Friday, November 30, 2012

Marathon Cancellation -- What's Next?

Okay, so they cancelled the NYC Marathon.  It was the right thing to do.  As a legal matter, they're probably entitled to take our money and not refund it.  I'm a contracts professor, excuse as a result of impossibility/force majeure, blah, blah, blah.  To the extent that folks relied on the statement on Tuesday that the marathon would be held, they might have some sort of a claim based on promissory estoppel.  Not me, though.  I did not change my travel plans.  I just slept in on Sunday morning.

Given their usual cancellation policy, I have generally assumed that they would give folks the option to get a refund, or to eat the registration fee and get a guaranteed entry into either the 2013 NYC Marathon or the 2013 NYC Half Marathon.  That way folks who had already qualified for the 2013 Marathon (by running 9 NYRR races) would still get something nice in return for their trouble.   Obviously, this would create some ripple effects.  Nobody would get into the Marathon by lottery next year, but they wouldn't lose much money, because the 2012 folks would end up paying twice.

There's some risk that this would still cause 2013 to be oversubscribed, but that would pretty easily be handled by giving folks the option to use the admit in 2014 and thereby space everybody out.  This isn't rocket science.

Today, the NYRR posted the following message on their website.  It's a lot like the message they posted last week:

We are still working through the many issues surrounding the cancelation of the Marathon and promise to update everyone as soon as we can. We know many of you are looking for information about our weekly races, and winter training. We would love to get back to talking about running – starting with Join the Voices 5M on Sunday and our Live Chat with Coach John on Wednesday, December 5. We look forward to your race comments and photos in the coming weeks – thanks for helping us to keep the conversation going.

Um, this is pretty lame.  I'm not quite sure what information they're going to have next week that they don't have this week.   In short the NYRR's rolling PR disaster continues. . .  


Okay, so I've started thinking about Rome.  I just got an e-mail saying I would indeed need to provide a certification from a doctor that I am fit to run.  Unfortunately my primary care doctor just moved to Phoenix, so this is going to be a bit of a process . . .

More importantly, I recently had to provide an abstract to Law and Society for a program on comparative consumer law, and I thought to myself, thought I, what time like the present to write an abstract for my Antitrust Marathon presentation.   Here's what I came up with:

Comparative Consumer Financial Protection -- The Allocation of Enforcement Power

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  One of the goals of the CFPB was to centralize regulatory over consumer financial products in a single agency.  The centralization of enforcement power was less complete, with prudential agencies retaining some enforcement power.  The first task of this paper will be to describe the balance of centralized and decentralized enforcement power within the CFPB.  The second task will be to compare the Dodd-Frank architecture to the enforcement structure used in other countries, both with regard to competition law and with regard to consumer protection (which are frequently handled by the same regulator).  An advantage of centralization is that a single agency is charged with consumer protection (financial or otherwise).  A concern is the enhanced possibility of capture created by a single regulator.  This paper will consider the balancing of these concerns in the US and EU. 

I had told Spencer that I would focus my remarks at the Antitrust Marathon on the CFPB's enforcement power, but any thoughts you all might have on the comparative angle would be most helpful.  

What are you all thinking about??

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Does it end at 50?

My various running and academic mentors -- co-bloggers included -- might argue otherwise. But a dour article on p. D6 of today's WSJ counsels that after age 50 running fast and far may be more stress than benefit. Running some is apparently a good thing. But running too hard apparently makes you age more quickly and overstresses the heart. One more source teaching "moderation, moderation."

As I stand here it's still drowned out by the Highlander theme song by Queen and the lure of a marathon starting line

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I pinched my plica

6 weeks out I finally got in to see my sports medicine guy.  I swear by Dr. N who is the former medical director for Chicago Marathon and a 2:30 marathoner back in the day.  After much poking, prodding, stretching and manipulating by various residents and fellows, he swoops in presses in a couple of key places and following my painful grimace announces that I pinched my plica, a membrane extending below the knee which is being pinched by the sharp edge of the patella.  "Almost missed that one," he says, "It's like when you bite the inside of your cheek, quite minor and easily fixed."  I am icing, doing a small manipulation of the kneecap a couple times a day and doing two weeks of PT and he claims I will be running well before the end of the year.  Even thinks there is a shot at a Rome Marathon if I am willing to do some crazy bike work when the weather gets lousy. 

James Bond Competition Enforcer?

At least this is the opinion of a very clever story which argues that most Bond villains are attempting to monopolize a world market or the world itself, albeit in an implausible way. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Everything is Relative

At the gym this morning.   Still feeling good about 3:42 in the Brooklyn Marathon. Gave directions to a new member.  Chatted about running, marathon times, etc.  Guy does 2:30ish for the marathon 1:08 for the half. . .  Crawled back into my hole.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sowing is done. What will I reap next Sunday?

Last good workout today of this marathon training program -- 10 miles, supposed to be at marathon pace but for the second time this week several or more seconds per mile faster than I had planned. 35 degree temperatures and a flat stretch of the Mt. Vernon trail can't have hurt. It felt phenomenal.

I'm not going to get faster between now and Sunday, when we start in Folsom, California and run downhill 26.2 miles to Sacramento. Gotta stay loose, gotta keep from gaining weight, and gotta get excited, but not too excited.

Ted, whatever you did in both of your big fall races worked. Any thoughts would be most welcome.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


I just thought I'd take a moment to note, as November draws to a close, that the blog is coming to the end of its most successful month ever, with nearly 900 page views late in the month (at least if I'm reading the data right).  It has been a tumultuous month for running, with Paul Ryan, Paula Broadwell and Hurricane Sandy.  Also, we've been doing lots of racing.  Whatever it is, here's to a happy Thanksgiving!

Graph of Blogger page views

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bethesda Turkey Chase

I first ran this in 2000 and set my 10K PR, which may still stand or may not (my memory is spotty and the times from that year are not online). I ran it again the next year, or maybe the year after. Finally made it back this year -- 10+ years later -- for the Bethesda Turkey Chase with P__.

P__ finished her first 10K at a very respectable pace! Faster, at least, than most of her workouts have been, despite this being a hilly course. I think she's happy, if that is represented by lying on the couch and groaning. (That's always my own response to a hard run, so I think I understand.)

My own goal was to run 1 mile at marathon pace, 1 mile at 1/2 marathon pace, and repeat three times. The last 0.2 would be open. I was that annoying guy slowing down and then passing people and then slowing down again. Something went wrong -- I didn't have a watch on, and when I finally saw the finish line clock I realized that I was overheating by about 20" per mile average, relative to goal. Ended up right at -- I would guess right over -- 40:00.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What are folks actually working on?

We rarely deal with the wRiting part of the blog?  I am curious what people are actually working on when they are not running or rehabbing.

To get the ball rolling, my main project is my co-authored article on "Antitrust's Democracy Deficit" with Harry First of NYU.  We are looking at the evolving nature of antitrust into a technocracy and critiquing it from the point of view of transparency and democratic accountability.  We contrast this trend in the US with the opposite trend in the EU where the modernization effort has empowered national competition authorities, national courts, and to a lesser extent private plaintiffs to make competition enforcement more transparent and closer to the people affected by it.  Finally, we look at the ideological underpinning of the movement towards  technocracy in the US and how many advocates are in fact arguing for a laissez faire approach to market regulation that cannot be justified by the text, intent, history or interpretation of the US antitrust statutes. 

We have presented this at a conference on the goals of antitrust at GW law school in October and will be publishing it in the Fordham Law Review.  Suddenly, the January 14th deadline for final manuscripts doesn't seem that far away.

I have too many other smaller projects and administrative reports due to even begin to summarize those but look forward to hearing about the big ticket items on your plate.  Plus there is grading looming on the horizon.

And before I forget, Happy Thanksgiving to all, even those bloggers in countries with different traditions this time of year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Musical Delight

I have been diligently listening to all my music on my Ipod both while trying to make my endless deadlines and while working out at the gym until healed enough to resume running.  I am pretty close to having listened to every track at least once.  Apart from further proof of how OCD and running go hand in hand, I have both weeded out lots of loser tracks I have no interest and rediscovered music I had no idea I even owned. 

A rediscovered favorite is The Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin (and redone by Trent Renzor for the soundtrack of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).  This is berserker rock at its finest.

The other more newly discovered treasure is the version of the Ramone's song She Talks to Rainbows covered by Ronnie Spector.  This is on her 1999 EP produced by Joey Ramone.  Her beautiful, but worn, voice and accent are just perfect for this punk ballad (no other way to describe it).  Check it out!She Talks to Rainbows

Monday, November 19, 2012

Does Size Matter?

All of us here at runningprofs have done our share of big marathons -- New York, Chicago, Marine Corps, Dublin, and for one of us, (Max) Boston.  There's no substitute for the rush and the adrenaline of the start, and the pull you get from the steady line of runners.  

More recently, I've run a few smaller races.  Spencer and I ran the Hamptons Marathon in 2011 (300 or so).  This year I ran Brooklyn (500ish).  Both have been small races and great experiences.  There's something wonderful about wandering up to the start 30 minutes before the gun and still having time to stretch, use the port-o-john, check your bag and line up.   In the smaller field, there's something joyous about the conversation groups that form along the way as pace groups form and unform.  This is particularly nice in a marathon, where the pace is not so hard that you can't chat.  There's something spectacular about the conviviality at the finish as you have time to thank the folks who dragged you through the last hard miles, congratulate the folks who passed you and then cheered you at the end, and to cheer the folks you passed as they finished.  

A second question is what effect the size of the field has on your time.  In a big marathon there's often jockeying for running room from beginning to end -- a sharp turn here, a stutter step there.  These take a toll.  In a smaller race, it's easier to settle in, listen to your body and just run.  Yesterday, in the Brooklyn Marathon, even thought the course was 6 times around a hilly loop (with three times around a slightly less hilly loop), I felt like the familiarity of the course, the steadiness of the pace, and the pull of a small pace group made all the difference.

So which is better for a fast time, a big race or a small one?


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Race Report -- Love them shoes!!

So, today was the second running of the Brooklyn Marathon.  I signed up for it while Sandy was raging outside, and I assumed (correctly, as it turns out) that that the NYC Marathon would be cancelled.

Instead of 47,000 runners, the Brooklyn Marathon was capped at 500.   The course was six full laps and three short laps of Prospect Park.  It was a perfect day.  Low 40s at the start, rising into the 50s.  I went out hard.  By halfway, it was clear I was going to set a PR or blow up.  I kept waiting for the wall, and it never came.  Usually I start to slow at mile 20.  I did slow some, but not much.  Even the last two miles were under 9 minutes.  I finished in 3:42.15 which was a PR by a little more than 10 minutes.  All in all, a good day, and a good finish to the season.

It is still a bit of a puzzler why I'm suddenly setting PRs.  I think part of it is that I've been running with better form.  Part of it is that I've been running with lighter minimal shoes.  Whatever it is, I'll take it.

UPDATE: Here's a link to some photos at the finish.  The guy in yellow and I kicked together for the last 100 yards. Thanks dude, whoever you are!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Am I the only one . . .

Who has a short window to capture the momentum required to head out for a hard workout? I planned my morning around heading out for tempo intervals at the track. I got waylaid on the way back from coffee. Now the excitement has diminished. I'm heading out now, but $10 says I get to the track, run a few laps hard, and end up going for a mid-distance run to fill up the time.

Once when I tried to become a golfer (don't say it) I had a great drive, or a great chip, or a great putt, or something -- and I complained to my playing partner, who was a golfer, that "I'd be good if I could just be consistent." He responded, "no, you are not consistent because you are not good."

Difference between being a professional and being a weekend warrior: the ability to get in the right frame of mind at will rather than hoping that the frame of mind occurs on its own with sufficient frequency actually to get something done. This most definitely extends to writing as well.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day 10K

Its a perfect time of year for road racing. It was 42 degrees and sunny with still air as we raced out and around Hains Point and back. I wouldn't say I ran fast, but I did run my second fastest ever 10K, despite this run's coming late in a higher-than-average-mileage week. So I'm sanguine about the result.

I love out-and-back races with fast fields. The lead pack must have been holding sub-5-minute miles. Even A__, whom I know to be a 35-minute-some 10K runner, was well out of contention for recognition this time.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Investigative reporting

I was inspired by the Runner's World take-down of Paul Ryan, so I thought I'd look into the NY Times report that Paula Broadwell taped part of her biography of David Petraeus while running 6-minute miles together in Afghanistan.

I've run a few 6-minute miles -- a very few -- so I was pretty sure an athletic late-30s woman and an athletic late-50s man would find it quite difficult to converse with any substance at that pace.

According to Athlinks, Paula Broadwell (assuming I have the right one -- the name and age fits) is indeed athletic, with at least one 1:36 1/2 marathon and a handful of mid-20s 5Ks and mid-40s 10Ks to her credit. David Petraeus doesn't just look it -- he is very athletic. In 2002 at age 49 he ran 1:03:46 in the Army 10-miler. That's serious speed. A reported 33-something 5 miler is also very respectable.

But neither of those sets of results suggests somebody who can run 6-minute miles, much less converse while holding a 6-minute pace. OK, so this isn't the expose of the decade, but it's my own little contribution to the marketplace of information.

UPDATE: I've had a short e-mail exchange with a "Senior Editor for Standards" at the New York Times. The characterization in the article comes from Broadwell's co-written biography. Here I quote him quoting the book:

"[Petraeus] had invited Broadwell to join him and his team for a run along the Potomac River. 'I'd earned varsity letters in cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and finished at the top of my class for athletics at West Point; I wanted to see if he could keep stride during an interview. Instead it became a test for me,' she wrote. He eventually increased the pace 'until the talk turned to heavy breathing, and we reached a 6-minute-per-mile pace. It was a signature Petraeus move. I think I passed the test, but I didn't bother to transcribe the interview.'"

The Times' characterization (relevant portion quoted below) was something quite different!

"She had unusual access, she noted in promotional appearances, taping many of her interviews for her book while running six-minute miles with Mr. Petraeus in the thin mountain air of the Afghan capital."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Looking for magic

I'm at that stage in the marathon prep. where putting on the shoes is less a thrill than a chore. Every run seems to have a purpose, and there's the stress of not hitting the target -- x minutes per mile for y miles with z rest -- and so on. I have to remind myself that there are times when I run because I love it.

This morning I went out for an easy 30 minutes. Man was I stiff. After shuffling up College to Mass. to 10th Street, I found the legs turning over a little faster when I hit the Monon Trail. When I turned left at 16th I realized I was committing myself to going longer than I had planned but at that moment I wasn't complaining. Running down 16th is no particular joy, but after 5 miles I turned left on the White River trail. The warm ground interacting with the cold air made for a low fog over the river and the grass and I had the trail to myself. (I thought of early late-fall mornings rowing on Lake Cayuga when the same effect resulted in eights moving silently and nearly invisibly, with only 8 heads emerging above the fog.) By the time I was on the home stretch I was 60 minutes in and feeling my lack of morning nutrition. I held on for a good finish down Mass. Ave.

9 miles wasn't in the plan, but sometimes you just have to go with it. Sure glad I did this morning.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

28 days later

Its been 28 days since I wrecked my knee and associated muscle groups at the Chicago Marathon.  I haven't run a step since then.  I have been doing 4 days a week at the gym of varying combinations of elliptical, bike, and pool work.  It all feels ok until I try anything with true weight bearing impact.  Someone really freaked me out on election night who in a well being way asked me "Do you think you will ever be able to run again?"  I sure hope so but plan to stick to the training, massage, and maybe even some accupuncture for another month or so and see if I can ramp up for at least the first half of our Rome jaunt.

In the meantime, I have been obsessing about the nightmare vision of the other 28 days given to us by Danny Boyle which included fast zombies.  If Boyle is right, I am doomed since I have no chance of outrunning the fast ones but should be easily able to avoid and evade the traditional slow shambling kind.  Also I am a little baffled by the growing prevalence of zombie runs where volunteer zombies try to grab you from the sand traps and shubbery where they are hiding on the assigned cross-country courses.


What does it mean for running?

Does four more years of Obama and certain partisan gridlock make running better, worse, or is it irrelevant?

I'm almost embarrassed to say this, but I did have a fear if Romney won: the DC-area Latter-Day Saints Temple is on my normal Sunday morning bike route. No idea where (or whether) Romney might have chosen to worship, but in case it was there I was concerned for motorcades interrupting a good ride. So in that sense this result removes at least the transaction costs of adjusting my routine.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Public Service Announcement -- Vote!

I know this is off topic for this blog, but, well, _run_, don't walk to your polling lace and VOTE!!

If you need help planning your running route to the appropriate polling place, here's a very useful (if slightly inappropriate) site.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Marathon of Relief 2012

Okay, so there was no Marathon on Sunday.  For what it's worth, it's not entirely a bad thing to wake up in the morning and _not_ have to run 26.2 miles. Instead, I decided to join the army of marathoners who were doing what they could to join in the relief efforts. Luckily a gang of Brooklyn Tri Club members had been working all week to put together a group to help out -- Marathon of Relief 2012.  They were organizing groups heading out to various places throughout the city, including a group that was going to run or bike to Coney Island.  A friend (Jeb Singer) and I ran a few miles beforehand and then met the group at Grand Army Plaza.   The group consisted of Brooklynites, and a fair number of out of towners who had come to run the marathon, but had stayed to help.

We ran through Prospect Park, and then down Ocean Parkway, basically retracing the route of the Brooklyn Half Marathon.  When we arrived at the Boardwalk we found it covered with sand and debris, but not by any means destroyed: 

Then we found our way to the volunteer station, where they were fully booked.

This did not come as a complete surprise.  It took two more sites before we found a center that needed help.  We were divided up into groups and sent door to door through Seagate, looking for folks who might need food and water.  We took blankets, MREs and water, and wandered off. 

What we found on this first foray was a lot of damage, but not many people in need of help.  The neighborhood was a series of blocks of one and two family houses with water but no electricity.  Most had evacuated, and many houses had work crews pumping out basements and pulling out debris.  We handed out a lot of water to work crews, but nobody we saw was in extremis.  They were happy to see us, though, and that made it worthwhile.  

After finishing our wander through Seagate, we started back for another tour of the volunteer sites to see what help was needed.   When we came to the Red Cross truck, they wanted "marathoners" to help carry food and water to the top floors of the blacked out NYCHA apartment buildings.  This was precisely the sort of work I'd hoped we would do.  We split into groups of 3-5, carrying water, self heating hot meals, bananas, snacks, and blankets.  The apartment buildings were 14-16 stories each.  Apparently the city does not require emergency lighting in the stairwells or hallways of its own buildings.  Walking into each building was surreal.  As soon as the door closed behind you, the stairwells were pitch black.  Each group had a few flashlights, so we stayed together, and worked our way up the stairs in the dark.  We walked to the top floor, and then worked our way down.  On each floor we would knock on doors and announce ourselves as Red Cross.  On almost every floor there were one or two families stuck in their apartments for one reason or another.  Some were diabetic, some on walkers, some just hunkered down and waiting for the power to come back on.  Again, all were happy for the help, and many were truly in need.  We took down the names and apartment numbers of those who appeared to be in trouble, and gave those to the police at the end of each run.  We managed to complete three buildings before dark.  

There's nothing particularly unique about this story, marathoners and non-marathoners were pitching in all over the city.  Each of our contributions was only a small drop in the bucket.  But at the end of the day, I'm glad the marathon was cancelled, so that we could all turn our personal resources to the recovery effort.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Prospect Park 5K

Okay, so the NYC Marathon was cancelled, and I'm all tapered with no place to go.  There was really only one appropriate response.  The Prospect Park Alliance and Prospect Park Track Club (my club) were sponsoring a 5K in Prospect Park this morning.  I had to run it.  So I put on warm clothes ran three miles to the start and found an overflow crowd of marathoners making lemonade. The race was so full that they'd run out of chips, and were just handing out bibs in return for a donation to the park of $30.  It was now a fun run for most of us.  They also changed the distance from 5K to 3.375 (a full loop of the park).  Nobody cared.  This was the first event in Prospect Park since the hurricane.  The proceeds were to go to restoring the Park.  Pretty much everybody was from the area surrounding the Park.  It was an old fashioned community race with about 1000 people.  It was a perfect way to blow off steam.  I went out hard, held on for dear life, and, according to my GPS, held a 7:10 pace.  If Nike+ is to be believed I came within a few seconds of breaking my 5K PR from 2001.  I'm not sure where these times are coming from.  It must be the shoes.

Marathon Cancellation

Okay, so the NYC Marathon has been cancelled.  The NYT alert bleeped on my I-phone just as I was driving out of New Haven to go home and figure out (1) how to get to the expo; (2) how to get to the start; and (3) how to get home from Manhattan.  None of these adventures was looking to be easy, and I was a bit stressed.  I had just taught a makeup class, and ended up spending about half an hour afterwards chatting with some students (some runners) about the issue.  They generally took the view, as I did, that if the race was on, the thing to do was to run it.  We all wondered if the city was going to be able to pull it off.

When I got the message, I had mixed feelings.  I'm really well trained this year, and the taper has gone well, so I had hopes for a good result.  On the other hand, I felt tremendous relief at having all the uncertainties about the next couple of days resolved.  Even under the best of circumstances the expo and trip to Staten Island are a bit of an ordeal.  Not having to worry about that was a relief.  I was completely comfortable with the decision to cancel.  My main aggravation was that the decision was not made earlier.  The delay created a PR nightmare, but it also had real costs, and Mary Wittenberg deserves, I think, a fair amount of criticism here.  I'm lucky.  I live in New York, I didn't make major travel plans or move heaven and earth to get to NY to run.  I also signed up for another Marathon near my home.  Not everyone has that luxury.  For folks who needed to travel, delaying the decision ramped up their costs substantially (and their anger).  Even for me, the delay had costs. I'm now training for a marathon in two weeks.  If I'd known on Tuesday that the race was cancelled, I would not have tapered.  Now I need to revamp my training schedule in a way that makes fairly little sense: taper down, ramp up, retaper.   Oh well.  I'll live.  Tomorrow, I'll try to find something useful I can do to help with the recovery.

Now, there are still some interesting questions hanging out there.  One thing that I found particularly troubling about the announcement was the reason given.  It seems to me that there are a number of legitimate reasons to cancel the marathon: (1) the logistics were proving so difficult (or at least uncertain) that it was not clear that they would be able to put on a safe quality event; (2) the effort to put on the event would divert resources from or otherwise disrupt recovery.  As of the time of cancellation, both of those explanations were in play.  Both would require the NYRR to acknowledge that the damage caused by Sandy was worse than expected, but there's no dishonor in that.  Similarly, if neither of these were true, and they had the ability to pull it off without disrupting the recovery, they could have doubled down.  Neither was the explanation given.  The explanation was that the Marathon had become "divisive" rather than "unifying."  This, in a word, is blaming the critics without responding to the criticism.  If the goal is to heal the divisiveness, blame shifting is not the way to do it.

I was prepared to forgive this as a statement made in the heat of the moment, but today I got an e-mail from NYRR announcing the race's cancellation.  This is the explanatory paragraph:

The decision was made after it became increasingly apparent that the people of our city and the surrounding tri-state area were still struggling to recover from the damage wrought by the recent extreme weather conditions. That struggle, fueled by the resulting extensive and growing media coverage antagonistic to the marathon and its participants, created conditions that raised concern for the safety of both those working to produce the event and its participants. While holding the race would not have required diverting resources from the recovery effort, it became clear that the apparent widespread perception to the contrary had become the source of controversy and division. Neither NYRR nor the City could allow a controversy over the marathon to result in a dangerous situation or to distract attention from all the critically important work that is being done to help New York City recover from the storm. 

First of all, it is incoherent.  I'm not sure what is meant by saying that the "struggle [to recover]," was "fueled by the resulting extensive and growing media coverage antagonistic to the marathon and its participants."  Second, it basically says that the race was killed by a bunch of potentially violent whiners.  If your goal is healing, then that is not a constructive thing to even suggest.  Lots of things get said on social media.  It seems to me, either you are able to put on a quality positive event at an acceptable cost or you're not.  You don't blame your audience.  You accept the fact that a casualty of Sandy is this year's marathon and you move on.

I don't think that this is going to harm the race in the long term.  Other Marathons have suffered from weather induced bad days.  Boston boiled its participants last year.  Chicago boiled its participants a few years back, and then cancelled mid-race.  People will still come to Boston and Chicago to race.  Next year's race will be doubly significant after this year's cancellation.  I do think that Mary Wittenberg deserves some very serious criticism, both for her lack of judgment and her communication skills.  I find myself wondering what Fred Lebo would have done under similar circumstances.  I wonder who the new face of New York running will be . . .

Friday, November 2, 2012

Worst race expo ever

As the reader knows, I really liked the Hot Chocolate 15K a lot.  Interesting distance, nice time of year, really good swag, and of course hot chocolate from Ghiradelli.  I had signed up some weeks ago long before I got hurt at the Chicago marathon.  So I am not running but at least wanted the winter technical running jacket with hoodie.

In past years, the packet pick up was in Union Station which was a short cab ride each way with easy bus options as well.  For whatever reason, they moved the expo to a tent in the parking lot between Soldier Field and McCormick Place.  So I schlepped over there in the car this afternoon only to find a 90 minute wait to get into to register and then get the goodies.  Apparently the wait was between 2-3 hours this morning.  I was never seen anything like this ever for any race or a bigger waste of time.  At least they didn't have the nerve to charge me for parking since I obviously didn't stick around.

That is one race we can scratch off for future years.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NYC Marathon -- A Puzzle

As I write this, the NYC Marathon has become a bit of a political football.  Mayor Bloomberg and the folks at NYRR have announced that the marathon is on, but they still haven't exactly told anybody what the course is, and it is not entirely clear how they plan to get everyone to the start.  I will admit that this came as a bit of a surprise. During the hurricane itself, I actually registered for the Brooklyn Marathon (November 18), on the assumption that the NYC Marathon simply would not happen.

 I am as ready to go as I've ever been.  I've done my 3 twenty milers, a nineteen miler, an Olympic Tri, and a Half Marathon in the run up.  I set a PR in the Half, so I'm feeling pretty excited.  That's the plus side.  So thank you Mayor Bloomberg and Mary Wittenberg for doing everything possible to make sure that my training doesn't go to waste. . .

On the minus side, well, New York City was decimated by the storm of the century four days ago, and is still shoveling out.  Everybody I know who isn't a runner thinks it's a scandal that resources are going to be diverted from the recovery to the Marathon.  I don't disagree.  I'm feeling like a bit of a pariah for planning to run anyway.  I see the point.  The subways aren't running and there's no power in lower Manhattan.  Lots of people are  really in difficult circumstances.  At best, on this view the Marathon is bread and circuses.

On the other hand, if they pull it off, it will be a truly moving experience to run through the five boroughs less than one week after the hurricane as a show of the city's pluck and resilience.

So, what to do?  Should I _not_ run as an act of protest?  I must say that this thought has not seriously crossed my mind.  I understand the criticism.  I think the better course might have been to postpone by a week.  But if the marathon is going forward, a boycott seems even worse.  All of the resources will be spent, and if the marathon is a flop, the city does not even get the benefit of a civic bounce.  So, logistics, weather and body permitting, I'll be out there Sunday, showing support for a remarkable city.