Monday, October 28, 2013

On the Road Again

The blog has become increasingly medical in nature with my own grousing being a major contributing factor.  I continue to work out occasionally but am wiped out a large percentage of the time but improving as the days and weeks from kidney stone attack (KSA) mount.

Probably shouldn't have but pushed things with a trip to Chile for a conference on Private Rights of Action in Competition Cases which our Institute co-sponsored.  I will blog separately about the substance of the conference and the state of competition law in Chile (quite sophisticated) but Chile holds a special place in my heart running wise.  Last year in August I ran a bandit 10K through the streets of the old downtown and the river park ending at La Moneda, the Presidential Palace.

This year I stayed in an entirely different part of town, Las Condes, which is basically the new downtown (mid-town versus Wall Street) with the tallest buidling in Latin America and every American chain restaurant you can imagine (Denny's, Applebee's, Ruby Tuesday, etc.).  So I decided to end the pity party and actually run a bit.  I gingerly made my way to the big street and then followed other joggers into the park in the borough of Vitacura and found another race to run bandit.  I really like this country!  It was just a 5K but it felt really good to run outside in shirt sleeves as the weather in Esatdos Unitos slowly descends into late fall and layers for outdoor runs. 

Everything still works.  Left knee is still sore and stiffer than when I was running and stretching regularly.  I overheat even faster than before which I have noticed in the gym as well.  But it was both a nice start and a return to the scene of the crime.

El Bandito strike again!  Viva Chile!!

Going House

My freshman year roommate S__ used frequently to describe over-the-top conduct as "going house."  "He went house on that slam dunk!"

I'm a big fan of Hugh Laurie's creation, House, a brilliant but idiosyncratic diagnostician that was the main character in the TV series of the same name.  I've decided that "going House" (proper noun) now means self-diagnosing.  Or, this being a blog, group diagnosing.

Whether a testament to our age or to our going house (original usage) by overtraining, we go House here at runningprofs with some frequency.  Hips, knees, heels, arches . . .  Over the last weekend I've been going House on my knee.

History:  inside-of-knee pain for about 12-14 months now.  Hard to locate by touch, but when I did find it the best guess was a tendon.  Most clearly felt when bending the knee outward (pulling the ankle inward) as in a cross-legged seated position or in that fabulous hip stretch performed face-down with one leg under you bent with knee out and the other straight behind you.  Never an issue while running, but an issue when tightening after running.  No apparent swelling associated with it.

Recent:  about two months ago the pain became more acute and sometimes could be felt while running.  I don't have the dates exactly in mind, but I did communicate with Coach Mike the concern that doing the run leg in Lake Tahoe in late September might be a problem. (It wasn't, but the knee wasn't exactly quiet.)  During the more recent and more acute episodes the pain seemed to associate with extreme soreness on the inside of my quads (that little bump of a muscle just above and inside the knee).

Last few weeks:  As I've shifted into running full time in preparation for the Rehoboth Beach Marathon, the tightness post-run has become acute.  It is also felt down through the shin, almost more on/in the bone than in the muscle.  I.e., it's not a shin splint, a pain with which I am embarrassingly familiar.  The primary location is immediately below the knee cap, although over the top of the knee cap is also a problem, and the original assumed tendon is still hot.  Another difference beside its being acute is that I've felt it while running.  A third difference is that I've noticed relatively mild swelling.  Strangely, the pain disappears when the leg is bent more than 90 degrees.  Thus, sleeping is difficult, because my legs are normally straight.  Driving is a disaster -- my car has a low bucket seat and the leg position is basically straight forward.  Sitting at my desk is just fine.  Standing is not.  The pain relaxes over a few days of rest but returns if I run again and even, to a lesser extent, while walking the 1 1/4 miles to and from the office.

Icing helps but does not solve it.  Foam rolling does not appear to affect it at all.  NSAIDS obviously help somewhat.

Cartilage?  Tendonitis?  Stress fracture?  Hypochondria induced by fear of upcoming races?

In any event, serious running is over for me for 2013.  I'm going to see a doc. on Friday in the hopes that there is an answer that allows for a spring marathon.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Perhaps I've Been Going About This the Wrong Way . . .

So, since late April/early May I've been hobbled by a left heel/left hip issue.  I have grumbled about it many times in my posts.  I took most of May and June off from running (almost) entirely.  Since then my mileage has been very low as I've focused on swimming and biking to keep my fitness up.  The injury has been stubborn, and I've tried not to run two days in a row.  When I've run, everything has been tight.  It has, truth be told, felt like the beginning of the end for my running, as I've shuffled through every workout.  This week, I've run 5 days in a row, and bizarrely, I'm feeling better.  I ran two  miles to swim class on Wednesday, 5 incredibly slow miles on Thursday, a solid 8 on Friday with the SBRC bunch, 4 hard, for slow, and a respectable 7 with C___ on Saturday.  I would normally have spent Sunday in the pool or on the bike, but a law professor friend was in town, and wanted to run in Central Park.  I woke up feeling okay, so went for it.

Truly an awesome run.  We ran from Grand Central to Central Park, ran the lower 4 and then back to GCT.  The weather was perfect, the leaves are turning.  We got in and out of the Park before the Marathon Kickoff race came thundering through.  Most importantly, we ran pretty fast.  Almost all of the miles were at a sub 9 pace.  These days that qualifies as a tempo run . . .

For once, my hips didn't start to seize up after 5 miles, and my calves and heel held up through the whole run.

I'm wondering if I've hit a point in recovery where it's time to start running more rather than less.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Swimming and Triathlon

Since Max raised the uncomfortable topic of dying while swimming in triathlon, I thought I'd link to what I have found to be the most interesting (though still disturbing) article on the topic I've read.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


A thoughtful student with an interest in triathlon shared this ESPN article with me.  It relates to deaths in triathlon with great emphasis on the swim leg.  Interesting, even troubling, but nothing terribly new.

Dutch treat

Let's go Dutch, the Amsterdam marathon was last weekend and it was a blast, but when it came to splitting the bill, I ran a positive split, which meant pain pain and pain.
Here are R and C and me beforehand.    Excited at the Expo!
They were running the 8k and enjoyed it a lot.   All the races (8k, Half and Full) started from the Olympic Stadium and benefitted from big screens and amazing organisation.   All the races also included a fabulous run through a tunnel under the Rijksmuseum, cool!! 
I started out tamely, cognisant of my doing too much rowing relative to running all summer, but things felt good for the first Half.   I was aiming for 8.35s and was happy.   I may have sped up a tiny bit in the 2nd 10k, but it felt good.    I think I need a new Garmin though, my splits were all over the place so I ran more by feel than anything else.   It felt good, maybe I pushed it too much on reflection, but at the time, all felt well.
Then Half way came, running along the Amstel River past windmills and rowers and people screaming "Op op op!!"    Beautiful, but my splits were fading and I felt uncomfortable.   I had been planning to dial up the pace a bit at 14 but when I pressed the 'go faster' pedal, I slowed down instead. It literally felt like I had put my feet through the floor of the car and the road was snapping my legs in two.    (No drama queen, me)

This continued throughout the rest of the race, with my splits fading and my legs seizing up.   I also got into a negative feedback loop mentally, cursing myself for not doing enough mileage during the summer.   This lasted three miles until I snapped myself out of it and started with mantras like "Strong, strong strong" and "From within!"
We got back into town and the crowds were great, even the occasional whiff of funner times from the nearby "caf├ęs" ("gemutlich!!")  and the last few miles, while hellish, were compartment-isable, and I just "endured".    Appropriate!!
Then, at about 24 miles, just like in Rome in March my Garmin again showed me closer to the Finish than I was (by a quarter mile, again!!) and I realised that not only was I not going to meet my goal of 3.50 but suddenly that sub4 was in jeopardy!!    This was not pleasant, as I had already been digging about as deep as I could...but, dig deeper was all I could do.   The last couple of k through the Vondel Park were not pleasant, but then BOOM turn a corner and the Stadium is 500m away and we are IN ... 
and the big screen has us up and the crowds are going NUTS.    Fabulous.
and so...lesson learned, if you are going to go Dutch, do the bloody training first and get back into negative split mode not positive split and fall apart mode!!    

Rowing hard all summer exhausts you and while it is great core and strength training, you need to get the base mileage in too.   I had been doing long runs up to about 16, but just not enough of them and my mpw was hardly ever above 30-35.   Not enough for this old man.

So, next year, a better mix of training, but it was so good to re-learn that respect we all have to have for the distance...and since this was marathon 17 for me, you'd have thought I'd have remembered!!!    Next year, we get the times down, with PROPER  TRAINING and aim for a PB (3.16 to beat) maybe spring 2015.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

So you don't find law reviews valuable [yawn]

Adam Liptak reports that law review articles are not valuable.  Thanks to my buddy C__ for sharing the link.  And, yawn.

I have tended to appreciate Adam Liptak's Supreme Court reporting.  For example, I learned from him the other day that the Roberts Court is not terribly activist, under the most defensible definition (willingness to rule legislation unconstitutional).  At least it's no Rehnquist Court.

What's wrong with Liptak's recent column?  First, the subject is dullsville.  So Roberts doesn't appreciate legal scholarship.  He also said that to my faculty when speaking here a few years back.  Second, Liptak takes a shotgun to the subject.  I count four problems with scholarship in his view, none of which is developed sufficiently to constitute an argument.  Third, in a few places it is demonstrably wrong.

Judges do not find legal scholarship helpful:  a quick search in the Westlaw sct database finds 1300 Supreme Court opinions with the phrase "l. rev." or "l.j.".  Expanding the search to include the cta database causes it to time out at 10,000.  Some, but not many, of those are in opinions by Chief Justice Roberts himself.  30 seconds of perusal suggests false positives are not a major concern.  Not helpful?

Liptak reports that 37% of Supreme Court opinions cite to law reviews.  That's down from 50% a few decades ago.  Meaningful legal scholarship is not exactly an endangered species, even if it does find itself competing for judges' attention with other sources of information.  Amicus curiae briefs, anyone?  I'd be curious whether the decline in law review citations tracks an increase in amicus participation, with many of those papers submitted by academic amici.  (A not-unrelated query:  how many law review articles start as amicus briefs or amicus briefs start as law review articles?)

Liptak references but does not analyze several complaints.  Student editors.  Arcane theoretical topics.  Publication of articles by faculty at the same school that publishes the review.  Reliance on heuristics like the writer's CV.  40% of articles never cited once.

I have a few responses to those.  I too complain about student editors and I too game the system in submissions -- adding a line like "this is the only article ever to challenge the orthodox view!", only to take it out in the editing process.  But my complaints about student editors ultimately all turn on their not picking my articles to publish.  On the day that Harvard Law Review comes calling, I will confess my prior error and the genius of the student editing process.  As, I propose, will we all.  [OK, at least one of us at runningprofs has had that sort of success in placement recently, but I won't put him on the spot here!]

I'd need to see empirics to back up the idea that student editors can't pick good articles.  My guess is that peer-selected and -reviewed articles are just as subject to weakness as are student-elected and -edited articles.  There are certainly many examples, some of spoofs, some of real flawed scholarship, appearing in even serious peer-reviewed journals.  [Here.  And here.  And here. And the most famous spoof here.]  Too, a large number of law journals are moving either to pure peer review or a half peer review process.  My tenure dossier, up for its first vote today, contains four pieces (two that I deem "articles") that were peer selected and edited, and I've been asked on more than one occasion to offer a fairly casual (and unpaid, I might add) peer review of submissions to the student-edited Stanford Law Review.  Finally, as a practical matter, peer review is a sliding scale.  How many articles are published these days without some amount of workshopping or sending around for comment?

Arcane theoretical topics: law reviews are like the proverbial infinite monkeys on typewriters.  Some matter.  Some don't.  None of us know ex ante which is which.  Example:  "let us restate all of antitrust law in the language of neo-classical economics!  Let's not stop there -- there's so much law to be restated!"  (Chicago School.)  Or:  "I have an idea:  maybe we should read statutes without paying any attention to what the legislature actually meant!"  (Textualism.)  This response also addresses the apparent complaint that much that is written is never even cited (or, presumably, read).  So long as enough is written, there will be plenty of relevance to go around.

I find myself wondering whether judging wouldn't be improved if Roberts et al. dismounted the high horse and did some background reading.  Judge Posner famously confessed error in his 2007 voter ID opinion from my state.  It's more than a little interesting to me that many articles preceding that opinion had proposed racially discriminatory intent and effect of voter ID laws.  A two-minute Westlaw search, for example, produced at least two 40th Anniversary symposia (Howard, South Carolina) on the 1965 Voting Rights Act, published in law reviews in 2006.  Some of those articles discuss voter ID laws and their racially discriminatory effects.

Reliance on heuristics like the writer's CV is just reality.  I do it when I select what to read.  (To be clear, my heuristic may be slightly more relevant, as the CV entry that most interests me is "what else did this author write" -- but it's the same idea.)  And not every law review operates this way.  The Harvard Law Review has a blind submission process.  Others may as well.

And in a few places Liptak's column is demonstrably wrong (or at least misleading).  I've already addressed the claim that judges don't find reviews helpful.  How about Liptak's final paragraph?  He quotes Seth Waxman, a leading Supreme Court advocate, as having said 11 years ago that "only a true naif would blunder to mention [a law review article] at oral argument" before the Court.  Perhaps in that particular theater there are traditions to be observed, but I'll counter with my own experience.  Having served as initial drafter on approximately 20 briefs and petitions to the Supreme Court in my short appellate career, I can tell you that not one of those papers failed to cite at least one -- and in many cases, several -- law review articles.  Not one such filing was ever bounced or publicly derided and, on once investigating, I flattered myself that more than one had an apparent influence on some part or another of the Court's opinion in a particular case.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Kick Drills

It is common wisdom that when training for the swim leg of a tri, triathletes need not focus on flip turns (messes up the breathing), or kicking, since you want to spare your legs and save them for the bike/run legs.
I signed up for a Wednesday evening swim class a few weeks ago, and a lot of the drills and prescribed workouts have involved kicking drills using a kickboard, and also sidekicking without.  I pretty much hate the sidekick drills, but am finally getting to the point where I don't drink the whole pool while on my right side.

The reason I mention it, though, is that I think that these drills are going to be very good for my running.  they strengthen the core, and force you to fire the glutes.  My hips seem to be loosening up, and my self diagnosed sciatica is less bothersome.

Hmm. . .

Triathletes tougher than the rest of us?

Its true, at least according to this article.


I spent much of last night tossing and turning due to an achy knee.  By this morning I was almost convinced that I should back out of a fall training program.  Some stretching and foam rolling has at least delayed any hasty decisions on that front.

Then at Starbucks I saw the Wall Street Journal piece on how science is supporting the old wives' tale that achy joints can predict coming weather.  Rheumatoid arthritis does flare up when rain is on the way.  And, indeed, after beautiful weather yesterday, rain is predicted for today in Indianapolis.

Two ways to see this:

(1) Great news.  I didn't exacerbate an injury over the last week of running.  Or,
(2) OMG.  I have rheumatoid arthritis.

Monday, October 14, 2013

What I Blog About When I'm Not Blogging About Running

Melissa Jacoby and I just posted on the Columbia Blue Sky Blog about our forthcoming article.  Read all about it here.

Slowly getting slower

I ran the Race for a Cause 8K on Sunday.  This is my favorite fall race.  It's medium-sized (500 in the 8K, another 500 or so in the fun run mile race) and run in Arlington, Virginia.  It is easy to park near the start/finish.  It starts at 8 am, so I can wake at 6:15, have a relaxing morning, and get there in plenty of time; after running I am home by around 9.  The weather is predictably cool, even if (as yesterday) sometimes a little damp.  A group from the southern Maryland North African immigrant community usually shows up and beats the hell out of the course.

The Cause 8K always comes in the dead spot in my training.  I work hard over the summer for something or another and then try to pick it back up for a late fall race of some sort -- the last few years it's been a marathon in November or December.  In mid-October I'm either just finished recovering (this year) or very early in trying to get stronger again.  I clearly do not train specifically for the Cause 8K and I do not really worry about taking it easier the day before.  I think it's a fairly reliable metric to engage in a longitudinal comparison of my times from year to year.

In 2011 I ran 31:35.  In 2012 I ran 31:39.  Yesterday I ran 31:42.

This could be explained by other factors.  I probably should not have done the long run on Saturday with a race on Sunday.  And c.  But those factors, or others like them, have been present in prior years as well.  At bottom, it's pretty clear that my "I'm not really trained for this race" pace is slower at age 40 than it was at 38.

There are upsides, however.  At age 40 everybody else's "I'm not really trained for this race" pace is also slower.  So I won my age group, not counting the 41-year-old who beat me but took the top masters prize instead.

Revenge of the Kenyans Part II and Top US finishers

Forgot to report yesterday about the women's division for the Chicago Marathon where Kenyan women finished one-two and winner Rita Jeptoo finished in 2:19:57, the fastest time of the year. 

The fastest US runners in both divisions?  Dathan Titzenhein, who was already well behind the leader pack at mile 6.5 by my apartment, finished 5th in 2:09:45.  The fastest US women's finisher was Clara Santucci in 9th place at 2:31:37.  Are US runners that far off the world's best or does Chicago for some reason not attract the top US runners?

And on a personal note, Joan Benoit Samuelson is an awesome runner but a terrible tv commentator for a marathon race, straining for eloquent metaphors at the cost of clear reporting or sharing her vast experience as a runner.  Otherwise kudos to NBC Chicago for 4 hour coverage of the race and generally excellent coverage and in depth stories on the runners.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Revenge of the Kenyans

Hats off to Dennis Kimetto who wins Chicago in 2:03:45 shattering the course record and getting within striking distance of the world record on a much tougher course.  Berlin has tried every trick to optimize its course for records while Chicago has maintained its basic configuration with a number of turns and the inevitable mini-hills from bridges including  the bridge at Roosevelt at the 26 mile marker leading up to a left turn onto Columbus Avenue for the final 200 meters.  Kimmeto's race is all the more remarkable given he was being treated for malaria over the summer and then for back problems within the last 60 days. 

Tip of the hat also for Emanual Mutai who came in second with a blistering 2:03:52 and duled Kimetto neck and neck until the final mile.  In any other year, this would have been a winning time and a course record.

These guys didn't just ran, they flowed like water rushing down a mountain stream.

These are two of the fastest times in marathon history and strong evidence that the Big 5 are really the big 2 for setting records.  What we really need to see now is Kimetto. Mutai, Kipsang challenge match.  Pity that race timing, appearance fees, and training schedules will make this unlikely any time soon.

Final kudos to Tatiana McFarland who won the women's wheelchair division for the third straight year following at least two other major marathon wins this year.  She will go for the Grand Slam in New York in 3 weeks.

Hand off

Went back to corner at 8:25.  At 8:32 Matt came by on the west side of Sheridan.  Slick Olympic relay style hand off of a bike water bottle, a word of encouragement and then he was lost in a sea of humanity.  This was at mile 6.5.  According to Twitter , His 10 K time was 52:41 for a 8:29.  Strong start.  Now back in the comfort of my apartment watching the race on tv before I head back to bed.  One of my more relaxing Chicago marathon days. 

And they're off

Perfect day for the Chicago Marathon where one year ago I wrecked my knee running bandit from mile 8-18.  This year kidney stones prevented me from even considering a return to banditry.  But colleague and occasional blogger Matt Sag begins his first marathon after a spectacular training season.  I will be cheering him on and handing him a water bottle at mile 6.5 in about 20 minutes.

But first, snuck out of the apartment to catch the leader pack and post these photos before returning to my spot at the bus stop at Wellington and Sheridan.  Here are some shots of the leader packs as they ran by on a sunny but cool 47 degree day.  Chance for some records with the pacers shooting for a 61:45 half.

Follow Matt's progress on Twitter @Mattruns312.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Critique of Tamahana

A new and thoughtful critique of Brian Tamahana's blockbuster, Failing Law Schools, shared with me by my colleague N__.  I've previously offered my own criticism of Tamahana's book.

I have a deeper problem with Prof. Tamahana than problems with his analysis or statistics.  My gripe is that it is an easy form of scholarship to throw stones at everybody else, including existing institutions.  Great publication strategy?  Explain why "One View of the Cathedral" gets it all wrong or is otherwise worthless.  More hay has been made from rankings scholarship than I care to analyze.  A better approach?  Articulate one's own proactive vision of something, leaving the critiques for the footnotes.  (To be clear, I'm not innocent, either, and if Chicago wants to offer me a book contract I may well write "how the runningprofs blog is ruining the academic running community.")

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The fall schedule

It's the time of year when I think about one final marathon before the calendar changes to 2014.  Here's the line-up intended to get me there:

1.  Race for a Cause 8K, Clarendon, VA, Oct. 13.  This is a yearly fall favorite.
2.  Wilson Bridge 1/2 Marathon, Wilson Bridge (across the Potomac), Nov. 10.  I've been wanting to do this for years.  Thanks to the shut-down, the race was postponed and now fits my schedule.
3.  Rehoboth Beach Marathon, Dec. 7.  Supposed to be flat, fast, and cool.  Three hours or . . . try again next year.

Happy Birthday Joe Green

Today is the 200th birthday of Giuseppe Verdi.  As I write, the Chicago Symphony performs a free concert of Verdi's Requiem for 20,000 plus in Millennium Park on a perfect night following a host of Verdi events at the CSO, the Lyric Opera and Chicago Opera Theater.  Way to go Joe!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


A very hilly and warm Half this morning at Blenheim Palace.    I will take the 1.46.20 bc my hips were locked like iron from a massive rowing sesh yesterday and training for the Amsterdam Marathon two weeks today has been death march after death march so I wasn't expecting anything fab today, but as it was my first race since Roma it was so nice to lace em up again!   Son did the 10k in same race.   Pics below.   When will I speed back up to my usual though?!!!!!    Next year I will focus and try to get a better balance of rowing and running!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Autumn in New York

This morning I ran with some SBRC buddies in Prospect Park.  We took advantage of the amazing (slightly warm) Fall running weather, and were greeted by a beautiful sunrise over the lake.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Asleep at the switch

It's already Wednesday and we have not yet mentioned Wilson Kipsang's 2:03:23 in Berlin on Sunday.  By :15 the official world record and only :21 off of Goeffrey Mutai's performance in Boston 2011.

A query:  the top woman in Berlin was Florence Kiplagat, who ran a phenomenal 2:21:13 -- which is about 6:00 slower than Paula Radcliffe's best at the London Marathon in 2003, and 3 1/2 minutes slower than Radcliffe's 2:17:42 at the same race in 2005 (which is the official women's world record for reasons we have blogged here before).  Why are women's records not dropping like men's?