The increasingly parochial observations of a casual runner in his fifties. Was "serious" about "the sport" until personal and sociocultural inevitabilities prevailed.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Topological doping and other hijinks

Toward the beginning of the year, I decided I'd allow myself to post here only after producing a new running-related article for a paying entity. I expected this constraint to reduce my blogging to practically zero if I stuck to it, because between my other work and my unusually far-ranging travel plans, I didn't anticipate doing much writing about running, period.

But as is the case for a substantial number of people, the middle of 2020 doesn't look like January said it would. I also realize every time I work with certain people that I ought to do more of it. On top of that, things happen.

I've generated two clickables for Podium Runner this month. This one describes a really helpful and efficient workout, insofar as anything we recreational runners do to get faster can be regarded as a wise use of personal capital. I think I got the idea for it from Daniel Komen in the late 1990s after reading that he'd done it in 3:56-2:55-1:56-56 or something close to that, though I'm not sure of the rest. I ran it in 4:47-3:32-2:17-61 in 2001 not long after my 2:24 marathon, but the rest was probably more like three minutes because I was pacing a high-school kid, and you know how they are between reps, finding excuses to re-tie shoes, rearrange their crewcuts and so on. He went on to win a second state title in the 3,200 meters a couple weeks later, and ran his high-school best of 9:26 a week after that.

This one, meanwhile, details a workout I've actually myself more than once within the past several years. In fact, the hill in photo, taken by editor-in-chief Jonathan Beverly -- and though it would be fun to lie, not for this piece -- is the one I used. You can almost see the 0.9-mile-long path around little Viele Lake off to the right in the backgr, although not for this piece. In the next week or so, two more should appear. One is a review of the careers of four runners, only one a UVM graduate, who returned from long absences -- and various compelling reasons to stay quit -- to match or arguably exceed their already considerable achievements. I'll also have something about combination workouts after picking this guy's busy brain a little more.

For now, though, I'll return to the topic of hills. I do this with both reluctance and the usual demonic joy that accompanies deconstructing the sort of antics that manage to be dishonorable and hilarious at the same time, like one of Frank Gallagher's schemes but without the felonies and misdemeanors.

Monday, July 13, 2020

This won't make it stop, but anyway

In February 2018, I reconnected with a University of Vermont college teammate who now lives a few hours away. When we met for coffee, he told me that, by happenstance, his sister's husband was in the employ of another former teammate who'd gone on to become the CEO of a Vermont insurance company. This gratifying success story was Michael, a boyish and polite fellow I'd lived and spent a lot of time with back in the day, but hadn't talked to since before my first marathon.

After I met my local friend at a Lucky's in Boulder, he passed along a photo of us there to his brother-in-law; in return, we got a photo of Michael and Eric, another teammate, flanking our now-retired coach. Michael -- and I keep wanting to type "Mike," but in a non-annoying way, he just never went by that diminutive even at 19 if he could help it -- was 48 when this was taken, but looks about 30.

Two weeks ago Thursday, I got a text from Crested Butte. Michael had been found dead in his home that morning.