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?