What Goes On


I’m sitting out on the deck, on what should be a windy, freezing and snowy day here in New England.

Yep, you read that right – I’m sitting out on my deck.

In shorts.

Quite literally steaming after finishing a PH-E-NOMENAL nighttime run.

It’s high fifties and humid, one of those trademark foggy New England nights. I’m halfway expecting some crusty old fisherman-looking guy to come around to the back and offer me a cup of chowda. (Yes, in my mind, there’s itinerant chowder vendors)

I skipped running Tuesday ’cause I couldn’t sleep Monday night. Which is probably the absolute worst. What brought it on, I bet, was a Science Friday podcast about a family with a prion disease where, at age 50 or so, they literally stayed awake until they died. So, I felt like crap all day.

Then today, work was a zoo. A good zoo, like with cool animals, not one where there’s just a bunch of unglutates pooping, but one with monkeys and stuff – great news about my project, plus another new challenge to take on, an amazing lunch with some friends, AND a great session with my mentor. But a zoo, nonetheless.

Then hurrying home for Cub Scouts. Not a lot to be said for it – we’re doing a lot of inside stuff, but I don’t want to step up and take responsibility for the den right now, so I’m not really in a place to speak. But it was good enough.

Got the boys in bed, and realized that part of my sleep problems were probably lack of exercise in the last couple of days. So, strapped ’em on, strapped on the reflectors and the blinky light, grabbed the iPod, and hit the road.

And – Wow. Stuff just clicked. The running was good, the weather was just right, and the release was exactly what I needed. The first half just zipped by, and I decided to stretch the 3 I intended to between 4 and 5, and do a loop instead of an out-n-back (eeeew, out-n-backs…)

The kicker, though, was Shuffle. At about the 2/3rds point, the Velvet Underground’s “What Goes On” from their 1969 live album came on. If you haven’t heard it, let me know and we’ll see if we can work something out.

Let it be good, do what you should, you know it’ll be all right…

There’s a killer hill just as you come up from the interstate to our subdivision. Warren can vouch for it (Hi, Warren!). And heading up that hill, Lou and the band were at the point in the song where they’re just completely riffing off each other, building and building and building… Wow.

Anyway, the endorphins are still bumping around, but I’m starting to get a bit chilly in the fingertips and nose, and the steam’s stopped coming off my shirt (Cotton, for what it’s worth). Time to shower and curl up with Foucault’s Pendulum and my lovely wife.

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Another $80 soon to be down the drain

Apparently Nike + iPod is bluetooth.

According to AppleInsider, the folks in Cupertino and the folks in Washington are going to hawk a wristband that functions as a sweat-proof display for the Nike+iPod system

 Further features of the device, expected to be released under the name Nike Amp+, are unclear from the report. However, a single included marketing image suggests that gadget may hold potential to deliver one of the most frequently-requested components for the Nike+iPod system: a heart rate monitor.

Which is why I’d shell out the $80 in a heartbeat – kids’ college fund be darned. I’ve been asking for HRM support ever since the idea was hatched.

I’m still pretty enthused about the system – see my initial review here. It’s worked like a champ, especially since I picked up the system to tie it into my Asics. If you’ve already got an iPod Nano, I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you don’t have a Nano, look at the refurbs at the Apple Store (store.apple.com) – the first gen 1 GB Nanos are less than $100. With $30 for the sensor/receiver, and another $10 for the pouch for the sensor for non-Nike shoes, it’s a distance/speed/calorie/entertainment system for $130, delivered.

Tryptophan Hangover

Actually, I think I’m suffering from turkey induced euphoria.

Thanksgiving was insanely satisfying. I took off on Wednesday afternoon, and didn’t go back to work until Monday. There were no commitments for the kiddos, no travel to be had, and, after Thursday, absolutely fabulous weather.

Missy and I ran the Mystic YMCA Turkey Trot and dip. I dipped, and we finished the not quite three miles in just over 22 minutes, which was quicker than 8 minute miles, surprising both of us. I dipped, and we ran into some folks who I’d known when I taught Sub School, and who I’d run into out on the Left Coast. Good times.

Saturday, we headed down to watch Santa head in on the tugboat, as is the tradition. The weather was absolutely fabulous, which stank, ’cause Santa is supposed to show up on a cold, cloudy winter day, instead of a beautiful bluebird Indian Summer day. But, I salvaged it by running home, hitting 5+ miles for the first time in a while. Legs felt good, etc.

I haven’t been quite sticking to the build-up schedule to hit 20 miles a week by New Year, but I am not too worried. I’ll likely continue to try to hit those goals – I don’t think that going from my 10 or so miles/week to 20 miles/week (a load I’d carried in the past) will be impossible. If I were advising someone starting out, I’d likely advise them to revise the goals. But, as I’ve shown time and time again, it just isn’t going to happen.

Anyway, we’re about three weeks away from days getting longer again – I cannot wait.

And, I apologize for the light blogging lately – work is getting increasingly interesting, life at home is wonderful, and I’ve discovered that I do much better with regular sleep.

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More Dick Pound

From a 2004 Velonews Interview:

(T)he whole thing got its start with the Festina scandal. During the Tour de France (Samaranch) is there in his room in Lausanne watching it on television and he says something to the effect that “To me this is not doping. The IOC list is too long.”

He had apparently forgotten that he had some reporter with him – following the IOC president around to see how hard he was working, that sort of thing – sitting right there in the room. The guy was unable to believe what he was hearing. So out it came in the paper the next day and there was a firestorm that descended on Samaranch over this.

It was the sort of thing where people said “See? It’s just as we always suspected… the IOC is soft on doping.. and blah, blah, blah.”

It got to the point where we had to call an emergency meeting of the executive board of the IOC in August. Samaranch looks at all of us and asks “What are we going to do about this?”

Good stuff. Freakin’ dopers.

Forgot to mention earlier that the money quote from Fresh Air is Pound calling dopers “sociopaths”.

Dick Pound on Fresh Air

So, I’m leaving Boston Monday afternoon, and I find “Fresh Air” on the radio. The main guest was Dick Pound, the man with the name that’ll get any site that tries to discuss doping, etc, blocked on every elementary school computer in the world. The interview’s here.

I really, really enjoyed the bit. Dick’s clearly committed to fighting doping. But he’s been tagged as a bit of a facist for wanting harsh penalties for folks caught doping.

One of the bits that really resonated with me was that, under the current system, the only folks who really get punished for doping are the atheletes. Known “bad” coaches and other facilitators can usually skate. Which is wrong, IMO.

Dick also relayed a bit about Juan Antonio Samuranch’s (then director of the IOC, the head of the Olympics) reaction to the 1998 Festina Affair at the Tour de France that made my blood run cold, and put Pound’s perceived excesses into perspective.

As background, in 1998, the Festina cycling team was caught by the French police with industrial quantities of doping agents. Pretty much the entire team, from the director sportif and the cyclists on down to the kid who fills the water bottles was involved and charged. Big deal.

Samuranch’s reaction? Something along the lines of “To me, this is not doping.”

Anyway, check out the audio. Good stuff. Dick was on to pimp his new book, Inside Dope. Haven’t read it, but might have to after I get done with “Foucault’s Pendulum”. Umberto Eco absolutely rocks.

4 miles

So, after bragging about being on track, I skipped running Sunday after the camp-in at the Boston Museum of Science.

But, Back on the wagon on Tuesday – 4 miles at an 8:17 pace. Pretty freakin’ cool.

Yay! Rest day! and another 3 miles

Still on schedule. It was a relief not to run on Wednesday and not feel guilty about it (all in the plan, y’know).

Today was supposed to be a twilight run, but there was a wreck on the Newport Bridge, so it took about 15 minutes to make it from the top of the bridge to Jamestown. Stupid rubberneckers. But, I stopped and ran anyway. 3.4 miles, 27 minutes. Not too shabby.

The small victory for today was in not walking any of the run. Well, that and actually running again.

Here’s to Saturday and Sunday.

I Wanna feel beautiful

Yeah, baby – back on the road again. Developed a plan yesterday, and executed it today. 3 miles on the way home from work, on Jamestown, in the twilight and gathering rain.

AND, to make things even better, I was back in my Asics, using one of those neoprene pouches for the Nike+iPod sensor. Man, I’ve missed my Asics. The Nike Moire’s are fine, and it’s nice having the built-in sensor, but Asics just feel that much better.

The run itself was not terrible – 5.2K in 27 minutes or so. I walked a third or so of the last mile, so the actual running speed was pretty darn quick. Felt good. Felt strong.

The downside was that it felt phleghmy – got a flu mist this weekend. It hasn’t laid me out like the shot does, but it has left me way, way more congested than usual.

Get Well Plan

So, ladies and gents (I can say that, as I’m pretty sure there’s still 4 readers out there in Internet Land). I’ve worked myself into quite the pickle. Between this, that, and the other, I’ve gotten out of shape, relatively speaking.

Out of shape in the way that I cannot just head out and run and run and run as I could earlier this year. The 2 weeks with the Colombians pretty much sealed that deal, though there’s no way I would have traded that ride for a sub-3 hour marathon.

OK, maybe I’d trade it for a sub-3 hour marathon. I might even trade one of the kids for sub-3, if you catch them on a bad day. Let’s say a sub-4 hour marathon…

Anyway, I’m in the position where, in my line of work, we say that there’s a “Get Well Plan” needed. (The irony being that “Get Well Plan” is usually the precedent to the “Realignment” in which goals are completely dropped. But not here, baby). And here’s my plan:

GOAL: I want to be able to put in 20 mile weeks starting 1 January.
ANALYSIS: If I really, really wanted to suffer, I could likely do that starting tomorrow. But I don’t want to suffer – I want to build solid base and continue my current love affair with running.
PLAN: I dug out my trusty copy of “The Runner’s Training Diary”, and flipped to the 10 mile per week to 20 mile per week buildup program for intermediate runners/beginning competitors. Then, worked backwards for the roughly 8 weeks remaining between now and New Year’s. So, this week is a modest 13 miles, increasing through the end of the year. Think it’s achievable.

GOAL: Another Marathon Next Fall
ANALYSIS: Time heals all wounds, I suppose.
PLAN: NYC, Hartford or Mystic Places. In that order. This time with gusto.

After the New Year, I’m going to hold the 20 mile per week average for between 6 and 10 weeks, depending on which marathon I target. Likely for about 6 weeks, to hit 30 miles/week in time to hold it for about 10 weeks until I start training for Hartford. Then, I’ll follow the NYC Road Runner’s 16 week Marathon Plan building from a 20 mile/week base.

Why switch to a 20 mile per week base for the buildup? Two reasons: First, I want to have energy to devote to speed, and cutting mileage should help me with that. Second, I want to pretty aggressively cross train, and cutting 10 miles/week should free up 2 hours per week to devote to the bike. I’m planning on picking up swimming again in the 6 weeks between the New Year and the buildup to 30 miles/week, and continuing the calestenics I’ve been doing lately.

GOAL: Austin or Oklahoma (OOOOOOOOKlahoma, where the wind comes sweeping ‘cross the plains) City Marathon in early 2008.
ANALYSIS/PLAN: Plenty of time to recover and do an abbreviated marathon buildup. If I handle the first half of 2007 properly, I should be in shape to knock this out.

So, that’s pretty much it. Frankly, I’m psyched. I’ve worked through the mental issues, I’m reasonably fit, only about 3 lbs heavier than I was going into 2006, and think I can make this work with work and family.