Saturday, March 30, 2013


Having sort of enjoyed -- sorry! -- watching the pre-marathon jitters of my co-bloggers, I'm now suffering my own.  15 miles today was much harder than it should have been this close to Boston.  16 days from now I am supposed to be feeling strong when the running gets hard at about mile 16.  Prognosis:  not good.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Max - You May Have Finally met Your Match

Check out the article in this week's New York Times Magazine article on the Spanish dude who doesn't just run endurance races, he runs mountains.  Its called All Terrain Human.  The guy has a max VO2 max of approximately 90.  The average male aged 20-29 has a VO2 max of 44 to 51 and the average female aged 20-29 has a VO2 max of 35 to 43. (Lance Armstrong's VO2 max is 85).


Okay, so when is it safe to start running again after a marathon?  The common wisdom is to give it a week.  I've started right up again with no ill effects, and I've been surprised by lurking injuries a week or two out.  So far, I'm being careful.  Tuesday and Wednesday of last week were spent walking all over Rome.  This seemed to help keep things loose.  Friday, Saturday and Monday, I did light spin workouts, and swam.  Sunday I just swam.  Okay, I admit it, on Friday I also took a two mile run to check out this awesome addition to my running options, but that doesn't really count, right?
Anyway, so far, the only thing that's bothering me is that tendon on the top of your foot that hurts when you tie your shoe laces too tight.   Oddly, it didn't hurt during or after the race.  I think this may be a tourism injury, but it even hurts (indeed especially hurts) when I swim.  Oh well, I'm viewing it as a short term enforcer of recovery. Hopefully it will run its course shortly, because I'm itching to run over that bridge again.  Did I mention, it bounces!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Value of Real World Experience Before Law School

The day I returned from Rome we were discussing modern merger theory and enforcement. in antitrust class  One of the cases was a difficult excerpt from the Oracle/Peoplesoft decision.  Its a difficult case primarily because the judge has an exceptionally unhelpful factual description of the different software products involved, including lots of similar sounding abbreviations and acronyms for different products. 

Fortunately, one of my students who rarely talks raised her hand and explained that she had worked before law school at a consulting firm that advised clients on these types of back office software suites.  She was much clearer, than either the book or my jet lag addled brain, why the judge in her view was simply wrong as the likely post-acquisition effects of the merger and even answered a number of questions from other students. 

Beyond being grateful for her presence and lucidity, it got me thinking that while most students now work for a year or two before law school, it's not clear to me they work at the positions most helpful to their future legal studies.  It also has me more sympathetic to the Northwestern Law approach that at least two years of meaningful work is a virtual prerequisite for admission ala business school.

Passover: The Low carb way to shape up for spring

Yes, it's not just for the faithful any more.  Celebrate Passover (or at least its dietary restrictions) and you too can shape up for spring and the training season beyond.  Cut those carbs by eliminating leavened bread for eight full days while being able to have unlimited portions of matzoh, a dry tasteless bread substitute that you will soon grow sick of even in all the inventive forms modern cookbooks now recommend.  As a result you will cut out most desserts, pasta, most cereals, beer, increase fruits and vegetables, and pray for pizza on Tuesday night April 2nd (Monday April 1st if you're reform, long story).  Also depending on whether you are doing the European or Middle Eastern variety, peanut butter, legumes, and other stuff with natural yeast may be off the list as well!  Its fun, safe and effective and guaranteed to help you weight as your appetite naturally disappears!


Warning, most common side effects may include two different forms of stomach distress.  Jews debate whether matzoh stuffs you up or gives you the runs.  Consult your doctor, spouse, or significant other before disposing all bread products in the house before Passover begins.  Some patients on the Passover diet also may develop  the uncontrollable urge to eat flourless chocolate cake or watch The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, The Greatest Story Ever Told, or the Easter bunny episode of South Park.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

My 15K

A 9:15 start time meant that I could get up at a reasonable hour, have breakfast, get dressed and walk to the race from our hotel near the Pantheon without having to rush.  Laura walked me to the Coliseum and then headed back to the hotel once the crowds started started to gather and the runners were being shunted into side streets and gated walkways.  But not before taking this picture.

I found Phil entirely by accident since it turns out there are two Metro exits at the Coliseum.  We wound our way with his wife through a seemingly endless series of twists and turns for the runners and assorted supporters.  We were relieved that the 80,000 5K fun runners were on the other side of the Coliseum and apparently on another course because we never saw them again.  By the time we approached the start line the race had begun a few minutes before but there was no crowd ahead of us and no bunching like so many US mega-marathons.

I was extremely nervous not having walk/run more than about 4-5 miles since wrecking my knee in the Chicago marathon in October.  Moreover I had only walk/run outside a couple of times since then and Rome was all hard pavement with a healthy (or not) dose of cobble stones thrown into the mix.

In the end I was thrilled with the day.  We started at the Coliseum, ran past the Forum, the Victor Emmanuel monument, the Circus Maximus, past the pyramid and into some more modern neighborhoods (including where Roberto Begnini lives (according to my cab driver to the airport).  We were mostly running south away from the historic center.  Phil was kind enough to stay at my pace for the first 15 minutes and took off when I took my first walking break.  Overall, I did a 3:2 run/walk ratio which was my most aggressive pace of my rehab phase.  Luckily no real issues the whole way. 

People around me had a nice mellow vibe, walking, chatting, taking pictures.  One guy even gave his camera to a stranger and then backed up so the guy could shoot a video of him running.  Since I wasn't doing the whole race and didn't particularly care about my time, I got into the spirit and took a picture of the lesser known but impressive St Paul's Basilica with a military band playing away in the plaza.

We meandered south for a while, crossed the river turned north, crossed the river again and headed north past the Jewish ghetto and the Rome synagogue.  I hit 12K which was my original goal and felt good enough to keep going.  At 15K and an hour 48 minutes I called it a day, directly across the river from the Italian Supreme Court, Corte di Cassazzione). Probably could have done half but any further would have been pushing it and taking me away from my hotel and my wife whom I had promised to meet around noon.  On the quick walk home, saw a few of the elite women and better male runners as they looped back through the Piazza Navona a few Ks from the finish line.

All in all, a pretty good day and a major psychological, if not physical, breakthrough on my road to recovery.  See everyone next time at the finish line!

START: we who are about to desecrate you...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Race Report

So for me, the race always begins with the carb load.  Since we were in Rome, I did it twice, once at lunch with Spencer, Laura, Philip and Rhona:

We went to a place recommended to Spencer by his colleagues at Loyola.  This was not a week to argue with Jesuits.  The food was excellent.  Artichokes a la Romana, and pasta all around.  Then for dinner, I went out for pizza with Vicki and Emma:

Then off to bed.  The trip to the start was a bit of a production.  I got as close to the start as I could, near the Victor Emmanuel Monument, but found that you couldn't get through to the start from there, so I began a long wander around the Palatine Hill, past the Circus Maximus, and ultimately to the luggage trucks. 


It was a bit more walking than I wanted before the start of a marathon, but oh well. 

The race went way better than expected.  I started not too far behind the 3:45 pacemakers.  Pretty early in the first mile or so, I caught up with them, and they locked in to an 8:10 pace.  I felt fine, my heart rate was in the usual zone, so I figured, what the heck.  The race was really fun and uneventful for the first 30k.  I held pace with pretty much the same group.  The temperature was perfect.  I noticed after a while that it was really crowded near the pacers, so I lifted the pace slightly and drifted forward.  All of a sudden there was lots of room.  I wish I had done that earlier, because I find I waste a lot of energy in a crowd jockeying for position.  I began to tire a bit at the 20 mile marker, but still felt good.  At around 21-22, I felt like I was going strong, but noticed I was slipping back from the pace a bit.  I held form, but my pace dropped radically in the last 5K.  It didn't really feel like I hit the wall, I just got tight, and my legs wouldn't turn over as quickly.  I didn't fret too much.  I knew that I was not on pace to PR, and I also knew that I was well ahead of my Dublin time.  So, I decided to enjoy the tour of central Rome. It was great!! We ran past the Trevi fountain, past the Circus Maximus again, around the back of the Coliseum, and then down the boulevard past the forum, and as finishing stretches go, it doesn't get any better than this!!

End result, 3:50.25, my second fastest marathon ever. 

Thank you Philip and Spencer for organizing this.  Philip, I suspect that I may have to surrender the fanny pack of victory at the next Antitrust Marathon wherever it may be!!

The Return

This one's for Max.  Poor Spencer and Ted have heard and lived the saga, but here goes:  I am still SO psyched from Roma.    20 miles max weekly training?    Rowing instead?   PF for 3 plus years?   Ha!   Yes I was scared.   Yes I got emotional at breakfast on the day, and during the race.  But yes, I DID IT!    And that was even with my and many other runners' Garmins reading 26.75 miles for the course.  
Where to begin?  
I LOVED the carb loading with Spencer and Ted and the Entourage.   I loved the Expo.   My feet hurt from walking too much the day before, but I loved that too.   I missed Ted at the START, but loved literally strolling on to the course with Spencer and chuckling up to the START line, desecrating various monuments on our way, and then, boom, we were off.   Laying down a 10.30 mile pace and giggling to ourselves and saying, we are back, in Rome!    After 2-3 k I bid Spencer good luck for his planned run, and dialled it to 9.15s, laughing and slapping kids' hands and enjoying the awesome views of the sights.  After 7 miles I was settling at 8.45s and this worried me...too quick...I did not want to deathmarch from 10 as I had in training, so tried to slow down...but couldn't get the rhythm I stuck at 8.45s and giggled some more.  
At the Half I was 2.02 and a little voice I have not heard in three years said...negative split, DO IT.    So down to 8.30-8.40s and the ego just said, you will crash out but try it.   But it was comfortable so I stayed.    A nasty hill around 16 made me try out my mantra "love hills love hills" and I waited for the legs to fold.   All good though.   As we closed on 20 miles and got back into some heart stoppingly beautiful sights, the cobbles started to get to me, and the hips and ITBs tightened up.   Here we go I thought, ah well, it was fun while it lasted...but the pace was still there, so I sped up a bit more, and then a voice I haven't heard since Chicago and Boston came along and said to me to put the hammer down at 22.    No way was I listening to that!   I didn't have the training and I had promised R_ I would drop out rather than risk a return to PF.  But I felt strong and was closing on the main sights, so I held firm and dug in, and dialed down to 8.30s.  
At the Piazza Navona the architecture and crowds and sun made me literally burst into tears for a minute, but with a huge grin on my face.   Via del Corso is NOT FLAT, don't let people tell you otherwise.   It is straight, yes, but has horrid potholes and cobblestones.... but by now I knew I could finish, and that was staggering to me, truly staggering, so I dug in some more.   Flying past the Trevi Fountain up a narrow crowdlined street I did some math and realised I would be under 4, maybe 3.56   A little voice said, ease off, but then another voice said, no, hold on, and maybe catch Ted and cross the line together!!    That was never going to happen, but I held anyway.  
From 23-25 around the Vittoro and  the Palatine and Circo Massimo my feet were pulverised on the cobbles, but I held.   As we got to the Ultimo Kilometro sign though at 41.2k, my Garmin read 26 miles, and so uh oh, something was not right.   Suddenly my sub4 was in jeopardy, a sub4 I had never even contemplated at the Start....but did not want snatched from me so close to the end!!   I gunned it and hung on, and finished in 3.59.18, my third slowest marathon of the 16 I've done, but as the FINISH line video shows, I was far far far from disappointed.   I started laughing uncontrollably and hugging everyone near me, and laughing and laughing and laughing all the way to the sweet medal lady, who got yet another massive hug from a finisher she probably could have done without.  
So there it is, I think I did 3.56 for 26.2 and the race was too long, a fact confirmed by many runners since on blogs and at airports and particularly via Ted...but do I care?    NO.   I AM BACK!    And my splits say I ran every 5k faster than the previous 5k.    I am in heaven.   An official 3.59 I will take, yes sir.
A walk to the hotel at Barbarini, with a coffee at a gelateria on the way, a lie down, an amazing dinner at the club that night with the Antitrust Marathoners, a great conference the next day, a tiring flight home that night, and then two busy days in London, but my legs feel good, the fatigue is dealable, the memory is strong, the withdrawal from goodtimes bonding with Spencer and Ted is strong too...but the hope is also strong that all is well physically and I can now train properly for something cool this autumn.    
Thank you guys for encouraging me through the blog and in person!   Ted, well done on an amazing run yourself, and I will challenge you for the Italian Energy Sponsored Antitrust Marathon Belt some time.    Spencer you rock for your 15k, the return is happening for you too!    And Max my man, good luck with your tri's and cycles and bid for sub3, I will be cheering you on!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Antitrust Marathon

Okay, so as I pack for the airplane, after a day touristing in Rome with V_ and E_, I think it's most appropriate for me to be the one who sings the praises of the Antitrust Marathon (Rome Edition), and its organizers, Spencer, Philip and Philipp, along with our hosts in Rome, the Italian Competition Authority and the University of Rome (Sapienza).  The papers were great, and the conversation lively.  I won't get into substance, because that would preempt the published volume, but the volume will be great.  Now to the important part, the running.  We will be dribbling out photos, I think, as the various shots are living on various phones and cameras, but the official Marathon festivities began on Saturday morning at the Expo. We got there early to beat the crowds.  This was lucky, because by the time we left, the line to get in was around the block.  I generally hate Expos, but this one did provide the best piece of swag yet, the green and blue and green backpacks we are modeling below.     We got off at the Coliseum stop, so we could check out the start/finish.  This is what we found:

Yes, that's the Coliseum in the background, and the Palatine hill to our left.  From there we made our way to the Pantheon for coffee, and so Spencer could stop at the hotel.

Then off to load carbs at a restaurant suggested by the folks at Loyola.  The food was amazing! We all had fried artichokes (a Roman specialty) that were unbelievable.  Then we each had spectacular 
 dishes, from tomato and anchovy (me), to truffle (Philip), to eggplant parm (Spencer).  We rolled out in the mid afternoon, and I, at least set out for another round of carb loading over dinner (pizza). 

Not Rome, but . . .

Depressed at not joining the crowd for running and conferencing in Rome, I spent a few days of our spring break with brother S__, who is on sabbatical from his tech firm, pedaling in the California mountains (and valleys).  Here are a few pictures:

The first is the road from Badwater to Furnace Creek, in the depths of Death Valley.  We took a 40-mile ride from Furnace Creek to a mile or so past Badwater, then back.  At 11:00 when we started it was 76 fahrenheit; by the time we returned it was a searing 101.  That on March 14.  This picture is what you would see 10 miles in to the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon.  Except that it would be 20 degrees hotter!

The second is the June Lake Loop off of US 395, just north of Mammoth Lakes, California.  The road was closed for the winter when we reached it, but with the snow basically gone we stepped around the gate and rode 15 miles with no cars to bother us.  They opened it to auto traffic literally 1/2 hour after we were finished.

And the third is the final climb to the Palomar Observatory on Palomar Mountain northeast of San Diego.  We took the more casual route up Palomar Mountain, riding East Grade Road (rather than the more notorious South Grade Road).  That meant only 5288 feet of climbing over the 46-mile ride.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hoping you post pictures

Fingers crossed for the crowd running in Rome tomorrow, wishing I was there, and hoping to hear great tales of running, sightseeing, and discussing competition and consumer policy in the way only Antitrust Marathoners can.  I look forward to reading the transcripts when published, but I hope to hear the low-down long before.  Viva la competition.

Rome I

So Philip, Spencer, Ted, and Philipp Fabri assembled with families in Rome for the Antitrust Marathon and Rome Marathon.  The first order of business, was, of course, dinner!

Photos of expo and carb load to follow.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


So, I've been trying to get my left hamstring to let go for weeks.  The foam roller wasn't doing it. The stick wasn't doing it. So I decided to try a uniquely Italian device, as a last ditch preparation for the Rome Marathon.  The bocce ball.  Who knew??  A new addition to the training arsenal!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Law Professor Letter to ABA

I cannot resist the first snarky comment:  somebody might want to have proofread the header on this letter before sending it out.

Apart from that, I am struck that the signatories on this letter by and large are from schools that are fairly insulated from the economic struggles facing law schools.  Perhaps that is good; they are able to see things clearly while the rest of us hide our heads in the sand.

Beyond that, the letter does nothing but to add a long but distinguished list of names (anybody recall the early bar scene from Top Gun?) to a discussion that has been repeated many times over in the past year or two.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Find the one that doesn't belong

disastrous national Italian elections

Berlusconi convicted of illegal wiretapping

Rome Antitrust Marathon

Papal conclave

What a month they are having!

Sunday, March 3, 2013


So, let the taper begin in earnest!!  I ran 18 miles yesterday, at a pretty good pace, and today, because I signed up for it a long time ago, I ran a 5K.

This is the second time in this training cycle I've done a long run followed the next day by a short race.  This is not what I would usually do.  I have usually followed a long run with a non-running recovery day in the pool or on the bike.  I have to say, that while the race results have not been great (10-15 seconds/mile slower than what I think I could do on fresh legs), they have not proven to be as foolish as I though they were going to be.  Usually, after a 15-20 miler, there are things that hurt enough so that running the next day, or at least running hard seems like a bad idea.  I'm not going to say that I didn't feel that way this morning, or several weeks ago when I did the same thing.  On the other hand, both times I felt better after the race than I had going into it. Fewer things hurt, and I was looser.  Not sure what's going on, but I always find training paradoxes interesting, and this certainly is one.

Growing up running -- a partial reminiscence

Not sure what has started me reminiscing on this recently.

Sometime around age 6 my mother started dropping me off downtown at lunch-time.  Dad cut out of work and we'd run together.  I think the reason was a combination of my being the first-born-son; my being a sensitive kid without an athletic bone in my body; and Dad's needing to get back in shape.  Dad, bless him, never missed a chance to tell me I was "a natural runner."  He could not have been more wrong, but the idea became part of my self-identity.

Sometime in that first year I ran my first 10K.  Back in those days, in Anchorage, it was 10K or nothing.  Nobody was running shorter and if anybody was running longer I didn't know about it.  Within a year or two my brother S__ and sister S__ started joining us.  In contrast with me they were naturally athletic.  Among other trivial statistics, sister S__ was faster over the 10K distance, at that age, than had been a family friend who went on to become a four-time Olympic skier, and brother S__ had one race written up in Runner's World as a notable effort for a six-year-old.  (53' and change, if I remember correctly.)  In contrast, I was just a skinny kid who was able to run but not able to run fast.

We raced the Pepsi 10K every year.  There were others, but I don't recall their names.  It seems as if we ran about three 10Ks every summer or thereabouts.  One time the local high school, Robert Service (which we all attended several years later), hosted a race.  It started at the school, proceeded down the bike trail along Abbott Road, turned right -- North -- to follow Lake Otis, and ended at Campbell Creek Park.  I crossed the line in 43' and change.  Wow, was I disappointed to learn that the course had been badly measured, and the race was actually about 5 1/2 miles.  I don't clearly recall how fast I actually was and the internet, which knows everything else about me, does not reach back that far.  Something around 48' sounds about right.  Sister S__, I know, was at least a couple of minutes faster.

Dad succeeded in getting his fitness back.  I was about 11, and he 41, when he took me along the Powerline Trail all the way to Powerline Pass and back, approximately a 16-miler in Chugach State Park.  I have not done that run since.  I really should when I go home this summer.

Life proceeded to get in the way.  I never really quit running; I would guess not a year of my life has gone by that I did not run at least a few times.  I was on my school cross country and track teams, but I found it easier to be a goofball and to lose than to try hard and nonetheless to lose.  But I did not quit even after my parents stopped having any say.  I remember, for example, getting home from watching Forrest Gump with my buddy P__ one summer in college and going out for a late-evening six-miler.  (In an Anchorage summer it is not at all unpleasant to be on the blacktop at 11 p.m.)  I remember more than once drinking too much and running myself sober.

In college and law school I seemed to run primarily when I was unhappy.  I ran while clerking in Boise because I was lonely.  After moving to DC I ran to be social; my house-mate J__ talked me in to my first marathon, my first ironman, and my first 50-miler.  Other people chat well over beer.  I chat much better over sweat.

Off shortly to see if I can replicate Ted's 18-miler.  It's a little chilly and windy and the flurries are coming down occasionally, which is probably ideal.

UPDATE:  Oh my goodness.  No specifics, but I do find lists of races being run in Anchorage in those days.  The Clinkerdagger 10K was another regular one.  (Clinkerdagger, Bickerstaff and Pett's -- or Clink's for short -- was a local restaurant of some note.

Friday, March 1, 2013



I envy those of you entering your tapers!  (What I really envy is your upcoming marathon, or pleasure run in a marathon setting.  I'm getting nervous vicariously.)