Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

over the speed limit

November 8, 2009

Today I unexpectedly ran 12.5 miles, bringing my total for the week to almost 56, my highest ever.  10-milers are beginning to seem commonplace – now to run them just a bit faster.

The marathon is four weeks from today, and my goal is to finish in three hours and twenty minutes (3:20), to qualify to run in next year’s Boston Marathon.  I’ve been trying to figure out how that might happen.

A common rule of thumb is to predict marathon time by doubling one’s half marathon time and adding ten minutes.  I finished my latest (and only) half in 1:39:51 – call it 1:40.  So, (1:40 * 2) plus ten minutes equals 3:30.  Hmmm, did I do that right?  Yeah.

So that leaves me with an apparent deficit of ten minutes to close.  Let’s do some accounting.  Caveat:  this will not be double-entry bookkeeping.  We will be looking at one side of the ledger only.  And I’m fine with that.

A ten minute deficit, is that right?  Well, actually, we’re given 59 seconds slack, so my effective qualifying time is 3:20:59, or 3:21 for short.  Deficit down to 9 minutes.

The attentive reader will recall that I ran my half marathon with a very bad cold.   At 100%, I would have done better.  How much better?  Let’s say 3 minutes, or 1:37.  That’s partly a made up number, partly my original pre-race and pre-cold estimate, and it’s a bit slower than the finishing time of my friend Mark, who passed me at Mile 10.  Doubling the 3 minute savings here helps us by 6 minutes on the full marathon, leaving a deficit of just 3 minutes.

I’ll be running the marathon with a pace group, which will prevent me from making the classic going-out-too-fast mistake.  That’s worth at least 1 minute.  (Very possibly more.)  Deficit down to 2.

About that pace group:  the psychological benefit of a pace setter, especially for the last 10 miles, has got to be worth at least 1 minute.  (Possibly  more.)  Deficit down to 1 minute.

By race day, I’ll have had 9 additional post-half marathon training weeks, including 5 weeks of 50+ miles.  That’s worth 2 minutes.  (Probably more.)  Whoa – we’re looking at 3:19!

Alexander Technique lessons are beginning to sink in, and I can feel my posture improving by the week.  That will help stave off late race fatigue.  1 more minute.  3:18!

Last but not least, the flexibility and strength I’m gaining from my P90X and (soon) Hip Helpers workouts have got to be worth another minute.  3:17!

Looks like this race is going to be easier than I’d expected.

Ain’t math great?!



November 4, 2009

Thanks to some diligent sleuthing by a fan, my chief detractor has been thoroughly and conclusively debunked, and my faith in my writing is renewed.  Thanks, fan!

Now to do something with this blog, which not only means committing to write more regularly – when have we heard that before? – but may also mean splitting it up into two or more blogs.  Apparently, to attract readership beyond one’s immediate friends, one needs to write on a theme.  When I have my MBA hat on, the advice to focus is exactly what I most often give business owners, yet it is so difficult to apply to myself.  Like the others, I think I can do it all.

A blog, perhaps, devoted to running?  The marathon is coming up.  My feet are pink and tender after running 14 miles today, though a 21-miler on the same course last week caused no such problems.  Interesting.

One on behavioral economics and marketing, which will require some application of my left brain, and should be “employer-friendly.”

And the remainder, for my friends, and the free exploration of ideas.

in touch with nature

October 19, 2009

Went for an early  morning Dish run this morning, with my Argentinian friend Diego.  We were barefoot, of course, and from the top of the hill got to enjoy good conversation (Argentina qualified!) while admiring first the lights across the mostly sleeping Bay, then orange clouds as the sun crept up above San Jose, and finally the most picture perfect rainbow to the north west, in a huge arc anchored by a cloud at each end.  All it lacked was my iPhone to make a Facebook update, and validate my non-fiction credentials.  Think Sedaris, not Frey.

Diego’s Vibram Sprints, which he wore for part of the run, which were the subject of admiration by passing women runners.  Though my feet passed apparently unnoticed.  If all goes according to plan, I hope to run next year’s Nike Women’s Marathon “barefoot and pregnant.”

Bare feet do get noticed.  My friend S writes of her maiden barefoot running experience this past weekend “… a lady in a minivan pulled up beside me and said in a very gentle voice, ‘Do you need help getting somewhere?'”

To write

September 23, 2009

I’m really enjoying Haruki Murakami’s memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. The content is wonderfully self-insightful, and (in translation, at least) he has a simple and natural style that encourages me “hey, I could do this!”

I’m also enjoying Tell It Slant, the textbook for my writing class.  The use of English is exquisite, and their insights are thought-provoking, though in a very different way.  While I luxuriate in rereading their perspectives on writing as art, it also leaves me fretting “I have to worry about all that!”

Well, clearly “good writing” and “commercially successful writing” are two different animals, and while I’d like to do (a), I’d really love to do (b).  Enough to pay the rent, anyway.  Well, then get on it, my little voice tells me.


September 22, 2009

No, I haven’t taken up a new hobby in my dotage.  “420” was my race number for the DSE Half Marathon (Lake Merced – past my alma mater) this past Sunday.  The gentleman who handed me the number had no idea why it amused me, allowing me to feel a teeny bit more “in the know” and less square than usual.

Maybe the number was what convinced me to run.  I’d begun the day with a worsening cold (my first of the barefoot era), after a second night of tossing and turning, and showed up to the start feeling terrible.  This was not only to be my first race in several years, but my first as a visible ambassador for the barefoot cause.  I did not want to DNF – under the circumstances, a DNS almost seemed preferable.

Anyway, I didn’t want to be a quitter either, so I lined up with the rest of them, and made my way around the lake.  It was a 3x loop course – starting off with a downhill, to induce us to run too fast and burn out, and then uphill all the way, all three loops.  I’m still not sure how DSE pulled off the never ending uphill (Escher back from the grave?!), or how they managed to increase the roughness of the trail on each loop.

Anyway, I did it – not quite the 1:36 I’d trained for, but given my condition race morning, sub-1:40 was a relief.  I even got in a sprint to the finish, upon hearing the announcement of a runner right behind me.  I wore my Zensahs, and had no shin splints or ITB issues – just gradual fatigue and tightening of the hips and quads.  The mile markings were a little irregular; I know I started with a few 7:20 miles, and finished averaging 7:38, so must have slowed to almost 8 minutes/mile.  Must pace better; must bring Garmin next time.  Late in the second lap, and in the third lap, I was passed by runners who finished several minutes ahead of me.

Fan interest?  Lots of curiosity and questions about barefoot running.  One runner  said that barefoot running is very common at his running club in Malaysia.  Many were initially skeptical, but … I did finish, and ahead of most.  All the other runners were wearing built up running clogs – I didn’t notice any VFFs or lightweight racing flats, like the Adizero or Wave Universe.

Other thoughts?  Training is not racing – I’m very glad I ran this tune up.  The location, the timing, were all not of my own choosing – just as it will be for CIM in December.

Volunteers on the course were great – they must not have been the ones designing the uphill – and the post-race brownies were terrific.  I’m afraid I must have scored a net calorie gain for the morning!

And I already have my goal for this race next year:  beat the grouchy geriatrician.  Then wear my favorite t-shirt.

sibling rivalry no more

September 21, 2009

Adidas (Aa dee daas) and Puma (Poo ma) were founded by brothers Adi and Rudi Dassler more than sixty years ago, and have been at odds ever since.

Today, in honor of International Peace Day, they decided to finally bury the hatchet, and commemorated the occasion with a game of football (soccer).  Not a game, get this, between employees of the two companies, but a game between mixed teams, drawn from both sides.  When Germans decide to do something, they do it right.

IMG_0004I commemorated the event in my own way, with, on the right, the Adidas Adizero PR, world’s lightest running shoe, and on the left, a rare leather example of the Puma H Street:

Hallmark baking

September 19, 2009

Before Cuisinart, how did people mix their batter for baking.  Or … did they?

Is apple pie merely the kitchen equivalent of a Hallmark holiday, a Valentine’s Day for the gastronomical set, promoted by big corporate interests?    Was Julia Child a shill for KitchenAid?  Is it all a trap to keep women confined to the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant?

Speaking of which, I think I know how I’m going to dress for the Nike “Women’s” Marathon next year.  It’s either that, or Gandhi.


September 18, 2009

Imagine that, instead of dozens, I had dozens of billions of readers.  Every once in a while, I could write something (true) like “My Zensah Compression Sleeves are terrific,” or “Esalen is my favorite vacation spot,” and my bank account would immediately be topped up to three million dollars.

Mmmm …

(Now that I think of it, I guess that was roughly the premise of The Truman Show.)


September 18, 2009

This “publish or perish” pressure is getting to me.  I imagine I’m going to have a relaxed evening, baking some cookies, a pie or two, getting to bed early … and then something comes up.  Now I have to think of something witty (or at least coherent) to blog … and who’s going to bake the pie?  Huh?

I recently bought The Pie and Pastry Bible. The key word in the sentence, as attentive readers will have noted, is “bought.”  It’s working well as a gravity detector in my kitchen bookshelf.  You’ll be relieved to know that gravity appears to be normal.  Based on my observations, we are not in imminent dancer of flying off into outer space to be zapped by cosmic rays, or devoured by hungry aliens.  However, should hungry aliens show up at my doorstep tomorrow, the pie crust I’ll have to offer them may be less than ideally flaky.

Speaking of pies and pastries, I’d like to lose at least five pounds (2.3 kgs), if not ten, by my December marathon.  I’m told a largely vegetarian diet is the way to go.  My baked goods are “vegetarian,” at least until I get some lard from the farmer’s market, but … I’m not sure how compatible they are with weight loss.  I need help.

Can’t help everyone

September 16, 2009

At Angell Field, I watched a large man, very possibly a member of the Stanford track team, sprinting with what looked like bad form.  He seemed to be overstriding – was airborne surprisingly long.  “Hang time” doesn’t win you awards on the track, and you don’t get forward thrust when you’re airborne.  I’m pretty sure he would have been smoother, faster, and more efficient with a quicker stride.

I wanted to help him.

Fortunately, self-preservation kicked in, and I stuck to my own workout, which I ran slower than intended, thanks to an arithmetic error.

Later, I noticed Cal bike jerseys for sale at Palo Alto Bicycles.