Running Broadway from tip to tail

I decided to run all of Manhattan’s Broadway last night, starting at 225th Street in the Bronx, over the Broadway Bridge, down the spine of the Manhattan, through Columbus Circle, and down to Battery Park.

At the beginning of 2015, I had this side goal of running all the streets of Manhattan. I didn’t get it done in a year, but I’m mostly run from the top of the island down to Central Park. Read more »

2016 Maui Oceanfront Marathon

January 17, 2016
Wailea, Hawaii
Event website

State 49, there it is. Perhaps I should have saved Hawai’i for last since it was the last to be admitted to the Union, but in my 50 States quest I’ve flipped Alaska and Hawai’i in order. It was mostly a scheduling problem. I don’t like running in hot weather, so I wanted to run Hawai’i in the time of the year we typically call “winter”. It’s -3 F in New York. It’s in the 70s here. I didn’t have to think that much about not being at home in January.

But, I’ve been lazy lately. I haven’t had a long run since the New York Marathon. I did something to the arch of my right foot in that race and it still bothers me. I think I figured it out during this marathon though. I think I’ve used the same shoes throughout all of 2015 and the ten or so marathons I ran. Maybe I just need fresh shoes. That doesn’t help in the middle of the current marathon with the old shoes though. Fortunately, the Maui Oceanfront Marathon collects old shoes for the Kihei Youth Center.


The Maui Oceanfront Marathon is in January, it’s the sort of small event that I like, and it’s popular with the Maniac and 50 Staters. Not only that, Hawai’i has my favorite sports drink—coconut water with some pineapple. They sell it on the side of the road, even.


The race tries to beat the heat with a very early start at 5 AM way down in Wailea. The many (many) “nagging” emails from the the race organizers encouraged head lamps. Even though it would be a half moon, it was on the other side of the world and wouldn’t come up until the race was over. I wanted to get through at least half of the race before the sun came up and I mostly did that.

The first part of the marathon goes by some sugar cane fields, which was especially poignant since the Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company announced last week that they are shutting down and laying off 675 people. The sugar industry changed everything about this island, and we ran past the last sugar processing plant. Curiously, I ran by a big sugar cane processing plant during the Auckland Marathon and then ran through sugar cane fields during the Solar Eclipse Marathon in Queensland, Australia.


But, like so many other marathon stories I have, once I get the direct sun I wilt. I was too warm even at 5 AM while the locals thought it was really cold. I barely managed my body heat with no sun and now I was baking. I didn’t have anything to prove today so I took it easy.


I took it easy for the second half of the race, meaning I stumbled along as best I could even while walking seemed to be too much effort in the heat. I dropped down to a run-walk. I thought I could do a mile of running and a minute of walking. I kept shortening the race portion. I even got to the point where I’d run from one cone to the next (about a telephone pole’s separation from the next) and walk the next. Even that was too much heat to manage. Would I be doing this if I wasn’t trying for the 50 States? I seem like a big idiot to keep doing this.

Mile 21 had almost all shade and I ran all of that without a problem, but after that I wasn’t feeling well. My body felt dry, which is a symptom of a heat injury. Between miles 21 and 22, I sat in the shade on the beach for a bit to cool down. That’s one of the attractions of this race: the highway tend to go right along the coast. For most of the second half, you’re 50 feet from the water.

I even thought about swimming to cool down. I looked for whales, which you can easily spot from the coast, but I didn’t see any while I waited. I did see one around Mile 23. Just one. That’s unusual. The day after the race I was sitting on the beach at sunset and saw over 10 humpback whale breaches in two minutes. That’s seeing a big humpback jump completely out of the water and fall back in with a bigger splash. The race route parallels a humpback highway.


The Maui Oceanfront Marathon is a quirky race with plenty of small things to mention. Here are some highlights:

  • The mile markers are miles to go, so the first one you see is “25 Miles” about 1.21 miles after the start. I didn’t like that first but I got used to it. And, my Garmin measured shorter and shorter as the distance increased. Maybe the watch got confused by the signs.
  • The aid stations are run by different groups and they can win money based on the votes of the runners. Many were school groups.
  • One aid station with young girls passing out the fluids had them wearing signs that said “Water” or “Ultra”. Now that’s cool.
  • One volunteer told me “last hill!” and I replied “They are say that but it’s never true!”. He laughed saying someone else told him that. Five minutes later I was going up another hill.
  • The finish is “435 steps” from the Banyan Tree at Lahaina Banyan Court Park. That tree was planted in 1873, but it’s not even one of the oldest trees in the world. There’s an older and wider banyan in India.

Now I’m one state away and I need to choose what I’m going to do to finish that. I have the opposite problem in that I have to find a race that won’t be too cold. And, I’m also thinking that I should make this the hardest marathon I’ve ever done.

Some travel tips

Here are a few of my travel tips.


Julia’s Best Banana Bread

  • Beware of anyone selling activity packages. The one at my hotel turned out to not know much and over recommended awful places. Ask your friends for their opinions and check Yelp before you spend your money.
  • Drive up around the top of Maui. See the Nakalele Point blow hole near mile marker 38.5 (there are signs and a parking area).
  • Check out the Hawaiian village about six miles north of that, but realize they don’t like foreigners.
  • In that Hawaiian village you’ll find Julia’s Best Banana Bread. It’s famous and there are plenty of signs leading you to the green treehouse. I bought some bread and lemonade and sat at the bar for awhile while many other tourists bought their stuff and drove off.
  • Avoid all the lu’aus. They are artificial and total crap. I got took. In particular, the Royal Lahaina is one to avoid.
  • Eskimo Candy in Kihei is a local fish distributor. I bought fresh tuna to cook for dinner. It was so fresh they had to bring out the fish butcher person to skin it and filet it so I could buy it. I’m glad I asked about it because it wasn’t on display.
  • Eat at the food trucks. They are cheaper, bigger portions, and better food.
  • The Whole Foods near the airport has good prices on bulk nuts and pineapple. Those can be pricey elsewhere, even if the Maui Gold pineapple is really good.

Bucharest, Romania

December 7, 2015
Otopeni, Romania

I spent my first day in Bucharest near the airport so I could sleep off the long flight from New York. The next day I was up before the sun was up (but that wasn’t hard with a 7:30am sunrise) and waited until I could see enough to go for a run.


I wasn’t actually in Bucharest, but in Otopeni, the highway town outside of Bucharest by about 10 miles. I couldn’t tell it from the heavy fog outside (or Google Maps), but there’s not much 500 feet off of the highway. I saw a short loop behind the hotel so I set out for that.


Behind the buildings you can see from the highway are open fields. I couldn’t tell this at the time for the fog, but there’s nothing out there. When I was deciding which way I wanted to go. I couldn’t see what was down the road. At the intersection I decided to follow the road to the right.


This road went behind several airport service companies, mostly vehicle fleets. There were some curious security guards, some of whom yelled to me in Romanian. I noticed the same thing walking from the airport to the hotel, about half a mile. Someone walking (or running) seems to be an odd thing. Or maybe there were trying to tell me that there were monsters ahead.

Because there were monsters ahead. A herd of sheep emrged from the fog, but they aren’t the monsters. I’ve been in this situation before. Where you find a bunch of sheep you’re likely to find sheep dogs. When I think there are dogs I want to know where they are. I want to know where all of them are. These dogs work together. I might see three in front of me but miss the fourth sneaking up to bite me on the butt. They do that, too (soem strays were herding the runners at the Petra Marathon.


Many dogs aren’t really a problem. They are curious or wary and they want to know what you’re all about. If I stand still and pose no threat, they might look at me for a bit then move on. But, I had to do that anyway to let the sheep pass. It was either that or swim in the ditch.

At this point the road was parallel to the highway. Farther on it turned back toward the highway and things got a bit more rural and dicey. I couldn’t see that far down the road, but I came across more livestock and small farms. I know that these places have dogs too. On one side of me was a steep hill for the railroad tracks with the farms on the other. I could be the victim in a perfect dog ambush.


And, I think I almost was. I passed two dogs, both of whom I saw early, just hanging out on the top of the hill. Once I passed them and had them behind me I thought I’d be okay. I didn’t see any other dogs.

But then, a big pile of rags and trash stood up and rushed me. One of the mop-looking dogs was coming at me looking mean and determined. I did what I normally do in these cases (and it happens a lot running in weird places): I put my arms out and moved aggressively toward the dog. This often stops them. I think I first saw this in The Gods Must Be Crazy where the small boy fended off a hyena by holding a bottle over his head. The narrator noted that hyenas wouldn’t bother things larger than them. Of course, that’s total bullshit. I’ve seen a hyena harass a leopard to get it to drop the antepole the large cat had pulled up a tree. Now I’m thinking it’s not such a great tactic, but it’s worked for me so far.

This mop-headed dog stayed within 10 feet until I was out of his territory, which seemed to be much longer that it should have been. It was all the way to an underpass beneath the train tracks. Thug life indeed.


After that it was along the highway back to the hotel. The sidewalks are narrow and the sort made from paving stones. When they aren’t narrow, they have cars parked on them. This isn’t a huge problem most places I go, but I quickly learned that the local drivers don’t bother to stop. Even the ones who make eye contact with you at the stop signs don’t bother to give way. Be extra careful in this part of the world!


The Angelo hotel is decent. It’s a great location; you can see its large name across the façade from the arrivals area. It’s a short walk, which I don’t mind, that I wasn’t able to get across the highway without using the pedestrian bridge. That’s annoying with luggage. I could have taken a taxi, but time I tried that I had to fight with the guy over the meter price versus what he wanted to shake out of me. I’m no stranger to that either; I put my arms up and move aggressively toward the dog (or, in the US, relax in the notion that I just got a free cab ride since a complaint to the taxi commission almost always produces a refund—your government at work).

And, the hotel is right on the 873 bus line that’s “express” into Bucharest. That means it makes all the stops. For 8.50 lei (about 2 USD, and I think I got ripped off) I bought a round trip ticket into the city center. I had to buy the ticket at the airport though; they don’t sell them on the bus.

2015 New York City Marathon

November 1, 2015
New York, NY
Event website

Who puts a marathon the day after Halloween and on the same day as the clocks fall back? And then lets the Mets play in a World Series game that night? This means that the revelers in my neighborhood partied for an extra hour. Instead of getting an extra hour of sleep, I got an extra hour of exhaustion.

My corral start time was at 10:15am, but I had signed up for the 6am midtown bus. I was tired before I even started! The bus took over an hour to get to Staten Island so I only had about two and a half hours to kill before I had to be in my start corral.


Cute marathon bear

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2015 Columbia Gorge Marathon

October 25, 2015
Hood River, OR
Event website

With the Columbia Gorge Marathon finished the Lower 48 states! I only missing Alaska and Hawaii for the 50 States. Like last weekend at the Hayden Lake Marathon, I was right over the Washington state line at Hood River, a small ski/activity town in Oregon.

I didn’t have much time to enjoy the surroundings though. I drove down from Seattle and arrived the night before just after 6 PM, when paid parking was no longer enforced but most of the shops had just closed. After packet pickup I drove back to Cascade Locks to stay in an inexpensive hotel (which, by the way, was so much better than the Tropicana Resort I stayed at in Atlantic City).

Day 6: Bridge of the Gods

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2015 Hayden Lake Marathon

October 17, 2015
Hayden, ID
Event website

I combined my remaining states for the 50 States Club with some training runs. Idaho’s Hayward Lake Marathon fit the schedule. I haven’t run more than 13 miles since the Rock the Ridge 50 miler, and that 13 mile was last week. Read more »

Atlantic City

October 12, 2015
Atlantic City, NJ

After the Staten Island Half Marathon, I drove down to Atlantic City. I’d never been and wanted to see what it was all about. Besides all the usual things you’d do there, I went for a short run to stretch out my legs along the boardwalk and the beach. Read more »

2015 Staten Island Half Marathon

October 11, 2015
Staten Island, NY
Event website

Ever get an email reminding you to pick up a bib for an event you forgot you registered for? Was it for a distance longer than you’ve ran since the beginning of the summer? Because that was my week. But, this is the Staten Island Half and we’d get to finish inside a ballpark. Read more »

Wheeler Bay, Maine

Sept 24, 2015
Wheeler Bay, ME

At the end of summer (literally, since it included the equinox) I took another trip that prevented me from running. Instead of lame excuses about long work hours, dangerous conditions, or bad weather, I have a good one. I wasn’t on land. Read more »

Mystic, Connecticut

August 25, 2015
Mystic, CT
3ish miles

I’ve never been to Mystic. I’ve passed it hundreds of times speeding on 95 and wondered about what might be there. I’ve seen the movie that it famous. This summer I moved Mystic to the top of my to-do list. Read more »