Monday, December 31, 2012

Procrastination, or Scott Turow 25 Years Later

My bed-side table reading over the last 10 days was Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow. Others on this blog must have read this, but if not, I recommend it. The book was published in 1987. So here's a brief 25th anniversary review:

Great book. The story is an engaging who-done-it crime drama, and it is genuinely complex without being contrived. The conclusion in the final chapter was unexpected, but then again, I don't actually know what the conclusion is. There's a "Total Recall"-like quality, or maybe it's more like a Vizzini ("Princess Bride") game theory experiment. ("But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.") We learn what happened, but we also learn that somebody smart enough could know that's what we would think happened so arranged things in order to mislead us, and we are left with the understanding that somebody else smart enough could know that we might suspect somebody smart enough of being so contriving so is misleading us him/herself. And conveniently there are two such smarties appropriately motivated. Who killed Carolyn Polhemus? I don't know.

SAT logic section: Turow is to Grisham as Le Carre is to Ludlum. The beauty of this book is that it is exciting without being fantastical. OK, maybe a little fantastical, because the idea of truly cold-blooded murder is to me inherently fantastical, and defense lawyer Alejandro Stern is a little too perfect. But there's none of this mob law firm or supreme court assassination stuff on which Grisham relies to make an otherwise second rate plot interesting. Presumed Innocent accurately describes small town petty corruption in politics and law enforcement. It accurately describes local court systems, prosecutors' offices, and bar associations. It accurately portrays the trial process in an intimate courtroom where the judges and lawyers know each other and have for decades. Out of that mundanity Turow comes up with a great tale of intrigue.

For a similar reason I like Le Carre. I don't know the intelligence world, but I can imagine that it is less James Bond/Jason Bourne and more data analysis. If you read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and think George Smiley's life is sexy you are either a ditch digger or a law professor -- for nobody else would 20 hours a day of reading documents on a card table in a dingy apartment be a promotion.

Another comparison: Turow reminds me of Eichenwald, the NY Times journalist who wrote an extraordinary series of books into corporate crime and tort over the 1990s. His best known may be The Informant, about the Archer Daniels Midland lysine price-fixing conspiracy, but I prefer the securities books, including Serpent on the Rock and Conspiracy of Fools. Eichenwald is (was?) an investigative journalist, not a novelist, but his real life stories unroll very much like Turow's novel.

There are others I'm now tempted to read. Any comments from the gallery on 1L (I did see the movie years ago) or Innocent (the latter of which the NY Times reviewed highly when it came out in 2011)?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Got lost today

Had a route planned, but found myself in Takoma Park MD with no clear idea how to return to the neighborhood. It was cold, breezy, and drizzly, and I found at least 6 miles of new road. Once I figured out where I was I beelined home for a total of 13. I seem somewhere along the way to have jammed a couple of toes, but no real complaints for the last long(ish) run of 2012.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Books for Christmas

Here's the list (not all were gifts from somebody else!):

R. Jay Magill Jr., Sincerity. Quoting from the jacket: "What do John Calvin, Sarah Palin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Bon Iver have in common? A preoccupation with sincerity. [This is a] beguiling tale of sincerity's theological past, its current emotional resonance, and the deep impact it has had on the Western soul." Looks quite promising.

Dave Barter, Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder. A collection of stories, essays, ride reports, what-have-you, about 10 years of amateur riding.

Tyler Hamilton & Daniel Coyle, The Secret Race: about doping in the TDF.

Andrew Ritchie, Major Taylor: biographical look at one of the early world-renowned bike racers, an African-American from Indianapolis named Marshall Taylor who dominated race circuits at the turn of the prior century.

William Bloch, The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges' Library of Babel: an apparently (per the reviews) quite readable discussion of the real mathematical intrigue in this Borges short story.

Borges: Selected Non-Fictions. Not sure how much of these I've read, but the price was right.

Borges, Hurly Trans.: The Book of Sand and Shakespeare's Memory. Anybody know anything about these?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Great run

Not sure how it happened. My apocalypse-day run was so incredibly sour I felt like Ted in the previous post. "You mean I was in my peak fitness X weeks ago, and here I am two miles from home taking a walk break?"

Yesterday I left around noon. The breeze had quieted down from Saturday, when it was howling. The sun was out. It was tights and long-sleeve shirt weather, but no need for winter garb. I always iPod it in the winter, because I'm not concentrating on anything but enjoying myself.

I wound my way northeast to pick up Beach Drive at the Maryland line. From there I headed south on the Valley Trail, good rocky singletrack that follows Rock Creek toward town. Some was slick with the recent rain. Some was covered in thick leaves. There are areas of highly technical rock garden that either require walking or devil-may-care ankle endangerment. (I walked.) There are some hills as you climb and descend small bluffs over the creek. Occasionally the trail winds into the forest toward 16th Street before returning to creek-side. Total maybe 5 miles winding south before reaching the parking area at Beach Drive and Rock Creek Parkway.

From there the run returns home up the Tilden Street hill and Connecticut. I've done versions of this run dozens of times in recent years and always expect to pant my way up the final climbs, but yesterday for reasons I do not understand I was able to accelerate all the way home.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Airing of The Grievances . . .

Happy Festivus!!!

A month ago I was in peak (for me) form.  I ran 26 miles at a sub 8:30 pace.  I finished feeling strong.

Today was not a day for feats of strength.   After two days off and a three hour airplane ride, I went out for a nice and easy six miler.  Everything hurt.  My right ankle and calf were stiff.  My left hamstring and hip were angry.  I had trouble maintaining 10 minute miles.  When I stopped to stretch at the halfway point, I stretched my left calf and my hamstring went into spasm (along the sciatic nerve up into the hip).  Luckily that one let go, but everything aches.

Where did the form go?  The major things that hurt now were both present earlier in the Fall.  I rolled my ankle (lightly) just before the Staten Island Half.  My left leg/hip are a more curious production.  Back in March after the NYC Half, my left patellar tendon and quad were sore.  That problem has slowly worked its way from the front to the back of my leg as I've progressively worked out and adjusted to each iteration.  Both were minor annoyances during marathon training.  Now they scream at the beginning of each run, interfere with walking, and generally annoy the heck out of me.

Part of me thinks that this is just marathon recovery.  I need to let stuff heal.  Part of me thinks that letting stuff heal is what's causing everything to hurt so much.  Most of me thinks it's all mental.

Whatever it is, it's not unusual.  At Christmas, after a Fall marathon, I often feel old, slow and wiped out.  It doesn't usually worry me too much because I don't usually start running hard again until, maybe, a half marathon in April, or a sprint tri in May.  This year, with Rome looming in March, I'm a bit nervous.  It has occurred to me that if I'm going to log my usual four twenty milers before March 1, the first has to be in early January.  That's soon!!! Yikes!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Two near-term blog symposia

It's the end of 2012 and we are still alive. I propose two quick-and-easy blog symposia. Spencer may be too deep in beef and Malbec, but maybe some of our 2 or 3 (are there that many?) occasional readers/commenters will contribute:

1. What went right last year? Can everybody list three things? Five?

2. What's on tap for next year? "A" goals, so to speak. Big race? Big presentation? Tenure vote(!)?

Anybody volunteer to go first?

Friday, December 21, 2012

End of the World!

Well, it's the end of the world! I overslept and missed my morning workout window.  Maybe the Mayans were right. Or, maybe I'll be able to squeeze in a swim this afternoon . . .   Check in later to see if we're still here.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New York Marathon Cancellation -- Denouement!

Okay, so NYRR has finally announced how they are going to handle the 40,000+ folks who had their marathon plans dashed by Superstorm Sandy.  I must say, the plan is perfectly reasonable, to wit:
All 2012 Marathoners may choose one of the following three options:
Option #1 - Refund. While NYRR has always had a no-refund policy for the Marathon, given these extraordinary circumstances, we are offering runners who were entered in the 2012 Marathon, and were unable to run due to the cancellation¹, the opportunity to obtain a full refund of their 2012 Marathon entry fee (excluding the $11 processing fee); OR
Option #2 – Guaranteed entry to the ING New York City Marathon for 2013, 2014, or 2015. Entrants in the 2012 Marathon who choose this option will be granted guaranteed entry to the Marathon for the year they choose. Runners will be required to pay all processing and entry fees at the time of application (in the given year), with fees maintained at the same rate as those paid in 2012; OR
Option #3 – Guaranteed entry to the NYC Half 2013. Entrants in the 2012 Marathon who choose this option will be granted guaranteed entry to the NYC Half 2013, to be run on March 17, 2013. Runners will be required to pay all processing and entry fees at the time of application. Availability will be limited.
I wonder why it took them so long to get there.

Now the question is, what option to choose?  There's no point in taking Option 1.  I love the NYC Half, but it's to close to the Rome Marathon for comfort.  So, the big question is do I want to run NYC in the Fall? Or do I want to run a smaller, maybe faster, race, or even take a break.  Maybe it's time to run Chicago??  What say the Runningprofs?

UPDATE:  I should note that what they have done is pretty much what was predicted here, three weeks ago.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Not saying this is healthy

I came across this guy in a break between exam questions. Chuck Engle has won 148 marathons. He has also won a marathon in each of the 50 states. And he has run nearly 300. And he's barely older than I am.

I dream of blogging

Yes, I actually did. Specifically, the dream was of a 24-hour relay around a high-school track that I ran with my brother S__. In the dream I was thinking how I would describe the event in a runningprofs post.

Having awoken, I'm now interested in putting on such an event. Maybe it sounds deadly boring, but you could throw a huge party in the infield, bring on sequential musical acts, each team could have its tent/pavilion at a certain spot around the perimeter, and you could contribute all proceeds to a worthy charity. If you allowed large enough teams, participants could even spend a normal day before showing up for their shift in the evening. Dean Karnazes would certainly show up to speak. This would be much easier to organize, and to participate in, than a RAGNAR event.

Further thought: this could be like a dance-off. Maybe somebody will donate a cool car, and the longest time continuously running wins the car.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Good holiday card greeting line

This landed in my inbox just now: "Run as if the Mayans were right."

Why Sometimes People Don't Take Law Profs Seriously

Exploring Civil Society through the Writings of Dr. Seuss – New York, NY

14th December 2012
New York Law School Law Review  and the New York Law School Racial Justice Project presents Exploring Civil Society through the Writings of Dr. Seuss on March 1, 2013.
This symposium will examine aspects of civil society that are reflected in a selection of Dr. Seuss™ books, including tolerance, punishment, equality, civil and human rights, land use and property rights, and corporate responsibility, with the help of a cross-disciplinary group of scholars from law, humanities, and philosophy who are recognized leaders in these fields. Each of the panels will address these topics as they relate to a specific Dr. Seuss title.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Is the World's #1 Tennis Player a Monopolist?

Novak Djokovic apparently has purchased the world's entire supply of donkey cheese.  Anybody see an antitrust problem?

Dan Empfield on Sally Jenkins on Lance Armstrong

Dan Empfield runs the website He's as close to a Zone 2 philosopher as anybody I've read. This is well-said.

New book -- North of Hope

I got word of this new book written by my sister, coming out now or sometime soon. S__ left the military and business world and has been writing full time.

60 Days Later

Things are gradually calming down but running is not yet possible.  Physical therapy has the best toys.  My place has the powerplate show below.  I highly recommend it except when you come up from the squat and your head and jaw begin to vibrate uncomfortably.  Otherwise, lots of squats, lunges, single leg stability stuff, and those annoying crab walk with elastic bands.  The results are less pain (particularly when using foam roller) and increased strength, stability and range of motion.  I can even "run" across a street when the light changes without hobbling or screaming.  Still not there yet for real running which is insanely frustrating (especially given mild dry late fall).  Just glad I didn't do anything structural.  Followup visit to sports medicine guy this afternoon.  Unfortunately,I suspect I will just getting back on the road at the height of winter horribleness without a lot of time to gear up for Rome. 


In the meantime, I have been biking to elliptical in a 2:1 ratio plus occasional pool work and core.  Or as the Zen Master would ask: "Can one train for a marathon without running?"

Saturday, December 15, 2012

South Brooklyn Runners

I'm still recovering from the Brooklyn Marathon so I haven't been running much.  In early October I turned my ankle a bit, but continued running.  After the last race, my calf tightened, my Achilles tendon got angry, and the ankle generally stiffened up.  I decided to rest it, and pretty much limited my running to the mile too and from the gym, where I swam and biked.

Last week I started up again, with a short run on Sunday, and three miles on the treadmill on Wednesday.  Friday, none of my usual buddies were available, so I decided to go to the South Brooklyn Runners meetup.  One of my pace buddies in the Marathon had said it was a good group, and I figured there'd be at lest one person who was about my speed.  It was great fun.  The pace was just right, around 9 minute miles.  We ran down to Brooklyn Bridge Park to see the newly opened Pier 5.  This is a huge addition to the park -- two new astro turf soccer fields with a view:

This will add tremendously to how the Park is used.  There aren't too many places to throw a frisbee or kick a ball around in our part of Brooklyn.  I assume that it will be used a lot for league play, but early n the morning and at odd times, I suspect it will provide some much needed open space.

Anyway, the run was fun.  So was the company.  As I train for Rome, I will run with these guys more often.  They do hill repeats and speed work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I can never force myself to do that on my own.  Look out Rome!!!

OK, so the industry is on hard times -- but is it all that bad?

I had a very tardy flight on Thursday and I couldn't sleep last night, so I've plowed about 1/2 way through Brian Tamahana's Failing Law Schools. Without much running going on in my life the past couple of weeks (my jog today in a sub-40-degree rain doesn't merit a post!), here's a dated discussion of what I've been able to stomach of what reads like an opportunistic expose of flaws in the market for legal education. I don't follow the myriad law professor blogs that are not about running, so I'm sure I'm repeating things that have been said before.

What's wrong with Tamahana's book? It's a little like watching Fox news -- this is largely sensationalism masquerading as reporting information. I'm grading exams, so I'm hung up on adverbs that mask a lack of knowledge: "probably," "likely," and so on. Tamahana uses a lot of that kind of phrasing. "This probably isn't the career path these students envisioned." (My example.)

Tamahana's book uses numbers casually -- even irresponsibly. The book switches from a discussion of debt averages to overall national debt figures -- student X from Y school owes on average Z thousand, with a national market for student loans in the A billions, reflecting B percent increases which outpaces inflation by C . . . . In so doing it creates vague impressions unrelated to real circumstances. ("Oh my goodness, this problem reaches into the billions!") The same goes for graphical depictions: they are scaled such that trend lines go up at 45 degree angles, making things look very grim, but it's just a question of scaling.

The book relies on proportions in places where absolute numbers might be more appropriate. Several times Tamahana repeats what is apparently normal advice that student load debt totals should never, never exceed starting salary, and monthly payments should never, never exceed 20% of monthly income. Both conclusions rely on incredibly ham-handed analyses. A better comparison for student debt load totals might be expected average salary over the course of the payment period -- and even that should be cost-of-living adjusted. Otherwise, my $35000 starting salary as a Ninth Circuit clerk (and even my $40000 starting salary one year later as a GS-12 in the Antitrust Division) put me far out of compliance -- and I was a state school grad in the years before super-inflationary tuition hikes. The 20% rule is even sillier, unless you assume that everyone should expect to live a lifestyle proportionate to his or her salary. If you instead assume a base cost of living that is unrelated to salary, higher-salary professions permit much greater proportions of monthly income to be spent on student loan repayment. In other words, groceries, car insurance, and rent cost the same whether I am employed by Teach for America, Judge Trott, or Skadden Arps.

Then there's the amazing logic that Yale law professors bear the fault for problems in the law school market, because (get this causal chain) most Yale law professors are progressives, progressives care about social justice, concern for social justice should lead to concern for access to education for the impecunious, and by raising tuition Yale caused everybody else to raise tuition also. Oh yeah -- and Yale professors can afford not to be paid as much as they are paid.

And there are actual errors. One not insignificant error relating to an important point caught my eye before I gave up and went back to grading exams. Pew Research apparently crunched some numbers and concluded that law school on average continued to be a sound investment over the course of a career. Pew relied on the opportunity cost ($32000 yearly -- the average salary for a young social science college grad) and the cost of law school tuition ($25000 yearly) in its calculation. Tamahana's analysis would add the cost of living in law school, arguing that the right number is closer to $300,000 than to Pew's $170,000. But of course that is double counting. Cost of living is covered by the salary the student would be earning if not in law school. If this were a passing point, I might say the argument was prejudiced by careless editors. But "is law school worth it" is the title of Chapter 11 -- and nearly doubling the assumed cost fundamentally changes the equation. (It causes me to doubt the other numbers, which I've already complained are thrown around so casually as to be misleading.)

Enough on this. Now I need to see how the rest of the class handled Debtor Inc.'s claims and defenses against Lock and Key lending.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Diluting its own brand

One of my theories of the cycle of industrial progress is that a brand is an asset that in the normal course is created and then destroyed. At some point the profits that can be earned by ceasing to invest in brand preservation become overwhelming and the owner rides the brand into the ground. Microsoft reached that tipping point when computing went mobile. I have a theory that Apple is at that point, investing more in efforts at enforcing its patents than in developing new ones. There may be exceptions to this cycle, like Coca Cola, although note that apart from its primary brand Coke does lots of business in subsidiary brands that come and go. This is so obvious a point that somebody must have written about it somewhere.

USA Triathlon may be on the down cycle. World Triathlon Corp. (Ironman), Challenge, Rev3, and others dominate the triathlon scene. All USA Triathlon offers is the "Team USA" brand, which -- given the lack of serious competitiveness of US triathletes -- isn't all that exciting to begin with.

Today I received an e-mail congratulating me on my qualification for the USA Triathlon mid-course national championships, next August in Milwaukee. How did I qualify? I finished in the top 33% age group at the Nation's Triathlon in DC this past September. The usual rule for qualification is top 10% a.g. at any USAT sanctioned race of international distance or longer, but USAT has a few "super-qualifier" events like the Nation's Triathlon.

What's silly about the super-qualifier designation is that massive city races aren't somehow more competitive than smaller events. That makes sense intuitively: there is a finite number of really fast people (top-enders); a much larger but still finite number of the middle-of-the-packers like us here at runningprofs; and a functionally infinite number of what you might call bucket-listers. If you throw a massive race, the number of top and even middling athletes doesn't change much vis-a-vis a smaller race, but the field is filled up with the bucket-listers. Another bit of intuition: a bucket-lister will pay big-city-race entry fees, partly because this is a one-time thing (which includes the recognition of the reality of complementary goods and services and the fact that a bucket-lister didn't blow her last three paychecks on a new Trek or a year's worth of coaching services), and partly because she wants people around the water cooler to have heard of her race. If a triathlete is racing several times a year and investing in complementary products and services, the $200 that Nation's Triathlon charges for the pleasure of swimming in the rather disgusting Potomac River is prohibitive, weeding out members of the already small group of top-enders.

Thus, I compete much better at the Marine Corps Marathon (same rule holds true for running) and Nation's Triathlon than at the California International Marathon or Columbia Triathlon. By way of specific example, at the Rock Hall International triathlon in June, I ran my fastest race by a full 3', but I did not crack the top 10% needed to qualify for nationals. (A similar effort, though not time, at the phenomenal Columbia Triathlon had me well out of the running.) At Nation's Triathlon, I was 6' off of my new PR and placed well into that top 10% -- although of course it turns out top 33% would have been good enough. Remarkably, some 150 or more finishers in my age group alone received the same e-mail that I did.

How can USAT justify this super-qualifier status? There must be large licensing fees involved in promising Nation's and some other races this status. Nation's can pass those fees on to somebody like me looking to buy his way into the Age Group National Championships, which partly explains the ridiculous entry fee. But when one shows up in Milwaukee, and the competition at Nationals is less impressive than the competition at a local race like the Columbia Triathlon, the excitement of racing against the top end of your age group will decrease rapidly. Already the Ironman championship events are far more prestigious than USAT championships, and World Triathlon Corp.'s 5150 Championships is at least on a par. I doubt there are very many years that USA Triathlon can ride its brand into the ground the way that it does.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Water running

New to this. 30 minutes today after a short swim. I think it felt great, but I'm not sure how it's supposed to feel.

More than one of you has recuperated from something recently. So, a few questions -- either based on your own experience or based on what you were told to try but didn't (because I'm pretty sure you have been instructed to run in the water. Has anybody ever not been instructed to run in the water?).

How to avoid these big silver dollar blisters on my feet? Wear old shoes in the water?

How deep of water should I be running in? The kiddie pool ranging from 3'6" to 4'3" seemed a little shallow at the shallow end. The other pool was more like 5', but I didn't try it.

How about cadence? It was tempting to go Chariots of Fire style, but should I be working at reaching my normal running cadence?

How much time running versus drills -- sideways running, one-leg running, and so on?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Movies and spy novels

Watched Ben Afleck's Argo last night. Highly recommended. I'm too young to remember anything about that era other than "thank god we have Reagan, the Iranians won't mess with us now" (recounted with deliberate irony), but this back-story of the other hostage crisis was both compelling and fun.

Maybe I liked it because I've been on a huge John Le Carre kick for a while now. It started when I read Tinker Tailor in preparation for the Gary Oldman remake of that movie. Read The Russia House while keeping my legs propped up in the hotel room last Saturday -- a nice reprieve from the end of the semester crunch. (I vaguely remember the Sean Connery movie with Michelle Pfeiffer as Katya. It came out when I was in high school. I need to watch that again.) Working through The Constant Gardner now. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is in the stack somewhere.

Another movie I'm excited about is Anna Karenina with the incomparable Keira Knightley. It's a coincidence that I started re-reading that book when I couldn't sleep on the red-eye back from Sacramento. A random thought: Tolstoy, more than any author I know, seems to understand exactly what is going on in my head. Norman Mailer in The Naked and the Dead pegged me as well. Back to Knightley: there's a little known, or little known in my usual circles, BBC version of Zhivago with Knightley as Lara. It's excellent. She's also the reason I became a Jane Austen fan for a while a few years back (Hollywood's Pride & Prejudice). So I'm assuming her playing Karenina, of whom Tolstoy writes, "[i]t was as if a surplus of something so overflowed her being that it expressed itself beyond her will, now in the brightness of her glance, now in her smile," will be an experience.

I'm not as excited about Skyfall, but I'll be seeing it soon, maybe tonight.

UPDATE: Finished The Constant Gardner last night. Spent today looking for aid work opportunities in Congo! Bravo John Le Carre. Still haven't caught Skyfall.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Notes on fun or interesting media

Jon Stewart, utterly brilliant, on the War on Christmas.

This may be a few weeks old. I was reading Adam Davidson (from NPR Planet Money) on book publisher mergers in the NY Times Magazine, when I found this quote: "[I]t's difficult to imagine how, in the digital world, publishers could ever monopolize the sale of written material. Even if there were only one house left, it would compete with every blogger and self-published e-book author."

Not sure whether to be uplifted or frightened that we at runningprofs represent the competitive check on monopoly conduct in publishing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Drip, Drip, Drip -- Argh!!!!

From the NYRRs.  I can't decide whether they've been taken over by zombies, or Bartles and Jaymes??

Today's communication regarding the tri-state NYRR 9+1 program was only to address the questions raised by members as to whether, despite cancellation, the 2012 Marathon would count towards 9+1. All eligible 9+1 runners who were registered will receive 1 credit and do not need to run another race in lieu of the marathon.

Decisions related to any other issues or questions are still pending and we will share additional information as soon as it becomes available. We remain committed to addressing all such matters as effectively and fairly as possible. Thanks for your continued patience and support.

Marathon Cancellation -- Drip, Drip, Drip

Okay, so here's the latest announcement:

 NYRR members as of January 2012 who entered the 2012 ING New York City Marathon will receive 9+1 race qualifying credit for their entry. Members should check their NYRR member profile starting December 11, 2012, to ensure that they’ve received the credit.

Hmm, so what do I read into that?  I guess I am not getting a guaranteed admit into the 2013 Marathon, or a refund??  This continues the pattern of giving out important information several weeks after it would be useful.   I happen have 7 races, if you count the Marathon, and, there are two more in December.  One this weekend, one next.  If I volunteer to rake leaves in Central Park after the 15K on December 15, I'll be all set.  If I'd known this three weeks ago, I'd have a bit more flexibility.  For folks who would have needed three or four races, the delay freezes them out . .

I'm Going to Stop Reading Articles About the Health Effects of Running

So I only take ibuprofen when I'm trying to knock out an "itis."  I'll take it for a few days, and then lay off for weeks.  Still, this article is troubling.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Race Entry Insurance

This is worth looking into for high dollar entry fees. I'm curious about the economics of it -- $7 per race, regardless of distance or entry fee? -- but I'm going to use it for future marathons and triathlons. Probably not for the Jingle Bell run.

NYC Marathon Cancellation -- Tea Leaves

So here's the latest missive from the folks at NYRR regarding the cancellation of the marathon:

We are carefully considering everyone's views and preferences, which are varied and extensive, and are working diligently with our insurers in the hope that we can provide the best response possible in as timely a manner as possible. Unfortunately, dealing with insurers takes time. We wish that this weren't the case, and we've been pressing our insurers to act quickly and responsibly. Rest assured that our focus, as always, is to serve our runners and community and to protect and enhance the positive impact and all the benefits of our great Marathon. We are working as fast as we can to reach solutions that will be best for our runners and partners, and we pledge to share those solutions with you as soon as possible.

As I mentioned before, I continue to wonder if the manner in which the cancellation occurred has given their insurance providers a reason to deny coverage. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Monsoon running

The start was utterly surreal. It was blowing and raining and I had the same conversation time and again: "what are you trying to do?" "I was going to try to do X, but now it's just run and get through it." The poor guys in the hand cycles were drenched through and facing 2+ hours of water spraying into their faces from the front wheels. The rest of us were in good moods as the pressure of doing something great, or great from our perspectives, washed away in the rain.

I didn't wear a watch and was oblivious to the time. The wind wasn't terrible early on, partly, I think, because we were a massive peloton. At mile 5 some guy told me we were 33:45 down, not a bad place from which to take a shot at the 3:00 goal. But then we hit the headwinds at mile 6 and it got tough. The first half of this course is rolling hills. It wasn't easy. I had no idea, but learned from the online results, that I was running just slower than 3:00:00 pace at the half.

I fell in with the 3:00 pace group for a while. I'm not religious about avoiding pace groups, but I don't seek them out, and this one snuck up on me. Nobody was carrying a big sign in that wind! It was a funny feeling, head down, seeing 30 pairs of legs moving in unison, everybody adopting everybody else's stride rate and length. I noted again just how fast this field is. After mile 20 I was running my fastest race ever and the crowds didn't let up. (There was a relay event, so this is a little misleading.) The second half is much much easier, a steady gradual downhill from Mile 17 to the end, and the wind let up a little.

I lost the group at Mile 22. I ducked in for a cup of water, looked up, and realized I would not likely close the gap. Somehow I kept moving without losing too much steam. The last four miles went around a 7:10 pace, turning my 6:52 average into a 6:56 for a finishing time of 3:01:11. The real joy came on the last 2 miles after turning onto L Street. Others and I fell into a supportive group exchanging "we're going" and "let's finish this thing" and "way to keep hammering" and "you look great girl" and goodness knows what else.

This makes a big PR but leaves my personal Chomalongma unconquered for one more year. and four hours

CLICK Interesting where the peaks and troughs are.   ( Thank you to R Tritell for this link)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Does mother nature hate marathons?

Boston was 90 degrees. Big Sur was reportedly one of the worst condition days in 25 years. New York, well, no need to say more. I signed up for the California International Marathon intending to run downhill in perfect weather conditions and finally get the 3:00:00 monkey off of my back, but they are predicting 30 mph wind gusts -- from which direction nobody seems to agree -- and torrential rains.

Maybe video gamers are on to something after all?