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

Monday, January 22, 2018

Unprecedented excellence

Most of us have known or heard of accomplished high-school distance runners who initially competed only in track because they played soccer in the fall. (Less common is a standout cross-country runner who participates a sport other than track in the spring, a la Russell Brown, almost undoubtedly the only kid in history to run a 1:54 800 meters -- good enough for a national Junior Olympics title -- following his sophomore-year lacrosse season.)

When these kids become sufficiently good at track, they are often inclined to give up soccer in favor of three-season running. When I was in high-school in the late 1980s, a kid from White Mountains Regional High School named Jonathan Ingram, having run 50.8, 1:57, and 4:26 by the end of his junior year, eschewed futbol for cross-country as a senior and wound up winning the New Hampshire Meet of Champions. Sometimes, this transition doesn't happen until after high school, even in instances of extreme talent. For example, Thomas Ratcliffe, who graduated from Concord-Carlisle High School in Massachusetts with a 4:01.5 mile (a Massachusetts and New England record) and an 8:57.47 indoor two-mile to his credit and is now a redshirt freshman at Stanford University, never ran a cross-country race as a prep, although he did run cross in middle school.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Hashtag 80s hashtag fashion

New England Interscholastic High-School Championship 3200 meters, Boston College, 1988. 96 degrees on the track if it was an inch.


Our team supposedly wound up with this style of shorts at the beginning of the season thanks to a mistaken order by the Concord High School athletic department; these weren't actually "track bottoms" as they were clearly way too long for that sport. In fact, runners on other teams ribbed us for wearing "racing boxers," etc. By contemporary standards, these "Bermuda running shorts" would be considered downright immodest in some locales. Hashtag 80s hashtag fashion.

As for the race, I placed 12th, 4th in the unseeded heat, in 9:43. I felt great throughout the race despite the heat, but got no splits along the way because the track at B.C. was oversized by some bizarre amount, costing me whatever number of seconds I feel like pulling out of my ass.

Friday, January 19, 2018

With apologies to the Farrelly brothers: My program stops at EIGHT-mile long runs!

A friend recently had an interesting ad crop up on his Facebook feed. People like this fellow who have known me for a while, since before the glut of Internet weirdness and pseudo-scams and half-intelligible noise inevitably permeated the running world, understand that throwing certain links my way is analogous to danging a five-pound rock of crystal meth in the face of a broke tweaker on a tear and politely asking, "Any thoughts on this?"

I suggest that you take a spin through the pages at the other end of the Facebook link before reading on, so that you're not biased by what follows here, inasmuch as that could possibly matter.

This is what everyday insanity looks like

And most of it isn't even my own.

I'm going to try to present the continuation of this nonsense in a somewhat more succinct form than I did last time. This is partly because all words devoted to Kim Duclos' hijinks are by some measure a waste of time, but also because I don't think I need to belabor the obvious by overthrowing my analysis into the mix; there are no alternative interpretations of Kim's idiocy other than "it's idiocy."

About a week after the appearance of the "Thoughts on removing posts from homeless individuals asking for help?"  thread on the Boulder subreddit -- a topic I learned of days after the fact and stayed out of -- someone submitted a link to an article in 5280 Magazine about dangerous people camping in the foothills west of town. It didn't take long for the human-bullfrog hybrid behind "legal_throwaway34," having a tropism for anything that lets her blather about her caricature of me as well as indirectly vent her own long-ago-disclosed fears about becoming homeless, to find her way to this thread. She posted this:

Monday, January 15, 2018

Yet another false nutritional dilemma

The headline of a recent Boulder Daily Camera article, "Carbs not the enemy: CU Boulder physiologist shares key to weight loss, metabolic health" is misleading. Despite the Camera being my local paper, I became aware of this article only after one of my East Coast friends, an instigator extraordinaire, told me that it had appeared on the Facebook timeline of one of the running world's more energetic, self-important, and prickly cranks, who had parroted the "carbs are not the enemy" line, and gone on to yammer indulgently about how people who can't lose weight should simply be exercising more. Because I maintain a longstanding policy of not associating with this person both practical and historical reasons, I decided to refrain from commenting on his Facebook page and review the article here instead.

Nowhere in this piece does the University of Colorado researcher, Inigo San Millan, claim that carbohydrates, specifically, are not to blame for people gaining weight, although that's part of the story. He's pointing out that homing in on any one macronutrient is futile, despite America's cyclic obsession with demonizing fats (circa 1988-1990), carbs (mid-1990s and beyond), gluten (who the hell cares), and whatever else comes along (soon). (The gluten-free craze has nothing to do with weight-loss-through-supermarket-choices specifically, but is emblematic of the same futility.)

Lunatic troll doubles down on self-abasement: part 89 in an infinite series

Perhaps you've encountered this kind of thing before: Someone is caught in an undeniable, flat-out  lie on the Internet, and instead of fessing up or simply disappearing, he or she compounds the entire uproarious fuckup with ever-more-ridiculous lies while becoming markedly more agitated after every reply from her interlocutors. This person decides she will fight until the bitter end, reality be damned, her headlong rush into sheer humiliation notwithstanding.

In adopting a "go big or go home" mentality with respect to all-important Internet wars, this brand of troll ignores a simple, critical fact: from the moment the exchange first started, there was zero chance of her "winning," by any definition.

I mentioned that I'd be addressing Kim Duclos' using the death of one of my friends as tool for hammering away at her usual bullshit: that I'm a homeless, criminal, abusive gutter-drunk who relies on some combination of the local shelter, the charity of the woman I beat up, running prowess, thievery, and mind control to get what I want out of my sad and hopeless life. Kind of like a combination of Alex DeLarge, James Bond, and Jeff Lebowski.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering

I've had accounts on both Garmin Connect and Strava for several years, but it's been ages since I actually used a GPS watch -- something I've never done consistently anyway -- and I've used my profiles almost exclusively to keep track of other people's training for both professional and recreational purposes. To the extent that I've used either interface to keep track of my own running, I've usually just entered the data manually.

It's possible that what I am doing these days constitutes training and not just therapy. I say this because even though entering a race would be a misguided idea for me now and at any imaginable time in the future, I'm probably between 50 and 75 percent certain of doing so anyway within the lifetimes of almost everyone reading this. Maybe even all of you.

As a result, I like to time myself over known distances from time to time, in the same way I like to troll blogs perpetrated by abject morons -- i.e., I don't get any real benefit from it and I'm often more disappointed than gratified after it's over, but I still keep fucking doing it. Until a few weeks ago, however, I could not do this with any precision unless I was either on a track or puttering along one of the numerous sections of paved rec paths that  have been wheeled and marked off at regular intervals.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A mini wrap-up, new stuff, and people whose 2018 has begun badly

The start to my 2018 has been unusually stressful, as much owing to venturing out of my comfort zone as to "problems." So far, after receiving a delightful and unexpected end-of-year pay bonus from my primary work client on December 31st, I've gotten into a minor car accident (I won't get into whose fault that might have been here), managed to misplace $100 in cash (a downstream effect of thinking I'd lost a debit card in December during a run without actually having done so), been interviewed by the Boulder Daily Camera about the Christmas morning death of one of my friends, and spoken at a Boulder City Council meeting concerning issues related to that death. I've also experienced a few other minor setbacks and frustrations lately, but nothing really new or worth writing about -- even in this space, which is clearly nothing more than a repository for cognitive flatulence that would otherwise be allowed to dissipate unnoticed.

But compared to Kim Duclos, I'm on pace to conquer the entire solar system by Saint Patrick's Day, including the Oort Cloud. More on that relentless one-monkey shit-war under the fold, but inasmuch as Kim's thought processes include any deliberation at all, she seems to have accepted that she has turned her own life into a bad joke from which she knows she will never escape, and is therefore willingly offering herself up as a rhetorical punching bag at regular intervals. (I know this theory is false, and that Kim is just an unbalanced dimwit who thinks that using the same shady tactics that have resulted only in the deepening of her own shame and sense of powerlessness 99 times in 99 tries will somehow prove fruitful on her 100th attempt. But as a comparatively normal person, I can't help but view others' behavior and decision-making through an everyday lens.)

I already summarized my 2017 from an overall perspective on my other blog. Since a lot of my life, however grudgingly at times, involves running, assessing how any given year has gone necessarily entails figuring out what was good and bad about my training, performances, outlook, and general relationship to the sport. Last year, having started on the ground fitness floor in December 2016, I worked up to consistent 65- to 75-mile weeks didn't miss a day of running until mid-July, and along the way managed a sub-par but not wildly disappointing 38:31 at the Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day. I weathered my midsummer knee injury with unprecedented composure (in years past, I often drank my way through such issues) but when I came back after my five-week layoff, I realized that what I suspected at the start of the year was mostly true: I just don't care enough about the possibility of rising to a less mediocre level to put a lot of focused work into that, even if my body allows it.