January 1, 2018

2017 Running Wrap-Up


2017 saw my first, and probably last, 5K with a relative (my niece Lauren, above).  It was at the Stomp the Monster 5K in Marlboro in June.
Stats for the year:
     1,028.1 Total Miles
278 Days Running including a streak of 173 Days
Average/Day = 3.6982
A pulled calf muscle in mid December ended my consecutive running streak of 173 days.  This is my personal record as an "old man" but in college I ran over 200 days once--don't have the exact number though. 
This would have been the first year in which I ran seven road races.  But fifteen minutes before the start of the August 3rd race, a massive thunderstorm moved through the area.  Subsequent road flooding caused the race to be canceled.
I ran for time in the 6/4, 9/16, and 11/23 races.  In all of the others I treated as hard workouts.
April 1   Colonia 5K   26:28
June 4   Marlboro 5K   25:20 
July 4   Cranford 4 Miler   34:01
August 3   Colonia 5K   Canceled due to thunderstorm
September 16   Caldwell 5K   24:42
November 23   Green Brook Turkey Trot 5K   24:57
December 2   Reindeer Run   26:16
Upper School Girls
Record: no record due to only three girls on the team
Invitationals - ditto

It was a tough year for this squad.  We started with three girls (one Senior, one Sophomore, and one Freshman) in August.  The Sophomore went down with a knee problem and did not return til early October.  The Freshman Kynise (above) was a hard worker and earned the Most Improved Runner award.  At the state meet she finished first among the three female runners.  There are five female 8th graders who will be moving up from the Middle School X-C team, so next year's squad will have at least the required 7 runners to compete in races.  More about the 8th graders can be found below.
Upper School Boys
Record: 0-8
         Newark Academy Inv'l - not enough runners entered to form a team
         County Championship - 24th of 24 teams
         Preps Championship - 8th of 8 team
         State Championship - not enough runners
The eight boys that we started with in August lasted the whole season with a few injuries here and there.  The team consisted of 2 Seniors, 1 Junior, 2 Sophomores, and 3 Freshmen.

Although the team as a whole did not have much success, one of the Freshmen, Zane, (above) attended every practice and every workout from August 14 to November 11.  This Ripkenesque achievement earned Zane the Most Dedicated Runner Award.  One of the Seniors, Suraj, (below) came into the season holding the school record for the 5K.  This was the program's fourth year of existence.  Suraj broke his own record 3 times lowering the time to 18:19.  That feat earned Suraj the Runner of the Year Award.

Middle School Boys

Record: 2-11
          County Championship - Varsity - only three runners entered
          County Championship - Junior Varsity - 18th of 18 teams
          Pumpkin Run - Varsity - 10th of 13 teams
          Pumpkin Run - Junior Varsity - not enough runners
This was the largest Middle School Cross Country team in the four years of its existence.  Thirty youngsters signed up to run and 11 of them were boys.  The boys team lacked depth and had only three strong runners.  That is why only three runners entered the Counties Varsity race.  At the Pumpkin Run, we decided to load up the Varsity Team and the few leftovers ran in the JV.  Two of those top three runners are 8th graders and one of them is expected to run with the Upper School in 2018.
Middle School Girls
Record: 10-2
          County Championship - Varsity - 4th of 15 teams
          County Championship - Junior Varsity - 7th of 19 teams
          Pumpkin Run - Varsity - 1st of 7 teams
          Pumpkin Run - Junior Varsity 3rd of 3 teams

19 girls made up this squad.  Every year the Middle School girls are the shining jewel of the Wardlaw + Hartridge Cross Country program.  The 10 wins was a record for the team.  In fact, there were 14 consecutive wins spanning 2016 and 2017.  The 4th place finish at the Counties was the best by the school at the varsity race.  The amazing finish by the JV squad showed how deep this team really is.  At the Pumpkin Run, the girls knew it would be hard to defend the trophy they won in 2016.  We sent our 10 best runners to the line and they ran their best race of the year.  Nine of the top 27 runners wore the green and gold.  We scored 32 points ahead of second place Kent Place which had 55 points.  Champions posed for a post race picture below.  

Individually, the girls attained many PBs during the season.  Bronwyn (below on left) was again the top runner.  She won 8 individual races, finished 3rd at the Counties, and 2nd at the Pumpkin Run.  Only a 7th grader, she will be back in 2018 to lead the team to more success.

And finally a mention of the depth on this team.  Of the 19 girls on the team, 11 were experienced enough to be considered our top runners.  In Cross Country, the "Top Seven" is the elite racing group that every runner wants to be a part of.  All eleven runners were good enough to make the Top Seven.  But the seven below were the ones that worked the hardest and ran the Varsity race at Counties.
Left to right are Jasmine (6th), Jeni Lynn (8th), Nelagh (6th), Bronwyn (6th), Tenajah, (8th), Ananya (8th), and Shreya (8th).  I still hate the New York Yankees but I enjoyed stealing their moniker from the 90s to use for my 8th graders.  During the very first week of coaching this talented group, I began to affectionately refer to them as the "Core Four".  They are very close friends and have been the leaders of the Girls Team for the past four years.  They and one other 8th grader will be moving up to the Upper School team and will greatly improve that squad.

2017 Books


Here you go Bob!
31 books again.  Just like last year.  I must have a certain reading pace.

Alice Network, The ***    by    Kate Quinn

Apollo 8    by    Jeffrey Kluger

Beautiful Animals    by    Lawrence Osborne

Before the Fall    by    Noah Hawley

Close To Home    by    Lisa Jackson

Conclave    by    Robert Harris

Goodbye, Vitamin ***    by    Rachel Khong

Horse Walks Into a Bar, A    by    David Grossman

Jersey Brothers, The ***    by    Sally Mott Freeman

Luster of Lost Things, The    by    Sophie Chen Keller

Lying Game, The    by    Ruth Ware

Miracle On Monahegan Island, The    by    Elizabeth Kelly

My Not So Perfect Life ***    by    Sophie Kinsella

Night She Won Miss America, The    by    Michael Callahan

Nix, The    by    Nathan Hill

One Inside, The    by    Sam Shepard

Our Short History ***    by    Lauren Grodstein

People We Hate At the Wedding, The    by    Grant Ginder

Piece Of the World, A ***    by    Christina Baker Kline

Platinum Doll    by    Anne Girard

Pre    by    Tom Jordan

Red Car, The    by    Marcy Dermansky

Riding With George    by    Philip G. Smucker

Say Nothing    by    Brad Parks

Sisters One, Two, Three    by    Nancy Star

Stars Are Fire, The    by    Anita Shreve

Stolen Beauty    by    Laurie Lico Albanese

Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty ***    by    Charles Leerhsen

Warrior of the People, A    by    Joe Starita

Worst. President. Ever.     by    Robert Strauss

You Are a Complete Disappointment    by    Mike Edison
*** a good read

December 31, 2016

2016 Running Wrap-up

1,031.9 Total Miles
294 Days Running including a streak of 160 Days
Average/Day = 3.50986
April 16   Colonia 5K   24:38.96
July 4   Cranford 4 Miler   32:43
August 4   Colonia 5K   26:25.63
September 5   Verona Labor Day 5K   26:18.51
November 23   Flemington Turkey Trot 5K   28:38.86
Upper School Girls - This was the third season of the Upper (High) School Cross Country Program at Wardlaw-Hartridge and my first as the head coach.  It was a disappointing season.  We started with five girls but only two remained at the end of the season.  Of the 10 meets, there were only two in which all five girls showed up.  One was the Newark Invitational in which we finished 8th out of 8 teams and followed by a 42-18 loss to South River in a dual meet.
Upper School Boys - The boys team had an even more disappointing season.  We started with 10 boys and had what looked to be a solid top 5.  Unlike the girls, the boys had the required five runners in many of the races.  In dual and tri meets, the boys finished 0-7.  In the large races, the boys finished 7th out of 7 teams in the Newark Invitational and 9th out of 10 teams in the Prep Schools Championships.  Their best effort was a 34-25 loss to East Brunswick Vo Tech in a dual meet.  At year's end only 3 of the runners remained.
The five remaining boys and girls at year's end had the opportunity to run in the State Championship at Holmdel Park.  It was the first time for Wardlaw-Hartridge to run in this prestigious race and the runners ran respectively well.
Middle School Boys - This was also the third year for the Middle School Cross Country Program but it was my second year at the helm.  The team consisted of 16 boys; we lost only two 8th graders from the previous year.  Their places were filled by a handful of runners, three of which were good quality runners.  Their record improved to 5-7 this year including the last four in a row.  This year, the entire team was entered in the GMCs (County Championship).  Last year only the Top Seven went to the GMC and then only ran in the Junior Varsity race.  The Varsity Team finished 11th out of 13 teams and the Junior Varsity finished 16th out of 17.  In the season ending Pumpkin Run at Gill St. Bernards, the boys finished 10th out of 20.  Other highlights: 1) two different runners won 3 races as individuals, 2) their best 1-5 split was 1:25 at the Pumpkin Run.  The down side is that three 8th graders will move on to the Upper School team.
Middle School Girls - Just like 2015, the Girls Team was the shining jewel of the entire school's Cross Country Program.  There were 11 girls on the team this year and we did not lose any 8th graders from the previous year.  Their record improved to 7-4 this year including the last seven in a row.  Like the boys, the entire team was entered in the GMCs.  The Varsity Team finished 6th out of 14 teams and the Junior Varsity finished 14th out of 17.  In the season ending Pumpkin Run at Gill St. Bernards, the girls won the Team Race with a score of 61 points (5th, 6th, 8th, 15th, and 27th).  Other highlights: 1) two different runners won 6 races as individuals, 2) their best 1-5 split was 1:27 at the last home meet, and 3) the team will not lose any runners to graduation and should be even stronger in 2017.

2016 Books


31 books read
Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash

** Animal Keepers, The by Donn Behnke

Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Bucky F*cking Dent by David Duchovny

Dinner Party, The by Brenda Janowitz

* Excellent Lombards, The by Jane Hamilton

Extreme Prey by John Sandford

Five Presidents by Clint Hill

* Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Great Bridge, The by David McCullough

Hero of France, A by Alan Furst

House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

** In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

* Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart

Little Red Chairs, The by Edna O’Brien

Margaret Bourke-White by Vicki Goldberg

* Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen

Muralist, The by B.A. Shapiro

* Remembering Bix (RR) by Ralph Berton

Running With the Buffaloes by Chris Lear

Silver Swan, The by Elena Delbanco

* Stealing Games by Maury Klein

Summer Before the War, The by Helen Simonson

Tommy: The Gun That Changed America by Karen Blumenthal

* When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi

Whites, The by Harry Brandt  (Richard Price)

Winter Girl, The by Matt Marinovich

Woman Who Ran For President, The by 
     Lois Beachy Underhill

* Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

** A very good read
* A good read  
RR  Re-Read

January 10, 2016

It's Still A Good Feeling

February 1 was to be my final mortgage payment.  I have been counting the days until I would write that final check in late January.  I had visions of mailing the check and then burning the mortgage.  But the amount left was not a full payment (only a few hundred) so Chase used escrow dollars and paid off the mortgage for me.  It was paid off ahead of time-- 9 years and 2 months.

January 1, 2016

2015 Books


Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida
The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble
Once We Were Brothers by Ronald Balson
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
The President's Shadow by Brad Meltzer
Thank You, Goodnight by Andy Abramowitz
The Train To Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell
A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

November 12, 2015


Since there exists a thread on this, just want to let you all know that I found a single dollar bill on the ground during my run today.  Wow, I have no life.  No wonder I don't have a FaceBook account.
Also, there will be a list of my books read during the year posted in early January.  This replaces the old list of summer readings since I am now retired and have the luxury of reading year round.
There will also be a momentous posting in February.  So stay tuned!!!

October 25, 2014

Matewan Revisted

See blog entry  August 5, 2007.

September 3, 2014

8th Annual Summer Reading List

I noticed that there was no list for 2013.  Not sure why since I did do some reading last year but apparently forgot to enter them in the blog.  So anyway, here is this year's list:

  • Eighty Days by Matthew Goodman
  • The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva
  • Fatal Journey by Peter C. Mancall
  • Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick
  • House Rules *** by Jodu Picoult
  • Is This Tomorrow *** by Caroline Leavitt
  • Mudbound by Hilary Jordan
  • Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt
  • Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes To Iowa and other stories by W. P. Kinsella
  • The Troop by Nick Cutter
  • Unbroken *** by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
*** recommended