November 17, 2014

I'd like to ask a favor of you. Please check the link to follow, then act as you see fit. If that includes a contribution of money, or perhaps further sharing on social media, that would be perfect.

Click this link:

The story of the school is there at the link, for the most part, which hopefully you've read by now. The story from my perspective is that this is my brother's effort, to help the village in Zambia where he currently lives. So that is, to be honest, at least part of the reason for my investment. The other, of course, is that this is a very worthwhile project regardless, and the residents have done a tremendous amount of work already. (Have you ever made 25000 bricks?) The only thing left is the funding. Which, hopefully a decent effort can be made to collect the needed funds. It's simply a matter of enough people choosing to do so.

November 14, 2014

I like one of these covers significantly more than the other

Kilian is on the cover of Outside this month, and appears to be laying on some hay, jacket open, making come hither eyes. Walking past the magazine section in my local bookstore, I have to say, this was a little, uh, uncomfortable? Disconcerting? Strange? Something like that.

As jarring as Kilian's attempts to seduce the magazine browsing public were, seeing this cover in person quickly diverted my attention. I won't attempt to tell the story, because you can read the accompanying article here, and Scott's personal blog here. You could always, of course, click the link on my blogroll. It's the one that says Run Fast. Run Vegan. I considered saying it was the one that said bad mother fucker on it, but thought that perhaps the Pulp Fiction reference was a little too dated, and anyway, that you should actually be directed to the blog, because the quality of writing is absurdly high (and has been for years), and joking aside, Sam Jackson's line would've been accurate enough. 

November 12, 2014

Polar vortex

The title of this post is a forced reference to the fact that it's fucking cold now, quite suddenly. Anyway.

Matt Fitzgerald has a new book out, promoting what he calls 80/20 training. I haven't read it. But, here's a lecture from an exercise scientist discussing polarized training, which is more or less the same thing, except without a catchy name.

This more or less lines up with what is now conventional wisdom, but perhaps not conventional action. My training for the past couple years, for instance, has mostly been medium distance, medium effort. Probably not for the best. Trying to rectify that.

November 4, 2014

Some things

Some running things:

For being a "volume guy" and having nothing in the way of natural speed, my race times run somewhat counter to what you might expect, or what calculators indicate. It seems that, decent mileage aside, I can pretty well assume I'll slightly underperform as the race distance increases. Looking at my PR's, there aren't any exceptions to this. Could this simply be a pacing issue? Wouldn't really doubt it.

When getting passed, does anyone not look at the person now ahead of you and think "My pace looks like that? Oh god, surely I'm not that slow. And they're pulling away from me? Which means... oh no..." This happened, like, eight times to me this weekend.

Half marathons are still a pretty chill distance though. No searing oxygen debt, and it's over before your legs can really go to hell.

Some non-running things:

When you get home and the dogs are like OH MY GOD I THOUGHT YOU'D NEVER COME HOME BUT YOU DID AND HERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW LET ME JUMP ALL OVER YOU life basically peaks. This happens every day, so that's a pretty good state of affairs. Dogs are the best.

Just try to be this happy about something as often as possible, and things will be ok. The tao of dog.

Larabars are the best packaged food product, an assertion I believe with all my being to be true. They have seasonal flavors, one of which is pumpkin pie. That will get all the focus, but snickerdoodle is the real star. (Gingerbread is whatever.) It tastes like a fucking cookie. A great fucking cookie. They say it's just fruit and nuts but that's bullshit. Pretty sure they're just putting real cookie in there and lying to everyone. I don't care.

Today I realized that I don't know any of the lyrics to many of my favorite songs. Certainly can't understand them when listening, and never bothered to look the lyrics up. The growling, shrieking, screaming, etc., functions almost like another instrument. You understand the vocals in the same way you understand a guitar. But even still, not sure I could explain the appeal to anyone.

November 3, 2014

Kansas Half (empty)

The Lawrence Half was rough. That is objectively true, owing to the hills and up to 30 mph wind, but especially true in my case, because I don't think anyone bombed harder than me.



Can't say I'm pleased, but neither can I say I'm surprised, or that I didn't deserve it. Went out like an asshole, as I do, trying to race a bit over my head, running more of a dream pace than a goal pace. This is typical for me, and typically, it does not work. (But those times it does are pretty sweet.) In local races, I'm basically always going to attempt to go with the lead pack, if such a thing exists, even if this is objectively an awful idea.

I'd like to fix this, uh, quirk, someday, but I've said that too often already and done nothing at all.

So, the first 3 miles were great, the next 7 were fine, and the last 3 were, to put it kindly, slow as shit. I wasn't wearing a Garmin, but I'm not sure it would have registered the movement regardless. It got to the point that my legs couldn't make anything else work hard; that is, my breathing was as controlled as it is this second, because my legs were just toast.

C'est la vie.

There are more races soon - indeed, I may run another two half marathons this month - and a decent portion of my race rust is now hopefully knocked off.


October 29, 2014

Here are some words, its been a while

It wouldn't be accurate to say that I haven't written, exactly, although you've seen nothing here. I've spent as much - perhaps more - time than usual hunched over this laptop, trying to hammer out things that are not blog posts. But they are all deleted now. About which I am pleased. Or at least, not unhappy.

What are these things? Impressions. Tangents. I start with something or someone that strikes me and then go until I can't. And I don't save. Or I haven't, yet.

Joyce did this, more or less, and it always struck me as genius. Write things down, as they interest you. Words carry themselves forward, sometimes outpacing our expectations for them. Joyce carried with him a notebook, however, and thus of course did save everything, and incorporated much of it into his works. I am not Joyce, though, which is so absurd a thing to say that it simply must be said.

But while I don't save the words, I save the act. It's not undone. And that path now trod across my synapses perhaps brings me closer to something worth finding. Perhaps not. But the movement is worthwhile, just the same.

They say you never regret a run, and I find that to be true for reading and writing as well. Somewhat arbitrarily, I mandate for myself at least an hour of physical book reading a day, and as much time writing - or trying to. Add that to my hour or more of running, and you might get the impression that I don't get out much. You'd be correct. But it's good. And maybe "it" wouldn't be without these things, so, no regrets.

On the running front, I should note that I'm running a half marathon on Sunday. This race - the Kansas Half Marathon, April 2011 - was largely the impetus for my taking running somewhat more seriously, when I ran 1:33:27 on - and I can't say for sure - maybe 15 miles a week. I had fun, but if I'm being honest, the primary appeal was that I had stumbled upon a sport at which I was not immediately awful. I wanted to try and get something like "good", which has turned out to be quite the moving target, perpetually several minutes faster than whatever my best happens to be at that moment.

But - despite my occasional bitching, which might reasonably lead you to assume the opposite - I'm quite happy to chase the carrot, knowing full well that I can't possibly get it. The chase - and the exploration, of terrain both literal and metaphorical, that results - has become almost wholly the point.

(Still, I'd like to run a time I don't hate at the moment, even if I'll deem it too slow in 6 months.)

October 14, 2014

Good time

From Breaking Madden, the internet's best football videogame comedy series:
Running is awesome if you don't have access to a bicycle. Or maybe you do, but you want to see less of the world and have a bad time.
Sometimes it's nice to remember that this hobby is still a powerfully silly indulgence, to most. But powerfully silly is still powerful, in its way.

I run a lot, and my routes vary basically not at all. I run on a treadmill by choice several times a week even when the weather is perfect. It would, in short, be hard for a runner to see less of the world than I do, and yet I nearly always have a good time. Because, while I enjoy quality trail and mountain porn as much as the next person, the act of sustained bipedal self propulsion is itself so satisfying to me as to require no accompaniments, no additional stimuli.  

People ask how I don't get bored and I say there are three steps a second to focus on, which is almost too much action to process. Then there's all the shit in my head, which, well, that's irritating often enough, but never boring. 

I have not, to my knowledge, changed any minds. 

But there is a dog right now trying to wrestle with my foam roller, and that's ok.