Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day Five: Hearst Castle; Doctor's Office

So, last night we (the WIfe, actually) drove form LA to Hearst Castle. I'm feeling a bit like a loser for saying this, but it was our fourth trip to the Castle. This time we went on the night tour, which features actor's in period costumes. It was pretty cool and the kids were very much into it. Again, if you haven't been to Hearst Castle, make sure you get there sometime in this lifetime.

We spent the night in Cambria, which is our favorite Central Coast town and we drove home this afternoon -- straight to the doctor's office and then the local Xray joint. The good news is that nothing is broken. I was fairly certain that was going to be the case. I am real curious about whether I have any ligament damage though. It hurts like hell, especially when I try to rotate or pivot on it. I wouldn't normally be so anal about this, but I'm a runner and I really need a sound foot and ankle. The plan is to to give it a few more days and then decide whether I need to see a specialist. Again, whatever the case maybe, I cannot express how thankful I am that the kids were not injured. It was truly a matter of inches.

I think I will be glad when this year is over.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hit by Car

I got hit by a car today. True story. I was crossing the street with the Kids - at a green light mind you - and next thing I know I got whacked by a car. It was utterly surreal. I managed to avoid major damage except for my foot and ankle. I don't think it is broken but it really hurts and I am worried about ligament damage. Somehow my pants got completely scuffed up as you might be able to see from the pictures. Not sure how that happened, exactly. It all happened so quickly.

Even if my foot is damaged I am so grateful it was me and not the kids. No exaggeration; two inches more and I think we'd all be seriously injured.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day Four: Beverly Hills, Santa Monica

ANother action packed day. Woke up super early and went for a five mile run before the family even woke up. Wife went for a run too and afterwards we went to meet my Boss and his two terrific kids (his son is a budding magician and he has the Boy totally hooked on card tricks) at my Wife's Holiest of Sites: Nate and Al's Deli. Sorry New Yorkers; Nate and Al's out deli's anything that even New York has to offer. It's that good. I had scrambled eggs with salami and stuffed cabbage. Sounds weird, I know, but it really works. After breakfast we cruised around Beverly Hills and checked out some of the sites. We then headed back to Santa Monica and met some of our Mill Valley friends at the same sketchy ass Santa Monica pier that we went to last night. No matter though: the kids had a blast and I guess that i what it's all about. After that we met a colleague from work and his family for dinner and then cruised around the Promenade for a while. We got home at 10:00 pm n the nose, making this another fun filled, 12 hour plus day.

Tomorrow we will hang out in the morning and cruise to Venice Beach on scooters (kids) while the Wife and I run. After that, we will hit the road and drive to Cambria on the Central Coast where the plan is to go on the night tour at the Hearst Castle. That's right; it wouldn't be a Solomon vacation without a trip to the old Hearst Castle. I think this will be visit number four if I am not mistaken. Probably our last one too; after this, I suspect we will be all castled-ut.

Day 2: SLO-LA; Day 3: LA

So, we drove on the 26th from San Luis Obispo to LA with brief stops in between in Santa Barbara/Montecito and Ventura County (with a very brief stop at my own personal holy grail; Patagonia HQ). I must say that Santa Barbara is most impressive. We took a slightly different route this year and drove through the mountain range, which I believe is the Santa Ynez Range. It was beyond beautiful. You get the full mountain effect, with the added bonus of sweeping, majestic Ocean views. I tried to take some photos and will post later, but they simply cannot do justice.

We arrived in LA late on the 26th after watching the sun set from a park in Malibu, which was also majestic. In typical Solomon style, we haven't sat still since; we went for a run early, walked on the beach yesterday, played in multiple parks, had breakfast in Santa Monica (and sat next to Clippers star Baron Davis) visited friends in La Canada, went to the amusement park at the Santa Monica Pier and had dinner at our old vacation favorite, Benihana. Not sure what today will bring us, but we are thinking Venice Beach, possibly and if the Wife has her way, Beverly Hills.

I'll be sure to post pictures later.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day 1: Mill Valley to San Luis Obispo

The Solomon's are on the road again for our annual sojourn down South. This year we decided to bypass Highway 1 simply because the one lane road takes too long. So, we took 101 down to San Luis Obispo and stayed in the famous Madonna Inn. If I wasn't writing from my iPhone I would send a link but Google this if you have a chance. It has 120 rooms, each with a different theme. We stayed in the 1950's room and it was a trip. Photos attached but they can't really do justice to this place. Definitely worth a night's stay.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My First Board

I came home from work today (took both kids to the office; that was a story unto itself) and found this waiting for me literally on the house. My first (paddle) board; I am officially a Californian. Wow am I stoked; can't wait to take it out into the Bay. Huge props to the Wife, who's pretty excited about this herself - s he likes paddling as much as me. For that matter, the Kids enjoy it too.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ok, Here's the Plan

I wasn't thinking too much about my running endeavours these past few weeks, but I am getting back on track. I gave it consideration and and out of deference to my father, I am not going to go for 12 marathons in 12 months.Frankly I agree that it's too much and I also agree that I would get bored and tired of it come August.

So, I am going to do a modified version that I am calling the California Series. It's is going to look (still a bit loosely) something like this:

January: Phoenix Rock n Roll Half Marathon
February: Surf City Marathon (Huntington Beach)
March: either Napa Marathon or Los Angeles Marathon. Still tbd
April: Big Sur Marathon
May: Greenbelt 50k in LI with Todd, Payro and hopefully Gail
June: Off
July: San Francisco marathon
August: Off
September: Off
October: Long Beach Marathon
November -- Off
December: North Face 50k or 50 miler

During the "off" months I am going to try to work in some long swims, including hopefully (finally) the Big Shoulder 5k swim in Chicago with my boy Dave M.

So, that's looking like the plan. Anyone care to join me for any of the above? The one I'm most stoked for at the moment is Big Sur. The plan is to take that one particularly easy so I can enjoy the scenery.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Moment of Silence, PLease

I think it's important that we all take a brief moment and bow our head in rememberance of Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon. They were both great Yankees and their contributions these past few years --- and most especially this post-season -- have been significant. I for one, will miss them greatly. Godspeed, Godzilla and Johnny D. May the wind always be to your back.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Push Up Challenge

Coach Phil came up with a good but very simple workout. Here's how it goes: do ten pushups at t top of every minute. See how long you can last. Record it. If only it were as easy as it sounds. I lasted 19 minutes tonight. I probably had a few more minutes in me but the arms were definitely a little bit rubbery. Anyone out there bold enough to give this a shot?

On a different front, I am eating. And eating. And eating. Funny what happens when you are deprived of something, if even for just two weeks. While on the topic, thanks again for all the great support these past few weeks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

All Good!

Alrightee - clean scan! That was a pretty nerve wracking morning. The full body scan is not a lot of fun. Without getting too into the details, it's a bit like being buried alive. It's definitely not for the claustrophobic. I then had to wait for results and during those 50 minutes I think I may have aged five years. After that, I headed directly to In 'n Out where the Wife surprised me by bringing the Kids over for lunch. That was pretty awesome for me and them. So - it's over. I am immensely grateful for all your support and well wishes. It means the world to me. Now I have to catch up and start enjoying the holiday season. Word.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Radioactive (slightly)

Just back from the hospital where I took the following nine (I took the picture after having already swallowed two) pills. This is for my diagnostic test - long story as to why so many pills but I'll confess that it kind of freaked me out. The Big Scan is tomorrow at 9 am and I get results immediately thereafter. I still expect everything to be fine - my doctor does too - but you never know. I'll confess to being a tad bit apprehensive; this whole process is unnerving. Frankly, I just want it to be over.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Monday, December 14, 2009

The $1,000 Injection

Just got this injection this am right on my "bottom". Hurt like a mofo. I have another other tomorrow and then the big scan on Wednesday. Then it's hopefullly all over. After which, I shall let the eating commence. First on the docket: In n Out Burger, followed by a big old pepperoni pizza. Word.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Secret admission: I have my own, custom made bowling ball. Not that's it's helping my game all that much.140 for my first game and 157 for the second. By the way, this is post 666. A perfect metaphor for my children's behavior today.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not Too Much New To Report

Been a kind of uneventful and frankly, dreary week. My focus has been on work, which has been more crazy than usual lately, this freaking diet (all I can say is that if/when I have a clean scan, I am driving directly to In 'n Out for a double double animal style. I am literally dreaming about this moment), the Kids and this miserable weather. It's about as cold in San Francisco as I have ever experienced. Oh and one other thing: Jersey Shore. My new obsession. Can't believe that I just wrote about TV and forgot this one, though come to think of it I don't think I watched the first episode until Tuesday night. Coming from Jersey, all I can say is wowza. These exact same characters existed back in 1982; they haven't changed an iota, except that they are far more metro.

And that is about it. I've also dialed back on the working out because I'm trying not to stoke my appetite too much. I'm already constantly hungry as part of the diet. Instead, I've been hitting the weight room and trying to get back some strength. More on that later, in the event anyone is interested.

Ok -- off to grab my Thursday night scotch. That's right; it's diet approved.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New TV Season

I haven't written much about tv of late, probably because I have been too busy these days to really watch much. The real action starts in January with the kick off of the new seasons of 24 and American Idol. Until then, there's really not too much to get excited about except for -- dare I say, it -- Glee and Modern Family, which I have to say is probably the best new sitcom I have seen since the debut of the The Office. It is that good. And Glee -- well, all I can say is that the singing is very good, and the bubble gum plot line is mindlessly entertaining. The other show that has been getting better each week is Parks and Recreation. That one has solid potential. I also have to say that this is a pretty uneventful season of The Office. Not that it is bad -- like Seinfeld, it is always entertaining -- but it seems to have lost a bit of its original zany energy.

Anyway, that's that regarding TV. Am I missing anything? If so, I am all ears.

In other news, I got a bit of a lecture tonight from my father regarding my plan for 12 marathons in 12 months. He thinks it is asinine. I think that is kind of the point. Regardless, I will give what he had to say consideration before making a decision.

Coming later this week by the way: my top albums of 2009.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ice Skating

This just about killed me today: I took the kids ice skating at the local recreation center. Only it wasn't on ice, but rather some sort of "environmentally friendly" alternative. That, in a nutshell, perfectly characterizes Marin County, CA.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

The Diet

Sorry I have been so quiet, lately: work had been utterly crazy and the kids have been sick. And on top of it all, I have been dealing with The Diet.

I have seen some of the comments here and I don't mean to bitch too much. I know that on paper, the diet doesn't seem so bad. And it is definitely healthy, as some have cited, so that's good. It is hard to explain -- the only one who could help me out here is CrazyMama -- but it just sucks. It's not necessarily the lack of taste in the dishes; I could live with that. For me, it's more an issue that nothing is filling (and note that I already have a highly revved up metabolism) and there is no margin for error. So for me, there's a feeling of having a constant, insatiable hunger. I'll stop bitching now; after all it is only ten more days (knock on wood) if everything goes according to plan. Props again to the Wife, who has steeped up to the plate and beyond. Without her I don't know how I would get buy.

Post Quad Dipsea I am feeling pretty good physically; I went for my first trail run today and felt excellent, all things considered. I guess that is a good thing because it looks like I am running 12 marathons in 12 months, thanks to you all!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Survey Time

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Survey Time

I wanted to check out this cool feature available via Posterous; let's see how this works. In fact, I do think I am going to "crowdsource" this decision so whatever you guys come up via this poll with is what I will likely do. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Breakfast and Lunch

Here it all is, laid out on my desk.

Breakfast: oatmeal (whole oats - gnarly) and a smoothie.

Snack1: almonds

Snack2: carrots and peanut butter

Lunch: salad, chicken soup, pasta and turkey sauce.

Snack3: sunflower seeds and mandarin

Snack4: bag of celery

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Tonight's Dinner

Low iodine diet Day Two. One the menu for this evening: an artichoke, salad, kale stew (that's right. And it actually isn't half bad) and beef stew.

Wait till you see breakfast and lunch. I'll send a picture of that in a separate post.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Monday, November 30, 2009

Diet from Hell: Day One

So, we kicked off the old diet today. On paper it doesn't sound half bad, but for some reason, it is. Any thyroid person would probably agree. The problem is twofold: everything is just ... bland. And it is not at all filling. I am hungry ten minutes after every meal. So for two weeks, it's like I have an insatiable hunger. Take that and throw into the mix the fact that I am 48 hours out from doing an ultramarathon in which I burned an estimated 6,000 calories and you can see where I am going with all this.

Anyway, huge props to the lovely Wife for cooking and getting me through all this. It ain't easy but I really appreciate her fine effort.

BREAKFAST: fruit smoothie

SNACK: Handful of almonds

LUNCH: Salad with mixed veggies; Chicken noodle soup

SNACK: Handful of almonds/banana

DINNER: Artichoke, Portobello mushroom, pasta with turkey sauce.

SNACK: popcorn cooked in Olive oil

So, as you can see, it's quite healthy. But I already miss fat, calories and good old fashioned salt.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Diet from Hell Returneth

So, I am pretty sore today. I guess that is was happens when you run 29 miles over nearly seven hours in total with almost 10,000 feet in climbing. Soreness is all in my calves and hamstrings. My quads actually feel pretty good. I felt good on most downhills too, so those muscles must be in decent shape.

As I indicated yesterday, it wasn't my best day and Payro pretty much dragged me around all day. I have two theories as to what might have went wrong.

One is something that I have been wondering about for quite some time; whether my synthroid is dialed in properly for someone who indulges in endurance events to the extent I do. I've talked to my doctor about this before and intend to do so again. The net net though is that I'm not exactly the runner I was pre-cancer and I don't think age is the major factor here. This would seem to make sense, considering its the thyroid that provides forward thrust and mine is majorly compromised (to the extent that it doesn't exist). My bloodwork indicates that my levels are fine, but I wonder if one needs a boost that the body naturally provides when engaging in a multi hour endurance event. Gail, you come across any literature on this subject?

Second theory? I was a bit too undertrained. My longest run time wise was three hours (that aborted 25k three weeks ago) and my longest run distance wise was 16.5 I'm not sure either prepared me adequately for the rigors of a race such as this.

Third theory? I'm aging. I'll leave that alone for now.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I am seriously happy to have finished. This is pretty hardcore race and getting to wear the Quad Dipsea finishers shirt is a badge of honor around here.

I'm actually starting to think that I will give it a shot again next year. This time, I hope that I don't pee blood again. I'm getting tired of that little problem too.

In other news, I start my low iodine diet tomorrow, in preparation for my three year scan on the 16th. As any thyroid cancer survivor can tell you, the diet is a bit of a bummer. No preservatives, dairy, chocolate and much more. Everything basically needs to be home made and with precision. And there is no margin for error. The Wife is bumming as she is going to have to essentially cook my next 52 consecutive meals. More on this later; I am sure I will write a post or two on the menu of the day.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Best Way to Celebrate A Big Race...

... is with a great - and I mean great - beer. I present to you Pliny the Elder.

I'll have more on the race tomorrow but suffice to say it was epic. I struggled a bit and didn't have th race I had hoped for - and I probably held Perrault back a bit - but screw it. This race is just epic and I'm sincerely happy just to have finished. But boy - did I suffer.

Anyway, more tomorrow when my brain isn't as scrambled. I've attached a few race photos in addition to the one of the beer.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Terrific Thanksgiving here in old Marin County, CA. My boy Payro and some of our good friends did a Turkey Trot together. The Little Boy did the Kid's mile (he had a bit of a tough run. Something about a bellyache) and then joined me for the 5k and did great. Super fun time had by all and what or me is one of the best days of the Year. Anyway, there's obviously a lot to be thankful for. Friends. Family. My job. Health. And you guys. Cant tell you how thankful I am for our little community; I really appreciate each and every one of you; old friends and new.

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Somewhere Under the Rainbow

I di a 9 mile, pre Quad Dipsea race today in San Francisco with my boy Payro, who's in from D.C. Let's hope this wasn't a harbinger of things to come next week because I felt like complete crap. Not sure if it was the rainy weather, or my legs are just cooked from all this training, but I just felt awful. Think my pace was around 7:40 or so. It's not that I was going that slow, just that I felt crappy the entire way and my heart was pegged super high. Enough of that. Don't want to bring myself bad luck.

Anyway, on the way home the sky cleared and I saw the most amazing rainbow; it literally spanned from Mount Tam to Sausalito. I snapped a picture while driving (I know, I know) attached, which doesn't come close to doing it justice.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Napa Valley

My in-laws have been in town all week and unfortunately, we haven't had a chance to do many fun activities. In certain respects, we have put them to work (my father in law talked about radiology and x rays with the Boy's fifth grade hit. Rumor has it the xrays he showed them were a big hit).

I digress. So, I am taking a much needed day off tomorrow and we are headed to Napa. I'm not much of a wino myself (more of a scotch and beer guy) but you kind of learn wine out here by assimilation. So, while my overall knowledge is a bit limited, I do know what I like (mostly cab's and Pinot's). On the agenda tomorrow Etude, Joseph Phelps (my favorite), Peju, Silver Oak and a few others. I am open to suggestions if I'm missing anything.

In other news, I cannot wait for this damn Quad Dipsea to be finished. I am sore literally form top to bottom. I am ruminating on 2010 goals and am contemplating doing 12 marathons over 12 months each one progressively faster than the preceding. For good measure, I'm thinking about doing it as a big fundraising effort for Livestrong.

Anyway, more on that for another post.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This is Pretty Cool

This comes courtesy of a very cool website, It creates "Word Clouds" based on frequency of key words within a text, or in this instance, in a blog. The larger the words in a cloud, the greater the frequency within the respective text.

Anyway, here is the Word Cloud for this here site. I think it actually captures the essence of it rather nicely.

Johnny Damon

Uncle Mikey from Florida wins Uncle of the Year award for tracking down Yankees hero Johnny Damon and asking him to sign a ball for the Little Boy. Hanukah definitely came early to our house. Way to go Uncle Gaga. You are the man!

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pictures from the Weekend

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Indian Summer Continueth

Another nice Indian Summer Weekend. The in-laws are in from New York and we had a pretty active time: hikes and running yesterday (the Little Boy particularly impressed. He ran five miles on the trails yesterday and another four today, all on fairly gnarly singletrack) more of the same today and a little paddle boarding and kayaking thrown in for good measure. Thrown in some good ethnic eating; Greek (if you have never been to Kokari in SF, it is highly recommended) and Puerto Rican (Sol Food in San Rafael) and you have the making of a pretty good weekend.

In other news, Michigan football is an a complete and utter free fall. I'd be beside myself, but the Yankees won the World Series for the first time in nine years, so I'm not allowed to complain. I'll leave that for the time being to my father and brother.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Old Gear

I found this bad boy the other day - an absolute classic! Hard to believe it's nearly 15 years old. I think this was the last of old school New York City Marathon painters cap. Without question this other oldest running gear still in my possession. Anyone have an item that pre-dates this one?? If so, let's hear about it.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon


I've been so busy these past few days with work and travel to LA that I just realized I haven't posted in a few days. Not too much to report, really. My life consists of work, kids, running and more work. This past weekend was a particular doozy: a three hour race on Saturday, featuring 5,400 feet of climbing followed by a 2 hour run on Sunday with 2,600 feet of climbing. Suffice to say, I am pretty hammered. I also think I am as ready as I will be for the Quad DIpsea. Speaking of that race, which is t-minus two weeks and counting, I'm thinking about doing a live tweet. If you are on twitter, my name is Howardsol.

Beyond that, listening to some pretty cool new music by new and upcoming bands including Them Crooked Vultures (featuring Dave Grohl and the singer from Queens of the Stone Age), Bear in Heaven, Ramona Falls, and Surfer Blood. All very interesting and pretty good.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

More Dipsea

The Little Girl ran with me today from our house to Muir Woods. It was pretty fun; people were hanging ou of their cars rooting her on. She is a gnarly little chick.

Her mom picked her up and I continued on my own. All was good until I stumbled upon this little snake. Scared the crap out of me.

Anyway, ran three hours yesterday (got completely lost during a race. I'll save this story for another post) and then a little more than two hours today. My legs are trashed and my metabolism is stoked but I think I am ready for the Quad Dipsea in three weeks.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

The View from the Top of the Dipsea Trail

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

2009 World Champion New York Yankees

So, mission accomplished. I have to say this was one of my favorite baseball seasons ever and not necessarily because the Yankees won the World Series (oh how I love to type those words). That was just the icing on the cake. I enjoyed this 2009 baseball seaon because I was truly, genuinely able to enjoy it with my son, which I think to a certain extent is every father's dream. We watched baseball together non-stop. We talked about baseball. We participated together in a rotisserie baseball league. We went to games in all sorts of different stadiums and of course, towards the very end, we road tripped together to the World Series.

Essentially, we had some serious father-son bonding over baseball. And that, at the end of the day, is what baseball is all about. So thank you New York Yankees, for putting a cap on what was for you -- and for me -- and for my Little Boy -- an unforgettable season.

Now how many days until Pitchers and Catchers?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Beatles

I am fortunate enough to have recently gotten my hands on the remastered Beatles albums. Having listened to most of their albums the past few weeks while running, all I can say is that there's no question they are the greatest rock band of all time and no one will ever surpass them.

Ok, I know that statement was a bit on the subjective side. But still...

Anyway, if you have any Beatles in your iTunes library or on disc, I do suggest that you dust it off and give it a listen. I think you will quickly agree that it's simply astonishing how timeless their music really is.

My favorite? It's probably a tie between The White Album and Seargent Pepper's. The one that has surprised me the most and that I am enjoying more than anticipated? I would have to say Revolver.

Any album I don't like? Not a one.

Monday, November 2, 2009


I'm watching this Yankees game; was hoping they could put it away tonight, but I gues asking to win three in a roll in Philadelphia is asking a lot. Sure do wish we weren't getting completely dominated by Lee again. Makes me as nervous as can be for a potential game 7. 

In other news, not too much to report. Let's see:

-- the little girl finished second in her age group in her first-ever triathlon. Nice effort from She WHo Has More Energy than anyone on this planet.

-- I picked up an annoying head cold during my travels last week. I guess that was to be expected. 

-- I am two plus weeks out from my hardest race in a long while; the Quad Dipsea.  This one has got me more than a tad bit nervous. 28 miles with about 9,000 feet of climbing. Yowza.

I think that's about it. Back to the game I guess........

Posted via email from Howard Solomon

Saturday, October 31, 2009

And a Video.......

... for the grandparents! 

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My Daughter the Triathlete

The Little Girl did her first ever triathlon today and I have to admit, I've never been prouder. She did absolutey great but way more importantly, she had a blast and can't wait to do it again. I loved every minute of it. Note that the one group photo features Chris Lieto, second place finisher at Ironman Hawaii. Totally cool, down to earth guy.

Posted via email from Howard Solomon