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, August 20, 2019

Instead of Tweets, Vol. 6

I haven't been blogging lately, but I've been dumping a lot of shit into this file or one like it, so I guess I'll publish some of it. ("Publish." Such a terrible pimping of that word, using it mean "spew words into cyberspace with zero editorial oversight.")

I have now run at least once for 20 minutes at a time every day since last Nov. 1. I've been doing lame doubles often enough this summer so that I'm sure I have quite a few more runs than the number of days that have passed (293). Despite this, I would be surprised if I have covered much more than 1,000 miles at a running clip. There are benefits from being consistent, and then there are people like me who basically try to claim fitness on what amount to a little under an hour a day of vigorous tai chi, and who would be better served by three well-structured intense runs a week and four days off were competitive aims near the top of the perambulatory priority list.

My general lack of participation in social media, and by extension my lower level of engagement with current events, has left me with a perhaps not surprising amount of free time and positive emotional energy (by my standards). As a result I have been spending more time outside and at least diddling with the outlines for some of my half-written stories, one of which has me legitimately excited. I am also probably going to do the thing that will bleed more time from my day (and there is still plenty to spare) and upgrade to a nicer keyboard, one that will produce better noise both because it'll be a better machine in general and because it will have the technological power to compensate for most of my mistakes.

Other than that...

  • Nothing is noteworthy. I have eluded death and serious debility, and have also started doing pull-ups on a real pull-up bar at home, often between episodes of 24. A significant fraction of the people who use the same rec paths remain dickheads (and despite my sanctimony, I am probably a dipshit of an obstacle myself for other people at times), but more problematic is that they are there at all. I kind of require a world at times in which no humans or evidence of their poorer labors are within a tenth of a mile of me. This is not realistic. I also like cherry-flavored gum, which replaces violent self-gratification in the wee hours of the morning as my most intrusive vice.
  • I recently had to make use of the parking lot at the Justice Center west of downtown Boulder. This is the facility that combines municipal and Boulder County civil and criminal proceedings, and whether any genuine justice is meted out there is a matter of interpretation. Whatever the case, Rosie was in the car, and as soon as we pulled into the lot, she perked up in the way she only does when she recognizes a spot. And in this case she wasn't very happy about it. If she's been to the Justice Center or its parking lot before, it wasn't with me, and I have to again wonder about the circumstances that produced such a remarkable animal being willfully surrendered for adoption at age four.
  • I was recalling my days coaching high-schoolers at the turn of the millennium. Though not in the same division, Nate Brigham of Merrimack Valley (D2) and Patrick Moulton of Pelham (D3) had some great face-offs in 1999-2001, spanning both my coaching tenure at D2 Bishop Brady and their last two years of prep running.

    The things that stand out now is neither had a shred of talent by the standards of those who normally prevail at this level, even in a small state like New Hampshire. I actually used to train with Nate quite a bit after wrapping up my coaching and teaching day across town (Merrimack Valley HS is technically in Concord, but in a village called Penacook, and mostly serves five or six towns to the west, north and east) because he didn't really have any teammates and his did was sort of the coach. This was in my so-called prime, and we did some workouts that were far beyond anything I tried in high school, when I was roughly at Nate's level. Once, we did 1600-1200-800-400 with a strict 3:00 400m stagger of a rest in 4:47-3:32-2:18-61 (I might have lost him a bit on the last one) while Nate's dad Pete, as always, stood at the side of the track bellowing at both of us while I tried gasping at Nate in turn. (Pete was a very solid runner in his own right in high school in Vermont and at the University of Maine, so he had to chops to do this, if such were required.) We also once did 20 x 400 in a hair under 70 with a slow 100m jog.

    Pat, meanwhile, was probably doing even more intense sessions downstate. Whatever the case, at the end of their junior year, Nate nipped Pat by a second at the Meet of Champs 3200m for second place and then beat him again with 9:33 to 9:43 at the New Englands the next weekend, where they were 8th and 16th. That autumn, Pat won the Cross-Country Meet of Champs with Nate sixth, although both fared poorly at the New Englands the next weekend. The following spring, Pat and Nate went 1-2 in the 3200m at the Meet of Champs in pouring rain (9:20-9:26), and at the New Englands the next Saturday, Pat won in a PR of 9:13 while Nate was 8th again (9:29).

    Both went on to turn in respectable college careers -- Nate at D2 Tufts, Pat at D1 Providence -- which as anyone who has run in college at all recognizes as a fine achievement in itself (the washout rate is high across all divisions, and many of those who compete for four years fail to thrive at all). Pat went on to run 2:15 in Austin one year (as did his twin brother Casey, maybe the best high-schooler never to compete at the high school level despite being well aware of the possibility). Nate logged a 1:06-high half-marathon as a post-collegian. I'd love to get together with yet another slow-ass Sunday 10-miler with Nate the next time I'm there, but I'd be more likely to find him doing graphics work in Baltimore. I haven't really met Pat except in passing but have long wanted to -- he has one of the more legendary work ethics I've ever heard about.

  • During my trip up the East Coast in May, I incurred toll bills from a generous smattering of states, including Maryland. When I got back to Colorado, Maryland's EZ-PASS gangstas sent me a violation notice in the amount of $18, noting generously that there would be no penalty if I paid within 30 days or whatever because this was my first de facto middle finger to Maryland's system, and Maryland believes in the good faith of citizens, second chances, and people who don't have transponders useful outside of Colorado. I paid the bill online and moved on courageously with my life.

    Last week, I got a bill for the same violations. Well, two bills: One for $6 and one for $12, to account for the two closely spaces tolls I blew through. I think one was in a tunnel and Baltimore and the other was fuck all knows where, but the point of sending me two violations was to append a late fee of $50 to each, inflating the new cost from $68 to $118 ($56 + $62). I have the online receipts to prove I paid this, and I sent them a typically imperious and contemptuous e-mail to this effect after getting the bill. I have not heard anything yet. 
  • An ongoing source of amusement for me is that a LinkedIn resume I posted as somewhere between a joke and an afterthought is directly responsible for the overwhelming majority of my freelance income at the moment. I thought people only used that site for kicks, if that. Just to follow the herd. I did. 
  • This is probably the most outstanding of the many bizarre contributions the "mysterious" Reddit character I_Code_to_Yacht_Rock has made recently.



    Actually, most people don't think that being delusional/dishonest, irresponsible, and uncharitable (or even cruel) add up to being a positive person. But I can think of one who does. 
  • Check out the splits from the top women at the CIGNA 5K held on August 8 in Manchester, New Hampshire: 



    Based on this information, you'd think the course climbs a mountain in the third mile, but it doesn't. The first and third miles each climb about 30', with the climb in mile three packed into a short, steep rise just before the three-mile mark, while the second mile drops about 60'. I'm guessing the top two had their places locked up and just cruised in. There isn't much money here unless you happen to be extremely fast; the course-record bonuses are $1,000 for men and women, bot those marks are 13:53 and 15:38, and no one has come close to that in around 15 years.
  • Having recently reached 1,000 days without a boozy drink, I'm reflecting on the fact that the person who is almost singularly responsible for saving my life (after a bunch of others halpoed keep my bobbing turd of a carcass afloat for long enough for this to happen) is an ordained minister who formerly worked for the local court system. I didn't mention that in the linked, admittedly semi-coherent essay (I wrote it over a period of a week or so, and sections may be out of order, not that it matters) but it's kind of a remarkable thing. 


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