Mar 31, 2011

Umstead 100 mile run - this weekend

Starts Saturday Morning at 6AM
Just wanted to write a quick post with a couple of thoughts about this weekend.

I'm totally in my head. I wonder if I have sufficiently recovered from the 50-mile race two weekends ago, and think probably not. My daily runs have been short and easy, and I really don't feel anything in them - but every now and then I'll take a step something in my leg will remind me that I'm not 100% yet. But then again, it might just be nothing. Or perhaps it's something that has nothing to do with anything. I don't know. I guess I'll find out Saturday.

I am pleased with Friday's hill climb - the 50-miler, which was 6 days prior, didn't seem to bother me. And Umstead will be 8 days after the hill climb - 14 days after the 50. I intentionally opted out of descending the hill climb, which would have caused the most trauma to my legs. But even without that, for a few days I felt a surprising little pain in my left knee when stepping up on something - which was obviously directly caused by all the stepping up I did that morning in Palm Springs. But now it's been a few days since I felt anything there, so whatever.

I know intellectually - and I've just got to convince myself emotionally - all I have to do on Saturday and Sunday is keep moving. Get out of my head and not stop. And what happens will happen. Last year I confidently said the worst that can happen is I don't make it to the 87.5 mile cutoff in time. Last year I was overestimating my mental toughness.

I've learned a lot in the last year.I saw at Badwater the kind of mental strength that some people have, and couldn't help but notice just how deficient I am in that area - but that was compared to what it takes to run Badwater. I think I am tougher than I was this time last year. I just don't know if I'm tough enough to finish 100 miles in 30 hours at Umstead.

I suppose it's normal to have these kinds of butterflies in the days before a big race like this.

I will try to do a few in-race updates on facebook and twitter. If you're not following me on twitter, it's http://twitter.com/#!/stevetursi.

Here's my itinerary, in care you're interested:

Tonight we're leaving (right now) and driving to Richmond, Virginia.
Tomorrow we'll drive down to Raleigh. I'll sleep in a cabin at Umstead, and Alex and Joe have a hotel for both nights.
Saturday, Saturnight, Sunday morning: run.
Sunday afternoon: drive to Manassas, Virginia
Monday: Spend half a day in D.C., drive home.

I'll post a full report early next week.

Mar 25, 2011

Training - Palm Springs Tram Road #5 - 55:24 (PR)

Mountaintop in the morning sunlight, with the task before us still in the shade

I am in the midst of a lightning trip to California for a wedding, but I've gotten into the habit of joining up with my friend Vince every time I come here to run the Tram Road. After arriving last night, this morning I made some time to drive out to Palm Springs, which is an hour from where I stay, to run up from the desert floor to the bottom of The Tram.

The access road to the tram is 3.7 miles long and climbs about 2000' up the alluvial fan into a canyon below Mount San Jacinto, which at 10,831' is the highest point in Riverside County, and the fourth highest peak in Southern California. The bottom of the Tram Station is at a more modest 2600' or so, but that's still 2000' above the western end of the Coachella Valley floor in Palm Springs where the run starts. To put this in perspective for my friends back in New York, Bear Mountain tops out at about 1284' above sea level. Mount Marcy, the highest point in New York, is a mere 5343'.

I've yet to see a photo of this hill that does it justice. The sloped but flat nature of the alluvial fan makes it look deceptively shallow, but anyone who has driven the thing knows that car engines struggle making it up, and brakes overheat on the way down. It's a steep, tough climb.

I now have done this hill five times, and you can find a report of my fourth time up here. In the first four iterations, two ascents were under an hour, two over. My goal in the fifth iteration (and, honestly, every iteration) sounds modest until you try it - run every step of the hill. I figured if I accomplish that, breaking an hour for a third time would take care of itself.

Still on east coast time, I woke at about 3:30AM and after trying to fall asleep for the next hour, gave up and left in the dark a few minutes before 5AM. The plan was to meet Vince at 7:30. Still dark when I arrived, I found a supermarket and bought a peach and a banana, my fuel for today's run. Killed time, enjoyed the colorful pre-dawn light, and enjoyed the sunrise when it happened. When Vince arrived, we both drove up to the top and left one car up there, saving me a knee-shattering descent back to the valley. We drove back down, walked to our starting line (a gate above the visitor center), and started jogging.

Vince, who's best time going into today was 5 minutes faster than mine, started pulling away from me after a half mile. So I pulled my ipod, put my "Run FAST" playlist on shuffle, and turned up the volume.

After a mile, Vince was a mere 50 feet in front of me. That would be about as far as he ever got, but he'd get that far away after being a shadow-length away several times. I wasn't trying to keep up with him, so I figured he was cruising at an easy-for-him pace, and backing off when he felt he was getting too far from me. For my part, I suppressed repeated urges to run faster and try to catch him. I knew I'd need that energy later.

This isn't the first time that I've approached this run with a goal of running every step. As I ascended, I recognized the places that I had taken my first walk breaks in previous ascents. I took note of my relative fatigue at each one, and noticed, not surprisingly, that the hill was always particularly steep in those portions. As I got higher, I started fighting that familiar urge to take a walk break, and those urges always occurred on the steepest portions of the hill.

About halfway up, there is a short but welcome descent at a creek crossing followed by a long straightaway. The lower portion of this straightaway is the highest I've ever made it without walking, but in this case I couldn't remember exactly where. This straightaway is all "particularly steep" and I knew running the whole thing would take a lot out of me, but I didn't give myself a choice. The only way I knew for sure I'd break my record for the highest I got without walking was to go all the way to the turn. So I did.

After the turn, it levels off (which, on this road, really means still uphill, merely less steep), and a feature known to Vince and I as the "Wagon Wheel" comes into view. The Wagon Wheel is part of the welcome sign to the Tramway, and its lowest parking lots are immediately above it. I looked at my watch and saw 45 minutes to this point, which I seemed to remember tied a personal record. But I wasn't concerned about that - because, you see, the Wagon Wheel - It is a bittersweet sight.

It's nice because we're on the home stretch without too much more work, but, Vince and I both know, this is where the real work begins. The section between the Wagon Wheel and the finish is probably about a half-mile long, but it's the toughest half-mile of the course, and not just because it's at the end. The road seemingly becomes twice as steep as it is anywhere below the wagon wheel. It would be hard to run while fresh.

A hundred feet above the wheel, Vince suddenly starts walking backwards. This is where I realized he has not been holding back; he was working as hard as I was. He, too, has never made it all the way to the top without a walk break. I had my goal, however, and continued running, albeit extremely slowly. When I caught him, he started walking forward and commented about how walking can go almost as fast as running, while saving a lot of energy. I nodded. He was right; walk breaks in long races often net faster times than trying to run the whole thing. If I was running this hill for the fastest possible time, I'd probably put in intentional walk breaks. But running this hill for the fastest possible time wasn't my goal. Rather, my goal was to run this entire hill without walking.

Slowly but surely, I started pulling away from him. This, however, was in no uncertain terms due to the grade of the road at this point. It gets hellish. I convinced myself that I, too, wouldn't be able to run the whole thing - the end was just too far away, and I was feeling horrible. On the other hand, I kept managing to convince myself just to run to That Next Landmark. As I'd pass it, I'd immediately find another Next Landmark to run to. I repeated this pattern, and even as I crossed that last bridge before the last parking lot, I still assumed that I'd soon need a walking break.

With the very last parking lot to my left, I kept running up the now-one-way road to the very top. This, I'm convinced, is the absolute steepest part of the run. It was hell! But, once I was halfway up, I knew I'd make it, and even found, deep within me, the ability to pick up the pace just a little to the top. I clicked off RunKeeper and saw my time: 55:24. Huge PR!

I sat down and tried my best to catch my breath, but it took me a solid 5 minutes to breath normal again. Vince came up about 90 seconds later. He was jogging again, and happy with is 57-minute time (His PR is about 54.)

As I sit here writing this, it is 5PM, 9 hours after finishing. I can tell my heart rate is still elevated from the effort. I'm actually surprised at how much I left out on that road. The last time I felt like this was April 2010 when I PR'd at the Hook Mountain Half Marathon - one of the only times I ever felt like I "left everything" on the course. It took me days to feel normal after that. Hopefully, with Umstead next weekend, I'll feel better a bit sooner this time. (:

Windmills from the bottom

Mar 21, 2011

NJ Ultra Festival 50 Miler: 12:28 (PR)

Mile 30. Photo by Emmy Stocker
Pleased to report that I achieved a new Pesonal Record at the 50-mile distance this weekend at the NJ Trail Series' Ultra Festival 50-miler. My old PR, 13;18, was a full 50 minutes slower than what I did on Saturday, meaning that improved my pace by one minute per mile!

I ran this race for a couple of reasons. Completing 50 miles two weeks prior to a 100-miler is a risky proposition and I'm still not sure it was very wise - I might have been better off doing 50K. We'll see in two weeks. However I do feel like I gained a lot doing this, if not in training benefit, in what I learned. But before I go into that, let's do a quick review of how the race went for me:

The course
The course for the 50-miler consisted of four out-and-backs - two on the 16-mile western leg and two on the 9-mile eastern leg. Included in each of these legs is about a 2.5mile (round-trip) road section, which felt rather hilly late in the race, but the rest of the course was essentially flat rail-trail. For the purposes of this report I'm going to refer to each out-and-back as a "lap."

Lap 1 - western leg (16 miles)


I was granted by the race director permission to take an early start with the 100-milers at 4am. Civil dawn wasn't until 6:35am and sunrise not until 7:02, so the majority of this loop was run in the dark. However, I can't claim complete darkness - the full moon was in fact bright enough that I actually was able to shut off my headlamp and enjoy the serenity of the flat, smooth, rail-trail lit sufficiently by the moonlight. I can't tell you why, but there is something really enjoyable about running in the mostly-dark without an artificial light.

Maintained a 10 minute run/2-3 minute walk routine for most of this loop. Was forced by nature to take a 10-minute bathroom break after this loop, but I was kind of fine in that regard for the rest of the race.

Lap 2 - western leg (16 miles)


Now in daylight, I finally got to see the course. It was a lot of this:
I loves me some rail trails - flat, smooth, straight, and a soft surface
Continued my 10/3 run/walk routine for most of this. Took a few extended walk breaks, but I was mostly OK. Marathon split was under 6 hours, 50K was about 7 hours. Neither of those times were PRs, which part of me was hoping for - but the smarter part of me knew that PRing on a marathon probably isn't the best idea in a 50-miler. It was during this loop that I noticed that I had no appetite at all, which alarmed me. One of the aid stations had salt, so I took a few caps and forced myself to eat an energy bar, which helped, but appetite never really came back. I survived on gels and heed, which was making me slightly nauseous. It wasn't too bad though.

Lap 3- eastern leg (9 miles)


By mile 35, back on the rail trail, I was feeling pretty good. Remarkably good, in fact, and with 25K to go I made a conscious decision to abandon my walk-run strategy. I knew by now that a PR was in the bag, and the question was how much of a PR can I manage? I was able to comfortably jog at about 12:30 per mile, and figured that in the best case I could break 12 (which I needed about 15:30 miles to do at this point), and possibly even get close to 11:30. 12:00 became my goal though, and, being impatient, decided to get as many sub-13 miles in the bank as possible so that I can cruise my last lap into a glorious finish. It didn't work out that way. But, I did run a solid 5 continuous miles or so, not counting about 5 minutes total I spent at an aid station (false alarm bathroom break.) Food in any form did not look good at all, and this aid station did not have salt tablets. I forced down a gel and did my best to stay hydrated, by topping off a heed-filled pack with water, diluting it and making it less nauseating. But I was able to run, and I ran almost all of the rail-trail portion of this lap. Near the end of it, I sent a facebook message- "40 mile split was 9:20, just have to hold it together these last 10 miles."

Lap 4- eastern leg (9 miles)


I fell apart. I ran most of the path to the rail-trail, which was downhill from HQ. When I got back on the rail-trail, I tried to resume some sort of a run/walk strategy, because by now I knew that I wasn't going to be able to run the next 6 miles. It quickly became obvious that I wasn't going to be able to run at all, except in short meaningless spurts. Kicking myself for my lack of patience in lap 3, I abandoned my effort to go sub-12, which relieved a tremendous amount of mental pressure. Just wanting it to be over, I walked as quickly as I could but was rarely below 16 minutes per mile. If I jogged even a mere 5% of the rail trail portion of this last lap I'd be surprised. Even the downhill home-stretch to the finish, barely a football field long, was a slog. I came in at 12:28, which I decided that I wouldn't complain about. But I would take home some hard-learned lessons.

Mistakes I made that I won't be making Umstead


1.) Patience!! Had I kept going with my run/walk strategy on lap 3, I might have been much better in lap 4. I could have kept my average pace at 14:00-14:30 that late in the race and maintained it for much longer. Instead, wanting the race to be over, running of 5 consecutive miles under 13:00 ruined me for the last 10 which were in the 17-18 range.

2.) Salt. I usually don't think too much about salt supplements but the lack of appetite and the onset of mild nausea told me I should have. I was OK for the 50 but I'm pretty sure they'd have become a serious problem in a 100-mile race. On the occasion where there was salt at the aid station, I seemed to feel better for the next hour or two. So much can go wrong in a 100, and taking salt seems like a reasonable way to avoid several things that can potentially knock me out. I've already ordered a bottle of S-Caps to use at Umstead.

Other thoughts

I've said it before and I'll say it again. 100 miles scares the crap out of me. The difference between 50K and 50M is pretty profound - in fact (I'm going to regret writing this) 50K is pretty friggin' easy by comparison. There was a period that I went through on Saturday - probably miles 43-47 - where I concluded that, with how I was feeling at that point in the 50, there was no way I can finish a 100. I knew then and I know now that those low points come and go. But they're pretty devastating when you're in the midst of them.

This was a dress rehearsal for Umstead. All things being equal, coming in at 12:28 was a huge confidence booster - Statistics from the Umstead web site indicate that sub-13 hours in the first 50 of a 100 dramatically improve chances of finishing. One thing I need to avoid is the giving in to the uncontrollable urge to sit down to rest late in a race. Merely hanging out at aid stations is a bad sign. It really eats up time.

So, if I recover completely from this race (I tend to recover quickly, so I'm not too concerned about that), and if I can stay disciplined at Umstead in terms of salt, in terms of patience (God grant me the peace of mind..) and in terms of keeping moving (God grant me the tenacity..), I think I have a pretty good shot at finishing. These next two weeks before Umstead are pretty crazy. There's an entire trip to California and back happening next weekend. And then travel by car to Raleigh.. I'll be relieved when it's all over!

Mar 14, 2011

On Negativity During Weight Loss

Sitting in my Blogger Profile are at least two unfinished blog posts which read as honest yet very negative with hopeless frustration. Part of me wants to go ahead and publish them because they're my honest-to-God thoughts - and at the very least, down the line they'll be a useful account of what I went through during this period of my life. A probably wiser part of me figures that nobody wants to read me complaining and acting like a child. And, as always, there's that Curious Observer hanging out in my brain, who watches with intense interest the soap opera of improvements or vicissitudes of my mental state.

I want to focus in this blog post on that third person, but to satisfy the first person I'm first going to summarize the frustrations, and to satisfy the second person I'm going to keep the summary very brief:

1.) Intense mental pressure due to slower-than expected weight loss and an ambitious race calendar that counts on weight loss.
2.) Demoralizing and endless weight loss plateaus
3.) The irresistible urge to raise my own running ability at least to the standards of my peers (going from the back of the pack to the middle or front.)
4.) Still feeling fat despite concrete results
5.) Jealousy towards people who don't have the weight problems that I do

moving on to the soap opera.. I'm going to try my best to write this as the third person - The Curious Observer.

So I've noticed something about myself that I find very interesting. It's no secret that for me food is a drug that I run to for comfort and satisfaction. And when I deny myself that food, there is nothing there to replace it. Combine that with the theory that caloric deprivation causes moodiness by itself and what you have with me is a pretty crabby guy that my poor wife and kid have to deal with. I'm not proud of that.

I figure that is also the reason why the focus of my attention has been so negative. Analytical and intensely competitive by nature, it has been difficult for me to approach my current weight loss goals with the conservative strategy that I've implemented, especially as the results are coming slower than expected. Past experience has taught me that drastic strategies can have dramatic results, but they have also proven to be unsustainable, probably because of the mental factors I discussed in the previous paragraph.

The thing is, I can't tell whether these negative thoughts are having a beneficial, detrimental, or neutral effect on my results. Conventional wisdom may be that hopeless frustrations lead to comfort in the form of food, making it detrimental. One therefore might not be able to imagine that they can be beneficial, unless what if they inspire me to implement more dramatic (drastic?) strategies or perhaps renew my resolve to be disciplined in the strategy I've chosen? Or, it might be making no difference whatsoever; negative food decisions I'm making are due to other factors and would be occurring regardless of negative thoughts. All seem plausible. And The Curious Observer in me can't decide which one is true. I honestly see evidence that all three are in play, though due to their contradictory nature, that can't be the case.

The Curious Observer, however, is sure of one thing - I will never be satisfied with my results, even if I lose 100 lbs. I am too obsessed with this issue of weight loss and body image to ever be satisfied at a healthy weight. It's downright irrational, but I know it to be a fact. The negative thoughts are thus here to stay. And I ought to learn to live with them. I need to be aware of them, so I can adapt my actions to the reality that the thoughts are not rational.

I hope, like all people do, that one day The Curious Observer will become the dominant character in my personality so that my behavior isn't so intensely influenced by emotional swings.



On a completely different topic, this weekend I will be running in the New Jersey Ultra Festival 50 miler. My current 50-mile PR is 13:16, and unless I have a bad day I'm confident that I can annihilate that. Two weeks after I'm running Umstead, a 100-mile race, so this weekend is going to be a useful "dress rehearsal" for the first half of that race. If I comfortably run 12:30, then I know that's a pace to shoot for at Umstead. Will post about it next week.

Mar 8, 2011

24 Laps, Lane 2

Accomplished a pretty significant personal milestone today. For the first time, I ran for an hour at a pace faster than ten minutes per mile. Specifically, I ran 6 miles in 58:38. I've done this before on a treadmill, but never outdoors.

Did it tonight after work at the track near my office. Went out at a solid pace, but without my Garmin (left it at home) I had runkeeper running on my phone, which was in my pocket, so I really couldn't monitor the pace. I estimated that I was going at about ten minutes per mile. I focused on consistency and never got tired enough to slow down.

It is true that consistency yields dramatic results. 70 days ago I had to struggle to run a single mile in 11:30. I could probably maintain 6 miles jogging nonstop at 12:30-13:00, and of course I could alternate running and walking all day long, which is how I accomplished 106 miles at ATY. But being able to maintain a hard pace like that for an hour was out of the question. It showed at the Manhattan Half Marathon in mid-January, where I went 11 minutes per mile for 9 miles but then slowed dramatically to finish.

Also the weight loss has undoubtedly made a difference too, however I continue to struggle in that regard. This morning's weigh-in was 292, and I'm only down about 3 lbs in the last two weeks, despite being mostly consistent with what I eat and sticking to the plan. Plateaus are really demoralizing. I'm certainly showing results, it's just that progress is going much slower than I would like.

I feel an intense amount of pressure to show much more dramatic results in the next 21 days. Umstead, after all, doesn't give me the 72-hour time limit that I had at ATY, and it's less than 4 weeks away.

Mar 7, 2011

FAQ (Updated December 2016)

Questions with stars (*) next to them are questions that I get asked a lot. No star means I don't get that question but do find appropriate. Or funny.

Who are you?

I live in northern NJ, work in New York City and I an an ultra-marathon runner - meaning I run in races longer than a standard marathon distance of 26.2 miles. I also happen to be about 50-80 lbs overweight, depending on who you ask. As you can imagine, that makes ultra-running particularly difficult for me, but also particularly rewarding.

Professionally I am a software engineer at Intersection, and I'm supposed to say here that opinions are my own. I love my job, but that's only my opinion.

So what is this blog about?

90% of the posts on this blog are about ultra running. Oddly, 90% of the visitors to this blog go to the 10% that has little or nothing to do with ultra running.

I don't know you. Should I read this blog?

Given the above tidbit about 90%, probably not.

No, really.

Well, if you don't know me, then most of the posts on this blog are about my experiences with running for exercise and fun. Of particular interest is ultra running. And while I have enormous respect for "roadies" out there busting their asses trying to get their best time in the 10K, my preference is to simply try and finish races of distances closer to 100 miles. That may or may not be intriguing to you. The twist for me is that I'm a big guy (read: in the immortal words of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, "disgusting fatbody"), usually hovering around 300lbs (as of this writing, I'm 287, go me!) and regardless, still attempting to complete ultra-distance events. Sometimes I even finish them! If you find that interesting, then by all means read away.

So you're write this to inspire me to run ultra distances even though I'm fat?

I didn't say you were fat. But even if you were, the answer is no, that is not my intention.

Then what is your intention?

Stupid self-indulgence.

No, really.

Seriously, stupid self-indulgence.

* Is that also why you run ultras?

Probably.

* So how far have you gone?

At this time, the longest distance I've ever completed in a single event is 161 miles. The longest distance I've ever completed in a single calendar day is about 100 kilometers, or 62 miles. I have run successfully 100 miles in under 24 hours, at ~280lbs. It's one of my proudest accomplishments.

* 161 miles?? I don't even like to drive that far!

Aren't you clever!

* So what about your knees?

What about them? I had a fitness enthusiast (a crossfitter) once talk to me as though it's a foregone conclusion that all runner's knees go to hell, and mine are on a fast track. I've logged about 13,000 miles of running. That track isn't as fast as he thought, I guess.

* What other types of exercise do you do?

I enjoy running the most, so that's what I do. Sometimes I do other things - biking, swimming, even weights - but I just don't enjoy those as much as I enjoy running. I thus don't run for fitness, but for personal satisfaction and Stupid Self-Indulgence. The fact that it's generally considered a healthy lifestyle is just gravy.

* So in a 100-mile race, you run the whole time? Do you stop?

No and no. Unless you can or you have to. People generally try to do implement some sort of walking strategy, such as running the first 30 miles and then adding in walking breaks. For me personally, I'll have walking breaks from the very beginning in any ultra, which pays dividends later in the race. A few particularly gifted people can run an entire 100 miles if the course is "easy" enough, but they're rare exceptions to the rule. As far as stopping, people usually don't stop for more than five minutes unless they have to. Same is especially true for napping.

* What is your favorite kind of race?

I like smooth singletrack trails and fire roads. I'm quite fond of races held on this kind of terrain, even though they can have a tremendous amount of elevation change. I also enjoy rocky technical trails, but not very long races on these trails. For someone who runs ultras, I used to have an unusual affinity for big city marathons - I've run two (if you count, MCM, Philadelphia and Las Vegas - 5, but IMHO, Chicago and NYC are my "true" big city marathons.) Logistically, they're a royal pain in the ass and stupid-expensive but there's something about them that I used to really enjoy. Not anymore. I think the hassle has worn me down. However, all of my absolute favorite races have been trail ultras..

What else do you do?

I am a card carrying member of the Highpointers Club, which is comprised of people who try to get to the highest points of the 50 states. As of this writing I've been to the highest point of 34. I have a site about it: tursi.com/projects/highpoints

Because of my job, every now and then a post comes through this blog about a software engineering topic.

* What do you think of Dean Karnazes, author of Ultramarathon Man?

All accounts indicate that he's a really nice guy, but there is little similarity between him and myself, nor between him and my ultrarunning friends. There seems to be a public misconception that he represents ultrarunners as a group. I'd disagree with that. He represents himself. As far as criticism towards him about dishonesty or misleading people, I'd have no comment about that. All I know is that he does incredible things both in personal feats of endurance, as well as in public awareness of health & fitness.

* What about Chris McDougall, author of Born to Run?

Can't really compare him to "DK", but he seems like a really interesting fellow. He's an impressive person.  The book Born to Run is excellent and I highly recommend it.

* What do you think of the barefoot/minimalist thing?

Not my cup of tea, but some people undeniably find it really helpful. McDougall makes a compelling case, but my history of injuries is largely non-existent, which makes me believe I don't have any foot-striking problems that I feel can be corrected with minimalist or barefoot running.

How long have you been writing this blog?

Years. My first post to this blog in its current format was August 2004. I didn't run a marathon until December 2006. I'm currently at about 525 posts. It's interesting for me to read those earlier posts; it is dramatic how much the topics of the blog as changed over the years. It hasn't always been about ultra running.

* What races have you done?

There's a list of races I've done in the right panel of this blog. As of December 9, 2016, I've completed 42 ultras, 12 marathons, and an Ironman.

I would like to read other ultra runners' blogs. Can you recommend some?

Google is your friend on this one. I used to have a list on the right panel of the site but I stopped maintaining it and removed it.

* How do I start running ultras?

Get in touch and go on a run with me and my friends! Or, start here.

Can I read this blog in an RSS reader. such as Newsblur?

Definitely, and I would like to acknowledge you for being smart enough to use an RSS reader. The feed URL is http://stevetursi.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Are you on twitter?

http://www.twitter.com/stevetursi

I think you're stupid and would like to complain about it.

Post your complaint in the comments. If your complaint is worth responding to I'll be happy to consider it.

I think you're a really cool guy and I'd like to let you know.

Thank you, and please post your thoughts in the comments. I really find those kinds of comments encouraging, and appreciate them tremendously.

I have another question that you didn't answer.

Post it in the comments. If your question is worth responding to I'll be happy to amend this post.

The intent of this post is that it will be a prominently-linked and maintained page.