Monday, October 31, 2011


10 years ago I ran a reasonably-fast-for-a-recreational-schmuck marathon in San Diego, and then not appreciating what probably came too easily -- at age 27 too many things come easily and are unappreciated -- I hung up the shoes and spent my summer weekends at the beach. Ever since I've been trying to repeat that effort. Yesterday in what turned into simply perfect conditions at the Marine Corps Marathon I managed to eke out a 1-second PR, thanks to official results that gave me one second the runner tracking and my watch did not (until this morning I thought I had tied myself).

At this rate, in two-thousand, two-hundred and seventy years, I may achieve that elusive goal of a sub-three-hour marathon.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Kaufman 5 k (ish)

The Loyola running club met yesterday at our associate dean's house in Highland Park for a faculty, student, staff fun run and walk. Mike Kaufman and various family members chalked off a 4-5 mile course through the streets, running paths, and beaches of Highland Park and next door Glencoe. The weather was great, the trees aflame, and the houses beautiful. Mike older brother, our alumni director, and I paced the front of the group, Mike paced the bottom of the pack so nobody got lost. We waited here and there so make sure nobody missed a turn. Then the three of us crossed a home made finish line in front of Mike's house and headed in for a delicious brunch set out by various of Mike's family members and late arrivals. I have no idea how long we actually ran but the course record for this now annual event is 48:22. But the real point was a community building exercise and a wonderful time for all. Plus I returned home with some terrific leftovers.

Now back to real races for our group next Saturday with the Hot Chocolate 5K/15K plus brunch.

But more importantly, Good luck to Max at the MCM.

Friday, October 28, 2011


The Marine Corps Marathon is Sunday. It's the end of serious fall running around DC. This will be my second year running it. It's becoming a nice tradition. We may be losing in Afghanistan, but the Marines sure know how to put on a race. I just hope it goes well. The weather is predicted to reach a high of 48, and sun is expected. It will be cold at the start. My strategy is to go easy for eight miles, at which point the hills are over. Then run well until mile 20. Then hope that I've gotten over the hump with regard to that final 10K. Then hit the beer tents.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Race for Competition

I mentioned this brainstorm a short while back, and Spencer expressed interest. I've inquired with my coach, who in addition to hanging out around a bunch of races himself, has successfully put on a fun 5K twice in a row. Here are his (edited and [editorialized]) thoughts as to things one must do to bring a small race together:

"I put on the 5k last year in just 4 months, but only had 73 runners. If you have the ability to promote it well enough to get 300+ runners, then the extra 2 months should help.

Here are the considerations:

permits -- different rules depending on where you go; Rock Creek Park is a pain in the neck [the Capital CrescentTowpath are Park Service properties, but possibly easier to permit?]
liability insurance -- Road Runners Club of America offers
police/ road closures [if we raced on the Capital Crescent Trail or Canal Towpath, out and back from Georgetown, this would be obviated]
timing [research assistant with a stopwatch!]
t-shirts including logo design -- this takes the most time [Mike gave me a contact for this]
portable toilets
website [presumably, if Spencer is serious about the Institute sponsoring, we could house the website there]
registration process [the ideal would be to have registration through the Antitrust Section as a ~$30 add-on to the Spring Meeting registration]
awards/ raffles (sponsors/logos for shirt)
volunteers [can we talk DC-area antitrust profs into rounding up students?]
water for course [same -- for a 5K you need one table at the turn-around]
post-race food ($1 per runner)
logo design
packet pickup location [Spring Meeting registration, also 1 hour before the start]"

I would think the first step, if one were to try this, would be to get ABA Antitrust Section buy-in. I'm assuming that's hard to do -- anybody have any experience interloping in their party?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pilgrim's Kids Care 5K

I don't usually run or like 5Ks because they emphasize what I am worst at ... speed. But there was a small race at Montrose Harbour where a church was raising money for Back on My Feet. BOMF needed drivers for the guys in the program so I signed for driving duty and for the race itself. Because the program in Chicago is now just over one year old the runners included guys who had trained all year and new members who were running their first race.

Glorious day, sunny, temperature around 50. The new runners were nervous, the veterans just getting back into it from their fall training and races. It was a small informal affair with a cyclist leading the group on a marked course on the sidewalks from the harbour, around the hill (the only one on the North Side of Chicago!), the soccer fields, north to next set of soccer fields and back.

I wasn't going to work too hard on this one until one of the new guys I drove to the race started trash talking me. I picked my way around some kids and dropped him at the half mile mark. get up a fast pace for me anyway, and finished around 20th for the race. If they had divisions I would would have gotten 2nd or 3rd for the post 50 guys. Of course, if they had been big enough to have divisions, they probably would have had faster runners and I would have been my usual middle of the pack finish.

The real story was the pride of the new runners and the delight of the marathon finishers who were interviewed by some of the Church volunteers for some kind of a video and then saluted by the announcer after the race.

Heart of Indiana 10K

I ran this 10K in downtown Indianapolis yesterday. My first race in Indianapolis, and my first 10K run on a pancake. Looking forward to the next one!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Learning to Love the Elliptical?

In partial response to Spencer's post, I regret to inform the running community at large (and in particular, my worthy competitors in the 40-44 Clydesdale cohort) that I am officially on the shelf until further notice. Apparently, Achilles tendons aren't supposed to have golf-ball-sized bone spurs at their bases.

Yesterday my doctor told me my distance-running career was officially on hold while I experience the joy that is night splints and try to figure (1) whether PRP injections are voodoo medicine; and (2) whether I care. ("I believe in the placebo effect. I believe in the placebo effect. I believe. . . ")

According to the doctor, my spurs are so large that she'd have to detach almost the entire tendon on each leg to pare them down surgically; nonetheless, she said, "I don't like to cut on athletes. If you were a sedentary, overweight, middle-aged woman, I'd recommend surgery." She then wondered aloud how I was able to wear shoes at all.

Would her treatment recommendation have been different if I were a sedentary, overweight, middle-aged man? 'Cause I could manage that with very little effort. At the same time, neither "months in a wheelchair" nor "two years of surgeries and rehab" sounds all that attractive. So I guess I have to avoid the "sedentary" bit and/or hope my doctor is as sexist as her comment suggested. Elliptical (and bike), here I come!

Apologies to all for backing out of the Indianapolis half; if they'll let me do the elliptical-machine-equivalent for a finisher's medal, maybe we can work something out.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall running

Max: Sounds like you are keeping busy? How about you Paul? What do you expect to run besides the Indy half?

For me I am doing the Kaufman 5K in Highland Park on 10/29 which is a totally made up excuse for the Loyola running club to do a short race through the leafy North Shore suburbs beginning at the home of our associate dean and ending with brunch at his house. Then its the 15K Hot Chocolate race on 11/5. Then maybe the Turkey Trot 8K only because it starts 3 blocks from my apartment. All are contingent on my arches and heels calming down from the lingering effects of the marathon.

Any other blog readers or authors who care to share? Ted? Anyone?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Who needs a reason?

Today was the "Run for a Cause" 8K in Clarendon, VA. I couldn't think of a cause not to, so I did. Another beautiful day, this time racing in my old haunts, where I lived and ran when I first moved to the DC area.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Local Races

I found a fun and quite low-key race in Rock Creek Park today. It was a pleasant 2 1/2 mile jog to get there, then a warm-up, then a 5K on a rugged course. We went downhill steeply for about 3/4 mile, then downhill gradually to the turn, and then back -- gradual up, steep up! I spotted the eventual winner at the start line by his (sorry for observing this) really, really great legs. There were a handful of others that might once have been serious runners, or were on their way -- third place went to a high-school kid, and the third woman was a 12-year-old girl. F__, with whom I ran a 20-miler four-or-so weeks ago, won the women's title.

At the turn there were 4 of us together; the winner was already 30" or so ahead. We all looked at our watches and took a collective gasp, as the downhill half had gone improvidently quickly. I had a rare (for me) instance of deeper understanding that I wasn't the only guy dreading the next 10 minutes, and I managed to keep the winner in sight and hold on for second.

Hung around for some bananas and a low-key awards ceremony, then jogged home. This is a marvelous time of year for running in DC.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kona Lottery

My buddy D__ just clued me into something that won't affect me one way or the other, but is creating a small furor in the long-course triathlon community: the change (described here) to the Kona lottery entries. When the Ironman was established, the organizers desired that the race always be open to regular people. I guess some of the early finishers must have been just that -- when I last looked (which was a while back, so my memory may be spotty) top finishes were in the 11-hour range before Dave Scott showed up. They've satisfied that desire by holding a lottery every year, as well as opening a few spots for special cases -- e.g., if one of the Chilean coal miners wanted to run, $10 says he'd be permitted to do so without qualifying.

I personally decline to enter the lottery. No moral issues, but I'd kind of like to qualify. The reality is, however, I never will.

The new approach is to permit 12x IM finishers to run without qualifying, and also to run a (presumably smaller) lottery with preference given to those who have tried several times to get in through the lottery but failed. This has a few obvious impacts:

(1) it guarantees some people entries, as there are surprisingly many 12X and greater finishers out there;
(2) it decreases the non-IM-triathletes who get in purely on lottery slots (so decreases the "can he beat the clock getting out of the water" drama);
(3) it encourages spending on race entry fees of up to $1000 (IM NYC 2012 -- price discrimination has found its way to IM racing) many times over, and disincentivizes "wasting" a race on an unbranded event.

Competition-policy concerns aside, I like the change. Because I could see going to Kona having earned my entry, though not having qualified. But there's the fallacy, because I ain't running 12 Ironmans. 12 140.6s is possible (7 to go). But when I can run the Chesapeakeman for $195 plus one $55 hotel room the night before -- or even go exotic and run the Israman -- I have a hard time seeing myself as an Ironman-brand loyalist.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicago (marathon)

Marathon mom is getting all the attention but the real story remains the weather. No matter what weekend in October they pick the Chicago marathon has had highs in the 70s three of the past four years and tragic highs in the 80s two of those years. Not sure what to do about it, but its not good.

This was the first year that I didn't either run a stretch (or all of it) nor cheer from the corners at either end of Wellington as the race goes north and then south. I slept in and then watched most of the second half. I wish the understandable fascination with Ryan Hall would just go away. He may be the fastest American born marathoner in a generation, but he isn't going to win any majors with or without a coach and will be lucky if he finishes in the top 8 in the Olympics.

The real story is Moses Mosup. He set a course record in his second marathon ever. He destroyed his rival after the other guy foolishly tried a break away at mile 19. He would be finished around 2:04 if he had eased up the last two miles because of heat and a dumb failure to hydrate at a couple of points. He can probably run a 2:02 in better conditions. He looks unbeatable for the foreseeable future.

All of which inspired me to finally get out there for a real recovery run in the late afternoon. Felt good but then I didn't have to run 26.2 and/or give birth in the heat of the day.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


IM World Championships on now in Kona. Early in the run Craig Alexander -- 2x winner, and the best runner in professional IM racing -- is about to catch Chris Lieto, who is the best cyclist in the sport, proving once again that this is a runner's sport. The big surprise is that Chrissie Wellington does not appear to be in the hunt; she's ~25' down on leader Julie Dibens. In her past appearances, Wellington has simply dominated the women's field, with three championship wins and god-knows-how-many race wins. But she's a runner, too, so it's not over.

This is so much cooler than football.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bankruptcy's Per Se Rule

I wonder if there are any thoughts on this proposition:

"Bankruptcy states a per se rule that reflects the following proposition: the number of instances in which there is broader economic benefit to be derived from competition policy considerations, and the magnitude of those benefits, taken together are insufficient to warrant the harm to the constituents of the bankruptcy estate from the loss of the assets."

Here's the idea: bankruptcy does not concern itself with economic efficiency, preferring instead the preservation of value to the constituents of the estate. That obviously reflects an implicit policy decision that the broad efficiency benefits from competition policy are insufficient to overcome the localized value preservation that bankruptcy champions.


We're looking for as many as six new hires this year. (Yeah, right. I put the over-under at four.) I like the hiring season. It's fun meeting lateral candidates from around the country who come with different experiences and different reasons for considering a move. It's a great way to learn about the unspoken realities of the market in which we compete. (Wow, that school looks really good -- why is s/he looking to move?) I spend time with colleagues I don't know well, because we're on different floors or different hallways, but gather for job talks and office meetings. I read articles on topics that would not attract my attention otherwise. It's also a great time to eat well.

But its not doing much for my running. I haven't been out since a great long run on Sunday. I hope I can get my track work in on Friday. This year's Marine Corps will be an experiment in minimalism: can I threaten a PR on 25 miles a week? Time will tell.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Real Inspirational Story

Back on my Feet is a great group with branches in many cities and these guys are terrific. I will be cheering them on this Sunday morning.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mysterious Foot Ailment

Toward the end of the Hamptons race, the top of my right foot felt like someone was hitting it with a hammer. It was the only part of me that hurt the next day. Then weirdly enough, it went away and I got the same feeling on the top of my left foot which continues to bother me one week later. So no running for me so far just some light low impact elliptical work and a little biking. I want to pace a couple guys from my running group for the Chicago Marathon but don't want to oput myself on the blocks for the rest of the fall. Annoying.