April 29, 2014


Despite my best intentions, my lower leg problems have not yet abated. I haven't run, or even tried, since Thursday. But I have walked - though much less than usual - which has been enough to worsen things.

This surprises me, to be honest. I had expected my dalliance with pain was merely that, not something legitimately damaged. I certainly didn't expect to fail the bear test, which I now do.

What's that, you ask?

The bear test. A thing I made up today at work today (I was editing a journal about bears, so my head was there), to decide whether you're hurt or injured. It is simply this: If chased by a bear, could you even attempt to run away? Right now, I couldn't. Walking is a chore, even.

So, stubborn though I am, I decided to use my fancy new health insurance, and go see a sports medicine doctor at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. He primarily works with soccer players and runners, so I figured he'd be familiar with my issue, whatever it might be.

He was. Sadistically so, almost. There are a lot of very specific points on the lower leg you can poke or prod, and a lot of ways you can twist around the foot. After a description of the symptoms, however, he chose a very specific few points to poke, and then two ways to manipulate my foot.

Clearly, he was looking more to confirm a suspicion than discover new information.

He then showed me a picture of this on his computer. (His was animated though, and not taken from google image search.)

You strained this, he said. We can do an MRI, to see if you tore it, but you'd probably know if that had happened. It's a common enough overuse injury (although I had never heard of it), and heals easily enough, provided you stay off it. I'd like to put you in a boot for three weeks, after watching you walk, or we can try an ankle brace. (Awesome doctor, by the way. Very familiar with gait mechanics, and running in general. He was happy to discuss why he settled on the diagnosis and treatment plan he had, and was never pedantic or a scold.)

I opted for the brace, and I have to say, the improvement was immediate. It feels... awkward. But it doesn't feel painful to walk, which is an improvement over the last few days. That's good news.

I get to cross train to my heart's content - so sayeth the doctor - so that's good too. If it is only a three week break, fitness should basically be maintained. Honestly, it may even be improved, considering the post-marathon hammering I foolishly gave myself.

I'm actually quite happy about this. Not just that it's only three weeks, but that it is three weeks. A break will probably do me some good, and I'd never take one if I wasn't forced. Someday I'll have to fix that.

On the subject of fixing, there is the matter of training. Of what I'll do in a month or so. Well, I'll get to that. There will be plenty of words spilled on planning, if only because I don't expect to find much inspiration for writing in stationary biking. (The rowing machine though... I do have an outsized fondness for it. Time to get acquainted.)

UPDATE: Rowing machine is hard. Did two sets of 1000 pretend meters on either side of my hour bike session, which was also difficult. A reminder, as always, that fitness is specific. I'm "in shape" already. But not in shape for these things, because I've never really done either. Still, my lungs and heart won't forget what effort feels like, even if certain muscle patterns will.

April 27, 2014

Stale Grounds

Sitting in a coffee shop, drinking espresso, then seltzer water. Watching the rain. The lightning. Pause, then the thunder.

Watch the shots. The pours. Glance at the resulting drink and think that I could do better.

Well, could.

And it's not about better, really. Never was. Not relative to others. Not even relative to myself. Coffee - unlike running - was never competitive. I just loved doing it, and however good I got was born from that seven or so years of practice.

It's been about a year now though. Not quite that, by my reckoning, but close enough. Told a friend today - she's still doing it - that it feels like five.

I could probably get some minor high off of the pantomime tamping. Don't get me started on latte art.

There's something to be said for the people too. A lot, really. Hundreds of people every day, all thrilled to see you. (All? Most.) Not too many jobs like that. Not too many worlds in which eight hours a day is spent mingling among friends.

But money is a thing, an important thing. That's reality. I make more now and when I don't spend it like a dipshit, things are comfortable. That's nice.

I need a new pair of running shoes, and if I could find a pair I didn't hate, I could buy them. (But I can't, which, fuck. But that's another thing.) That's nice.

I have healthcare, and probably some other stuff that's covered in that handbook I really never read. I guess that's nice. If I did actually fuck up my ankle (I didn't), fixing it wouldn't be an impossible chore. That'd be nice.

Really, I do mean all of that. I enjoy my job. I work with some great people. And the company has given me good things.

I don't think this is inconsistent. You can miss where you were and be satisfied with where you are. No regrets.

Just... I wish someone would let me pull some fucking shots. That's not so bad, is it? After hours. Before hours. Shit, I'd work a few hours on the weekends. I'd pay you to let me do that. And then I need to pour a rosetta, just to see that I still can.


Oh, also.

There's a coffee shop that just opened down the street from my office. By that I mean like 20 feet down the street.

It's called Decade, and I'm stoked.

I... don't own a camera. And my phone is not a camera. So I can't show you the building.

But it's white. I think it used to be a paint shop or something. Don't know. It's old, like everything in East Lawrence.

There is a patio. It's big. Everything inside is wood. There are benches. A lot of open floor space. Big windows. It breathes.

The equipment is ace. The offerings are simple. V60. Aeropress. French Press. Espresso. Four Barrel beans from San Fran. Choice.

Dudes behind the counter were nice. Beards. Flannel. Aprons.

A record player.

So goddamn Portlandia.

But I love it.

Next door The Recyclery is being brought back. The briefly dead used bike and parts shop of Lawrence legend returns.

Also pretty goddamn Portlandia.

And I love it also.

April 26, 2014

Zero Miles, Zero Problems

In case you were wondering, the ankle feels pretty good today. (And you were wondering. It's okay to admit it.) Not 100% though. Like, 78.345%. Roughly.

So no running today. Other stuff instead. And no running tomorrow either. Other stuff too.

Can't really muster words about the other stuff though. So here's a good local band. Well, St. Joseph is local enough. They look to be 16 or something, but I'm pretty sure that's not accurate. Whatever. It's... punk? Yeah? And yeah, the lead singer does a pretty good Danzig. Better than Danzig has done in a while, honestly.

And another one. Because that was really good, wasn't it?

Yeah, it was.

Zero Miles

Didn't run today. Not an hour. Not a mile. Not a step.

Jacked my ankle up yesterday. Or something close to it. Left leg, on the outside. Above the ankle, really, but the pain radiates down that way. Walking on it hurts, but I can roll it around okay.

During the group run yesterday. Nothing popped. No moment that I remember, specifically. But the last mile hurt, then hurt like hell, but I wasn't slowing up. Speeding up, actually, because that's what we do, as we near the finish. And I'm too stubborn to cut it short, even by a few hundred meters.

Stupid, but it's done.

Walked home. Not quick either.

Felt better today. Spun on the elliptical for an hour, then the stationary bike for an hour. Lifted. Felt good about all of that. (I've always told people I'm really more of an exercise dork who focuses on running, than a "runner". So in a pinch, I can get off on this stuff.)

Walked around the gym. Felt okay. Thought maybe I should run. Thought maybe I shouldn't.


Won't tomorrow. Probably not Sunday either. Not until the day after it feels perfect.

I'm happy with this, actually. It's not an injury. And that's not wishful thinking. Sometimes you just know. And I know. Or at least I think I do. Anyway, it'll be fine in a few days, if I let it. If not, I'll give it a few more.

And I'm going to. It's all good.

Probably needed something like recovery anyway, post marathon. After the bad ones, you want to get back at it. Hammer more. Hammer harder. Hammer, uh, hammerier? But after the bad ones, you're more beat to shit than after the good ones. Best not to take out your frustrations on your legs. Fuck things up seriously.

Plenty of people have suggested that I run too much. That I should schedule rest days. Never really cared. Told them I ran every day I felt like I could. Every day I wanted to. Just so happened that turned out to be every day. I'd take a day off when I needed a day off. They never believed me.

I can stop whenever I want.

Yeah, sure.

April 23, 2014


Because I'm still somewhat in the mood to beat myself up over my one-for-three (pretty good in baseball though) Spring racing "season" (as if I plan things that specifically), here are some legitimately impressive training demonstrations offered up by others.

Go here and watch the Meb video. 

Training as a full time job, and he goes at it that way. That brief moment where he does pushups? I've got that down, at least.

Then, here.

I like Dominic Grossman, in the vaguely weird way that people like athletes they've never corresponded with in any way. By which I mean, I admire naked ambition, shared openly, even at the risk of publicly falling short of said ambitions. Dude wants to be good, and he wants to work for it. Big miles and big goals. Breaking Jim O'Brien's only-one-year-younger-than-me AC100 CR certainly qualifies as the latter, and 10 weeks over 100 (with more to come) qualifies as the former.

Down in the comments, there's a link to a schedule written by O'Brien. It's terrifying. Doubles. Track work. Tempos. Long runs stacked on longer runs. 

I... need to go run now.

Update: I did go run. It was cool. Legs are fully back, post marathon. They were really only sore for a day or so, but really lacked the energy to do much beyond trotting until yesterday. Took advantage, and let it rip. No watch, so no way of telling, but sevens, or a little under, to finish. 

April 21, 2014

Past as Prologue

When running, I typically think about running. Not the act I am specifically indulging in at that moment, always. Not form neurosis, or even basic systems checks. Usually, it's past races and future races. Why certain things went well, and other things didn't.

Today, while jogging around, I thought back to my first half marathon, a trail race in March 2011. I ran it in 1:39 off of less than 20 miles a week. Probably less than the 13 mile race distance, most weeks. Hadn't, with one very painful one hour exception, run for more than 30 minutes consecutively, at any point (and that was the previous fall). I was still mostly weights focused at the time - or transitioning my interests, at least. So, I primarily did interval work, as that struck me as less catabolic. (Whether I was right in thinking this is a very long thing indeed, and anyway, I'm not even remotely sure.)  My old favorite was one minute all out, one minute total rest (as in standing still) for an hour. It was a good "workout", in the general sense, but surely not specific to a half marathon. (Pretty damn hard though. I also tried thirty seconds "on", thirty seconds "off" for an hour, but couldn't do it.)

Worth noting, I was trashed at the end of this race.

A few weeks later, however, I ran the Lawrence Half in 1:32. Felt trashed again. Limped the last couple of miles, actually. Still, not a shitty time, considering my complete lack of aerobic conditioning and slow twitch fiber development. (Yes, I know that's a loaded statement. And yes, I know that it's very possible to do "aerobic" interval work. But I didn't. And anyway, that's somewhat beside the point.)

Anyway, we're a few years away from that, and quite a few miles. Since then, my training has flipped to an almost complete jogfest - Thursday group runs aside. My ability to run for a long distance has increased considerably, as has my ability to recover from these efforts. However, I do think it's fair to say that I'm not a lot "faster".

I ran that same trail half this year in 1:32, and haven't run a road half since. (I should get around to that.) Still, let's hypothesize, based on that trail race, that I'd run 7 minutes faster (yeah, I know the percentages don't even out). That would be a 1:25. (I've self timed a run on a still marked half marathon course in 1:24 and change, but that's impossible to claim as a legit PR. But by writing it, I guess I kind of am. So, delete it? If you're reading this, obviously I didn't.)

These are not incredibly large improvements, considering the massive increase in mileage. This is not to say that I haven't improved at all, or in other ways. I can run faster at every distance, and I can complete distances that, even those three years ago, would have seemed fanciful. That was my primary goal, and it was achieved. No regrets.

But let's go back to those 2011 half marathons for a moment. Considering my total lack of volume, I think those were pretty good times. Viewed as a person who just read Steve Magness' The Science of Running again (and is too damn neurotic anyway), this might suggest a natural predominance of slow twitch fibers. The heavy weight lifting and fast running I did at the time provided the stimuli needed to prop up my feeble fast twitch development. Knowing my athletic history - I was very fucking slow at everything, and bad at every "explosive" sport - this makes some measure of sense. When I switched to my all jogging, all day method of training, those fibers went to sleep, any my already not terrible slow twitch fibers enjoyed all the attention.

Put another way, I gravitated towards the training that was easier for me (and thus far more enjoyable). My natural strength got stronger, my natural weakness got weaker.

Magness (And many other coaches, but he wins due to recency bias. "Hadd training", of internet fame, covers this really well also.) specifically notes this danger. Naturally "slow twitch" types should, of course, race longer distances. But they should never get too far away from "pure speed" (hill sprints, 50-100 meter repeats, and heavy weight lifting), and they probably ought to incorporate conventional repeat sessions as well. They need volume, of course, but not exclusively. For the marathon specifically, their long runs shouldn't just be jogs.

There is something intuitive here. You should work on what you're bad at, or you'll stay bad at it. Maybe even get worse.

Magness - he's very Canova in this, and admits as much - also emphasizes the importance of race pace work for everyone, at all distances. Nine minute miles aren't specific to much, other than ultras. I got a lot better at those, predictably, but only smaller gains were made at the marathon and below. This too is intuitive. You have to practice a thing - race pace, in this instance - in order to become proficient at it.

All of that said, on some level, the mechanism doesn't matter much. Could be that Magness is wrong. (Smart guy, and I doubt it. But still.) Could be that I'm completely misreading the book, and/or my own past results. Could be I'm just grasping at straws. Doesn't much change plans going forward.

Quality counts, and training fast sometimes helps you race faster. Why, while interesting, is somewhat peripheral.

We'll see what happens. I've talked about committing to quality - to training, rather than hobbyjogging - before, but it's never stuck. Simply, I like running slow. The bitch of it though, is that I hate racing slow. So the motivation is there now, to an extent it wasn't previously. Still, no bold promises. I write a lot, obviously; but even given that, I'd like to avoid being the guy that talks better training than he does.

April 20, 2014

Free State

Volunteered at a trail race today. 

Pointed one way. Half.

Pointed the other way. Full.

Picked up the flags after. Ran the loop a couple times, to see it, and because I have to do these things. Seeing people run is like watching people eat - hard to do without craving some yourself. 

Regretted, while moving, that I wasn't racing. This is also typical. Not that volunteering isn't rewarding - it is. But racing is the best thing I know, when it goes well; and I'm perpetually foolish enough to assume it will. 

I thought then that that was selfish. Then, back to my multiple ethics classes (phil minor, to go with my english major, because I hate money), during which it was suggested that perhaps altruism is itself selfish, or rather, a guise for selfishness. Altruism, perhaps, does not exist. To volunteer, or more broadly, "do good", brings forth in us a good feeling. Often, we are rewarded with recognition and praise. Maybe that's all we want anyway, when doing something apparently nice. 

In this case, one volunteers at races to hear "thanks", to earn credit within the community, and to feel as if they've done something.

Maybe. I don't know. And I don't know, even if that were all somewhat true, that anything would really be ruined by it. Can't say.

All I can say is that I volunteered today, that my nose is red and my legs itch, but that I feel good about having done it. That part, however, coexists with another, that thinks only that I should've run the marathon, that I'm recovered, and that I'd have won it too, dammit. (Wrong, and probably wrong.)

But people are messy that way.

I do know that there has been a lot of talk, pre-Boston, about the broader running community. And I get that. I do feel like a "runner", and that I share this one meaningful thing, if nothing else, with millions of others. That matters.

But a tapestry that large doesn't hold together without fine stitching - in this case, local dirt shared by mostly local folks. 

April 18, 2014

Questions End in Periods?

Let's Run is probably best known for its dumpster fire of a message board. In addition to that, however, it does offer some of the most enthusiastic and comprehensive (not to mention poorly written) coverage of the sport.

To wit:

This interview with Abdi Abdirahman, which gives us this gem of a sequence (Note, per above, the botched punctuation after "why not"):

And this reminder that, for all of our perpetual "next American" talk, it very nearly happened in 2011.

April 16, 2014

What Speed Do

At 12 years old, Gareth Bale ran 4:59 for 1500m, and 2:24 for 800m. Had he stuck with track, perhaps he'd have grown into a competitive middle distance runner for Wales.

Unfortunately for him, he was also quite adept at kicking a ball with his left foot, and so he's had to settle for being one of the highest paid athletes in the world. Still, it's that speed - rather than his also remarkable striking - that distinguishes him. No other player in world soccer runs as far or as fast, on a consistent basis. And so you see things like this goal, scored today, against Barcelona.

In the words of Royals outfielder - and much less successful athlete - Jarrod Dyson: That's what speed do.

April 15, 2014

Moving On

The moon looks rusty tonight and I feel rusty so that is appropriate I guess.

Intended to do something involving legit turnover, but my legs weren't ready for it yet. Still, a chilly, still night is not to be wasted, so I trotted about for a bit. Felt better at the end than at the beginning, so popped off a few things I might generously call strides, but only because it was dark, so no one could see and subsequently testify otherwise.

I'm feeling better. People are saying nice things to me, which is nice, except when it isn't. Sometimes I'd prefer a simple "Yeah, you sucked, but you probably won't suck as bad next time." to "No, that's great!"

It has occurred to me that "next time" could be as soon as April 26, if I wanted. Or May 31, if not quite that soon. The former would be profoundly stupid. Pacing could improve but it wouldn't be enough time to absorb and rebound from the previous marathon, which would then be treated as a particularly hard workout. May 31 offers that advantage, at least.

Still, don't know. I could do a half or two instead, since that distance stands alone as the only one that's always been kind to me, for whatever reason.

That would probably be the smart thing to do. Fitness won't budge much in a month. Probably better seeing where my half fitness is, then moving forward with focused marathon training based on that time, targeting something in October.

If I can find a way to afford it, I might like to pay somebody (or for a static plan) to tell me how to go about this. Not that I haven't read enough about training methodology. More likely I've read too much. I know a lot of recipes but can't cook for shit. And I'm fundamentally stupid when it comes to myself, as that whole marathon-in-11-days idea should firmly establish. That said, I know enough to know that while I really enjoy my highish volume jogging, I'd like to try training for a bit.

Probably won't suck as bad next time.

April 14, 2014


There were Boy Scouts volunteering at the Eisenhower Marathon, young kids with blue button ups and yellow scarves. Cub Scouts, then, to be accurate. I remember, because I was one. Same town. Same outfit. I remember all of it fondly, even considering the various political controversies I was not yet aware of, but which now must color my opinion somewhat, even if I wish otherwise. You know what you know, and you can't unknow it.

That said, my childhood was much better for the time spent with that group. I can say that for sure. There wasn't any political or religious indoctrination that I recall, other than an attempt at instilling a certain respect for nature, and what we might now call "primitive skills". I made friends. I got dirty. I was a kid, even if I sucked at every knot.

I cut myself with a sharp knife and learned how to bake a potato in a shallow dirt pit with hot coals. I remember those things, and feeling some inkling of adventure. This isn't to say I turned into anything like a rugged outdoorsman, or even a particularly active teenager. I left the group, when I moved, basically sucked at every sport, and focused mostly on books and video games.

Maybe it left no lasting impression on me, providing nothing but some fun at the time. But there are worse things than that, for sure.

And so all four times I ran past the aid station, staffed by young, trembling hands, I slowed down and thanked them for their time, the water, the powerade. Maybe nothing about that race will make an impression on them, but hopefully they had fun.

April 13, 2014

Some Good Things

I always go back and read everything I post, one day later. It's always interesting, not because I'm quite that narcissistic, but because doing so provides me with a perspective that is now gone, and would forever be somewhat unknown even to me, where some aspect of it not committed to the internet.

This is to say, perhaps, that I'm a little inconsistent. And impulsive in my posting. The result is a rather candid glimpse into exactly what I was thinking and feeling at a particular time, which, after the fact, is somewhat revealing even to me, the writer of this thing.

I think, at times, that I sound a bit of an arrogant shit, who somewhat consistently overestimates his jogging abilities. I then appear self-deprecating and bitchy if things don't go as I'd imagined they ought.

But if this blog sometimes reads that way, then I'm glad, in a sense, that it reflects accurate frustrations, when they arise. And they do, of course.

However, I'm not always - or even usually - quite that emo, despite what my affinity for black skinny jeans might suggest. So, here are some positive things, concerning my slower-than-I-wanted Eisenhower Marathon.

- I got to see a little of my childhood home with my Dad. A little nostalgia isn't the worst thing, now that I'm old enough for such things to make sense.

- Nicest toilet paper I've seen at any race, ever. Like, so many ply. If there were still minstrels, they'd write songs about this.

- Running is still pretty fun, even when it isn't. And marathons are cool, even when they're actually pretty warm.

- I'm not injured. A little sore but otherwise perfect.

- I have a really soft PR that should make for easy breaking. (Though this could be the previously mentioned arrogant shit talking.)

- I specifically remember, back when I worked at Borders, back when anyone worked at Borders, stocking the running section. 4 Months to a 4 Hour Marathon, the book was called. And I laughed. I said to a coworker, "Give me four years, and I still couldn't finish one." Four years later, I'm pissed about running 40 minutes faster. Perspective. (By the way, this seriously did happen. I know it makes for such symmetry as to suggest falsehood, but I'm being perfectly honest.)

April 12, 2014

Eisenhower Marathon Race Report and General Bitching

I'm not mad. I'm just disappointed.

I don't believe my parents ever said this exact thing, but it does float around our collective social vocabulary. And it fits, in this case.

To get it out the way, 3:21:something. I don't care to wait until I get an official time, so this will suffice.

Again, not mad. But disappointed.

Disappointed, because relative to my expectations, that kind of sucks.

But not mad, because it's running, and I enjoyed it, and it doesn't totally suck.

And maybe my expectations were shit to begin with. One calculator said 2:49, another 2:55, all of them under three. And so I thought I'd just go do that.

Calculators don't have legs, though. They haven't run road marathons. And, before today, neither had I.

I'm humbled, to be honest. It was harder than I expected. High sixes? Easy enough. 26 miles? Easy enough. High sixes for 26 miles? Can't be too bad.

Missed on that. The heat, humidity, and wind saw to that. Well, no. They were present, but I saw to it. I can own this.

External factors aside, I went out like an idiot. Especially into a 20 mph headwind. No excuses for that, but a lot of consequences.

So I blew up. Because of course I did. I overheated. My legs found their ultra shuffle and got too comfortable there. I could go but I couldn't go fast.

3:21:something and I'm not mad, but motivated.

I've been vexed for a while concerning what the hell I'm going to do this fall - but no more. I'm going to do some other stuff, but mostly, I'm going to target a road marathon, and run a whole lot faster.

This isn't an irrational expectation. Better pacing would've done it today, even disregarding everything else. That, I can fix. And I will. I need to train better as well. Not more, but better. Jogging 90 a week is fine training to jog a 50 mile race, and that worked very well last fall. But that, plus a shortish tempo every week, isn't marathon training. It's good general fitness, but it's a hunk of metal when you need a knife.

So here's what we're going to do: 1) Add a second real workout every week, in addition to my group's Thursday tempo. Not strides, or short hills (to be clear, those too, but not those only). Something like 2 x 3 miles at goal pace. Something that sucks at the time, but pays off later. 2) Run - really fucking run, not jog - my long runs. If volume has to drop, then it will drop.

Work to do. Happy to do it. There are worse things to find at the end of a race.

But still... fuck. Three goal races this spring. One DNF. One win, so there's that. Then one collapse and sub-par time.

Work to do.

April 10, 2014

Dance On

26.2 miles is an odd distance, though somewhat arbitrarily (despite the wispy historical narrative propped up around it) the most celebrated road race, at present. When my hobby comes up, no one asks what I can run a mile in - which is good, because I don't have a clue. Nor do they ask what I run a 5K in, although it's probably a more fair test of running fitness - as opposed to fuel economy and muscular endurance - than the marathon.

People ask, of course, if I've run a marathon. And how fast.

Well, I've said, sort of. I've run three marathons, three 50Ks, and three 50 milers. So the distance is known to me. I explain, however, that these were all on trail, often rather hilly and rocky. I further mumble about the difference such factors can make, and the vast chasm between 50 mile pace and my presumed road marathon pace. 

Presumed, I say, because I haven't done a road marathon. 

But this Saturday, I'm going to.

To satisfy those external expectations. To sate my own curiosity. And for the experience. Mostly for the experience.

So, a little more than a day out: My legs feel good, my energy is solid, my guts are calm. Those are the things that make me nervous, more than my fitness. That, to say nothing at all, is what it is. But I want to find out what "it" is, and in order to do that, other things have to go right.

And they have. We'll have clear skies, 50 degrees, a flat course. 

That said, there's very little left but to race. Which is the reward, really, the ephemeral ambrosia to life's subsistence fair. One day to feel, to hurt, to endure, to rip at the throat and dance around the fire, and then to bathe in bliss, agony, finality.

To be blunt: I've experienced nothing remotely as satisfying as the final 200 yards of a race 13.1 miles or longer. It is the best thing in life I know (you will think of that sentiment what you will, but I assure you it's not hyperbole). I want that, and I want it as quickly as possible. 

April 3, 2014

Wafer Fail

This is, perhaps, the least appetizing sports nutrition product I've yet seen. Were this the only thing at an aid station, and I mired deep in the throes of a massive bonk, I would choose to prolong my fast, or perhaps to gnaw some grass chosen from near the trail.

Indeed, I did not eat anything at last year's Heartland 50 for the first 16 miles, since the preceding aid station had no food I wanted, and I opted to carry nothing during the race. At 16 miles, however, I could receive some figs (fresh, not dried) from my Dad, which had been sent by my Mom (of her own accord, not at my request), knowing them to be among my favorite foods, and dense with sugar.

Several things to unpack there, and then extrapolate a bit:

1) Even at 25, and in the midst of an ultra, I'm far more sure of my parents to take care of me than I would be any other crew. This is with reason, I suppose.

2) I don't plan my nutrition at all, nor do I practice it. I've not eaten on any training runs in a couple years, nor have I carried water (though I will plan stops to drink at fountains, sinks, etc.). At races, I basically stick to fruit and soda/juice. Simple things I know my stomach can handle, and that I find appetizing. None of this is ideal, almost certainly, or even smart, probably. But I don't like carrying things, so here we are.

3) As a positive result, I do bonk rather gracefully. Thus in my experiment of one, and without empirical analysis, I conclude that one can in fact become an efficient fat burner without eating a low carb diet. To say nothing of the East African/Japanese mastery of the marathon, and the grain heavy diets eaten by those runners, but I digress.

4) I'm still not eating a goddamn wafer while running.

A word on potential fall plans, now that my spring target is but a week away:

1) I'm growing increasingly curious about the 24-hour "distance".

2) Aside from bonking gracefully, I tolerate boredom rather well.

3) I do not, however, stay on trail easily. So a short loop would be ideal for a long race.

4)  Moreover, unlike a 100, I wouldn't have to carry water or calories.

5) I've written here and discussed with others in person that I don't consider myself ready to race a 100. If I'm being honest, that is more fear than modesty speaking. But a 24-hour race is not that exactly, though I would hope to exceed that 100 miles, hypothetically. Simply put, in a go-as-you-please event, there are no DNFs. And that appeals greatly my admitted cowardice.

6) A toilet every mile or so.

7) Company with which to run, regardless of field size or pace.

8) No goddamn sports wafers. I hope.

April 2, 2014

Still Spinning

The kind of moisture that is less in the air than the air in it.

The kind of clouds that are less in the sky than the sky in them.

To run then, in these things, and they in you.

Muddy in parts. Deer out on the trail. Five of them and they don't scatter easily this time. When they do it is suddenly and decisively; one cannot feel but humbled by what must for them have been a lethargic effort. But they are gone quickly, bounding.

And I, shuffling.

The river is on the left and then the right. There is a stick hanging above its center, spinning. I pause, then come to a full stop. Hanging, but not from any visible thing, and ten feet at least from the next lowest branch. Levitating, then? No. There must be something thing yet strong, connecting this lone branch to those above - only I can't make it out.

It spins still and I think idly that perhaps this is just magic, witchcraft of some sort. Perhaps I've stumbled near some dark place, where the laws of gravity are flagrantly violated. My imagination goes all about, as it does, as it always has done, since my earliest youth.

There is nothing to be done though; it's too far.

Out then, out from the trail, across the railroad tracks. Several trees are spray painted with "KEEP OUT" in various colors. I ascend the nearby dirt road only a little further then, put off by these things, and an unrelated desire to see what exists the opposite way.

I find a wet phonebook with an ad for the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, now (then?) on DVD. Two large ducks seem put off by my presence, and so I retreat.

Heading back on the gravel, rather than the trail. I desire to open the throttle a little, and do so.

To the right, the scent of agricultural putrefaction. I spit compulsively, but the taste is not so easily expelled.

Town, again, and wandering just a little bit more. Some people are out walking and I wave. Cars drive by and I lament my black attire. I hadn't planned on.... anything, really. But certainly not so long a jaunt as would keep me after dark.

There are evenings, though, which inevitably become nights, where a curious mind and able feet conspire to innervate wanderlust.

Sometimes the branch just spins.


Spin Magazine posted something on a Lawrence-based artist, who I'm reasonably sure I've served coffee to, in a past life. Beyond that, it's neat to see "your town" - as townie I am, if the past years mean anything - depicted in a music video that more than a few people are watching. Being from Kansas means finding anything that is not the shamefully theocratic state government to latch on to, after all.