Forgive me, Blogfather, for I have slacked. It has been 5 days since my last run.

Thursday, I decided to rest ’cause I ran big on Wed. Friday, I was busy. Saturday and Sunday I spent about 16 hours on a ladder trying to paint the house. Tomorrow I run.


So, here’s kind of a digression, an idea, a riff, building on Friday’s “Pick up the Phone” post: Phil Knight and his waffle iron as Martin Luther and the door of the Whittenburg Cathedral.


Was it “Right Place, right time” in both cases – just an outspoken person grabbing on to an undercurrent (Luther – the idea that the Church needed reform couldn’t have been his and his alone; Knight – Swingin’ 70’s, with everyone wanting to look good and feel that pep), or was it something more – divine inspiration, lone guy going against the flow…

And will it happen again?

We watched “Space Jam” (the 1996 Michael Jordan vehicle) with the kids Saturday night. The good: MJ’s dog named “Charles” (as in Barkley); the NBA players who lost their talent (the Round Mound of Rebound, Patrick Ewing, Muggsy Boggues, etc) and the other NBA players not wanting to play (Wow – Vlade was young once); Bill Murray in an underrated re-enactment of his role in Caddyshack; Charles Barkey in general. The Bad: MJ betting on sports, and the team’s reliance on MJ’s “special stuff” to win the big game.

Watching Jordan play hoops, even in a movie, was just amazing. Took me way, way back. There’s something missing in the NBA today – a magic that was there in the late ’80s and early ’90s that is akin to Baseball on either side of WWII.

Dopes (Somewhat incomplete)

So this whole Floyd Landis thing has me all wrapped around a philosophical axel, so to speak. I’ve been working on this post for about 2 weeks, and can’t get it right. It starts off OK, but then degenerates. I’m leaving it here with my notes instead of just tossing it. Enjoy.

(ED – Hey, Bill, what’s with all this stuff about professional cycling)

(Me – I promise I’ll bring this back around to running. But isn’t cycling fitness, too?

(ED – Maybe, but WATCHING cycling isn’t.)

(Me – What if you’re watching it in December on the stationary trainer or the dreadmill? Huh? What then?)

(ED – Just make your point and move on)

(Me – Oh, I need to have a point? Wait one…)

Anyway, it’s got me wrapped around a philosophical axle that basically says to me “Why do I care? Why should I care? And, more to the point, what benefit do I get actually caring?”

‘Cause here’s the deal, see? The level of athletic prowess on display at the professional level nowadays is phenomenal, insane, out of this freakin’ world! Sure, they may be all hopped up on goofballs, but to paraphrase a quote from someone else’s blog (who stole it from the Simpsons), “Whaddya wanna see? A moral debate about the implications of doping, or would you rather see me hit some dingers*?”

“Dingers, Dingers!” we all shout.

And therein lies the rub. We do want to see the dingers. We want to see the legendary ascent of the Joux Plane, the 5 hour breakaway on a broken shoulder, and all that stuff that we wouldn’t do in our wildest dreams.

We want to see it.

And then blog about it, and then head down to the local pub for a plate of wings and a half dozen pints and some other folks who saw the same unforgettable event so we can yammer on about it while we watch the replay on 24 hour sports TV, sponsored by the DVD.

There’s a whole industry set up so that we can watch the unbelievable, then discuss, then market, and then replay. We fight to be the first to blog the next big thing, try to score tickets to the big game without realizing that we’re being counterproductive to the higher idea of “sport” as something that’s good for us all.

The sports entertainment industry doesn’t want us to actually play sports. It’s tough for us to generate ratings when we’re out on the road/track/court/field.

(Here’s where it degenerates into notes and incoherence)

– kids used to play at the sandlot, replaying big plays physically (“I’m Evel Kinievel”). Replay provided on demand now
– Smaller pool of talent competing for bigger bucks. Bigger incentive to cheat. No incentive in either atheletes or owners to catch cheats.
– For media, catching a cheat is good business. SO is covering the rehabilitation of a cheat: Don’t have to learn any new background, recycle the same talking heads

– Moderation
– Go race locally
– Get your kids involved
– Actually, spend some time with your kids dis-involved. Let them play without coaches, leagues, etc. Kick them out in the yard.
– Coach someone.
– Get coached.

Examples of “big stories” in the RBF – individuals every day, exactly as compelling as pros. Your encouragement here can make a real difference, as opposed to adding to the noise.

* For the baseball deprived, a “dinger” is slang for a Home Run, a ball hit so hard it leaves the field of play, allowing the batter to run completely around the bases and score a run.

Pick up the phone

From another site everyone should read, even if they don’t think they’re geeks: Round 2: Dial Tone:

You can regard the history of the computer industry as pushing “dial tone” further and further up the stack. As Crichton noted, the rotary dial telephone was the first computer that allowed direct interaction between humans and computers. The personal computer pushed customer self service up the stack to programming, data processing, and eventually applications such as word processing and spreadsheets.

New applications often start out requiring operators, but eventually move towards dial-tone. For example, you can look at blogging as the “dial tone” equivalent of creating a web site. For ordinary folks (not most of my readers, but non-technical folks), creating a web site was something that required an operator. You went to a web design shop or an ISP and had them do it for you. The blogging revolution, the wiki revolution, the MySpace revolution, the CyWorld revolution, are really about providing a kind of self-service dial-tone for creating a web presence and community.

You can apply this to running, too. Fitness used to be something the rich did, as they were the only ones with leisure time. Then, it was the folks with athletic talent and access to limited facilities and training.

With the internet, we’ve all got access to the motivation and techniques of the greats. Want to run a marathon? Google it, pick a training plan, and plug into a support group.

DIY fitness. Nothing better.

Big Maggy Speaks

So, you read Pez Cycling News, right?

Today, they’ve got Magnus Backstedt’s regular bit covering the Tour of Denmark, and also a couple of paragraphs on the tiny problem Cycling’s been having. I dug these; the rest is extremely interesting.

I hear that there are a lot of people are wondering why many riders don’t speak up about the doping issue!

I think I know why, and it is all based on the media. You can say something to a journalist and the next day he has twisted it around and published it in a way that pleases him to sell more copies of his newspaper or magazine. This is never fun even when it concerns less delicate issues than doping. So as you can probably understand there is a fear of being quoted saying something that you haven’t said! So if there was some more respect being shown from journalists in this matter I think the riders might feel a bit more confident in talking. In saying this I want to add that this doesn’t go for all journalists, but you can never be sure who is the good one and who is the bad one. A bit like the doping I guess!

I can’t say that I disagree – why speak out if it makes you a target?

In happier news, last week’s Prairie Home Companion (a rerun) was amazing. Mark Knopfler … Absolutely perfect for sitting on the porch in the chill of impending Autumn, with the crickets providing percussion.

More on Doping

Sorry, folks, but I can’t let this topic go. Maybe it’s one last, desperate grasp at childhood and the need to have heros. But this bit in PezCycling News got me thinking:

“Maybe you need a traveling laboratory with the event, instead of having (samples) sent to the other side of France, Switzerland or wherever they go” Anderson said. “It’s not a static event like football where you’re in a stadium. Every day you’re in a different spot. With the amount of money or infrastructure, maybe (the Union Cycliste Internationale should) consider having a laboratory as well.”

Why haven’t they done this yet? How hard, really, could it be? Back in my days operating a mobile nuclear reactor under the sea, we had a pretty extensive radiochemistry lab in a space way less than half of a standard shipping container (40’x8’x8′ is a standard trailer size). Sample and test in the same facility and know that the podium girls are kissing the right guy.

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee!

(S)tudies show that cardiovascular risk also decreases with coffee consumption. … Norwegian researchers found that women who drank one to three cups a day reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by 24 percent compared with those drinking no coffee at all.

…(R)esearchers found that a typical serving of coffee contains more antioxidants than typical servings of grape juice, blueberries, raspberries and oranges.

“We were surprised to learn that coffee quantitatively is the major contributor of antioxidants in the diet both in Norway and in the U.S.A.,” said Rune Blomhoff, the senior author of both studies and a professor of nutrition at the University of Oslo.

Coffee as a Health Drink? Studies Find Some Benefits – New York Times

And the Norwegians should know – absolutely great coffee over there.

Other benefits (some from the article, some made up for comic relief):

  • Twitching burns additional calories equivalent to a donut a day!
  • Waking up to a cup of black coffee after a night out on the town reduces the risk of chirossis of the liver!
  • Slices, Dices, Circumcises, even makes Julianne Fries, whatever the hell those are!
  • Reduces the risk of death from all causes by over 15% (That one is honestly not made up)
  • Chicks dig guys who write and drink coffee
  • Changes your tie pattern on a near daily basis

From an American Classic, and the best movie you haven’t seen this year:

Smells so lovely when you pour it

You’ll want to drink a quart of coffee

It’s delicious all alone

It’s also good with donuts, black coffee

Yeah, OK, I’m done.

Blogged with Flock

Ladies and Germs, Buoys and Gulls, Children of all Phases!

Pencil in the date now: 21 August, 2006 – the beginning of the running world as you want it to be.

A while back, a couple of guys had a thought: Hey, there’s a bunch of folks running and writing about it out on the web.

Anyhoo, they’ve got a concept – start a spot with running advice and lifestyle info targeted at real runners – folks with real jobs, real commitments, and mundane, every-day challenges (like “How do I get out of bed in the morning to go run” as opposed to epochal challenges such as “I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer. How do I train to win the Tour de France”). Continue to build on the “wisdom of the crowd” but to consolidate and distill a little bit of that information into an easy to find, easy to use spot.

They’ve invited me and a grunch of other “old salts” of the RBF to write for the Complete Running Network. Frankly, I’m excited about it. I love reading my monthly Runner’s World, Outside, and other professional magazines, but in a way, I kind of feel like they’re geared towards folks with a much more single-minded drive than I have. The writing I’m planning on doing for Mark et al is going to be focused more on the transition from slacker to runner.

The rest of the regular cast should include:

Speaking for myself, I’m the first to admit that all I bring to the table is commitment and a love of sweat and shortness of breath. But smaller ideas with less passion have turned into bigger things!


So, I did make it out for a run yesterday afternoon, just not the lunchtime hammerfest. Decided to do 10K on the way home; felt REALLY good, so extended it to 7 miles. Got Lance Armstrong after the summary telling me I’d done my longest run ever. Think I preferred Paula.

However, I come not to blog about Billy, but to bury him… wait.

Anyway, Yesterday evening’s festivities were me as a spectator. We trundled on down to Old Saybrook so that Jake could run the L&M Hospital Kid’s 1/2 mile race (Can’t figure out why they’ve got him listed as living in Missouri), and Melissa ran the Comcast Shoreline 5 mile race. Jake gutted out his first ever side stitch to finish. Melissa ran strong through 4 miles (her daily routine) and gutted out the last mile.

The race rocked. Old Saybrook looks like it’s cut from a Norman Rockwell painting. The race starts on the town green, and runs an out-n-back course down to an old fort. The town does a summer concert series that the race coincided with, so the finishers got to mull about with live tunes, decent post-race grub, etc. There’s even a bunch of resturants and such downtown, so with a clean pair of clothes, a sink-shower, and lots of deodorant, you could make an evening of it. Plenty of parking.

This was the first race I’d gone to in a while as a pure spectator, and it was fun. Nate, Jake, and I ate sandwiches and drank juice boxes while watching the runners come in. Got to see the firetruck go out. Absolutely great summer evening.

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Blogged with Flock

Get the blood pumping

Woo HOO!

I finally got off my butt early enough to exercise before I sit down at my desk for the day! Quick bike ride on Jamestown before crossing the bridge. Cool but not chilly, and I was really disappointed that it was as humid as it was without going into full-blown fog.

Rode the 8 mile loop at the north end of the island – 25 minutes! on the Singlespeed.

I’m really, really getting into the single-speed. There’s something just pure and easy about it – click in and pedal. No shifting, no grinding – just chain, wheels, frame, and the road. Can’t quite figure it out, but somehow it’s tight. Instant acceleration, the satisfaction of spinning out on the downhill (though I’m really thinking about going down a cog size – would be nice to be fast.)

Anyways, life rocks. The boys are healthy, the wife tolerates me ;) and there’s still two months of beautiful weather at least.

OH, and Jon’s in today. Run at lunch.

Party on, Wayne.

I Wish I could believe…

Phonak’s disbanding after this year. An open letter from Floyd Landis:

While the recent allegations against me hurt us all, I respect the fact that the Phonak team must follow its own rules and charter under these circumstances. I just wish that all the parties involved would do the same. Despite this, I will not relent on my pursuit of the truth. I will not shy away from this fight.

Most of all, I understand that this situation impacts families and friends other than my own. It affects the businesses and sponsors that support cycling as well as the sport itself. It is for this reason that I am determined to show that I followed the rules and won fairly and cleanly. There is a greater integrity at stake here than just my own.

I thank you all for your support and courage as I embark on this journey to restore my name, the team’s name and the image of cycling.

Jimminy Christmas. I’ve sat here looking at this for like 10 minutes, and cannot think a coherent thought on the whole subject.

If Floyd’s lying, well, he’s a dirtbag of the highest rank.

If he’s telling the truth, and the lab, or the Societie de Tour de France is trying to frame him, then the UCI, the WADA, the ACA – the whole organization is crooked, and what’s the freakin’ point?

Hey Jane! How do I get offa this crazy thing…
<Cue soprano sax and standing bass; blow out candle, tilt hat down on nose, take deep drag on unfiltered Camel, and Exit Stage Left>