Friday, December 28, 2012

Time to set some goals - 2013 Edition

Plain and simple -- This is my public statement of my resolutions for the year. Don't feel obligated to read this one...it is more for me.
Reading
Last year it was 10 books and write more on the blog.  And that was do-able. So I will keep that resolution.  However I want to read at least three classics I have not read before and one book I read in the past but think I should review again as an adult.  I will consult with my English-major-almost-MD sister on the classics.  She most likely still has her collection of books from college.  As for the re-read I am pretty sure I will read The Great Gatsby.

Writing
I want more people to read this blog however I don't want to focus on one topic and sell my soul to the topic for an increase in traffic. So I will just have to write more and be more creative about the ways I talk about issues that are kind of boring.  In this area I also want to have more inbound traffic from fellow bloggers.

For the club, we will created a bad-ass news letter/blog type thing for which we will win many awards and the people will rejoice. 

Running
1,200+ miles for the year. I will PR the Kaiser Half Marathon in February and the Oakland Marathon in March. I will run a 3:45:00 and I will run a negative split marathon.  Extra points if that is one in the same.  I will also beat my 21:22 5K PR in Tulsa.  Because I have become one of "those" people, I want to take on a 50K. This may not happen next year, but I am putting it out there. 
Related Fitness Stuff - I will do planks five times a week and strength train at least twice a week.  Goal weight will be achieved and maintained before I turn 30 (in four weeks).
Life Stuff
Since living in Northern California, Abby and I have yet to go to wine country. This will be fixed this year and in honor of that goal I will drink more wine.   I will watch all of the Frontline episodes on my DVR. I will get back involved with the Jewish community and social justice causes I used to care more about. 
Yup that sums it up.  Here we go 2013. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The once and future blog post

In four days the year will be over.  Thankfully.

While I have discussed that I am happy the year is coming to an end, it is my duty as a blogger to indulge in the self-indulgent review of my achievements.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Movin' Out

We moved. I wish it was as much fun as the musical by Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp.  While it couldn't have been much easier than it was, moving sucks a lot.

We listened to Bill but didn't dance like Twyla

Our new place is about .15 miles away from our old place but it may as well be on another planet.  When I first moved to San Francisco I wanted to live in a place that at least looked like Full House, which meant that it had to be an older building.  I was extremely lucky to find a place that was perfectly located in the middle of a neighborhood that I liked and was convienent to the express bus.  But that was about it.

I didn't live there, or even close. 
But we have friends that live close to it so it is cool
After living there for a few months, it became clear that that place was a one year only kind of place, or two at the absolute most.  The square footage was a few hundred sq/ft bigger than our place in New York but more than 200 sq/ft were wasted, the kitchen was crap, the heat didn't work, the windows were akin to stretched plastic wrap, the walls leaked, and I could go on and on. But I won't.  Instead, after they raised the rent, we moved.

As soon as the wall was leaking we put in our 30 day notice and started looking for a new place.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Change in the Marathoning Plan

So as soon as I announced my race schedule for next year I had to change it. The change is for a fantastic reason and had nothing to do with weather so don't worry. Now I am looking for a cheap, fun, and local fall marathon. Due the reason I have to change race dates, I would like to be running in October or very late September.

Here are few of the top choices in no real order. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Race Calendar 2013

As long as the group who didn't make it past a bunch of Spanish dudes in metal hats are wrong, here is my running plan for 2013. For now. There might be more, there might be less, but this is the plan:

1. Kaiser Half Marathon - February 3, 2013 - San Francisco, CA
This race is supposed to be fun and fast.  I have not run a half-marathon since last year at this time.  That race was in Davis and I missed a PR by a minute and a few seconds.  I was also easily 10 pounds heavier and not as fast.  This is the race I break 1:45 if not faster than that.  Come on by and ring a cow bell, then watch the Super Bowl.


2. Oakland Running Festival - March 24, 2013 - Oakland, CA
I will either be running the full or the half marathon in Oakland.  I won't make that choice until December 31st but I will be racing this race. I didn't race enough this past year and I really want to race more. It makes it more fun. Yay fun!

While it would be great to knock out another marathon, I honestly can say that I would be fine doing the half.  I have never run a half as part of a full. That will be interesting...I think.  More to come on this one.

3. Bulldog 25K - August 24, 2013 - Malibu Creek State Park, CA
This is a solid maybe, but it seems like fun.  I am not going to run my first ultra in Southern California in August. That seems silly. But a 25K seems like a great idea. 15+ miles on trails will be a great way to spend a summer morning.



4. Catch the Road Runner 5K - Summer 2013 - San Francisco, CA
The fantastic San Francisco Road Runners Club will be putting on our second annual 5K race...it might change a little due to the America's Cup and other such craziness but it is on! I might run, I might work the race, I might do both...but I will be there and I will wear my pants.
So hot right now.
5. The New York City Marathon - November 3, 2013

You read that right.  I will be running the NYC marathon. So get sand bags ready. The city is safe for this year. I was just informed that I need to save the date for something much more important...more on that to follow.  Now I need to choose another Fall Marathon.

5A. The Tulsa Turkey Trot - Black Friday, 2013
I must defend my First Place Fat Boy title! Hopefully I will be able to keep off the extra seven pounds I have dropped since I started paying more attention (read: I am no longer a horse).  In that I am under the 200lb mark, I will not enter as a Clydesdale but I am hoping my new age group will help me move up in the age group prizes.

Friday, December 14, 2012

We need a lot more than love

This morning as many of us on the West Coast were getting ready for work, the cheery December morning shows were interrupted shattering our normalcy.  Mocktail recipes were cut short to blast images of SWAT teams rushing into an elementary school and lackluster journalist reports telling us that many children were killed in a small town in Connecticut.

At this hour 20 children, six adults and the shooter have been pronounced dead in Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Kids were shot in two classrooms. Classrooms. At school. 

In the aftermath of today's horrific events we need a hell of a lot more than love.

Sorry, we need more. (source)

Pictures of hugging and smiling children don't stop another Sandy Hook.  They don't save the lives of the children who will be killed in the next school shooting, because we know there will be another one.  Prayers will not do anything to stop a person from legally purchasing an automatic weapon, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and pulling the trigger. Tweets and Facebook posts will not provide mental healthcare services to those who need them.

No in fact the only thing those things will do is make you feel better for not getting killed today.

So here are a few things you can do that might help.
Call the President and demand he send a bill to Congress.  Fiscal Cliff or not, dead children should be enough to make him act.

Call Congress and tell them to get their act together. They must support and improve access to mental healthcare and pass a comprehensive assault weapons ban. Again, dead kids motivate people.

If you are in D.C. join my friend Adam Barr and thousands of others tonight at the White House to demand action because #TodayIsTheDay to end gun violence.
 Make a donation
There is no explanation that we can give for a massacre of children. All Americans are responsible for this one.  Let this be the last day we place our hands over our mouths and watch the unimaginable play out on the news.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Llama: As Transportation

I wanted to write something deep and meaningful about being busy but I am at a loss, because this picture is just too fantastic.

Thanks Ali on the Run for the image.

Sometimes you just need to enjoy something absurd and often times my friend Josh Heller is my place for those things. In recent weeks he has provided a few good Spotify play lists and other such fun. 

However, back to the picture. 

I suppose this photograph begs one clear question: Why is there a llama on a beach and not the highlands of central South America?

Discuss. 

Also important: What does a llama say?

...

LLAMA  LLAMA  LLAMA  LLAMA  LLAMA  LLAMA  

Ok I am done. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A step back

It is the end of the year. It is the end of our lease. It is the end marathon training. It is the last time those of us reading this post will ever see a 12-12-12 dateline.  But then again, isn't it a new beginning? (What was that noise you ask? It was me throwing up a little in my mouth.)
The Year: Facebook bombarded me with the Year in Review app that told me what was so fantastic about my year.  Unsurprisingly there were lots of posts about running and missing my wife in the first half of the year and lots of posts about running and living in San Francisco with my wife in the second half of the year.  As I said in my self-review for work, this year was "trying" and to be honest I am glad it is almost over.

The Lease: We are leaving our apartment after dealing with leaking walls, drafty windows, and general disregard for the upkeep of the place.  I will disclose more once I get my security deposit back, but I will say that after living in a place that I took pride in keeping up I was shocked that people don't want to keep their property in top condition.  Abby and I are moving into a place now that is clearly well maintained by a proud owner.  It is smaller but it has a washer and dryer.  And that is the sexist thing I have ever seen.  Abby agrees.
We are both thinking dirty thoughts...that will soon be clean.
The Training: This year's marathon training was insane. I started training on a schedule for New York in July.  I wanted it to be an epic PR.  And I was ready for it.  Thankfully, I didn't waste my training and got to run in the CIM.  It was supposed to be a fun and easier run after NYC, but it turned into a really tough race in the rain.  I am relieved that my training for the year is over.

I will run the New York Marathon, if NYRR ever figures out what they are going to do with the 47,000 of us who got caught up in the wash.  But I will run at least one other major event, what it is I don't know. I have the Kaiser Half on the schedule but nothing else.  An ultra sounds interesting but honestly 26.2 sucks enough. Not sure I am cut out for more mileage. However, I am pretty sure I said that about Marathoning for the first five years I lived along the New York City Marathon route.

I am currently assessing my goals for next year's races, but I am not making any concrete plans until January 1, 2013 (when the prices go up on the Oakland Marathon).

They are very pretty..
12-12-12: I don't care about that.  Some people think it is lucky and others think its just another day.  Others are right.

Over the next few weeks, we will move into a new place, start a new training schedule, and begin a new year. There are other new things too that will start in the new year.   But the best part of this past year has been the new things, especially our new friends here in San Francisco.  I have a pretty good feeling about the new year so here is to it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Fire Hose of Moisture - The Story of CIM 2012

The Weather Channel wasn't wrong.  The Atmospheric River pointed a fire hose of moisture at my face and turned it up to high for about 3:35 on Sunday morning.  Which means that if I had hit my A Goal I would have been running in the rain for the entire time.  But thanks to that fire hose of moisture and approximately 40 mph headwinds A was OUT the window. However, B Goal was achieved with 4 minutes and 55 seconds to spare.

So here is the longer story.

After a quick stop at Trader Joe's for fuel we drove up to hangout with Dan and Karla in Sacramento.  The weather sorta held out. There was some rain but it wasn't so awful and we SAW A DOUBLE RAINBOW.

ACROSS THE SKY!

We went to Shabbat Services which was very nice and we got to see my good friend and college rabbi, had some tea and cookies, and watched some West Wing episodes. Then to bed.

Early on Saturday morning we went to expo, I became a nuun-vert, Abby picked up some insoles for her running shoes, and I got an extremely stylish poncho. We started the carb-fest with a few little things at the expo and some coffee.  We went off to Fox & Goose for brunch and saw Argo. Nice movie.

Then it was time for big carbs at Buca di Beppo with a mess of SFRRC running chums.
Tastes like carbs

To my surprise the food was actually pretty tasty.  While our order was plain, team cow bell (Dan, Karla, and Abby) had a more complex dish with meat and cheese and team cow bell said it was very good. Also it was $16 bucks per person, so that was excellent.  There were a number of first timers and they asked important questions and we all pretended to have the answers (sorry guys, we just made it up). 
First timers Vince, Heather, and Alex
Then it was bed time.  And then it was game time.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Final Thoughts - CIM

We are checked in at the hotel and ready to run in whatever is given to us here in Sacramento.

All set.

So some parting thoughts:
I am sucker for things my "friends" blog about
Today, after reading blogs of people I do not know rant and rave about nuun, I purchased two tubes of nuun.  Granted I have a few real friends who use the product and like it very much, and I can see why. I spent the afternoon enjoying some Tri-Berry nuun as I hydrated for the race. So thanks to and Sweaty Emily I am a nuun-vert. Well played nuun, your investment in these bloggers worked. Completely.

The expo was small but lovely
The expo was pretty small with few different vendors from other smaller races. However, the people were very nice and everyone was excited. I spoke for a few minutes with a 15 year vet of the race and everyone was smiling.  I really needed that.  The vibe (and the free stuff) really got me through my early morning nerves.

Going to the movies was smart.
We went to see Argo and that was GREAT. We spent more than two hours completely distracted and engrossed in a movie.  Mind you we knew what would happen and still couldn't take our eyes off the screen. I was totally distracted from the afternoon jitters. And they were coming on strong so this fantastic movie was a really good call.

It is also great to see people you know
Last night and today we hung out with our good friends Dan and Karla, who just got engaged. We had a lovely dinner and watched West Wing last night and today had a very chill brunch at Fox and Goose.  It was just relaxing to hang out and be around people who know you and your crazy.

The weather can kiss my ass
It is going to suck, but it will suck for all of us.  The race is on and it will be wet. 
I want to take this time to thank my lovely wife for supporting me throughout what hasn't been the easiest year and what has clearly been the most trying of my early marathoning life. Without her and her support, there is no way I would have made it here.

And yes I told her that personally too.

HERE WE GO.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Going Mental

This week has not lead to great mental preparation for the California International Marathon. There is that mega storm system that will dump a "moist flow" on Northern California. Work has been so work like, which isn't great but isn't bad. Our apartment has decided to bite us at night and our fantastic management company hasn't been able to call an exterminator for well over two months. But after bugging them (sorry) for that entire time they finally did schedule a bug guy and he is "scheduled" to come an hour after we had planned on leaving for Sacramento. Nice. At least the organizers say the race will go on no matter what, so it is reassuring that we will at least get to run. (Where have I heard that before?)

So I have turned to the wonderful world of videos and GIFs to get me going.  Here are some of my favorites. Let me know if I should add more.


YES I DO BELIEVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


YEAH GO OUT AND KICK ASS, and stuff.


Sorry about the music but come on!! This is the best. I remember this like it was yesterday. 

USA USA USA USA



A great race.


I love this commercial.  Nice work Dick's Sporting Goods.

Again: USA USA USA


I mean can you have one of these without this scene? No. You can't.


#makeitcount

Ah, good times


WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH....

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Perfect Race Day Conditions

I was scheduled to run the New York City Marathon and then this happened.

Hi Sandy, you bitch.

Then this happened.
Yeah, I know you know.

Now with the California International Marathon scheduled for this weekend, Northern California is bracing for an Atmospheric River to hit and impact Sacramento.  According to The Weather Channel, if it stalls, say when it hits those big ass mountains near the California-Nevada boarder, "significant flooding can be the result."

COME ON MAN!
Here is the kicker:
Most importantly, that plume of moisture [a.k.a. the atmospheric river] won't move appreciably for a couple of days, perhaps through Sunday, aiming its firehose of moisture at northern California and, perhaps, southwest Oregon.  
Therefore, some locations, particularly in the coastal ranges of northwest California and the Sierra foothills, will likely pick up over 10 inches of total rainfall through this weekend, leading to flash flooding, river flooding and, in recent burn areas, debris flows. (emphasis mine) 
If they cancel this race due to a little sky stream coming to town, I am going to lose my shit.

But as with most weather events, the use of phrases like "aiming its firehose of moisture" give me some pause and reassure me that the bored California-based meteorologists want a big storm to play with...but then again, I thought that was the same thing with Sandy.

I am confident that the race will go on...and perhaps the snow will support the extremely low water levels in Tahoe.  That part is good news. It isn't like I haven't run in the rain and it isn't like it makes much of a difference.  A marathon hurts no matter what and I am going to be running one, rain or shine.

When the gun goes off, rain and all, here are the goals:
  • A Goal: 3:35 - 3:45
    Revised based on weather and hi-po for painful chaffing.
  • B Goal: Sub-4
    This is the same as NYC.
  • C Goal: Don't Die
    This is the same as always.  
Here we go. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Book Report: The Brothers Ashkenazi

I.J. Singer’s The Brothers Ashkenazi is fantastic.  The fictional biography of two brother spans what can only be described as the most important period of modern Jewish life.  As a student of modern Jewish history and a sucker for a good story, this book was a perfect novel to get me excited about reading quality literature.

The characters are developed so completely and the story line weaves expertly in and out of the home town, the book’s main location.  The period aspects of the book come through perfectly and the translation lends itself well to its original Yiddish, or so I suspect based on sentence structure and flow.  It was easy to forget that this was written in the 1930s rather than during the Brothers’ life times or in the present day.

I am not sure if I would have liked this novel as much if I did not have the history background to understand the nuances.  A somewhat expansive understanding of turn of the century Eastern European history and a working knowledge of the Haskalah are almost a pre-requisite to enjoying this book.  Familiarity with Capitalist, Unionist, Socialist, Bundist and Bolshevik political theory also help.   I would like to thank Dr. Hoffman and Professor Biale for the help in this regard.

Now I am sure Zionists will take offense in my saying that this period in Poland is the most interesting and important period in modern Jewish history.  To them I say you are wrong.  Without this period in Germany, Poland, and Russia (East to West, no value) there would be no truly modern Jewish life.  The Jews who pushed off the yoke of ancient restrictions and those who adapted it made it possible for all the other movements and experiences to take place.  Without these events and what came after them, Israel would be nothing more than a dream without will.

I enjoyed every aspect of this book.  Some of the life cycle transitions were a bit short but I believe that makes perfect sense considering Singer’s upbringing and his immigration to the United States.

Read this book. That is all. 

Five Out of Five Stars

Friday, November 23, 2012

FIRST PLACE FAT BOY!

A few months ago I realized that I wanted to win a road race.

Now we all know that wanted and having are two very different things.  While I work very hard at my running and train hard, I am never going to be the fastest dude on the course.  I am also currently in the age group of the guy who tends to win the entire race.

But I am fat, giving me my chance to sneak in for a win in the Clydesdale division.* 

A very well run race. Nice work Fleet Feet
I have decried this division in the past, but it is a chance for bigger guys to win something. I don't know where my drive to come in first in something came from, and if you really break it down you could say winning the Clydesdale division isn't winning but I would come back with shut your face.

Since signing up for the Tulsa Turkey Trot I have been gunning for first place fat boy...and today I won the Clydesdale division. I even got a coffee mug with a spoon trophy.

FIRST PLACE FAT BOY!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. It speaks to my social and religious world view. It is a forces slow-down to be grateful and to acknowledge what you got. 

Like every year, this year other stuff is happening making it hard to be comfortable with being able to be Thankful. 
Gaza is Burning, Israelis are Running
While I stay far away from the blame game, it is clear that both sides have skin in this game. Israel shouldn't launch a ground offensive.  Hamas should stop lobbing rockets towards civilians.  The world should see this for the extremely complicated and convoluted situation it is and stop placing all the blame on one group. Ach.  Anyway, it is hard to be all happy happy joy joy when I have friends in harm's way and others digging out their boots and greens.

Remember that Storm that we Forgot About?
Yup people still don't have power and such.  Kids are still out of school.  Pets are still unclaimed. Sandy's impact won't be fully calculated until Q3 of next year.  That is nuts. We are talking BILLIONS and BILLIONS in damage but we should get back to talking about idiots waiting in line for Black Friday deals.

Complicated Number Things
Yeah the Fiscal Cliff is also getting me down. It could be the end of the world as we know it or other such doom's day things.
But, we get to eat pie.  So that is great. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Media and the Israel Gaza Battles

In case you missed it, Israel and Gaza are fighting again. Hamas and others are lobbing rockets at Israel.  Israel is launching "eliminations" of Hamas leadership in broad daylight.  However the Twitter fight is something new.

Them's Fightin' Words
BuzzFeed is calling it how to fight a war for real and online.

I suppose this is to be expected.

It is the new face of war...Twitter. Something to think about. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book Report: Run to Overcome

I read this book because I love Meb.  I kept reading this book because I love Meb. 

In short, this wasn't a great book.  But Meb is a really great guy.  He does great work, loves his family, runs really hard, is the personification of the American Dream, and currently the best American marathoner.

But he isn't a writer.

The story of his life should be and could be documented in more complete and interesting way.  There is no doubt a fantastic story to be told that unfolds in Meb's life.

I finished it because I love this guy, and respect him very much.  I still hope he runs and wins another marathon. 

2 starts out of 5

Runners, don't be assholes

On Runners' World's website, there was an FAQ about the 2012 New York City Marathon.  It had more information than the NYRR has been able to push out to its members and marathoners.  I, like so many runners, am disappointed at not being able to race.  I am also not so pleased about shelling out many hundreds of dollars to change my flights, eat, and get around New York when the race was off.  I was lucky in that I have a place to stay.  Some out of staters spent upwards of $2500 to get to and stay in New York.

Those people calling for legal action against Bloomberg, or getting all their money back from the city are assholes.

Plain and simple, they are assholes.

Deduct the cost of your bib from your taxes. Talk to you accountant about ways to mitigate other expenses.  Never go back to the best city in the world. But to bring legal action against a city that still has well over 50,000 people without heat or power is not even close to ok.

Sure be disappointed.  Vent online but don't even kid about bring legal action, asshole.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Movember

With one week of scruff on my face, I had wanted to have pushed my man-cancer-facial-hair-race a bit more this month, but something came up. Regardless of natural disasters, men are still getting cancer and research still needs to be funded…so I am growing a mustache.



Here are some stats about man cancers, some of which I just made up:
  1. 100% of men are at risk of man cancers.
  2. 97.5% of men don’t mind getting checked for man cancers; in fact they kind of liked it.
  3. 72% of men vigorously self-check for man cancers.  100% of them like it.
  4. Early detection of man cancers increase the likelihood of the man surviving.
Man cancer is bad news.  Even without my fake stats above, testicular and prostate cancer kill entirely too many men every year.  Because of the Breast Cancer Awareness bonanza, pink-washing and all, women have begun to take significantly better care of themselves in this regard and now have wonderful research to rely upon if their awareness finds something bad.

 You could say the mustache is the pink ribbon of November.  My current plan is to just let the beard go for two weeks and then get rid of everything but the stash.  This will make for the best awareness building tool and hopefully fundraising juggernaut.

But most importantly, I now have the excuse, nay obligation to sport the creepiest of facial hair options.  I am so excited about wearing a mustache.  I also hope to raise a few dollars for cancer research.  But more, this is about the facial hair.

So throw me a few bones as I grow my stash.  The more you give, the bigger the stash will grow, I think.  Give the most you get to choose the style for the last week of November.  If you give big money, I will continue to wear the stash during the California International Marathon.  That Monday I will shave because I am sure my wife would like that…and I am not hipster scrum.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The 2012 New York City Marathon - Race Recap

Today at about 2:15pm I looked at the clock and said, "I would have been crossing the finish line now."  I was sitting with friends, some who had no power just a day ago, others who have yet to hear from co-workers, others who were spared Sandy's wrath.  I wore my marathon shirt.  But this day was about 72 hours in the making. Well more like four months in the making but that is a different story.

I made no bones about my issues with holding this race. I was relieved when it was canceled. But that doesn't mean I wasn't disappointed.  I am trying to wrap my head around the entire weekend of events but I am having some serious trouble with it right now.  But this is what I am thinking now.

Friday
After picking up my bib and other stuff, with thousands of others, we came back to our apartment to do some work and relax a bit. The Twitter rumor mill was rumbling and it was a matter of hours until the race was canceled.

The SFRRC was slammed with media requests and I fielded a number of them. I was "a lot mad" at the mayor for his late game move but it was the right choice to make. However, he should have made it on Tuesday.

 
The interviews, one from the NY Daily News and one with the SF Chronicle, both stressed runners' frustration with Mayor Bloomberg for not making the obvious call earlier.  People around the city and on the social medias were talking about conspiracies about getting the people to the city to salvage as much economic benefit from the marathon as possible.  I have a hard time believing that but I can't say it didn't cross my mind.

We went to services on Friday night at our old congregation and ordered in Thai food for dinner, so I could be at home for the interviews.  And while it is hard to say when so many are out in the cold, Friday was the first good night of sleep I had since the storm.

Saturday
In that I am still running another marathon this season, I set my alarm to get up and run but that did not happen. After checking in with the volunteer activities list from my State Senator, I saw that there was no longer a need for just walking up stairs but for people with cars, we left and got out to Brooklyn to check in on friends and spend some quality time with them and their baby.
Blog, this is Ruthie. You met last time we were in NYC. She is bigger now.
We exchanged some stories about the storm and were pissed at the Mayor together.  Walking around their neighborhood, you would have a hard time believing that just a few miles away entire sections of the city were destroyed.  It was surreal.

After a nice day, we took the train/shuttle bus home.  Again, it was like nothing was wrong and that was strange.  I came home and made a donation to a friend who is doing some grassroots work to get stuff into the hands of those who need it.  If you want more info, let me know.  She is trying to keep it small so it can be effective.  I do have to say it made me feel a bit better.  I do hope to help organize some "next week" relief efforts through our Synagogue and running club in San Francisco.

Marathon Sunday
The weather was perfect today. Cold. Crisp. Sunny. A perfect day for a marathon.  I went out to get in 17 miles for the CIM training and was joined by at least 10, 000 runners in the park.  It was strange.  I had a little trouble with it all but it was very powerful to see all those people out there getting something out of their trip.  Many, many runners joined a relief run, where they collected goods and cash for the worst hit areas.  But most were international runners who were just out for a run in their marathon gear.
This doesn't do it justice. (via Catie Becker)
My buddy Steve and I ran the last nine or so miles of the course together and met up with another guy in from out of town for the race.  The three of us went up First Ave into the Bronx.  We ended up flying along the course at about race pace.  I got to run my 5th Ave hill and got to the finish line.  It wasn't the finish I wanted but it did just fine under the circumstances.

Thanks to a nice Canadian,  I have this finish photo.
People in the park were excited, disappointed, and understanding. 

Parting Thoughts
  • I don't know how to feel.  I wanted to get my hands dirty and help but I didn't. I feel a bit guilty about that.  But I know that I would have been in the way for much of it and I know what most people need right now is money.  I have done some of this disaster relief in the past and honestly right now, hands on the ground can just be an additional burden. This knowledge doesn't make me feel any less guilty.
  • Mayor Bloomberg really screwed up here and the NYRR should have canceled this race with or without the Mayor.  In light of pushing off the cancellation, the organization should have written a better explanation, something like this would have been better.  
  • Not living in this city and being here this weekend made me feel like a disaster tourist. I believe that is part of the reason why I didn't volunteer during this trip. Perhaps next time we are here we will do something, you know when everyone has forgotten about Staten Island, Stony Point, The Rockaways and Red Hook.
  • Nearly 100 people died earlier this week in this city and many more throughout the region. Ten thousand or so runners were celebrating in Central Park today. It is a hard thing to get your head around these things.  But as our rabbi noted at services on Friday night, even in the face of such unimaginable tragedy, we still celebrate.  We did get to see loved ones. Babies and wish congratulations to expecting parents personally and open our (empty) apartment to friends. And thousands of runners did help out today and thousands of others celebrated their own accomplishments.
  • My automatic bid for the 2013 New York City Marathon may go unused. 

I still have no idea what to make of this trip and the race that thankfully was not.

Friday, November 2, 2012

No longer conflicted

They canceled it.


I am not conflicted.

I am upset.

I will volunteer for a few hours during the day instead.

A longer post later. 

I am running, for now

The Expo was packed.
Sitting on the shuttle bus back to Grand Central, Abby and I spoke to two women from Westchester who are without power, water, or heat but are now with their bibs for the marathon. One couldn't drive her car to the train station because the huge trees that used to provide shade in her front yard are now barricading her street.

They were conflicted about the race but they are running it because it is on.  And I feel the same way.

But it seems that rumors are flying on a cancellation.

Regardless of if it is canned or we run on Sunday, I will say that I am still unbelievably torn about the event.  There has been a long back-and-forth on my Facebook page about my last post in which many of my friends, calmly and respectfully, shared differing opinions.  And I respect that. We heard both we should for sure run and we should for sure not.

One thing that seems to be completely out of place are the threats of violence against runners. There is no place for that. It isn't the runner's fault nor should we be blamed for running.  Those who choose not to run are right and those of us who choose to run are also right.  The people who are wrong here are threatening to storm the course or throw eggs at us. If you have time to throw food at me, you have time to do what you think I should be doing.

All I can say is that this is a PR disaster made completely by NYRR and the Mayor. I would have been extremely disappointed if the race was canceled but I would have understood. But now the rage of the storm has a face and that is Mary Wittenberg and every other runner who toes the line. People are mad and will make poor choices.

Now, if the mob keeps growing, and keeps threatening bodily harm, the "for now" might change.  I remain unbelievably conflicted about this race.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Conflicted

Since July I have been training for November 4th.  I have logged over 1,200 miles to train this year so I could toe the line on the Verrazano Bridge.  I did hill repeats and tempo runs.  I cut out meat and dropped pounds specifically to run faster in New York.  I did it for the love of the sport and for the love of my former city.

Super Storm Sandy completely changed the reality.  What I was getting ready for was not a tour of destruction but a celebration of New York and my progress.  Now it is being billed by supporters as a Race to Rebuild, or some such nonsense, and wasteful, dangerous, and callous by those opposed to it.

I sent a note on Tuesday to the San Francisco Road Runners group that is running the NYC Marathon saying we should make alternative plans for this race.  There was no way they would be ready for us.  But then on Wednesday the Mayor said it was a go and we boarded our rescheduled flights and now I am sitting in our completely unscathed apartment on the Upper East Side.

Upon landing, the military guys sitting across from us on the plane said something to the effect of Mayor Bloomberg is an idiot for allowing this race to go on. My mother thinks it is a waste of resources. My running chum Kai, who is running the race, also thinks this might not be the best of ideas to run a race through a city that is just days off from a catastrophic event.

But then there is a runner friend of mine who is currently living in the dark and says that the race is a fine thing to do now, and it is silly to say no to millions in revenue even if it is less than other years. There are people celebrating the city for its resiliency and ability to, as the mayor put it, move on with life. It is notable that the NYRR, the marathon's host, and ING, the marathon's named sponsor, have already given $1.5 million to the efforts and are calling on all runners to give at least $26.20 to the cause.  And not for nothing, people worked hard to get to the marathon.

I don't know how to feel. I know I feel guilty for wanting to have a good time.  I am worried that no one will be out supporting the race and if they do come out they will have nasty posters telling us to get off the streets.  I want to be principled and say I won't run. But then again, I want to run very badly and I want to PR. The wife and I always have a party and celebrate the marathon but now, after Sandy, it seems out of place.  The race will happen, and it will be toned down, but it is still an accomplishment for all the runners and the city.  So...it is hard.

The issues of the aftermath and canceling a road race don't even come into the same worlds.  But thanks to the powers that be, I have been given the choice to compete, gain a personal best while millions in this area are without power, water and heat. And honestly I thank them for this opportunity to run this race. I have wanted to run it again since I started running it in 2009. But that isn't without internal conflict.

I am hopeful that the race will be a nice distraction for people who have had a really bad week. I pray that it isn't a major drain on resources.  I also hope people are excited for the runners and the city.  This weekend will be one to remember. No matter what happens, it will be a hard day for all involved.

Not really the prep I was expecting

**WAYS TO SUPPORT THE RELIEF EFFORT**
The Mayor's Fund
URJ's Hurricane Relief Effort
American Red Cross
Give Blood

Now that this has been said.


I wasn't really expecting it and was planning for the worst.  But New York is the best city in the world and if anyone can dig out (or pump out) of a mess quickly it is New York.

A few notes about this mess:
1. Cory Booker is a bad ass.
There isn't much to say about that besides the fact that he is just in fact a bad ass.  He opened his home to anyone who needs help.  He is calling grandmothers to talk.  He is also saving puppies from burning buildings.  He is the perfect example of leadership and calm.

2. Chris Christie is a strong leader. 
I don't like his politics or his style but in this case he is doing a great job and understands the bigger picture.  His work with and praise of an arch rival such as President Obama is telling to his character.  I still would never vote for the man but it is nice to see.

3. WOW what a mess. And I am SHOCKED this race is still on.
But I am very happy it is on. It might be a great day for the city and it might be a drain on resources, but whatever it is, it will be and it will be one hell of a story. 
4. As always people are good.
The extension cord pictures. The adding people to cars to get into the city. The offers of bunking up.  We live in a great country and we should be proud of how we are working through this.
 I will update as we learn more about our beloved city.  Wish us luck.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Report: Beasts of No Nation

Remember that time I was going to read something that was both not depressing and not about Africa.  Oops.

Beasts of no Nation is a powerful and disgusting view into the lives child soldiers. The author, who was born in the U.S. but spent significant amounts of time with his family in Nigeria, opens the door to a world that anyone reading this book will have trouble imagining. This was Iweala's first novel and it reads painfully true.  War is awful and kids should not have to deal with it at this level.

This book is critically acclaimed and deservedly so. Ever so often there would be an allusion or point of clarity that was so beyond our narrator but always within his voice. Without giving too much away I was pleased that the fictitious ending was both true to history at the same time that it provided a glimmer of hope.

Read this book.

5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Random Thoughts

Some random thoughts:

1. I am running a marathon in 10 days and again in a month and nine days.
Back when I was trying to prove to myself that I was able to do anything I set my mind to, I signed up for the California International Marathon. Mind you I was already registered for the New York City Marathon.  All of my training has been focused on New York. My hill mantra is "5th Avenue" and I visualize my kick starting as we run through Engineer's Gate.

But I have another one to consider...and I think that just hit me, especially as I deal with my shin splint. But in reality, I am ready for both and I am just getting into my head.

2. Being the Bandwagon is fun.
Let's go Giants! My lovely wife is a life-long Cards fan and I am sorry she doesn't get to watch her team in the Fall Classic, but come on!  This is exciting. San Francisco is acting like a normal city with normal sports fans.  We were there for the Perfect Cain so it is clearly our arrival to a City by a Bay that took the team back to the World Series.  One down side: Listening to Joe Buck for another baseball series. I really dislike that man.
#PerfectCain
3. This is my soft launch of asking for money.
I have often coveted those with fantastic facial hair. Due to my impatience and my wife's insistence, I have never sported much more than a week and a half of beard, stash, or anything else. However, now I have committed to raising some money for testicular and prostate cancer as part of Movember, in order to be forced into facial hair.  I will be using this forum as a progress report but I will not go all Armstrong and use Rogaine or Just For Men, no matter what.  I want my contribution without controversy. (I intend to make a lot of jokes at Lance's expense.)

4. This election could be over now. 
I am done. And so are most Americans. Here in California we have all these wacky Props that will most likely not work and I am sick of the ads.  I bet FOX is pretty excited that the election is after the World Series...at least they get the reveune from these interminable ads. I will be voting for the goods guys and not the bad guys. That is all.
 
5.  I am now on the Board of Directors of my running club.
I was honored to be asked to join the SFRRC board and I think based both on my presentation of ideas and my outfit, I got the job. 
A Pro Running Outfit

I am excited to take part in organizational management and help our club be even better. Join us for a run sometime.

6. In one week I will fly to NYC. 
I am excited to see friends and family. Also I get to run the marathon...in case I didn't mention that.

My Bib - 42053

Friday, October 19, 2012

Book Report: Little Bee

I would love to read a book about Africa that wasn't so damn depressing.  But hey, that isn't going to happen.

This is my second book with significant African themes I have read as part of my new year's resolution.  Not surprisingly, this book also was kind of a downer. However, it was beautiful. It was powerful. And it was thoroughly fiction.

The last book, Running the Rift, while also fiction, seemed more believable, even the end which was lacking in the believable.  Little Bee was a great story and I blew through it, wanting to know what was going to happen next.  However, it just did not have any bit of believability.  I suppose that is why it was fiction.

It also ended abruptly, but it was a perfect ending.

I was very impressed with the female voice that came from this author.  Chris Cleave wrote a wonderful book with powerful characters with deep flaws. I would recommend everyone to read this book.

4.75 out of 5 stars.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

3:35:00 to 3:45:59

 Training is done.
Well, pretty close to done.
Now it is time to talk goals.

I will break this down into some sections. First, the most obvious:

TIME GOAL
I will be gunning for a 3:35 finish.  This will be a 25 minute PR and will take nearly an hour and a half  off my first New York Marathon finishing time.  This is my official declaration of my "A Goal." This is lofty.  However, I was able to nail 10 Yasso 800s  at 3:35 and I am completely comfortable at an 8:15 to 8:10 pace for longer, yet faster runs. My tempo pace is a minute faster and I can keep that up in hilly San Francisco.  So I should be able to hit my goal.


Hillary Clinton is Gangster

Interestingly two of my most read posts ever have been on sexism and gender issues.  I find them to be extremely interesting for a number of reasons, most obviously was because of how I grew up.  I am most proud of the post about my feelings on Anne-Marie Slaughter's treatise on the mythical work-life-balance.  Slaughter's epic was based on her time in the Clinton State Department.  And it appears that Hillary Clinton, life-long woman, has a few words for her former staffer.

If there was any question if Hillary Clinton is an abject badass, this interview clears up any confusion:

Last summer Anne-Marie Slaughter, Clinton's former director of policy planning, caused a stir among the State Department ranks when she wrote a controversial cover story in The Atlantic, entitled "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," about why she felt an obligation to quit Clinton's staff because she found "juggling high-level governmental work with the needs of two teenage boys was not possible."

Once the dean of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, she is now back at Princeton as a professor.

When asked by Marie Claire about the piece, Clinton didn't hold back.

"I can't stand whining," she told the magazine. "I can't stand the kind of paralysis that some people fall into because they're not happy with the choices they made. You live in a time when there are endless choices."
She pointed out that she spent her life advocating on behalf of women and tried to make work places, including the State Department, friendlier to women with children. Another dig at Slaughter suggested she just didn't have what it takes to play with the big girls.

"Some women are not comfortable working at the pace and intensity you have to work at in these jobs … Other women don't break a sweat."

Oh yeah. I don't believe that she is done either. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Spectating a Marathon

When the wife and I were walking back to the bus yesterday after watching the Giants loss to the Cards, we were talking about another sporting event that took place in San Francisco during the day.  Not the 49er's loss but rather the Nike Women's Marathon.

She said to me that is nice that I get so excited to watch other regular Joes (or in this case mostly Janes) run for 4+ hours for no good reason.  I said to her, I know the pain these people have chosen to inflict upon themselves and the joy they have created for themselves. I get it. I like ringing my cowbell and showing off my inappropriate signs.  It is fun. And I know it helps.

While I didn't race yesterday, I feel like I spent nearly as long as I will on the course next month, so here is my spectating recap.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Nazis are still bad

Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panagiotaros
(No Head Tattoo in Real Life)
Over the past few years there has been an alarming increase in the power far right wing political parties, especially in Eastern and Southern Europe.  Quietly, they have amassed power and influence.  Now we all know that Nazis were bad and we probably don't want them ruling parts of Europe again.  So I am puzzled why more people aren't pissed off about the rise of the Golden Dawn in Greece and Jobbik in Hungry, among others.

It is not really surprising that the inflation that is killing these poorer nations is being inflicted by the stronger Northern and Western European powers and that this economic shift came before the real power surge for these right wing groups. For those of you not getting my less-than-subtle histo-economic reference, I point you to the Great War Reparations that were levied upon Weimar Germany.  In short, Germany, loser of the First World War, got hosed in the post war deal making room.  It lead to technical hyper-inflation, where burning currency to stay warm was more efficient than paying for heat with the same paper notes.

Now, we have the European Central Bank and the IMF and others pushing Greece and others to make HUGE cuts to social services.  So why not blame the Jews and the Muslims and the Gypsies and the immigrants who are taking up the share of social services that belong to real Greeks/Hungarians/others?  It has worked before, so why change?  No good reason I can see...

The Business Insider has been reporting on this issue for a while and the New York Times has a few articles on the issue. With the U.S. Presidential election completely into allegations of Big-Bird-a-cide odds are we aren't going to hear much about this from Obama or Romney.  This is sort of surprising since the European economic recovery, which will be hampered by the return of Facism, is pretty central to the U.S. economic recovery.

Surprisingly it hasn't really made the rounds in the Jewish community.  You might think Jews would be a bit less pleased with Nazis in new clothing roaming around the birthplace of Democracy.

But not so much.

This has me worried.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Report: Zeitoun

There is some really nasty stuff that happens in this country, and Zeitoun is the perfect example of this nasty stuff.

Set in the days leading-up to, during, and the months after Hurricane Katrina, this book follows the lives of the Zeitoun family as they deal with the city they loved under water, the business they built, and the strange after shocks of the Patriot Act.

As with all Eggers' books, this is beautifully written and provides a glimpse of reality that is just so close to unbelievable that it hurts to read.  However, I got home after work yesterday and read 100 pages before I went to workout and finished the next 150 after going to bed.

Abdulrahman Zeitoun (pronounced Zay-toon), a Syrian Muslim living in New Orleans, owned a contracting company, lived a normal life, and seemed to love his wife and kids.  He stayed behind to protect his investment and personal properties in New Orleans after the storm. He saved a few lives along the way.  He also saw things no one in this country should see.

He was wrongfully imprisoned on suspicions of terrorism and it changed him.  He was not extreme but devout according to the book.  This was clear based on his drive to pray regardless of conditions and rejection of pork product when he was feed during his illegal incarceration. But he was also, according to the book, a tolerant man who called a gay married couple close family friends and was honored to restore churches as Houses of God after the storm.

The book chronicles the PTSD that his wife was dealing with but it didn't really jump deeply into Zeitoun's issues.  Which is sad.  Because, as I went looking for a book cover photo today to include in this post I learned that the Zeitouns have divorced due to his violence against his ex-wife.  It is sad.

We could say it is because of the storm, his illegal processing at the hands of Homeland Security, or even, as his wife says in the above linked article, his "adoption of a 'radical' religious philosophy that she emphasized does not reflect true Muslim beliefs."  Anyway you slice it, it is sad.  In some ways I am happy I didn't Google them until after I finished the book. But in truth, his depraved violence against his wife and her sickness post-storm don't take away from the story nor does it change the injustice done.  It just makes me sad.

This book shines light on one of the worst times in Modern American History, so I suppose it was naive to expect the somewhat happy ending that was presented.

5 out 5 stars.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

This Canned Zinger is Brought to you by the Letter C

"Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down." (source)
Let's review: Mitt Romney wiped the floor with Barack Obama during the debate.  No, he did not use a rope-a-dope or any other boxing/sport/debate metaphor. The President was beaten by the Governor, and the Governor has seen a slight bump in the polls because of it. 

However, Mitt had a few canned zingers ready for the president.  The most notable was his professed love for Big Bird, but his desire to cut funding to PBS. Now anyone who watched The West Wing knows this is a long-time talking point of the right: cut funding for public education because blah blah blah states rights.  There was the great episode when some congressional aid from some right-wing office comes in to say something to Toby about funding and he completely loses his mind...come to think of it that was a vast majority of the show.

But in this particular episode, Toby lists all of the PBS shows he watched as a child that drove him to want to read more and go to school longer and serve the public professionally. So this brew-ha-ha is nothing new.

Now, after a week of Big Bird references on Twitter and even in passing from the campaigns-endorsed talking heads, we have an official, I-approve-this-message campaign ad from the Obama camp using Big Bird against Romney.

STOP IT NOW. TALK ABOUT REAL THINGS AND NOT THIS STUPID DISTRACTION AND GET TO WORK.

Obama 2012 - More Grudgingly Each Day - Not the best slogan, but you NOT HELPING YOUR CAUSE.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Book Report: Born to Run

If you run and have yet to read this book, you should.  The stories are fantastic, the "characters" are nearly unbelievable, and the writing is journalistic and induces rapid page turning.

I still wear shoes to run.

I do not believe we should toss all our technology in order to get back to the basics.  In Scott Jurek's book he discusses the need to find balance in our embrace of old traditions and the information based technology we can use to learn more about our running.  While it is great that people who have never worn shoes are able to run great distances without modern running shoes, I am not one of those people. 

I do have a few pairs of minimalist shoes and they hurt my feet. However, the form that I have learned by using them makes my stride more efficient and comfortable while I wear my supportive running shoes.  There is much to learn from other people and their heritage, however the fetish of barefoot running is just that.

The Tarahumara wore shoes that they had.  Their existence is hard and most people don't want it.  I have no interest in living in a cave in the Mexican desert. Anyone reading this blog and saying otherwise is either lying or crazy. This not a judgement on their choice to live this way, but it isn't for me.  I can take pieces of their story and change parts of my running...but beyond that I am lost at the drive to ditch our shoes.

Look at all the elite runners. All wear shoes when racing.  Many didn't wear shoes when they are kids...but all wear shoes when adults.  I just can't get my head around it.

All that said, I liked the story and the book was great.

4.75 out of 5 stars. 

(For those keeping count, I made my goal of 10 books in a year. This was one of the best New Year's resolutions I have ever made.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Things I learned in the debate








Restarting and Finishing at the Same Time

In case you forgot, I am training for the New York City Marathon.  We are currently one month and one day away from the race and I think fall is the perfect time to train for a marathon, and this is why.


This past week included Yom Kippur and a 22 mile run.  Both were important for very similar reasons.  The High Holidays are a way to restart and recharge, and I used them for that.  And that was good.  Sitting in services last week, I had the time to really think about more important "stuff" like family and long-term planning and what my role should be in making the world better.  I did this on a very empty stomach and I believe it was exactly what I needed.

From time to time, it is important for us over thinkers to take that moment to be grateful, and say we are sorry, and start again. Yom Kippur is exactly that. The most holy day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur is a fast day, the final chance to apologize to God and to the people in our lives.  It is also the last day to accept an apology. It is the last chance to restart for a new year. 

Last weekend marked the first of three 20+ mile weekend runs in a row which make up my longest mileage weeks of my training. While I had already had a 20 miler on the books this year, I was still very unsure about this run.  Twenty-two miles is a long way to go.  As I said, I am an over thinker, hence this blog.  But I also know that I was physically ready.  But again, 22 miles is a long way to go.  Running, like most things is just as mental as it is physical.

After fretting about it and making jokes in the pre-dawn hours along Ocean Beach, the run flew by and I felt great.  Each interval (the club runs 8 minutes and walks for 1 minute at my pace) went by extremely quickly, but they were right on pace.  My last three miles were well under marathon goal pace and I was even able to walk up and down stairs without pain. (Grace is another thing.)

This is good.

This too was a restart.

Unlike some of my online running chums, I have been really lucky with my training.  Work and health have cooperated.  I have been able to nurse pesky niggles and stay away from crushing pain.  Work is work and I have been able to get in all of my runs (baring a few days of just not doing it).  However, after logging over a thousand miles this year, it get tiresome.

The High Holidays and the rest of the Fall Jewish holidays call upon people to stop, reload for the winter, and give thanks.  Long runs help me with this process.

Last night as I ran 9 Yasso 800s at the track under a HUGE harvest moon, I smiled and thought how great it was to be alive, to be able to run whenever I want, and how great it is to be a Jew.  Sure, this isn't what most people think about when they are running in circles on the track but I did.

I have been trying to find a reason that running isn't selfish...I still think it is.  However, it helps me be better at everything else in my life. Running also gives you time to focus on nothing but what you are doing.  I believe that to be a Jewish value.

So Chag Semach and Run Strong.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Power of Egg Salad

  1. Boil eggs
  2. Peel eggs
  3. Place eggs in vessel 
  4. Add mayo and Dijon mustard until right
  5. Salt, pepper, and paprika, to taste
  6. Paprika on top for color
This simple recipe dominated our pre-Yom Kippur preparation for years.  More or less since I left the URJ to move into the private sector, Abby and I have hosted the break-the-fast for our Jewish friend who were stuck far away from family on the holiday. It started small, with about 10 people (a dozen eggs) we collected at services who had no where to go and ballooned to about 35 people (four and half dozen eggs) in our 550 square foot apartment in New York, with the smoked fish sponsored by the CC parental units.  

It was a big deal. We had kuggel and bagels.  We had fish for about 300 people and fruit and cookies and challah, juice, coffee, soda, and every once in a while a few shots of booze.  But for our friend Anna, the egg salad was reason enough to move heaven and earth.  Her break-the-fast was not complete without the consumption of copious amounts of the above listed egg salad. 

This year, we did not make it nor did Anna eat it. And that was strange.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book Report: Eat & Run


While I read this in about two days (during the week and having work to do too), this book was not that good.  I suppose reading one of the best memoirs ever written according to some list I read somewhere and then reading this semi-self-help running book didn't set it up for what it could be...but overall I didn't love it.

Scott Jurek's story is an interesting one and one I trust others could learn something from.  However, as he notes, it isn't that special.  He was a kid who had it tough but not that hard (it might have been worse but the book doesn't dive that deep into it) and he had trouble with his marriage that doesn't seem that extraordinary (or it might have been but the book doesn't dive that deep into it) and he worked really hard at becoming the greatest ultra runner of all time but not harder than I think you would have to in order to run more than 100 miles in a day (or he did but the book doesn't dive that deep into it).

I will say that I very much enjoyed the stories of the races and wish he went into more detail (see above) about what he had to do and what made him run like this.  I run marathons and I have to change parts of my life to get by...I believe it would have made the book better to know more about his non-running struggles.

This was also my first "with" book.  I believe after flying through this light read that I could tell when Steve Friedman's hand was heavier than Scott Jurek's dictation.  It wasn't always extremely apparent but it was clear after a while.

A couple of words about vegans.  There is no such thing as a non-militant vegan.  I believe Jurek might come close, but not really.  A vast majority of the recipes in this book seem good, but would be improved with butter.  I will however, try to recover with less animal product now...so in some ways Jurek wins.  In others I had a burger last night and it was good.

Three and half out of five stars.