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

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Kim Duclos has a bizarre flare-up

Bizarre even by her standards, I mean. Which is like saying, "Juiced even by NFL standards."

She posted the material below the other day on Letsrun, and it was summarily deleted, but not before a few friends of mine who haunt the LRC forums around the clock and are are keyed into the walking human malignancy named Kim Duclos took screen shots of it.

Parsing this one takes some effort. First of all, bear in mind that this abject coward was told by the judge at our March 13 restraining-order hearing not to write anything more about me on the Internet. It wasn't a court order but it was unquestionably a strong advisory. But would anyone really expect Kim, who has no problem lying to the policelying in a restraining-order application, lying in court itself, and impersonating people to tell lies, to comply with this? Why would she? She's equal parts fundamentally evil person and mentally ill menace. She once proudly declared to her roommate, a friend of mine whom she went on to stiff for a couple months' rent, "I lie because it gets me what I want." Charming. I hope that my posts about her are exactly what she wants, but she seems to be thrown into colossal emotional disarray by them, so I have my doubts.

The "apparently I'm a dumbass" line is one of the few things Kim has posted online that is actually, unarguably true.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Tread lightly around running info in the New York Times

I should probably establish a tag just for posts complaining about the sludge that the New York Times, the U.S.A.'s largest daily newspaper, foists on the running public with dismaying regularity.

The substandard stuff these writers expel can be divided loosely into a few categories. They're generally -- but not always -- sanguine enough to avoid peddling flat-out misinformation, so they instead settle for repurposing familiar ideas as cutting-edge discoveries ("OLDER THAN YODA? YOU MAY HAVE TO SLOW DOWN!"), creating faux-dramatic pieces based on hyperextended or poorly applied research findings ("RUNNING TOO MUCH MIGHT JUST KILL YOU!") and writing articles that are simply worthless in that they either state the obvious or acknowledge that what's needed to address a given problem is literally impossible.

This piece is an example of the last type. The headline alone, "Why We Get Running Injuries (and How to Prevent Them)" is a double dose of buncombe in that the article not only offers nothing new or helpful about the nature of running injuries, but also fails to give any feasible ways to keep them from occurring. If this were a column about football, an equivalent headline might be "Why It's Useful For Linemen To Strong (And How To Get That Way Without Exercising)."

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My subprime qualification for the A wave of the Bolder Boulder 10K (and 2.32 digressions)

It's hard to be a runner living in Boulder and find ways not to enter the Bolder Boulder 10K, unless you're me and straddle the line between being a lazy jogger and someone with equally lazy hopes of returning to serious competition.

I've been present for three runnings of the event. In 2011, I watched some of the earlier waves -- there are about 100 of them and they go from fastest to slowest, with the earliest start at about 6:50 a.m. and the latest at at 9:25 a.m., with the pros taking off at 11:15 a.m. -- from about the one-mile mark. In 2014 I watched from various points along the course, catching sight of the men's and women's leaders this time. Last year I was close to the finish when the pros churned up the last ugly hill on Folsom Street and onto Stadium Drive.

This year, having been fairly consistent with, if not ambitious about, my "training" since midwinter, and experiencing many missed days thanks not only to laziness but to work commitments (another dubious feather in my slacking-cap; I used to regularly put in 90- to 100-mile weeks while working over 40 hours) I decided to give it a participatory go. But I didn't want to do it unless I could get into the A wave. Qualifying for the individual waves takes many forms, and since I have developed a late-onset allergy to actually racing, I decided the least painful way to go about this would be to run two miles on a treadmill at 10.6 MPH (5:39.6 pace) at the seasonal Bolder Boulder Store near 28th Street and Arapahoe. The powers-that-be equate this with a sub-38:00 10K.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Ten ways to fail as a collegiate runner

In the two-plus years I competed in college, I barely improved from high school, when I ran 9:43 for 3200m and a 15:57 road 5K. My two most noteworthy races were an 8:55.2 indoor 3000m as a freshman at BU and a 26:48 8K at Bryant College in Rhode Island as a sophomore. I've started to pinpoint some of the possible reasons for my athletic stagnation:
1. I didn't sleep enough, my nutrition was erratic, and I drank like character in a Judd Apatow movie. This was par for the course on the surface, but I was significantly worse than most.
2. Our team did very little volume. 10-milers were considered noteworthy.
3. Our program included very little intensity. A sample "hard" workout: 16 x 400m in 75 with a slow 200 jog; 6 x 600 on a golf course at roughly 5:00 pace.
4. We were never given goals, as a team or as individuals, either before individual races or at the beginning of the season. The purpose of a given workout was never explained.
5. There was no discernible plan to our training within a competitive season. It was very much as if the coach made up our workouts shortly before telling us what they were, which is almost certainly what he in fact did.
6. We were not given any out-of-season training guidelines, other than the suggestion not to sit on our asses all summer.
7. Our coach gave us the silent treatment on the long van rides home after meets where we had raced poorly, which meant that we almost always rode home in silence, save for the barely concealed sniggering of a few of the guys secretly drinking and cutting up in the back. At the time we all just laughed at these displays of sulking, but in retrospect they were not precisely representative of a solid coach-athlete relationship.
8. It was really fucking cold a lot of the time. Training inside meant training on a concrete 176-yard piece-of-shit track that had been around since the Coolidge administration and was condemned by the NCAA after my freshman year.
9. We had very low standards of excellence. Anyone who sniffed 4:00-flat for 1500m 15:00-flat for 5K was regarded as a phenom. We were males, by the way.
10. The positive energy I brought to every practice, race and team meeting went roundly underappreciated, leaving me and numerous others disillusioned, unmotivated, and prone to blaming others for our failures.
I've left out a few things, but that's probably as comprehensive as any such list needs to be.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Not one for the ages: a strangely short-sighted NY Times effort

Gina Kolata has written a piece for the New York Times about a cold, recently unearthed fact: Runners slow down as they get older. This is arguably not her least praiseworthy effort for the Times just this spring alone, given what came one week later, but in any event, this bright journalist and passionate writer manages to again portray a science or health issue as something other than what it actually is.

In case you're feeling too lazy to follow a link, I will summarize the Times article in one sentence: A Yale economist and runner has produced a mathematical formula, translated into an online tool, that predicts exactly how much runners can be expected to slow with increasing age, and even more helpfully, how fast they would have run when they were younger if only they had tried.

I'm not quarreling so much with what Kolata writes in this piece as with the apparent knowledge gaps that allowed her to go forward with the story to begin with. She's been writing about endurance activities for a very long time, for a well-respected newspaper, and so I would expect her to be more thorough about doing her homework.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Welcome back to absurdity theater: getting close to an endgame with Kim Duclos

In the unlikely event you are reading this post and are not yet aware of the mindless, supernaturally persistent, and fundamentally diseased and cowardly bird that has been pecking and honking at me for over two years now, do your due diligence and visit this page. Don't skim, read; if you're into this crap, you need to be all in. Then check out this post from a couple weeks ago and the comments beneath, where the same creature, whose given name is Kim Duclos, makes multiple appearances as "Beth.Proal."

All set? Do you have the picture of an obsessive, bitter, pathological burned-out husk of a human being who blames people for her own problems, lies freely under oath -- in fact, she once bragged to her then-roommate, "I lie because it gets me what I want" -- and would be quite likely to spew wild fictions when the truth would save or improve her life simply because lying is practically all that she has ever known?

OK, then.

A twelve-miler that would have ended in a search party ten years ago

Well, probably not a search party, but a decent amount of frustration and embarrassment in my head to complement the scratches and scrapes on my legs.

In running, as in other realms, technology moves in apparent small jumps that, summed together, amount to major leaps in how we do things. Until I stop to consider the differences between running in the 1980s when I got started and running in the age of untold numbers of gadgets and add-ons, I think that my experiences now are the same as they were when I was 15 (and I'm probably about as fast, but on the wrong end of the bell performance curve now). In fact, the complexion of even a typical training run is incalculably different from what it was during the Reagan administration.

I have explained -- okay, boasted, sometimes -- that when I was in high school in the mid- to late 1980s, long before Garmins or any sort of non-scrambled GPS signal and long, long before smartphones, I had creative ways of measuring runs that couldn't be driven with a motor vehicle or a bicycle fitted with one of the then-state-of-the-art digital devices for keeping track of speed and distance. Many of the trails I ran on back then in Concord and Canterbury, N.H. were included on my grandfather's USGS topographical maps (he worked for the N.H. Fish & Game Department for most of his adult life) as dotted lines, so when I would run on these, I would take a length of soldering wire, bend it along the trail on the map, straighten it out, and hold it against the scale of miles to get a solid distance estimate. Hey, that was pretty resourceful back in the day. (This was about a dozen years before I developed Komenometry, which I will describe in due time.)