Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Meeting

Beyond the schmoozing, there were some good panels. Much more consumer protection then past years but seemingly less international and comparative ones. I attended part of the IP panel until I realized that it was a rather technical rehash of the FTC recent report on suggested changes to the patent laws (none of which are going to happen anytime soon). From there went to a better panel on settlements of indirect purchaser cases including recently retired federal judge Vaughan Walker who was both interesting and candid. In the afternoon, there was my panel on New Approaches to Remedies. Big crowd, seemed engaged, almost no one left or slept which seemed like a good thing. More of a structured conversation rather than just talking heads reading powerpoint slides which people seemed to appreciate. Panel included Patty Brink of DOJ, Dick Steuer of Mayer Brown, Frank Maier-Rigaud of OECD and Howard Morse of the Colley firm.

That took us to 5:15 when I then hit various law and economic consulting firm parties. I miss Howrey & Simon, they always had the best sushi. Over ate a bit but enjoyed the schmoozing and the relief from being done with my part of the show.

Today, I slept in and managed to miss the editorial board meeting of the Antitrust Law Journal (something you should get involved in). Thoroughly enjoyed the 2 hour chair's showcase on Competition and Consumer Protection in Web 3.0. Even though it was mostly people with a dog in the fight (Google, Micosoft, etc) reading the party line, I learned a lot that will eventually go into my piece on Social Networking and Antitrust for Haifa in May and then North Carolina in the fall. Hung out with the AAI crowd for lunch and then headed home. Now playing catch up on a bunch of projects that I put on the back burner while I prepared for the spring meeting panel.

A Cherry Blossom Run

Before joining thr ABA antitrust spring meeting I managed to get out for a 65
Minute run. Left the JW Marriot headed down 14th street, and circled the tidal
Basin. Blossoms just past peak. Said hi to both FDR and Jefferson and headed
over the bridge to Virginia. Heaed west? toward memorial bridge back to DC, saw
Abea, vietnam, WW2, and Washington monument before a quick shower and then off
to the conference. More about that later.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bar Mitzvah weekend and beyond

My only nephew had his bar mitzvah this weekend. This included a family dinner at my place on Friday, a nearly three hour service he mostly led on Saturday morning, an afternoon party at a great space near Wrigley field, and a Sunday brunch in the neighborhood where his family lives. How to avoid ingesting 8 thousand calories a day? There really isn't any but was able to get in a 7 miler on Friday and a 6 miler on Sunday which helps.

Looking forward to a couple of brisk runs in Chicago plus an early morning cherry blossom run in DC before speaking at the spring meeting. I normally stay around Kalorama and run in either Rock Creek Park out past the zoo and back through Georgetown or down to Arlington Cemetery and back. But this time I will start from the JW Marriott, circle the tidal basin and then probably the mall and maybe over the bridge to Virginia and back.

Just trying to keep the mileage above 20 a week and then get serious come mid-April.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

National Half

It was cold at the start, and I was regretting wearing a singlet with nothing on the arms. My right hand never thawed out; it was like a claw trying to handle the gel pack mid-race. My legs started out heavy. I had none of that springiness that I usually feel from the overdose of adrenaline at the start line. I had some acid stomach issues, with those terrible burps that are needed to alleviate the pressure that might otherwise lead to vomiting.

Mile one went three seconds under target. The next couple of miles they wound us past Union Station, the old SEC (now Antitrust Division) building, the Department of Labor, and out onto Constitution for a great photo shoot with the Capitol and rising sun in the background. (The photographer had the audacity to call out for me to run closer to the camera. I'm happy when a race photo comes out well, but I ain't posing!). All this time I was thinking, "I can't hold this pace. When is it excusable to quit trying and jog the rest of the way?"

On Constitution we passed the federal and DC courthouses, the FTC building, the DOJ building, several Smithsonian buildings, and, if you were inclined to take a look, the White House not far away at 1600 Penn. We then turned right and headed north up 18th Street, through the K Street office quarter, onto Connecticut and into DuPont Circle.

Somewhere in here the woman I followed for most of the Marine Corps Marathon last October passed me. I was aware that she is faster than I, but I noticed she was wearing a marathon bib; unless she was going out way too hard she was heading for a 2:50. Not knowing her name, I can't tell which it was. I didn't latch on this time, but I did end up running the rest of the way within 100 meters of her (until the marathoners peeled off at about mile 12.5).

North of DuPont we split off onto Columbia Avenue and up into Adams Morgan. (This was my daily commute when I worked at the firm and P__ and I lived in that neighborhood, nearly a decade ago.) That's the hard part of the race, a long gradual uphill through the 10K marker. I crossed the 10K nearly exactly on schedule (running, I think, my 6th fastest 10K ever). I still wasn't feeling loose, and now fatigue was starting to creep in.

From Adams Morgan we headed east on Columbia through Columbia Heights and into the neighborhoods around Howard University. At Howard there has always been an enthusiastic cheering section, and while this year it was less populous, it was no less enthusiastic. Around McMillan Reservoir and east to North Capitol. Heading south on North Capitol not only offers tremendous views of the Capitol building, it is downhill. I checked my watch at the 10-mile marker -- only the second marked mile on the entire course! -- and was three seconds under my target pace. Now for a moment of resolve: "I will run this last 5K hard."

Well, I tried. Apart from the views of the Capitol, and the downhill, the rest of the race has little to recommend it. K Street and H Street NE are in disrepair and the neighborhoods are not well maintained. South again on 13th NE to Constitution, North Carolina and C Street. At this point you can see the fast marathoners heading back out for their second loop, a long, lonely stretch through southwest and southeast DC that I did not envy them.

We approached RFK Stadium and split off from the marathon pack, turning back right to an uphill and the finish straightaway. The short guy with the funny hat whom I had caught about two miles back poured it on and I watched him go. A muscular guy was lagging on the uphill; I put my arms into it and duck-walked past him. Here I caught a woman who had blazed out of the start. We ran shoulder-to-shoulder toward the finish, but she wanted none of that; she put on a spurt and crossed two seconds ahead of me. I wonder if I could have caught her. I was mostly just concerned that any uneven pavement would mean my taking a fall. I clicked my watch at 1:25:05, five seconds behind my goal, and leaned on the metal fence long enough to attract the interest of an attentive marshal. But once the breath came back, I felt fine, even good.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Process Goals

My life-long friend P__ once explained to me the seemingly chaotic hockey offensive strategy: "Hockey is about setting yourself up to get lucky." To what in life does that not apply? Let's try mid-distance running:

I have a goal of 1:XX in the National Half Marathon tomorrow. When will that goal be accomplished? When I take the last step and look at the clock, of course. But if I'm not on track after the second-to-last step, can I make up the lost time? Not likely. So the second-to-last step is only marginally less important. The same, of course, for the third-to last. It's daunting to contemplate the 15,370 steps I can expect to take tomorrow and think that no one of them can accomplish my goal. All have to be within the margin of error. For that reason, I can't reasonably wrap my mind around a goal of running 1:XX. I need something else to shoot for. Something intermediate. Something that, once accomplished, will set me up to get lucky.

A few of the intermediate steps are quite mundane. I need to eat right tonight and tomorrow. Low fiber but high calorie tonight, and a banana, an english muffin, a cup of coffee and a gel pack tomorrow morning. I need to get to the start line early -- none of this rolling up as the gun goes off, like my 5K with P__ (different P) last week. I need to jog around a little to loosen up, run in place to get the heart rate up and do a few 20-stride sprints to get the feel of moving. Having done all that, I'll be about as ready as I can be

Then the most important one for me. I need a good first mile. Not a fast first mile. In my last (and only other) pure half-marathon, I checked my watch one mile in, and found 5:55 had elapsed and I was running with a small pack of front runners. I spent the next 12.1 miles trying to regain my breath. It's one thing to do that at age 27. I might not finish if I tried it tomorrow. A good first mile means hitting my target pace. After that, when I cease paying attention down the road, the start-line adrenaline will be dissipated and there will be no danger of my doing anything too outlandish.

Beyond that? I need nutrition, which means gel at the start, mile 4 and mile 8. I need water, pretty much whenever they'll give it to me. I need to understand after the first seven miles, which will be easy, that this is a race and what I do in the coming 6.1 miles, which will be hard, will help to define what I do the next time.

If I do all those things I will be set up to be lucky. If I then get to the third-to-last step and I realize I can't make up the difference from the 15,367 that have elapsed, I need to be OK with that.

The Most Caffeinated Law School in America

Yes, US News is out. We did fine, nothing great. But had they measured coffee bars within a four block radius of the law school Loyola would have been a clear #1. By my count, there are 5 Starbucks, at least three other coffee places including the ING cafe (more on that in a later post), and one in our snack shop in the basement. So to paraphrase Bill Murray in Caddyshack: "So at least we've got that going for us, and that's nice".

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thirty and Sunny

Odd week. Monday was 50 so I went 8. Tuesday and Wednesday were cold, dreary and rainy so I got lazy. Today is chilly but bright so will skimp a bit on class prep to get out there before the first snow of spring arrives later today. Must get serious at some point as Lakefront 10 mile race approaches in mid-April.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Daily Smoothie

I've gotten in the habit of a daily (or nearly daily) smoothie in which I get whatever supplemental vitamins, protein, fiber, what-have-you, that I may not get in my diet. With proportions mostly at random, here's the recipe for today's:

A scoop, or two, of whey protein powder (from any grocery health food section)
A quarter cup or so of pasteurized egg whites
A banana
A cubed apple (or applesauce)
A few knife-fulls of peanut butter
As much yogurt comes out of the container in a few shakes, probably 1/4-1/3 of a quart
Frozen fruit (today, blueberries)
A package of Emergen-C vitamin powder
Milk, enough to make it liquid.

I've never accomplished the goal of making a single, or even a double, serving. I basically end up drinking the entire blender full. I have not a single idea whether this is good for me, but it tastes all right and it keeps me from eating dough-nuts on the way to work!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Frank Knight, Ben Stein, and Sleep

Frank Knight is an underrated U-C economist from the 1930-50s. Ben Stein is the conservative pundit with some serious academic training but known primarily as the teacher in Ferris Buller's Day Off. My admiration for both skyrocketed when Stein quoted Knight on CBS Sunday Morning as living by the words : "Never waste time you could be sleeping!". Now that's a Chicago school I can get behind!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Seven Hills -- Ice Bath -- 5K

I have a favorite 10-mile route I call the "Five Hills Route." It follows a starfish pattern from the stables in Rock Creek Park. I descend a hill and re-ascend the same hill before moving on to the next one. I do that four times. The fifth hill is when I'm heading home and I do the Brandywine climb, which is the hardest I've found in Northwest DC.

Today I broke out of the home office at 3 and amended the five hills to make it seven. I added the diabolical bike trail following Military from Beach Drive to Oregon Avenue and the Tilden Street/29th Avenue climb. Brandywine was still last, and still the hardest. By the time I topped out at Brandywine and Linnean I felt the weakness in the arms that comes when I've metabolized everything just to keep the legs moving. 1:37 and I would guess 12 miles.

Rather than crash on the couch and let the legs ache, I headed to the ice bath. I've written about this before. It works, I think.

I hope it works. Because tomorrow there's a 5K at Hains Point, very flat, and with promising weather. I've only rarely run that distance. Tomorrow I'm going for a PR.

Update: Or not. God actually intervened. Multiple road closures and we arrived 5 minutes before the start, insufficient time for a warm-up. I ran with P__, who, I'm pretty sure, ran her best ever. This was a very nice event put on by George Washington law students.

Breaking it up

I did the increasingly unpleasant drive from Indianapolis to Washington DC yesterday. I've tried a few strategies. One is to stay overnight en route. That costs money and involves staying in an uncomfortable hotel bed somewhere like Wheeling, West Virginia. A second is to drive as fast as possible. I can make it in about 8 1/2 hours if I really try. Yesterday I tried the third. I stopped at least six times. At one rest stop I ran circles around the parking lot for 10 minutes, by the end of which I had shaken off the tightness of sitting in the car and was really flowing. I think I take the third approach when I head back. Maybe with a longer run.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Just made it

Bad day. good run. high 50s out brisk wind, Did about 7 down to Solider Field and back beating the rain by just minutes. Fitting since I just taught about "umbrella jurisdiction" under German national law in transnational litigation. Its basically the opposite of Shaffner v. Heitner. Any property within the jurisdiction (famously an umbrella left in a hotel room) will subject a non-EU defendant to what amounts to general jurisdiction in a suit in any amount about anything. Even worse, that judgment is easily enforceable in all EU countries (except Denmark) under an EU regulation.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Missed a Window of Opportunity

It was 65 and partly sunny and I missed a chance to run. Every appointment, class, phone call meeting and errand was spaced out with just enough time so that it ate up my day but didn't allow enough time at any one point to get out there for a run on the lakefront. Tomorrow is even warmer and even worse until about 3:15 where the window is open until 5. Hope to make it then.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Had a few days at Alta and Snowbird this weekend to start off my spring break. Report: Spencer did, indeed, use up all the snow. Or maybe it was the warm weather. Nonetheless, how can one complain about big mountains, small crowds, plenty of sun, and no injuries?

One lesson about rental cars in the Salt Lake airport: if you are renting from Advantage (which is either a maverick firm or Hertz's price discrimination tool), don't try to explain to the agent why it is that (a) the pre-paid tank at $3.09 is not a good deal, even if the nearby stations charge $3.59, and (b) if she wants to insist, over the explanation, that it is a good deal, she is being deceitful. Novel theories of consumer harm don't sell well in that setting.

I'm in Cedar City, Utah, working from Starbucks. The first one in about 200 miles, since north of Provo! Lots of young kids coming in and out; I now realize this is a college town. Southern Utah University. I wonder if they want to start a new law school? (Slogan: "SUU teaches you to sue!") Before getting back on the road I need to finish some comments on student outlines in time for them to put my comments to use over spring break. Then I need to polish up an abstract of "The Competition Policy Implications of Bankruptcy Asset Sales" for a competitive workshop submission.

But within a couple of hours I need to get on the road to St. George. The mission: run 2+ hours on the marathon course for the St. George triathlon. I'm a little nervous about the hills and altitude, but I need a long run this week with Boston just over a month away, and that race follows Boston by three weeks.

Update on the St. George run course: yowza. But it is beautiful.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What I think about when I think about Murakami (Part 2)

I was looking for some language that resonated with me and this stood out for me from 121-22:

Competing against time isn't important. What's going to be much more meaningful to me now is how much I can enjoy myself, whether I can finish twenty-six miles with a feeling of contentment. I'll enjoy and value things that can't be expressed in numbers, and I'll grope for a feeling of pride that comes from a slightly different place.

I'm not a young person who's focused totally on breaking records, nor an inorganic machine that goes through the motions. I'm nothing more or less than a (most likely honest) professional writer who knows his limits, who wants to hold on to his abilities and vitality for as long as possible.

What I think about when I think about Murkami (Part 1)

He likes writing, running, jazz, baseball, and lives and runs near Jingu Stadium, the Japanese equivalent of the Chicago Cubs. What's not to like? I have enjoyed Murakami's writing for nearly fifteen years. As he has evolved from some pretty great but wild cyber-punk type fantasy toward a more mature but no less fantastic style, I am convinced he will be Japan's next Nobel laureate. The Wind-Up Bird's Chronicle is a masterpiece, one of the ten or twenty best novels I have read.

And he runs. Every day. A Lot. Triathalons too. Claims he never stops during a marathon (except for the time he describes when he uber-cramped).

I enjoyed his running book a lot more the second time around when I reread it for our mini-symposium, The first time, I was a little hurt and offended that my favorite writer thought it was cheating to walk during a marathon. It was one of the few categorical statements in a book that seemed to take pride in being personal rather than universal.

This time, I was more taken with his meditations about time, running and writing and the need to keep moving forward and keep at your craft if you want to be a pro in any endeavor. We all write at least one article a year (he does a book a year) and I come close to running one marathon a year.

As Murakami notes, they have a lot in common beyond just a similar gestation period. The research is the training, the writing itself is the race. Both are about the contentment not just the final product. The journey not just the destination. The inner peace from a job well done, not just the time on the clock at the finish line (or the final placement, well not just the final placement of the article).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Little Work, A Little Skiing, a Little Running

I am in Salt Lake City about an hour before I give a faculty workshop at the University of Utah law school (or the UU as they call it). I came two days early to ski. Day One was straight from the airport to Park City and a near white out at Deer Valley as it snowed something like 18 total inches beginning in the mid afternoon and continuing through the following morning. Tuesday was near perfect conditions at The Canyons a mountain I had never skied before. Today, I took a five mile run up through some parks to the beginning of the Wasatch State Park. Halfway through the run, I joined a group of extremely clean cut runners with a police escort in front and back and a video truck filming us on the side. One of the guys mentioned that I was the only one who wasn't being forced to run. This led me to believe that I was with a group of prisoners on somekind of chain gang run. I nervously edged to the side of the pack in case I (or they) had to make a break for it. Then one of the friendlier ones told me that they were the new recruits for the Salt Lake City police force and were being sworn in tomorrow. I stayed with them as we circled Canyon and Bonnvilee roads and split off at the state capitol as I headed down past Temple Square back to my hotel. Too beautiful for words and a delightful change from the flatlands of the midwest.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


At Spencer's suggestion I recently read Haruki Murakami's "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running." What a tremendous discussion of what it is we recreational runners do.

I started by worrying that Murakami would not appreciate what we do here on the blog. In his forward, he gives three rules for being a gentleman: never talk about the women you've broken up with; never talk about how much you pay in taxes; and never talk about what it is you do to stay healthy. But the rest of the book is not unlike our blog. Murakami writes, sometimes following a plan, sometimes building to a moral, sometimes nearly stream-of-consciousness, about what running has meant to him over the 25-or-so years between becoming a writer and runner and his writing the book.

There are discussions of training, although not training tips. Interspersed with historical anecdotes from his running career, he details his approach to training for the 2005 New York marathon. His training is not scientific. Murakami follows a hybrid of the Quenton Cassidy trial of miles approach, never taking more than one day off in a row, and a modern approach to sustainable long-term running -- i.e., not logging too many miles. He includes some hill repeats because he remembers some difficult hills at the end of the New York marathon course, but -- at least in his discussion -- does not appear to play with intervals or tempo runs. His approach works for him. Murakami had 23 marathons under his belt when he wrote the book, as well as at least one 100km ultramarathon, and many of his marathons were at a sprightly pace.

His anecdotes speak to me. Murakami writes about the acquaintanceship that comes from sharing a jogging path with other runners over many workouts. The sentiment is that "we're in this together," and although he never formally meets his fellow toilers he feels their loss when their running days are over.

As a (still aspiring) writer, I'm moved by the chapter where Murakami teaches us what running and writing have in common. Both require focus and endurance. He writes of training to write, by working on focus, just as we train to run. In that same chapter he corrects those who "sneer at those who run every day, claiming they'll go to any length to live longer." Murakami says, no, that's not why we run. Running enables us to live life more fully. Running assists in setting and pursuing clear goals.

I took a break from writing this post to read Rolf Dobelli's rant on the corrupting influence of news per se. There are some ideas expressed there that echo Murakami's views on writing. ln particular, Dobelli values concentration above competing characteristics, such as being up-to-date. How about running? If training toward a goal is the running analog to concentrating on your writing, what is the running analog to "news"? Is it the pursuit of a steady diet of training novelties, a la "I don't have time for a long run because I really need to do my core workout today"? The analogy may hold, in the sense that training novelties might, or might not, be important to long-term running success, but we know beyond a doubt that running is essential to success.

In a few places for what might be cultural reasons Murakami and I didn't see eye to eye. He explained once that if he opened his refrigerator and found a limited selection, he wouldn't complain. He can make a good meal from "an apple, an onion, cheese, and eggs." I, by contrast, would order a pizza. Does that say something about our respective approaches to running? When I determined I wasn't ever going to be fast, I took up triathlon, at which I'm more (if not much more) competitive. (Of course, Murakami is running triathlon these days as well.)

I greatly enjoyed Murakami's discussion of his 100 kilometer ultra at Lake Saroma, at the northern tip of Hokkaido. I traveled to Hokkaido when I was 16. It's a beautiful island, in terms of population density and mentality more like Oregon than like Tokyo. The course for the run sounds fantastic. Murakami's experience mirrored my own in my first ultra. He ran through the marathon point with no particular concerns. After mile 34, he had miles of darkness, in his case until mile 47. I recall, in my first JFK 50 miler, feeling from miles 34-38 like I was running through a tunnel, with my peripheral vision blacked out and only the trail in front of me. And I recall waking back up and almost enjoying the last 12 miles, just as he did (in his case from miles 47-62) -- for reasons that I can't articulate. Somehow the body and mind adjust to the new reality, which is that they are moving forward inexorably toward something that is still too far away to grasp. Murakami and I had the same experience of being outrun by much older women -- he writes, "A tiny old lady around 70 or so passed me and shouted out "Hang in there!'" When I finished the JFK this year, I sprinted to the end, inordinately proud of my run, and was beaten by one second by a 52-year-old woman. That experience was both humbling and inspiring. I was intrigued by the aggressive cut-off times in Murakami's race: runners not at the 47-mile point in 8 hours, 45 minutes were removed from the course. I would have made that in my first JFK, but not by much, and when I ran 100 kilometers of the Oil Creek 100 miler I was well behind that pace. Maybe a road ultra goes that much more quickly, or maybe the Saroma Lake 100 kilometer race is just that hard to complete. I do know that I've looked for a reason to return to Japan to see if I could reclaim a little of the language. I may now have a reason to go.

There's a lot more to say, but I think others have read the book, too, and I'd love to read their reactions.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Run Form Video

Here's a fascinating video breaking down an elite runner's (well, triathlete's) form.

The most helpful addition to my fledgeling intuition about running form is his point about the follow-through. I've read elsewhere that stride length should be at the back end, not the front end, but I never understood why that is. In the video he demonstrates that by bringing your heel high at the end of the stride, you decrease the rotational force required to bring the knee back up into the next stride. It makes perfect sense that rather than swinging the nearly straight leg forward, you'd rather swing only half the leg (because the lower half is curled underneath you).

It's also particularly cool to see Miranda Carfrae hammering her 6:40 pace in the late miles of the run at Kona.

400s and a new ice cream flavor

Repeats are like lifting weights. The goal is to run as hard as you reasonably can without sacrificing your form or breathing and without hurting yourself; rest until you are fresh; and go again. I'm always surprised just how hard 8 x 400 meters with 2 minutes or better of rest in between can be. I hope it's a measure of fitness that I'm running between 3 and 4 seconds faster per 400 than I was running last year.

What isn't hard is finishing a pint of the new Ben & Jerry's cinnamon sticky bun ice cream. You need a serious sweet tooth -- this is none of that semi-sweet chocolate chip cookie dough stuff -- but I've been in training, and I'm up to the task.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lazy week

Can't get my butt either to the gym or out on the path. Last week I worked out or ran all seven days. Mixed weather, on the edge of a cold, slept badly, dog ate my homework, just can't get my act together. First time with three days off in a row without an injury since I don't know when. Will break the streak tomorrow. Canceled my last class before spring break and will definitely do something before straggling downtown for lunch with a colleague. Hope to get some miles in over the weekend and then off to Utah for a faculty workshop on my corporate governance/competition policy piece sandwiched in between two days of skiing. Good workouts but not a lot of miles next week either.