Monday, April 30, 2007


I doubt my diet is ideal for endurance activities, or probably for blogging. While I do eat lots of pasta, I have an unhealthy fondness for burritos and bacon cheeseburgers. For this week, I'm going to keep track of just what I eat as I try to be ready for Delaware.
Breakfast: bagel, cream cheese, orange juice, coffee
Lunch: grilled chicken burrito
Snack: banana
Dinner: grilled salmon, linguini with pesto sauce, salad

A side note: I was prolific in the magazine this week. There's an article about WPP's digital strategy; a Q&A with one of creators of Lonelygirl15; and our report cards rating interactive agencies.

5.75 miles, 44:54

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Month To Go

The marathon is four weeks away. In the three weeks since Stroh of Arabia suggested we run it, I've come pretty far. No matter what, it's impossible to be completely prepared with six weeks preparation. I ran 44.5 miles this week, including 19.5 yesterday, putting me right on the training plan. I felt bad at the end of the run, and stale at the beginning from a comparatively high mileage week, but the recovery went well, thanks to a few things. I hydrated and planned out my gels well. This makes a difference. Stretching helped, so too did Endurox, a ribeye steak and several Red Stripe that evening. But I think Vaam is the secret. I definitely recover quicker when I take the stuff. I have no idea why. Looking ahead, this week is key, the last serious training week before a two-week taper. I'll do 45 miles, including 20 on the weekend and hopefully a couple of runs home from work.

4.5 miles, 36:25

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Ow. Many sightings of the pigdog, but managed to hold him off. Vaam helped.

19.5 miles, 2:30:17

Lessons Learned

Wow, long mo-fo week. I learned lots, such as the ease with which PR people lie and how my deli guy absolutely cannot take his time to ensure an error-free order scenario. I also learned the importance of appreciating weird shit from the commuting run:
1) You can change in your cubicle after 8:00pm. The risk is minimal, particularly if you shout the "I'll soon be briefly naked here" warning. Cleaning personnel is the real risk here, trust me. They can sneak around the corner without warning.
2) If you run by a guy standing in front of a girl seated at a bench in Riverside Park at 9:00pm on a Friday, there's a fair chance a sex act is involved. For real.
3) "The Irish Goodbye" has a Mexican cousin. This is the term I've used for the guy who is drunk and chooses to disappear without saying his farewells. Tonight, my fiesta host pulled the Mexican version. It involves going to visit a ghost. It's all a little hazy.
4) There's a business version off the pigdog. It's sticking with a startup long after the sheen has worn off, working to build a business and succeeding despite early setbacks. When the market suddenly decides you're worth $1b, it's an incredible moment for the people who spent up to a decade trying to build this kind of value, only to have it suddenly happen. The downside is the person who built a good part of the value in the company but got none of the benefits b/c of corporate BS. I admire builders, not managers, people who take risks and work hard through the inevitable bad times. The only good entrepreneurs I know have been knocked around and come back stronger.

6.5 miles, 47:00 (I forgot my watch, but I felt like I ran fast)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Return of the Candiru

The dread candiru has resurfaced. This time, apparently in an episode of Grey's Anatomy. The appearance, as reported by not-so-loyal Pigdog reader KT, revolved around a hospital grandee who cut his Amazon vacation short because his huevos swelled to the size of grapefruits. It turns out the reason was the candiru, which set up camp in the dude while he was skinnydipping with his mistress. Good to see the candiru is getting more attention.

Tried another run home from work tonight. I always wonder what the people walking along the West Side Highway are doing. Another long day at work + rain + need for Friday drink makes a running commute tomorrow unlikely.

6.5 miles, 47:36

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Run as Commute

Tonight I took the advice of Beverly from the Nike Running Station to try running home from work. Technically, I ran home once before, but that was during the transit strike and more of a necessity because of Roger Toussaint. The best part of running home is it only took me about 15 minutes more compared to the subway. Running through the Village isn't so bad, although the crowded sidewalks aren't ideal. The distance is about perfect. And, you know, there's something nice about the idea of not just leaving work, but running from it.

6.5 miles, 50:19

Pigdog Sightings, Saudi Edition

Fighting the pigdog is tough enough, fighing it while simultaneously fighting off a pack of wild dogs is unreasonably difficult. Thankfully, Stroh of Arabia and I are unlikely to deal that in Delaware next month. The Saudi running scene is a different story. From the front lines of the GWOT: "Proud to say I did a solid 2:40 yesterday. Call it 19 miles. Felt pretty good too. There were some stare-downs with the pig-dog, and even more pressing, two seperate incidents with the weird pack of wild dogs that live in the Diplomatic quarter trail areas. They never actually attack, but they'll run after me until I stop and turn and throw a rock. So if I see them or hear them, or if they jump out at me, then I pick up a couple rocks and a stick and run carrying that crap until I get to the next section of the trail where they aren't. Eventful run."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

NIght Running

Another blog drought. I blame too much work (bad) and a KT visit (good). I'm just back from a recovery run, which was done much later than usual (9:30-10:15pm) because I was at the airport. Riverside Park is a much different place this time of night on a Sunday. First shady encounter: a man walking alone, talking on a cell phone, in the bird sanctuary. Next ones were to be expected: several homeless people setting up shop for the night around the benches south of 96th. Night runs like these can be quite peaceful because, other than the weirdos and vagrants, nobody's around, leaving to hear your footfalls and breathing.

Awesome run today by Ryan Hall, possibly the next great American marathoner. He debuted with a 2:08, sticking with the lead pack until near the end. The best part is he's only 24 and seems like a good dude.

Thurs. run: 5.75 miles, 44:30
Sat. long run: 17 miles, 2:11:11
Sun. run: 5.75 miles, 45:03

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Secret of Martin Strel's Success

Martin Strel has demons. Something's gone awry that drives a guy to not only swim the Amazon, but also brave the demon candiru, which I believe is still keeping JPS up at night. Thanks to an old copy of Outside lying around the office that I picked up for the subway ride home, I've come across what makes Martin tick. "As a boy, I was beaten a lot by my parents and schoolmasters," he told the magazine. "This greatly contributed to my ability to ignore pain and endure." There you have it. Simple enough. Oh, Outside has been keen on Martin for some time, giving him the appropriate honor of making its "crazy mofos" list three years ago.

5.75 miles, 45:13

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Lion Needs to Eat

Turns out the weather in Boston wasn't too, too bad. It still slowed the elites quite a bit, with Robert Cheruiyot winning again, about seven minutes slower than last year. Deena Kastor came up short because of stomach problems halfway through, which pretty much sucks. The Chasing Kimbia guys finished third, fourth and sixth. Cheruiyot had an interesting thing to say when he was asked if he was aware of his time: “When the lion is chasing the antelope, he doesn’t look back. He has to eat.” I'd like to figure out the right context I can bust that out.

5.75, 43:55 (the deluge kept me from running a small part of my route)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Taking on Mother Nature

The frustrating part of training for a marathon is the many things out of your control, particularly the weather. I've given up worrying about it, figuring to take it as it comes. The worst I can remember is a particularly warm day in Boston in 2002. Well, tomorrow, the Boston Marathon is going to be very, very wet and cold. The storm that caused our local TV station to instruct us to get our "go bags" ready is expected to linger in Boston. This is going to be a serious encounter with the Pigdog.
Participants anticipate the worst weather in the history of the world's oldest continuous marathon when the race begins tomorrow at 10 a.m.Forecasters predict heavy rain, 20 mph winds and temperatures around 40 degrees. Race officials expect to treat many cases of hypothermia among the 23,000 participants.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Going Long

Thanks to a stop on the Burger Tour on Thursday (Stand, so-so, certainly not burger nirvana) and late news on Friday, I wasn't able to run Thursday and Friday. The good part is I was well rested for my long run. One of the best parts of long runs is seeing the random stuff along the way, checking the progress of the Hudson River Park construction or the oddity that is the Gehry IAC building. I felt good the first half of the run, getting down to about the midway point of Battery Park in 56 minutes, then turning for the run home into a little headwind. One problem: I brought only $3 and one gel. I used $1.75 for a Gatorade, then found that the Parks Dept. hasn't turned on the water fountains yet, even those that are freeze proof, leaving me without enough money to buy water from a vending machine. I considered how potable the water is from the Greenwich Village park bathrooms. I thought better. So I stopped at the Nike Running Center, just south of Chelsea. Sure enough, they had water for $1 that helped wash down Gu. That hit the spot and made for an easy trip back uptown. I felt like going longer, but thought it best to stop.

15 miles, 1:54:23.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Run Easy?

Reebok's got a new ad campaign out for its running line. It's taking a very interesting approach, basically conceding the serious runner market for a much larger one, casual runners. I've got no beef with this, since the Second Running Boom is more about health and participation than performance. Outdoor ads say things like, "Why Hit the Wall? It Hurts." Also: "Run + Puke + Run = Crazy." I saw one on the way home that urged me not to try for a personal record. To me, the whole thing celebrates mediocrity. Not mediocrity in the sense that some people are slow, but mediocrity by endorsing not really trying. Maybe it's not cool to try -- ads show runners at the end of marathons in agony, a totally unsexy look, I guess. To be honest, the first time I saw it, I thought it was cool, not pathetic. My favorite place at the NYC Marathon is along Fifth Avenue, at about mile 21. I like to stay there late, past the 3 and 4 hour marathoners. The people who will come in at 5 hours look like crap. I mean, there's no other way to say it. But there's so determined because they're about to accomplish something important to them. At least we know Reebok's on the pigdog's side. Maybe they'll give endorsement deals to those British sailors back from Iran.

5.75 miles, 45:10

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No Gifts

This is a pretty new blog. One of the people who will probably come up often is Lance Armstrong. I'm not a cyclist, as Pigdog reader JPS will tell you, but I admire what they go through in the saddle. Riding up and down mountains is impressive. No matter what you think about Armstrong, what he accomplished was amazing. He faced down the ultimate pigdog, which had nothing to do with cycling. What I loved was that when he came back, he did it fierce, completely uncompromising and unrelenting. I went through YouTube looking for my favorite Lance moment, but it's been removed. It was in 2004, during the stage after he wrapped up the race by killing the field on the Alpe d'Huez. It was assumed he'd give Andreas Kloden a consolation prize that day because it was meaningless. The Phils on OLN called Kloden the winner with about 100 meters to go because it was just a formality. But Lance surged ahead at the last minute, in the slipstream, and overtook a startled Kloden. The rationale was simple: a bunch of German fans had spit on him going up Alpe d'Huez, cursing him as a doper. His explanation on the OLN video: "I thought I'd let Kloden win. Then I thought to myself, 'No, not today, that's not right." For a lot of people (read: Euros), it showed Lance at his worst: petty and kinda classless; I thought it showed him as he is: competitive and driven beyond belief. Lance said it was his favorite moment of the Tour that year. On the podium for something like the fourth straight day, Tour legend Bernard Hinault told him, "Perfect. No gifts." About 2:40 from the end, you see him eat up Kloden.

Monday, April 9, 2007

One Week Until Boston

A week from today, 20,000 runners will set out from Hopkington, making their way through eight towns and Heartbreak Hill (really three of them) on their way to Copley Square. I only ran the Boston Marathon once, in 2003, and it was the most dispiriting running experience of my life: I did the first half in 1:28; the second half took over two hours. Not fun. One of my running goals is to return to get my revenge. FreddyBeachPete is getting ready to take it on; Kathy is shaking off IT band syndrome and a multitude of injuries; and Lance (perfect name for this kind of thing) is running his first Boston after just missing qualifying a few times. And there are so many others. The week before a race sucks: lots of aches, nervous energy and doubts. The good news, via George Sheehan, is the pigdog awaits, somewhere after Natick:
Those hills and the hills beyond will will challenge everything he holds dear, his value system, his lifestyle. They will ask for nothing less than his view of the universe.
George kinda took this stuff a little too seriously. But it is a great test.

Story links: One on niche social networks and another about ad agencies hiring "digital czars."

5.75 miles, 45:32

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Running Posture

My main worry about running a marathon so soon is injury. After several years blissfully without injury, I suffered a bunch of annoying ones, though nothing serious: plantar fasciitis, IT band, hamstring and the occasional sore back. Today, during a recovery run, I tried something new: I adjusted where I held my hands. Normally, they drop near my waist, since I've found it important to run as relaxed as possible. Watching Chasing Kimbia, I noticed the Kenyans running with their hands higher. I gave it a whirl, holding my hands closer to my chest, and while not completely natural, it seemed to help. I ran faster than I have lately and felt less soreness in my IT band, hamstring and back. It seems to give me more power. I finally started to regularly do strength exercises, which I've always neglected. This might help. We'll see.

Other good news: Google has found the blog, making it the No. 1 and 2 results for "internal pigdog" searches, ahead of both the IRS (?) and "Pigdog Journal." And Trust but Verify, a cycling blog about the Floyd Landis doping case, links to the Chasing Kimbia post. Cool.

5.75 miles, 45:26 (That includes a stop to give two Italian tourists directions to the Met. They were at 79th and Riverside, walking toward Jersey, not so close. I always worry after running away that my directions are not exact enough, leading these poor tourists to wander aimlessly and hate the city because they got bad directions. This time, I think I was pretty exact, even estimating the walk to be 20 minutes.)

Becoming Carbon Neutral

One of the advantages of living in a 400 square foot apartment is my carbon footprint is presumably small. I'm no scientist, but from everything I've read and just judging by how screwed up and extreme the weather's gotten, the nation's fleet of Hummers is taking its toll. That said, I think we're going to turn it around in the next couple decades, with fewer idiot politicians who are completely tethered to the oil industry, more innovations from the massive investments going into green technology and people changing their lifestyles. There definitely needs to be incentives for people to stop driving SUVs, like a sizable gas tax, but I like the idea of people doing stuff on their own. I just calculated my carbon footprint. Because I fly about seven times a year, it's not as low as I thought: 6 tons vs the 7.5 avg. I bought carbon offsets for $6 a month to fund some windpower projects. Visa soon will introduce the GreenCard here, which will calculate your carbon footprint on a monthly basis, report it to you and plant trees to offset your output. The idea is people will use the credit card more to see the effects. These voluntary schemes won't get us out of the mess, but they're small steps in right direction. I'm interested if anyone else has calculated their footprint. I wonder why our current government, which is big into the rhetoric of personal responsibility and feels conservation is a "personal virtue," doesn't encourage this.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Pigdog in the Amazon

Um, there might literally be a pigdog in the Amazon. An amphibious Slovene just swam 3,722 miles down the Amazon, coming up for air in Belem, a presumably delightful port of call described by the AP as "the capital of the jungle state of Para." I'm sure it's lovely this time of year. Martin Strel began his journey on Feb. 1, averaging about 50 miles a day. That's an incredibly long time in the water. But this is Martin's thing: he's swum 1,800 miles of the Danube; 2,300 of the Mississippi; and 2,400 of the Yangtze. Good Lord. Unsurprisingly, Martin came in contact with the pigdog plenty during his swim, what with dodging the piranhas and a face sunburned to the point of blistering. (Martin had escort boats that would pour blood in the water to distract the piranhas. Nice.) But it was the last few days that were, of course, when the pigdog arrived for real:
By Thursday evening, he was struggling with dizziness, vertigo, high blood pressure, diarrhea, nausea and delirium, his Web site said. But despite having difficulty standing and being ordered by the doctor not to swim, Strel was obsessed with finishing the course and insisted on night swimming.
I totally heart Martin Strel.

12 miles, 1:31:03: Running 12 miles used to be easy; it isn't now.

Training Plan

I don't have much time, meaning planning is essential to making this work. I decided to tweak the last seven weeks of Hal Higdon's intermediate marathon training schedule. I usually follow his advanced plan, but I'm not feeling very advanced, particularly b/c I usually put in at least six 20 mile runs before a marathon. This program calls for, um, two. I haven't been consistent, but I'd say I've done about 25 miles a week the past month. This calls for me to get up to 49. The tricky part, as ever, is the long runs.

5.75 rest rest rest 5.75
5.75 rest 5.75 rest 5.75 14
5.75 5.75 5.75 rest rest 16
5.75 rest 7 5.75 rest 20
7 5.75

7 5.75 20
rest 5.75 5.75 rest 5.75 15
5 4 rest 4 rest

Six Weeks to Marathon

As my dreadfully slow run last night made clear, I'm out of shape. I don't mean like fat slob out of shape, but I have probably the worst fitness level in seven years. That's OK, life gets busy, it happens. Thanks to some nagging hamstring injuries, I planned to skip a spring marathon for the third straight year to concentrate on getting healthy for the fall. I might change that. Stroh of Arabia wrote this morning with the news he's coming back to the U.S. in May, and he plans to run a marathon while here. Stroh and I have teamed up to conquer everything from the NYC Marathon to the Kurt Steiner 50k to the Cirulnick 50k. One day, we'll add Comrades. So I'm committing to the Delaware Marathon on May 20. Stroh and I were supposed to run this last year, but I'd forgotten about KnoxandAshley's wedding. He ended up battling a guy in a pink ballerina costume. It's one thing to take on the pigdog, quite another to confront that. I've got six weeks to get in shape. Yikes.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Chasing Kimbia

The Kenyans amaze me. Seeing them run up close, during the NYC Marathon, is breathtaking. Knowing they finish marathons an hour before me is humbling. There are some who think the Kenyans' dominance hurts the sport, at least in the U.S. Marketing-wise, I'm sure it would help to have a running Lance. But the Kenyans win because they outwork everyone. (Floyd Landis, assuming he wasn't doping out the yingyang, had an interesting take on this: "There's only one rule: The guy who trains the hardest, the most, wins. Period. Because you won't die. Even though you feel like you'll die, you don't actually die.") That's why I'm so interested in Chasing Kimbia, a Web film project that follows a bunch of Kenyan marathoners as they train. The guys are all New Balance athletes, and these short videos are the kind of marketing that strikes me as the future.

5.75 miles, 47:02 (I blame a non-Kimbia diet today of breakfast burrito, two slices of pepperoni pizza and four Munchkins -- not the Kenyan way, for sure)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

My Regular Run

These days, I'm lucky if I run for 45 minutes. For the last three nights, thanks to either too much work or other plans, I haven't run. But I did find time tonight to plot out my regular 5.75-mile run in Riverside Park, using the new MyMaps feature from Google. It's incredibly easy to draw lines and label things. One thing I would like: the ability to embed the map here. Instead, Google provides a dedicated page with my running route.

Unrelated: I was busy at work, yet still managed two blog posts.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Fat Guy vs Pigdog

Being a running snob, I'm not a huge fan of charity runners in the Boston Marathon. The whole point of Boston is its selectivity: you work to a certain point to be qualify. But there's always the side door through a charity program or, worse, banditry. It looks like this year's charity runners will have a hefty addition: a 438-pound beekeeper from Wisconsin, who vows to run the race on a month's training to raise $100k for the American Cancer Society. The big bee guy makes some specious claims, such as calling Boston "the most physically demanding marathon in the world." I think those who staggered through the Marathon des Sables would probably disagree. Anyway, if the guy doesn't do it -- and really, if push comes to shove, who couldn't shuffle 26 miles in 7 hours? -- you get to place a tattoo on his back. In case advertisers didn't perk up, the eBay listing helpfully adds, "This is a very large man and will be great for publicity." It looks like his training is going well.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Sharing Rides

Organic's Three Minds blog -- why is it again every agency doesn't blog? -- pointed me to a service I want to try: Hitchsters. The idea is to match people up to share cabs to and from airports. There really isn't anything more mystifying than sitting in line for a cab and hearing someone else in front of you going to the same part of town. I never got why they didn't have a "share line." Hitchsters claims a "patent-pending" system to match riders up. I could have used in this morning heading to the office from LGA. But my flight was 45 minutes late, something I don't think the system could adjust to handle. Also, the "gender-requirement" feature seems to try a bit too hard to tap into social networking. Speaking only for myself, I just want a cheaper ride from JFK or LGA. Maybe Hitchsters should consider a merger with AirTroductions, which allows you to choose who you sit next to on flights. The founder, who I think I know as a PR guy, was inspired by a serendipitous encounter with a former Miss Texas at 30,000 feet.

Friday: 5.5 miles, 42:00
Today: 5.75 miles, 46:03