Thursday, May 31, 2007

Next Step

While it's only been about 10 days since The Crumple, I'm anxious to figure out what's next. I'm torn. On the one hand, I feel like I'm ready for something different, something like a 50-mile race. Comrades has always been my goal, but the JFK 50 would be a perfect stepping stone to dealing with KwaZuluNatal. This would mean running a lot, yes, but also running slower. There's no way I could run the same pace for so many miles. But I do still want to run a fast marathon. Maybe breaking 3 hours is out of the question, at least it feels that way now, but I haven't run a truly fast marathon since Philadelphia in 2005. Perhaps complicating matters more, I decided at the last minute today to register for the New York City Marathon lottery. I haven't run NY since 2003, when I edged out both Stroh of Arabia and Diddy without the help of paramedics. If I do run the JFK, I could probably still do NY as a training run. Crazy to think about the NYC Marathon as a training run.

4.5 miles, 36:04

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Crumple Documentation

Alas, there is no photographic evidence of The Crumple. The best I could find from hunting through the Delaware Marathon photos is this late-race photo. I look rather depressed and tired. It's not easy find photos on the site, which appears like it was put together in an afternoon. The photographers didn't seem to make any attempt to actually go through and simply match up numbers to names. Oh well, documentation of The Crumple can be seen on pages 6, 33, 80, 136, 153, 208 and 221. My only hope is to find the shots the random shutterbug snapped while I was strapped to the gurney in the medical tent.

4.5 miles, 36:10

Monday, May 28, 2007

Resetting the Watch

Before beginning each run, I do one last thing: reset my watch. The numbers from the previous run, good or bad, disappear, a new run awaits. This afternoon, I reset my watch from Delaware. The 6:17:08 (I turned my watch off after returning to the hotel from the hospital) were zapped away. Time to move on.

I've been transfixed by the unfolding doping scandals in cycling. It's probably wrong to say, but the sinister Spanish doctors, tattle-tale Belgian masseurs, and hotel rooms filled with blood-transfusion equipment gives cycling a bit of pizazz. Well, it's all coming home to roost now. Floyd looks roasted, Ullrich is in hiding and Riis is doing the tearful confession routine; the sport's getting turned over. It's a matter of time before this ends up at Lance's doorstep. It is pretty apparent that the use of EPO and other performance enhancers was absolutely rampant in the peloton. To deny it at this point is rather silly.

4.25 miles, 34:03

Thursday, May 24, 2007

An Autopsy

It's best to reflect on races a few days later, after the exhileration or, in my case, the disappointment wears off. As JPJ pointed out, I definitely met the pigdog. I wasn't make it up. I've come up with a series of culprits that doesn't include Beck, who did ask me if I was OK when I passed her last at like mile 23.
1) Preparation: I didn't train enough. Everyone is different, but I need to do at least four or five 20-mile runs.
2) Hydration: Duh. In the days leading up to the race, I didn't eat right or hydrate properly. Part of that was just a crazy week at work, but most of it was laziness. I missed some water stations on the course and didn't circle back. Also, a tip to Wayne: lose the volunteers standing in front of the tables blocking them and holding two cups. They're in the way. It's also unclear what's what by having the same color cups and relying on them to shout where the water is, where the Gatorade is. I'm not bitter. Really.
3) The Guy in the Tutu: OK, the guy in the pink tutu with the wand who took GWOT Mark to Chinatwon last year returned. I reeled him in by mile 24, his pink ballerina dress in my sights when I lost lucidity. This hurts.
4) Fate: It's trite, but shit happens. The cool part of the marathon is you never quite know what's going to happen. The wheels can come off, things can all go smooth, legs can cramp, whatever. Too bad, so sad.

At risk on intense boredom, here are my splits up until I went batshit crazy. This shows how out of shape I was. I hit my pace of 7:35 in the middle miles. This is where I wanted to stay until the Wall. I should have kept that pace until mile 20 at least, preferably 22. (In Philly, when I did a 3:01, I ran a 6:46 23rd mile.)
Mile 1: 7:47
2: 7:24
3: 7:38
4: 7:43
5: 7:40
6: 7:34
7: 7:42
8: 7:29
9: 7:33
10 :7:35
11: 7:36
12: 7:35
13: 7:35
14: 7:31
15: 7:35
16: 7:36
17: 7:40
18: 7:41
19: 7:43
20: 7:49
21: 7:54
22: 7:59
23: 8:00
24: 7:59
25: 8:07
26: ????
watch time for 25 miles: 3:12

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Al-Nakba Delaware

How did the race go? That's an interesting question to me the last couple days. I'm not really sure how to answer it. I guess there are several answers. The first part of the race went well. Stroh of Arabia and I settled into a 7:35-7:40 pace up through about the halfway point. I felt alright, good enough to continue the 7:35s until about mile 18. Here I felt my lack of training. I knew it would be tough backstretch. But I was still running OK, well enough that I was about a half mile or so ahead of Stroh. My pace slowed some after mile 20. It got up to 8:04 at mile 23, when I began to feel awful. Here's the hard part: Running long distances is about ignoring those moments when you feel awful. That's kinda part of the deal. The problem is when you ignore real warning signs of physical problem. Those set in, conveniently enough, around mile 25. I basically don't have much recollection beyond then, remembering doing my mental calculations that it was just a mile to go. But I was weaving and feeling disoriented. The end came about 20 yards before the finish, when I went down in a heap. Dehydration was the culprit. Four bags of fluid later, I was fine.

The questions:
1) What did I do wrong? My training wasn't adequate, at least for the pace I ran. I should have run much more conservatively. Obviously, drinking more would have helped, though I have a bone to pick with the Delaware Marathon about how the fluid stations were set up.
2) Did I finish? Um, sorta. I crossed the finish line, dragged by some helpful, strong and obviously not grossed out by a sweaty limp guy paramedics. But I don't know where my chip went while they treated me. According to the official results, I didn't even run it.
3) Do I need a new hobby? Here, I think the answer is clearly no. I pushed too hard on Sunday and felt the consequences. I'm not going to start to do Gallowalking or anything, but I'll train harder and pay more attention to my hydration.

Distance running is hard. It's even humbling sometimes. Getting whisked to a hospital for evaluation was certainly not how I expected my race to end, but it did. I'm already eager for the next time.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Pigdog Awaits

A quick note because I'm running to the train station to get to Wilmington. Tomorrow's the showdown with the pigdog in Delaware. Do I feel prepared? No. Am I nervous? Of course. One thing I've noticed with marathons is the nerves never go away, not before the first or the twelfth. The first few marathons bring worries about what it will be like. Then, after knowing full well, the worries are about going through the sucky parts. Tomorrow's going to have plenty of suckiness. Luckily, Stroh of Arabia seems to have been enjoying the fruits of freedom since his return. That should take a spring out of his step.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


This is the down time. I only run twice more before Sunday, once tomorrow and another short one Thursday. I'm resting, treating my blisters with my trusty supply of Aquaphor, brushing up on my Maurice Herzog and eating pasta in many forms. One thing I've started to contemplate is my time goal. My accuracy is usually pretty good. Only once was it way, way off, when I trudged home at Boston in 3:30, not the 2:59 I unwisely predicted. I don't have that much to go on for this run, since I haven't done any races since the Philly Marathon in November and I don't run with anybody regularly. My guess: 3:25. I fear Stroh of Arabia will lose me somewhere around mile 16, an ignominious repeat of the Mothers and Daughters Against Teen Smoking 4-Miler in 2000, when he brutally left me seized by hayfever a couple miles in. My only hope is that the pressure of the GWOT leads him to what I'll delicately call "improper race preparation" now that he's been on the ground nearly a week.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Normally, I taper for three weeks, following the last true long run. Some people do two, but I've found three better for healing the little injuries the build up during training, cutting mileage in the first week by 50 percent, then another 20 percent. This time around, there wasn't time for a three-week taper. Thanks to too much going on, I only ran three times last week, about 17 miles. This week, I'll do another 9-10. While I can't say I feel in great shape, I don't have any major injuries to heal, just some blisters that don't want to go away. Some running book I have says there's no benefit from training during the last two weeks anyway, so worries about training deficiencies should instead by channeled into prayers.

Re. JPS's insinuation that "buck hunting" meant something a little more risquee than video games: Not so. Buck Hunter seems like an urban substitute for golf.

Re. Dr. Jim MD's Sheik memories: I don't think the Camel Clutch was on display that night at PW. If memory serves, however, you got into Sgt. Slaughter's grill, possibly even questioning his patriotism.

8 miles, 1:02:14

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Week to Go

This was a tough week for running. Thanks to travel, work obligations and my quest to improve my accuracy hunting buck, I rarely ran. I'm tapering now, so I guess that's OK, although the lack of running has made me simply feel out of shape. But my blisters are healing, my hamstring and IT band feel alright, and it looks like it might not be too hot next weekend. Maybe there's hope.

Unrelated, good to see the Iron Shiekh is dealing with his retirement in a constructive manner. I wonder why he wasn't asked about Bob Backlund.

4.5 miles, 34:39

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Breaking: Rain Causes Floods

This is off-topic, but I got a press release today that gave me pause. I'm sent all sorts of press releases, about half of which have nothing to do with what I cover. Many are laughably inane, such as this doozy. As background, there are floods in Missouri. What could be the cause? Worry not, University of Missouri profs have it all figured out.
“What really triggered this was heavy rainfall on Sunday and Monday across a large part of northwestern Missouri and northeast Kansas,” said Pat Guinan, assistant professor of climatology at the University of Missouri-Columbia and MU climatologist with the Extension Commercial Agriculture Program. “It was a widespread and heavy rainfall event over a short period of time."
Wow. It turns out floods are caused by lots of rain. Experts have also found that water is wet.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Order in Seattle

Not much time for running in Seattle. I did, however, get in short run late my first afternoon here. It took my along the Sound for a few miles to a little park. All in all, an OK run, although mostly along sidewalks and touristy restaurants. Seattle residents amaze me: They refuse to cross the street until the light changes. There can be no cars, no danger, but nobody will take a step off the curb. Strange.

5.5 miles, 41:17

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Crisis Averted: Wayne to Rescue

Phew, that was close. The wise Wayne Kursh, director of the Delaware Marathon, agreed that it would be a pity if I didn't run the marathon, especially since Stroh of Arabia is taking time from the GWOT to do it. So, I'm in. That's a relief. Now I just have to run it. My immediate concern is in the form of two large blisters on the side of left foot, the result of a 20-mile run in new sneakers. I performed some semi-gruesome surgery today to lance them. Hopefully they'll heal over the next few days. I hope to get a couple of runs in while in Seattle. When I was there last year, I didn't have a chance.

Breakfast: orange juice, two bagels, vegetable cream cheese
Lunch: street fair sausage and pepper sandwich
Dinner: linguini with pesto, corn

4.5 miles, 35:37

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Curveball

I neglected one thing in my breakneck prep for the Delaware Marathon: registering. I didn't for the first couple of weeks because, honestly, I wasn't sure if my body would be into upping my mileage that quickly. The last two weeks, I've just been really busy and put it off. Today, when I went to the site to finally register, I saw "SOLD OUT." Gulp. I emailed the race director, Wayne, explaining that Stroh of Arabia was coming back for the race from the front lines of the GWOT. He responded cryptically, "Having meeting later. Will be in touch." Hmm. Haven't heard back from him. According to the site, there are 556 runner registered for the marathon, with a 600 limit. What's more, this article says the deadline was May 5 (today). I'm not sure what happened. I'm hopeful I'll worm my way in. From the postings on, Wayne seems like a genuinely nice man, and I'm sure we can work something out. Wayne, call me. Let's talk.

Breakfast: orange juice, two bagels, vegetable cream cheese, coffee
Pre-run snack: two bananas, Cliff Bar
Recovery dinner: Enormous ribeye steak, three baked potatoes, soon several beers while watching Oscar de la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather beat the snot out of each other. KT has rightfully called the 20-mile run + baby-size steak + boxing and beer "testosterone night." Word.

20 miles, 2:33:34

Friday, May 4, 2007

Confirmed: Average

To directly answer TTG, the average man lived up to his billing. I was thrown off a bit because he was seated, but we walked out together, which gave me a chance to get shoulder to shoulder. I have him by two inches. Not much, but I'd like to think we're both average, aka medium.

No running tonight. Frites, possibly; beer, certainly. Incomplete diet diary to follow.

Breakfast: orange juice, breakfast burrito (without the bacon), potatos, coffee
Lunch: two mini vegetable burrtos (Yes, I eat a lot of burritos)
Snack: two bananas

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Is He Still Petite?

"I'm of average height." This is how a guy I'm meeting tomorrow for breakfast described himself. I decided against giving him a description back, since I know I'll pick him out at Coffeeshop that early. But I would have said I'm "medium." That's what I figure I am: 5'9", 160lbs. Alas, perhaps not. Tonight I wore home a new Asics running shirt I picked up the other night, with the express purpose of using it when I run home from work. Last Friday, after I changed for my run in my cubicle, a colleague saw my garb and asked about the circle stains around my nipples. It's hard to explain, "Oh, that's just from Vaseline," and not feel like a weirdo. Anyway, I grabbed a blue shirt, size medium. When I put the thing on at the office -- now changing in the video room near my cube -- the sleeves came down to my elbows and the shirt came down halfway down my thighs. OK, if I'm not a medium in the general, overweight American populace, surely I am among my scrawny runner brethren, right? KT smartly suggested that it fits with my theory that the Second Running Boom is filled with "Oprah types" who run for health, not pigdog slaying, could explain the sizing issue. Or I'm fooling myself. We'll see how I measure up with Mr. Average in the morning.

Breakfast: orange juice, bagel with cream cheese, coffee
Lunch: turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato. BBQ potato chips
Snack: banana, Cliff Bar
Dinner: pasta, tomato sauce with vegetables and sausage

6.5 miles, 49:49

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Marathon: Sooner Than Thought

I miscounted: there are only 2.5 weeks until the marathon. That seems awfully soon, particularly because I only began breaking in shoes tonight. Oh well, after this weekend's long run, I'm beginning a quick taper for the race. As long as it's not super-hot, I'll be happy.

: orange juice, breakfast burrito (eggs, cheese, avocado, bacon), potatoes, coffee
Lunch: two tacos (one chicken, one beef)
Snack: two bananas
Dinner: slice of wheat pizza, salad, pretzels

5.75 miles, 45:03

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Dean Karnazes

I'm all for ultra athletes taking their rightful place as sports superstars, although I think it's kinda cool that many are almost completely unknown. I was pretty surprised to see Dean Karnazes, a pretty boy ultramarathoner, was chosen as a candidate for the Time 100 Most Influential . What criteria they used is unclear. I'm not a huge Dean fan. He's all marketing. Look at that picture. He's awfully fond of the beefcake shots, all buffed-out abs, nice mane of hair and oddly hairless body, in sport that frankly is populated with scrawny, bearded Eastern European wife-swapper types. And he's not even super accomplished by elite ultra standards. If you want choose an ultra runner star, go with Scott Jurek, who blew Dean away by nearly eight hours at Badwater last year. But he's a weirdo vegan whose beloved dog died in the middle of a 100-mile race, so he buried the pooch and went on to win. Dude is a freak, and I mean that as respectfully as possible when speaking of someone who doesn't eat animal flesh. In any event, Karnazes, not Jurek, is somehow No. 27 in online polling, ahead of Warren Buffet and gaining on Nelson Mandela.

Diet Diary
Breakfast: bagel, cream cheese, orange juice, coffee
Lunch: Lobster roll, fries (whoops)
Snack: banana
Dinner: pasta, tomato sauce with vegetables and sausage, salad