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. atlinks.com 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.