions I've written about below. My wife and I continue to meet friendly, like-minded people in the area and we still hope to live here long-term.]

I think we can all agree, moving from one house or apartment to another can be exciting. It opens up a world of possibilities, from additional living space and some new decor, to an excuse for upgrading appliances and purging closets full of useless and forgotten stuff. On the other hand, it can be stressful in a variety of ways. Aside from the physical effort that goes into moving carloads of more things than you'd ever remembered owning, it brings a new daily routine and change of pace. In some cases, it results in a whole new city with changes in scenery and people, complete with all the lingering doubts about whether or not you made the right decision. "What if I hate this place? What if I stick out like a sore thumb?" Unfortunately, many of us have to deal with this at one time or another, and the end result isn't always desirable.

I happen to be writing this one year to the day that my wife and I moved to the City of Ithaca. Hayley landed a job here nearly two years ago, and for a year she had been commuting back and forth from Binghamton. We made somewhat