On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Monday, October 31, 2011


I tried to set up some fancy blog-embedded polls, but I couldn't. So you'll just have to vote in the comments or something.

Poll #1:
What is the worst thing to happen to marathon spectating in the past few years?
a. the cowbell
b. the vuvuzuela
c. posters reading "WORST PARADE EVER"
d. Team in Training*

*Not hating on TnT... okay, yes, I am. In my experience at big races (Flying Pig, Disney, NYCM, MCM, and Chicago x3), their supporters are the worst at going nuts yelling "GO TEAM! GO PURPLE!" when they see one of their own, only to stare blankly at you if you're not one of them. (I've seen them start to cheer for people who happen to be wearing purple - only to take it back mid-cheer. TAKING IT BACK!)

Poll #2:
What is the most egregious violation of race etiquette?
a. walking in the middle of the course (rather than stepping off to the side), particularly walking several abreast
b. the farmer's blow without checking to make sure no one is behind you
c. non-runners crossing the marathon course perpendicularly, obliviously
d. other (please write-in)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sad, or inspiring?

I could pose that question about myself and my marathon on Sunday, but actually I'm referring to this article. In short, a 400lb man set out to complete a marathon in order to set the world record for heaviest man to do so (beating last year's sumo wrestler).

Not me.
Let me spoil the ending for you: even though the article opens with "Never underestimate the power of the human spirit," he doesn't qualify to set the record as he took too long. His finish time of 13:45 (which includes an hour rest) was beyond the Guinness Book's 10 hour limit.

Is it an inspiration that he tried, or it is kind of sad that he was going after a record rather than trying to improve his health? (As one friend of mine said, "Why not train for a year and a half and do it at 250 pounds?" But remember: he had to stay above 400lbs to set the record.)

The marathon is not the be-all and end-all. It's okay to start with a 5k and work your way up.

Speaking of which... I'm currently en route to DC for my bad-idea marathon. Catch you on the flip side!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Foot issues: one gross, one not

I'll start with the non-gross issue so that those of you bothered by feet can opt out of my second foot-related topic.

According to runblogger, Saucony is slowly changing the drop on their 12mm shoes to an 8mm differential. As most of you know, that number refers to the difference in height between the forefoot and the heel of the shoe. Most of us, myself included, do our long runs (or all of our runs) in big, clunky shoes with a 12mm drop. With their elevated heel, these shoes foster a heel strike. However, lately the increase in minimalist footwear has meant that zero-drop shoes (or close to it) are becoming much more mainstream. If you didn't click the link, basically what Saucony's representatives said was that the 12mm figure wasn't based on any scientific evidence but was just one of those "because it's the way we've always done it" sorts of things. Their wear testers seem to like the lower heel.

This could be a game-changing move if other companies follow their lead.

I'll try it. But that won't surprise you since I'll try any fad.

If you tell me you're shocked to see me in my new Brooks Pure Cadence, I will call you a liar.

Next, the gross part. A few days ago, I noticed that the toenail was loosening from the nail bed on the second toe on my left foot. (Turn back now if that sentence made you at all queasy; it will only get worse.) Yeah, yeah, yawn, common occurrence. Soon the cycle of (toenail) life will continue as the toenail falls off and then regrows itself again. I don't even have a left big toenail anymore because it fell off so often that it stopped growing back. So I did what I usually do in this situation, which is to trim off as much of the excess toenail as I can without cutting into anything.

Well. While I was walking around the other day, I noticed the toe was tender. I got home and I took my shoes and socks off and found that the toe was slightly pink. I kind of pressed on it a bit to see where it hurt and puss gushed out. Yep. Ingrown toenail. A few days before a marathon. I swear I didn't cut the nail too short and the skin was never broken (except obviously I must have and it was). I'm soaking it and using tons of neosporin and keeping my fingers crossed.

It's always something, isn't it?

And no, you don't want to see any pictures. It's just a pink toe at this point, anyway. An angry, mean, race-ruining pink toe.

I'm also dying of a cold and I've spent more time thinking about what to wear on Sunday than I have on, you know, like work and stuff. So yeah, it might be taper time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tracy's NYCM tips part three

A few more tips...

  • Is your bib green? In other words, did you get relegated to the lower level of the bridge? Don't fret! First off, you will not be peed on. It's an urban legend that people pee off the top level and it rains down onto those on the lower level. (Just to be safe, though, stay toward the middle and don't open your mouth.) The bad news: your views will not be as lovely. You'll have the water on one side and the stream of UPS baggage trucks on the other. The good news: you don't go up the crazy hill. The highest elevation point of the marathon is the top of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. You will not run to the top of the bridge.
  • Make sure your bib is easily accessible. You'll have to show it to get into the start area, to get into your particular color-coded start village, and to get into your corral. Don't bury it under 37 layers of clothing like I did last year.
  • Get in your corral ASAP. All of the instructions advise you that corrals close early, and they mean business. Don't underestimate how long it will take you to walk from the start village to the corrals - it looks like a much shorter walk on the map than it actually is. Last year, Christel and I got to the corrals only a few minutes after they opened, and we were just in time. They closed shortly after we got in, with loads of people shut out. (This is less relevant if you're in the third wave, but if you're in the first or second? They will force you to wait for a later wave.)
  • Marathon Sunday is also the first day of Daylight Saving Time. Spring ahead, fall back - so set your clocks back an hour right before you go to bed. (Yes! That 4:30am wake up call won't feel as bad once you realize that it's actually 5:30am.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Endure: A Run Woman Show

Do yourself a favor: before you read the rest of my review of this performance, click over to the website and buy your tickets before they sell out. Shows are at 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays through at least the first and, weather pending, the second weekend in November.

Got your tickets? Now, let me explain the show to you as best I can.

I had no idea what to expect. I read the website and watched the preview and still wasn't sure what to expect. Complicating things, I read two reviews of the piece, neither of which gave me any clue as to what I would be seeing. 

Samantha yawning at the start. Our "tickets"
were mock race bibs. Cute, no?
I'll be frank: I was skeptical. Those who know me well would rightly expect me to roll my eyes if you suggested that I go see anything that could fall into the category of "interpretative, modern dance." But throw running in the mix? I'm game. Skeptical, but game.

I loved it. I even - oh, I'm embarrassed to admit this - I even got choked up in the middle. Yes. Me, who laughed at my brother when he cried during the Joy Luck Club (and a few years later, when Leonardo DiCaprio died during Titanic), I held back tears. Me, who was rooting for Emile Hirsch to just die already in Into the Wild, I felt tears. The piece is emotional.

Checking in to start the show.
So what is the piece, exactly? It is a performance that takes the listener/watcher along on the journey of a metaphorical marathon. At the start, the audience is each given an ipod that's queued to the soundtrack of the show. Music and the spoken words of Melanie Jones, the artist, play continually for the 75 minutes of the show, choreographed to accompany a walking tour through Prospect Park.

Jones leads us through the Park.
The setting at the start of the piece is the start line of a marathon. Over the hour, Jones' character ruminates on what in her life brought her to the start of this marathon, on her training, on her life outside of training, and on her thoughts during the race. Although her story is unique, any runner who has ever trained for a race will recognize not only her anecdotes (about being the token marathoner at a party, for instance) but also the rambling way that one's thoughts propel you through a race or a long run. The story unfolds as Jones' character moves through the imagined race and while Jones moves through Prospect Park. And, fair warning: her story may generate pathos. The kind that makes you very nearly cry, even if you have a heart of ice like me.

Here, Jones is doing a headstand. She is
a very, very talented artist.
It doesn't hurt that it was an absolutely beautiful, crisp November day, the kind of amazing fall day that makes you open to the wonders of the world. The experience would have been different - but also good - had the weather been gloomy.

The credits in chalk on the sidewalk at the end.
Who should see it: runners and those who love them. I think that non-runners would certainly enjoy the piece and would get something out of it, but those who have ever run a marathon (or supported someone through their training) will appreciate it fully.

Logistics: the website stresses the idea of wearing something comfortable, which is important. However, although we covered about 3m like it says, there was never a point during the show where we ran more than maybe 100-300 meters at a time, and the pace we ran was entirely up to the individual (essentially you are chasing the artist). There's a lot of standing around. I wore full on running clothes, but those of the group who were wearing jeans seemed equally comfortable.

In other words, it's appropriate for the day before the NYCM.

Another thing: the music is awesome. So awesome that I went home and immediately bought the artist's album from iTunes. The composer was at our performance, and I kind of wish I'd been a groupie and gotten her signature.

Full disclosure: when she saw me tweeting about it, Melanie (the artist) offered me a free ticket to come and see the show. I then recruited Samantha to come, and she and I split the cost of her ticket. I would have happily paid full price.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tracy's NYCM tips, day 2: THE BRIDGES

On Thursday, Samantha asked for advice on the bridges. Specifically, is Queensborough as bad as everyone says?

Ah, the bridges.

Let me answer your question for you, Samantha: no. It's not as bad as everyone says.

Now, since my time on the Queensborough Bridge corresponded with my decision that the race was all "lalala, this is a fun run," I decided to put the question to my sister, too, to see what she thought. She ran her PR of 3:16 at NYCM in 2008, so she'd have the first-wave, competitive perspective on it.

Here's what my sister said: "sure, uhm, which mile was that at? :)"

Then she later clarified: 

"By the time you get to the Queensborough Bridge, I think it is mile 15 so by then you are either having a great race or not.  When I ran NYC I did have a great race so I didn't think much of this bridge at all.  What I most remember about it was while actually running on it the air temperature seemed a little warmer and the atmosphere was stuffier in general. Exiting the bridge was an incredible experience, not only did you get to run down the decline but you are also greeted by thousands of spectators yelling and cheering!  It is a great feeling, they make it seem like they are cheering just for you!"

I agree with her. The thing most of us New Yorkers don't realize is that it's a totally different experience running the middle of the bridge (the car lanes, like you see in the photo of me at last year's race) than it is running the pedestrian lane that we rehearse and rehearse. I'm not going to lie and say that the incline is easier in the middle of the bridge, but I didn't feel it as acutely. It was such a different experience to suddenly be somewhere slightly enclosed (although not claustrophobically so).

Let me tell you what did suck, though: the Pulaski Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens. (This from a Chicagoan who will always love Casimir Pulaski for the gift of a day off that he gives Illinois schoolchildren every March.) On the course map this bridge looks tiny. In person, it looms before you like a very ugly ribbon in the sky high above you. You see it from a distance, you approach it slowly, and it climbs up and up and up and it sucks. 

Worst of all, you get over the bridge, and you are only halfway done with the race.

So, see? Queensborough is no big deal. Now, in honor of the 59th St. Bridge, let's all sing some Simon and Garfunkel.

Also, a correction: In exchange for bridge advice from a speedster, my sister wanted me to point out that she was a "roving spectator" for me at the Chicago Marathon in 2009. (What she means is that she ran the last 6 miles with me.) This was a feat - she had already finished the marathon herself and turned around and came back to bring me in (at my pace that year? I can't say I was running). I'm not sure that counts as spectating, though...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tracy's NYCM tips

Yesterday, I complained about the NYCM "Daily Tips" emails not giving practical advice. So now, in response to your comments/questions, I will try to fill this obvious void and give you useable advice on the marathon.

First off, Aron asked about spectating. Specifically, what are the best places for your spectators to watch for you?

Let me tell you something, Aron (and everyone). I have run eight marathons. Do you know how many times I've had spectators? ONCE.* And here he is:

That's my little brother at last year's NYCM. Most remarkably, he'll be back again this year!

I myself have spectated a time or 12, though. So I do have some tips, both general and specific.

General tips:

  • Know where to look for your spectator. If you don't know where they'll be, you won't see them. This can be frustrating and can throw off your race - last year, to see my brother, I actually backtracked a few blocks. He (and my friend Renee, who made the awesome sign above) both completely missed me. At the very least, know which side of the road to be on in order to see them.
  • Online/text/email tracking almost never works. At best, it will send you updates well after your runner has passed. At worst, it won't send you updates at all. Don't rely on it.
  • Have an easy way to spot them. Signs are great, but you won't see them until it's too late. The best suggestion I can make is a giant helium balloon. It's easy to spot from a distance.
Specific tips to New York:
  • Understand the course. Yes, this is obvious. There are three main things to look out for: 
    • One, depending on the color of your bib, you will be forced to stay on a specific side of the road for the first 8 miles. It's possible to cross over, but the courses are technically slightly different and so it's considered cheating. There are police. Not worth the risk.
    • Two, know the subway system. Cross-reference this information against the course map. Be aware - and this is sort of obvious, sort of not - that your spectator will not be able to cross the marathon course. Not even if they walk reallyreallyreally fast and there really aren't that many runners around. Tell them this. What this means is that the side of the street on which they exit the subway is the side of the street they're stuck on. Not all subway stations will let you exit on both sides of the street.
    • Three, don't tell your spectator to go to any of the areas that are known to have heavy spectating. For instance, First Avenue in Manhattan or Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn - they're jam-packed four deep the whole route. You won't see your spectator.
  • These are the three areas where I would suggest you might want spectators:
    • The Bronx. Loads of empty space and easy access to the 4/5/6. Know that they put a giant screen up at 20m, which is entertaining for a block or two.
    • Harlem. Yes, 1st and 5th Avenues are several people deep with millions of spectators. But the crowds fade out around 95th St. or so. Further uptown is better! (But if your spectator is also in the Bronx, this could be a lot of spectating in only a few miles.)
    • Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Queens. Slightly less convenient to trains, but not as thick with spectators. Bedford Ave. in particular is fascinating - the Hasidic neighborhoods are amazing.
  • Watch this course video:

More tips you haven't asked for:
  • Before the race: 
    • (During the taper:) Read Liz Robins' A Race Like No Other. Reading this book is the single best thing you can do during the taper. Trust me.
    • (The day of the race:) You can take any ferry you want. It's a public ferry. They load them first-come, first-served. The ferry operators don't have a list of who the NYRR assigned to which ferry. Trust me.
    • Bring a snuggie. Or sleeping bag, or loads and loads of extra clothes. Even if it's temperate out, you sit around a lot. It gets cold. Trust me.
  • After the race:
    • The finish line is a clusterfuck. Pardon my language, but it is. Immediately after crossing the line, (at least last year) they put a medal around your neck and handed you a bag of treats - Gatorade 3, pretzels, a banana. But then... whether you check a bag or not, you have to go through the entire bag claim area - walking more than a quarter mile in a tightly fenced in area past all 60-something baggage claim UPS trucks in a super-tight crowd while your legs cramp up and your frustration rises. Remember this when you tell your spectators where to meet you - you will exit the park further up than you expect and it will take you much longer to get there than you expect. The finish area is tightly cordoned off, so they will not be able to see you cross the line, either. (Last year, I met my brother in front of the Museum of Natural History at 79th St. It took me about half an hour from my finish time to get there, but that was the first place I could exit.)
    • You can ride the subway free post-race. A little perk for having just run 26.2m!
    • Don't go to Shake Shack at 79th and Columbus. Because I want to, and I don't want there to be lines when I get there.

What other advice would you give? What did I miss/screw up? What else are you wondering about?

On Monday, I'll address Samantha's question about the Queensborough (I mean 59th Street Ed Koch Queensboro) Bridge.

*Well, 1.5. Another time my roommate came out to watch me run Chicago, but then my dad called him and the two of them left the course to get breakfast, watch the elites, and go back to my parents' house in the suburbs. True story.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Great tips for the New York City Marathon!!!

Okay, my title is being sarcastic.

About a week ago, I got an email from the organizers of the marathon with the subject "ING New York City Marathon Daily Tip #1. Okay, I thought, nice and helpful! I mean, I did the race last year, so I have some idea of what to expect. But more advice is always great!

But wait... Daily Tip #1 isn't really a tip, now is it? It's just directing me to their website, no? Well, okay, if I'm generous with them, I'll assume that Daily Tip #1 is "check your email and know our website." Okay.

Daily Tip #2. I won't lie: daily tip #2 made me laugh outloud. (I clicked through to the website to show it to you.)

Wait - a race? Now, with less than three weeks until the race? Huh. Um, okay. And I guess while I'm adding races to my calendar, I should also book a hotel? Kind of last minute, but...

The Daily Tips get weirder from there. Tip 3 tells you how to fuel for all the high intensity running you're doing (but we're tapering! the high volume is done!); Tip 4 suggests that you spend money on your friends and family because they're helping you through the race (maybe I'm alone here, but most of my friends and family are either also running or don't even realize that I'm running); Tip 5 tells you to taper - and to do it "correctly"; and today's tip, Tip 6, suggests that you should incorporate pace runs into your training. The training that you've already finished.

I get that they're trying to build up energy before the race, but these emails are kind of amusing to me. Too little, too late! Why not pragmatic information? Why not tell us where the best place for spectators to watch would be, rather than suggesting we buy them shirts? Why not tell us that our bib number represents our corral, and that our corrals correspond with the estimated finish time we provided, and that the different corral numbers correspond to where you start on the bridge at the beginning? Why not give us tips on the long wait in Staten Island before the race?

If you have any questions about the ING NYCM, don't wait for a "daily tip" email to cover them. Shoot me an email, post your questions on twitter, or use the RWOL forums.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why I haven't been talking much about my running lately

Because I haven't been doing much of it. Kinda simple that.

Shouldn't this be my strongest month of training now, what with the marathon coming up in just three weeks? Yeah, it should be.

What can I say? Don't take me as a role model. Life gets in the way sometimes. Or, as my mother  used to tell me growing up, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Which mile of the marathon is this?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Just finish the distance.

On Sunday morning, I ran one of my most painful 20m runs ever with the most fun and delightful running club ever. As I was limping back to my apartment, I was chatting on the phone with a friend who had done a halfathon that morning. He was telling me an anecdote, and it went something like this...

The race was a full marathon and a half marathon on the same day. Pretty standard. There was an obvious and well-marked turn off around the 10 mile mark where the two groups separated before the full course added on 13m (so that the last 3m of both courses was the same). So, mile 11 of the half was also mile 24 of the full.

Let's say you were racing the full. Even if you missed the signs and somehow ended up accidentally taking the turn for the half, there's pretty much no way you wouldn't have realized that mile 24 is not the next number after mile 10 - mile 11 does not feel like mile 24.

...which is why it was so odd at the finish when my friend overheard a man yelling at the food table volunteer. "I didn't know about the turn! I never saw any signs! I was running the full, and all of a sudden they gave me a medal for finishing the half! I need to finish a full. Someone needs to take me to a high school with a track, or somewhere, so that I can finish the full." Later he saw this same guy at the finish, yelling that he needed a race official to make this right for him.

Dude: if you were with it? You would have realized early on that you were no longer on the full marathon course.

Here's another example of a similar-but-different thing. Basically, long story short (and you can read the long story here if you're curious), a slowtwitch forum who was at Kona (Ironman) began talking to a participant who obviously from his times must have cut the marathon course. Upon questioning him, he maintained that he'd finished legitimately even though it was clear that he hadn't.

Well, five pages into the thread (fifth post down), who should appear but the cheater himself. He owns it: yes, he cut the course. In pain, he decided to DNF - but then he got caught up in the momentum and crossed the finish line. He was afraid of disappointing his excited family and friends. He's returning the medal and shirt, and he won't go back to Kona even if he qualifies again in the future. Oh, yeah, and he's 22.

Is it cheating? Or is it a dumb-ass kid who made a mistake? Maybe both. The commenters are hilarious, though, including suggesting banning him for life or for at least 10 years (bearing in mind that the Tour de France banned Floyd Landis for two years for doping).

Monday, October 17, 2011

An open letter to the Nike Oregon Project

To: Alberto Salazar and Nike, Inc.
From: Tracy
Date: 17 October
Re: Recent departure of Kara Goucher and Amy Yoder Begley

Dear Mr. Salazar:

I read, with interest, about Kara Goucher and Amy Yoder Begley both deciding to leave the Nike Oregon Project. The internet is ablaze with rumors about their departures, about how you might be pushing your athletes too hard and encouraging them to run through their injuries. Gossipmongers are calling this a loss for the Nike Oregon Project.

I call this an opportunity.

You might see a disturbing trend (your athletes leaving you, and just before the Olympic Trials, no less!), but I see two open slots in your training roster.

I have a proposal for how you can fill at least one of these open slots: me.

"But, Tracy," you might say. "You're not a professional athlete! I coach world-class athletes!" Well, yes. This is true. I do have a few things going in my favor:

1. Lots of room for improvement. It's hard to take an elite athlete and make her better. But it would be easy to make me better. Lest you think your job is easy, it would be a challenge to make me elite-caliber. Think how satisfying it will be to help me drop an hour - or two? - off my marathon PR.

2. I'm cheap. A high profile athlete like Kara Goucher costs you, what, maybe $500k/year in sponsorship monies? I'd be ecstatic with $100k. Hell, I'll do it for $75k, health insurance, and free shoes. I'll even buy my own running clothes!

3. I bleed red, white, and blue: Obviously that's metaphorical and my blood is red. But I can give you more of an American presence amongst your athletes - that is, of course, why the Nike Oregon Project was founded, right?

3. I already wear a lot of Nike:

Note the jacket.

And the shirt.

Another jacket.

And who could forget the skapri!

(I have more photos. These are just a few.)

And a final note: not that I believe internet rumors or anything, but if there's any truth to the idea that your athletes' successes come from performance enhancing drugs? I'm okay with that. I mean, I'll just do what my coach tells me, wink wink - your tactics are my secrets.

Let me know what you think! I have enough Delta miles banked for a free domestic ticket and I'm happy to relocate as soon as you say the word.

Sincerely, Tracy

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My office has had the heat on all week despite temps in the upper 70s, so my brain is fried.

Here, instead of my usual witty commentary, are some links to things I've read this week:

Running skirts have made the New York Times. Does that mean that I'm ahead of the curve, or does that mean that the trend is over? Eh, who cares. It's capri season now, anyway.

A not-very-well written article sheds no real insight on the specifics of Sammy Wanjiru's death, but it does give some more details surrounding that night. Come on, everyone likes a juicy story. Elite runner comes home with his mistress, is caught by his wife, and then falls to his death out of a balcony? Can I get some movie rights up in here?

I believe the take-home message comes through loud and clear: my make-believe kids will run 10m to school both ways, every day. No excuses, weaklings.

In sad news, the Chilean miner I narrowly beat during last year's NYCM is profiled in the Times. After his brief celebrity faded, he turned to drinking and drugs.

And finally, I snuck something in the comments yesterday, although it won't come as a surprise to anyone. I bought a bib for Marine Corps just before their official transfer period ended two weeks ago. So, in honor of that bit of stupidity, here's more stupidity: an oldie-but-goodie article on Jean's Marines, an organized group of charity runners who were instructed by their coach to cut the course in order to make the race's time cut-offs. But, their argument went, they deserved their medals because of their effort. Um, yeah.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Advice needed.

I have three nearly identical pairs of Saucony ProGrid Omnis.

Their mileages are 130, 146, and 316. All still feel good for long runs - which is intriguing, since I only got 293 miles out of my last pair before retirement. I've been doing all of my long runs in the high-mileage pair lately out of some sort of conservationist instinct to protect the lower mileage pair for races.

So, two questions:
1. Which shoes should I wear for the marathon?
2. Exactly how much am I overthinking this?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I am SO GLAD I did not run the Chicago Marathon Sunday

Instead, on Saturday, I ran in honor of the Chicago Marathon.

My last year's Chicago Marathon t-shirt and a 312 showerbeer. Yes, it was a mid-day showerbeer. No, I don't have any shame.

For some reason, last week I breezed through 20 miles and felt pretty okay at the end. Saturday, I breezed through 13.2 miles and went home to take a long nap and moan about how sore I was. Not sure how that works.

I was sporting some pretty high fashion post-run wear, though. Let me tell you!

And I may have taken a really, really long nap with my dog. One of us had the sleep of her life. The other one of us thinks that her dog has bad breath. And is heavy.

You know who did run the Chicago Marathon, though? My sister. True story: she was pacing the US Women's Soccer Team. Hope Solo, Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, and 13 contest-winning fundraisers from the general public all did the marathon as a relay for charity, and my sister was the chosen pacer. (She's the one below with the dark hair who is not wearing the requisite Nike shorts.)

They started right on the start line. With the elite runners. And they finished en masse. In the middle, they tried to ditch my sister. She was the only one going the full distance - each of the charity runners was only going about 2m. Thus, none of them needed water and didn't want to stop to let my sister get water. Finally she broke down and had to stop at a certain point, after which she lost them. So she Rosie Ruiz'd a couple of miles off the course to meet up with them at the end. (I hope she didn't take a medal, marathon cheater.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

That moment when...

...you come up on a runner out for her Sunday run in the park and you get really excited because you realize you're going to actually pass her and then as you pass her, you realize that your "competitor" only has one leg and is running on a prosthetic.

...you pass a woman running on a prosthetic and think to yourself, "Whatever. She's handicapable. One-legged people can run pretty damn fast these days" and you still feel some victory from passing someone.

...you see a woman run next to you and are instantly grateful to realize that your sports bra fits you, and it fits you well. You then watch that woman bounce away, thinking "ow, ow, ow, ow, ow" in cadence.

...you see a grey-haired woman running lightly and quickly, passing you by. At first you think that she's quite talented for her age. Then she turns around and you realize that she's about 7 or 8 months pregnant.  Prematurely grey, or pregnant at an advanced age? Lots of both in NYC.

...you realize that you are chafing, and you are chafing badly. Someone please remind me to put Body Glide under my arms next week before my last 20m?

...you suspect that the New York Times is obviously reading your blog, because otherwise why would they run a story about running coaches being unnecessary just days after you blogged looking for input about running coaches? (Props to the article for head-on tackling Ryan Hall's "God is my coach" thing rather than just glossing over it and giving Hall the credit for self-direction.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

I am seriously considering a running coach.

I'm of two minds:

-Part of me says, why on earth would I hire someone to do something I basically already know how to do? No, I'm not a coach, nor do I have the expertise that comes along with coaching experience. But I do have some idea of what works for my body, and I know how to construct a basic training plan. What I need is willpower, not another line item in my budget.

-The other part of me says, I pay doctors to tell me what's going on with my body. I even pay someone to make me ridiculous $4 pumpkin spice lattes, because I can't do that on my own. So obviously I'm comfortable paying people who can help me. Some of the best runners I know - in fact, many of the best runners I know - have running coaches.

And just like that, this became one of those blogs.
Plus, I'm in a running rut (yes, again - have I even been out of it?). I need someone to tell me what to do and when to do it, and I figure if that person knows what they're talking about and provides me with accountability, maybe I might actually listen to them. And then maybe I might become a better runner.

Does anyone have any advice or experience or anecdotes or suggestions on running coaches?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

News and stuff

Today, just because I can, I will dust off my iPod nano (an old school red one) and my Nike+ and I will listen to the voice of Paula Radcliffe or Lance Armstrong generically tell me that I'm doing a great job on my run.

And while I'm running, I will pass a moment of silence for Steve Jobs. I'll think about having to type "PR#6" into the old school apples in my 5th grade computer lab. I'll think about technology and about the first time I saw an iPod and knew it was special even though my brother had had an .mp3 player for ages and how I still think the iPad is more for consuming than producing and this makes me annoyed (can our society be any more Wall-E?).

Yes, I'm a fan girl. Well, mostly. I have an iPad, an iPhone, several iPods, a MacBook, and a MacBook Air. But none of them are the latest and greatest because I'm not rich like that (PLEASE DO NOT MUG ME). And yes, I resent the stupid capitalization. Or should I say "iResent the stupid capitalization"?

I thought this was an interesting Apple article (on the Gizmodo iPhone prototype from a few years back).

While we're on the subject of interesting articles, you know it's marathon season when the NYTimes dishes up another of their classic fluff pieces on distance running. The latest is hydration. Drink before you get thirsty, or is it already too late at that point? Avoid hyponatremia, the article says. Also: we slowpokes drink too much because we don't know how to hydrate properly.

My favorite line, though, is the one at the beginning where the author states outright that fall marathon season begins this weekend with Chicago and ends on 6 November with NYCM. Sorry to any of you running Philly; it's evidently not a fall race.

Ryan Hall nude... just like God made him. From ESPN.
And the last bit of exciting news of the day: Kara Goucher is soon to be joining Ryan Hall in being coached by God! Okay, maybe not. But she's not being coached by Alberto Salazar anymore. (A friend of mine grew up in Oregon and said that all of his Oregonian running friends called him "Alberto Saladbar." I challenge you not to think of that from now on. And, if you have any free time, you should really read the New Yorker profile from last year on Saladbar.) No news on who her new coach will be, but Kara? I'm free. Just call. Certifications? Experience? What are those? Come on now. I can help you.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Nothing to see here

When I sat down to write about my weekend in running, I realized: I'm enjoying not blogging more than I'm enjoying blogging right now. So I'm going to be away for a little longer still, at least until I have something inspired to say. Back before you can miss me!