Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NJ Tri Death

Someone died during the swim on Sunday and I thought it deserved it's own post rather than being lumped in with my race report.

Okay first of all Holy cow! How did this happen? There were a ton of kayakers on the course, and it was an easy, simple swim course.

Things that are really disconcerting:
This poor guy was a newbie, as were a LOT of people at this race. Kind of scary, this could have been one of ours.

They were looking for the body while we were all there for the awards ceremony and no one knew. Great job by the Race Directors.

Condolences go out to the family, that must have been horrifying to find the body that way.

I'll post more information as it is released.

Article 1:


Triathlete disappears in lake
Rescuers unable to find body of W. Windsor man

Monday, July 28, 2008

A township man who was participating in the New Jersey State Triathlon at Mercer County Park yesterday is missing and presumed drowned after failing to finish a swim of Mercer Lake. Fire, emergency medical services and county boats searched the lake yesterday afternoon but could not find a body. Police have said the man was 52 years old but are withholding his name pending notification of his family. The man was reported missing by his fiancée just before 11:30 a.m., when she became concerned that she could not find him. Police said the man and the fiancée had talked around 7 a.m., when he called her to say he was at the park and getting ready for the race. She then left for the park to cheer him on. Police said the man, along with about 1,100 fellow racers, was participating in the sprint course, which involved a 0.31-mile swim, followed by an 11-mile bike ride and finally by a 3.1-mile run. More than 1,300 others raced the longer course. About 10,000 spectators were on hand. The 1,100 racers on the shorter course entered the lake in 10 separate groups to prevent overcrowding. The missing man was wearing an athletic tracking device issued by race operators and designed to monitor the time he entered and left the lake. The tracker noted he went into the water at 7:53 a.m. but did not have a time for his departure. The device could not be used to find his exact location. "That was my first question," West Windsor Police Chief Joe Pica said. "Apparently, it's not that easy." According to Pica, the tracker operates much like the security system in a store, where passage between two monitors activates it. Lt. Carl Walsh said it was possible, but not probable, that the man could have slipped out of the lake without being seen or reactivating his tracker. The course, following a diagonal trail from a sandy beach, then across the breadth of the lake to an exit at the marina, was monitored by 25 lifeguards stationed in the water in kayaks. Two EMS boats and two county park boats also policed the activities. Those same county boats were called back into action later in the day as the search for the man began. Police said the fiancée first approached a race official, who in turn notified police. The man's bike, cell phone, shoes, and other effects were found in the bike transition area set up in the marina's parking lot. Emergency personnel were contacted, both from West Windsor and from Trenton, where divers from the water rescue unit were sent to the scene. They began a search of the lake that was hampered by severe weather conditions, with operations suspended for an hour during a violent thunderstorm that began around 2 p.m. That weather, police said, interfered even after the lightning and thunder had passed. The water was relatively rough, and silt had been churned up from the bottom making it more difficult for rescue personnel to see. Mercer County spokeswoman Julie Willmot, who was monitoring the teams' progress from shore, said visibility in the water was down to 2 feet. The lake's deepest point is only about 15 feet down, Willmot said. The five boats on the lake were using a combination of technology, muscle power and human senses in the attempt to find the missing man. Basic sonar equipment was used to scan the lakebed, and several emergency workers wielded long poles used to feel around for anything underwater. All eyes on the boats were gazing at the silvery surface of the lake, which was peppered by raindrops, as a small one-man craft from West Windsor EMS slowly cruised along the shoreline. The difficult conditions, officials said, contributed to the search being called off as of 5 p.m. The boats returned to their staging area at the boathouse across the lake. Operations are scheduled to resume at 8 a.m. today, with police saying a more advanced sonar system will be employed. West Windsor police, fire and EMS will be on the water, and Trenton's dive team will return as well. The lake will be closed, but the park will remain open. Pica said that if efforts to find the man's body are unsuccessful today, other agencies, including the State Police, will be contacted for additional assistance. Willmot said Mercer Executive Brian Hughes has spent the evening on the phone with State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes and Mercer Sheriff Kevin Larkin attempting to garner state assistance. Willmot said Hughes, who was on hand yesterday morning to kick off the race, has faith in West Windsor authorities but wants all resources to be at the ready. Yesterday's race was operated by the county in conjunction with CGI Racing, which also operates the Northeast Maryland Triathlon, Philadelphia Women's Triathlon and Black Bear Triathlon in the Pocono Mountains. A CGI representative at the scene declined comment. Police said the triathlon, now in its third year, was fully approved by authorities. "It's very well-planned out and extremely well-organized," Walsh said. "Everyone who needs to be notified of the event was notified."
©2008 Times of Trenton
© 2008 NJ.com All Rights Reserved.

Article 2:

Family finds missing triathlete
By: Andria Y. Carter , Online Editor

Triathlete John Hobgood of West Windsor was recorded as going into Mercer Lake for the one-third-mile swim, but never recorded having emerged from the 85-degree water.

The Mercer County Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy on a missing triathlete John Hobgood whose body was discovered about 1 a.m. today by family members.The Hobgood family was conducting a late night vigil at Mercer Lake when the body was discovered.The 52-year-old township man went missing on Sunday during the 500 meter swim sprint event of the New Jersey State Triathlon. The amateur sporting event had about 410 people in the water when Mr. Hobgood went missing, said Lt. Pat McCormick with the West Windsor Police Department.AdvertisementMcCormick said extreme precautions had been taken for the event with 24 lifeguards station on the lake in kayaks and four patrol boats with two EMS personnel."A lot of precautions were in place to make sure the triathletes were okay," McCormick said.Hobgood's finacee notified event officials about 11:30 a.m. that he failed to emerge from the swim event. He had been registered to also participate in the 5k run and 11 mile bike ride. Officials suspended the search for Hobgood's body when weather and darkness. The search was to resume this today about 8 a.m. The initial search turned from rescue to recovery when emergency personnel determined that Hobgood had not gotten out of the water when they found his bicycle in take for the next event and his parked car.Family members extremely upset that Mr. Hobgood had not been found decided to hold a vigil for the missing triathlete and noticed something that appeared to be a body in the water, McCormick said.The family members called township police right away and upon arrival determined it was a body and had it removed and taken to the coroner's office, McCormick added.Results of Hobgood's autopsy should be known within a couple days, he said.John Hobgood was a lifelong New Jersey resident who worked for National City Mortgage and helped customers with loans in Mercer and Somerset counties.


Lakeside vigil ends in sadness
Friends recover the body of drowned triathlete
Page 3 of 1
WEST WINDSOR -- The tragic moment when novice triathlete John W. Hobgood drowned beneath Lake Mercer Sunday morning slipped unnoticed by the thousands of people who had gathered at Mercer County Park for the New Jersey State Triathlon.
When Hobgood's body finally resurfaced on the lake in the still of night more than 15 hours later, almost no one was around.
The crowds were long gone, the park closed until daybreak yesterday. And the search of the lake for the missing 52-year-old from Princeton Junction had been suspended Sunday afternoon until the following morning.
But authorities let two of Hobgood's close friends -- Charles Voigt and Colleen Dunne -- keep a lonely lakeside vigil for him into the wee hours, just in case.
"We just didn't want him to be alone," said Dunne, who lives in Princeton Borough.
Carol Stasko, Hobgood's fiancee, wanted desperately to keep vigil at the lake, too, but the couple's friends thought she would be better off trying to rest at home while waiting for the official search to resume in the morning.
So for almost three hours, Dunne and Voigt waited by the water's edge near Voigt's pickup truck, scanning the lake.
At times they prayed or spoke to Hobgood as though he were there to hear. They reported on the outcome of Sunday's baseball game between his beloved Yankees and the rival Red Sox.
Voigt at one point turned the truck's lights onto the water -- "not really to search, but just be cause we were there by ourselves," he said.
"We were all hoping for the best turnout ..." Voigt said, letting the sentence trail off unfinished. Then, a little before 1 a.m. yesterday, Voigt and Dunne spotted the body floating near the surface.
The red swimmer skullcap Hob good had been wearing was still on his head -- and the first thing to catch his friends' attention, said Voigt, who lives in Montgomery.
They said they immediately called 911 for West Windsor police.
Officers responded to the lake and police summoned the county Medical Examiner's Office. Person nel from the Medical Examiner's Office recovered Hobgood's body from the water at about 1:30 a.m., police said.
Preliminary autopsy results show the cause of death as accidental drowning, said Mercer County spokeswoman Julie Willmot.
There was no indication of trauma that might have suggested Hobgood collided with another swimmer before he died, authorities said.
Hobgood's relatives, friends and his fiancee said they are at a loss to explain what went wrong for the former longtime Lawrence resident and avid long-distance biker.
Although Stasko said Hobgood had not attempted a triathlon before Sunday, he was athletic and had been training for Sunday's event for three or four months simply as a personal challenge.
"He was in great shape and went into it wholehearted," Stasko said yesterday as friends and family gathered with her inside the Princeton Junction home she and Hobgood shared.
The couple's wedding was scheduled for Sept. 13.
Hobgood, a divorced father of two adult children who worked as a mortgage banker, didn't have any known medical problems and wasn't taking any medication, Stasko and their friends said.
A photo snapped at the park less than an hour before Hobgood entered the lake to start the 0.31-mile swim leg at 7:53 a.m. shows him smiling and looking relaxed alongside a cheerful Stasko, who was there with a group of their friends to root him on.
His fiancee and friends said they didn't hang around by the starting point because they were hoping to spot him coming out of the water for the 11-mile biking phase.
But none of them became alarmed right away when they didn't see Hobgood because there were so many swimmers coming out that they at first figured they just didn't notice their man.
Stasko reported Hobgood missing just before 11:30 a.m. after she became concerned that he still did not show up, authorities said.
Hobgood was participating in the seventh wave of the shorter, sprint course of the triathlon. Each wave consists of about 100 to 150 racers, according to CGI Racing, the firm that co-organized Sunday's triathlon in conjunction with Mercer County.
About 1,100 people competed in the sprint course, which wraps up with a 3.1-mile run, according to race organizers.
Hobgood's daughter, Ashley Carunchio, who lives in Delaware and works as a trauma nurse there, said she didn't have any real worries about her dad attempting a tri athlon -- although she did jokingly tell him that he was crazy to try it.
Carunchio recalled how her dad came to encourage her in rowing competitions at Lake Mercer when she attended The Hun School of Princeton.
She said he was a generous man who was very supportive of her and her brother, Bryan Hobgood, who is studying chemical engineering at Columbia University.
"He could be stubborn and difficult at times, but he always showed how proud he was of us," Carunchio said, her composure faltering.
Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes called Hobgood's death tragic for the family and community.
"My heart goes out to the family," Hughes said.

Staff writer Alex Zdan contributed to this report.
©2008 Times of Trenton
© 2008 NJ.com All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 28, 2008

NJ Tri: Did the course get shorter, or did I get faster?

This past weekend I trekked up to NJ to hang out with M and try my first real triathlon since the surgery.

Getting there:
Four painful hours including a stop at the most poorly staffed Starbucks ever. Seriously, what happened to Starbucks? They used to be the last bastion of good customer service, now they are barely able to communicate with you and the last three times I've been to one they've had to re-make my drink order multiple times. Glad I don't have stock in them.

Realized after I sat in traffic that I didn't actually want to get on the Jersey Turnpike. Oops.

Got to NJ just in time for the pre-race briefing, said hi to the DCTri folks, picked up my stuff which did NOT include a technical t-shirt as promised, grrrr.

Left and met up with M at his house for Princeton fun.

Why I love Princeton:
Princeton Running Company where they carry my favorite socks and have my Shot blocks in Margarita flavor.

Red, Green, Blue where you create designs in glass and they fire it for you. One of my favorite things to do. This time I was overflowing and Matt was stumped. So soon I will have a fruit bowl with an abstract turtle (I wanted to make a school of fish, then just one big fish, but it kept turning into a turtle, so I just let it be a turtle) and a plate with a bursting heart design. Woot!

Olives: Spanikopita, baklava, yum.

Driving back from the downtown I was reminded of a key point about Princeton: crazy deer population. A mama deer and three tiny fawns bounded uncertainly across the street in front of us. They truly were tiny deer. Not the awkward spindly weeble wobble fawns you usually see, but like teacup deer. Like they should go in one of those dog purses.
Anyways, I put that away to be mindful of when I was leaving at dawn the next day.

Saturday night was spent shoveling in cheese and bread from Whole Foods and watching Vantage Point (save your time, all action no point).

Went to bed early, set the alarm for 4:30. Transition opened at 5:30.

Sunday morning:
Slept until 5:30, oops!
M's mom and the puppy got up to wish me luck :)
Grabbed a banana hoping I'd be able to eat it, my stomach was a nervous tank of churning acid.
Didn't see or hit any deer, waited in line forever to get into the park, made it to transition in time to set up my area and get out.
Forced down the banana and a luna bar. Waited in another long line for the bathrooms. Tried to decide whether or not to throw up.

Walked down the painfully rocky path to the swim. I forgot to buy cheap flipflops to wear on the way down. Doh! Luckily didn't hurt my feet too bad, but I have some odd blisters.
Waited in huge cluster F to swim. At about this point I started thinking: 1. I am in over my head. 2. Why the F didn't I sign up for a relay? 3. I definitely should have thrown up.
I started praying to God, not to let me have a good time, or even to not embarrass myself, just please do not let me drown. Especially in an aqua tri top.

The race was definitely in Jersey, looking at you zebra print swim suit.
Also funny, several of the girls had put on their DC Tri temp tattoos as tramp stamps. Classic.

Okay the swim:
I am a notoriously bad swimmer. I once swam to the wrong pier at Lake Anna. Thank goodness for this course, it was idiot proof.
Tried to think about Coach Alan's advice, of just racing my own race and practicing drills on the swim. I had done a super sprint the week before and tanked on the swim, also digging a hole that I never recovered from on the bike and run.
So I thought about pulling myself past my arm rather than pulling the water, I thought about what the regattas on the lake must be like and to keep myself light on the water, kicking with a straight leg, and wow, I'm not the last person! Some girl from my group had clearly gotten into the water and panicked. She ended up holding onto a kayak. I got my back clawed up by some girl, brifely considered stripping her goggles, decided to let it go, a rare nice moment for me. Finally got to the end and stumbled up the ramp. I knew my HR was going to be pretty high, so took my time getting into transition. Stopped and told the EMS people there was a swimmer on the course they needed to watch out for. The girl never came in behind me, and I'm pretty damn slow. They shrugged it off and said there were plenty of kayakers out there. Grrr.

Transition: took forever. I swear I did not stop and take a nap.

Went out and noticed a weird sound coming from my back tire, feels awfully squishy, did I flat already? See the Sag Truck and pull off. Very nice guy from Knapp's who must have thought I was an idiot pumped up both tires and pointed out that my rear derailleur was rubbing on my back tire. At some point either when I took my bike out of the car, or something happened to my bike in transition, either way that was the noise. Note to self, check gearing.

Well that made my bike a hell of a lot easier. I got passed some and passed some people. Ate a bag of shot blocks, yum. I even managed to take 10 minutes off my bike time.

Rolled in and started the run.

The Run:
Damn, it was hot. Pretty course and a lot of cheering, great aid stations. Walked a lot trying to keep my HR down. But thankfully it never got over 180. Traded places a lot with a 22 year old girl. This was her first tri, she came from a swimming background. Ran the last half mile in with her.

Hit the finish line and saw MIRA! Yayyyyyy!

Stuck around to cheer for the rest of the club. The OLY people had a really tough day, it was like a million degrees out when they were out on the course, just so. freaking. hot. I was SO happy I had bailed into the sprint.

Saw Jeanne of blogging fame come in, who says you aren't born to run!

Things I was thankful for:
Having a good swim. Slow by other people's standards, but good for me.
The Knapp's people for saving my arse on the bike, and magically being right there when I needed them.
The volunteers, especially Mira! Short of Jomomma, she was the person I most wanted to see at the finish line.
The club for staying to cheer EVERYONE on. Thank you for not bailing on the slow people.
Shot blocks for making such yummy food, and for being finally confident enough on the bike to eat them.
K for keeping me calm pre-swim.
M for letting me stay at his house.
M's mom for getting up to wish me luck and for calling me Wonder Woman all Sunday :)
CGI for putting on such an awesome race.
C for talking me down on Saturday and asking how it went on Sunday.
That I drove home later that day missing the wrath of God thunderstorms.
For having EZ Pass which works all along the Eastern Seaboard. Cash toll suckers!

Now all I need is someone to tell me not to sign up for North East what with it being a week before Iron Girl.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Post Secrets

Last week the Runner's World Daily Views Blog had a post about shameful activity. Either on the trails and roads, or most often relating to food. Some of the comments were funny, some flat out disturbing. Most disturbing was the guy who said he likes to give blood because of the high he gets post donation running. Best quote: "What ever happened to vomitoriums? I think they were on to something there." Funny but kind of concerning. Not as disturbing as the actual Post Secrets blog, that stuff is seriously dark.

And if this is you, they even have a t-shirt for it:
"I'm using my marathon training to get some time away from my girlfriend. I mean, I luv her, but it's just sooooo hard to ask for a night alone at my place just httin the remote.I should talk to her but really hate fighting anyways. So every other night it's a: "aaaww, not tonight honey, it's just that I have this long run tomorrow"

Your t-shirt: http://www.gymskinz.com/store/index.cgi/trashtalk/gymskinz/1207061/triathlon-apparel

I figure what with all the pop-tart and calzone eating people blog about, there should be plenty of you to post.

And DC Rainmaker, blueberry eating is NOT shameful enough for this.


My shamful behavior, lest you think I am an angel (snort, giggle):
  • I routinely call people out on trails for talking on their cell phones, not yielding, etc. just see last year's RNR half post.

  • I have in the last week: eaten an entire pineapple and olive pizza in one sitting, twice.

  • Last night I ate and entire calzone, again.

  • Last week I carb loaded with a box of ginger thins.

  • I ran last week in a tri top that I had worn to the beach, swam and ran in, and not washed before the last run.

  • I frequently pee while running in races.

  • I don't train with friends who are faster than me because I'm embarrassed about my pace.

Post your sins then say ten Hail Marys and watch the Tour for an hour.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Triangle Man

Last week I decided to give my gastric pyrotechnics a break after an evening treadmill run resulted in run 2.5 miles, puke, run 2.5 miles, puke.

Coastie Dan took me on the Arlington Triangle route.

A little background, I am kind of a freak about biking. I'm very claustrophobic, and I don't draft when training. You can't do it in the race, so there's no point training that way. Not to mention people are idiots, and I don't trust anyone with my collarbones. And trails are crowded, and DC drivers suck, so you need all the reaction time you can get.

So I had requested that we go on a trail that would not be super crowded. Dan picked the triangle.

When I first started riding, I trained with a friend who was either completely selfcentered, or just insane. Running stop signs and lights, no qualms about darting in front of cars. No warnings about stopping. I commute in the morning, and generally drive a lot. I know EXACTLY how annoying it is to wait for a light, maybe through 3 cycles, only to have some biker dart in front of you against the light so you have to slam on your brakes. I also know a fair number of people who have been hit by cars while biking, resulting in some serious injuries. So in general, I try to be good about that. I'm not an angel by any means, but I try to respect traffic laws.

Dan, in general super considerate, and a great person to bike with. All around the nicest person ever, signaled stops and safety points on the trail, let me set the tempo, signaled passing when I forgot, and didn't slap me when I asked where the turnaround was. Duh Xena, it's a triangle.

Meanwhile, I am working on developing my Weirding/Jedi voice that makes people with baby joggers or trip-wire dog leashes yield on the trail. I have however cultivated a super bitchy tone which allows me to yell "On your left" in such a way that conveys "Move your ass".

We'll see whether Dan will be seen with me on a bike again.

Highlights: flying down one of the hills at like 30 mph over poorly maintained trail. Scouting several good places to dump a body. Finally getting over post-surgery bike fear.


Friday, July 18, 2008

People who are worse than dopers.

So if you know me at all, you know I'm usually fundraising for something, usually children or cancer, or children with cancer.

One of the charities I've supported in the past is the Food and Friends Dining Out for Life campaign. I missed it this year since it was the same day as my last surgery, or really close to it. They also have a bike ride they hold sort of like the MS bike ride.

Anyways, their mission is preparing and delivering meals to people who are fighting serious illnesses like AIDS or cancer. And to qualify you essentially have to be below the poverty line. A very worthwhile cause.

Now I had checked into their finances when I first started volunteering for them. I don't really want to work with anyone who has an overhead of more than about 20%. I had asked about this, and was told theirs was running about 23% because they just moved into a larger facility in DC and that number should come down in the future.

Or maybe it was just the astronomical paycheck they were cutting for their executive director:

Chief's Pay Criticized As Charity Cuts Back
By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 17, 2008;

Food & Friends, a nonprofit organization that provides meals and other nutritional services to homebound HIV-AIDS and cancer patients across the Washington region, is scaling back its services, citing declining donations and rising fuel and food costs.
The cuts come as the District-based charity is facing criticism from some donors, AIDS activists and nonprofit group watchdogs, who say the compensation awarded to the group's longtime chief is too high.

Food & Friends paid Executive Director Craig M. Shniderman $357,447 in salary and benefits last year, and Shniderman, 60, said his salary has increased 4 percent this year. "Food & Friends compensates all of the staff appropriately, and that compensation is not, shall we say, fluctuated according to the momentary circumstances," he said.

There is no legal limit to how much tax-exempt charities can pay their executives, but two charity experts who reviewed Food & Friends' federal filings at the request of The Washington Post said they believed Shniderman's compensation to be unusually high relative to the organization's size.
"It appears excessive in relation to other nonprofits in related fields," said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy.
Shniderman's pay is substantially higher than the top salaries at many comparable area charities and has risen steadily from $145,000 in 1998, according to federal tax filings reviewed by The Post.

Food & Friends' board of directors, to whom Shniderman reports, defended his compensation, citing his decades of experience in social services and his role as chief fundraiser and manager of the nonprofit group, which has an $8 million annual budget and a staff of 58.
"We are lucky to have him, and we should pay him at the top of the range in order to incentivize him and retain him. And that's what we've done, and we think it's completely justified," said Christopher Wolf, a past president and current member of the charity's executive committee.
Last year, Shniderman received a salary of $270,290, as well as $31,318 in various insurances and a pension plan and $55,839 in deferred compensation. He said he has not considered taking a pay cut.

Many similar area groups pay their executives less, according to those organizations' most recent federal tax filings. At Capital Area Food Bank, whose $33 million budget is about four times that of Food & Friends, president and chief executive Lynn Brantley received $127,756 in salary and benefits. At Bread for the City, which has a $3.9 million budget, Executive Director George A. Jones received $102,627. And at D.C. Central Kitchen, which has a $6.7 million budget, President Robert Egger received $81,457.
The Whitman-Walker Clinic, a nonprofit group that has a $22 million budget and is the region's largest community-based provider of HIV-AIDS medical services, paid its then-top executive, Roberta Geidner-Antoniotti, $169,524.
Shniderman's salary is comparable to those of the top executives at some AIDS and food nonprofit groups in New York and San Francisco. But many of those organizations are larger, and they are in cities with higher costs of living.

"This is way out of whack, and the board really ought to have a heart-to-heart conversation with him," said Doug White, a nonprofit management adviser and author of "Charity on Trial," who reviewed the group's records at The Post's request.
Shniderman's pay is set every few years by the board of directors, which hires an independent consulting firm, James E. Rocco and Associates, to advise it.
In a memorandum yesterday, Rocco wrote that Shniderman's compensation falls between the 50th and 75th percentile of salaries in the competitive labor market and reflects Shniderman's experience.
Food & Friends received three stars out of four from the online watchdog Charity Navigator, largely because the group has reported relatively low overhead costs.
Shniderman's compensation sparked an outcry last month, after the charity announced it was scaling back services, including putting new patients on a waiting list and reducing the number of meals provided to family members of ill patients.
Since then, the Washington Blade, a gay-oriented newspaper, published an article detailing Food & Friends' cuts that included criticism of Shniderman's salary. And gay rights activist and blogger Michael Petrelis has seized on Shniderman's pay in several provocative postings.
"He has no shame about taking yet another increase in compensation while people with AIDS are having nutritional services and food cut," Petrelis said from his San Francisco home. "As a person with AIDS, I'm appalled by this."
Peter Rothberg, a D.C. businessman who said he has donated to Food & Friends, was also disturbed by Shniderman's salary. "I feel like nobody should be getting rich off of a charity," Rothberg said.
But William Z. Goldstein, a former board president at Food & Friends who still donates to the charity, said Shniderman is an "amazing administrator."
"His compensation on its own merit seems high," Goldstein said. "But I think one needs to look further into some of his additional responsibilities or achievements."
Wolf and Shniderman, who was hired as executive director in 1995, said the cuts are unrelated to Shniderman's pay.
"We're not cutting back because of our executive director's compensation, I can tell you that," Wolf said.
This year, Food & Friends received about $300,000 less in federal AIDS-related funds allocated by the D.C. government than it did last year, Shniderman said. Wolf said the charity hopes to resume its full level of service.
© 2008 The Washington Post Company

Really? I call bullshit. How on earth can you deny a terminally ill economically disadvantaged person services and live with receiving over a third of a million dollars in salary?!!!

In all fairness here is their (non)response:

Dear Supporter,
You may have read recent press coverage of nonprofit executive compensation. Here at Food & Friends, we are proud of our financial practices. It is our mission to strategically maximize the number of people we serve while ensuring the best quality service for our clients. We take budgeting and the setting of salaries very seriously, undertaking a long and detailed process to determine appropriate and competitive compensation for each staff position. The Board of Directors rigorously reviews the quality of the work of our Executive Director, Craig Shniderman. Unlike many organizations, our board brings in a highly-regarded national consulting firm to conduct a very focused review to ensure that Craig’s salary is in line with that of other, comparable nonprofits. Since 1995, when Craig joined us, Food & Friends has grown from the basement of a church, serving 995 people annually, to a service that will provide more than 850,000 meals this year from a new $9 million kitchen and distribution center – all of which occurred, and in large part was made possible, through Craig’s tireless leadership. Our budget has grown from $2.2 million to $8.2 million, allowing us to serve more people each and every year. Craig is an executive director of the highest quality, and we have taken steps to ensure that he stays at Food & Friends.Food & Friends works hard to ensure that administrative expenses are very low. Fully 78.92% of all money raised goes directly to caring for those facing life-challenging illnesses in our community. Likewise, we leverage the support of more than 6,500 volunteers each year to stretch every dollar we raise. Of course none of what we do at Food & Friends would be possible without the support of our community of committed donors and volunteers, for which we are truly grateful.We know that there are many competing interests for your charitable dollar -- and those dollars are even more meaningful in this challenging economy. We pledge to continue to be good stewards of your confidence and support and to continue to provide the highest quality nutrition services, with compassion and love, to our friends and neighbors in need.

Should you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our staff or me:

John Barnes , Deputy Executive Director for Program & Development, 202.269.6870

George Bednar , Deputy Executive Director for Finance & Administration, 202.269.6838

Lisa Bandera , Communications Director, 202.269.6875

Thank you for your continued support of Food & Friends,
Robert Hall III

President, Food & Friends’ Board of Directors


Needless to say, I won't be supporting them again anytime soon. The saddest part is that it's the clients who will pay for the board's bad judgment.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blinded with science

Fellow tri clubber C posted a job opening for Discovery:

Wanna be on TV and travel to exotic places? We're looking for a fit, adventurous, and science-savvy host for a new documentary television series (think "Dirty Jobs" but for hard scientific expeditions). Feel free to forward around to any good candidates you know.


National Geographic Television is looking for a science-savvy, outdoor adventurer to host a new television series. Our host will travel to remote and dangerous places to help scientists gather data in order to find answers to some of the world’s most puzzling questions. You don’t have to have a science degree. Just prove that you are charismatic, adventurous, and have a broad knowledge of various branches of science. You’ll be talking with teams of scientists in the field, and translating what’s going on to our viewers. The ideal candidate will have a diverse range of experience in fields such as animal tagging, scuba diving, cave exploring, and rock climbing. Our host will be able to combine adventure with cutting edge science. Experience with high-tech equipment is also a plus.

Deadline: ASAP

The sooner it’s in, the more likely we are to consider you!

Send resumes, informal photos and/or headshots, video of yourself, and inquiries to:hardscience@ngs.org (electronic submissions preferred)

Send hard copies to:
Coordinator, Series Production
Attn: Science Series HostNational Geographic Television
1145 17th St. NWWashington DC, 20036

Okay, I had been job searching anyway, but wow, this looks so super awesome.

My dream job list now includes:
1. Pirate Ninja
2. Funded Mad Scientist
3. Gladiator on American Gladiators
4. Host of geeky science show.

I realize that I have a better chance of getting struck by lightning or actually finishing an ironman or really of both happening at the same time than getting this job, but why not at least try?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Runtime Failure

DC Rainmaker has been talking up the Tuesday and Thursday night Pacers runs. Since I'm staying in that area for the next month, I thought I'd check them out.

With one run under my belt since finishing the good drugs, I headed over to Pacers to check out their runs. Double checked the time and location. I had been reassured that there were multiple pace groups, even one for slower than molasses in Siberia.

Too bad I didn't realize Tuesdays are the hill runs.

I got about halfway done when I started to feel like projectile vomiting was imminent. Then I got passed by my D-bag ex and his girlfriend. I should have expected that, after all it's the same route he and I used to run together when we were dating. Hopefully history only repeats itself in that manner, and he's not cheating on her with multiple girls.

Anyways, there was one big plus, I met two really nice girls who were doing the Galloway method who let me pace off of them.

Eat more during the day to make sure I don't tank.
Fill up Gelbot.
Go to Pacers.
Flat run, thank God.
Mizuno is offering to let us try their shoes for the run. I know I can really only wear Saucony, so pass.
Get to the turnaround point at Belle Haven, so hot I can't stand it. Take a field shower at the bathrooms.
Walk a mile trying to get my HR down, no matter what it never gets below 160.
Feel so nauseous I contemplate forcing myself to yak so I can feel better.
Get leers from fishermen on overpass, keep walking.

All I can figure is that I am not genetically engineered to run in the evenings. I almost exclusively run early in the morning. Or maybe it's the steroids?

I'm going to run Saturday. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...

Okay so just to catch up on a few things:

1. I mentioned the most awesome bike gearing system ever. The Fuji automatic touring bike has come to my attention as well. Different gearing system, but still an interesting concept.

2. I have not yet checked out the Ellsworth bike since I've been saddled with bronchitis. Turns out the doctor was right. The antibiotics and the steroids kicked my ass and it was all I could do besides wheeze for the last couple weeks.

3. Leading designs for tattoo:
a. 140.6 with the Swim, Bike, and Run stick figures around it.
b. Compass Rose with 1, 4, 0, and 6 at the points.
Now to just train for the race and become a superhuman in the next year.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.