Showing posts with label LIPA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LIPA. Show all posts

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Severely concerned about my outdoor running

The quiet of my mid-afternoon train heading out from the city was replaced by the squeal of a dozen cellphones that had just received the same Severe Weather Alert. The message was terse: "Blizzard warning this area. Prepare. Avoid travel. Check media." After Sandy, Long Island does not kid around when it comes to severe weather events.

I decided to take a break this morning after considering either a run or an elliptical session.  I've been pushing myself rather hard of late and I thought a day's rest would be the most beneficial path. I just gave up my monthly LIRR pass in favor of individual tickets. That meant that I'm also forgoing my monthly metro card. So on the days I came into the office this week, I walked from Penn to midtown and back rather than paying for a ride. It's not a substitute for a workout, but it's a couple of miles at a fast walking pace.

I'm hoping the dire warnings about a blizzard are more hype than reality. It's not that I don't like snow, or shoveling. It's actually the opposite on both counts. But large amounts of snow interferes with outside running (How I wish I'd bought snowshoes last year) and it can bring LIPA to its knees. Of course we now have the generator in case we lose our power. Unfortunately I don't have a 15 amp extension cord that will reach the treadmill on the second floor.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Run delayed by vapor lock

30 amps of LIPA-less power
Today's run (treadmill): 35 minutes

Hurricane Irene knocked out our power for six days last year and Sandy had us down for eleven. We figured enough was enough so we ordered a Generac 5500 watt generator to be delivered to our home. Weeks later, we saw that the unit hadn't even shipped. We decided to buy an alternative unit at Home Depot (a 5700 watt RIDGID) and picked it up this morning.

We felt it would be best to get the generator early in the day, so we headed over to the store before 8:00 AM. I planned for a quick setup and start-up before going out for my run. I thought, naively, that I'd be on the road by 9:30. The setup went fine, but I couldn't manage to keep the engine running for more than 30 seconds before it stalled out.

I tried every suggestion in the manual and called the 800 numbers for RIDGID, Yamaha (maker of the generator's motor) and Home Depot. The others were not especially helpful, but Home Depot said to bring it to them and they'd get to the bottom of it. They quickly diagnosed the problem (vapor lock in the fuel line) and had the unit running smoothly in minutes.

Playing around with the generator took over seven hours, from initial pickup to a final (successful) test at home. I am definitely not a late-day runner and the weather was getting worse by the minute. I considered skipping my workout, but decided that the day's frustrations needed an outlet. I turned to the treadmill and ran for 35 minutes. I'm pleased to have completed my workout, but I'm especially happy to finally break our full dependency on LIPA.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Selfishness, empowerment and running

People are suffering, but ya gotta pay us first!
Today's run (street): 3.8 miles

Let's start with the good news -- the power to our house was restored yesterday and the Emerging Runner family has finally returned home. We are grateful to our hosts for seven (!) days of heat, lights and hot water. That was especially appreciated after enduring the first four days of Sandy in a cold dark house.

The not so good news is that our phone service, that stayed up during and after the hurricane, suddenly stopped working yesterday afternoon. Verizon is saying it will be nine days until the service is restored. It's annoying, but we all have cellphones. And compared to losing your power, it doesn't even register.

Now that things have returned to normal I am able to look at LIPA without the lens of anger and frustration. My view has not changed and after two consecutive years having lost power for multiple days (and with no communication from LIPA throughout), I'm advocating for a regime change. is collecting electronic signatures with a goal of delivery a petition with 10,000 names to the New York State House, the New York State Senate, and to Governor Andrew Cuomo. The petition is entitled "Hold LIPA Accountable for Poor Preparedness and Response to Hurricane Sandy." Click this link to sign it:

In today's Newsday there was an article about how LIPA's workers forced out-of-state workers to join their union (and contribute 22.5% of their pro-rated pay) before the could begin to help storm victims. The level of selfishness, negligence and incompetence coming from LIPA and this union is astonishing. There's a reason why the Department of Justice regulates the performance and behavior of monopolies. Too bad that LIPA is a New York State authority. The only way to effect change will be to vote the LIPA leadership out.

Since this is a running blog, I'll mention that I got out this morning for my first run since Wednesday. I'd hoped that two days rest would result in an energetic effort, but my performance was decidedly average. As I ran, I saw many homes in our neighborhood that are still without power. Even after 12 days, the scars from hurricane Sandy are starkly visible. I could see many tree and line trucks along the street, a rare sight until recently. I'm hoping that our neighbors will finally get their power back today.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Powerless Runner

Should I make this my new logo?
Okay, time to put another X on the calender because my house is still off the grid. We are slightly encouraged to see that a traffic light on one of the outlet roads is finally working. Rumor has it that a couple of of neighborhood streets got power yesterday. It's been eleven days with no power to our house and no communication from LIPA. Governor Cuomo is suitably angry about the situation, but in his press conference yesterday, he made it seem like the solution was out of his hands.

The disruptions caused by temporary living quarters, 2+ hour commutes standing in a packed LIRR train and other stressful forces have cut into my already too short sleep cycle. I went to bed intending to do a treadmill run this morning, but I decided to forgo it when I woke up. This isn't the first step towards the slippery slope of skipping morning workouts however. Power or not, I'll be doing my first weekend long run tomorrow. Where I'll be doing it will be determined by LIPA.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

LIPA's failure has ruined my motivation to run

Yesterday's promise by LIPA that they'd reach 90% restoration of power for Long Island customers has been broken. We remain without electricity for the tenth consecutive day. The Nor'easter that came through yesterday was bigger than I expected, and it surely impacted LIPA's ability to meet its service target. Still, for all those affected, it's cold comfort to see @LIPAnews brag about its thousands of deployed workers while providing a completely useless outage map and no information about crews or restoration times. 

After an almost three hour commute home last night and facing even worse conditions in the morning, I decided to forgo my workout today. Between the weather, the loss of electrical power, storm damage and a significant scarcity of gasoline, Long Island living is not too great right now. At least the storm is moving out. Perhaps a miracle will happen and our power will return today. That could happen, but something tells me I'll be putting another X on the calendar tomorrow.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane damage assessment run

Yesterday's run (street): 3.5 miles

Hurricane Sandy has left most of Long Island a mess. Our neighborhood sustained a lot of damage.Yesterday, I went out for a run for the first time since Sunday and saw the damage up close. A number of roads are blocked by safety tape due to fallen trees or power lines. We, like hundreds of other families in the neighborhood, still have no power and it's not likely that we'll get it back until next week.

My run was interesting because of what I saw, but the run itself, in terms of performance, was not very good.  Without the ability to charge my Garmin, I used my old FR60 as a stopwatch and timed my run which I was able to Gmap at 3.5 miles. I'm hoping to get out for a run today but I'm working remotely and today is (unsurprisingly) busy.

We're planning to stay with my in-laws tomorrow so we'll get to enjoy hot showers, access the Internet and not worry about draining cellphone batteries. This is very much like what we experienced last year with Irene. That took far longer to resolve than we ever expected. Hopefully, LIPA will surprise us and restore our power before we overstay our welcome.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Getting in a run before Sandy shows up

Ready or not, here it comes
Today's run (street): 5.2 miles

Long Island is abuzz with talk about hurricane Sandy that is due to hit us some time between Sunday night and Monday. The power companies seem to be expecting the worse, and there's only so much we can do to prepare. I'm expecting to face some commuting issues on Monday, though my company has told employees they should stay home if conditions warrant it.

After hurricane Irene in 2011, I fully expect that we'll lose power to our home. Last year our electricity was cut off for almost a week. LIPA is saying that 7 day outages are expected. I hope they learned something from the Irene debacle. My level of confidence is low.

This morning I went for a run in the neighborhood and appreciated having at least one weekend day without torrential rains and gale force winds. I didn't run yesterday and hoped to make up some mileage today. I thought about going to Stillwell but those trails make for hard running that sometimes limits my distance. Conditions for my street run were near perfect, with temperatures in the 50's and partly cloudy skies.

If the weather holds I'll be able to get out for some more miles tomorrow morning. I ended up covering today's route 25 seconds per mile faster than I'd expected. That gave me a boost and it reinforced that my conditioning is in a good place right now. The Long Beach Turkey Trot is still a few weeks away. I'm hoping that hurricane Sandy doesn't wash out my training this coming week.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

And the power is back!

Monday's run (street): 3.6 miles 
Tuesday run (street): 3.5 miles 
Wednesday's run (Stillwell Woods): 4 miles

Hey, nice to see ya!
Well the power is finally back after 106 hours. Was it awful? Not at all. A dark house provided great impetus for getting out and doing things and we made the best of it. The only downsides were really cold showers and the need to drive to the local shop at 6:00 AM for morning coffee. But cold showers are invigorating and going out only for coffee when I usually have to go to work was rather nice.

Hurricane Irene seemed to be more hype than horror as we waited out the storm on Sunday. We lost our power at 4:00 AM Sunday morning but suffered nothing more than a coating of leaves and branches in our yard. There were plenty of downed trees in the neighborhood but it still felt more like a bad storm than a hurricane. Except that the power never came back on. I went for an early neighborhood run on Monday morning to survey the damage and saw nothing too disturbing. Apparently the real damage happened out of sight. We didn't see a LIPA truck for days and LIPA's communication was simply poor. That's all I'll say about it but I expect that LIPA officials will have a lot to answer for.

My run went well and though I felt I was running slower than normal, I was actually ahead of my usual pace. It probably had something to do with running after I'd had time to wake up. Tuesday was basically a copy of Monday's run although I followed different roads in hopes of seeing a LIPA crew at work. No luck there.

Yesterday I decided to head to Stillwell for communing with nature and, when I arrived, the entire high school boys cross country and track teams were trotting towards the trail head. I followed them in a few minutes later.

The trails were surprisingly clear. I'd expected to see lots of downed trees across my path but Stilwell looked the same as always. About a mile into the run I encountered the high school team coming from the other direction. The fastest boys had broken away and were swiftly turning toward a hilly section. The second wave greeted me cheerily and I returned the hellos. The last wave were not so happy and some of them had stopped to catch their breath or tie their shoes. It was not going to be a good morning for them.

I followed my normal loop a couple of times and finished up with my longest run since Saturday's 7.1 miles. I do need to push my base training up to six miles and, now that we have a heated shower, I'm considering an evening run tonight. In truth, we've been running around so much this week that I'll probably consider this an ad hoc rest day and go out tomorrow morning instead.

I'm pleased that we're back to "normal" and that I still have a few days left of vacation to enjoy modern conveniences. Well almost. We still need to refill the refrigerator and have the automatic garage door reset. Being without power didn't stop me from my running. But, everything being equal, I'd have loved coffee on demand and a warm shower after my runs.

blogger templates | Webtalks