My Infrequently Updated Blog. The web-based journal of M. Forde, computer nerd, endurance athlete, and DeLorean owner
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Eat. Run. Sleep.
'Cause your mornings will be brighter
Break the line and tear up rules
Make the most of a million times "no"
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
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
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
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.
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
I'm thankful for my freedom, and the men and women protect that
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
- carrots with brown sugar, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon (bake until
- 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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
"Running never takes more than it gives back."
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
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
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.
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."
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Coogan's 5K - Update
Officially I ran my best 5K to date. I finished in 19:41 averaging 6:20
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
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.
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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
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.
256/8704. Not a PR time, but not a bad showing.
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Game's over! The Who just won!
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A couple of things....
First, am I the only one who gets freaked out when seeing a Toyota in my
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?
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?
1:37:50. New half marathon PR.
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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
Qualifier #1 done.
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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?