Monday, April 29, 2013

Big Sur

About Mile 14, looking north.

About Mile 10, looking north.

The start (taken Saturday before the infrastructure was in place).

Big Sur is really a marvelous event.  Ted will attest that my pictures do not do the scenery justice, and except for the start these were taken basically at random -- whenever I felt like stopping to jog a short stretch of the course to get a feel for it.

It is a grueling race.  The elevation profile (below) about does it justice.  The Hurricane Point climb in the middle is more or less four Heartbreak Hills in a row.  The climbs in the second half are easy by comparison but brutal in their own right.  You learn quickly to fear rounding bends in the road because around every other one a gale is blowing down some cleft in the mountain or off some ocean inlet.

But once aspirations of exceeding yourself are gone, sometime around Mile 6, the greatest hazard is the crick in your neck from craning to see some new sight or to hear some new sound.  

Spectators are few -- the highway is closed to all but official race traffic -- so in the first miles descending the mountain to the coast you have a symphony of feet on the tarmac uninterrupted by the usual race-day noise.  The event is large and includes several sub-categories, timed such that the marathoners, 21-milers, 10-milers, and 9-milers all can finish in the same 6 hours and permit the road to be re-opened by 1.  

So you never break free of a crowd, which is annoying early on when you are feeling good and want that magical stretch of road to yourself, but is wonderful later when the walkers cheer the runners and the runners cheer the walkers and everybody pulls together to surmount that last hill you can see at Mile 25, which is every bit as much of a slap in the face as you might imagine its being.

Ted asks in an earlier comment what is the excuse for running in Big Sur 13 days after Boston.  The answer is that there is no excuse.  The reason last year was something like this (confession following):  I would guess that in part I run marathons (rather than simply running on my own or with my co-bloggers) to be badder than the next Joe, and if you want to be badder than the next marathoner you have to run many marathons.  The reason this year was that Boston is Boston and Big Sur is magic and I could not say no to either of them.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tourist running

Ted is the king of running marathons because they are there and so is he (Hamptons 2011).  The runningprofs, in particular our founders Philip and Spencer, have made combining running with work in cool cities an art form.  And I like to think I'm able to find myself in as wild an event as anybody.  Tomorrow is the Big Sur marathon.  I've run it once before and occasional contributor Jessie has two finishes under his belt.  Hills, views, _wind_, and about 5 distinct weather systems combine with runner-hippie counterculture to make an incomparable weekend here in Carmel.  Report on tomorrow's race forthcoming.  Below, if the attachment took, the view from Hurricane Point at about mile 12.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The long and winding road

Cool but sunny afternoon led me to leave work a bit early.  After a thoroughly delightful nap, I hit the streets for a 5 mile 47 minute run.  It was the first time I have run at this pace since the fall.  Probably have to take a day off to deal with the soreness, but things are definitely improving.  Plus cross-training always a good thing.  As a result of this long recuperation, definitely have more sympathy for Derek Rose who has been long cleared by the doctors but who still doesn't feel 100%.  Appreciating the combination of the physical and psychological aspects of recovery.  Rome and lakefront run with Max definitely good for the psyche.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

NIMBY meets Transportation Alternatives

Well, this is something I never thought I'd see.  One block from our apartment, the new bike share program has planted a forest of bike racks. Actually this is true both to the north and to the south.  No bikes yet, but how cool is that?  I haven't quite figured out the pricing yet, but apparently, I'm going to be able to walk out of the door, hop on a bike, ride for about 10 minutes to just about any place in brownstone Brooklyn or 15 minutes to lower Manhattan, and then drop the bike in a waiting rack. No muss, no fuss, no carbon emissions.

Could anything be bad about this? This is New York City, of course folks are up in arms.  This will make parking tougher.  The Citibank advertisements on the kiosks don't belong on landmarked blocks.  It will block traffic.  Restaurants won't have any place to put their trash.  Our quiet neighborhood will be overrun by Dutch tourists smelling of beer and herring. . .   Okay, I made up the last one, but give me a break.

I do think there are a few legitimate concerns.  First, helmets are BYO and not required.  Fair enough.  Folks should wear helmets.  But for those who would rather risk brain damage rather than experience hat head, I place my faith in Darwinian selection.  Second, there are a few places where bike congestion may be a problem, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, which is already a pedestrian nightmare at peak hours.  Third, a few of my treasured running routes may be overrun by the cyclists at certain times.  Fourth, the current bike lanes are not sufficiently robust to accommodate the increased traffic.

These all seem acceptable to me.  It might actually be a good thing for cyclists to reach critical mass as a transportation method.  Can protected lanes be far behind??

UPDATE: With typical North Brooklyn irony, this post demonstrates that bike lanes might actually be safer if there were more bikes in them.

Tech Support

This weekend and yesterday, I took the new tri-bike out for short rides in Prospect Park.  The bike is amazing.  It adds something between 1 and 2 miles per hour to my pace.  Yesterday, I found myself time-trialing past pace lines, which was a very odd feeling (given that it violates the laws of physics).

My problem is much more mundane.  I haven't put a cycling computer on the new bike yet, so I've been using MapMyRide on my phone to get data about the workout.  It works pretty well, giving me distance, 5 mile splits and average speed.  The problem is that the default setting seems to be to post everything I do to Facebook.  So, each time I finish a workout, I have to go to my Facebook page and delete the ride (and the friendly supportive comments) from my timeline.  I know, you say, just change the privacy settings. Well, I have.  I keep setting them to just me, and with each new ride, they seem to reset to "friends."  I'm sure I'm doing something wrong, and I'll figure it out, but for the moment, I'll just have to apologize to everyone for what must appear to be even greater than usual exercise exhibitionism. . . .

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Urinetown: The State Action Section 2 Musical

"Who know that a greedy monopolizing corporation could also be such a force for social good?"  This line from the Loyola University Chicago drama department production of Urinetown: The Musical elicited a much louder laugh from our section of the audience in the brand new Newhart (Yes, Bob Newhart) Family theater on the main campus.  On April 13th, I put together an Antitrust Institute field trip of students, faculty, and staff to see a student production directed by Mark Lococo, an award winning Chicago director and head of the Loyola musical theater department. 

Urinetown is the story of a long drought that leads to the eventual privatization and monopolization of all toilets (to recapture and recycle all moisture).  If you can't pay for the ever increasing "Privilege to Pee" (an actual song title) you will sent to Urinteown, which may or may not be a metaphor.  Along the way many antitrust concepts are explored and numerous Broadway musicals from Les Liz to Big River are mocked.  Because the director is a college friend of my wife from Northwestern, our students also got a brief post-show visit from the director, who was somewhat baffled but pleased with our academic, as well as aesthetic, interest in the show.  Urinetown concludes its sell out run this evening. 


Urinetown was a Tony award winning musicial a few years, back but not the only show on the Great White Way to explore competition law.  If you are more interested in musical explorations of Section One (the Supreme evil of antitrust according to Scalia), I would recommend Tovarich, the 1960s musical starring Vivian Leigh in her only Broadway appearance, and its snappy little number "A Small Cartel" where Russian emigres in Paris after the Communist Revolution plot the cornering of the world oil market.

Finally, if you need to lure your students into a closer study of Section 7 of Clayton Act, I would suggest the movie or off Broadway drama (sorry no singing) of Other People's Money, an exploration of hostile takeover in the halcyon days of the 1980s.  Sadly Louis Brandeis does not make an appearance, but Danny DeVito does.


So I guess the real question is, how come there is no great theater on Article 101-102, public restraints, state aids, or the merger regulation in the EU? 

Promontory Point, Hyde Park

Spencer gave a nice account of our Saturday run.  This isn't from that day, but somebody took a shot up north along the lake-shore to the Chicago skyline a few years back.  The light was better for us yesterday morning, I think.

A Run Without Pictures

I always look forward to my Chicago runs with Max.  Of course, I am only able to keep up with him if he is under the weather and/or recovering from a race.  Yesterday was both.  It was Max's recovery run from Boston and he was fighting the left overs of a head cold.

I picked him at his hotel around 9 and we headed south on the outer drive to 31st street and parked just north of 31st by the lakefront.  We headed south down to the Hyde Park Point and back for something in the 8-9 range including all the curlycues and diversions .  Its my favorite part of the park (south of McCormick Place) pretty, uncrowded, lots of sights to see north, south, and along the lake and beach fronts.  Remind me to blog one of these days about my idea of running tours of the major tourist destinations in our fair cities.

We had a chilly but clear day where we could see well into Indiana along the curve of the lake.  On the way back, always thrilling to see the Loop loom up as we work our way northward.

I appreciate Max's deferring to my gentle pace and the need for the occasional walk break (usually timed to coincide with some sights I wanted to point out).  Runner's privilege prevents me from disclosing the many things we discussed over the 92 minute run, but very much appreciated the chance to catch up while on the move.

I can reveal our panic when we sprinted the last couple hundred yards to the parking lot only to discover that the car wasn't there.  After considering the two most likely and distressing scenarios (theft and towing), we eventually figured out we were at 39th street, and not 31st, and my car was safely parked one mile north of where we were.

Antitrust on Friday, running was Saturday.  The essence of the blog. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

LUC Colloquium

The most fun you can have in antitrust happens every April in Chicago at the Loyola Consumer Antitrust Institute colloquium. A crowd gathers, four people from a variety of walks of the antitrust world present research, commentators give insightful responses, and the crowd throws darts or gives virtual fist-bumps or even just uses the paper as an excuse to offer tangential but nonetheless interesting insights. At lunch a leading figure discusses something interesting and relevant. At Spencer's the night before the is a casual cocktail hour with predictably excellent hors d'ouvres, in the mid-afternoon there is a break for ice cream sundaes, and at night there is a great dinner with wine flowing from 6:30 until people head home.

I missed the cocktail hour on Thursday, to my great regret. Sick from running a marathon in the middle of an overly intense end-of-semester crunch, I didn't feel able to be social.

The first paper was Pierre LaRouche's (Tilburg) book chapter on comparative dominant firm enforcement standards, forthcoming in the Sokol/Lianos series. Some of what Professor LaRouche wrote was old hat, though well presented. The intriguing dichotomy between disfavored theories of enforcement on either side of the pond -- attempted monopolization in the US and monopoly exploitation in Europe -- is a base from which to ruminate broadly on the origins and development of the different competition regimes. (Paper idea: "Explaining Antitrust by reference to what did not survive.") I, and it seemed most others, gained much from Prof. LaRouche's original source research into the ordo-liberal economic tradition. It is a label I have seen tossed around casually so often that I have had a suspicion many authors do not really know what they are saying. After reading this chapter and hearing the presentation and critiques, I have a greater confidence that I understand what the school of thought stands for. And specifically, ordo-liberalism explains in part the progress of Article 102 interpretation and enforcement. This is the one paper on the LUC website that is not password protected. Highly recommended.

Tom Nachbar from UVa presented on The Antitrust Constitution. Wow -- I felt like I had been climbing a mountain from one side, enjoying the view and knowing the geology, and then I reached the ridge and caught a glimpse of the other side, very different but equally good. It was a different way to see something I had thought I understood. Addyston Pipe, Professor Nachbar teaches, is about a prohibition of private regulation of economic activity, which is fundamentally a non-delegation concept. Taft was offended by private efforts to structure the market, a project that the commerce clause gave to the federal government. So viewed, the Sherman Act is a dormant commerce clause-style enactment.

My first reaction was that Nachbar had to be wrong, or was reading too much into the word "regulation" in various of the opinions he was discussing. But it is the beauty of antitrust scholarship that there is no wrong, because there is no right. His interpretation is an elegant one. It leaves a difficult question of what is regulation: once that is defined and he has established that private regulation is what is prohibited, he can take the theories of liability one by one and give a thumbs or thumbs down. To Nachbar, regulation is control of another's use of its property. Price fixing? Regulatory, because it is an effort to control another's activities (the co-conspirators'). Illegal. Unilateral refusals to deal? Non-regulatory, because it speaks only to the defendant's own use of its resources.

I need to give this paper another, and a closer, read. The more fun part follows, because I need to re-read a litany of authorities that I had thought I understood. Bravo.

Much more to describe. I will pause here if only to keep this post to a manageable length!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Evening Run

I don't usually run in the evening.  It never fits my schedule.  Yesterday it did.  There was a group run at 7:30, and word had gone out to dress in blue and yellow.  It felt like the right thing to do.
Apropos of Max's comments, I'm not quite sure what the significance of all of this "running for Boston" is.  If you go to the Run For Boston Facebook page, it looks as if every runner in the country has posted a picture.  An interesting thing about all of the pictures is that the message is support for Boston rather than anger at anyone or anything.  Part of this is because, contrary to CNN yesterday, we still don't know who to be mad at.  But I hope that part of it is a recognition that the constructive emotion is to feed the collective good karma associated with the marathon, perhaps the only event that could get folks at Yankee Stadium to sing Sweet Caroline . . .

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A few notes

Hardly a day for blogging about how great the marathon went.  I obviously have no inside knowledge -- the bombs literally exploded while I was getting a post-race massage 1/2 mile away, and I knew nothing until returning to Boyleston Street -- but I do feel more impacted than I did after, say, Aurora Colorado or Newtown Connecticut, if only because that's about where P__ might have been standing had she come to cheer.

The ticker on CNN reports more on the 8-year-old boy killed.  His name was Martin Richard.  His mother and sister were also greviously injured.  A family came to watch Dad run a marathon and that family is now destroyed.  And that's a small part of the losses suffered yesterday.

I wonder why this is worse (to me) than when a disgruntled ex-employee shoots up an office or the like.  Even religious sectarianism does not offend me this much.  I get that "your people have oppressed my people for millennia and now we're getting you back."  (Millennia of being the oppressors is one reason I distance myself from the religion into which I was raised.)  I don't get attacking people who are doing nothing more than celebrating being healthy.

Maybe it's like an Olympic bombing, but even that at least can be explained as a political attack; the Olympics definitely are not above politics.  Athletes go to win gold for America and newspapers tally national medal counts.  Can yesterday's bombing be explained as political?  "Die, America"?  There is no more international event than the Boston Marathon, where the most recent U.S.-based (male) winner was 30 years ago.  That's why I have gone for three years -- it's a massive weekend party made up of we runners' compatriots from around the globe.  Every third person I greet while running Highway 135 to Highway 16 to Highway 30 to Beacon, Commonwealth, Hereford and Boyleston responds with a thick accent or merely a nod and a smile, not understanding what I said.  Running in Boston is like traveling -- everybody speaks my language a little, everybody is gracious, and everybody is different from me.

No good religious justification.  No good political justification.  So unless you spent your life being trod up on by skinny people, their families, and others who go to revel in their health, this is just hate.

I'm mad, with that kind of impotent rage that I feel every time bad people hurt good people.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Daley 1 Emanuel 0

The early results suggest that Mayor Daley was a better friend to both runners and bikers than his esteemed successor.  This is the first year I can remember that the water fountains in the park were not on by the Shamrock Shuffle 8K, the unofficial start of the training season for the Chicago marathon.  Its now long past St Patty's day, Easter, and the Shuffle and the only fountain I have seen that works is next to a turf soccer field that is used nearly 24/7 by various amateur and semi-pro leagues.  I assume Chicago's conversion to "dry" status is based on our desperate financial condition to save on water bills, which if true, I would suggest fixing the water fountain by the soccer fields so it doesn't run all the time. 

Another suggestion is to stop moving the distance markers in the park.  There is no cosmically right answer as long as the markers are the correct distance apart from each other.  It is idiotic to keep adjusting the start and finish of an 18 mile path and then slightly moving (and sometimes removing) the 34 half mile markers in between.  You think this was  "shovel ready" project for federal stimulus money?  If not, a silly waste of money better spent on quenching the thirst of the thousands of lakefront athletes, most of whom already know where they are and how far they have gone.

Running Pilgrimage

I am sitting on a bed in the Park Plaza Hotel at the corner of Arlington and Stuart streets in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston.  The Boston Marathon starts in 23 hours 45 minutes.  It is a pretty lonely endeavor waiting out the pre-marathon day on a destination race.  After many, many races doing it the wrong way, I have learned I just need to sit here with legs in the air.  So I brought some work and an excellent John Le Carre novel -- The Spy Who Came In from the Cold -- and except for a light jog this morning and a little walk to see the stragglers at the 5K that was run this morning, I am pretty much staying put.

This is my third annual pilgrimage to worship at the temple of Marathon.  I have not run the great races in the runningprofs' various home metropolises, so I am not able to opine on a relative basis, but as an absolute matter it is difficult to imagine an event that is more of a cultish endeavor than is the Boston Marathon.

Everything from boarding the train in DC yesterday until I arrive at home on Monday (hopefully satisfied) is part of a collective spiritual event.  In line for the Acela I see others who are obviously heading north to run.  On the train we exchange curt nods as we make our ways back and forth to the dining car and to the restroom, and I share the occasional brief conversation about how the weather looks better than last year.  Disembarking at Back Bay Station and walking to the hotel I start to experience the throngs of skinny people wearing branded running garb, much of it reflecting far-flung nationalities.  Checking in at the hotel is like joining a parade, and seemingly every conversation begins with "where did you qualify?" or "did the training go as you had hoped?"  The race expo is a madhouse that I depart as quickly as I can.  My jog this morning around the Boston Common felt more like a pre-race warm-up than a run a full day prior to the race.  Literally hundreds were out there and to a one they looked ready.

I know what it will be like going home, too.  The whole city is supporting this race, so on the subway to Logan, during the check-in process, in the security lines, even boarding the flight and taking my seat -- I would bet 25% or more of the passengers are on their post-marathon exodus -- people will be offering congratulations and back-slaps.  (In 2011 I missed my flight.  The gate agent waived the change fee without my asking -- "I wouldn't be able to get up that early after running a marathon, either!" -- and the flight crew on the plane I did take polled the runners while taking tickets about their finishing times.)

It is finally getting to me.  I have been in a running funk for the last several weeks, so much so that I am already looking ahead to the next opportunity to attempt a PR.  But as I finish my walk this morning and watch the stream of 5K finishers with their medals and bags of post-race nutrition, and I see the race-day infrastructure being set up and being tested -- my teeth began to itch.

Itchy teeth:  that has always been how I know I want to run.  It does not mean I will have a good race, but it does mean my heart will jump when the gun sounds.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Entry Discount

Courtesy of Coach Mike Hamberger, here's a link for entry discounts for nearly all of the Rock and Roll series races, good tomorrow only.  Among other races that may interest the runningprofs, they boast a 10K in Brooklyn in October and a 1/2 Marathon in Chicago in July.

I'm not a fan of Rock and Roll as a race promoter, but they have races in places that I like to run.  I hope to knock out their 1/2 marathon in DC next March.

Note:  I hesitated to share such a behaviorally exploitative exploding offer, but I did think there was a danger one or more of us might actually benefit from it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

In Class Merger Simulation

Most years, I try to teach merger law through an extended in class simulation.  Its my way of forcing the students to actively learn and apply the material rather than passively read and take notes in class.  It depends of course on whether there is a good pending merger case or investigation in an industry that is reasonably accessible and with a decent amount of publicly available information.  Past years I did the United-Continental merger and the ATT-T Mobile merger.

This year was beer something I was confident the students know a fair bit about.  I divided the class into thirds, 1/3 for the government and 2/3 for the defendants which always sounded about right from past real world experience.  Each team had issue specialists assigned to market definition/market power; theories of harm; barriers to entry; efficiencies and failing firm (when relevant).  Besides the class book readings, I assigned the sections of the Guidelines for each student's issues and the complaint DOJ filed against the InBev-Grupo Mondelo merger.  Over the course of 4-5 classes, I gave very brief comments about each of the key issues in modern merger analysis and described a key case or two.  The rest of the time was for the groups to work together and develop their positions.  One class was all intra-group discussion, part of a later class an informal inter-group conversation where each side could ask the other for more information and their tentative positions on each issues.  The final class was a more formal presentation by the defendants (with power points) to the government why they shouldn't sue, a response from the government, and negotiations over remedies in lieu of litigation.  I served as the judge waiting to deliver my opinion if the parties did not reach an agreement. In the end, they reached a tentative consent decree that closely matched the later agreement that is apparently going to resolve the dispute in the real world.

Every year I was impressed with the professionalism and the seriousness with which the students take their roles.  I also particularly appreciated the many exhibits that both sides had for their presentations and the spirited debate over whether hard liquor, wine, hard cider, craft beers, home brew, and something called Bud Light Lime-a-rita were part of the relevant market.

Something about Marathoners

I recently had an early-morning flight home to DC on which I had been upgraded and had the first-class cabin to myself.  It was one of those clear sky mornings when I could sip coffee and look out the plane window to the south, not yet caffeinated enough for my mind to skip around but no longer interested in sleep.  As we flew eastward, crossing the Ohio River into West Virginia, I found myself thinking about Patrick Muturi.

My second marathon was in Carlsbad, California, in late January, in a race then called the San Diego Marathon.  It is still run, now as the Carlsbad Marathon.  That was 2001.  I went there almost on a whim, and being in the middle of the US v. American Airlines litigation could not devote the time to a vacation, so I flew out on Saturday, raced on Sunday, and flew back that afternoon.  It was a marvelous race.  I remember coming through the first mile at 7:00, actually saying out loud "that was way too fast!", and somehow proceeding to run a steady 7:00 pace from start to finish.  The race started in Carlsbad, headed south a short ways before turning inland into the coastal hills and the Lego-land theme park, re-joined Highway 101 at about mile 16, and then followed the highway back north to finish in Carlsbad.  Somewhere there was an out-and-back early enough to see the race leaders, and it was my first ever experience watching elite marathoners running up close.  My finishing time was a massive personal best, placing me 38th overall out of some 2000 runners, and remained my best until late in 2011.

In the San Diego airport, while standing in line for my seat at the gate (this was a Southwest flight), I saw a diminutive man with a chiseled face and a gentle expression.  I might have mistaken him for a DC street vendor if I had not just come from the race.  As it was I knew he had run, and flush with my excitement over my own time I was bold enough to ask, Did you race today?

Yes, he said, quietly.
Did it go well?
No, he said, I had trouble in the second half.  I was fourth.  And you?
I lost the excitement about my own amateur performance.  I stammered something like, I ran, but it was nothing like you.  I'm just a weekend warrior.
He asked, Was it your best time?
Yes, I replied.
That is good, then.  You ran well.

And that was it.  We both flew back to Baltimore.  I returned home and he to his home, which I later discovered was in Maryland.  I looked on the Internet and discovered I had been speaking with Patrick Muturi, a Kenyan-born American who had run sub-2:09 a few years prior in Chicago.  In Carlsbad that day he had stumbled to a 2:25, but maintained the grace to tell a presumptuous amateur that the amateur had run well.

That race stuck with me for a long time.  It is the first time I remember feeling like an athlete.  It may have been the last, too -- there was something magical about running fairly well for a weekend warrior when I didn't know enough to realize that many, many were running much better.  In contrast, now I am faster, but I hang out with runners -- so it seems that everybody is faster.

And that meeting with Patrick Muturi gave me a glow that did not dissipate. I remember telling my then-girlfriend C__ that "he was beautiful.  He looked like he was made to do one thing and he knew what that thing was."  Even as I said it I felt ashamed, as if I was minimizing him somehow, but Muturi had made a life choice, at that point in his life, to be a marathoner -- and a marathoner he was.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ugh and a funny sight

Another too brutal 15 miles, this time 8 days before Boston.  Some realities:

(1) I am not PR'ing in Boston.
(2) I am not breaking 3:00 in Boston (a necessary corollary of number 1).
(3) Boston is going to hurt.

Then I walked in to the office.  I'm here to finish my edits on "Commissioner Wright and Behavioral Antitrust" for the Antitrust Source.  (Euphemistic conclusion in 10 words or less:  Commissioner Wright will not be leading any charges.)

I stopped by Potbelly's on the way for a roast beef sub and a chocolate milkshake.  The picture depicts their decor over the register.  It's a little hard to see (I'm no photographer, sorry to say), but yes, those are copies of West's Bankruptcy Reporter.  Lost in the glare is an old John Couger -- yes, using the old name -- album jacket and a picture of JF and Jacqueline kissing babies.  Is this a statement about print books or about the business of bankruptcy?

That Was Fun!

Okay, so one of my great white whales has been the 22 minute 5K (7.04 pace).  I may have gone faster once or twice in high school, but those times are lost to posterity.  I got close in the hilly Chilmark Road Race in 2001 (22:16), but haven't really come close since.  This Fall, Nike+ told me that I'd run a 22.22 5K in the middle of a slightly longer fun run, so I thought the goal might be in sight.  In the run up to Rome, I ran a couple of 4 milers and one 5K, but always the day after a long run, so my times were slower.

Today felt like it might be the day.  On the up side, I rested yesterday, I'm still pretty fit from Rome, and I'd signed up for the Eileen Dugan 5K, a small (300 runners), flat, 5K in Brooklyn Bridge Park, less than a mile from my house.  On the down side, my left achilles is still a bit sore, and all that pasta from Rome seems to have found my midsection.  

Beautiful day, a bit cold, but that's not a bad thing.  Actually knew the folks at the registration table.  Nice! No line to pee!! Very nice!!!  Lined up, listened to a couple of speeches, including my second speech of the week from Marty Markowitz (Borough President).  Does that man ever sleep?

Took off fast. Concentrated on lifting my knees, and following through on both sides.  Settled in with a group of about 4 guys.  We kept trading places.  Looked at my heart rate monitor.  It said 213bpm.  Decided not to look at my heart rate monitor anymore, as it was clearly not reading correctly.  Feeling fine.  Looked again a few minutes later and it as reading at between 95 and 98%. That seemed about right.  First mile 6:45 pace.  Woohoo!!  Brooklyn Bridge Park is the home of many of my morning runs, so everything felt comfortable and familiar.  There were a couple of sharp turns that were annoying and a fair amount of gravel, very annoying, but still feeling okay.  Second mile 7:05 pace.  Just hang in and you've got it.  At this point, the guys I'd been running with started opening it up a bit, and I felt like I was drifting back slightly.  Gunning it to stay with them felt risky.  Checked heart rate, holding steady. Legs were beginning to hurt, but not too badly.  The finish was visible, for the whole last mile.  An old dude came up from behind, I pushed it some more.  Third mile 7:14 (okay . . .), and then kick it in for the last bit.  21:22.  Yess!!! I finished 15th,  not bad for an old guy.

After a bit of a post-mortem, all of the Garmins polled seemed to measure the course at around 3.06 or 3.07, so it appears that it was about 160 feet short.  But even if you add back about 10-20 seconds (I was kicking at about a 6 minute mile pace), I was still comfortably under 22 minutes, and set a new PR.   Hooray!!

And, the nice thing about 5Ks, is that my morning workout was over after less than half an hour.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

See, I Told You It Was a _Midlife_ Crisis!

Thanks to these guys for redefining midlife to include us "runningprofs."

Also, note the form of the guy on the right.

Rest Day

Usually rest days happen because the work schedule demands it.  Such rest days are not therapeutic, as they are usually accompanied by (1) no stretching; (2) long periods in uncomfortable chairs sitting in a twisted position.

Today, I decided to take a voluntary rest day, accompanied by light calisthenics and massive amounts of stretching.  This is a practice usually reserved for the marathon taper, done grudgingly.  It feels like a guilty pleasure, but it also feels like I may have timed it correctly.  Nothing is acutely wrong.  Lots of things are out of kilter.  As I sit down to write, I realize, I may have to do this more often.  Perhaps once or twice a year, whether I need it or not . . .

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Speed Work -- Part Deux

Note to self:  Speed work is a different animal, and needs to be approached with respect.

Okay, the theory behind doing a speed workout on Tuesday was, (1) usual running buddy is out of town and SBRC folks go to the track on Tuesday; (2) I'm recovered from the Marathon, right, it's been over two weeks; (3) one of my Spring goals is to improve my 5K time, and that's going to take doing some speed work; (4) one of the technical issues with my form has been opening up my hip on the left side and rolling through, speed work will force me to fully rotate; (5) there is no reason number 5; (6) it would be fun.

All of these things turned out to be correct.  The group split up into different workouts.  Three of us decided to do quarter mile repeats.  I have been at this long enough to know that 90 seconds is about what I can do. I don't do a lot of speed work, but when I do, a loop of the track always feels pretty much like this: (first turn) wow, it feels good to open up my stride, this is cool; (back stretch) gee, this isn't so hard, maybe I should speed up a bit; (second turn) uh oh, maybe that was a bit fast, my legs are beginning to feel this, and so are my lungs; (last part of second turn) oh f*ck this is beginning to hurt; (home stretch) $%$&*&^%^#$%^$; (end) 90 seconds plus or minus two again???  Gasp, gasp, gasp.

The session ran pretty much true to form.  One of us was doing 80 second loops, and two of us were around 90 (92, 88, 92, 92, 91).  It really was fun.  I'm usually by myself, and having a gang there doing various workouts really helped.  Misery loves company, and encouragement.  I left feeling like I should do this more often.

Then reality hit, or more appropriately, hit back.  Hmm.  That angry tendon in my right foot has now been joined by an angry left achilles.  Was that a spasm in my ITB?  Why is walking suddenly so difficult? Apparently, I really beat myself up.  With a nice slow warm up, and a nice slow warm down, it was a six mile run.  I stretched and rolled out afterwards.  Why do I feel like I ran a 20 miler? I took yesterday off due to work, and this morning, I had a lovely, very slow, run, working out the kinks, but the after effects are still very much present.  I guess the good news is that the parts that hurt are on the side that needed more work . . .

Back to the bike and pool for a few days . . .

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

First Speed Workout of the Spring

5*440 . . . Now I know what my HR Max is.  I think I dropped my left achilles tendon somewhere in Red Hook . . .

Monday, April 1, 2013

Was Shakespeare an Antitrust Violator?

Was Shakespeare an antitrust violator? 


First of the long(ish) rides

Every year about this time I start to prepare for the summer riding season.  This year I have on my plate a 24-hour race and a 1200K.  I have not had success in either endeavor in the past.

There's no way to get ready to ride long than to ride long, circular though that may sound.  On Sunday my buddy D__ and I launched from Arlington, across the street from Lost Dog Pizza, heading west along the W&OD rail-trail to Purcelville, then south through Middleburg to the town of Marshall.  Yes, that Marshall:  "This is a Constitution we are expounding!"

And then back.

It started raining in Leesburg, was pouring when we first reached Purcelville, and the rain (with varying force) stayed with us more or less all the way from there.  As with every first long ride, after 100 miles everything hurt.  I take that back:  the legs feel fine.  Pedaling a bike at a moderate pace isn't that hard.  Sitting on a bike, leaned over, absorbing road bumps through your wrists, elbows, and shoulders; suspending your weight between your sit-bones and your hands; and abrading your contact points against soggy padding in your too-cheap bicycle tights -- that is hard.

140 miles there and back, give or take a few.  Not what Jack Daniels would prescribe for a two-weeks-pre-marathon workout, but if I don't get started now, where will I be in June?

Being Competitive

Ezekiel Emanuel is a distinguished bioethicist and key advisor on health care in the Obama administration.  He also is the older brother of the mayor of Chicago and Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel.  This is a highly competitive family as you might expect.  Zeke's academic achievements were a spur to Rahm and Rahm's accomplishments a goad to Ari.  So whom did Zeke compete with?

Apparently me.  I was the kid (at least as he remembers it) who always did a little better than him in grade school to the point of driving him crazy.  I learned this when I was contacted by the ghost writer for the memoir a year and a half ago and now it is in the memoir itself. 

We were classmates, neighbors, and good friends until the Emanuels moved to the burbs after fifth grade.  I still see his folks from time to time, but haven't seen Zeke for more than forty years.  But the story of how he remembers things (see pages 80-81) was all new to me, except the part about him tripping me in first grade, biting my tongue, and then needing stitches.  Not really sure what to make of the line "I became obsessed with beating Spencer Waller, indeed for better or worse, part of me still is to this day."

Wonder if he runs marathons.  Check for the answer....