Former 2:24 marathoner hoping to parlay a life overhaul at age 45 into competitive ├ęclat • Magazine writer, book editor and commentator on the sport of distance running since 1999 • Adviser and confidant of other perambulators • Paradoxical hater of exercise fanatics • Chihuahua whisperer Sentence-fragment impresario

Monday, May 22, 2017

Training, week of May 15 through May 21

58 panache-free miles, no more or no less of an embarrassment than last week from the standpoint of the 100,000 or so steps a week I refer to inappropriately as "training." We had some genuinely wintry weather on Thursday and Friday that included some decent-sized hailstones in my 'hood, but by Saturday afternoon it was in the 70s.

A seemingly disproportionate number of my friends and associates have been struggling lately. Some of them brought it entirely on themselves and deserve no better than what they are getting; others are blameless, the victims of unreliable bodies and less-than-ideal life circumstances

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Gaughan shatters N.H. 3200m record; crickets cheer enthusiastically

I've been a consistent follower of New Hampshire track and field and cross-country since graduating from Concord High School in 1988. This has clearly become easier over the years with the creation and expansion of the World Wide Web, with two of my go-to running sites among the countless in my bookmarks being Lancer Timing and the MileSplit network.

Last Friday, a junior from Exeter High School named Jacqueline Gaughan went into the 3,200-meter run at the Loucks Games in White Plains, N.Y. already holding the outdoor state record in the event; last June, her second-place 10:24.27 at the New England Championship earned her that distinction. Also, in March, she ran 10:24.32 for two full miles to place seventh at the New Balance National Indoor Championships in New York City, a time equivalent to about 10:20.7 for the metric distance.

Whatever Gaughan's "true" fastest 3,200-meter time was going into the Loucks Games, she obliterated it, running 10:05.71 to place second to sophomore Kelsey Chmiel of perennial national powerhouse Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Chmiel's 9:59.62 and Gaughan's time were good for 3rd and 5th in the nation this spring.

"There's never a reason to pay for running plans"

So says a familiar bastion of virtually nonexistent -- yet somehow still deteriorating -- integrity. (Please click on that link if you're not familiar with the person I'm writing about or why I do it. Lize's post describes what is perhaps the apotheosis of this years-long and only slowly ebbing mess.)

Ever the merry prankster, Kim Duclos decided to take a training plan she asked me for in 2013 -- which she repeatedly promised to pay for and didn't, as detailed below -- and modify the dates on it before posting a link to it on Facebook. This was during the height of an aggressive and quite insane campaign that ultimately wound up with the two of us in a courtroom, during which it apparently somehow escaped her that the judge told her, in so many stern words, "Ma'am, please stop lying and wasting everyone's time. Leave this guy alone, and try to behave like you belong in the world." Of course, Kim hasn't stopped lying and hasn't left me alone, and has also decided to focus her yammering even more exquisitely on Lize, perhaps believing her to be a weaker adversary than me, or something. Dumb move.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

How distance running gets media attention in the United States, in brief

1. A well-known running proponent dies during a run.
2. Terrorists' bombs go off at a major race.
3. A celebrity wobbles through a marathon at any pace.
4. A politician lies about his running exploits (and arguably remains consistent if nothing else).
5. Some combination of these.

This morning brought an example of #5, when U.S. Senator Thomas Tillis collapsed during a 3-mile race in D.C. (yes, a Wednesday-morning race) and was hospitalized. It looks like he'll be okay.

This underscores why it's not likely that U.S.A. Track & Field, an organization that simply cannot be abused or mocked too harshly, will ever be moved to up its game from the sub-basement level.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Training, week of May 8 through May 14: unimpressive junk on display

An additional 63 miles' worth of barely aerobic garbage, all in the name of more amusingly passing the time between the present and my eventual last stinking breath. That's my rationale now: I'm practically embarrassed to even admit here what I'm up to every Sunday or Monday, but I'd be a fount of even worse banality were I not running.

As the graphic reveals, this was series of short, stubby, pathetically shriveled runs, especially in the beginning of the week when rainy weather contributed to that shrinkage. I rallied somewhat later in the week, and on Sunday afternoon I had some pleasant accelerations at a sexy pace, but the week as a whole failed to swell into anything resembling a proud, throbbing effort. Well, the last part is arguable; I seem to be sore more often than not now -- the new addition to the soreness pile involves my right knee, although it's nothing debilitating yet -- despite doing everything I can account for (diet, sleep, avoiding toxic chemicals. general life satisfaction) the "right" way, if you consider the act of running itself to be a right thing. And that is always debatable.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Young Runners at the Top: Get your discounted copy here

I realize that virtually no one orders books by mail anymore, and that the tiny number of Americans who still read them either buy them online or visit an actual store. Nevertheless, this flyer offers a 30% discount of you choose to purchase a hardcover copy of Young Runners at the Top, which has a scheduled release date of June 17, directly from the publisher.

The least expensive way to read the book at this point, short of stealing my, Lize or Brad's laptop or thumb drives, is to get an electronic copy through this link at Google Play. 

In the meantime, the three of us and Rowman & Littlefield's publicist are working to set up the usual events locally and beyond -- a book signing and discussion, radio interviews (Lize has long been extensively involved in local radio as both an interviewer and interview subject, so this is not a hypothetical), podcasts, and to-be-determined ventures and misadventures.

All of us are busy with various other things and we don't plan to get rich from this book, but the initial push gives all of us a chance to interface with the running public. This was actually the most enjoyable aspect of being the editor of Run Strong, actually, so even if I remain cynical about ever running respectable races again, I can still glad-hand, hobnob, mingle, and blather about the sport with the best of them.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Training, week of May 1 through May 7

I could safely leave this post and others like it blank with the exception of the customary embedded image file from Garmin Connect with no loss of meaningful information. Or I could just omit the image and type in a two-digit number followed by "miles" (in this case 65). At this point, the only reason I am bothering with these weekly updates is because I like to think I haven't plateaued already in terms of fitness or motivation but am merely in a slump and managing it somewhat honorably (more on this below).

Some people on the downside of their lifetime motivational arc, or perhaps just starting to climb the upside of the same arc in earnest, keep running blogs that feature training reports primarily because they believe that this helps keep them accountable, even when they know few people are reading. I appreciate this impulse, but I've also seen it fail far more often than I've seen it succeed in the absence of other, more organic reasons to train or at least run consistently. What I am engaged in now is some purgatory-style hybrid of running and training, and my inability to escape the repetitively dolorous tone of these Sunday-night or Monday-morning shitposts is consistent with this.