So it finally hit me this evening – I’m actually dreading the New Haven 20K. I am grossly unprepared, and know it.

I’m not dreading it as far as a social event goes – for that, it’s the apex of my running calendar for 2006.

I’m not dreading it for the course – looking back on last year, after running Mystic Places and NYC Marathon, the little hill through the park at about mile 10? No sweat. If anything, knowing the course is a plus – I’ve done it, I know what to expect, the forecast looks like beautiful weather – should be a great run.

No, I’m dreading it ’cause I’m not prepared. I’ve been pretty slack as far as training goes this summer. Not bad, mind you – I’ve been close to averaging 20 mile weeks, and haven’t gone more than a week without running for a while. But, the long runs have slipped in favor of the kids and the bed on the weekend, and the cross-training just hasn’t been there this year.

In short, running and I have been on a fling, and I love it more now than I have ever before, probably ’cause I’ve been approaching running on MY terms, not hers.

And next Monday she’s going to make me pay for not paying her full attention…





Which will probably make me love her more.

Writely Test

Wow – kool beans. Writely , Brogan ‘s favorite tool (heh, heh, I said “tool”) works as a blogging client. Pretty stinkin’ cool.

The downside? I can get all these here features inside the wordpress install on my site, so I’m gaining nothing using Writely.

Which is why Ecto is still sooooo cool – work offline is really, really nice. Throw the iBook in the bag (Soon to be MacBook! Just waiting until after the 4th of Sept in case they move up to Core 2 Duos), and write as the mood strikes.

Shameless Plug

Go check out David Brower’s “Trust But…“. There’s actual information there instead of the endless handwringing, waffling, whining, and backstabbing that I put out. I spent a large part of this evening following his links of the last three weeks, and it’s fascinating.

As far as I’m concerned, though, there’s no-one left in Pro Cycling to love – maybe the riders, ’cause drugs or no drugs, riding your butt off day in and day out for decades has got to be tough.

IN actual positive stuff about training and fitness

The guys from PezCycling News sum up FAQs for being one’s own coach.:

For those of you who have been following this “Be Your Own Coach” series for the last few months, there is still a lot we need to talk about concerning writing your own training schedule and designing your training year to fit your goals and your abilities. But with the racing season winding down in most parts of the country, and riders thinking about taking a break from the bike rather than designing a training schedule, I thought I’d skip ahead to what was originally intended to be the last part of the series. What follows below are some of the most commonly asked questions I’ve gotten over the last 6 years as a full time cycling coach.

How many times to I have to insist that you bookmark their site, or subscribe to their RSS feed?

Union Leader – Jim Fennell: Hamilton resumes long climb back to the top – Sunday, Aug. 20, 2006

Tyler Hamilton won the Mt. Washington Hill Climb last week. The interesting bit from the article, and one I’d like confirmation on, was the following:

Hamilton said the test that led to his suspension was eventually not used for over a year by the UCI because it was flawed. Deirdre Moynihan, the executive director of the Tyler Hamilton Foundation, said the negative publicity has hindered the organization’s growth.

Hamilton’s performance at the 2003 TDF, specifically Stage 16 with a broken collarbone, is still among the most amazing things I’ve seen in my life. If the UCI really did withdraw the test, Tyler may be owed an apology.

Too bad he can’t get 2 years of his life back.

I’ve been reading the Princess Bride to Jake in the evenings – William Goldman’s description of “The Machine” that sucks life out is even more chilling than Cary Elwes’ weeping in the film. I cannot even begin to comprehend what Tyler (and maybe Floyd) must go through if they’re really unjustly accused.

Say it ain’t so, Mario…

PezCycling News breaks my heart today:

Cipollini Implicated

Oh this is fantastic. Procycling reports that Mario Cipollini is the latest rider implicated in the gargantuan Operacion Puerto affair – an investigation that has promised so so much, but has of yet provided oh so few suspensions…none.

Somehow, someone got some info (Thursday edition of La Repubblica) and now “investigators on the case suspect there were links between Cipollini and Eufemiano Fuentes.” Supposedly, Cipo’s alias in Fuentes’ file was Pavarotti.

Of course the links go straight to Mario Cipollini’s career season of 2002, when he won just about everything and then topped it off with his career-defining World Championship win in Zolder.

So how does this work? Say Cipo is found to have doped at Zolder, does that mean that Robbie McEwen gets to wear the Rainbow Jersey for a year…four, five, or six years (whenever this might, if ever, be settled) after the fact? That’s a sweet deal.

Fudge. Only I didn’t say “Fudge”. Time to go suck on the big bar of soap…

Landis through the eyes of Chemical Engineers

More on Floyd. This bit really interested me, ’cause of the source, Chemical & Engineering News: Science & Technology – The Dope On Testosterone Test.

Dopez-Vous au laitAs one commentator in the press noted, Landis may now be paying for the past sins of other cyclists. Most people are probably hoping that he is innocent. Still, it’s hard to forget that cycling has proven time after time to be a drug-ridden sport, as have most professional and international sports where athletes earn large sums of money to simply play. One possible deterrent, which is starting to be used, is to force athletes to return money if they are caught doping.

This kind of gets at what I was beating around a couple of days ago – when there’s the amount of money involved that there is in pro sport, there will be people who would grind up and eat their own mothers to win, or folks who would insinuate that the winners were eating their own mothers to sell papers about it.

Current IssueLandis has added another dimension to the scandal by suggesting that circumstantial evidence points to there being something sinister at work-that is, someone tampered with his sample, rigged the analysis, or altered the results. Indeed, the French drug-testing lab and officials at the international cycling federation have been under the gun before for improperly handling samples and quietly providing documentation on test results to reporters.

Adding weight to that argument is that Landis was the only rider, out of a starting field of 176 cyclists, to have a reported positive test during the Tour. Cycling officials have explained that away by saying the cheaters were excluded from the Tour de France because they had been caught up in a related Spanish doping scandal earlier in the year. That episode led to nine riders, including several favorites, being banned from this year’s race.

Is Floyd the only rider to test positive at the 2006 TdF? I’d thought there was one other…

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Vuelta a …. whatever.

The Vuelta kicked off on Spain’s Costa del Sol to a collective “Hey, you guys are still at it? At least this race is closer to the doctors, right?”

Wish I weren’t so cynical – the Vuelta’s been a great showcase for rising talent the past few years. But, it was also the first Grand Tour to have its champion stripped of the title for doping a couple of years back. Bleh.

Just make it go away…

The latest issue of Bicycling is out here in the States. And, in what I consider pretty impressive, it’s Floyd Landis’ second cover in as many months, dealing with the doping investigation.

: At this point, I think the public is on my side. I’ve seen a couple of polls, and I hope that people believe me because one fact remains: I won the race cleanly and fairly, and I’m proud of that. The other thing, the explanations I tried to come up with early on, I regret having said them, because I don’t know what the explanation is. I was just trying to say, “Look, there is another explanation besides what they’re saying.”

Floyd Speaks

The rest of the bit’s worth a read.

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So, one thing leads to another (Thank You Easter Bunny), and I ended up with a promotional copy of The Crystal Method‘s “Drive” last week. As I’ve dealt with, in detail, in these pages – this weekend, running didn’t happen. Tuesday, Jon and I headed out at lunch, declared a truce, and had an exceptionally pleasant run.

This afternoon, Jake had soccer practice. Missy wanted to go (Who wouldn’t want to go sit in the late afternoon sun on a perfect New England summer day?), so I say “Hey, why don’t I run over to the field and meet you?” Kind of a reach – I hadn’t actually measured the distance to the field, but I was pretty sure it was close to the 6 I had on the schedule for today.

Took the opportunity to fire up “Drive” and see exactly how this Nike+iPod “Run” thing works.

It works well, assuming that other artists riff of TCM’s lead.

The general concept is sound – a unified sound, a biting rhythm, etc. And TCM execute it extremely well, both lyrically and musically. Just as I got to the first rise in the road, the track really kicked off with the “It’s Time” portion driving me up the first hill I came to. When I got to the just killer “wall” on Yetter Road, the remix of The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” started – skillfully mashed up to highlight “Keep your eyes on the road” while avoiding mention of “your hands upon the wheel”. Being a huge fan of The Doors, and probably a bigger fan of recycled and remixed memes – this part rocked.

In any case, I found myself 45 minutes later running into the Library parking lot (how cool is it that the Soccer fields are behind the Library?) with the next-to-last bit of the mix (Glass Breaker) and Charlotte Martin (who I’d never heard before) crooning into my ear. Yowza. Talk about finishing strong…

I dug the experience. I’ll admit, I’m a fan of electronica when it’s done with a strong nod to sounding like, well, actual music. (Jeeze – did I just write that? This must be where High School Bill comes forward to kick Future Bill’s butt and remind me that I used to be cool) (No, actually I didn’t). And this was exactly in that vein. The beat was constant, but changed up more than enough not to be monotonous.

And what a run! Late evening, and it’s mostly downhill from the house to the Library. But, I’m guessing that having a solid soundtrack also played a role in getting me down to SUB 8 MINUTE MILES! for the evening. I kid you not.

I’m excited about the whole concept – this might be the kind of thing that could revitalize the concept of the Album and save it from the tyrrany of the Single. Instead of just making one killer track, TCM here stitch together 45 minutes of coherent sound. Tough to grab a soundbite, but taken as a whole – exceptional.

If I were to make one recommendaiton, though, it would be to get the Run released as a collection of multiple tracks instead of one massive track. That way you could tailor the run – chop out a couple of sections to make it a 4 miler instead of a 5 miler, maybe reprise “Roadhouse Blues” again at the end to push the run up to 10K. YMMV. (Your Mileage Might literally Vary) If you want to DIY that hack, I imagine the track could be burned to CD, re-imported as an MP3, and chopped up using Audacity or something, though I’d recommend checking terms and conditions of the ITMS and the laws governing your jurisdiction before doing it.

At $10, the pricing seems pretty fair to me – you are getting an entire album’s worth of music, even if it is a single track. And, unlike a couple albums I’ve bought lately, all the bits are worth hearing, especially if you’re running.

(The ultimate irony? I can’t count this as a Nike+ run, as I’d left the receiver sitting on my desk at  work.)

So, if you’re a fan at all of dance/electronic music, and have $10 to spare, there are worse choices you could make than trying The Crystal Method’s “Drive” out. Help build a market – who else do you want to hear tackle this?

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