Monday, September 16, 2013

An alphabet of woe

Who among is righteous enough to say: ‘I have not sinned?’ We are arrogant, brutal, careless, destructive, egocentric, false, greedy, heartless, insolent, and joyless. Our sins are an alphabet of woe.

For those of you who weren't really hungry this weekend, let me fill you in. This line is from the Reform Jewish Movement's Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) liturgy. On Yom Kippur Jews confess their sins collectively so not to embarrass those who actually are heartless or insolent. The traditional Hebrew prayer, Ashamnu, is also an alphabetical acrostic.

This year, as always, I was not righteous enough to say, I have not sinned. This year, it was clear that I had committed just a few of these alphabetical sins, most obviously arrogance, carelessness, and destructive behavior.

And that was very clear as I stood for long periods during the communal confessions of these sins.

While the actual pain isn't the point, the time to sit and think about your short comings is exactly the point. My ankle hurt a lot during these extended standing prayers. So when we were sitting there and doing our thing, I had the time to contemplate my arrogance and carelessness.

I believe that after dealing with this injury, or rather not dealing with it, I won't commit these sins again. And it is also part of the liturgy that to truly atone, one must not only be sorry, but not do it again.

Happy New Year Jews and here is to not being an arrogant asshat in 5774. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Doctor and Everyone's Second Opinion

Yesterday's post elicited a number of emails and comments from running friends.  Nearly everyone of them started with "boy I am sorry about the news" and finished with "you should find another doctor."

While I thank everyone for their support, I don't think my doctor is wrong. Nor do I think I honestly represented what she told me.

Now here is what she actually said.

"I have been thinking about you and your dedication to running...let me put it this way, you never would have been allowed in the army during WWII." She went on to say that the mechanics of my feet (which are flat as a board) are not conducive to distance running. Additionally all those fancy pictures say that the other issues listed after the cyst on yesterday's post are most likely not directly due to my acute ankle sprain but rather thanks to the over 4,000 miles I have run in the past three years.

In other words, I have been beating up my feet and it really isn't a fair fight. 

This is not news to me. Since I was a kid, running wasn't easy for me. I was slow and big. I was always one of the last to finish the mile in gym class and I was in the bottom third of the football players during sprints and other such torture. My ankles always hurt when playing football and when I would push myself to work out when I was in college. But ever since I got better at running back in 2010, these problems weren't really a problem.

I ran uninjured until I hit 45 miles per week. That was too much. In addition to the flat feet, I was born stubborn. When combined with my flat feet and running, it became a dangerous.  I kept running through pain which lead to this situation.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Explitives but not only explitives

A ganglion cyst in my sinus tarsi. Stress reaction in under my sinus tarsi. Mild Achilles peritonitis and enthesitis. Mild peroneal tenosynovial inflammation and reactive edema in the subjacent portions of the calcaneus. Old injuries and scarring of the mortise joint ligament stabilizers. Mild posterior tibial tenosynovial inflammation and pes planus.
You can see the inflammation

Well that is what I got.

What I don't have: A stress fracture or a tear in my tendons. While this isn't great it isn't horrible. The real issue at hand is fixing the ganglion cyst in my sinus tarsi.  There are a number of things to do to fix it and I will start doing those things in the coming week or so. I will document that as well.

The bad news is the doctor says I shouldn't be running. Like not just not now, but not ever. That clearly won't do. I am trying figure out what I am going to do to get rid of this ganglion cyst in my sinus tarsi and other inflamed things in my left foot (I can't believe I haven't made more "My Left Foot" jokes) as I wrap my head around potentially never running another marathon.

A longer, and perhaps a more profound, post on this issue tomorrow. For now I am going to watch Sports Center and sulk. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Running Myself Aground

My MRIs and XRays will be read tomorrow. I will hopefully find out what kind of damage has been done and what I will need to do to fix it.

I am getting nervous. Ok, I am just willing to admit that I am nervous. I have been nervous since not being able to run more than five miles without serious pain back in June.

And until this morning I was channeling this energy into less-than-healthy pursuits of eating lots of food and drinking lots of beer. And since I (less-than-) humbly bragged about my weight loss on this platform during my running days, I will humbly note that I am just about five pounds off my move-to-California weight. This is bad.

Recently I went to the doctor for a physical and received a very clean bill of health with cholesterol levels well above and below the right numbers, liver and kidneys found to be in good order, and everything else is working-as-intended. As he was leaving the room, the doctor said, "You are a healthy guy. (pause) You could do something about the weight, but otherwise you are very healthy." Yeah. Thanks Doc.

In the best case scenario, I will not be able to run for about six weeks. This means I need to figure out what the hell I am going to do to loss some of this nervous weight I have put back on due to my inability to run and feeling sorry for myself.

So in addition to using my trusty MyFitnessPal app again, I started swimming seriously last week complete with a training program for geared toward developing endurance. I love me a training program. It starts with a 50-100-150 pyramid warm-up, then the main workout is 400s broken out into odds and evens, with odds being a 100IM and 300 Free at a moderate to strong pace and evens being a 400 Free at a moderate pace.  I do a just-barely-not-drowning Breast stroke for the proscribed 200 cool down of "non-Free." Today I did three reps (odd, even, odd) of the main workout, total time in the water was about 50 minutes.

JCCSF: Where I swim with the yentas.

Swimming is fun and I am getting better at it as I continue to swim (shocking I know).  But it isn't running and I am not good. Also, even at my best, I look more like the old dudes doing aqua-floaty-aerobics than the Ironman bros doing mad laps in the fast lanes. Not that I care that much about how I look walking around the pool, but I actually care a lot about how I look walking around the pool. It is quite literally a slippery* slope regarding how I feel about how I look and what I can do about it at this point of my injury.

There will be no running for a while. So into the pool with the hopes of knocking out flip turns without having a gallon of water rush up my nose. Who knows, the doctor my proscribe me a floatation belt and I will get to know some of the older folks yacking it up in the deep end.

The update tomorrow may or may not be comprised solely of profanities. Fair warning.

*I made a "don't run on the deck" joke and it was very bad. Sorry about that.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Well, [Expletive]

I went back to the doctor today. Unlike my last appointment, I don't plan on running a marathon next week.  In fact, I am not sure I would be able to do so even if I was in shape for it.

Due to this change in circumstance it appears the doctor was more interested in finding the cause of my ankle pain and not simply patching me up enough to get on the road.*

After ignoring the pain for months and other stupid things like running when it hurt and being an idiot, I am off to get some radiation that isn't coming from the ocean.

I suppose injuries are part of running. But I would rather they weren't.  I also suppose that is part of the reason I ran through the pain.

My new doctor said today that I was "a tough guy" and it really has to hurt before "tough guys" come in to get checked out. The time line of my pain also supports her hypothesis. I hope that my imaging doesn't show some sort of long-term or permanent damage but you never know.  I trained really hard on a semi-nasty, long-nagging injury. It was stupid and I knew it was stupid, but I needed to get that tempo run in, you know?

There are many of us "tough guys" out there who train through pain and then are sidelined.  We know better.  We know we should stretch more.  We know we should strengthen our gluts and core. We know we should take the rest days seriously.  We know we should take the ice bath.  But do we do it? Many of us don't do enough or anything at all.

So while the insurance approves the MRIs and XRays I will have time to contemplate the fact that it is no long self-effacing humor to say I was stupid. I might actually simply be stupid. 

*In retrospect it was probably not right of the doctor who I saw in April to say I could run the race in that condition without taking some sort of diagnostic imaging to back up her opinion. If the doctor said don't run, I wouldn't have run. I would have been pissed, but I also would most likely no longer be in pain.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An open letter to shoe companies

Dear Running Shoe Companies,

Every few months, I provide you with between $100 and $150. Most of the time I will purchase one kind of shoe for a year until you either change it drastically or I hurt myself and I need to try something new to support my newly found injury.  Dearest Running Shoe Companies, you may have noticed that I haven't been keeping up on this running blog over the last few months...and that is because I have been dealing with (or-not-dealing-with-whatever-leave-me-alone-I-am-going-to-the-doctor-tomorrow-shut-up) a hurt ankle.

So after working my last pair of shoes into the ground as part of my non-impact, non-running, very-boring work outs at the gym, I needed a new pair of running shoes. I decided a pair with significantly more support, perhaps even motion control, would be a good idea to protect my ankle from pronation thanks to my super flat feet.

I went off to Sports Basement to get a new pair of shoes and committed to the support. But to my dismay all of those options were ugly and monochromatic.  I am sure you know, Running Shoe Companies, I like to wear crazy shoes and wacked out running gear. But why you got to be like that with the supportive shoes?

Not all of us are grandmothers trying to get in a few laps with our mall walking group.  Some of your most dedicated runners are slightly larger with flat feet and flair for the dramatic running outfit. Ok that is just me, but really what gives?

Brooks, one of my favorite running companies has BRIGHT shoes and gear but BORING motion control kicks. Nike seems to have some fun stuff for the support-deficient crowd, but nothing like their insanely fun to look at Free Series or fly knit woven shoes.  Asics, makers of those neat-o painted shoes, make gray and blue shoes for people like me.

Step up your support shoe decorations folks. I like to look fly when I am running and it seems if I ever can get back to really covering great distances, I would like more choices than topee and light green stripes.

And yes, it feels good to be back even it if is only for five or six miles.

Send my best to your family,


Monday, June 10, 2013

Without a plan

I don't have one of these right now.
For nearly the past three years, I have been constantly training for a marathon or half marathon.  I could have run a half marathon on one day's notice pretty much at anytime during this period. I had a plan I would stick to it no matter what, even to the determent of my own body (see: busted ankle posts).

But now, thanks to the parenthetically noted busted ankle, I am not following an official training plan.  And as I noted late last week, my not-on-paper plan of three runs and three spins was just a bit ambitious for my out-of-shape self. 

So I am without a plan. I feel lost and cold inside.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Yeah, not so much

I started with such high hopes.

After two days of spin and one run, I am here to report that my ankle is not 100% and I am 100% out of shape.

Nothing else to report, but I feel obligated to note that my high hopes of 3 runs and 3 spins is already off course...perhaps I will work up to it...or I will just complain about.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Break is Over

Running in Rome.
Over the past month I have been recovering from my sprained ankle. I have done my rehab and some stationary biking, and clocked about eight total miles of running. Granted those runs were in Rome and Tuscany, so that part is cool.
Running under the Tuscan Sun
But now I got to get back into shape.

There were a bunch of stories of late in running magazines noting the benefits of elites taking time off and gaining weight and such. Well I have done that and I hope to reap those getting fat benefits.

After a fantastic vacation in Italy and New York and Chicago, it is time to lose the 10 pounds I found (read: stuffed into my mouth in the form of outrageous pasta, pizza, wine, salted meats, gelato, and other lovely foodstuffs) as well as the other 10 pounds I was hoping to have lost before this vacation started.

It will take time and I won't make the mistake of blasting out of the gate with too much for a semi-weak ankle and totally depleted cardiovascular system.

So I will only run three times a week for a max mileage of 25 miles and spin about three times a week along with continued rehab.  Like I said, nice and easy...

And we're back.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tacoma City Marathon

Runners crossing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge
(via: The News Tribune)
Some things I have learned running the Tacoma City Marathon
  • Whenever a race says it is a net down hill course they mean that there are lots of hills. 
  • 75 degrees is nice for the beach but not for completely exposed miles 19 through 26.2.
  • The Pacific Northwest is beautiful when the weather is nice. 
  • But most importantly, don't run a marathon with a sprained ankle.
I was very worried about running 26.2 miles on a pretty much sprained ankle. Until Friday of last week, I wasn't so sure I would get through the race. But thanks to the improvement to my stability achieved in the last few days of PT, I went into Sunday with a pretty good idea that I would be able to finish but it would hurt, like a mother. 

Guess what?  I was right. I ran my second fastest marathon on a sprain, in 75 degree heat, on a rolling course through beautiful areas of a city I most likely will never visit again.  A win in my book.

Friday, May 3, 2013

If you see something, say something

This story ends well.

Last night I packed my bag.  I checked to make sure I had everything I could possibly need.  I did.  Then I checked again this morning. I still had what I needed.

After a very healthy breakfast, another check of everything, and a friendly reminder from the wife as we left about everything I had just checked, we left and locked the door.

I got a seat on the bus, put my bag down behind me (foreshadowing much?) and started reading the Times on my phone.

At the last stop, which happens to be mine, I got off thinking about the ice coffee I was going to enjoy.  And then it hit me.

Thanks Muni!

My bag, complete with perfectly worn in shoes, shorts, and lucky race shirt was on the 2 Bus heading to the beginning of the route, the depot, or God-knows where.  So I took off running while calling 411 for the phone number of the Muni lost and found.

Sprinting down Spear Street, I took a sharp right on Mission while talking to the operator getting the number for Muni which I didn't connect with.  I took another sharp right stopping to talk to some bus drivers on Main Street.  They told me to call 311 and the bus will most likely be exactly where I started my dead sprint.  So I called 311 as I was sprinting back to Market and saw the bus pulling up to its stop.  I jumped into the street and kicked up the speed and got there as the driver was about to call the cops.


Then I got that ice coffee, and a cookie.  As I was taking the elevator up to my office I was extremely thankful that my absent mindedness didn't lead to a potential terrorist threat on my bus line.  I was also pretty pleased that my little speed workout didn't hurt.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bosu Blogging is Like Gonzo Journalism

This week has been tough. The ankle, the complete and total taper (read: NO RUNNING), the PT, and the bosu ball. And then that pesky work thing.

Eric my PT, who thinks I am an idiot but respects the drive to toe the line, has put me on an increasing my balance regiment and somewhat impressively, it has worked pretty well. But he also has reintroduced me to an old friend: the bosu ball.

They call it a bosu ball because son-of-a-bitch ball was taken
Back in New York, I used the bosu ball to do fake sit-ups and pretend that I was in the work-out know.  I was not. I used it very rarely and it sucked. I do not like this piece of equipment and it doesn't like me. I would look at it as the torture devices I have learned it to be.

However this week I went from being unable to stand on it with both feet in the above pictured position, to being able to stand with one foot (either the good or bad one) flipped over for about 45 seconds before I fall off.  I think that is pretty good for a guy with a still-sorta-sprained ankle and NO balance.

The underlying issue I have, like so many runners, is extremely weak gluts.  Runners have lots of good things going on for them, however, atrophy of the gluts is not one of them.  This kind of weakness leads to a number of problems including an inability to stabilize and allow for my busted ankle to heal. So I have been balancing a lot.  I am getting good at it but still there is a little pain.  Well more like sore muscles I have never used.

Monday, April 29, 2013


This past Friday, after not being able to run more than a half mile without extreme pain on Tuesday, I finally saw a doctor.  I went into the room expecting to walk out in a boot but I still wanted to put up a strong front.

I said, "My ankle hurts and has for about three months. I am running a marathon next Sunday. What can we do?"

The PA took notes, asked questions, a few of which had to do with my sanity for running as long as I did on a painful ankle.  Then the doctor came in and put it on the table.

It is official: I have been running for the past three months on a sprained ankle. To be more specific it is a Grade 2 Anterior tabofibular ligament sprain.

Well what does that mean?  For a normal person that would mean I would stop running and get physical therepy for a few weeks and continue to mend my weak ligament over the course of a month or so.

But for me, it means I am going to PT for five straight days, then getting on a flight to Tacoma to run my marathon.

But like I said, I got a plan. #OperationGLOOMA is in full effect and making great progress on the South Western front, otherwise known as my left ankle. #OperationGLOOMA or "Get Liquid Out Of My Ankle" is a complex project with many players, exercises, ultra-sound, ibuprofen, ice packs, and swimming pools.  Getting the liquid out will enable the fibers of the ligament to reattach and provide additional stability for my race. So you better believe I am all in on this week long campaign to win the war.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Today was the first time I cried

Saturday is our club's long run and today was no different, except it was.  Today we welcome back our friends who are now victims of terror and runners of one the of best road races in the world.  Some of the people were clearly doing better than others but none of us, those who ran Boston and those of us who were worried about them here, were ok. We were all shaken.

Before the run I gave a short interview to KTVU, one that I have given to a number of outlets over the past week.  In short we, the San Francisco Road Runners Club stands with all of Boston. We are proud of our runners and we will support our runners who qualify or raise money to run next year.  But the thing that I say with all honesty to every interviewer is that these little deranged bastards will not stop me from running. They will not keep our tight community away from the race or any American away from living our lives.

Today David Ortiz nailed it in his speech after the National Anthem and Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the FCC, agreed with his heart felt sentiment. Neil Diamond came on his own dime to sing Sweet Caroline during the Red Sox game.  And the San Francisco Road Runners ran through San Francisco. These little weak people will not stop us from living as free Americans. 

But what made this so real to me was the pain I saw in my friends' eyes today.  The tears they shed when talking about it or the look they gave you when asking how they were doing today.  

We talk a lot about being stronger than this attack. And we are stronger than this attack.  But that doesn't get rid of the pain and suffering.  It doesn't eliminate the feeling of vulnerability.  It doesn't change the images. It doesn't save the lives of those lost nor does it restore the lives forever altered.  

Now we must use this strength that we have seen in the faces of Boston's finest and ordinary citizens to move forward together.  But after a week like this, it was a huge relief to see my friends alive and as well as they can be. It became even more real today. No more TV images. These are my people and this was scary. But we are together, and we are strong. We won't forget but we will move on. Maybe not today, or tomorrow. But we will. We will keep running, together.

Monday, April 15, 2013

We all ran Boston today

Today was horrible.

Today was supposed to be a day about the power of humanity because unlike at any other event, no one's rooting against anyone. Yes this is one of the worst things that could have happened.

But it won't stop me. It won't stop my friends. It won't stop Americans.

The Boston Marathon will go on. There will be runners, there will be winners, and there will be fans who watch on the sidelines and support. 

May God and everything that is good help those hurt and lost today.  But know this, you sons-of-bitches, who ever you are, we aren't going to stop doing what we do.  We will run again. We will do so with a renewed passion for life and liberty.

Today was horrible.  But there is tomorrow and the next day after.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

And the dreams begin

It looks like this...but glows in the dark.
I am late to the start.  It is usually due to some back up of a flying buffalo or something that only makes perfect sense deep in the REM cycle.

I get to the start, futz with my bib -- there is always something wrong with the bib -- and I get started.

There are strange things going on around me.

I run at Olympic Trial pace which is faster than I can run a two mile time trial for the first 16 miles and I feel great...and then I wake up.

I don't get to find out if I run for the US Team in Rio. I also don't get my victory ride on the flying buffalo.

Clearly it is getting close to marathon time.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

50ish miles a week and a full time job


I love working hard and it is great to have a challenging job.  But that leaves very little time for blogging.

By ways of catching up know these things: I am still running and my ankle still hurts.

But that isn't the point of today's post. The point is how to train for a marathon properly and be stupid busy.

The short story is you sleep less.  The long story is, longer.
#SeenOnMyRun - Darkness

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Next Week and Possibly Beyond

Working is about to be like whoa.

So I won't be blogging.

I know you are totally bummed.

To make you feel better, here is a picture of puppies.
They are running.
Glad you got over it.

See you soon.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Fraternity of the Morning Dark

Today, I ran 20 miles with about seven of them before the sun even broke the Eastern horizon. As I was running along in the dark I thought about what I would write.  This is what I started in my head...and ended here.  It is free form; it is poetry -- so feel free to make fun of me. No really.  I totally have it coming but I don't care. However, read to the end. Then make fun of me.

There is a Fraternity of the early morning
The nod across the street in the pre-dawn hours 
Blinking don't-kill-me-lights casting red shadows on parked cars
Lost in thoughts born of dreams still in progress but cut short to an obsession

Miles lost to dodging delivery trucks and old Chinese ladies doing Tai Chi
Rolling over Clement to Sutro down the Great Highway
Flying down hill towards faux Quixotean visions 
Still in the dark and not yet awake 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Heraclitus on Running

Just Google it.
Here is an update on my new training program.  I still really like it and it is still more fun than the old, unchanged, versions. But there are a few flaws with the changing of the training program.

This week's mid-week tempo-like run was a 3x10min @ Half Marathon Race Pace with three minutes easy running between each interval. I was lucky to be able to get a bit of this run in with my chum Pavement Runner as we discussed business.

The Good:
The run was great and pretty easy to keep pace, but not easy overall. Spending 30 minutes of a 50 minute run in the middle of the week at race pace isn't extremely difficult but the assistance of a breakfast burrito sitting squarely in my gut didn't make the first interval pleasant. 

This workout was felt like it was designed with a marathon in mind.  As I was pushing for my last ten minutes, I wasn't as gassed as I have been on longer tempo runs or on old speed work days.  It felt like I was working hard but like I had plenty left in the tank.  I hope to feel that way at mile 22 in May.  I think that is the point. Time will tell.
The Not as Good
It took just over six miles to get in this workout safely (with a warm up and cool down) even though the schedule called for four. It was deceptively longer than I thought it would be.  As written it was 39 minutes of running.  But after running all week, it takes about a mile to warm up and another mile or so to cool down.  When scheduling my life around my running schedule I like looking quickly and knowing how long I will be working out...this one took a little more math, and I don't like math.
More updates on the training plan as the come.  Tomorrow I will be getting my long run in due to travel plans over the weekend.  I will be on the road by 5:30am (if not earlier) and will hopefully have lots of pretty pictures and tales to share with all six of you reading the blog. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Running Commentary

The view down Parkway Calabasas, Mile 2
I was supposed to be running the La Jolla Canyon trail race, but alas it was cancelled. Since I already had my tickets to come to SoCal and I got to hangout with my parents, I came down anyway.

The new training schedule called for 18 miles with 14 at MRP + 10 to 20 seconds.  So I had to find 18 miles to run here in Calabasas.

I started pretty early, hitting the road at 6:41am, according to the watch and ran around the neighborhood to warmup.  It took a while to get the lead out of my legs.  My parents' neighborhood is extremely hilly and the first few miles had a few steep ups and downs, making the warmup not so great on the legs. The second was down an easy hill.

After getting down toward the freeway, I ran north along back roads which most likely have a 10,000 foot elevation change.  After about three miles on Everest the back road I headed West along Las Virgenes Road toward Malibu.  I ran by my middle school which somehow has gotten much smaller over the years and then headed into the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains.

While I was supposed to be running in those hills for a race, it wasn't so bad getting some solo running along a two lane highway...with some of my closets truck friends. 

Miles 6 though about 10

I headed back the way I came and only almost was hit by a car once; mom, that is a really low number of near-death encounters for a long run. I finished my 14 miles at pace just shy of three miles from home and slowed down just a bit to cool off.  I hit 18 miles, walked for about three minutes and then jogged home.

I was wearing shorts. Or was I? I was.
Thanks to an unheated pool in the backyard there was a perfect 58 degree ice bath waiting for me to "enjoy" after a bit a stretching.

I was able to hold on for about 25 minutes in the cold but I don't think it helped much.  I did stretch a bit, however I didn't do it enough. Whatever, I felt pretty good today after a hard 18 miles on a pretty hilly course.

This was my first long run with the new training program and it was hard but completely doable.  This run was a check of the fitness levels and I am pretty confident in say I could have hung on for another eight miles at or close to the pace I ran my entire training run.

While I won't be saying that this proves that I have 3:45 in the bag, I am pretty sure I will be able to hold on to 8:35 m/m for 26.2.  This would be five seconds slower per mile than this training run, even with the warmup and cool down miles.  If I could hold the pace for the MRP + 10 (which wasn't really +10) I got 3:35 or pretty damn close to it.

With well over a month to go to get stronger, faster, and thinner, I am feeling good about the Tacoma City Marathon.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Prospective and Such

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a morning tempo run with some of my chums who are much faster than I am. My goal marathon pace is their easy recovery pace.  But all the same they invited me out.  While I couldn't make it due to work (really) it was pretty exciting to be invited to the cool kids' table for my tempo run, even if it would have thrashed me for a couple of days.

Today as I knocked out a difficult 10 mile interval workout at 5:45am I heard foot steps as I picked up my pace for another two minute burst at 10K pace. As I got out of the way I looked to see who was passing me, and of course getting read to judge them for going too fast on a run.  However it was one of the very fast and gifted runners in our club. I speeded up to sub 5K pace and he slowed down.  We ran together for a minute and then he took off for the rest of his speed workout and I was grateful for the beep of the Garmin telling me it was time for three minutes of recovery.

When he looped the bottom of the park, he smiled and said "half way done." I flashed a grin and kept going.

This got me thinking: Why should I judge someone zipping past me? I know my pace and I know that I am doing my workout, so why should I get defensive on a Thursday morning in Golden Gate Park?

The answer is built into how and why runner train.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cherry Red Chapstick of Running

I couldn't have asked for a better picture
In fact, I didn't ask for this one.
I switched my training program. And I liked.  (Let that sink in for a minute.)

The SFRRC is mixing up our training programs and I am beta testing the marathon program for the intermediate runners.  A number of our top guys (and women too I believe) have been using this program for a while with wonderful results. So we are going to see if it works for the normal people rest of the club.

There are a few major changes in the program.
  1. There is much more marathon race pace (MRP) training. This includes MRP + 10-20 for long runs, MRP in place of tempo runs for longer periods, and other MRP based fun
  2. We run more Fartleks. That is fun.
  3. There every weekend has a different kind of long run.
Without giving away the milk without buying the cow, I will say that I think I really like this change.

Over the past year I have followed a very regimented weekly running schedule of Easy-Track-Easy-Tempo-Off-Long Slow Distance-Off, rinse and repeat.  This makes it more interesting for sure.

Granted today was the first work out that was new.  It was also started at 5:50am, which is also out of the norm. But like the new plan, I think I will be doing at least some of my longer weekday runs in the morning. It makes life much nicer.  I missed the AM rush and freedom of the evening.

But back to the kissing a girl new training program. Clearly I will continue to update all of you on the merits of the new program, again while protecting our running IP. 

This blog post is pretty boring. Sorry about that. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Something about Jack Kerouac

On the Road. Get it? It was funny. Ok. Sorry.

This weekend was filled with running goodness.  I was asked to cover the Pace Group Leader Duties as Burton was up in Napa for the aptly named Napa Valley Marathon. I was scheduled for 18 miles this weekend so I got in two before I meet up with the club for 16 more.

For the most part the Pace Group Leadership went pretty well.  I had some technical issues with the watch for the 8:1 run to walk beeps but it worked out alright.  Then we got to the Golden Gate Bridge. 

My running chum Susan from New York is terrified of heights.  So I spoke to her to distract her while we ran across the bridge and completely lost track of the pace. We went a bit fast...but after the pace group we passed on the San Francisco side of the bridge as they were using the rest rooms, had trouble catching up with us, we got the message to slow down.

The views were pretty.

The nine minute pace group taking the Southern Tower
View from the back of the group.

Friday, March 1, 2013

28 Days Later

In every sense of the word, February was a success.

I PR'ed the living day lights out of the Kaiser Half, I ran over 30 miles on trails, and Kara Gourcher is totally my new friend.

New chums - dcc and KG
Now I am facing March head on and I hope I'm able to have another epic training month as I get ready for my Marathon in Tacoma on May 5th.  But it doesn't look so good.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Confronting the Royalty

Kara Goucher is American running royalty.  She is fast, well-sponsored, widely respected for being nice to average Joes, and a total babe. But she might not be helping people with their training.

I read her Tweet today and was sort of  pissed about it. Because that just isn't true.

All of us fail at some point and for someone like Kara to say otherwise is not fair to the mere mortals who look up to her and other elites.

In short, failure is what makes us stronger and faster. Failure also makes us better people.  For example, many of us, myself included, would love to qualify for Boston. Odds are I will never qualify for that race so I will live vicariously through my chums who are wicked fast and elites like Kara. However, this failure to qualify at my current marathon times pumps me up to train harder for the possibility to join my wicked fast chums in Hopkinton.

In recent years Kara has expressed her desire to win that race.  Now, if she doesn't win this year is that failure?  Under most definitions it would be.

But that is a good thing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hitting the Road, Again

After taking most of last week off for my bum ankle I hit the road on Saturday and the trails on Sunday for some mileage. And as any smart, risk-averse runner would do, I ran nearly 30 miles in two days.

Ok, not the best idea but it was fun.

Many of you know that Friday was National Margarita Day.  So like any good celebrators of stupid and/or made-up holidays, Abby and I sent out an urgent email to people from the 'hood to celebrate this important event.  We had expected about six or seven people to join us so we figured one bottle of tequila would have done the job well.

Turns out Jenni and Stephen were the only two people who also celebrate stupid/made-up holidays/could join in the mandatory celebration on short notice.  But we soldiered on and celebrated.  Fueled with homemade, from scratch margaritas and delicious Mexican food we had a lovely time. We fired up the heater outside and sang 80s song until about 11pm.

It also turns out drinking loads of tequila and beer doesn't make good fuel for a 10 mile run.
Classing it up with TJ's Tequila
(It is actually pretty good)

I was aiming to get about 12 or 14 miles on Saturday, but could only muster 10, and those 10 miles were very hard.  After running to the start and doing the club announcement as the board member on duty, I dragged through eight more miles of hills and heart burn. 

The rest of the day was spent on the couch and resting (read: passed out on the couch). 

Sunday was another day and I was not hungover. I planned on getting in about 15 miles on trails.  But I did 19.32 miles after needing to take a week off for my ankle. Yeah that wasn't the best idea but the run was beautiful.  (Are you sensing a theme yet?)

DAMN. Mile 4
Top of the Hill
Mile 17. I was tired.
Lots of accents and descents, we ran out of water about half way through but just in time came to a bathroom and water fountain, and the views (see above) were incredible. It was hard, but fantastico.  While I did flip my ankle at about mile 14ish on a really torn up switch-back, over all we kept a pretty solid pace, were able to FLY down hill and hiked fast up the nasty grades. (3:47 for 19.32 miles)

The entire day took longer than I thought it would take and I missed some cool stuff in the city, and I am sorry about that.

My ankle wasn't pleased but it was a ton of fun.  Over the next few days my ankle worked better and the run was still pretty epic.

The over all lesson of the last weekend was don't drink a load of tequila before running and don't roll your ankle.  These are words to live by.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Actual Rest

After speaking with my almost-a-doctor sister on GChat and she consulted her almost-a-doctor friend, I took her advise. No lifting. No bike. No core.

My work out yesterday included eating peanut butter M&M and watching Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Shockingly my ankle feels better this morning.

But I am already a bit stir crazy.

Over the past three-ish years I have run all the time.  I used to brush-off those people who complained about being side-lined due to injury as mental cases.  But now I am one of those mental cases.

I saw three people finishing up their morning runs as I went to work and I was jealous. Holding out hope to be able to run on Saturday and Sunday...but we will see. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Man Plans and God Laughs, Again

It is official: 2013 is the year of plan B.

Great friends are getting hitched on the NYC Marathon weekend which is nothing but fantastic. This is NOT to be construed as me complaining, it simply pushes my plan for New York off by a year. I still have no plans for a full in the fall.  Passover came out of no where (read: I didn't look at a calendar very closely) and starts the day after the Oakland Marathon. Clearly I had to postpone that race.  Now I am running the Tacoma City Marathon on May 5.

Today I got this email from Coastal Trail Runs:

We just received notice from the State Park of new requirements and additional, exorbitant permit-related costs. As a result, we regret that both events in the Malibu Sector are no longer viable and we need to cancel La Jolla Canyon (March 9th) and Malibu Canyon (December 7th). Full refunds to all paid entrants are being processed.

We know that many of you have been training and made travel plans since we opened registration last month. We apologize for any inconvenience. We only hope that you'll still come out and enjoy the trails in the amazing Santa Monica Mountains. We're sorry we're unable to make it an official event.
So that stinks.

Now I need another plan B trail race.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On the second day there was spin

Due to very sore ankle I am in the gym all week in hopes of getting better.  As of today, it hurts less than it did yesterday so I call that progress. The plan has been to ride a bike for the same time it would have taken me to cover the miles on my easy days and to do a hard spin class on my speed work days.  So far, so good.

I also lifted for the first time in years.  Thus far I still can lift my arms above my head.  Also a plus.

Today was a speed day so I took a spin class.

I like spinning for its lower-impact, high-intensity vibe.  But today's class started off all wrong.  The teacher was forced to help about six people with their bikes for almost 10 minutes into the class, there were a number of people who also had no idea what they were doing, and two kids up front who weren't even trying.  All of these things kind of made the start suck.
Add water and a tab and be like me.

But then the teacher finally got on the bike, the two kids left, and we all got in the grove.

We did quad isolation for what felt like an hour, long sprints intervals, and number big climbs. The class ended on such a high note that I was drenched in sweat and nearly lost my lunch; a great class always is punctuated with near vomiting.  In the end I say it was a win.

In vain attempt to influence my chances to become a Nuun Ambassador I will note that I never spin without Nuun.  It really helps with the leg cramps and tastes great too.

Seriously, I sweat like a whore in church mad man and it is clear to anyone who sees me after a work out that I lost just a bit of salt.  Often times it is caked on my face.  But in a spin studio, it really turns it on.  The Nuun Tri-Berry tabs help me get back what I lose, and keep my legs from cramping during the last third of the class. 

See Nuun, I can totally be on board.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Tale of Two Runs

Coming up with a witty title for this post is proving more difficult than I thought.  This weekend was a tale of two runs (and tacos), so I went with the obvious. 

I woke up on Saturday to find that the carbing with red wine that worked so well last weekend, didn't workout as well on the second try.  I ran from our house to Ocean Beach to meet up with the club.  I was planning on running 16 miles on Saturday -- four to Ocean Beach, eight with the club, and four back home.  This didn't happen. 

Taking left turns was extremely painful and the uneven path along Great Highway was giving my tender left ankle more than it could deal with.  So after 12 miles, right on pace I called it quits.

The route, out on Great Highway and back into Golden Gate Park, was alright and the crew was nice but I just wasn't feeling another four miles up hill to get home and neither was my ankle.  So hitched a ride and called it a day. I iced, ate a Sandwich Spot sandwich and watched some IU basketball.

I was getting pretty nervous about the trail run I was leading the next day.  My ankle was really sore and if the uneven path on Great Highway was giving me trouble, I was screwed in the Marin Headlands on Sunday.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Cut out from under him

Pistorius in court. (
Oscar Pistorius, the Blade Runner, was charged with the murder of his girlfriend. This no legged Olympic sprinter, a man that made us question everything, especially what we were doing with our lives, has fallen from his pedestal to crumble in tears in a South African court room.

We are reminded that those elevated by their actions -- and their sponsors -- to the top of our awareness are just humans, and in some cases really horrible humans. 

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article on Nike's endorsement of Pistorius. It may seem strange that Nike, a shoe company, would sign this man.  However it fits perfectly into the company's model.  Nike signed Jordan before he was a proven commodity, Woods before the company made golf products, and Armstrong without any cycling gear, explains the Journal's Matthew Futterman, because each of these athletes represent something more than being elite; they embody the story of overcoming.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Head for the Hills

I have been on two trail runs.  One was a six mile up hill and six mile down hill slog in Malibu in late 2011 and the other was 16 mile run through the mud of Tennessee Valley in Marin this January. Both were extremely difficult runs but had breath taking views as consolation for my exhaustion.
Above the marine layer in Malibu, December 2011

Looking back towards San Francisco from Marin County, January 2013
With all of this experience under my feet, I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for a 30K (18.6411 mile) trail race in March.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Kaiser Half - A PR on a Perfect Day

Keeping to my new format has been harder than I thought so I figured I would go out first with a tried and true method of a race review.

THIS GUY. (with a heel strike like whoa)
But this review has to start a few years back in Brooklyn. On May 21, 2011 I raced my last half-marathon. I crossed the finish on that kind of warm day in 1:46:59.

This was a great race for me, at the time.  I went out too fast by a few seconds per mile and after I was tired I was only about 25 seconds off per mile at my worst.  It was about 75 degrees when I finished the race and the middle miles were through an Orthodox Jewish community on Saturday morning, so there wasn't much in the way of support on the course.

However, I did get to run a significant portion of the race with a my running chum Ali and I nailed a really solid PR, by over three minutes, if memory serves me correctly.

Fast forward a year and move-cross-country later, I was all set to help my lovely wife pack our house, say good-bye to our friends in New York, and for me to run one last race as a New Yorker.  I was going to PR in Brooklyn.

Then I put down a dust buster and threw out my back.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Be the change you want to see in the world

Dear Readers,

Over the past month I have not blogged at all.  There was lots to talk about but I have been really busy.  And honestly, I was having trouble justifying the need to broadcast my thoughts on whatever it was that would have graced these webpages.

January passed and I turned 30, ate an ungodly amount of Prime Rib, PR'ed the living day-lights out of the Kaiser Half Marathon, and worked like a mad man.  All good things.

But it got me to thinking about my "social media presence."

Why do I care to keep this thing going?  I don't really. It could be a "creative outlet" or something but it hasn't been.  It could be a way to promote myself but let's be fair, with about 100 hits a week, most of them from the same five people, I am not promoting anything at this point.

So the change.

From here on out this will be a running blog.  Despite what I said in my round up post last year, I believe focusing this blog on one topic, will be useful for my writing and my hit rate.  I will be better able to promote my wonderful running club and hopefully expand my profile as a local runner.

That is all for now but stay tuned for some weekly features and regular updates.


the dcc

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Test balloons are for popping

Posted on first. 
Rabbi Jonah Pesner said he may be interested in running for John Kerry's vacated Senate seat in the special election. Some believe he should jump in with both feet, up to his neck, and go for it with the belief of a zealot. This is a bad idea.

If the report in The Boston Phoenix about this run was a test balloon, I hope this blog post at least starts a leak.

Rabbi Pesner—for all his political maneuvering in the Jewish world—is not a politician. He is a community organizer sure, but a politician with national chops he is not. Blah blah, President Obama, blah, blah. These two men should not and cannot be compared in the same breath. Now that this is out of the way, we will get into the meat of this disastrous move.

Read More

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Book Report: A Wild Sheep Chase


Great book, well written, but what?

I am sure I am not looking deep enough but I think I might be.  After reading What I talk about when I talk about running, I believe Murakami is about putting it right there for you.  The deeper message is in the mind of the reader.  

This book was outstanding and completely weird. However, unlike other very strange books, I never felt uncomfortable reading this novel.  The story line twists and turns unbelievably with precision. There were parts of the book that I understand better because I read his memoir and some of the issues that he raises, the obsession on weight gain toward the end and the running to address it specifically.

I think I would like to speak with someone with a deep understanding of Japanese history and culture to make sure I am not completely off base here.  But for the most part I believe this is a story of a lost guy within a society that lost its way and hasn't decided how to deal with its past.

I am happy I read it but I wouldn't actively suggest it to others, unless you are into that sort of thing. 

4 out of 5 Stars