Learning From the Newbs

The Author, After Completing Some January BK Miles

With January, comes new year’s resolutions. I applaud all humans who have chosen a fitness goal to tackle in 2024. True to the cliche, the gyms were full to the brim for the first week of January (as determined by the very unscientific method of my personal observations). I typically only use the gym to change and shower, since my preferred workout is a lunchtime run of the Central Park Drive loop (which incidentally had been my M.O. long before this article was published, and I can tell you that it is not as nearly as much of a power move as they try to make it seem).Continue reading

2023 Recap in Photos from Jake’s iPhone

Dec. 2023 Party Cam Archives | Photo Cred: Michelle Santucci

2023 was a helluva year. It brought two pretty huge life events for me. One of those was actually a loss-of-life event, when we said goodbye to our little pooch, Lola. I only knew her for the second half of her nearly 16 years of life. But in that relatively short time, she definitely became one of my best friends. I started several times to write about her passing on Jake.News, but was never able to complete a draft suitable for publishing. However, Continue reading

January 2024 Playlist

Happy New Year!! Here we find ourselves staring down the barrel of 2024. Geopolitical outcomes of certain matters slated for this year could have far reaching consequences. Anxiety inducing uncertainty abounds. But hey, here are some jams to take your mind off of it! Enjoy–

A Brush With Royalty

A well documented peril of modern architecture is the fatal effects of plate glass on songbirds. It is super sad to me. There is a new building on the north side of Central Park that was recently profiled by the NY Times as being an exceptionally prolific killer. It is one of those things that I just have to try not to think about, because otherwise I get very upset, especially knowing that there is nothing that I can do about it.Continue reading

Top Tracks of 2023

As much as people say “IDGAF about your stupid Spotify ‘wrapped!'”, I personally fall squarely in the opposite camp. I love to see what people are listening to. I’m oftentimes surprised what I learn about my friends based on what they are listening to. For example, I found out this year that one of my friends was a closet Swifty! When I asked him about it, he was like “yeah I had her on repeat for like a month or so until I realized how mid her music is.” Ooookay, amigo, hehe. No shade on Swifties, or Taylor, for that matter. From what I can tell, she is a pretty decent person and obviously extremely talented. Just not my cup of tea, personally. Anyway, I feel like there must be others out there who enjoy learning what music other people like, as much as I do! Sooooo, these are mathematically the top 100 tracks that I listened to the most on Spotify over the course of 2023. Many of them are on my running playlists. So if it seems a bit skewed toward the EDM end of the spectrum, that’s why. Enjoy! Send me yours, too!

Handlebars and Running With Barry

The Author Enjoying Some Marathon Spectating | Photo: Jessie McCarron Private Collection

Week 2 of Movember is underway, and the ‘stache is still thriving. It was marathon weekend, this past Sunday, along that same vein, I’m sharing a story about mustaches and running.

I first wrote this story in August of 2008. Here it is again, rewritten in past tense. The above photo is from last Sunday and is for reference, only. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of myself on the date of the events described below.

In the summer of 2008 I was living all of the way uptown in the north end of Manhattan, a neighborhood called Washington Heights. While there were many aspects of the neighborhood that I didn’t prefer, a major silver lining was the very proximate access to a paved foot trail that shoulders the Hudson River. This trail is excellent for running. I worked some crazy hours back then. For this reason (and to beat the heat), I would typically wake up super early to get my running in. The summers were awesome for this, since it starts to get light around 5 AM.

One particular week that August, the lack of shaving for a ~10 day period had my mug looking pretty shaggy. I would like to blame it on the crazy work schedule, but in reality I just hated scraping my face with a razor. One night after work I decided that it was time to get rid of the impromptu beard. With the clippers, I shaped my whiskers into a handlebar mustache just like the one in the photo above, before hopping in the shower for an evening rinse. My main objective behind the partial trim was to get a quick laugh from my girlfriend at the time, in which I partially succeeded after her initial shock wore off. I turned in for the night with intentions of shaving cleanly before work the next morning, but not before taking an early AM run down the west side path.

I woke up during the dawn twilight. Totally forgetting about the trucker ‘stache, I quietly slid into my running gear without turning on the lights, as not to disturb my still-sleeping lady friend, promptly headed out the door and hit the trails. After a short distance, I saw a couple of my friends  from the neighborhood (also runners) coming the opposite direction. They curiously started cracking up when they saw me. I was confused for a sec, until they complimented my handlebars. This is a fairly common phenomenon for me. To this day, I often times totally forget what my facial hair is doing unless I’m either looking in the mirror or being reminded by a third party observer (a random mom shielding her kids from me on the train, etc..).

About 10 minutes following the encounter with my friends, I spotted a quirky looking, late-middle-aged guy running in moccasins which appeared to have duct tape on the bottoms of them. He had stopped to remove a dead rat from the path, good Samaritan-style, which he did briskly picking it up by its tail and tossing it into the bushes. Upon witnessing this, I immediately thought “oh man, I need to talk to this guy.” After disposing of the rat, he continued jogging southward, where I pulled along side and struck up a conversation. I learned that his name was Barry, he was almost 50 and that he lived in my neighborhood. He told me that he had read about the Vibram five finger shoes which made him curious to try barefoot running. For safety reasons, he didn’t want to go full-barefoot, but also didn’t want to spring for the relatively costly Vibram shoes. Instead, he invested in a $10 pair of K-Mart moccasins. He had resoled them with duct tape when the original bottoms wore through, and it apparently worked well enough that he just continued to apply new layers of tape as necessary.

Another curious fact that I learned from Barry is that in his youth he was an avid runner, inspired by Prefontaine. He told me that he had stopped running as a young adult, but picked it up again recently after adopting his minimalist approach to footwear. I was having such a great time running with this guy and learning all about him, that I ended up going about 6 miles with him, and ended up doing about 5 miles more than I had originally set out for. I was bummed when I finally had to bid farewell and turn back towards home. I thanked him for the chat and said I hoped to bump into him on a future occasion to continue our convo.

Solo again, I headed back uptown. I was musing about what a big deal Barry had made of when he was a youngster idolizing Prefontaine. Right about then, a random person coming toward me from the other way shouted “sweet ‘stache!”, again reminding me of my temporary nose duster. After hearing the stranger’s compliment, I put two and two together and realized that Barry must have assumed, based on my mustache, that I too, was inspired by Prefontaine. For the record, I was/am.

2023 NYC Marathon

Marathon Sunday is probably my favorite day in NYC. I have written about this plenty of times before, but I’ll say it again; The way that the city comes together on Marathon Sunday to support all of the runners, is like nothing else I have ever experienced.Continue reading