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"

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fish and visitors


I guess so.

But you know what? I certainly don't care.

Easy for me to say when I haven't invested my time (and vacation dollars) into preparing for this marathon. But when a full neighborhood in NYC burned to the ground Monday night (with unknown - but possibly significant - fatalities), when hundreds of thousands are without power or water until god knows when, when 7,000 people are living in shelters, and when much of our subway system is flooded and inoperable until further notice, I don't care about the marathon.

I've been shocked to see people on facebook and twitter who were demanding to know what NYRR was going to do about the marathon, even before the storm hit.

That said... if the marathon goes as planned like Bloomberg wants, there will be fewer runners. So for those of you who do run it, your odds are better. With many elites unable to make it into the city and others canceling their travel plans left and right, you will place higher perhaps than you've trained for. Go to it. You can win this one! There's good prize money!

And the cluster that will be the finish line, with 40k runners and tens of thousands of spectators all in Central Park with few cabs and no subways... man oh man. Good luck with that one.

Now, then: who's with me spectating and where are we meeting up to watch the race? Make it Brooklyn. I can't really so much get to Manhattan right now.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm okay.

Brooklyn's response to the
storm. It says, "FU Sany." (sic)
I weathered the storm (haha, get it?) until it blew over last night (again, I'm so funny). My part of Brooklyn was largely unaffected. We had bad winds but no power outages. Having no working subway at present is inconvenient, but I don't have to go back to work again until Thursday, so that's a problem for Future Tracy to figure out.

A problem for Present Tracy is: when can I safely run outdoors again? How worried should I be about falling trees? Two of the (fortunately few) hurricane deaths in NYC were people walking their dog this morning.

Running clothes can double as storm gawking clothes.
Provisions. I also bought some food. And
some more beer.

Friday, October 12, 2012

News that's actually kind of old but let's pretend I'm on top of things right now

Their email suggests that you "Consider raising $1 for every cup
you pour, every person you guide, or every year you've volunteered!"
Alternately, you can give the money to me. 100% of funds given
directly to Tracy go to help Tracy. You know, help me do stuff.
Like vacations. Or buying shoes. I have no overhead.
  • There was a "Revolution Marathon" in Cairo. Except it wasn't a marathon. This link provides all the info I know about it, but based on what they say there, the distance was probably closer to 10k, if that.

Jeans. Because dri-fit is hard to find in Cairo.
  • Have you heard of Maegen Krifchin? You will if you haven't already. She just placed 13th in her first World Half Marathon Championships (first American). She beat Shalane Flanagan by more than 2 minutes. And she trains in Syracuse, NY. Because, of course. What does Syracuse have that Mammoth doesn't?
Oh hai KARA GOUCHER please get out of my way.
  • The first and second place finishers of the Berlin Marathon may have thrown the race. You say "cheating scandal"; I say "fixing an event means our sport has finally arrived!"
I wonder how many groupies Kimetto lost out on by placing
second? True fact: ladies love winners.
  • What's up with me? I'm still running, and stuff. Still not running NYCM. Nothing really of note to report. For some reason I can't explain (the weather?), I'm slightly faster now than before. I've met a few people in my neighborhood with whom I can run. I wore capris yesterday morning and may have seen Kristen Schaal running on the West Side Highway, although the internets say that she's moved to LA.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Who would run a faster marathon: Usain Bolt, Lance Armstrong, or Derek Jeter?

The funniest thing happened to me yesterday: I woke up in the morning, made myself breakfast, watched some tv, went out for a walk and then lunch, watched some football, did some work, emailed a couple of friends about running. Do you notice there what I didn't do?

Around 7pm, it occurred to me with a start: the Chicago Marathon had happened that morning! And I had no idea who won! I still don't, in fact. I tried googling from my phone, but I kept getting public interest stories about charity runners instead of actual race results. I wish more news outlets would take our sport seriously as, you know, a professional sport. (I did, however, discover that the marathon ran out of medals. Honestly, I'm still surprised that people who take 7 hours to finish get medals - the marathon officially closes at 6.5 hours.)

But that's not my question, and I have a pressing one today. My question is: which non-distance running professional athlete would win in a marathon?

I have a friend who follows Formula 1 racing. One of his assertions is that the drivers are in impeccable physical shape. Okay, I'm with him so far. However, where he loses me is in trying to compare across sports. Fitness for cycling or for (auto)racing or for sprinting, even, is all different and each requires different aptitude and (most importantly) different training. Am I right?

Any excuse for a shirtless Frank Shorter picture.
I mean, Lance Armstrong said that running a marathon was the hardest thing he'd ever done. And when you compare pictures of elite distance runners against elite sprinters, it doesn't take much to see that they are physically different.

Those thighs. They are substantial.
But I'm still mulling this over in my head. How far does natural athletic ability take you versus sport-specific training? How well could a super gifted athlete do were s/he to switch sports and train, in earnest and over a period of more than 18-weeks, for a marathon?

Update: I can't figure out how to embed it, but here's a former NFLer talking about how much he prefers to watch track over football. Not exactly relevant, but I feel some vindication.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Just DON'T do it?

Yesterday afternoon was gorgeous - absolutely perfect running weather. The sun was shining brightly and the air was warmish, but with a faint hint of fall's crispness, the sort of weather where you only need a tshirt but it crosses your mind that you'll need your long sleeved shirts soon. I arranged to meet a friend to run a loop of Prospect Park mid afternoon to take advantage of the weather.

I got to our meeting place a few minutes early, and I sat down to wait for him. I was waiting at a drinking fountain situated next to an entrance to the park, and while I waited a lot of runners stopped there for water or as they finished up their runs. One by one, I watched these runners stop, immediately turn off their watches, and grimace as they looked down at their wrists.

It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of my Garmin. As much as I love the data it gives me, I also hate feeling chained to it - and seeing these runners on Sunday really helped to crystallize that for me. Yesterday was one of those days that was made for running, the sort of day where we runners wake up, look at the sky, and think immediately of our running routes and of how amazing it's going to feel to be out there. Why ruin that feeling? Does it change your run to know that you averaged 9:27 minute miles when you like to aim for around 9:15s?

Even better than the perfect weather and great company I anticipated, it started raining lightly midway through our run. A gorgeous day with good conversation and a light misting of rain falling on us to cool us off and refresh us - does life get any better?