Friday, June 24, 2011

A Run with my Niece

My niece Hannah is 16 and just finished her sophomore year at the same high school where my daughter goes (one year behind). Hannah played on varsity soccer and Jordan (daughter) played jv last year. The varsity coach wants everyone to be able to run a 6:00 mile and a 13:00 2 mile before the start of the school year. This means both that Hannah is doing a lot of running this summer and Jordan plans to stick to jv. But it also means I got to go running with my niece for the first time yesterday. I drove to their house about 1 1/2 miles west of Wrigley Field and we did a 4 plus mile loop to a local soccer stadium, around the field, and back. Her distance, my pace, a lot of nice conversation in a very different setting than the usual family gathering where the kids don't really talk to the grownups after saying hello. Really nice experience. Look forward to a few more runs before she heads off for her summer travel plans. Now if I can only get my daughter out there.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hal Higdon and summer training

Higdon is a pioneer in marathon training and has lots of helpful training schedules and other info on his web site. I tend to use a mixture of his novice and intermediate training schedules. I sometimes drop a short run but try not to miss the long runs. With my summer cold, weird weather, travel schedule, and other stuff, I freaked that I was hopelessly behind. Well not hopelessly anyway. Actually exactly on par for the novice schedule but a bit behind on the intermediate one. Doing my 10 miler this Friday instead of Saturday because of travel plans. Then next week is a cut back week with only a 7 miler as the long run (piece of cake even in the heat and humidity). Then it bumps to 12 and beyond for the rest of the summer until the end of August when the taper begins for the Hamptons marathon on September 24th. A good winter/spring base has covered a variety of sins, but now it gets real.

Train Heavy, Run Light

As I continue to experiment with ultralight running shoes, I am settling into a routine. I am doing most of my training runs in my older regular weight shoes (Brooks Ghost and occasionally Saucony Ride or Glide). I am saving my new ultra-light shoes for the occasional short run. My theory is that if I overdo the super light weight ones, they will become the new normal and I will get no advantage on race days. It is a version of the hedonics branch of behavioral law and economics which suggest humans adapt to new situations (positive or negative) far more quickly that one would expect. So for the moment, that is my story and I am sticking to it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Error Cost Analysis and Yoga

Today at Bikram we were enjoined not to push too far on the pose in which you kneel, sit between the heels and lie back on the ground. The concern is for the knees. If our knees hurt, we were told, better to err on the side of pushing less than pushing more.

Why? If the knees were hurt it would have long-lasting consequences, we were told. If we didn't push far enough, we could always push further next time.

Sound like a predatory pricing analysis to anybody?

DC Tri

The DC Triathlon was yesterday. We swam 1500 meters in the Potomac River, not nearly as gross as it would have been had you tried it in the 1980s; we rode 40 kilometers in a starfish pattern down Constitution, out E Street, on Whitehurst Freeway past Georgetown, up Rock Creek Parkway, and across Memorial Bridge, times two; and we ran 10 kilometers in a general eastward direction from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol, adding an out-and-back on several intersecting roads to make the distance (and apparently to see monuments, which I didn't). It's a fun race; it's nice to race and be home by 10 a.m.; it's a social event with many of my friends entering.

I'm continually surprised by something when I complete triathlons. Yesterday my swim, an event to which I devote very little training effort, was substantially stronger than normal; my bike, to which I have devoted much effort recently, was weaker than normal; and the run was about what one would expect.


Race Across America is underway. Slovenia's Jure Robic, the five-time winner, was killed last year in a bike-on-car collision; for the first time in what seems like many years the conclusion of the solo men's race is in doubt. (Robic did not win in 2009 after dropping out a very short distance from the end in protest of a penalty, almost literally giving what would have been his fifth victory away.)

Here is the link to the leaderboard.

And here is an amazing statistic: as of the time of posting, the leader, Christoph Strasser of Switzerland, has averaged nearly 16 mph over the 1878 miles from Oceanside, California, to Jefferson City, Missouri -- an average rate that includes any down-time he takes. For geography nuts, yes, that means he has crossed the Mojave Desert, the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. (Comparison? I was reasonably pleased with a 17 mph average for the 112 miles bike leg of Ironman St. George last month.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Run in Norwich

Finished a very good 2 day conference at University of East Anglia on consumers and competition. Interesting combination of survey and field experiemnts
in behavioral economics. Very little law. Fascinated by talk by political scientist from Harvard Business School on attitudes and availability of consumer
credit in US and France in 20th century. Conference was in the UEA drama studio and conference dinner in stadium club of local soccer club (just promoted
to Premier league). Before 1st day did a 5 mile run along the river with an economist from Texas AM where we saw
many of the sites (cathedral, castle, cow tower). And this morning went for a 90 minute ramble along the river in the other direction. Found some great
trails, paths along the river and through the woods between Norwich and Drayton. Stumbled onto a marsh with a couple of dozen horses and foals. Appeared to
be a true commons (quick someone call Eleanor Ostrom or Brett Ostrom). A great start to my day offan training to London, taking in a show, a good Indian meal,
And then home tomorrow. Then back to real work, undoing student edits to my corp gov piecean and finishing the annual update to my treatise.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


P__ and a friend started taking Bikram yoga classes. Those are the 90-minute sessions in a heated room with a prescribed sequence of 26 poses, each of which you repeat before moving to the next one. Bikram starts standing with some balance poses and then moves to the mat for stretching poses. It's a remarkable experience.

The friend dropped out and starting last week I'm filling in. My goal is to supplement triathlon training, improve my (currently abysmal) flexibility, forestall injuries and maybe lose weight. One week in, I'm pleased. But it's quite humbling. Apparently very little about running, cycling and swimming prepares one for locked-leg arms to sky pivot on hip until body and leg are parallel to the floor . . .

Monday, June 13, 2011

My lost week

I ran a quick 8 last Sunday and was ready to taper down to the North Shore Half-Marathon yesterday. Instead, I came down with a summer cold/sinus infection and ended up on antibiotics and nuclear power nasal spray. Could barely breathe and didn't run a lick all week. Instead of actually doing the half, I did a slow labored 4 miles on Sunday and managed to screw up my back in the process. Not happy. Hope to better tomorrow after two trips to the chiro. Then back on a plane which can't be good either for my health or my back. 5 days in the UK for a consumer law conference and then actually home for a month when I buckle down to training for the September marathon. Hopefully some good running in East Anglia and London.

Steak Dinner

D__ and I worked together in private practice. After I jumped to teaching and he to government, he and I independently started running triathlons, more or less at the same time. Over the five-plus years since, we've come pretty close to splitting "wins" -- I tend to come out ahead in run-dominated events and he tends to come out ahead if the bike and swim dominate. A few times a year for the past four years or so we've bet -- a six pack here, double or nothing there, dinner here, and c. -- but nobody has ever actually paid up. It kind of all seemed to come out in the wash.

This time nothing actually is owed, but we decided to celebrate nonetheless. D__ offered me a steak dinner if I ran under 4:00 in St. George. (I thought while I was running I was earning it, but I had misread the clock!) I offered him the same if he ran under 3:05 in Eugene. Neither of us pulled it off, but both were close, and its being zero-sum anyway, we figured we'd eat well tonight. Whether I buy his or I buy mine, it's still steak.

We're eating at The Prime Rib on K Street. Not being a steak-house denizen or a lobbyist, I know of it only because of the LUC Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies-branded Zagats guide. The description says "the bar scene will hurt your eyes if you are married" -- and, fortunately for D__, he isn't. Zagats also gives the food top billing for local steak joints.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Oh, the heat

Car thermometer registered 101 today. I felt energetic, though, so I went out for the usual 6-mile loop from the house, into Rock Creek Park via the Davenport hill, and down the long, winding descent to Beach Drive. 1.5 miles on Beach brings you to Military Road and the Park Police station. Ascend back up to the stables, out to Military Road and back home. That's the reverse of my usual loop. The water bottle was empty by the time I hit the police station and it was a thirsty slog from there. Not feeling so energetic, anymore!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Back in the Saddle

I've had a few things from which to recover.

St. George took more out of me than I thought. My runs and rides have been ho-hum for the past few weeks, with the exception of tourist-running in Europe. But coach says no more fooling around. If the legs aren't hurt (they aren't), time to get serious about Vineman. (I actually got chewed out for missing a single day last week. I guess he means it!)

Austin, Texas, last weekend was H O T. Went for 4 1/2 hours on the bike one day. One could mine for salt on my helmet-strap. Being back in the 97 degree heat and humidity of DC feels almost pleasant.

I've been away from the blog since Heidelberg because my briefcase was stolen in Amsterdam. Typical dumb American tourist occurrence -- I was getting directions at the info kiosk, I set the briefcase down to hold the map, and the briefcase was no more. Because the computer, iPad and iPhone were all there, P__ reset all my passwords for me, and I've just now found out how to access the blogger account!

Finally, grades are in, students have been responded to, and writing season is underway.

Time to read, write and run once again. Looking forward to it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's kind of Wikipedia for audio books. Its a web site to download audio versions of public domain books. What is really cool is that it is a user community where users suggest books and they and other volunteers record and post them chapter by chapter. The coordinator for any given project is in charge of quality control. There are hundreds of fiction and non-fiction, mostly pre-1923 and thus aut0omatically in the public domain but a few after that where the copyright has lapsed or not been renewed for some reason. There is a wide range of classics and sci fi among the stuff I have checked out so far. You then down load them as pod casts and listen at your leisure.

I am working my way through Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. The down side is that the quality of the readers and their accents varies widely. They range from several British women who sound quite posh to nasal midwesterners, a quite thick Australian accent, and a very annoying South Carolinian woman who reads painfully slowly and with the oddest pauses. Oh well, it still beats paying $60 for a download where I never would have taken the chance for that price range.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Running Solo in DC

Eschewed Rock Creek Park for a one hour run along the Potomac and the tow path. Went NW past Georgetown. Turned back after 25 minutes or so. Threw in a loop of the Key Bridge and then back to Foggy Bottom for a quick shower, check out and a nice day of legal history at a GW conference on Standard Oil at 100. Do we really need three papers on whether the railroad rebates were real or cost justified?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

HFH (Home from Haifa)

Haifa is the anti-Chicago. Al hills and no flats (except for a narrow and underused beachfront). I had time for 2 runs. One was Saturday a long one, down, down, down, then a cable car ride the rest of the way to the beach, a one kilometer on the beach, cable car part way up and run up the hill to my hotel. Then shorter on Monday morning up to the Horev neighborhood and back down. I have now run all parts of Mount Carmel from the bottom to the top and along the top, just not at one time. What I missed was a Tuesday race that started by my hotel in Carmel Center up to the top and back down. Probably 15K or more with some elite runners from all over Europe at the front of the pack. Unfortunately, I only learned of the race in the taxi to the airport in Tel Aviv at 4 AM on Wednesday. Maybe two years from now.