Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Musings

I share Ted and Max's love of the fall.  As the temperature drops so does my time per mile, often dramatically.  Biking time and endurance improves as well.  I only wish I lived in SF or other such place that is temperate most of the year.

Still battling calf problems but got out for a great 7 miler on Sunday on a sunny day in low 50s.  Just over 7 in just over an hour.  compression sleeves help.  massage helps more but isn't particularly enjoyable.

Since I missed the Chicago half, I signed up for a different half on October 20th and a 15K on November 4th which will be my only long ones before Rome in March. 

Speaking of Rome, I finally satisfied the byzantine Italian legal requirements for marathon registration on my third try and will line up for the Rome marathon and go as long and as hard as my body and winter trainign in Chicago permits.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Pronouncement

Just reached the last year of my age group. I celebrated by leaving the house for a run on my favorite loop through Rock Creek Park, down Beach Drive and back to civilization via the Tilden Street climb. Absolutely wonderful. It's the time of year when all I will care about until 2013 is placing one foot in front of the other. If the weather is like today it will be a hell of a pleasure.

Fall is arrived.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Marathon Training

So, now that my one-race tri season is over for the year, it's time to get back to Marathon training.  I'm signed up for NYC in early November, and if that's not going to be a disaster, I'd better start logging base miles, and long runs.  I had one 19 miler under my belt three weeks ago, but other than that, blessed little running in my schedule for the last couple of months.  In a normal universe, you build your way up to the 20 milers.  No time for that.  Four of us set out this morning for a leisurely very long run.  Two of the runners were folks I'd never run with before, who were both training for NYC, and one was my long time running buddy, along for the first dozen as a good sport.  There's nothing nicer than a fall run in New York.  The weather was perfect.  We snaked through Brooklyn, then came back along the East River, over the Brooklyn Bridge, through Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Red Hook, and then home.  What a great way to spend a weekend morning!


Last Saturday I did the Lobsterman Olympic Tri in Freeport, Maine.  My racing schedule has been up in the air all summer.  I had initially planned to do the Martha's Vineyard Tri on September 9, but family events, and work obligations got in the way.  I enjoyed Lobsterman last year, so I was happy to do it again.  I really can't say enough nice things about this race.  The swim course is in a sheltered cove.  The water is chilly, but not frigid, and there are plenty of sighting points, both bouys and on shore.  The bike and run course are challenging.  There are lots of turns, and sharp rolling hills (it is, after all, the Maine coast).  I had a great day.  Overall, I was six minutes faster than last year.  Most of that was due to the swim.  I don't exactly understand my swim times.  They range from slow to unbelievably slow.  This time was unusual.  I stayed with the pack through the first turn (500 meters or so).  This is unusual. Then going around the buoy, I got panicky (as I often do, and had to flip over on my back to calm down).  This happened once more, over the next minute or so, and then I settled down and swam the rest of the way at a good pace.  Even with the two "breathers," I was six minutes faster than last year.  On the bike, I resolved to hammer on the hills.  The result was a bike leg two minutes faster than last year.  I averaged somewhere between the 20 mph (on my bike computer) and the 19.3 mph that the scorers assigned my time.  Either way, that's not too bad for a hilly course on an old steel bike.  I really did work hard on the hills.  The result was that when I hit the run I paid.  The transition was fine, and I ran the first two miles at a quick clip.  Then, well, I don't know whether I was paying for the bike leg, or my failure to eat during the bike leg, or my pre-race dinner of a McDonald's quarter pounder with fries, but my glutes simply announced that they were done.  I gutted it out, but I gave back the two minutes improvement on the bike.

All in all, a good day.

Summer Centuries

So I haven't done any racing since May's Brooklyn Half Marathon -- not much posting either, though I've been a loyal reader.  Welcome back Phil!!  Your posts have been an inspiration to me to reappear. 

Over the summer I discovered a new form of endurance sport, Century bicycle tours.  I did two, one in Maine and one on the North Fork of Long Island.  I must say, I am hooked.  These are large group rides, rather than races.  You head out, find a group that matches your pace, ride through the country side, and stop every 25 miles or so for ablutions and snacks.  Very civilized, and very scenic. 

2013 Shaping Up


I'm signed up for Boston. Again. I can't get over the idea that a race course that includes 20 miles of running downhill should be easy. Oh yeah -- and it's Mecca.

And now Big Sur 2013. Big Sur is a cultural experience. If I weren't running it, I'd be tempted to camp out at Mile 13 next to the piano and observe. Instead I'll join the rest of the hippie runner crowd for the most beautiful 3 and a half hours of running I can imagine.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A triathlon, a DNF, and goals for the rest of the season

I ran the Nation's Triathlon in DC on September 9. This race is great because they close all of the roads to the southwest of town, including large parts of Constitution, Independence, Rock Creek Parkway, Canal Road, and the road around Hains Point (which Spencer ran with me the other month). Lots of new pavement made the bike course a bliss. My swim was abysmally slow, but not having been in the water at all since the Boulder 1/2 iron in August (and before then not at all since the Rock Hall triathlon in June), I couldn't complain. My bike was not fast, but OK, and I was happy with the 10K run split. Overall 2:20 and change, my 4th fastest time for the distance.

Last Wednesday I took the start for the Last Chance 1200K (cycling), departing Louisville, Colorado for Kensington, Kansas and back at 3 a.m. After a hot and dry summer all across the country -- and after it was 95 degrees and sunny driving to Louisville the day prior -- we rode all day in 50 degree rain. I made it 208 miles to St. Francis, Kansas, and quit. A whimpering end to what was until then a great season of cycling.

Between now and the end of the semester I have a few things on my plate. I'm signed up for the Oil Creek 100 mile, but I won't run it. If my buddy J__ feels up for it, I may show up and run the first loop -- 50 kilometers -- just to enjoy the fall and the beautiful running near Titusville, Pennsylvania. Nice thing about that course is that the serious hills guarantee you will run slowly. I want to PR at the 1/2 marathon distance in early October at the Wilson Bridge Half. And I'm taking my yearly crack at a 3:00:00 marathon in Las Vegas on December 2.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I kind of love the fact that today in England at least it is 17 September and so it is 6 months to go to the Rome Marathon but their clock is a bit less certain.

pressing re-set

Since I am only gently easing my way back onto the trails, I fear my contributions will mainly be reminiscences...but here is one that is mixed with past and present.   When I was a regular runner, whether in training or not, I started each day with a glass of warm water with some lemon juice squeezed in.   Then I would go out for a run.  Then I would come back and eat some oats, or if I was on the road at a conference or something, demolish a hotel buffet.   And if I didn't get to run, I would be a grump all day.   Then I got injured as you all know.   For some reason, and though I've blown ankles and calves and knees and achilles before, this time within about six months I had dropped the cleansing start up juice and oats, and was starting my day with strong coffee.   No oats and no run.   But I wasn't grumpy anymore.  I had attained a new level of equilibrium...not post-run happies, but not no-run unhappies.   But I didn't like it.   The morning run was where I got out any frustrations or annoyances and where I got my best ideas.   Under the new 'regime', the caffeine induced spurt of work I would do in the first hour was productive but not real writing, usually just charging through emails and admin.   When I picked up the rowing habit and was on the water before 7, I would still start with coffee and some carbs, but it was a totally different experience.   With running you let yourself go and think of anything or nothing.  With rowing you get a long break from your work or life, but that is only because it is so technical and hard and exhausting that you can't and indeed shouldn't think of anything else but what you're doing ("Eyes in the boat!").   So, after all this time I am trying to lace up the shoes again, and it is purely due to being sick of being injured, and a great call with Spencer which made me look at the Roma marathon site and when I saw the countdown clock (6 months tomorrow), something clicked in me and I said "stuff this 'I'm injured' malarkey, it is time to get into recovery mode".  And so here I am again, tomorrow begins the first water and lemon in a long time and I will get out and have a plod around one of my old routes, with purpose this time!

compression sleeves

They're sleeves for your legs!  They're all the rage!  But they do look a little dorky.  (See below). 

 (not my actual legs)

I am trying these out for the first time both to help with my calf strain and in general to see how they help with lactic acid and muscle fatigue.

Does anyone have any experience with these?  Helpful, or a faddish waste of money?  Before you get too judgmental, wait to you see a picture of my new Mizuno Elixir ultra lights which are best, but ugliest, shoes I have ever run in.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Legs on fire

...no no I havent gone nuts and filled up with lactic yet.   The Recovery (after three years off running battling PF) is still in its infancy and I am being careful.  What the post title refers to is my trying out an old trail of mine this morning and finding out way way too late that it was now ever-increasingly full of Stinging Nettles.   Before I knew it, it made more sense to plow through than turn back.   Result?   Even after a rub with dockleaves and some lotion, LEGS ON FIRE all day.    But here is the good thing: it reminded me of all those boring meetings I have sat through over the years, at law firms, government offices or faculty rooms, where I've been kept awake and ever so slightly smug by nettle rash from a muddy ten miler that morning...and the quiet consciousness that I Did Something that day, so no matter what else happens or doesn't, I got some good miles in the bank.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day two of The Recovery.   Yesterday, blue skies in Perfidious Albion and so I laced up and did a short ridgeway trot.    I live on Cumnor Hill and there is a nice ridge to Boar's Hill with a beautiful view down over Oxford's spires.    It is a real nice rolling route with sheep on one side and cows on the other and mid way is one of my favourite places, Jarn Mound, a man-made elevation with a great view over to the Cotswolds and rumours of Treasure buried within the mound.  I stretched and iced the PF after, and then spent much of the day reviewing CVs for a senior OFT appointment coming up.   Today I woke up and the foot felt ok, so I had time to squeeze in a short plod with a few light increases of pace.   Then I tried a few squat jumps and other Tabata type stuff for a few minutes before showering down, suiting up and training in to London ( standing room only the whole way...hence why I will not go for Max's standing desk idea just yet).    I am watching out for PF niggles and there are some, but so far containable.    Chaired a Research Committee meeting at my Institute, finalised my Bruges syllabus for this autumn's lectures,  and did some merger conference planning.   A good day and minimal PF pain so far.    Am I doing too much too soon?    And how to shift the stone and a half I have put on since Dublin 09?    (that is 21lbs to you, and it ain't all rowing muscle alas!).   Need to get fat burning, stat.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hellooooo compadres, and apologies for joining so late.   As most of you know, since that heady year when most of us were last all together: 2009's Boston and Dublin, Antitrust and real Marathons, I have been in that Dark Place that is Plantar Eff.   At the start I hoped I was just 6 months behind Spencer in recovery, but it dragged on and on, and I did everything I could find to treat it...using that strassberg sock, Das Boot in bed, icing, heel cups, orthotics, stretching, needles, massage, rest, meds, and the dreaded and expensive (£200 a pop x 6 tries) of Extra Corporal Shock wave Therapy...THAT HURT I can say.    During all this I couldn't run at all, and even standing to lecture in Bruges was a pain.  I should have just stopped all the therapy and did what Max said which was to switch sports for a few weeks or months and try rockclimbing or something which might help with recovery generally.  Eventually I did, but turned to rowing in Eights and Fours, and as much I have got into it, and it is great for the legs and core, and the club I'm in on the Isis in Oxford is fun as well as uber competitive...it is a hard hard sport and I am physically and mentally much more suited to long slow runs in the woods, than pounding away doing the equivalent of squatting down and hurling a fridge over my shoulder a few thousand times an outing.   During all this I just didn't feel like writing about my non-running and was even being childish and not taking the wrapping off my RunnersWorlds...petty huh?  Anyway, I am feeling a window of hope opening in the heel, and so I have been out on the odd plod/jog/trot since the Olympics here so I figured I would cement that by blogging about EU and UK antitrust stuff with you, and inflicting the Recovery News on you, and planning for the next Antitrust Marathon in Rome with you, and maybe I will even lace em up for that one!

Monday, September 10, 2012

On the shelf

I was really looking forward to the Chicago Half Marathon which is a great race and where there was finally great weather on Sunday.  Unfortunately, I managed to strain a calf muscle doing nothing in particular on Saturday.  Instead of running, I spent the rest of Saturday gulping generic tylenol and applying a heating pad.  Taking the rest of the week off, getting a light massage toward the week and then pick up where I left off.  Need to find another fall half in the area to fill out my race card.  Only thing currently scheduled is the Hot Chocolate 15K in early November plus maybe pacing some friends for a bit of the Chi Marathon over Columbus Day weekend.

Alternate Histories

Bet you never knew the true origin of the Chicago Fire.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Running club

One of the goals of our law school running club, which my former colleague P__ founded in 2009, was to find fast students to help us get good workouts in. It took a few years, but -- two new 1Ls have started running with the group, and they hammer. So we spend a mile or so being social and then the group splits into the "we enjoy this sport" crowd and the "we want to vomit at the end of this workout" crowd. I try to keep up with the latter, with mixed success.

Work, Ski, Run (Bandit edition)

5 talks in three days kicked off my trip to Chile.  We have an ongoing exchange program with the Jesuit law school in Chile which hosted my first visit to the Chile.  With varying degrees of formality, I spoke at the national competition agency, the specialized tribunal (3 lawyers, 2 economists) who hear the cases, two panels at a symposium at the Jesuit law school, and a breakfast seminar at the University of Chile law school center on regulation and competition (Regcom).  That plus various meals with those and other folks from the Chilean competition community all left me quite impressed.  Its a knowledgeable and sophisticated but small community of folks who all know each other and are committed to bring real antitrust principles to a highly concentrated economy with many formal and informal connections between the families and the businesses which control much of the country's wealth. 

And then I went skiing.  Spring skiing in the Andres at 9,000-11,000 feet, only 30 miles from Santiago, but a two hour drive because of the endless switchbacks up and down the mountain.  The snow was a bit slushy but it was August (beginning of their spring and end of the ski season just a couple weeks away) and it was nearly 70 degrees with blinding sunshine.  Didn't get hurt, didn't get burned, and had some fun.  Long day though, all in all 13 hours door to door from my hotel for about 4-5 hours of skiing.

And then there was the Santiago 10K on Sunday.  Didn't know anything about it until I woke up on Sunday (kind of sore from skiing) and saw the main street blocked off and some runners either finishing or warming up.  The concierge told me there was a 5K, 10k, and a half marathon.  I saw the race start a few blocks from my hotel and head off in the other direction.  Based on the course map and my very imperfect sense of direction, I was able to connect with the 10K group about 1.5 miles into the race and follow them along the river past the art museum, through the Parc Forestal, across a bridge, and back down through swanky neighborhoods to finish in front of the Presidential Palace.  I ran about 35 minutes with the group that finished in about 45 so far more passed me than I passed but great fun.  Very surreal sight as dozens of the placid, but stray, dogs that inhabit Santiago would jump up and lope along with the packs of runners until they ran out of energy and were replaced by new dogs from different areas.

Have to think seriously about Santiago for a future antitrust marathon.  Nice city, good course routes, good food, many quality hotels, almost everybody speaks English, April annual marathon (our October), and would be easy to find reliable co-sponsors.  Downside is the smog which blankets the city most of the year and the expense and lengthy travel time to/from Santiago. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

FIsh stories about running

I'm OK with presidential or vice presidential candidates fudging the truth about the unemployment rates, about their roles in raising or not raising taxes, about their or other candidates' sexual deviancies -- whatever. I'm not OK with this. After a painful media idol-a-fest over Paul Ryan's apparently extraordinary level of fitness, it turns out he's inflated himself just a tad. Or by >25% -- a 4:01 marathon somehow became "under 3 hours."

To whom does that lie appeal? Ryan must be after Gary Johnson's five or six voters.