Former 2:24 marathoner, now pushing 50 and reduced to a pitiable spastic shuffle • Magazine writer, book editor and author, and commentator on distance running since 1999; mostly a crank since approximately 2016 and possibly long before • Coach and adviser of less pessimistic perambulators • Dobie-mix owner Sentence-fragment impresario

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The blog's Christmas gift

My dog Rosie is half-Doberman Pinscher. I think she's also part pointer and who knows what else, but I know she runs and jumps like any Doberman I've ever seen. She doesn't even need a running start to clear the fence in the back yard, and she loves to scale the taller back fence in pursuit of chipmunks.

It turns out that the Doberman can reach top speeds of 30 MPH. That's not that much faster than Usain Bolt, who is reputed to have reached 27.8 MPH. Bolt averaged 23.3 MPH during his world-record 9.58 100 meters, so if you assume that a Doberman's acceleration and Bolt's are similar and that a Dobie could therefore average about 25.5 MPH over the same distance, that would give the Dobie the capability of running a 100-meter dash in 8.77 seconds. That's not exactly a close race between the dog and Bolt, but when you watch a Doberman in full flight, it's goddamn impressive that any human being could stay even that close for 10 seconds.

Having said all of that, I may have to rethink these conclusions. Greyhounds can run up to 45 MPH, and this one barely broke 9.00. Then again, it was on a dirt track, and who knows what kind of athlete that particular dog actually is. Maybe he or she is the canine answer to a hobbyjogger.

On a related note, I've never even considered the humor in the situation of seeing a cheetah coming around the bend of a residential street 50 meters away and watching it blow by me at 70 miles an hour. There would be no meaningful time to react. I could turn around and the cat would be a blur in the distance, or behind someone's house, before I could even process the event. Of course, the story breaks down, and the humor with it, if you stop assuming the cheetah had every intention of ignoring me in the first place.

I have now run for 54 straight days, which is itself unremarkable. My dog has also run for 54 straight days, which is perhaps slightly more noteworthy but also unremarkable. The fact that each of us has logged all of those miles with the other is perhaps very unusual. That is, there's no picking her up at the end of a solo run and continuing on a bit, or dropping her off partway through. I wonder how many people have strung together two months of formal running while logging every mile with the same canine companion. Whatever the case, it's a lot less impressive when you add in the fact that I've averaged less than a half hour a day of running in that span.

My guess is that I'll require a day off before she does. What I thought was a recurrence of my right lateral knee problem seems instead to be a hamstring problem, and it's limiting my stride. Of course, at my age it could be both, plus a pile of other shit that hasn't had a chance to become symptomatic yet. We did a Christmas Eve run where we averaged close to 6:30 a mile for 3.4 miles mostly on dirt, and that was with a 7:15 opener. While that's not quite yet a tempo run (but oh, it soon will be; it soon will be), it's fast enough so that I can't be doing things like that almost daily, which is what happens when I know I have the luxury of short, unplanned runs and nothing on the near, distant, or even theoretical space-time horizon. 

I am working on a short story about a high-school coach whose temperament, knowledge and rhetorical bent are of a piece with a certain prominent U.S. citizen. I will be posting snippets of that here. This is mainly because I have almost no work to do until January, but also because I want to get into a more narrative, less social-media-one-off-outburst vein owing to other recreational writing I have planned for 2019 and beyond.

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