Sunday, November 04, 2007


Today's the big day.

Weather's looking pretty good? Check, except for a slight WNW wind at 5-10mph.
Shoes packed? Check.
Breakfast down? Check.
Coffee? Brewing, check.
Bag packed? Check.
Pacing plan in place? Check. (7:45 over the Verz Bridge, 6:55 down the back, 7:10s through the flats in Brooklyn, and then hang tough through Manhattan's hillier terrain)

The training for this marathon's been . . . up and down. Most weeks after August I was about 10% off from the same point last year. I also had about four weeks with zeros and no formalized speedwork worth mentioning. On the other hand, I still had several weeks that hit 50 mpw, 5 20+ mile runs, a ton of "progression" runs, and a ton of runs at MP (7:10). The regimen wasn't what I had in mind in June, but if the execution is there it is sufficient for 3:10. Any ideas for sub-3:00 or sub-7:00s I've long ago abandoned. The goals are: A - 3:10:59 (7:17); B - 3:15 (7:27); C - 3:22:28 (7:44).

My only concerns are not screwing up the pacing, "digestive" issues, and the crowds -- particularly, the crowds at the Green Start, where there will be barricades, course marshals, and construction. I've run NYRRC races with barricades at the start before and they were, invariably, cluster-f@{!s.

By the way, if anyone reads this before the race starts, head to the NYC Marathon website for a laugh. So, the race's starting at 8:10 these days? Seems they "sprung forward" rather than "falling back" on their marathon countdown clock.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

ON ON, U of K

We are right for the fight today!
Hold that ball and hit that line,
Ev'ry Wildcat star will shine
For the Blue and White,
As we roll to that goal Varsity!
and we'll kick, pass, and run,
'til the battle is won
and we'll bring home the victory!!!!!!


real post later this week.

Friday, August 24, 2007


That was a peep out of me.

I'm starting to wonder about the health of this blog; like so many others, is it now on it's way to retirement? I break my brief hiatus to ponder that for a moment, and only a moment since leaving for the office at 7:20 am and arriving home at 12:50 am doesn't leave a lot of time for self-expression.

Nor does it leave much time for self-actualization in non-career activities -- like marathoning. Let's face it, 90+ hour work weeks and marathon training don't mix. We all know that. Nevertheless, it's still somewhat gut-wrenching to receive an "Only 72 days left" email from NYRRC on the same day I've decided perhaps this marathon will be a "fun run." I've not actually managed to train in two weeks anyway; so fun run seems appropriate. (Obviously, as a "running blog," no running means iphiclus' raison d'etre is essentially, to use a technical term, kaput.)

Mr. John Smithwick is telling me not to worry about it tonight. So, that's what I'm going with.

Back on sabbatical. Checking back in next month...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Actually have been on hiatus for a few days; too much in real life to support this for a while. Back in a couple weeks hopefully.

In Review From July 16

Tuesday8.25 miles59:15
Wednesday5 miles39:00
Thursday10.25 miles
FridayRest-- --
16 Miles2:00:15
Sunday4.9 miles37:47
Total44.4 Miles-- --
8.6 Miles
5 Miles

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Virtuti, Honori, Gloriaeque

My new mantra for the down spells in runs. If you see a guy running around New York City muttering "Strength, Honor and Glory" under his breath in time with footstrikes (hopefully, and not just raggedly), that'd be me.

Today, in the second half of my long run, I'd sometimes add forti (strength, power) for virtuti, honori, gloriaeque, virtuti, honori, gloriaeque, et forti, et forti.

Why two words for strength? Well, the first virtus comes to us as virtue and stands for all the qualities of manly strength and virtue. Fortis on the other hand, is the more general physical strength. I puzzled over this choice for a while and I thought that virtus more closely captured the motivation necessary for a marathon mantra. In the same vein, when Maximus said to his troops "Strength and Honor," I don't think he said "Forti et Honori," but "Virtuti et Honori." (There was also a choice between honor and honestas, both of which mean "honor," but I decided on the English cognate.)

If you anyone's wondering why all this switching, e.g., from virtus to virtuti, the latter form indicates purpose and translates more fully into English as "for strength." Since these things aren't abstracts, but why I need to push through the my sore spots, struggle for virtue, for honor, and for glory and strength, that seemed the appropriate rendition of the mantra.

Virtuti, honori, gloriaeque, virtuti, honori, gloriaeque, et forti, et forti.

If this is what I come up with on a two hour long run, imagine what's coming when I hit three.

Wednesday: 5 miles in 39:00 (7:48/mile)
Thursday: 10.25 miles in 1:20:43 (7:52/mile)
Saturday: 16.0 miles in 2:00:15 (7:31/mile)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Finding the tempo

There's a double entendre to today's title. Partly it refers to (no surprise, I'm sure) my first tempo run of the new marathon season. Partly, it refers to this bizarre band that Erin and I went to see yesterday in Central Park for Summer Stage. For non-New Yorkers, Summer Stage is one of the reasons to live in New York. Concerts, dance, theatre in the park, often free, several nights a week all summer long.

Now, to be fair, Erin and I didn't go solely to see the bizarre band. Erin actually gave me tickets to the Decemberists concert for my birthday last week, which may have been one of the best gifts ever. I really like this band. Even though I may have written a few months ago that I sing the Killers at the top of my lungs while running, usually I don't. More likely would be the Decemberists or Modest Mouse, with the occasional TV on the Radio. The Killers would be a little odd for me, although I'm certain that everyone has run tempo to their "Mr. Brightside" at one point or another.

Anyway, the odd opening band was called Grizzly Bear and their music (I'll call it that because you couldn't really call it songs) consisted of caterwauls and moans with heavy, heavy use of the echo effect. It really kind of sounded like they'd just discovered this sound device and, like a kid with a new toy, wanted to use it in the entire set as well as during the intra-song banter. To add to this and, I suppose, to really appease of a crowd of NYU students and wannabe college radio disc jockeys, just when a rhythm started to develop, when what they were playing might develop into an honest-to-goodness tune, out of nowhere they'd pull a disconcerting drop in tempo that really felt the acoustical equivalent of the elevator drop at Six Flags. Erin's take, "I don't really go for psychedelic Gregorian chanting." Me neither.

But the Decemberists. Great Great Great concert band. I've never seen a crowd so happy to sing songs about sweethearts lost at sea, pirate's revenge, kidnapping ( She cursed, she shivered/She cried for mercy,/"My gold and silver if thou will release me!"/I'll take no gold miss, I'll take no silver/I'll take those sweet lips, and I'll deliver) or the lyrics "You'll not feel the drowning/You'll not feel the drowning," which the entire crowd sang along to, quite happily I might add. There really was something kind of perverse it the whole thing now that I think about it. I mean, it was a summer festival.

But lest you think the lyrics were the only weirdness at a concert by a band whose last album was based around a Japanese folk tale, and whose tunes are peppered to references to Shakesphere (In the lowlands, nestled in the heat/A briar cradle rocks it's babe to sleep/Its contents watched by Sycorax/And patagon in paralax/A foretold rumbling sounds below the deep/Come and see/Come and see) we also had a game of beach ball played with, not a beach ball, but a stuffed seal, we finished off the first set with Colin Meloy leading the crowd in a chant of "hear all the bombs... fade away, hear all the bombs ... fade away," and at one point during the encore, we had Meloy convincing the crowd and the band to lay down and pretend to be asleep. Bizarre, but very fun and highly recommended.

In all that, I forgot to mention the tempo run. McCarren Park track. 8.25 total miles in 59:15 (avg. of 7:11/mile). Breakdown of: Warmup of 2.13 in 16:52 (7:57/mile); 4 tempo miles in 6:27, 6:30, 6:29, 6:26; Cooldown of 2.13 in 16:22 (7:41). This felt pretty good although the last mile or so of the tempo was pretty tough. All in all, it was not bad at all for my first planned and structured speed workout of 2007. No, not bad at all.

Week (of July 9) in Review

Tuesday8.6 miles1:10:00
Wednesday4.15 miles29:34
Thursday10.3 miles
FridayRest-- --
14.5 Miles1:52:53
Sunday3.5 miles26:09
Total41.1 Miles-- --

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Heat Wave

With the thermostat rising, seems like a good time to mention automobile pollution. Awful. Awful. Awful. There's nothing like running through 80+ degree temps and then getting a full blast of hot exhaust from a passing car.

Fortunately, Time Out New York this week rates some of "NYC's favorite running spots" against pollution. Here's some highlights and comments.

  • 3. Central Park: "Try to avoid the loop around the outside and the main thoroughfares." The outside loop part is good advice, but if "the main thoroughfares" refers to the loop, it's closed to traffic on weekends and is a runner haven.
  • 4. Riverside Park: "There are plants between you and the highway, which is good." I guess that's something.
  • 5. Williamsburg Bridge and 6. Brooklyn Bridge: "There are cars here, but at least they're moving." In addition, there's generally a breeze blowing from the south which I would think would help dissipate some of the exhaust.
  • 8. Hudson River Park: "This is such a congested part of town."
  • 9. East River Park: Just Bad.
  • 10. Queens Bridge Park: "No one should exercise around there."
The universal message from all the ratings? Try to stay as far away from automobiles as possible while exercising. Basically you want to be at least 500 feet and if possible 1500 hundred feet from traffic. Yes, that's right, the experts say that "[t]hough 'it's almost impossible in Manhattan,'" you should ideally have a quarter-mile between you and traffic while working out. To me, "almost impossible" is not quite strong enough. It is impossible. To make matters worse, while exercising you breath as much as 10 times the pollution of a sedentary person, subjecting yourself to higher risks for pollution-induced asthma, cancer or heart problems. And, as a last ironic twist, because of the pollution, the benefits of the exercise on your lungs is retarded, meaning you're not even getting the benefits you think you are.

Finally, just to make this more depressing, breathing auto-exhaust while exercising can lead to "coughing," "irritat[ion of] your lungs ... kind of like getting a sunburn on the inside of your lungs," "cancer and heart problems," and "brittle and weak" lungs.

With all this good news, it's a shame that Albany's going to block congestion taxes. (Although I understand that rerouting that traffic to the FDR will make East River Park even more toxic, charging drivers for the damage they're doing to my lungs seems fair.)

So, enjoy the heat wave folks. But try to exercise really early or indoors because the heat, thanks to certain chemical reactions, only makes the pollution worse.

Today: 8.6 mile Stuyvesant Cove in 1:10:00 (8:08/mile) with 10X100m striders.

UPDATE:The Times ran its own article on air pollution and exercise on Thursday. "In the calculus of health concerns, 'Breathing air pollution is not nearly as bad as smoking,' Dr. Lippmann said." Well, I guess that's comforting.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Week One Down

Yesterday wrapped up the first week on the road. The Plan, ah the Plan, there really isn't much of a plan yet. I'm thinking a modified combination of Pfitzenger's 18-55 plan and the Flyers' plan (which accounts for NYRR races). I'd like to peak around 60 miles, which is about 10% more than last fall. And I have to take account of a week off/light for vacation in Central America at the end of July. In short, I haven't really written the plan yet. I know I'm running 8 or so miles tomorrow and 40-ish this week, but, beyond that, everything's a little up in the air.

Everyone seems to like pictures (especially of the Marathon route) and I'm not above kowtowing a little. But I make no promises since I'd planned to take a camera running last year and that never happened. So, we shall see...

Week (of July 2) in Review

Tuesday7.3 miles52:55
Wednesday9.1 miles1:11:11
Thursday4.1 miles
FridayRest-- --
12.2 Miles1:37:00
Sunday4.4 miles31:20
Total37.2 Miles-- --

Thursday, July 05, 2007


This is this blog's 100th post!

It's also Week One of training for the NYC Marathon. So far, I've modified the plan, rearranged the dates of runs, and run hung-over. Hardly an auspicious start. I've also discovered that if you want to listen to Latin Podcasts while on the run, a strong headwind or heavy traffic make it really difficult to make out the words.

Tuesday: 7.3 miles in 52:55 (7:15 pace) with 10X100 striders
Wednesday: 9.1 miles in 1:11:22 (7:51 pace)
Today: 4.15 miles in 31:20 (7:33 pace)

Today's run was along the Pulaski O&B, which is great because it's the middle miles of the marathon. And I get to imagine I'm hitting the halfway point, which is here...

Slightly before you get here...

And a long way before you get there...
Queensboro Bridge

Which is after you run along this bridge...
Pulaski Bridge

And you leave Brooklyn.
Welcome to Brooklyn

Friday, June 22, 2007


Oh man, oh man, I'm tired! Today makes four days of running in a row, which I haven't done since December. The schedule compression is caused by tomorrow's travel -- getting to LaGuardia, flying to Nashville, Tennessee, a 2.5 hour drive to my parents' in Kentucky, a normal family whirlwind, and my ten-year high school reunion. Running tomorrow? Ha! I have 15 on tap for Sunday... but, after Saturday, we'll see.

I've been on a small mileage binge over the last month and, as I sit here sipping my Juicy-Juice, I'm kind of glad next week's a cut-back.

Cut-back, huh? The terminology's starting to come back to me and that's good because a week from Monday official training kicks off for this:

Date : Jun 22, 2007 1:38 AM
subject: I'm in! the ING New York City Marathon 2007

Congratulations! You’re one of the lucky ones!

Since I'm going to be in Kentucky for the next week (and my hometown's so rural that broadband/cable/DSL doesn't exist) posting's going to be sporadic.

Y'all have a good'un an' I'll see ya' na-ext week. (I'm practicing.)

Yesterday: 8 miles (Billy-Br. + McCarren Park) in 59:30 (7:26/mile)
Today: 4.15 miles (Pulaski O&B) in 30:15 (7:17/mile)

P.S. We got tickets to see The New Pornographers on July 4!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Strange Panorama

It's a strange place, the East River Bike Path that runs along South Street beneath the FDR. On a spring morning it's a glorious space filled with light from a rising sun that climbs the towers of downtown Brooklyn, across the water, until, reaching a pinnacle, like a bird testing its wings for the first time, it seems to hesitate for just a moment before leaping into the precipice and continuing its ascent with newfound confidence.

Framed by the great stone towers and swooping steel cables of the Brooklyn Bridge to the south and by the gargantuan industrial towers and massive girders of the Manhattan Bridge to the north, two spans a half-mile apart but as vastly different as the worlds which created them, this panorama presents an unparalleled vista for the play of fishermen, yogis, runners, walkers. Even commuters from the ferries who hurry ashore to take their places as cogs in the post-modern assembly lines of the Financial District. And there's also ... but no, they're not present. That's why it's strange on the East River Bike Path that runs along South Street beneath the FDR. Perhaps they've been driven away by the crowds; or maybe they have more fear of a miscast lure than others; perhaps a qualitatively different scene is required for their special aesthetic. Perhaps. But in any case, it remains strange to have a bike path, even beneath the FDR along South Street, with all of this life and not one bicycle.

Today's run was like swimming through the air and with a headwind, that made the out leg like swimming through the air upstream. One would think that the tailwind on the way back would be nice, but since you never notice a tailwind it just seemed hotter.

5 mile Billy Bridge O&B in 38:30 (7:42/mile; splits of 19:50 and 18:40).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hello Summer

So, I ran in the Say No Prostate Cancer 5 miler on Sunday. Less than a mile in, I felt like I was really moving. Maybe even 6:10. At the first mile, the clock read 6:50. I wasn't boxed in; I wasn't stopped by the crowd in any way. This is just an example of what heat and humidity do to me. Some people fade a little in 75% humidity. I fade 40s/mile. I managed to struggle my way to a 32:37, for a 6:30ish average, but some days just aren't your day. Sunday wasn't mine. I've had worse races.

Although the heat and humidity have slammed into New York pretty hard, it's tough to gripe too much. This weekend, I'm heading back to Kentucky for my ten-year high school reunion, and a browse of the forecast shows I get to look forward to the mid-90s. Ah, crappy Kentucky summer weather...95 degrees, 85% humidity, not a breeze to be seen...I can't wait.

The worst part is that, unlike New York, Kentucky does not have nearly enough ice cream parlors, gelatto joints, Italian ice stands, Mr. Softee trucks (or knock-offs), or short, overweight Hispanic dudes with foot-wide razor blades who'll manually shave a three-foot-by-three-foot block of ice for you. And ice cream is one of the best ways to beat the heat, as the FDNY knows.

Photo taken on Graham Avenue, Brooklyn during my 5 miler on Saturday. (More to come.)

Today: 10.33 BS Run in 1:21:58 (7:56/mile)

Week (of June 11) in Review

Tuesday8.6 miles68:40
Wednesday4.4 miles32:57
Thursday13.4 miles
FridayRest-- --
5.2 Miles49:50
Sunday5.0 miles32:37
Total36.6 Miles-- --

Thursday, June 14, 2007

But the Pants!!

Look, I know I promised that I'd switch the topics here back to running and off the legal system, but this story was just too ridiculous to not write about.

A D.C. AdLaw Judge, upset because (he claims) his local drycleaner misplaced his pants and tried to pass off a cheap knock-off pair instead, sued the dry cleaner . . . for $67.3 million!! To put this amount in perspective, 5 acres of oceanfront property with a 10,000 sq. ft. house in Southampton (complete with guest house, pool and tennis courts) would sell for about half that amount! Or you could buy 30 2 bedroom apartments in Manhattan. Or you could buy 1/2 of Newport, Kentucky. According to the Times the "judge" has tried to pass himself off as a private attorney general vindicating the rights of consumers everywhere. He also apparently broke down in tears at one point, moved by the horrible injustice being perpetrated upon him. "You will search the D.C. archives in vain for a case of more egregious or willful conduct," the Times quotes him as saying. Just to give you an idea of how accurate that statement is, the "judge" is representing himself.

In the end, this is really just kind of sad . . . Sad for the "judge" who'll, as my quotation marks indicate, never be taken seriously again. Sad for the cleaners, who have to deal with this nonsense. Sad for the judge's pants, who may never get to actually tell their side of the story. (It is not, however, NOT sad for the court reporters, the judge, her law clerks, anyone who happens to be a courthouse while this trial is being conducted, the Times beat reporter, and me, because it certianly provides a good laugh for anyone not vested in the outcome.)

I moved this week's long run to today to free Sunday for a points race. This makes only the third time that I've broken the 1/2 Mary distance at all this year, which I guess highlights how limited my running's been.

13.4 miles in 1:44:24 (7:47/mile)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bad Day for Bush

Yesterday was a bad day for Bush.

His immigration bill has stalled.

His watch was stolen.

But I'm most interested three-judge panel in the Fourth Circuit's rejection of the Government's position that a non-combatant resident alien, apprehended on American soil, could be held indefinitely as an "enemy combatant." (By the way, for clarity, let's say what we mean. "Enemy Combatant" is a term of art under the Geneva Convention that means a "solider.") This is a pretty narrow holding: if you are a soldier in, e.g., the Taliban, you could be held even if apprehended in the U.S.; if you are apprehended outside the U.S. you have to still go through Gitmo's separate administrative process to determine if you're a solider. Only if you're not a solider is the military precluded from holding you. And, the panel rejected that the President has power to unilaterally decide that someone is a solider, especially someone who is within the U.S. and to whom the Constitution applies. That's it. My summary of the 86 page opinion. And this would not be that notable an outcome but for the Gov't making some really wacky arguments that the Court then had to address.

My favorite was the argument that the President has inherent power under the Constitution (that means power not in any way tempered by the Courts or Congress) to detain anyone who he believes threatens the country under his war powers. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. As I once heard in law school, "Your position is like the thirteenth chime of a clock, not only is it irrelevant and nonsensical, but it also calls into question the legitimacy of all previous chimes." Or another good response would have been: "Mr. [President], what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul." And, oh, in case there's some confusion, that means WRONG.

Any person within the United States and any citizen anywhere
enjoy Constitutional protections against intrusion of government power. Among those protections: habeas corpus (the right to a petition a court for release from wrongful confinement); civilian primacy over the military; due process of law. The government's whacked out position led to such fantastic sound-bites as “We refuse to recognize a claim to power that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic.” We can all thank god that some of Justice's positions are so insane. Otherwise we wouldn't have the amusement of watching them get struck down quite so hard.

But, leaving aside Bush's power grabs that no court's going to allow, and looking ahead at the narrow heart of the split of opinion between the majority and dissent -- whether Al-Marri was a solider for Al Queda or just some schmuck who associated with them -- it will probably go for a rehearing before the full Fourth Circuit. The decision yesterday was by two Clinton appointees with one Bush II appointee dissenting. The full Fourth Circuit is generally regarded as one of the most conservative in the country, so I'd expect them to lean more towards the dissent. This is by no means the end of this story.

(I promise. Back to running next time.)

June 9: 4.14 miles in 30:36 (7:22/mi)
June 10: 12.6 miles in 1:36:07 (7:38/mi)
June 12: 8.6 miles in 68:40 (7:59/mi)
June 13: 4.4 miles in 32:57 (7:29/mi)

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Today's the annual Big Apple Barbeque Block Party in Madison Square Park. I can't wait to sample some ribs in a Memphis dry rub. Oh, the only way this could be better is if I were doing a barbeque-sauce keg stand.

Yesterday, a half dozen attorneys and a bunch of paralegals went for a two-mojito lunch (because martinis are so eighties) to celebrate the inking of a settlement in the case that's been driving me nuts over the last few weeks. I've been basking in the freedom of leaving work after 9 hours for the last couple days.

It's also amazing how much easier it is to get runs in when your work-week's under 50 hours.

Week of May 14: 27.7 miles
Week of May 21: 12.4 miles
Week of May 28: 13.7 miles
Week of June 4: 35 miles (projected)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I Run for Me

That’s right. I said what you’re all thinking. I know it’s not the politically correct thing to say, that it’s not a kosher statement, but I don’t care. I’m putting it out there that I run completely and totally for my selfish self. I don’t run for either kids or kidneys. Nor do I run for hearts, lungs, skin, colons or prostates. (I might run for breasts, but that’d totally depend on the context.) I most certainly don’t run for heart disease, multiple schlerosis, down syndrome, diabetes or any form of cancer. I might consider running against them … but probably not. I don’t run for general health, for other people’s obesity, or for the environment. I don’t run for general fitness. And I can say with certainty, I don’t run for you.

About six weeks ago, I was running through China Town, and on a down note in whatever I had blaring on the headphones I heard a Latino voice yelling, “Hey, Gringo! Why you jogging?” My normal reaction to something like that would be unprintable, but as I was basically past the guy by the time the question registered, any response would have involved breaking stride and turning around. Not worth the effort. But, over the next few days, I puzzled over the question, why was I jogging? I scratched at it, prodded it and, then grew tired of it and forgot it. That is, until the pre-race speeches at the Healthy Kidney 10K about three weeks ago.

At the Kidney, between (NYRRC Prez) Mary Wittenberg’s and the United Arab Emirates' representative’s respective speeches, we were all putatively running for healthy kidneys, medical research, general health, kids, against obesity, for religious tolerance, freedom from discrimination, international comity and for world peace. Yes, actual, honest-to-goodness world peace. I only wish I had the creativity to make this stuff up! Despite what you may think about running for a cause or a charity, that's really an awful lot of pressure for a 6 mile footrace. As for me, as those speeches were filling the air, I was realizing that I don’t run for any of the reasons they were giving. That’s right, none of them.

So, why do I run? I’ve spent three weeks thinking about it and have an answer:

I run for the sun rising over the East River. I run for the feeling of working stiffness out of my legs in the morning. I run for the rush of flying past a bicyclist as we’re both climbing the Queensboro Bridge. I run to dodge canine urine. I run for the pain of trying to hit a sub-six pace in the last 400 of a half-marathon and that feeling that you … might … just … vomit after a hard-fought 5K. I run both for the annoyance of being passed by a sprinting guy in chinos at the crest of the Williamsburg Bridge and the feeling of comeuppance for catching and passing him before the bottom. I run for the fear of three more reps and the elation at finishing the last one. I run because otherwise I wouldn’t know where every Starbucks in the City is located, would never have seen Anacostia in D.C., would never have walked in on two homeless guys sharing a bath in a public restroom sink in the East River Park.

I run for the thrill of singing along with The Killers at the top of my lungs as I hit the peak of the Williamsburg Bridge (can't hear my own tone-deafness with headphones, heh). I run because I know what it’s like to be stopped by injury and I run because I know what it’s like to run through one. I run to get through the morning heat that collects on Driggs Avenue to the relative coolness of McCarren Park. I run because when everything in life is insane, there’s structure in the training. I run for the tears when crashing into the wall after months of marathon training, for the frustration of finishing a 10K in 40:02, for the annoyance of a season lost to injury and work. I run for the elation of bursting through old plateaus, the hope of another race in six months and for the knowledge that in this sport, as in no others, hard work does create success. I run to see a deer charge at me in the woods, to see a homeless guy peeing in a trash can on the Brooklyn Bridge, to flip off rude drivers who don’t look both ways when turning right on red. I run to share the celebrations, conversations and dreams of my friends. I run for the splash of the rain, the sting of snow and the warmth of the sun.

I run because my life is richer with this hobby than without it.

There really is only one answer to the question, Why are you jogging? I run for myself. Any other reason would present a pale comparison.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Do you see what the clock makes me do?

Today's title is from the New Pornographers' album Twin Cinema and the song "Sing me Spanish Techno." Although the song's not really about long office days, I really feel a resonance these days with the line, "The hour glass spills its sand, only to punish you." In fact, I was so intrigued by the line that I had the song on repeat on the way back across the Billy-Bridge today. Just captures my mood, I guess...

Although things have stabilized and we've now moved into a sort of controlled chaos, when that means you're putting in 70-80 hour weeks, you appreciate the the little things that make a big difference in life; for your amusement, here are some of the little things:

  • A 4 mile run before work, with no shin pain
  • Drop off laundry service
  • Modest Mouse
  • Goose Island Oatmeal Stout (yum)
  • A new UK basketball recruit
  • Mocking Matt Lauer
  • Town cars (with the BQE* I'm not sure they're faster than the subway, but being able to sleep on the way home is priceless)
  • Jeph Jacques' comics
  • Pesto
  • A new gym bag
  • The Cincinnati Reds (Hey, when a team's this bad, every guy feels like he can be a Major Leaguer!)
Week of 5/14: 27 miles
Week of 5/21: 12 miles

*That's Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, for you non-New Yorkers.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kidney 10K

Finished in 39:44, but that's not really important. What is important is that this was a fairly hard pace for me currently, on a hilly course, in racing flats, and I went start to finish with zero, none, nullus shin pain -- this was a totally and completely uneventful race below the knee. That's a success no matter what the time was (even though the time was a clockwise p.r.). I'll learn how big a success it was when I run later today and see if this lack of shin pain continues. We might just be out of the woods here.

Now, on the negative side -- every hill after two miles killed me. I realize, of course, that this results from the lack of strength workouts, avoidance of hills, etc. that go along with running through shin splints, but it was somewhat disheartening when I consider how I motored over those hills in, say, Grete's Gallop last fall. With this weakness identified, and the other problem (hopefully) solved, work permitting I can address it over the summer.

I have lots of little anecdotes for this race.

First, it was sponsored by the United Arab Emirates. So, before the race began, a U.A.E. ambassador gave a little speech on how our running supported religious tolerance, ideological inclusiveness, peace, being a good neighbor and so forth. This was only really notable because about 3/4 of mile into the race some Whack-Job at the side of the course was screaming "You're Supporting Terrorists! Stop helping the Heathens!" Really nice contrast there between a blasé, but well-meant (and I think well-received) speech on peace and inclusiveness from the "terrorist" and the acerbic screamings of the "patriot." Honestly, guys like that sometimes make me embarrassed to call myself American.

Immediately on finishing, I met a new Flyer. Poor guy caught me right as I realized I'd just finished with no pain and, thanks to my excitement at that fact, he got all the gory treatment
details--the ice, the no hills, the slow-down, the cut runs, the anti-inflammatories--that you guys missed because I think the only more boring than reading about injury treatment is writing about it. So, if you're a reader fellow Flyer (Hah! Like people would read this nonsense!) accept my apologies for monopolizing our one-way conversation.

After the race, I was walking through the Park on the way to the office, and lo a bright light shone before me. I was in shock, "What the hell is that!?!" Then I realized that it was just sunlight reflecting off a jogging James Carville's forehead. That head's really bright!

And finally, after the race while still in the Park, this little woman fitness walking comes up to me and says ecstatically, "Did you run? Did you finish?" I confirmed I had and she said, "Oh. How long did it take you?" I told her and then she asked, "Wow. That's great. Do you, like, practice weekly?" When, holding back the urge to chuckle, I said, "Yeah, almost daily," she seemed extremely impressed. And, I guess, with all the constraints of life, I find that pretty impressive too.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Tick, Tock, Tick

Useless News

Around the globe the last few days...

The alma mater picked up its first super blue chip recruit of the BCG era, which has some folks rapsodizing in Latin no less!

CNN reports studies on a desk/treadmill combo. I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I'd kind of like to keep my exercise separate from my job, thanks very much. Plus, jogging in a full suit seems kind of silly.

More reasons to stay clear of New Jersey. Where do these people come from?

Blogger announces autosaving.

Sorry for the stacatto, joint-post-esque listing, but likely won't have time in the near future for long solo posts. It seems a long-standing firm client has decided to hire us for his case (good), but the case is less than six weeks before trial (uh). So, all that stuff that we were doing in December-March when I was going two weeks between runs, we're now going to try to do in June! Heh. In all seriousness though, this is going to be a lot of fun.

This week was already a cut-back week as I've hit about 35 miles four straight weeks. I've also decided to try an hit the Kidney 10K tomorrow morning before work. I'm pretty excited since I seem to finally be over that shin pain.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Public Thank You

I'd like to take a moment of your time today to give thanks to a very special and positive force in our community. This American institution has given so much to those of us out on the public highways and byways of New York City that its influence cannot be understated. We can only hope that mankind as a whole comes to appreciate and emulate this generous spirit.

Therefore, and without further ado, I'd like for everyone out there to join me in giving a hardy round of appreciation to Starbucks! That's right, Starbucks Corporation (SBUX).

I hear the protests. "But, Jo-u-u-u-n," you say, "Starbucks is a corporation. An evil empire even." Well, let me tell you a little about what Starbucks has done for me and why you should love them too.

Imagine with me. . . you're on a run. It's a nice day, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping. The commuters driving up the FRD are throwing a nice breeze over to you in East River Park. You're light, you're fast, you're floating. Everything is going your way. . . UNTIL . . . sudden lower G-I tract distress! [Cue music: Dum-Dum-Duuummmm].

You see a port-a-let and make a dash, but alas it's March and the Parks Department pad-locks the port-a-lets from November to April! You continue through the park, to the East River Track. There are runners there. People use that track. Surely the bathroom is . . . Foiled again! It's 7:15 in the morning and the Parks Department keeps that bathroom locked until 8. Your run's heading down the tubes faster than Jersey! You head out of the Park, sort of run-shuffling, grunting all out of proportion to the speed you're travelling, as you clench your stomach muscles, and then you see a chance -- a McDonald's. McDonald's (MCD) is always open at 7:22 in the morning. But, McDonald's, the selfish bastards, just like the toddlers to whom they market with their insipid clown, doesn't know how to share and keeps its bathrooms locked. That means you -- dear runner with an emergency -- have to stand in a line while all sweaty and squirming and then ask some teenager for the bathroom key, with it being obvious to everyone in the shop what you're doing, why you're there, and that you're not a paying customer. No. McDonald's will not do. It will not!

Then, against all hope, another block down, the heavens open, sunlight beams through a cerulean patch of sky to illuminate a black-and-white mermaid seated in a deep green halo. You've found your answer. Starbucks. Ubiquitous. Starbucks. With its bathrooms never locked. Starbucks. Where you can dash in and dash out. Starbucks. Which often has two entrances, one placed directly across from the bathroom. This is generosity my friends. In a city like New York which has no public bathrooms because . . . well, I don't know why. Perhaps because Giuliani was afraid homeless people would live in them? But anyway, we don't, which is a huge problem if you're 6 miles into a 13 mile out-and-back and suddenly nature calls. But with Starbucks it's no problem. Starbucks is everywhere. Starbucks is open early. Starbucks doesn't lock the bathroom door.

So, everyone out there. Go today to Starbucks. Show your appreciation. Buy a coffee, or a tea, or a Decaf Grand Iced Venti Soy Skim Latte Vanilla Almond Mocha Frappuccino, light on the ice, with distilled water, diet. Give a little back because Starbucks gives so much to us.

Thank YOU Starbucks!

Week of April 30: 34.2 miles
Week of May 7: 36.3 miles

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Triumphant return?

Today I planned to make a grand return to blogging. I had a beautiful post written.
It was profound and intriguing, but accessible.
Even life-changing, maybe, for the the right person. . .

But then my computer froze and my prose disappeared into some digital Limbo.
And my muse left for her day job.
I guess the return will have to wait a few more days.

Week of April 30: 34.2 miles
Monday: 4.15 miles, 31:54 (7:41/mile)
Tuesday: 10.33 miles, 1:18:20 (7:35/mile)

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Microsoft Word gave me this error in the office yesterday:

"Error. There are too many spelling and grammatical errors in the document "*my document's name*" to continue displaying them."

Yes, folks,
I killed spellcheck!

With running, I finally had a (largely) pain-free run today. Each one's getting just a little better than the last. . . more late

Week of
April 221.6 miles
April 916.3
April 1632.5
April 2335.4
April 30
(To date)
21.1 Miles

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter

Peep Show - Click Here for more great videos and pictures!

Went to see the rock opera Spring Awakening on Broadway this weekend. It's a fantastic show. However, for those of outside New York, you'll probably need to come to the City to see it. The show's just a little too frank about teenage angst and sexuality for Peoria. We followed the show with an early dinch (dinner+lunch??) at The Modern's Bar Room, which is like The Modern Restaurant, but affordable, while still being cool. The food (for me, Arctic Char Tartare and Spice Crusted Colorado Lamb Loin) was fantastic and the service good, which solidified The Modern Restaurant as a member of my short-list for my next "occassion dinner."

Still dealing with the shin-splints. Now I've tried both slowing down and cutting mileage. It no longer matters for next week's Half, since I now need to make an emergency trip back to the Ky for the second half of this week. However, the leg pain during the early part of my runs (i.e., my legs stop hurting after a warm-up) is still annoying.

Week of 3/26: 33.2 miles, 5 days, 11.3 long run.
Week of 4/2: 21.6 miles, 3 days, 11.3 long run (at 7:43 pace).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Matt Lauer

I love Matt Lauer! You can always count on him for some sort of asinine comment. This morning I arrived home from my run (I saw the dog again; this time I didn't wave at the owner), turned on the T.V., and as I was making coffee overheard this exchange with the jacket artist of the soon-to-be-released Harry Potter finale:

  • Matt: So, exactly how long does it take to print twelve million books?
  • Guest (looking confused by the question): Uhm, a few weeks.
  • Matt: Oh, that fast?
  • Guest: Yeah.
Matt, Matt, we have advanced printing techniques now. By and large, we haven't made books by hand for some 500 years. Of course, this pales in comparison to when, after announcing that Fred Thompson had announced his candidacy for president a few weeks ago, Lauer asked, "But can an actor really be president?" Doesn't anyone screen that man's teleprompter?!?

Today's run went well, with the exception that the shin splint I mentioned in yesterday's post hurts a little more. I'm now icing and anti-inflamatorying it. After the run, I was also solicited for medical advice. Some random on the street runs up yelling "Sir! Sir! When you have a pain here (gestures from his lower back along the outside of his hip to the top of his thigh), what do you do about it?" I demure with a, "Ice? I don't know." He walks off with a "Oh, you've never had that? Fine." Great, I guess Brooks shoes equal medical license?

4.15 Miles:29:45 @ 7:10/mile.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


As Yvonne has pointed out, perspective's a funny thing. I had the same reaction on my first "Queensboro Loop" after time off as she just had to her first "Tri-Borough Run" (which, is basically the same course). That reaction was, "Dear Lord, this is a long way! What ever possessed me to think marathoning was a good idea? And how'd I ever run this twice a week last fall???" Relativity is a funny thing.

Today I had another experience with perspective. Since I've re-taken to running after my months-long (and somewhat anticlimactic) trial build-up I've noticed that my pace has been quite a bit faster than last fall at the same effort. I've assumed that would change, that I'd soon be back to running 7:40-8:00 like last fall once the mileage got back up. Today, I assumed, would be that day. I'd run just under 2 hours on Saturday followed by 10k at a decent clip on Sunday. My legs this morning felt sluggish, I felt dehydrated, I still haven't acclimated to morning running, and, to top it off, I've developed a mild shin-splint in my left leg. If there was ever a day where running was a struggle, it was this morning and I knew that today was the day to get back to "normal" paces. I was therefore somewhat (or rather, completely) surprised when I got home to learn that the pace had been 7:36/mile for the 8.6 miles. I guess it's all a matter of perspective because it certainly didn't seem that fast. Of course, we'll have to see if this effort continues to produce 7:10-7:30 miles as I continue to drive up the mileage, but for the moment I'd like to delude myself into thinking I'm fit.

I've decided to dump Edith Wharton. It's just not working out for me. Really, it's not her. It's me. I just don't feel the connection. There's no spark; no chemistry. And there's another woman in my life. She's the subject of both song and poem. I'm now reading Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary, from whence comes this lovely Christmas poem --

Angelus consilii
Natus est de virgine
Sol de stella;

Sol occasum nesciens
Stella semper rutilans,
Semper clara.

Sicut sidus radium,
Profert virgo filium,
Pari forma.

Neque sidus radio,
Neque mater filio
Fit corrupta.

{"The angel of consel was born of the virgin as the Sun of a Star. A Sun knowing not setting A Star aways shining Always clear. As the star brings forth its ray, the virgin brings forth a son, in like manner. Neither the star by its ray, nor the mother by her son is made corrupt." (It certainly loses a lot in translation.)}

Week (of 3/19) in Review
Tuesday5.25 miles39:30
Wednesday4.15 miles29:47
ThursdaySick Day
FridayRest-- --
14.5 Miles1:50:00
Sunday6.25 miles45:08
Total30.2 Miles-- --

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Here's a suggestion on manners,which, if it has not been mandated by Emily Yoffe, should be. Let me set the scene . . . Imagine it's a crisp spring morning. Your dog wants you to take it for a walk. It's scratching the door. You put on your shoes and take it outside. Now, you're outside the front door of your vinyl-siding house with a second floor entrance, standing at the top of the concrete stair that goes down to street level. You see a runner coming down the sidewalk. Runner waves at you. You wave back. When runner's head gets even with the edge of the concrete stair . . . you allow your dog to run to the edge and start urinating into the street, or I should say, urinating at the runner! Gross!

(Okay, I did have the iPod on and didn't hear the dog honking, but that should be a non-issue because his urine did NOT have right of way.)

  • Tuesday: 5.25 miles in 39:30 (7:31/mile: Erin gave me a cold she had last week. This was tougher than it should have been because I'm all drugged up.)
  • Wednesday: 4.15 miles in 29:47 (7:11/mile: Easier, felt better, or maybe just ran faster to get home to shower off canine excretion)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

It's All in My Head

I have been blogging consistently over the past two weeks. I just haven't been writing to the blog or posting. I have the best of intentions. As I walk down the street, I compose the most striking and penetrating stories and commentary on life in the city. But then I get home, crack a beer, turn on the T.V. and never commit these thoughts to notebook. To a certain extent, I've started to narrate my life like John Dorian. (Erin says that this means I don't have enough friends.) But I realize this is both a lazy and selfish way to deal with life. So, for you, dear readers, and I mean both of you, I'll try to make more of an effort.

I've been thinking more about Victorian society as I've been working through The Age of Innocence, which I'm still undecided on. However, one passage in particular struck me as resonating with New York today, especially since I know so many women of around thirty lamenting their single status and their difficulties in finding marrigable men. (One friend, with whom I'm not even all that close, gave me the full breakdown on the status of her biological clock over drinks one night!) Here's the passage:

He had married (as most young men did) because he had met a perfectly charming girl at the moment when a series of rather aimless sentimental adventures were ending in premature disgust; and she had represented peace, stability, comradeship, and the steadying sense of an unescapable duty.
So, that's the secret. You have to be lucky enough to catch the guy at the right time, at a time when he's looking for stability, and then he'll feel obligated to marry you! This is really only funny because for many cases it's probably spot on true.

Running has been going fairly well as I've been striving for consistency. The last three weeks have been 22, 31 and 26 miles. I'm going to try to work up to around 40 over the next three weeks before cutting back for the Brooklyn Half-Marathon on April 14. Today's run, by the way, was loads of fun. It was 5.6 miles, with the first 2.5 into a headwind. They were extremely hard and I made the turnaround at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge after a tough 19:10 (7:40 pace). At that point, although I was climbing back up the Bridge, the wind assist was so great that I was moving at around a 6:40 mile going uphill and it was easier! The last 3.1, where the wind was either neutral or assisting I knocked out in a nice 21:35 (6:58 pace).

That's it from the land of Iphiclus. I have to go watch the alma mater play the Jayhawks of Kansas; but before I do, I'd like to add that I am so impressed that I don't have red-eye in this post.

Monday, March 12, 2007


The forecast is consistently in the 50s for next week; that's so exciting it almost deserves a post of its own.

In running, I'd forgotten how it felt to do only 3-ish miles. Yesterday, I need 2 miles to hit 30 for the week, which I consider good "getting back into it" mileage since it takes some consistency over the week to get there. My shins were also a bit tender from 12+ on Saturday. Short necessary mileage plus sore shins made the decision to run from my apartment to the base of the Pulaski Bridge and back, a route that is just short of 5K, a no-brainer. Plus, the novelty of running under 4 miles in a training run was a load of fun. Three miles is great -- you can run it fairly hard, but it's still an easy run! Fantastic! This sprecific run was into the wind on the way out (10:20) and with the wind on the way back (9:55) for a 20:15 run, not bad for a hack!

Week (of 3/5) in Review

Monday4.5 miles
Tuesday6.2 miles45:00
Wednesday4.5 miles31:45
FridayRest-- --
12.4 Miles1:30:27
Sunday3.1 miles20:15
Total30.9 Miles-- --

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Let's make fun of Victorians

I was asked about the omission of Tender is the Night in the comments of the last post. The omission was not meant as a slight to the book. I have yet to meet the Fitzgerald book that I don't like (and, since he wrote so few, it's unlikely that I shall). But I don't own a copy, and so the litany of titles from the Lost Generation on my bookshelf doesn't include it. Tender is the Night is a thinly veiled autobiographical account of life with Zelda; whereas This Side of Paradise is a thinly veiled autobiographical account of life at Princeton and Fitzgerald's (first) engagement to Zelda. I'm unlikely to own a copy of Tender is the Night soon, but you should. Like Erasmus, I have a backlog of dozens of books that I haven't read to finish before I'm allowed to buy ones that I have read.

I'm currently working through The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton. A contemporary of Fitzgerald, this novel was published in 1920, but basically pokes fun at New York society of the 1890s. I'm finding it somewhat off-putting, and am just figuring out why. While Fitzgerald's works are clearly set in the problems of his own day and when he attacks the elder generation it's for their hypocrysy (really, did you believe no girls kissed boys before marriage?) that limits the preparation for life, and choices allowed, to his own (which just wants to lead a rich and leisurely life), Wharton's tone is more like the self-righteous later generation passing judgment from a throne of its own making. I'm finding the tone a bit grating in the same way I'd find a modern author passing an unfettered (and even snide, at times) judgment on, say, the 1980s, without ever seeming to recognize their own generation's follies. But, I am only about a third through the book and so will withhold final judgment for another time.

Okay and about face! This is a running blog, after all. I ran an easy (7:45 pace) 11.8 miles on Saturday. I wouldn't really call this a hard run, but I did throw in some fartlek and I realize that two months later I've lost a lot of my, as my dad would say, "get up and go." Yesterday, I hit the gym for 30 minutes on the mill. I decided that I wanted to run sub-7s. There was no particular reason for this; just a whim. So, I started at 7:30s and worked down to 6:00mm over the 1/2 hour, finishing at 4.5 miles in 30 minutes.

And a question, does one nice Saturday of spring-like weather before plunging back into winter satisfy the rat's prediction of an early spring?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Well, now what do I do?

The "i"s will be crossed and the "t"s will be dotted on the settlement of the trial by the end of the day. It's an odd feeling, being part of an eve-of-trial-settlement. Sort of akin to how I imagine it would feel to receiving a letter in the last few weeks before a marathon saying that it had been canceled. For half-a-second, the thought that you'll have free time dominates; then you're annoyed and frustrated because, not only were you certain you would win, but you were certain you would dominate; then you feel a little bit sick and realize that weeks and weeks of work aren't actually going to be tested--that this is a lost opportunity in your professional life. Of course, at the same time that this vortex of conflicting feeling coalesces in your chest, a solid handhold appears in the realization that those weeks and weeks of work are what made the case end in the first place, so they aren't wasted; and the client is happy, so you've done a good job. But, obviously, this is a swirl of emotions that I'm going to have to get used to. Settlements on the eve of trial are not uncommon.

In keeping with this theme of endings, I just finished reading This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In a backlash to Dickens after I finished Bleak House a few weeks ago, I've turned now full tilt to early 20th century American authors.

I absolutely love Fitzgerald's work. The only real gripe I have is that the guy smoked like a fiend and died at 44 from a (series of) heart attack(s). If you only read one book by Fitzgerald in your life, don't read Gatsby, that is, unless you have a high-schooler at home and you need to help him with a book report. Read The Beautiful and the Damned. That's a masterpiece.

But, I digress. Back to This Side of Paradise. The protagonist is hatefully selfish and egocentric. The female characters are almost entirely unmitigated bitches. The men are shallow. And the older people are hypocritical prudes. And the writing is poetic and beautiful.

This passage, near the end of the book, I think I must have read six times:

Long after midnight the towers and spires of Princeton were visible, with here and there a late-burning light -- and suddenly out of the clear darkness the sound of bells. As an endless dream it went on; the spirit of the past brooding over a new generation, the chosen youth from the muddled, unchastened world, still fed romantically on the mistakes and half-forgotten dreams of dead statesmen and poets. Here was a new generation, shouting the old cries, learning the old creeds, through a revery of long days and nights; destined finally to go out into a dirty gray turmoil to follow love and pride; a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success; grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken. . .
Why, of why, Mr. Fitzgerald could you not have given us another twenty years?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Fastest Race Report Ever!

Race: Snowflake 4

  • Temp: Freezing. Didn't that god damn groundhog predict a short winter.
  • Before the race: Mary Wittenberg says over the intercom, "Any new runners out there?" and the response is . . . silence. I say, "Not today," and the guy in front yells, "Try again in July!"
  • During the race -- Miles one and two: felt like I was working way too hard for 6:10s. Not surprising since I haven't run in two weeks and am pushing 80 hours at the office for the week already.
  • During the race -- Half to mile 3.5: At this point I'm thinking, "Well I'm not going to get a p.r. I'm not even close. I'm exhausted from work. I don't really want to be here. And $*!@ this is hard!" I start coasting.
  • During the race -- 3.5 to end: Run hard. Finish in 25:25; 6:21/mile. Slower than my 10K in December.
  • After the race -- water was frozen. My apple had ice bursting through the skin.
  • Around 6pm, I'm at the office and I think, "Gee. Let's see how bad today's race really was against my old best. . ." And the old p.r. is . . . 26:18. Are you kidding? I guess that's the benefits of having soft p.r.'s. Or maybe it says something, I guess, on how much fitness I gained last year that this race was that much better than my last.
  • Miles since 2/15: 4

Friday, February 23, 2007


I was very happy yesterday when I learned, via email, that I'm being deleted:

Please Note: Your account will be removed from The New York Times Job Market on March 7, 2007 since it has been inactive for 18 months. If you would like to keep your account with The New York Times Job Market, please login now and your account will be retained for 18 more months.

About eightteen months ago I was initially offered my current position. This was a nice reminder of the hard work that went into finding something fulfilling in a down market, and the way that the bumps can get smoothed out over time.

Tomorrow, I'm "racing" the Snowflake 4, before heading back to the office. I'll be my first run since the 15th.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Quothe the senior partner to the associates: "You know when the trial is. This isn't going to be a pleasant time for any of us."

Quothe the associate to his friends: "I shall speak to you again in April."

Week of February 5: 27 miles
Week of February 12: 16 miles
Miles since February 15: 0 miles

(When I return, I shall beguile you with stories from my wife's 10 year high school reunion.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Stupid Cold

I've been gymming it for the last couple workouts due to the frigid temps outside. (But thank god I don't live Upstate, where up to 100" of snow is forecast!) The workouts were a mix. On Tuesday's "tempo" run, my hips felt extremely tight, which I assume was from climbing hills over loose snow on Sunday. After the run, my hips were so tight that I actually couldn't do my normal "bicycle crunches" after the run because I couldn't lift my legs off the floor. Note to self, remember to stretch those hips.

Last night, I felt fatigued, which makes sense following my hard run Tuesday and the long-ish run Sunday. So, I zoned into the first half of the Duke-UNC basketball game and took it easy. I have to say, it's good that UNC has such talented players because Duke totally out executed in the first half. UNC just looked bad, bad passes, forced shots, forced passes into triple coverage in the post. So rather than leaving in a good mood, I left my mill in a huff since UNC was down by 5 at the half. This was actually exceptionally close. As poorly as UNC played, and as solid as Duke's execution was, if the talent levels had been equally matched Duke would have led by 20. In the end, although I left after the first half, in the final period UNC did come back to win. So, while the result was great, I hate to see anything good go Duke's way, even if it's only a halftime lead.

In other news, Kentucky knocked off, or squeaked past, SEC cellar-dweller USC in a mid-week tune-up before hosting #1 Flordia on Friday night. ESPN, for several years, has been hyping this as a "Rivalry Game." For me certainly, and I think for most UK fans, calling Florida a "rival" of the program with the most wins of any school and the second-most NCAA championships may still be a little strong. But since #18UK (1 on the wins list, 2 on the NCAA championship list) has already lost to #5UNC (2 on the win list) and #2UCLA (1 on the NCCA list) this year, I guess we'll have to consider Florida an acceptable "rival" for this decidedly mediocre Kentucky basketball team. However, I really wish Indiana had a good team again, or Bob Knight, because that was a rivalry -- coaches that hated each other's programs, #2 and #3 on the NCAA championship list, border state's flagship schools. That had all the elements. And even after Bob Knight left, you could still hate Mike Davis.

Tuesday: 4.5 miles in 30:54 (6:52/mile, 2.5 miles at 6:40 and faster)
Wednesday: 6.1 miles in 45:00 (7:23/mile)

Monday, February 05, 2007


9. 17 mph wind.

In Metric, -13. 27kph wind.

Loose snow the length of the trail, approximately 1/4" thick.

Ice. Especially on hills.

Ice chunks on the Hudson.

Those are the details of the run for seven Flyers yesterday in Upper Nyack, New York. I, for one, on the subway ride to meet the group, kept raiding my dry clothes bag for extra warmth (I think I need that T-shirt now!).

Apparently, Ward called Christoph, who was our guide to this trail, the day before to say, "Hey, Christoph, it's going to be really cold. Let me know if you think we should cancel. . ." Christoph's response on the ride out of the City? "See, what he didn't realize is . . . I'm German." (I'm not really sure what that means, exactly -- "I'm German and we're rigid," "I'm German and in the Bavarian forests this weather is warm" -- but it was still pretty funny.)

I'm calling the run 13.5 and am going to forget the time due to the conditions. I'm a little unnerved to report that Christoph and Skylight went out for more! They ended up running 20 in this weather (I hung out in the car during their extra mileage, with the heater, eating my banana and reading some Dickens. ) For me, 13.5 doubles my prior longest run of 2007, and brings me to 32 miles for my first consistent week of the year. That 32 also more than doubles my total mileage for '07, but it seemed like a good "getting back into it" amount.

Afterwards, we hit up a really cute cafe for brunch. Christoph, Skylight and I had about 7 plates between the three of us, which was somewhat ridiculous. However, it was really tasty and if you're ever in Nyack, New York, it's was called Strawberry Place.

(And, since its that time of year, the Alma Mater staged a 14-point, second-half comeback to beat Arkansas on the road Saturday. Go Cats!)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Is it a trend?

I've been very sporadic in blogging in '07, which reflects my running (weekly-to-date: 0,5,16, 10*). However, this week . . . oh, glory, oh accomplishment . . . I'm going to break 30 miles. This strikes me as sufficient consistency to be worth blogging about (also, it's notable in that it'll also lead to a doubling of my miles for the year!)

So, how has this amazing accomplishment occurred? Well, for one, I've (re)discovered that when I'm only running 4 miles a pop, I don't have to get up at 5 am. Amazing! You don't have to allocate 2 hours to run only 28 minutes. Second, I've been routinely leaving the office by 8 to 9 pm. That may still seem late, but at only around 12 hours, it's completely within my tolerance range for outside activity. Third, after about 2 weeks, I really started to feel run-down, but in a completely different way than the run-down I feel while running at my most fatigued. Basically, I like the way I feel when I'm active and don't like the way I feel when I'm not -- even if I'm running a lot and feel exhausted. A few weeks off reinforced just how much I like busting out a 5 mile run.

One thing odd about my month off, is how much faster my runs have been on this return than they were during marathon training. I would have thought that after 4 weeks of almost nothing, I'd be running slower (or at least no faster) than I was at the end of last year. That's not even close. Here's this week so far:

  • Tuesday -- 4.15 miles in 29:08 (7:01/mile on the Pulaski O&B).
  • Wednesday -- 4.15 miles in 30:25 (7:20/mile over loose snow in McCarren Park).
  • Friday -- 6.00 miles in 45:06 (7:31/mile in a gym that felt like Kenya. Seriously, it felt like running in July).
  • Today -- 5.00 miles in 36:28 (7:18/mile on the Billy Bridge O&B, but a noticable headwind on the out (18:43) that was a tailwind on the back (17:45)).
I'm somewhat confused by this. Although I understand tapering, and I understand faster times on lower mileage, I really have done almost nothing in January and thought that it would be assured that when I got back to normal mileage I wouldn't be running at sub-7:20 (and, for the record, these runs are being run at the same effort as my 7:40-7:50s at year-end '06). Is this just from integration of fitness during my time off? Is this just from rested muscles? Should I expect these times to climb over the next couple weeks? Last year was my first really "serious" training period, so this was also my first lay-off. What should I be expecting?

*I'd planned more for the fourth week, but the Flyers annual dinner (including a big open bar) derailed those ambitions. But it was totally worth it. Heh heh.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

So, this is the new year. . .

. . . and I don't feel any different.*

Yes, folks, today was my first run of the New Year and unlike the implication lent by the line I stole from Ben Gibbard's band, it really felt like I'd taken two weeks off to spend a lot of hours at my desk job. I actually feel tired and, at least for today's run, extremely uncoordinated. My hips, calves, hammies and shoulders all felt tight and certainly didn't want to stretch out for a solid stride. It's amazing how "off" one feels after two weeks off. Even though my legs felt fresh, every footfall seemed to hit the ground a half second either before or after I thought it should. It was only with the last mile that things seemed close to "right," and the pace dropped significantly at that point with almost no additional effort.

As for Houston, today's run left me completely certain that I'd made the right decision. Although my legs felt fresh, extremely fresh (even if they weren't operating with the precision I'd like), mentally, the five mile Billy Bridge O&B was almost more than I could take. Although Friday was a 'normal' workday, the last two weeks have taken such a toll that just running water for clean cereal bowl this morning seemed like the greatest chore in the world! With that said, I can't imagine how I'd have managed to catch a flight!

Furthermore, this shortie 5-miler was extremely mentally challenging. Halfway through the run, thoughts that I imagine attack the minds of those who are running for the first time ever, or maybe those who view exercise as a punishment continually assailed my mind -- thoughts like: "What sort of freak does this for fun!?!" and "My god, I'm supposed to do this every day!?!" Fortunately, my mental outlook changed immensely in the last mile, once my joints started to loosen up some and my legs started to get somewhat recoordinated. Although the middle 60% of the run was pretty dim, I finished actually looking forward to getting running back into the routine again. But those dark thoughts confirm exactly how difficult trying to run a marathon this weekend would have been. Although I finished on a high note today, most of the middle miles of the run were mentally pretty bleak. Even at the best of times, racing the marathon presents bleak moments, and I don't believe I'd have had the mental reserves to handle them.

For the future, I'm considering the JFK Airport 5K in April as my target for spring. I've been browsing plans online, but haven't found anything that I like yet. Anyone out there have any suggestions on structuring 12 weeks to make a strike at sub-18?

Billy Bridge O&B: 5 miles in 36:24 (7:17 pace).

*From Death Cab for Cutie'sTransatlanticism.

"The New Year"

So this is the new year.
And I don't feel any different.
The clanking of crystal
Explosions off in the distance (in the distance).

So this is the new year
And I have no resolutions
For self assigned penance
For problems with easy solutions

So everybody put your best suit or dress on
Let's make believe that we are wealthy for just this once
Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
As thirty dialogs bleed into one

I wish the world was flat like the old days
Then I could travel just by folding a map
No more airplanes, or speed trains, or freeways
There'd be no distance that could hold us back.

There'd be no distance that could hold us back [x2]

So this is the new year [x4]

Monday, January 08, 2007

Best Laid Plans . . .

It's been a while since I last posted to this blog, almost two weeks. Partly that's attributable to visiting my parents, who live far enough out in the country that dial-up is the only available connection, meaning that I may as well be off the grid. Partly, it's due to my very busy work schedule since getting back to New York on New Year's Day. Routinely, I've been in the office until 11 over the past week. Routinely, I've been arriving before 8, as opposed to my normal 9:30. What little time I've had outside the office has been devoted to having a beer in front of the T.V. The worst part is that despite those hours my inbox is getting more full!

That brings us to the Houston Marathon, which I've decided to bag. I haven't run a quarter in the New Year (actually, a 45 minute walk with Erin last night was the most time I've spent outside at a stretch in the New Year). And although I could run the marathon with zero miles in the two weeks leading up to it, I'd also be abandoning the firm before a hard deadline. No dice. Got the lesson here: don't plan big events for the month of January.

Looking ahead, I don't believe I'm going to be able to devote the hours to train for an April marathon either (we have a trial in March!). That stretches my next BQ attempt to the fall. I think the plan is to take a couple weeks off and then, once the hours get down to a more reasonable 50-60, to start in at 30 miles or so and focus on shorter stuff. I'd still like to take a crack at my 5K time this spring.

In the end, I have to admit that I'm not too upset by this development. Although it is disappointing not being able to race, I'm not a professional runner and in my profession I've been getting a number of positive signs: positive comments from partners I don't directly work for, the size of my raise, the very fact that I keep being given loads of work, etc. It's hard to be upset about missing a hobby with lots of positive feedback in the job.

And, although it's been unsaid to this point, like my running this blog will also be quasi-dormant until work calms itself.