Saturday, June 30, 2007

Beating the Heat

There's no way to beat it. As The Crumple showed, I'm no fan of running in warm weather. But unless I find somewhere temperate to live and climate change remarkably ends, it's simply a reality that it's going to get hot. But more than the heat, the humidity is what makes running in the summer so hard. There's no oxygen in the air, yet runners don't get any benefit from it, like running at altitude. I'm in the midst of the heat-acclimation period, when runs are hard and slow. Two weeks straight of running in the muck, the body adjusts. Until then, it just sucks.

6 miles, 46:02

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Return

I must confess to falling behind in my posting after a week in France. I was a little busy there for blogging, seeing as I was trying hard to impersonate a European playboy while managing to do scintillating video interviews. I'm back running, weighing in at 165 pounds, about 10 pounds more than what I think of as marathon weight. The tacos are working.

5.25 miles, 42:10

Sunday, June 17, 2007


The Russians dominated Comrades today. Leonid Shvetsov set a course record to win the race in an astounding 5:20:49. That's for 56 miles, over very hilly terrain. Nuts. He apparently lives in the U.S., so maybe I'll try to track him down for some tips. On the women's side, Russian twins Oleysa and Elena Nurgalieva finished 1-2. One runner collapsed just before the finish line -- glad I'm not the only one -- and was carried across by fellow competitors to make the 11-hour cutoff of official finishers. Unfortunately, he seemed a lot worse off than dehydration because they performed CPR.

Off to La France (merci, JPS)...

8.5 miles, 1:02:13

Friday, June 15, 2007

Running in Le France

Next week, I'll be in France. It should be an interesting, fun and busy week. Looking at my schedule as it is now, I don't know when I'll be able to run. My goal is three times while I'm there, either in the morning or in the evening before the craziness starts. Last year in Cannes, I only got out for a single run, a mostly boring route on sidewalks along the water. I'll probably just repeat that, although I'm farther up the Croissette this year. The biggest meetings with the pigdog will probably be from the sheer exhaustion of the week. Check out here for updates on the fun, random stuff.

5.5 miles, 42:07
6 miles, 45.21

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Marathon Plan B

Like about 40,000 others, I did not "win" the NYC Marathon lottery. What gets me is I think the New York Road Runners still whacks me for $10, I guess for the honor of trying to pay them $120 to run their marathon. I'm OK with not running NY. I've done it twice, and I didn't particularly enjoy it last time because of the crowding. The question now is, What fall marathon do I run? If I'm going to run for a good time, I'd say back to Chicago or Philly. The Mount Desert Island Marathon in Maine looks very interesting. There is of course another try at the Indy Marathon, assuming my flight isn't cancelled. Otherwise, I'm not sure. A trail marathon would be fun (and less painful).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Agent Zero Doesn't Give Up

You know, it's very rare for me to find marketing campaigns smart and even inspiring. But the news of Gilbert Arenas saying he'd opt out of his contract led me to check out his "Impossible is Nothing" mini-documentary. All sports need more dudes like Agent Zero. I might need to get that tiger tattoo on chest.

4.75 miles, 36:12

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Good Day for Man in Battle With Beasts

If there was every any doubt of man's superiority to beast, it should be dispelled by a couple of victories today over equines. First, in the Man vs Beast Marathon, not one but two human runners beat the first horse across the finish line in a 22-mile race that's apparently got some challenging terrain -- the BBC mentions "marsh, mountain and bog." Closer to home, Chad Johnson, the Bengals somewhat bizarre wide receiver, beat a horse in a short charity race. Chad apparently wanted to put the fix in over, running just 110 yards to the horse's 220. Kinda lame, and from what I saw on ESPN, it wasn't even close. Maybe these races will inspire Fox -- it has to be Fox -- to reprise the Man vs Beast special where the Japanese hot-dog eating champ took on a bear (Bear: 1, Japan: 0) and Shawn Crawford raced a giraffe (shorter competitor won) and a zebra (the animal took it).

5.75 miles, 45:03

Friday, June 8, 2007

Tackling Death Valley

The season of the crazy ultras is upon us. After Comrades next weekend, there's Badwater in a month, the 135-mile run through Death Valley. While I'd like to do Comrades, 135 in DV doesn't seem like fun. The Star-Telegram in Texas has a profile of a heart surgeon ultra runner getting ready to tackle it. What caught my eye is that his training, while no joke, didn't seem outrageously difficult, leaving aside "the sandwich" of back-to-back long runs.
Mileage: He runs 7 to 10 miles a day. When the race nears, he adds two long weekend runs: 20 to 30 miles on Saturday, 20 on Sunday.
After his daily runs, Hudgens spends 45 minutes to an hour on a Stairmaster to strengthen his legs for the mountains.
Hudgens spends 45 minutes in a sauna, with the temperature hitting 150 degrees to prepare for the blistering heat.

4.75 miles, 35:16

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Marathon Boy Thwarted

This is a shame. Indian police have stopped a 5-year-old endurance prodigy from doing a 500k walk. Budhia Singh's already done a marathon, and apparently some soft Indian courts felt a subsequent 65k run was "torture." Interestingly, the run got into India's version of the Guinness Book of World Records. I had no idea India had its own book. I wonder who has the hot-dog eating title. Hmm... Anyway, Budhia's story has Hollywood written all over it. He's even got his own Bela Karolyi, a shadowy ex-judo instructor, Biranchi Das.
He grew up in a slum with his mother, who made a living washing dishes. She sold him when he was three to a street hawker for the equivalent of £10 as she could not afford to feed him and his sisters after her husband died. Soon afterwards Mr Das, a local judo instructor, spotted Budhia misbehaving during training and set him to run around the track as punishment. He then went off to work and, so the story goes, forgot about him. When he returned five hours later the boy was still running: "I was amazed," he recalled."'I knew he was something extraordinary."

Taking a Tumble

When I try to explain what happened in Delaware, I make it clear that I did not fall. Rather, I crumpled. There's a difference. Falling is much more dramatic. Tonight, I fell. It was only the second time I can remember tripping and falling while running. I managed to stay upright when an idiotic lady on a bike clipped me a couple years ago. (She wasn't as fortunate.) The one previous time I went down was while running in Riverside during the winter, when I went off the path to avoid some ice. In the dark, I caught a big root and took a tumble. Tonight's fall was even odder, because it was still light out. For some reason, I misjudged hopping over the same fallen tree in the Bird Sanctuary I jump over every night. After clipping my left foot, I quickly realized I wasn't staying up. What's funny about falling is how quickly you get up. I must have spent no more than 1.5 seconds on the ground before I was up and running, no worse for the wear except some scrapes on my hand, elbow and knee.

4.5 miles, 36:11

Monday, June 4, 2007

Comrades Approaches

In just two weeks, 11,000 people will set out from Pietermaritzburg to run 55 miles to Durban, on the Indian Ocean. The Comrades Marathon is close to an obsession of mine. The fact that it's in South Africa helps, but the oddity of an ultramarathon being the Super Bowl of a country is awesome. It looks like Vladimir Kotov is one of the favorites again. I wonder if he gave the interview from his ice chamber he uses to help speed recovery while he trains by running up and down mountains in Kazhakstan. Amby Burfoot, the editor at Runner's World, ran it last year. He's got a good take on what makes it so unique: "Until last June, I didn't realize how much a race could reveal to me. Of me. Some races are humbling; this one stripped me bare."

4.5 miles, 36:23
4.5 miles, 34:46