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"

Friday, March 30, 2012


So... I have my own thread on letsrun! And one of those posters says they came in from reddit! Amazing!

I have an official statement. You may quote it:

"I feel so honored that the same three people who hate on Solinsky, Rupp, and Geb in infinite regress on an eyesore messageboard ALSO HATE ME TOO! For the record, if you are reading my blog please understand that 90% of it is a subtle sarcastic reference to pretty much every other blog meme on the internet. Food blogs, fashion blogs, running blogs, training blogs—satire is tiresome, but someone has to do it. With that said, I have to go back to working at my real job and, you know, get in my second 2-mile run of the day. 2016 baby!"

FYI: it is a joke. Read this for background. Yes, I am a classic hobbyjogger and proud of it. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Too many bullet points; too few photos

1. The victory that keeps on giving: Yesterday, I got a text that there was fresh seafood in the lobby of my office building waiting for me. The race that I won (remember that?) was sponsored in part by a seafood company, and my shipment of fresh seafood had just been transported from Ireland. I had some last night. It was amazing.

2. I signed up for the Brooklyn Half: Before it sold out. 15,000 runners registered for a local race in less than 10 hours. I <3 New York. And by "<3," I mean, "am continually befuddled by." This race is controversial. I'm (oddly) indifferent to the controversy. But you can read about it here if you want.

3. This: Seriously, read it. A masseuse that bites her clients. I'll admit: I read the article and was torn between feeling like GROOOOOOSS, and feeling like Oooh!WeirdthingfamouspeoplelikeIwantthat! That said, I have one overriding thought: you are not a doctor just because Frank Zappa called you one. He named his kids Moon Unit and Dweezil and sang such classic hits as "Why Does it Hurt When I Pee?"

4. Sports psychology is legit, yo. I mentioned a while ago that I had the opportunity to chat with a sports psychologist about my running. I did. As I was going over my training history with her, I mentioned my little problem with setting PRs while hungover. She very quickly pointed out that probably what is happening is that I self-sabotage as a way of taking the pressure off the race, and then with the pressure off am able to perform better than I expect. Like, whoa. She's so right it's unbelievable. Running is always about pushing yourself and seeing how hard you can go and doing better and setting personal records and competing - but that's not what I get out of it. In fact, that's explicitly what I don't want it to be. I like it for stress relief and me time and relaxation.

5. About a week ago, I witnessed a tragedy: Well, not so much a tragedy as a black eye in the making. I was running with my friend Katie and she fell. You can read about it here. As she was going down, before she landed, before the bad ass stitches, she kept yelling, "I'm fine! I'm fine!" I had to find a way to politely say, "All that blood makes you look like an extra in a horror film and you might not actually be fine."

6. I haven't run in a week. I was supposed to go to Canada this past weekend and run Around the Bay. Instead I was doped up on antibiotics and cold meds. Wah.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I pay a lot of lip service to not caring about medals. Tied in to that, I don't really save my bibs... or do I?

I was going through an old filing cabinet this weekend, and I came across a most peculiar cache:

Bibs. Loads of them. Loads and loads of them. Dating from 2002-2003.

And other stuff! Like... the back of this bib:

(Do as I say, not as I do, and do NOT try this at home.)

And what's that in the background of my stress fracture bib? Why, it's Frank Shorter's signature, of course! Two different bibs autographed by my heartthrob, Frank Shorter:

And one by Alberto Saladbar Salazar:

And Jackie Joyner Kersee, even, looking all '90s:

And, lest you think that last weekend's victory was an anomaly, here's proof that it wasn't:

That is a printout (whose direction I don't know how to rectify) of the time I took 2nd in my age group. At a local 5k, yes. And sober, too!

I think the take home message here is quite obvious: I've always had the tendency to race frequently. And J-Jo-Ke needs a new haircut.

Monday, March 19, 2012


That's right: I won a race this past weekend.

Yes, as in first place.
No, I was not the only participant.
Yes, I swear! I really won first place!
Okay, fine: yes, it was handicapped, so I also started first. But more importantly: I finished first.

AND I WON. A prize and everything. (A bottle of Jameson and a hamper of seafood - not too shabby, eh?)

The race: a handicapped 4m race, with a drink at the start, a drink at the 2m mark, and a drink at the finish. All three drinks were on the clock.

So let me tell you about the psychology of winning. This isn't something I knew anything about until Saturday, but now that I'm a winner, I'm basically an expert and thus I can school you on it. We had our choice of beer or whiskey - I chose whiskey, as it was easier and faster to drink down. As the winner, I stand behind my choice.

I started first, with a two minute lead on most of the competitors and a 10+ minute lead on the speediest two (there were eight competitors total). I wasn't surprised to reach the turnaround in first place, given my lead on the next few runners. Sure enough, they were less than a quarter of a mile behind me when I started up running again. In particular, one of the speediest runners was right on me. (First bit of winner psychology: I very nicely smiled and gave him a high-five so he wouldn't sense that I was out for blood.)

When I saw him that close behind me, I didn't think there was any way to hold on to my pace, especially considering the reality of the situation: the next two miles were rolling hills, and I was drunk as a skunk.

My tongue was lead, I was lightheaded, and I couldn't feel my legs. All I could tell was that my pace had slowed and it was becoming harder to run in a straight line.

When I got to the three mile mark and no one had caught up with me, I began to entertain the idea that maybe - maybe - I could place second. I tried to pick up the pace. By mile 3.5, I told myself that I had less than 5 minutes left and that I just needed to gut it out.

Every set of footfalls I heard behind me became a competitor gaining on me. I didn't dare turn around and look - not only would that be inefficient for my form, but I didn't want him to sense my fear. I didn't even glance at my watch - my arms were for pushing me toward the finish, not anything frivolous like checking my pace. (Besides, you could have told me I was running a 7 minute mile or a 12 minute mile and I would have believed you. Did I mention I was drunk?)

I turned the corner to the finish, charged the last 50 meters, downed a final shot of whiskey, and stopped my watch at 37:12 - a new 4 mile PR by over two minutes.

I was declared the winner, I collected my whiskey prize, and I posed for photos. The world is a different place when you're a winner. People are kinder. They respect you more. They can sense "winner" on you; they know you're special.

There's a small chance that I might have a bruise on my stomach from clutching my Jameson too tightly.

(Photos courtesy of these two lovely ladies.)

Friday, March 16, 2012

How do you do it?

I see you all. I read your running blogs.

I see how you get up every morning before 5am. I see how you prepare your fancy breakfast of yogurts or oatmeals or cut-up fruit on toast (and then take a picture of it, of course). Then you sit down for a bit to drink your coffee while your food digests. Maybe you read the newspaper. Probably you do an hour of charity work.

Then I see how you get out the door by 6 every day for your 5 or 7 or 8 "quick, easy" miles - of course I see it, you post your Garmin stats! And usually a picture of the sunrise. Or maybe of you, sweaty in your running clothes.

And you do this all before work. Where you eat a salad for lunch, usually one that you prepared at home and brought to work. And then go to spin class after work before a shower and bed by 10 or 11.

I'm jealous.

I don't know how you do it. My life is messy. My splits are uneven. I'm always running late. I don't get enough sleep. Some days - gasp - I sleep right through my run because I was up too late the night before, either out drinking or just messing around on the internet. I don't eat breakfast most days. Some days I forget to eat lunch; when I do eat lunch, it's usually a burger. And fries. Dinner is ice cream and beer more often than I should admit. And then I stay up until 1am. Rinse, repeat.

And my race times show it, and my waistline shows it.

So, seriously: how do you do it?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oh, the irony!

My sister is an academic librarian. Specifically, she works at a school with a large number of psychology grad students, many of whom study sports psychology. One of the graduate students she's friendly with needs to find a few more people to practice on in order to have enough clinical hours to be certified, and my sister asked me if I'd be willing to talk to her for an hour or so to help her out.

Let me repeat that: I get a free hour of sports counseling. She can help with things like goal setting, motivation, emotional regulation, dealing with the pressure of performance, and incorporation of imagery into sports routines.

This woman emailed me late last week, and my motivation to deal with anything running-related is so low right now that it took me three days to answer her email.

Alanis Morisette should really work me into her song.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy anniversary to me!

It's DVT awareness month - how will you be celebrating?

I know that I've talked about my blood clots before, and it's not worth getting into the story again. But today is the day! Four years ago today, I almost died. For the second time.

Sorry I don't have any cutesie photos of me from that day to liven up this post. You see, I was in the hospital, hooked up to a cardiac telemetry monitor, coughing up blood and in intense pain, so I didn't take pictures. (Also I hadn't showered.)

This will probably be the last time I acknowledge this morbid anniversary, at least publicly. Ultimately, even though pulmonary emboli are fatal nearly a third of the time, mine weren't. I'm off of blood thinners now, I've lost much of the weight I gained, my race times are nearly where they were before I got sick, and aside from wearing compression socks on airplanes (and not being able to sleep), I'm perfectly healthy.

Kelly, another friend/blogger/runner, also had a PE, and she has some tips on prevention. Just please, do me a favor: if you take birth control pills/synthetic estrogen, be careful. If you smoke, quit. If you fly long distances, walk around the plane and drink enough water.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Things I've read that you should read, too

In other words, "I don't have anything to say about my running because I'm totally stuck in a plateau but I don't want you to think I've died, or that I don't care about my blog, so instead I'll offer a cop out 'post' and hope you don't notice that it's not a post."

Any suggestions for things I should write about to keep my little blog from going gentle into that good night?

Monday, March 5, 2012

The treadmill in the hotel room

Remember when? Yeah, the trip happened. I had a treadmill in my hotel room.

I had a business trip. It was busy. (Isn't that what it's all about? Busy-ness? ETYMOLOGIZED.) But I had no excuse not to run, so I did.

How was it having the treadmill loom over me as I slept? It was kind of cool. I'd do it again. It helped that the room was big enough that the treadmill was surprisingly unobtrusive.

Worth $20/day? Probably not (although I'll admit, I absconded with both bottles of Powerade and Luna bars that they left each day, whether I'd run or not).

I think my favorite part of the treadmill were these "GoSystem Speed" buttons. I believe that you can customize them to your own preferences, but they were preset to have walking as 3mph (20 minute mile), jogging as 4mph (15 minute mile), and running as 5mph (12 minute mile). I AM THE QUEEN OF SPEED ON THAT MACHINE.

My favorite part of the hotel, though, was definitely their care in arranging my toiletries.