Thursday, December 27, 2007

Inside Nike Running

I've always been frustrated by running publications and sites. Runner's World seems all about "five ways to great abs" articles, while most of the sites are race databases or training tools. For a little while, I subscribed to "Marathon and Beyond," an ultra-focused magazine/journal that arrived in a brown paper envelope, a la 1950s porn. I was interested by a post today from Twitter friend David Armano, pointing to Inside Nike Running, an attempt by Nike to capitalize on the success of the Nike+ system with some content. Only problem is, as I told David, the content blows. It's still very marketing-like, and there's no easy way for runners to connect. That's too bad. I think Nike's doing some interesting things supporting running through "brand utilities." One of the best is the Nike Runner's Station, a stand along the Hudson, just south of Chelsea Piers. There, runners can stop for water, Gatorade, gels, bandages, whatever. There are Nike products, but it's more about supporting running. This came in very handy over the weekend, when I needed somewhere to get Gatorade during a long run. Since the vending machines tend to be sketchy, the Runner's Station was a very welcome sight. Nike needs to find a way to take that model online.

6.2 miles, 42:44

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why Run Long?

Four years ago, I went to Brooklyn with Stroh of Arabia for a harebrained adventure: The Cirulnick-Inamarato 50k. It turned out to be a great day. Not only did I handily defeat Stroh on the last lap of a very, very long race, but I got my only running trophy, for third place. The day was also notable because we met Ted Corbitt. I didn't know much about him at the time, but he was a legendary runner. He completed in 199 marathons (including the Olympics) and ultras, only dropping out one time, when he was 75. He would run a mind-boggling 200 miles a week and compete in six-day races. Last week, he died at 88. Frank Litsky's got a great obit, including this great summation from Ted of why to run long.
The marathon demands patience and a willingness to stay with it. You must be willing to suffer and keep on suffering. Running is something you just do. You don’t need a goal. You don’t need a race. You don’t need the hype of a so-called fitness craze. All you need is a cheap pair of shoes and some time. The rest will follow.
5.2 miles, 35:43

Friday, December 14, 2007

Central Park

The hardest part of running a fast marathon is training hard. The temptation is always there to take it easy some days. Central Park can cure that. Maybe it's because there are always people ahead of me that I want to reel in, but I end up running harder there. Not too fast, but at a good pace. I went back there tonight during a 5-mile run at 7:04 pace. Not bad. My near-term goal is to start adding in a long run, with the idea of doing the Manhattan Half Marathon on Jan. 27. Goal: sub-1:30.

5.2 miles, 36:49

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Facing Down Unleashed Dogs

I don't hate dogs, but I do dislike dog owners in NYC. Oh, I'm sure most are considerate, but there are so many of them that the minority -- the ones that leave crap all over the UES -- kinda stand out. As a runner, I have a particular uneasiness around the canines. They're dumb and friendly, or they could be amped up and dangerous. I have no clue, but it's impossible to tell when a big down comes lunging at you. Tonight, two big dogs were with their owner -- not pet parent, owner -- and of course they were unleashed. Now, I work, which sadly requires several hours a day. This leaves me evening/night hours to run. All signs in the Riverside Park say "dogs on leash at all times," yet dog owners continue to believe in this myth they can ignore the law when it's dark or early. It's crap. I have a right to run in the park without having unleashed dogs lunge at me. It seems like simple courtesy. What's worse, the owner tonight seemed to find it amusing that I'd be forced to stop to avoid her/him (it was one of those bundled-up androgynous types the UWS specializes in). That made an annoyance into a full-on scrap. The good part is the extra adrenaline helped the final part of the run.

5 miles, 37:20

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Not So Slow

I dig my regular Riverside Park running route, but it's bad for telling how fast I'm running. The lights throw me off, and I'm not even sure of the exact distance. Central Park is a great way to tell pace because it has set mileage. My post-marathon plan has been relatively short runs (5 miles) at a pretty good pace. Tonight, I went to Central Park to see how fast I'm going. Because I have to run to the park, I only got an accurate read during the four-mile loop: 28:24, about 7:06 per mile. Not so bad. Of course, to run a 2:59 marathon, I'd need to run over 15 seconds faster per mile for 22 extra miles. Whatever. It's early.

5.25, 36:50

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Running for President

Which of the presidential candidates is fittest? Judging by the White House's current occupant, an impressive athletic resume shouldn't exactly be a deciding factor. Still, I can't stand when people like NYT's Gail Collins writes op-ed articles that equate pursuing exercise to wasting time. Anyway, of the current crop of contenders, the most accomplished Republican runner appears to be Mike Huckabee, who turned to running after becoming utterly gargantuan and diabetic. He has three marathons under his belt and is oddly enough planning to run Boston in April. (I can't imagine running for president and training for a marathon at the same time.) The other Republicans are a sorry lot. Giuliani spent his time in NY hurtling through the city in an SUV, not pounding out miles. Romney probably plays squash. McCain has too many injuries from being in a cage for years, so I'll give him a pass. Fred Thompson seems to have a very low resting heart rate, but not from running. Ron Paul's strange enough to be an ultra guy. For the Democrats, John Edwards is by far the most Pre-like. He's a longtime runner and self-described 'addict" who has done five marathons, including one in the respectable neighborhood of 3:30. Probably something about keeping the hair looking nice. I would think Obama would be a runner because of his lanky physique. It turns out he's a smoker. Hillary takes walks. Richardson doesn't look like he's doing many miles.

It might do some good for Transatlantic relations if we do have a runner in the White House. French president Nicholas Sarkozy is fond of going for runs, and so too is Italian prime minister Romano Prodi.

5 miles, 36:40