Saturday, December 31, 2011

And the bloggie goes to ...

Award winning accomplishments for the past year go to Max for his double iron man and Ted for his WTF marathon in the Hamptons followed by his "real" NYC marathon a few short weeks later.

Running Resolutions for 2012

1) cross train more and better.

2) do more speed work.

3) break 1000 miles for the year.

4) break 2 hours again for half marathon.

5) find cool December or January marathon to run (never done one that time of year).

6) Try tri?

A Jewish Christmas in Istambul

We spent the last eight days in Turkey most of which with the family of a guy I have known since pre-school. That is now 50 years ago and this was a terrific reunion. To visit the mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent with your oldest friend is pretty special. So was Christmas Eve which we spent at the home of a Jewish family my friends had met on a previous trip. I knew it was going to be special when they sent their drivers to pick us up at the hotel. It was dinner party for 20 counting the seven of us with their neighbors and oldest childhood friends. All were sophisticated, educated, highly westernized, worldly successful business people who had grown up in Turkey although one of the neighbors now was an art dealer in Europe. The home was gorgeous in the hills overlooking the Bosphorus. Dinner was prepared by the chef of the probably the most celebrated restaurant in Istambul. Unbelievable dishes like a Michelin 3 star in Paris. Learned a lot about the current divides and politics of Turkey. Never really had a night like this before. 4 hours sailed by and taxis brought us back to the hotel well after 1 AM.

Had a nice 10K the next morning to begin working off the 3000 magnificent calories I consumed. Nice thing about vacationing in a Moslem country, everything is open on Christmas! But miss the movie and Chinese food that is the hall mark of a Jewish Christmas in the United States.

Happy New Year everyone.

The Year's Top 10

I surfed our little blog this morning. Here's my pick for the top 10 posts of the year. The order of listing is the order in which I located them.

1. Spencer's top-10 reasons series. Forced to pick one, I go with number 8.
2. "FALL." It was a great run.
3. Spencer on the Pilgrim's 5K. An age group podium and the post isn't even about that.
4. Paul on getting back to running. Despite "peeps."
5. Our series on fall marathons. Berlin, Hamptons, Chicago, Marine Corps, and New York. Gotta pick one, so I go with Spencer on his, and Ted's, September marathon.
6. Paul on winter workouts and obsession with output reports, from January. Who among us is innocent of that?
7. "The Old Man Of Running." That was during my early season obsession with living for a means and not for an end.
8. Ted on reversing the order in triathlon training.
9. Paul on running and a life romance.
10. Our Murakami "symposium." I love that it was proof of our disorganization, which is one of our greatest charms.


This is a work in progress:

1. Structure my time during teaching leave to include writing every day, starting in the morning. Make the structure sustainable into the future.
2. Run the Boston marathon faster than 3 hours.
3. Submit in both cycles.
4. Read Douglass North, Oliver Williamson, and a book or two on game theory (any suggestions?).
5. Complete the Last Chance 1200K.
6. Consider seriously a change of Bankruptcy case books (any ideas?).

Friday, December 30, 2011

Riding in Texas

It has become ritual over the past few years to spend the holidays in Texas and to escape from the in-laws by renting a bike. Last year I got some good miles in the hill country around Austin. This year I'm riding the flats around Houston. If today goes well it will be a 150-mile week. Not a big week come fall-time, but pretty good for the off-season, especially for a guy who hasn't ridden since wrecking in August.

Route for today: 359 to 1463, then keep going north to the Katy-Fulshear Road. In Fulshear go back north on 359 to highway 90 and then south on 1489, hoping the chipseal is less fresh north of Simonton. Pick up 1093 in Simonton going west, and head back east on 36 when I get to Wallis. 36 takes me to Rosenburg and 90 Alt, shortly thereafter to Richmond, and Pitts Road will take me to Plantation Drive, and then back. High temperature is predicted to be 70.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wish List

I ended up being one of very few contributors to the CPI Holiday Wish List. I like the hat they gave me.

#1 Lesson Learned while/from Running

It's supposed to be fun. And it is most of the time. OK, the last hour of a marathon isn't that much fun.

Running hurt off and on for almost two years until the beginning of this year robbed me of a lot of the joy I got from running. But then it came back. And I am really grateful.

I have seen some crazy places along the way. Experienced some great highs, like the last couple miles of a marathon once I know I am going to finish strong; like my first race; fall leaves swirling around me on a sunny windy day on the lakefront; a winter morning run when all of a sudden the wind drops and loosens its icy grip and I break free into a full on sprint; running the first mile of a 5K just over 7 minutes not knowing I could even do that; then realizing in the second mile that was a huge mistake; but rallying for the last 1.1 for a PR; bonding with friends, colleagues, and strangers on training runs and races; using marathon training as an excuse to eat badly and too much; and seeing my daughter start to get the running bug herself.

Great sport. A great decade since I embarked on this journey. Sometime next year, I break the 10,000 mile mark. Hope to make it the equivalent of round the world before I hang 'em up.

See you all in 2012.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

#2 Cross-Training or Proper Equipment?

So many topics, so few spots left on the list. Since I don't cross-training nearly enough, my #2 running life lesson is the need for proper gear. The best trend in smaller races is providing wiki shirts in the goodie bags instead of cotton, which eliminates a huge number of double shotgun victim looks on newer runners on race day. This is a lesson I learned the hard way early on.

We don't need a lot of stuff, but it needs to be good. I have run in shoes that are far past their prime and not nearly broken in enough with predictably bad results. I know have a collection of short sleeve and long sleeve technical running shirts from races that I don't really need to buy any more ever. Even sleeveless shirts for summer are now the product of an extra long sleeve shirt and a pair of scissors. About the only additional purchases are a couple of heavy duty winter running shirts with a mock turtle collar and those built in glove sleeves and those seem to last forever plus a couple pairs of tights and maybe a outer shell. Some actual gloves and a couple of hats and we are good to go for at least several seasons. Body Glide is helpful too.

What have I left out?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Don't You Hate It When . . .

You're running six miles fighting a bitterly cold 30mph quartering crosswind, and your left nostril completely closes up from the aforementioned crosswind, and then you try to blow your nose but you can't because you feel like your throat is completely closed up, so you panic a bit, feel like you're drowning, and think, "this must be sort of like waterboarding, only colder and not nearly as bad, and it's not like a blocked nostril is real torture or anything; maybe I should just suck it up and finish the run without any more whining."

Me too.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Seen at a race

At the Jingle All the Way 8K yesterday (fun race -- no personal bests to announce but no injuries either), I saw this t-shirt:

Front: The Candy Keynesians
Back (you guessed it): In the long run we are all dead.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

# 3 Go Long or Go Home

You don't cheat on the long run. By all means move it up or back a day or so but too important especially for long distance hackers like me. Nothing turns on whether or not I do a 5 miler but when its time to do anything north of 8, I do it come hell or high water both of which occur with regularity on the coast of Lake Michigan.

Gotta go run

Spending the day, and anticipate spending tomorrow and the weekend, dealing with edits in a rare (for me) peer-reviewed submission. There are lots of complaints about student-edited publications. But they have going for them the fact that students tend to be willing to let me do the writing.

One solution: go run. It's beautiful out. The paper will be here in an hour.

UPDATE: Yup, that worked. Drugs that good should require a prescription.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Return to Running? (And a shout out to my peeps).

Yesterday I had the second of what should be eight physical therapy appointments. And when I say, "should be," I really mean "I pray to all that is holy will only be," because I'm pretty sure I can't handle any more than that. It is difficult to remember any other time in my life--including a dozen or so broken bones and a particularly nasty fifteen-round bout with full-back spasms--during which I endured so much pain in so little time. Since my last two courses of PT were all touchy-feely and soothing, the current approach came as something of a shock.

We're talking "How soundproof are these wall, doc?" levels of pain.

Near as I can tell, the therapist found some way to introduce around 50,000 psi of pressure up and down both heels, using only his fingers. Plus maybe a No. 5 scalpel, Vise-Grip pliers, and a rusty railroad spike.

And after thirty minutes that would have done Torquemada proud and had me BEGGING for waterboarding instead . . .

My heels actually felt better.

Not "heat/ultrasound/electrical stimulation/reduce-the-inflammation"-better. But "Hey, I can move my feet 10 degrees more in every direction"-better. Even though they were in some ways MORE inflamed than before.

I don't know and don't care whether he's selling snake oil and I'm just experiencing the biggest placebo effect in history. I do know and do care that I've run three times since the first treatment -- once easy and short, once hard and short, and once moderate and longer -- and that I could walk the next morning each time.

I can't say I'm looking forward to the next six sessions (can anyone here hook me up with a good connection for morphine?), but I'd actually forgotten what it felt like for my heels not to feel like they had been duct-taped in place. We shall see -- today I'm going to try a seven-miler at a decent clip.

Also, a huge shout-out to Spencer and Max, both of whom set me up with some cool running or at least running-related gear. Y'all rock.

P.S. I solemnly swear never to use the neologism "peeps" again; I don't know what came over me, and I don't eat the homophonic Easter confection.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

World Running and European football

While Max recovers from whatever ails him from Costa Rica, I went running in two foreign but elss balmy climes. My London run was about 10K in 50 sunny weather around Regents Park to the edge of Lord's Cricket Grounds and then back to Bloomsbury. A few days later, run about the same distance in Rome in slightly warmer but rainier weather mostly along the Tiber and through a bit of the Borghese Gardens before descending the Spanish steps into a chaotic mix of people and cars that was too crowded to run. In between spoke at a very interesting brands conference at University College London and then presented my brands paper at University of Rome I (Sapienza). More on the substance later but wow do the Brits get brands in a way that I wished the US legal community did. We think trademarks, they see the bigger picture.

More importantly, saw my first European football match with Lazio defeating Navarro 3-0 on Monday night in the Olympic stadium just outside Rome. Even half full for a make up match on a weekday evening against an also ran team, the stadium was humming with energy and apparently quite vulgar chants and cheers as the meager contingent of Navarro fans were surrounded by security personnel and told to remainin their seats until everyone left and would then be escorted outside the stadium where I assume the real fun begins.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Big-Wave Surfing

I proposed a correlation between triathlon and surfing in one of my Costa Rica posts. I'm reading this interview with Greg Long, who (I understand) is perhaps the world's best big wave surfer. Here's an excerpt:

Dedina: How are you training in terms of physical exercise, diet and mental preparation?

Long: I train every single day in some form or another to prepare to ride big waves. The main activities are yoga, swimming, cycling and running. I also have a very clean diet, mostly vegetarian. Your body is essentially a machine. If you put bad fuel into it, it won’t perform as efficiently as it should.

So maybe it goes both directions!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Robert H. McKinney School

Big news here in Indianapolis is that Robert H. McKinney, long-time civic leader, former banking CEO, law-firm founder, presidential appointee, and a one-time student in our night program, made an extremely generous naming gift to the school. We're now the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Couldn't be more pleased.

What it's like _not_ to run?

In recovering from a food-borne illness I contracted in Costa Rica, I've been on a generic version of Cipro. Yes, of Hatch-Waxman fame.

True story: in 24 hours on the drug, I seized up, nearly immobile. My knees tightened up like I had just run a marathon. My back and neck tightened up like I had been loading hay bales all day. My back muscles pulled on my head causing a monumental headache.

I broke the cardinal rule and quit the antibiotic. Give me amoebas over whatever that was, any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

Is that how it feels to age without making a constant effort to maintain one's mobility? Or to bear a life-long physical disability? I've long feared not being active because I'd miss the activity. Now I fear what would happen to me without it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Beach Running

Also did a little running in Costa Rica. I'm hobbled with a hip problem and several golf balls wrapped up in my quad and IT band, so my attempts to run seriously after Marine Corps have been some combination of painful and pitiful.

On the beach I ran barefoot, twice with P__, once with S__. It was some combination of stride deconstruction, watching for foot placement and correcting life-long tendencies to run on a tight-rope and to land heel first; playing in the waves, including running knee deep when the water came in; and chatting and enjoying the sun, rain, and general splendor. No pain, no hard work, just enjoying running.

If I lived in such an environment I might give up racing altogether!

Cross Training

For Thanksgiving I met P__, S__ and A__ in Costa Rica. Among other things, we took surf lessons. If you haven't tried it, I can offer a cheap way to get the experience: have a friend throw bowling balls at you for two hours and then take a belt sander to your chest.

S__ and I discussed at the beginning that surfers seem to be the fittest of the various "extreme sport" athletes. While skiers come in all shapes and sizes, have you ever seen an out-of-shape surfer? I quickly learned why. First you paddle on the surfboard to the waves. Then you fight with the waves as they try to rip the surfboard out of your hands. Then you paddle to the waves. Then you do a rapid push-up to stand. Then paddle. Then a rapid push-up. Then fight to keep your head above water. Then paddle. I could go on.

It's perhaps no accident that most of the world's great triathletes come from Australia, which -- if Point Break didn't lie to me -- is also a major surfing mecca.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

#4 Run the Wolrd

Visiting relatives in Peoria? Speaking in London and Rome? Recruiting at AALS in DC? Bring your running kit and get out there. It generally takes up very little space in your suitcase and opens up a world of possibilities. For international travel, it helps reset my body clock, familiarizes me with my neighborhood and often represents my only real sight seeing unless you include the inside of conference rooms and university auditoriums. For domestic travel, it clears the mind, digests the calories, and often represents the only alone time in visits devoted to family and holidays.

Friday, November 25, 2011

#5 ATlinks: Creepy, Cool, or Both?

There is this web site that Max and I have discussed off line. gathers all your chip timed race results and posts them in one place. It does this automatically whether you are registered or not which I discovered by accident when the link came up in a google search for something else running related. If you register, you can create a page for yourself, add data, delete results that aren't actually you, search for friends, rivals, etc.

Like most things on the web, I am of two minds about this. First, for me this isn't that helpful since it duplicates my running diary. Second I was a bit weirded out that all my race data was being collected by a commercial site and publicly available for years without my knowing it. On the other hand, it is convenient and its fun to see how fast Max is at all distances.

On the serious side, it brings home the changing nature of privacy in a very personal way. I can't lie about race times even if I wanted to, but at the same time I can't explain when I was injured or pacing my sick grandmother. However, atlinks and a smart phone did let me easily establish my eligibility for a seeding corral at two different races when the organizers screwed up my original registration.

Ah, brave new world.

Turkey Trotting

It was the tenth annivesrary of my first race as I lined up for 2011 Turkey Trot. Same location as back then and ever since. This year was low 40s but breezy A few thousand more runners. Hopefully even more food collected for the Chicago Food Depository. The big difference. I lined up in wave 1 with my niece, a high school junior and varsity soccer player. And my daughter (high school sophomore and jv soccer player) was lined up with two friends in wave 2, running her first race longer than a 5K.

My daughter has been running outside for the first time ever, slowly building up to a regular 1-2 mile run by herself when she doesn't have soccer practice or a game (now indoor). Why now? Seems to be at the interest in running with friends and getting free technical shirts from races. For the 8K turkey trot she ran three plus miles, walked for a bit, and then race hard the rest of the way. Wearing the UNC technical running shirt I brought home with me from my conference in Chapel Hill last week. (as we all know incentives matter). Already scheduled the Santa Hustle 5K next week!

As for me, I paced my niece who is normally faster than me, but had not been doing much outdoor running of late. Had a lovely time and look forward to the December 11th Rudolph Ramble and the end of the outdoor racing season for 2011.

Monday, November 21, 2011

#6 Take Advantage of Windows of Opportunity

Here in the Chicago, the weather changes quickly and usually for the worse. So when a window of opportunity opens, take it! Unexpectedly warm day in the middle of November? Do your long run even if its mid-week. Cool low humidity summer evening? Run, even it means doubling up that day. It all evens out in the end and prevents excuses and sub-optimal weeks.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Political Economy of Antitrust

Since we have a variety of ideological perspectives represented on this blog (and since I really don't care about the ideological side of this anyway), a question about the political economy of antitrust:

Why did Congress fail to respond with remedial legislation to any or all of the following Supreme Court opinions:

U.S. v. Gen'l Dynamics
Illinois Brick
Brooke Group

I have my own theories, but would love to see what our bloggers and reader think.

P.S. Ran 3 miles yesterday at 9:00 pace; woke up pain-free and flexible.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#7 Take Injuries Seriously

Little injuries become big injuries if you ignore them. You really can't run through them. A weird little twinge in my foot became a year and a half of plantar fasciatis. Most injuries are from overuse. If you can't stand actual rest go low impact and get stuff checked out. Then actually follow what the doctor or pt says. I actually believe all these things, just need to do a better job following these seemingly obvious tips like this morning where the weather was so tempting that I did a quick 8K despite a nagging foot problem.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chili Cook-Off

Tomorrow is the Phi Alpha Delta Chili Cook-Off, raising money for the American Cancer Society. Here's my recipe:

4 cans black beans and 1 can white
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatos
1 chopped onion
lots and lots of chili powder
lots and lots of black pepper
olive oil
24-oz bag mango chunks
coconut rum until the bottle felt appreciably lighter

Just made it up. I hope it's good.

Warming Up

I just this morning noticed a perhaps obvious parallel between getting ready to run well and getting ready to work well. In a time crunch on a short writing project, I sat at my dining table at 5:30 with the iPad and keyboard booted up (in an effort to move to the cloud I'm doing lots more work on the iPad) drinking green tea. I studied the screen and the cases stacked up beside me. I furrowed my brow. I concentrated. Nothing worth saying came out. I played with the font, moved a paragraph around a little, and changed some punctuation. Now onto the second cup of green tea, I took some exploratory stabs at creating new text. The tea was starting to cool and go down much more quickly. I peeled a banana and added sugar to the mix. I had a brainstorm that my planned fourth part was really part III.B. Now I was cutting, pasting and redrafting, Westlaw open on the computer at my elbow. I understood the distinction between the distinctness inquiry and the proximate cause question. I had hit my stride.

Monday, November 14, 2011

#8 Solitude is Not Lonely

I usually run alone. It's my alone time. I appreciate good company and good conversation but I also like my alone time. Whether I have my ipod or just taking it all in, I usually just let my mind wander. Sometimes I am thinking great thoughts, but most of the time I am somewhere far far away. Time passes. I pass some people. Other people pass me or cross my path. I don't really notice. I tend to notice the scenery more than the people. The lake always fascinates me. Some of the restored prairie areas always grab me as well. The rest of the time, my mind is just wandering. There is an old movie (and an Iron Maiden song) called the Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. I am guessing the author (and lyricist) wasn't a runner.