Monday, July 30, 2007

Turning the Corner

Tonight was probably the best run I've had since The Crumple. I got out later, when the temperature was lower and the humidity wasn't as bothersome. Heat acclimation is probably setting in, too. Hopefully, I'll get in run along the lake in Chicago.

5.75 miles, 44:53

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Tour de Dope

The Tour is over. Alberto Contador, or "the little Spanish guy" as I call him, finished in the yellow jersey. It has to be a hollow victory considering the doping circus the Tour became. I'm not sure if all the expulsions and positives are signs that cycling is truly serious about getting rid of doping, or more evidence that the sport has a serious culture problem. I know at this point I wouldn't be surprised if any cyclist tested positive for EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, the cow blood stuff, whatever. I wouldn't be shocked if in the next few weeks we find out more info about the little Spanish guy and Dr. Fuentes. The Times had a good story today about the denial and coverup culture in the peloton. Until that stops, I'd expect more of the same.

11 miles, 1:26
5.75 miles, 44:33

Friday, July 27, 2007

Failing to Train

Leaving work this week, I grabbed a copy of the June issue of Runner's World, which had an article by Amby Burfoot about my beloved Comrades Marathon. The article itself, written by a very experienced runner who even won the Boston Marathon in 1968, was pretty good. He got his ass kicked, had to walk a big chunk of it and was completely cooked by the time he hit the Polly Shortts. He called it a "personal worst." But thing is he didn't train for it. He'd run a half-decent half marathon before it and just figured he'd coast. You'd think his lesson would be the age-old "Respect the distance." Instead, in a sidebar, Burfoot tells the masses "it doesn't take any special training to run Comrades -- no more than you would do for a marathon." Um, this is from a guy who covered the 54 miles in 11:05, which wouldn't even have been an official finisher until they eased the restrictions a couple years ago.

5.75 miles, 46:12

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Brazilian is Badwater Champ

As suspected, my man Pacheco met the Pigdog somewhere near mile 118 in Death Valley. I have to say, I was a little disappointed the temperatures were a somewhat chilly 113. What global warming? Anyway, Brazilian rookie Valmir Nunes won Badwater in a course record 23 hours. Beefcake extraordinaire and self-proclaimed "ultramarathon man" Dean Karnazes turned in a pedestrian 10th place performance, losing out to NYC's Blake Benke, who I should point out for the MBAs that found the time to train while doing his second year at NYU.

5:75, 45:06

Monday, July 23, 2007

Going Out Too Fast

There's no worse feeling than going out too fast during a long race. There comes a point in time when it's quite clear you've screwed up and the ensuing miles will suck out loud. I have a sneaking suspicion this might be happening to Badwater virgin Jorge Pachecho, who was leading the race after 42 miles. Jorge's a machine operator in LA. My guess is he starts to feel funny pretty soon.

5.75 miles, 45:08

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Septugenarian vs Pigdog

I truly hope I'm able to run as I get older, right up until the end, really. It makes me happy to read old guys who are still at it, although I've noted some of them came to running late in life. Maybe there's only so many miles (on asphalt) in a body. In any case, a 70-year-old laser eye surgeon in Fresno is taking on the Badwater Ultra, a 135-mile race through Death Valley. Robin Smit will be the oldest person in the field when the race kicks off Monday. He wants to do the course in under 48 hours, which will get him a coveted Badwater belt buckle. In seems like Robin is ready: he did a 135-mile "training run" a couple weeks ago, and he's fond of running when it's 109 degrees out. He should do just fine.

5.75 miles, 47:10

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cyclist vs Dog

This is really taking on the pigdog.

5.75 miles: 45:12 (yesterday)
5:75 miles: 45:26

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Devil Time

The Tour finally got to the mountains today. Rasmussen rode away with the race, but it seems like he doesn't have it to keep the yellow jersey, at least judging by what Bonnie DeSimone wrote. I'm waiting to see what my man Sam Abt has to say. Today's coverage did yield both the first streaker -- a "hors d'categorie" gross-out, Bob Roll said -- and the first appearance of Didi Senft, the German dude who dresses like the devil and hops up and down over the last couple kilometers of mountain stages. I didn't run long today, but I felt at times like Didi was going to show up to remind me how hot and humid it was.

5.75 miles, 45:54

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Sprinters

The first few years I watched the Tour, I only paid attention to Lance and the fight for GC. But I'm now into the more obscure parts of it -- who will win the polka dot jersey? -- particularly the crazy sprinters. JPS notwithstanding, cyclists have always struck me as pansies. It's not just the outfits, but the ones I've come into contact with several times out running who are all about talking shit to runners, etc, only to ride away in their spandex. In any case, that doesn't hold for the sprinters, the wild men like Stuart O'Grady, Robbie McEwen and Tom Boonen. These guys are insane, hurling themselves to the finish without much regard to safety during the flat stages. McEwen showed today what he was made of by going over his handlebars with 15 miles to go, only to get up, dust himself off, rejoin the peloton and win the stage.

8 miles, 1:05:10

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Time for the Tour

It is reassuring this time of the year to turn on OLN -- I won't call it Versus -- and here Phil Ligett and Paul Sherwin. It's time for the Tour. Of course, it's a bit of an awkward year, considering the entire sport's reputation is in toilet over the obviously rampant drug use. It should be interesting how they cover Floyd's limbo. I have to admit, I found it all a bit charming, the idea of these skinny dudes getting hooked up to IVs by Belgian masseurs in dodgy hotel rooms. Alas, I guess it's a new era. I guess I'll root for Levi Leipheimer this year, but it's probably Vino's year. I'm OK with that, particularly because his team is funded by Khazakstan's semi-despot leader.

5.75 miles, 45:26

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Tough Runs

There are days when, for whatever reason, runs aren't fun. It could be the weather, fatigue, an injury or just a bad day. Even though I don't enjoy the runs as much, I feel better afterwards for going through with it. That was tonight, a sluggish run in near 100% humidity and a light rain. But at the end, I was better off than this pathetic soul who the Times tells us has failed to sell his hard-earned extra iPhone.
Mr. Ostrowski had used a day off from his job at a hookah bar to stand in line. Now, he said, after factoring in the money he spent on gas and the waste of a free day, he views the entire venture as a net loss. “I’m probably better off getting a side job,” he said.
You think?

5.75 miles, 46:16

The Reversal

While I'm glad Joey Chestnut redeemed America yesterday in Coney Island, I came away doubly impressed by Kobayashi. It faced down the pigdog, suffered the dreaded "reversal," then just shrugged and gulped it back down. ESPN has apparently banned further rearing of the "reversal heard round the world." This is America. They can't do that.

5.75 miles, 46:02

Monday, July 2, 2007

Wolfgang Bohmer, RIP

What does one have to do to get a water fountain posthumously named after him? Wolfgang Bohmer, 1955-2005, did something right, because the fountain at 72nd in Riverside now carries a snazzy plaque dedicated to him. It says, "He and his dogs loved the park." Um, great, but I hope he was some kind of heavy-hitter donor to the Riverside Park Fund or something. Lots of people (and their dogs) dig on the park.

5.75 miles, 45:17

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Fall Marathon

It seems like just the other day I was lying in a gurney with an IV piping fluids back into my body, but life moves on. I realize it's time to decide what marathon to run in the fall. I'm starting, ever so slowly, to get back into OK shape. This week, I ran four times. Next week, I'll run five. The longest run I've done has been, I think, about 8 miles. Maybe next weekend I'll do 10. I prefer marathons earlier in the fall season, even though that's counterintuitive considering my crumpling problem in the heat. Looking at the races on, I see a few intriguing options:
1) Indy: I wanted to run it last year, but I worry it would make for a strange weekend with KT.
2) Portland: This is one of several places (Maine, Santa Fe, South Africa) that I image I'd like very much. It would be a fun excuse to go out there.
3) Mt. Deseret Island Marathon: If we go to Maine for vacation, I wouldn't go back for this race, but it does look amazing. And Red Lobster is now on board as a sponsor.

6.5 miles, 52:12