Archive for February, 2007

2007 Annual Polar Bear Plunge

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

This marks my fourth year plunging into the icy Atlantic Ocean waters to help raise money for the New Jersey Special Olympics. The Polar Bear Plunge was held on February 24th in Seaside Heights near the Aztec Ocean Resort. I joined a team of fourteen others from my karate training group for the plunge. Together we raised $2,195.00 – Team Page.

The water temperature was 33 degrees this year — the coldest water I’ve personally experienced. Last year the water was a mild 37 degrees and there was snow on the beach. Unfortunately we didn’t have snow on the beach this year; a rain storm cleaned up all the snow a few days before the plunge.

I jumped in four times; one or two times just isn’t enough. During the fourth trip in, I was starting to get comfortable in the water while waiting for my friend Gary Grainger to snap a good picture. In all honesty, my body was probably too numb at that point to react in survival mode. I recall my first year doing the plunge – once my feet were in the water I realized it was very cold but pressed on. At waist level, I started seriously considering an about face. At mid-chest level my survival instincts kicked in and every ounce of my being wanted to get out, but still I persisted. Finally, at neck level it felt like my chest was caving in and I literally could not breathe. I suppose it’s the contraction of the lungs from the cold and the water pressure which makes breathing very difficult. Both mind and body are fighting to get out — this is where spirit takes over. It is similar to the classic adage “mind over body”, but in this case I have a new saying: “spirit over mind and body.”

SONJ raised 640,000 dollars this year and there were about 2,800 plungers in Seaside Heights, NJ. The Polar Bear Plunge is the largest fundraising effort benefiting Special Olympics New Jersey in the state. Participants collect pledges and plunge into the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean. All proceeds collected by Plungers benefit Special Olympics athletes and help foster mission of the Special Olympics New Jersey.

Thanks so much to my friends who donated to SONJ: Tom, Saundra, Gary, Tricia, Ralph, Cielo, Vitali, Jim & Vicki, Zubair, and my other friends who want to remain anonymous. Check out their names on the honor roll, located on my SONJ donation page.

The plunge was a blast, as usual! I’m already looking forward to next year. I’m hoping for snow next time though.


2007 Karate Winter Special Training

Monday, February 12th, 2007

The 37th Annual Karate Winter Special Training (2007) at the Japan Karate Association of New Jersey was held from January 16 to January 20th, Tuesday to Saturday.

As is customary (for some odd reason), the weather on the first day of training was mild (58 degrees or so). And true to history, on the second day the temperature dropped more than 30 degress to 27. My barefoot, shirtless run was just under two miles that morning. The remainder of the week was not as cold as Wednesday.


We practiced kihon, kata and kumite during each of the 5am classes. Training this week was very good.

WordPress Buzzz

Friday, February 9th, 2007

I just finished installing wordpress on my GoDaddy hosted site. It was a very simple process – and having an FTP client made copying the site files easier, especially since GoDaddy doesn’t provide shell access to my account. That fact prevented me from dropping the tar file on the server, then extracting it. I couldn’t even write a CGI to un-tar because exec is not permitted with GoDaddy’s hosting account. I suppose I could have checked for a perl module to un-tar or un-zip, but it was easier to just grab SmartFTP.

I’m hoping to see what all the buzz is about WordPress. Many people have recommended it so I figured it’s time to try it. I’ve used PHP-Nuke in the past, and also just played with Google Pages (which required me to use framesets to incorporate those pages into my domain.)

I already like categorization – I can add a category without leaving the wordpress post page (unlike PHP Nuke where one needs to visit the categories admin page.) So far, so good.

Running Links

Thursday, February 8th, 2007 On Your Mark Productions. BEST Racing Systems Jersey Runner Metro Race Forum Compu Score