Friday, November 29, 2013

Turkey Chasing

So we began Thanksgiving with a 9 AM 8K along the downtown stretch of the lakefront in 25 degree weather with a stiff breeze and a probable wind chill somewhere in the teens.  Our intrepid band consisted of myself with my daughter, her great friend, myniece, and nephew.  I have had some nice runs with my niece and the occasional Turkey trot with my daughter, but never everyone all together at the same time.  My nephew was the wild card, a terrific high school athlete, but no previous race experience.  My wife drove us to the park on the new east side, a neighborhood along the south bank of the Chicago side that didn't exist 10 years ago.  She hung out having coffee with the mom of my daughter's friend while we warmed up and ran. 

Kudos to Universal Sole who co-sponsored the race and kept their store open as a pre- and post-race warming station and sold quite a few cold weather items as a result.  Not so much praise for race organizer F3 whose logistical support included mostly profuse apologies for wind conditions not permitting mile markers or clocks, but not figuring that they also could have posted volunteers with low tech mile signs along the way.  Makes me a little nervous about their capabilities for the January 27 Polar half.  But concerns are somewhat lessened by the race course being basically in my back yard so if anything goes wrong, I just go home.

Also memo to myself to remember to bring extra hats and gloves for teenager runners at future winter races.  I had one extra pair of gloves that was shared and eventually lost by my niece and nephew.

About 800 runner took off heading south along the lakefront path in front of the Columbia Yacht Club down past the Monroe Harbor, the Museum Campus, Soldier Field, the south edge of McCormick Place and back again.  My nephew paced us home in 43 and some change, followed by my niece at 45, me at 46, and my daughter and friend who chose to walk/run and chat the race course.  It was my first race where the water station handed out water with a frozen ice top suggesting that pre-pouring may not have been the best strategy for that particular race.  Post-race amenities included hot chocolate, hot apple cider, mini first aid kits, and friendly people at the store as we all trooped inside to stretch and use the bathroom.  All in all a decent return to competition after a disappointing fall season and failed attempt to make it to the start line of the California International Marathon next week.

Also saw Matt Sag at the finish who finished in a snappy 38 minutes in his final Chicago race before his upcoming trip back home to Australia for the holidays. Next up, the 12/15 8K Rudolph Ramble which starts a short walk from the apartment with a gaggle of Loyola law faculty/staff who will be brunching chez moi after the race.  Come one come all if you are in town.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Max, you were missed in DC this morning.   Becky and I repeated the Capital Crescent run of last June.   My heel is still creaky.  Her arch is still sore.  Still a great run.  We kept a 9ish pace for five, and then, as seems to be my wont these days, I died.  This probably has something to do with not having any base. . .   One of these days the heel will resolve, and I'll be able to start running more than once or twice a week . . .

Friday, November 22, 2013

No New Shoes

I'm something of an Imelda Marcos when it comes to running shoes, which is why Road Runner Sports finds it worthwhile to spam me daily -- and I do mean daily! -- with a warning that my favorite shoes are about to go extinct or a notice that there's some great new model available.  (Evidence of the running shoe market's deviation from the rational choice model?  Both of those sales pitches are highly effective.)  By last count I had more than a dozen pairs of running shoes either in rotation or waiting to enter it.  And yet I'm always looking for the next pair.

But not this year!  For the first fall in recent memory I won't be chasing leaf-falls in an effort to hit the trail before the street sweepers take away the cushioned carpet of yellow, orange, red, brown.  Instead, with perfect late-fall running weather upon us, I'm looking forward to yet another trip to the swimming pool and weight room this afternoon.

So I had a surprisingly painful experience clicking the "leave me alone" link at the bottom of my last Road Runner Sports e-mail.  No new Asics for me.  Until next year.

New Asics.  Just not in my closet.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Difference of opinion

I went back to my first physical therapist tonight after trying unsuccessfully to break up with him over email. He asked me to come in so he could formally discharge me and I relented. He knows I'm seeing another PT but didn't seem interested in the new exercises I've been prescribed. In fact, he told me that he thinks the problem is not having enough support in my orthotics. My new PT wants me to (gradually) get rid of my orthotics because he doesn't think I need them. I am so confused--ultimately I'll have to follow whatever path seems to be working, but at this point, it is maddening to have two such different opinions about one foot!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Discretion, Valor, and all That

It was a freakishly warm wet and windy weekend.  Between insane storms I made it out for a mid-morning 5 miler.  With a stiff tail wind pushing me northward, I briefly thought about just buying a last minute plane ticket to Sacramento and walk running the December 9th California International Marathon in Sacramento that I was training for before kidney stones reared their ugly head.  Then I started overheating in the 60 degree humid weather and had to turn around and run home against the now not very helpful wind.  So unless one of y'all wants to use my bib, I think I will just email them and see if they will mail me my tee shirt and goodie bag after the race.

But with a 12 mile week under my belt and generally feeling a lot better, I will be running the 8K Thanksgiving Turkey Chase and the 8K Rudolph Ramble on December 15th.  If all goes well, and I can build my mileage, I may try the Polar Half at the end of January.  Fortunately, will also have a few days over Christmas in Florida for some longer warm weather runs.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Blogging workshop

Today a few colleagues who blog to advance their professional circumstances (rather than to advance their running!) gave a workshop on the process, benefits, costs, and so on.  Not wanting to be a snob, I was thinking "that post on such-and-such a case isn't nearly as cool as the runningprofs blog "flash symposium" on the Rome Marathon!  (Or pick your example.)

Do the other runningprofs blog in more formal settings as well?  "Here is the abstract of my recent piece on . . ."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A little insight (maybe)

My plan to seek chiropractic help for my foot mystery morphed into making an appointment with a Rockville-based PT whom I had heard about for years from former runner colleagues. This guy is not very convenient to either home nor work (nor is he an in-network provider for my insurance company), but I am at the end of my rope.

It's so funny that depending on which health professional you talk to, you will get very differing opinions. This guy (who heard exactly what exercises and treatment I've been doing for the last 9 months) had the following observations and insights:
  • I'm probably better off without my orthotics
  • I have some muscle imbalances in my glutes and hips
  • The exercises I've been doing aren't targeted enough to hit the small muscles that need to learn to activate
  • I have ideal cadence (at least during a 5-min run on the treadmill)
  • My arch pain isn't plantar fasciitis, it is a problem with the muscle(s) in the arch (and therefore foam rolling and stretching the calf won't help much)
  • And my favorite piece of advice (after I asked whether I should keep foam rolling and doing my other PT exercises): "If doing these things makes you have less pain, you should keep doing them. If you aren't getting better after three weeks of a treatment regimen, it's time to try something else."
So I will be trying out some new exercises (hopefully I can remember them) in the next week. Cross your fingers! (Or toes?)

Speaking of the near future, Ted, is your DC visit coming up soon??

Newish Book on Marathons of the World


I just discovered this handsome book from 2012 entitled Marathons of the World with information, some text, and pretty photos of the author's 50 favorite marathons from around the world.  The antitrust marathon sites are well represented.  Have your family members buy you this for Thanksgivikah or Christmas.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Reversion to normal

There was a good one-page how-to in a recent Triathlete magazine on running stride.  Those things always are lame, in my opinion, but this one supported my current mindset, so I liked it.  Among other things:

1.  Mid- and fore-foot running works for some but not necessarily for everybody.
2.  The great Haile Gebreselassie (even in a world with Mutai and Kipsang, still the best distance runner in history) apparently taught himself a longer forward reach when moving to marathon.
3.  Recommendation:  if you have run for years injury free, maybe you are actually doing it right.

This is consistent with my observation when watching video from the Craig Alexander's first (of three) win at Ironman Kona that Alexander, one of the top very few best ever runners in Ironman triathlon, has a very slight heel strike.

And it is consistent with my experience that I felt fine and ran fine until I made a concerted effort to run differently, starting about 12-18 months ago.

Today I ran for the first time in a couple of weeks.  I made a concerted effort to run the way I grew up running.  Heel first, but not obnoxiously so.  I feel the knee as I stand here, but it is not yet terrible.  Knocking on wood . . .

Don't you hate it when...

You are talking about (oh, okay, complaining about) a running injury and the person you are talking to asks, "Have you ever considered not running so much? It's never going to get better if you keep pounding on it."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Running Crews

As someone who grew up in New York in the 70s, the phenomenon described here seems positively unthinkable.  So, quite frankly does this, which I would have done had I not been injured. It was apparently a lot of fun.  Oh, and this.   Anyway, running is a great way to get to know obscure corners of the city, but I'm a morning runner.  Night time running in New York has always seemed a solitary, slightly crazy endeavor that evokes, for me, memories of a variety of horror stories from an earlier era.

Suddenly, the city has transformed into a place where people feel comfortable running in shorts at all hours.  So, what has facilitated this transformation?  Is it the Bloomberg era attention to public space?  That certainly makes a difference. It is now possible to link up runs through Brooklyn Bridge Park, across the Brooklyn Bridge, up the West Side, etc., for example, so there are just a lot more cool runs than their used to be.  Is it the cell phone that makes it possible to feel safe and in touch in further flung locales? Is it the fact that gentrification has pushed the boundaries of the city past Williamsburg and Park Slope?  Or is it social media that makes it possible for these running flash mobs to form on short notice?

I suspect it's some combination of all of the above.  Or maybe I'm just overanalyzing it . . .

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Taperers, Recoverers and Reinjurers . . .

Went out for an early run with the SBRC gang this morning.  It was tremendous fun.  The group was large, and made up of folks who had either run NYC last week or were tapering to run the Brooklyn Marathon next week.  And then there was me. . .  Not surprisingly, the taperers were frisky.  I was counting on the recoverers to slow things down, but no such luck.  I always forget that when you can finally hit the road again after a week's rest, post marathon, you often feel pretty good (unless you don't).  Anyway, we did a loop of Prospect Park, almost entirely at a sub 8:30 pace.  I did it, and it felt great, except for when everybody else surged up the Prospect Park hill, and my heart rate monitor not too gently pointed out that I am not in peak condition.  This was a huge confidence booster, until, on the run back, somewhere between mile 6 and 7, the bottom fell out.  This is a fairly consistent occurrence in my recent runs.   I'm fine for about 6 miles and then my heel starts hurting and my hips tighten up, and I have to revert to the survival shuffle.  It would be one thing if this were happening after ten or twelve miles, but after 6 it is a bit unnerving.  I know this will pass, but it's frustrating.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Chile and Competition Part Tres

Like the band Greenday, I have now come out with three items that sounds really similar in a very short time.  For my final post reflecting on my visit to Chile I will focus on private rights of action for damages in competition cases which was the subject of the conference in Santiago two weeks ago.  While I spoke about the Rise and Fall of the US Class Action (slides available upon request), I spent most of my time trying to understand the state of play of private actions in Chile. 

Its not so good.  Private parties can bring actions directly before the Tribunal (the specialized antitrust court) but the Tribunal cannot hear actions for damages.  But if the Tribunal finds a violation, a private party can use that finding as basis for an action of or damages before the general civil courts and the defendants cannot relitigate liability.  It is currently up for grabs whether a private person had to have been a party before the Tribunal in order to bring a follow on action for damages although it is theoretically possible to just file an action and start from scratch in the civil courts.

The problem with the civil courts is a rigid formalism that makes it difficult from judges to accept expert economic testimony about causation and damages.  Testimony as to a range of damages or loss profits from market exclusion is viewed very skeptically and the courts have not yet accepted the US view that fact of damage must be strictly proven but amount of damages can be shown through good faith estimates.

So there are not many private damages cases and fewer successful ones.  One of the first was a $2 million award in a case between British American Tobacco and Phillip Morris for dirty tricks in the retail cigarette market (think Conwood).  For consumer cases, there is a pending follow on damages case to a FNE case involving retail pharmacies which so far isn't going so well.

For class actions, it is even worse.  The available statute allows such cases for consumer cases but not competition cases.  the consumer agency has tried to smuggle in some competition cases into that statute but so far hasn't been successful to my knowledge.

The Chilean are looking to the US and the EU in particular for guidance for a way out of this fix.  When they find one, I will let you know.  This is typical of competition law outside of the US where competition enforcement so far is almost entirely a matter of public enforcement.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Doing it wrong . . .

Well, after several years of teaching myself to swim, and getting frustrated at my consistently mediocre results, I signed up for a swim class.  Last Wednesday, I discovered I'd been doing it wrong . . .  Who knew that you were supposed to wait until your trailing arm was almost back to the front before dropping the lead arm and pulling . . . All of a sudden I have more power, more shoulder rotation.  Instead of taking 12 strokes per lap, it's down to 10 strokes per lap, and a few seconds per lap faster in the bargain. . .

Anyone ever have success with chiropractors?

Unlike Ted, my glimmer of hope (two pain-free runs) didn't last. Something is going on with me and I am sick of people asking me if I should be running if my foot hurts. I've basically been in PT since February and any improvement has been followed by the pain returning. I'm stronger for sure but what is the root cause? Lately my left hip has been jamming up every so often (not related to running, happens after sitting usually) and given that it's my left foot that is the problem, I'm wondering if I am just all out of whack and need an adjustment. But I also know that while that may be true, there could be other factors at play. I know that I do lift my daughter on my left side--she is way too old to be carried, but that doesn't mean I don't ever pick her up...

Anyone had success with a chiro?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Chile and Competition - Part Dos

Competition cases are investigated by the Fiscalia Nacional Economica (FNE) a talented and reasonably well resourced agency.  The head of the FNE is appointed by the President with the aid of a panel of experts and has a four year term.  Currently the FNE has a budget of about $8 million and a staff of 80-90.  It is a hot job for new law grads and often staff go off for an LLM in the US or UK and return.  Most of the division heads have substantial experience.  Historically the FNE has brought mainly abuse of dominance cases in keeping with Chile's staus as a relatively small country with a highly concentrated economy.  Case law in this area follows the EU with US cases only occasionally being used to support a decision to bring a case.  Merger enforcement is limited with no mandatory pre-merger notification.  The first voluntary notification brought a successful challenge and appears to have deterred future use of this option.

There is an increased emphasis on cartel cases.  Leniency exists but is seldom used but it only applies to fines and doesn't apply to potential criminal prosecution which is handled by the general criminal prosecutors.  No specific antitrust statute permits criminal prosecution but ancient 19th century statutes theoretically permit such actions.  The general prosecutors office does not have a strong interest or background in this area.  The FNE uses dawn raids and the possibility of wiretaps to make cartel cases carrying medium levels fines.  One of the first successful ones involved pharmacies resulting in rather modest fines) and a current case involves the poultry industry.

I was impressed with the head of the FNE and the staff I met.  Felipe Irrazabal, the chief, is smart, practical, and keenly aware of the need to pick and choose his shots given his budget and staff.  Everyone I met was sophisticated in both and economics and knowledgeable in the substance of US and EU law.

The FNE brings the cases it does not settle before a specialized court, the Tribunal for the Defense of Free Competition.  The Tribunal has 5 judges, three lawyers and two economists.  The Central bank appoints 3 of the judges with the help of a panel of experts and the President appoints the other 2 judges.  One of the current economists holds a PhD from the University of Chicago without sharing those politics.  Another judge is the former head of the FNE.  The Tribunal hears 20-30 cases a year with the help of a small staff and a budget of about $2 million.  The Tribunal also hears private cases for injunctions but not damages.  All appeals go to the commercial chamber of the Supreme Court of Chile which is slowly becoming more sophisticated in its handling of the substance as well as the procedure of the cases before it.

What about private actions for damages?  Stay tuned for Part Tres after mid-term grading concludes later tonight or tomorrow.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

NYC Marathon

Good luck to everyone running the NYC Marathon tomorrow.  What a difference a year makes.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Chile and Competition Part Uno

As I have learned more about Chilean competition policy I have learned more about Chile itself.  Its a country of approximately 17,000,000 of whom 6,000,000 live in Santiago and its immediate environs.  It has gaping wealth inequality that make the 1% versus the 99% look like Swedish egalitarianism.  A huge chunk of the economy is basically controlled by 20-40 intertwined and interlocked families and family groups.  The economics are intertwined with its history, a democratically elected hard left government led by Salvador Allende, an ugly military coup supported by the CIA and most of the Chilean elite led by Pinochet whose subsequent market reforms were egged on by "the Chicago boys" (their phrase not mine), a gradual restoration of democracy and alternating centrist governments of both the left and the right.  Copper mining generates enormous foreign reserve earning much of which are sued to pay for oil of which Chile has next to none.  Overall, I would call Chile a mid-major in terms of economic development and size.  Kind of the Wichita State or Butler of the OECD of which Chile is a proud but new member.

So what type of competition policy would exist or be ideal for such a country and economy?  Stay tuned for Parts II and III.  Now back to grading mid-terms.