Monday, July 28, 2014

A Tour de France worthy crash

About 7 miles out from the apartment, I caught a piece of pavement and went tumbling leaving me with road rash on both hands, cuts and scrapes on the fingers and knuckles, a bruised cheek, a far lip and a banged up knee.  Had to sheepishly call L fora ride home.  Probably the folks in the nearby diner weren't too keen on seeing me walk in all bloody to use heir men's room to wash up.

The stupidest thing was that I wasn't riding, I was running.  It was one of those slow motion moments when you know you are going down and just trying to tuck and roll (rather unsuccessfully obviously).  I was so annoyed at myself.  It was hot and humid and I was shuffling along and my mind started wondering about when to turn around and how to pick up the river path home and boom, I'm on the sidewalk and guys sitting on the ground drinking out of a paper bag are asking me if I am ok.

In the chain of proximate cause, this is all related to my decision to go running yesterday rather than today when its 60 and beautiful.  I knew the forecast but didn't want to run long this morning and then get on a 26 hour flight to New Zealand all stiff and sore.  So instead, I will be getting on a 26 hour flight to New Zealand stiff, sore, and bruised.  But the early morning visit to the chiro and business class should make this tolerable and hopefully heal in time to get some runs in down under. 

On the business side, will be speaking informally to the New Zealand Commerce Commission and the annual Competition law and Policy Institute of NZ on Promoting Innovation.  Draft paper available when I get back to all who care about those sorts of things.

Busy Week -- Knock on Wood

Becky, I feel your pain!! At least this week, it is only figuratively, rather than literally.  .  .  .

I am continuing to knock on wood, and this week at least it seems to be working.  Did a pretty intense bric Thursday, ran a slow 12 Friday, took two spin classes Saturday (don't ask -- subject for another blog post maybe), rode 75 miles in Dutchess and Columbia counties Sunday, and today did a recovery spin and swim.  The good news is I stayed on the bike, and don't appear to have aggravated anything.  The bad news is that I am still slow.  This time two years ago, I rode two centuries at 18 mph.  Yesterday, I was pretty gassed after 75 miles at just under 16 mph.  We did get drenched in a pouring rain for the first 20 miles and then again from 30-35.  I also took a wrong turn and added in a bonus climb.  Still, I was a good deal faster not too long ago.  That's what a long layoff and a series of injuries will do, I guess.  Here's hoping for continued forward progress . . .

Becky, take care of yourself.  At some point your foot will recognize that, try as it might, there's no stopping you!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I guess I didn't knock on wood

This is how I feel about my foot's progress and then subsequent regression back to pain:

Running + Data

My running coach asked me for my weekly milage. It is possible that I went overboard.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Signs of life

While not coming close to Max's epic achievements, I had a bit of a milestone weekend in the running department.  I'm 16 weeks out from the NYC Marathon, and it is truly important that I start ramping up the long runs.  So Saturday, we went out to the Hamptons to visit friends.  I took a long slow 10 miler, past a Vineyard,

down to Georgica Pond,

where our host was participating in a sailboat race,

and then home.  I felt fine after and was happy.  On Sunday, I went for a very slow and laid back 6 mile run down to Sag Harbor, and still felt fine, and so when R__ was heading out for a run, I joined for another 4.  So that's two 10 mile days in a row, with no negative after effects.  Yesterday I did a spin class and ran two miles outside for a mini-bric . . . I'm still painfully slow, but not in pain, knock on wood.

Luckily today it's raining, so I won't be tempted to do anything stupid.  I think I'll hit the pool.

Monday, July 14, 2014

12-hour Bike Race

Short race report:  rode the Saragota 12-hour on Saturday for the second time (first was in 2012).  Adirondack Ultra Cycling has moved the course from the 32.5-mile loop in Schuylerville NY to a 40.5-mile loop starting and finishing in Saratoga Springs.  (The old and new loops share a few miles of road, including a pretty stretch along the upper Hudson River.)  Perhaps due to unfortunate conflicts between the promoter and the Ultra-Marathon Cycle Association, resulting in this event's being dropped as a RAAM qualifier, the Saratoga 12/24 has lost some ridership; last weekend's race seemed to start about 50% fewer riders than in 2012 when I last entered.

Small crowd at the starting line.
Hot day with lots of exposure to the sun!  I was a piece of jerky by the end of lap 3 and considered quitting at the end of lap 4.  Thankfully a nap under the cold stream from a hose and a few choice words from M__, D__, and RD John Ceceri revived me.  Others fared similarly or worse.

There were upsides, though:  made it through 100 miles in what is probably my fastest non-drafting effort for that distance and rode most of that first century swapping leads with eventual 24-hour winner John Nobile.  (The 24-hour race is run concurrently with the 12, with the same 8 am start.  While my own pace slacked off, and considerably, Nobile kept nearly the same pace through the heat of the day -- and then not appreciably slower through the night -- to ride 468 miles in two turns of the little hand.  For those that are concerned about their age, Nobile is a youthful 51.)  As she has several times prior, M__ came and provided extraordinary support.  While suffering from the heat, she enjoyed the camaraderie that crews share in ultra events.

Still happy-ish before the start.
Final tally for your correspondent was 208.5 miles and a third-place finish.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What were they thinking?

Today's Tour de France was a 93 mile stretch from Belgium to northern France with 9 cobble stone stretches.  While that is challenging enough, the weather was around 50 degrees and pouring rain with all kind of mud and slime on the roads both cobbled and regular.  The stage was rerouted around two of the cobble stone stretches for safety but the stage was marred by two falls by Chris Froome, last year's winner, knocking him out of the race and bodies flying everywhere at more than a half of a dozen places on the course.  For those that survived it was remarkable to see them take wet cobble stones at 25 MPH with very little control over their bicycles.

This is turning into a star less Tour and a golden opportunity for the two young US riders Van Gardren and Talasky.  Froome is gone, Cavendish is gone, Bradley Wiggins wasn't picked by BMC, and Nauro Qunitana who was #2 last year wasn't picked by Movistar despite winning the Giro D'Italia in the late spring (he may be hurt or at least sub-par).  If Alberto Contador doesn't rebound to win the GC, this could be the year for youngish sprinters like Marcel Kittel and Peter Sagan if their climbing is halfway decent.  Or does Richie Porte lead whatever is left of Team Sky to victory?

I have now exhausted my knowledge of this year's Tour.

A Good Definition of Irony

Chicago author of 'How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona' gored -- but will run again
Bill Hillmann, 32, tripped and fell, then was gored by a 1,300-pound bull during Wednesday's bull run in Pamplona.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

DC Again

On the train to DC, will be staying in Bethesday.  Any of the DC folks interested in a gentle early run tomorrow morning?

Monday, July 7, 2014


On today's 10-miler:

Running through the golf course just north of Bethesda on the Capital Crescent trail, I encountered a gopher.  Cue Caddyshack.

Then I encountered a buzzard feasting on something smelly.  Doggone bird was so bold it just ate while I ran by.  I almost thought it looked at me funny.

Who says you need to be in the wilderness to enjoy wildlife encounters while running?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Wimbledon, World Cup, and Tour de France

I'm in heaven.

And a tip of the hat to Jens Voight, king of the mountains (at least for a day) at age 42 and his last Tour.  He rides with such joy.

Great but chaotic sprint at the end.  Not hating on Marc Cavendish who took a nasty spill in front of the home crowd but great moves by Marcel Kittel to avoid the crash and don the first yellow jersey of the tour.  Second stage will be a killer ride from York to Sheffield with 9 separate climbs. This tour starts with a bang, not a whimper and hasn't even gotten to France yet.  Estimates of 800,000 fans on day one's route.  Wonder how many a stage in the US would get?

Last Couple of Runs

Thanks to Max who posted for me when I was abroad and couldn't sign into the site.

Had a birthday on my last day in Dublin and celebrated by going out for a morning run in the opposite direction away from Phoenix Park.  This time I head east along the Liffey and then along the curving East Wall Road (the actual east wall of the Port so about a mile without crossing a street).  Headed into East Point which is both a high tech office park and a lovely gravel path by a lake.  That path actually dead ended so I backtracked and headed around Fairview Park and down The Strand back to the River and home.  About 65 minutes and 7 miles or so.  Then spent the day touring the old jail and its sad story of the 1916 uprising and the civil war which followed home rule.  You've actually seen the panoptican like part of the newer jail in the films Michael Collins and In the Name of the Father.  Then off to the Guinness Tour, a free pint, and a nap.  Dinner at The Winding Stair which I highly recommend.

Home the next day which began at 4 AM Dublin time and ended by falling asleep at 8 PM Chicago time (2 AM Dublin).

Thought a long run was in order both for training purposes and to reset my body clock.  Did a slow but negative split 11 to the edge of the museum campus and back.  I am so out of alignment from planes, trains, and schlepping luggage that I could actually feel the body parts fighting each other rather than working together.  Hopefully my adjustment tomorrow morning (love my chiro for her weekend hours) will take care of that.  Otherwise enjoyed my first run in my NB 980s.  I plan to continue training in those but racing in the Saucony Kinvara 4s. 

Happy to be home but not looking forward to the usual heat and humidity of training in the Chicago summer.

Rethinking Posner rethinking Posner

from an interview with Judge Posner on Brian Leiter's blog:

"I've changed my views a lot over the years. I'm much less reactionary than I used to be. I was opposed to homosexual marriage in my book Sex and Reason, published in 1992, which was still the dark ages regarding public opinion of homosexuality. Public opinion changed radically in the years since. My views have changed about a lot of things. I've become much more concerned with long prison sentences; softer on drugs; more concerned with consumer protection, the environment and economic inequality; less trustful of purely economic analysis—the last partly because of the crash of 2008 and the ensuing economic downturn. That shook some of my faith in economic analysis. And developments in psychology have required qualification of the "rational choice" model of economic behavior. So my views have changed a lot. You don't want a judge who takes a position and feels committed to it because he thinks it's terrible to change one's mind."

Note that he doesn't directly mention antitrust.

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4 5K

Ran my first race since December this a.m. -- the Great Falls 5K in Great Falls Park on the Virginia side -- on the most pleasant July 4 morning that I can remember in 15 years living in DC.  July 4 races always seem to be small local affairs and this was no different.  We ran two laps of towpath-like dirt trail, starting and finishing on a lawn near the third falls overlook.

The start-line scrum was populated with single-digit-age kids sprinting until their lungs gave out; a number of speedy high-school cross-country types, and the usual population of 5-10 local hard-men and -women jockeying for that shot at the occasional race win.

Things spread out quickly; in lap 2 I passed two quick young-uns, one of whom held on to give chase in the finishing chute, but I couldn't close on the guy wearing triathlon gear.  (Why do people wear triathlon suits when running, anyway?)  It appears I squeaked into the top 10.  19:11-ish.  And loads of fun.

One (or two) steps back

After a short but pleasant ride on my road bike from the Ferry to my parents' house, I got a text from V__ saying, "We've gone to the beach come meet us."  Not wanting to show up in bike shoes and spandex, I changed into shorts and beach shoes. Then I went to the garage, and dug out my brother's mountain/city/beach bike.  I had to knock off the cobwebs, pump up the tires and raise the seat, but everything seemed in order and I was in a bit of a rush.  Off I went.  About 1.5 miles from the house there's a short steep hill into an intersection.  Idiot me, I took it like I was on the road bike.  There were a couple of cars waiting to turn into the intersection, so I lightly touched the brakes.  Oops!! Front wheel locked, and, with no toe clips, before I could release the brakes, I was over the handle bars and flying.  I've fallen while riding before, but usually it's a skid on a wet road, or a plop after a failure to clip out at a stop sign.  Forward falls are a different animal.  Suddenly you are airborne, with plenty of time to consider what's going on ("Oh crap this is not good"), and what is going to happen in a bit ("This is going to hurt.  I hope I don't die.")?   It could have been worse.  I rolled a bit -- knee to elbow to shoulder to head, as I remember it (accurately judging from the abrasions).  Popped up, picked up the bike, and got over to the side of the road to take stock -- not even an "are you ok?" from the motorists, by the way.

So much for the beach.  I decided to go home to do triage.  Short inventory, a scary bruise/road rash just above my right knee, and a similar nasty just below my right elbow, a bit of skin rubbed off on the shoulder, and (big takeaway here) noticeable compression to the right side of the helmet.  I took an ice bath to stop the swelling in my knee and elbow, and then iced all evening.  The swelling above the knee and below the elbow was pretty impressive, but in neither case did it feel like a muscle or tendon bruise.  I'm still a bit nervous about how long it's going to take to resolve, but morning after, it seems to be calming down, and so am I.

Anyway, the big lessons here, are: (1) if the bike has cobwebs, take it easy for the first few miles until you've felt it out; (2) wear a helmet!! This is the second time I've been very glad I was wearing a helmet. The last time was about 20 years ago, which qualifies a header as a long tail event. I may miss my long run this weekend (maybe not), but I lived to tell the tale . . .