Former 2:24 marathoner, now in my late 40s and hoping to maximally flatten the curve of my slide into senescence and mediocrity • Magazine writer, book editor and author, 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

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Adventures in courtroom lying, part 5: Kim Duclos really ought to vet her own stories

More than anything else, this revisiting of unpleasant events has underscored how easy it is to lie badly. Not knowing or forgetting important details about the physical environment you're describing tends to scuttle your story, as does sounding like a petulant fourth-grader with a Ritalin deficiency and having a lawyer who not only might have just walked out of the screenplay of My Cousin Vinny: Idiots Come to Boulder, but also obviously knows you're a lying and just wants to escape the agony of the proceedings.

Anyone have a beef in town with you, that you know of?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The glut of Olympic Trials qualifiers at the California International Marathon

At Sunday's California International Marathon in Sacramento, 100 women and 53 men achieved their respective qualifying times for the 2020 Olympic Trials -- 2:45:00 and 2:19:00 respectively. This was an amplified version of the already great results from the race in 2017, when 54 women and 38 men achieved these marks. (Note that there was significant overlap between the 2017 and 2018 races for both sexes, and some of these runners had already qualified for the Trials before doing it at CIM.) No matter what happens between now and the Trials in Atlanta in a little over a year, CIM will account for a vastly disproportionate number of qualifiers.

Whenever something like this happens, because it's a statistical outlier of an event, people are quick to look for course-driven factors rather than the whole picture when looking for "the" cause for the anomaly. As a result, a lot of people appear inclined to chalk up the times at CIM to an unduly fast layout. This is exceptionally short-sighted.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

A month's work in seven days

Or more realistically, ten days' worth of work spread out over thirty days.

I didn't miss a day of running in November, those with knowledge of Strava say. Yet according to sources deep within the ass administration, my mileage total for the month was less than one of my average weeks in 2002. Individuals with first-hand knowledge of the situation, speaking on conditions of anonymity so they could discuss the matter candidly, agree that no one gives a shit.

I like to periodically look back on my 2002 training year to assess what was good and bad about it, because there was a lot of both and almost all of the variation was attributable to easily identified human factors -- not always the case in this sport energetic hobby. I went into that year in crappy shape after a shitty 2001 fall I largely spent watching incessant 9/11 coverage while slack-faced drunk in front of the television.

I spent the last part of November and of most December in New Mexico getting my mileage up from about 4.7 miles a week to about 100, and for a variety of reasons, I became a one-dimensional mileage machine for the entire winter. I knew I was tired, but I wasn't getting hurt or sick and could plausibly tell myself that I would start speed sessions in a few days or the following week. This basically never materialized and the entire winter and early spring was just an unending stretch of frustrations, which I responded to by punching myself in the metaphorical crotch and doubling down on my Forrest Gump training model, right down to the blithe lack of comprehension of any greater picture. I was able to rally for the Boston Marathon, and then the next six months or so were up and down as I moved to Virginia and spent a month or so in North Carolina along the way.

2002 was the only year in which I raced three marathons, and the only one in which I ducked under 2:30:00 twice. After I ran 2:27:31 at Rocket City in December off what remained almost pure base-type training, I was set up for a decent 2003.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Adventures in courtroom lying, part 4: Kim Duclos is extremely chill for a petrified person

The best part is this: “I heard yelling and swearing, I can’t pick out words, I mean I just know. It was…yelling and chasing.” How does one verify that words are curses when one cannot hear them? Was she reading my lips from a hundred yards out?

The whole thing.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Through a lens of morbidity and decay

In the course of searching for something else -- and most good Internet stories can be traced to such origins, can they not? -- I discovered a Boston Marathon race report from last year written by a New Hampshire runner whose main focus is ultras. I was struck by the unlikely density of semi-apocalyptic physical problems she reported people in her midst experiencing before and during the race:

"Halfway through the ride a guy started puking loudly into a ziplock bag."

"The officer basically gave him two options, get in the cruiser or pee in his pants." 

"Somewhere between miles 5 and 6 someone shit their pants and it was running down their leg. Then right in front of me someone collapsed, unconscious."

"People were crapping themselves and vomiting profusely."

"I felt something wet on my left leg and realized a guy to the left of me pulled out his crank along the right side of his shorts and started peeing while running.  I was getting a golden shower, it was nasty!"

And the coup de grace:

"People were scraping their ass cracks with the stick and covering it with poop and tossing the poop covered sticks on the ground."

All of this supposedly unfolded even before the halfway point in Wellesley.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Adventures in courtroom lying, part 3: Kim Duclos tries to defend a demonstrably false allegation (audio)

When your story about someone harassing you is obviously fictional and definitively collapses when the "perpetrator" proves that he was miles away at the time of the supposed incident, and you're sitting in a courtroom describing the "incident" under oath, you have a few options. One is to say that you might have been mistaken and attribute the phantom transgression to someone else, thereby letting yourself as well as every actual motorist alive off the hook. Another is to double down on your lying and bolster it by saying you've been harassed all over town by the same guy driving the same (also clearly fictional) nonexistent pickup truck.

I don't want to spoil the ending, so have a listen and read the accompanying post.

Monday, November 19, 2018

A lesson from the Massachusetts All-State Cross-Country Championships

(11/20 update: Race video at bottom of post.)

When it comes to high-school cross-country, Massachusetts is funny, in much the same way anyone who non-ironically uses phrases like "heavy petting" in 2018 is funny. For one thing, despite being roughly the size of the parking lot at Disney World, schools are divided into three cross-country divisions on the basis of geography (Western, Central and Eastern). The Western and Central divisions are further split into Division 1 and Division 2 on the basis of school enrollment, while Eastern Mass, which is essentially Greater Boston and includes about 70 percent of the state's population, is separated into six size-based divisions. Each regional division has its own state meet on the second weekend of November, followed by a statewide championship meet the following weekend. For purposes of the All-State Championships only, the Eastern Mass D-1, D-2 and D-3 schools are considered D-1, while the D-4 through D-6 schools are considered D-2. Western and Central Mass schools, meanwhile, retain their native categories. This means that there are two boys' races and two-girls' races at this event, which this year was held yesterday.

For another thing, as you may have noticed, it's past the middle of November, and Massachusetts is not a warm-weather state. I believe that only New Jersey and California were the only other states to  hold final championship meets this weekend. California still isn't done -- its statewide champs are next weekend in Fresno, assuming the fires out there even permit it -- but Cali also has 38 million people. New Jersey and Massachusetts are relatively populous states, but they are also tiny and it would not be imposing a great burden on both of them to shorten their seasons by a week or even two. After all, both the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Championships and the Nike Northeast Regional Championships are next weekend, and both Massachusetts and New Jersey are in the northeast in both schemes.

Lastly, if Massachusetts tinkered with its schedule to a significant but not apocalyptic extent, it could participate in the New England Championships, always held in the second Saturday in November. Massachusetts hasn't gone to the New Englands since the 1970s, and I think it would be a great boost to all concerned if the meet became a true New England championship again instead of a nominal one that proceeds in the absence of almost half of New England's population. I suspect that this is likely to happen only when people who have been involved with the sport for a very long time finally begin to literally die off and are replaced by folks whose ideas are more in alignment with what the kids and coaches would actually prefer.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A tale of two tempos

As much as I hate facile puns based on literary works, I'm going with this one. Charles Dickens, who would have detested the publishers of the popular magazines of the 21st century along with their output, might have appreciated it anyway

I was looking for my own Running Times article on tempo runs from December 1999 (when, believe it or not, chatter about these in print and on the still-primitive Web was fairly scarce) and found it on the Runner's World site, as I expected. (Rodale, the publisher of Runner's World, bought Running Times, for which I was a senior writer for about a dozen years, in 2007. Rodale absorbed Running Times (rebranding it Runner's World Advanced), digested it with only minor bouts of dyspepsia, and finally shit out what was left of it in 2015.)

As I began reading, I became aware that something was different. Then I noticed the byline: "Kevin Beck and the Editors of Runner's World." It's dated August 22, 2018. Well, I wasn't consulted, in spite of still being a senior writer or at least the specter of same.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Adventures in courtroom lying, part 2: Kim Duclos falsely accuses a runner of cheating (audio)

Kim has kept up her nonsense since the last one of these, so heyo.

This one's so bad it's briefly tempting to feel bad for her, but the stammering, stressed-out speech patterns and emotional disarray are part of her act, the only act she knows; and, more than anything else, her targeting people who have done nothing to her or anyone and barely know who she is deserves a call-out. Maybe she'll even apologize to her victims someday; if she starts now and lives a normal human lifespan, she might have time to almost finish.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Adventures in courtroom lying. part 1: Kim Duclos dissembles about our "relationship" (audio)

Alternative title: Don't be nice to screwed-up people you know don't deserve nice treatment in the hope you'll be the one who fixes them; just avoid them. Otherwise, you'll probably wind up being meaner than you ever wanted to be to anyone even if it's fully justified.


(Nov. 9, 6:55 p.m. update: Someone who wishes to remain anonymous, but goes by the moniker "DJ Donnybrook," submitted a remix of some of the audio from this and other publicly available sources. He titled it "Came Too Close." I guess this is sort of funny, somewhat, in some ways. You can listen to it here.)