Christmas Music…The Gift That Keeps on Giving.

Well, it’s the 26th of December. Like many of you, I woke up knowing it was time to burn some of the eggnog, smoked salmon, tamales, and God knows whatever else delicious food we’ve devoured over the past two days of non-stop noshing. Oh, and beer.

It finally warmed up a bit here in AK, so I didn’t have to get too nuts with the apparel, which was nice. I harnessed up Bonnaroo, threw on the studded Adidas Adizero XTs, and rolled out the door. As I’ve mentioned before, we live conveniently close to the Anchorage trail system. The city grooms the main trails in the winter for cross-country skiing, but the trails are considered multi-use. Normally, trying to run on cross country trails isn’t really my cup of tea, but the trails here are quickly packed down by a multitude of dogs, walkers, hikers, cyclists, fat-bikers, and runners. Conditions this morning were downright pleasant. The trails were nice and firm, temps around 10F, and I waited until around 9:30 so I wouldn’t have to run with my headlamp.

Continue reading

The Human Performance Bubble

When I trained for Grandma’s Marathon in 2010, I did so while dealing with a pretty intense work schedule. I traveled a lot, usually a couple weeks out of the month, and trips were often short-notice. My training was intense – lots of high volume and long marathon-pace workouts, which took a lot of time out of the day. On top of this, I was commuting 45 minutes each way, every day. Time, in short, became a precious commodity. Somehow I managed to make it all happen, but I made a lot of sacrifices along the way; time with my new bride, focus at work, and hobbies all kind of fell by the wayside for the six months leading up to the race. I pushed my body to its absolute limits during that time, but two months out, things began falling apart. I got injured after making a foolish decision to run a fast 24M in my racing flats at around 2:54 marathon pace, then followed it up with three weeks working nights at work. It was a radical schedule shift that severely affected my sleep and recovery. Then, Pedro 66 went down and I went into a mental and spiritual freefall. In one month, I went from a fitness state that made me truly believe I was capable of a sub-2:40 marathon, to wondering if I could race at all. I had to make some tough decisions, but it all worked out well. I PR’d, ran 2:48, and felt that I competed in a way that honored my fallen comrades.

Continue reading

Five Things I Hate About Pete Magill’s RT Article “Ten Things I Hate”

“I could complain, but who would listen?” – Marcus Truman responding to my question “How are you?”

Oscar knows the deal with Michael Jackson.

Oscar knows the deal with Michael Jackson.

A couple of issues ago, Pete Magill’s regular column featured what amounted to a rant. Pete Magill is a national-class master’s runner, age-group record holder in the 5k, well-regarded coach, and until now, not someone I’d lump into the “grumplestiltskin” runner category. You know the type – always griping about poor race management, inconsiderate drivers, track etiquette, or some niggling injury. Kind of like, well…me, I guess.

The column really rubbed me the wrong way, on numerous levels. In fact, the latest issue of RT included one response telling Pete to stop whining. Of course, there were two other responses applauding Pete for airing common common complaints, illustrating that Magill’s gripes were far from groundless. Still, in the spirit of discourse, I feel the need to respond with my own list of gripes. My gripes with his gripes. That’s a lot of gripes.

Gripe #1: Mr. Magill’s hatred of dogs off-leash. Look, I’ve been charged by dogs off-leash, dodged more than one bite with a swift boot to a pup, and engaged in verbal altercations with irresponsible pet owners. But sniffing? Seriously? How can you possibly be afraid or annoyed with a dog who sniffs you. Everybody knows that a dog’s nose is the same as a human’s eyes. Little guy’s just checking you out, figuring out what your deal is. These days, when I run past dogs off leash, I simply give them a wide berth, and approach cautiously. Maybe even use that handy stop button on my watch while I suss things out.

Gripe #2: Mr. Magill’s fear of colds. Seriously? Hey, I get that having 2% body fat means you’re vulnerable to infection. But really, the world is a giant germ. Eat more bacon, carry hand sanitizer, and roll around in the dirt once in a while.

Gripe #3: Mr. Magill’s refusal to run against traffic. OK, I get this is more of a rhetorical debate than anything supported by statistical data. Running with traffic is one of two methods, and I guess counting on a driver *never* swerving out of his or her lane while approaching you from behind will work. It’s not like there are teenagers out there who talk, text, Twitter, and Facebook, all at the same time as driving? Right? And those same distracted drivers have never run over pedestrians they never even saw. Yeah, thing is, I’ve been hit by oncoming traffic, and the only reason I didn’t break a bone or worse is because I saw it coming and had a fraction of a second to prepare. As we say in my business, the best way to avoid an accident is to see it coming and avoid it. “See” would be the critical function in this debate…

Gripe #4: Mr. Magill’s inability to do anything not on his running schedule. This was just straight up whining, pure and simple. As I’ve been told numerous times, “we all make choices.” In this case, Mr. Magill has chosen an ascetic, and apparently really boring (no impromptu bike rides? oh, the humanity!) lifestyle. Anything worth achieving requires sacrifice, so suck it up and keep your complaints to yourself. Which leads me to my fifth and final gripe.

Gripe #5: Mr. Magill’s list of ten things he hates about running. Pete, you have a (usually) great column, chock-full of great wisdom regarding training. Stick with what works.

So, that’s it. I guess the answer to the quote at beginning of this post is, “whoever hears me,” or in this case, the lucky three people who will read this post.