Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Endless excuses

Updates have been few and far between since last Thursday and for that I sincerely apologize. The blame for this can be placed on a number of factors, including but not limited to, a steady increase in training mileage, the incessant scratching of the two dozen or so mosquito bites that are covering my legs, the tedious transfer of 128 phone numbers to my new cell phone, an inadvertent swallowing of 8 oz of spoiled milk and the gastric distress it is now causing, as well as the two outstanding newspaper articles that are fast approaching their respective deadlines. To top it all off, I'm now back at work after a brief one day sojourn away from the store. Suffice to say, there probably won't be much updating going on here for a few days until I can whittle down the above list or at least stop visiting the bathroom twice an hour. Thanks for your understanding.

Quote of the day:

Running has always been a self-motivation thing for me. You keep plowing away at it and, hopefully, you’ll accomplish the things that make you feel satisfied at the end of the day. If people take notice, that’s great. But you’ve got to be self-motivated.
- Peter Gilmore

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Training Log: July 22-July 28

Sunday - PM: 8 miles, 53:00. Fred S. Warren Road Race. Warmed up 8 minutes, 5.3 miles in 30:58 (5:50 avg.), 14 minute cooldown. First hard effort since VCM; kept it at a steady 75% through 4 miles then picked it up a bit the last 1.3. Good start but I've got a long way to go.
Monday - PM: 8 miles, 58:30. Borderland. First two with Fran Franson, last 6 solo finishing up with four 20/40 strides.
Tuesday - PM: 10 miles, 1:10:50. Sterling Rail Trail. 4 miles steady and solo in 25:55, then 6 miles shuffling along with Hodgie-San in 44:55. The early 6:30 pace was a bit surprising and didn't feel overly terrible but happy to slow it down.
Wednesday - AM: 6 miles, 42:15. AHS track. Easy jog down to the AHS track in 21:30, 4 x 100-yard strides on the turf, 20:45 back home. Strides were fluid but far from fast.
Thursday - AM: 8 miles, 52:25. Stone Church Trails. Ran the rollercoaster loop with Driscoll and Ramon Laboy at a steady clip. Far from a leisurely stroll but never felt uncomfortable.
Friday - AM: 6 miles, 40:40. AHS track. Same loop as Wednesday, just a smidge faster. 21:10 to the track, 4 x 100-yard strides, 19:30 back home; last 2 miles in 6:11, 5:31. Yes, 5:31 -- watch out now!
Saturday - AM: 7 miles, 47:40. Rockland 7. 7:11 to start, 34:43 at 5, 6:40, 6:11 for the last 2 miles. Far off the loop record of 39:40 but I'm OK with that.

Totals: 53 miles, 7 runs. Given where I was a month ago, this was a great week, in fact, it was my first full week of training in two months, so I'm pretty pumped. Made a good jump in mileage from last week but since that was on 6 days, the 15-mile increase doesn't seem so drastic.

This week looks like it will contain some sort of tempo-ish effort on Sunday and perhaps a light mid-week fartlek before heading up to Maine for the Beach 2 Beacon 10K on Saturday. Plan there is to run steady 5:30's if I can get my legs and lungs back on the same page.

Quote of the day:

"There is something about being back on campus, being back on my old training loops, that stirred my love of running. These were the trails where I became a serious athlete."
- Kerry Litka describing her week as a counselor at Keene State Cross Country camp. See last Wednesday's entry for my own similar sentiments.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Living the dream

Since I've got nothing even remotely meaningful or insightful to write about and Bob Roll hasn't managed to verbally embarrass himself as of this posting, I offer this extracurricular piece of reading material about a local workhorse I literally happened to run into last July at the West Boylston Rail Trail.

It's an inspiring story which shows that hard work, the right attitude and working at a running store isn't such a bad way to go through life.

Quote of the day:

"Running, there’s no secret to it, as long as you work hard and stay healthy."
- Meb Keflezighi

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Missed calculation

While I was busy making a mathematical mess of yesterday's entry, I neglected to mention my magical Monday night run through beautiful Borderland State Park in North Easton. It's been roughly a year since I last returned to the delectable dirt mecca where I routinely lambasted long runs, wailed workouts and logged many a mile from 2000-2004, and man, that small, yet brilliant network of trails still felt like home.

No, I'm not gonna sit here and reminisce about the good 'ol days when I routinely used to run 6 minutes faster for the same 8-mile loop I slogged through in 58 minutes on Monday night -- no, I'm not gonna do that, but it's worth noting the familiar fuzzy feeling I got while making my way down the approximately 1-mile, off-road pipeline better known as the Easton Town Forest that eventually spit me into Stonehill Cross Country's equivalent of the Holy Land was nothing short of nostalgic.

Anyway, while waxing sentimental over the pristine paths I could probably still run blindfolded, two current Stonehill harriers, accompanied by a recent alum I actually had the pleasure of calling my teammate, came flying by me in the opposite direction, almost on cue and much in the same manner my mates and I used tear up those very same trails on a typical Monday night during the original Summers of Stonehill back in 2002 and 2003.

It was comforting to see the current Chieftains, I mean Skyhawks, following in their predecessor's footsteps and paying proper respect to sacred ground.

Quote of the day:

"An idea isn't worth that much. It's the execution of the idea that has value."
- Joel Spolsky

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday, by the numbers

Rounded down for simplicity's sake.

- Woke up at 8:17 a.m., 7 hours and 20 minutes after shutting off Channel 34 in the wee hours of the morning.
- Got the approximately 100,000 hairs that cover the top of my head cut down to a summer-friendly level with the aid of an electric razor and its No. 1 attachment.
- Waited 10 minutes for a 12 oz. cup of coffee because the 2 girls at the B&N cafe apparently share 1/2 a brain.
- Started working on 2 separate newspaper articles, both of which are due exactly 1 week from today.
- Hit 19,000 miles on the odometer of my car, which I have now had for 10 months, meaning I drive an absurd 1,900 miles a month on average.
- Ran 10 miles in 1 hour, 10 minutes and 50 seconds with Hodgie-San, who is 51 years old and has run 2 hours, 10 minutes and 59 seconds for the marathon, an event which is 26.2 miles in length.
- Ate 3 scoops of Edy's triple chocolate ice cream, a unique dessert that features 3 distinct flavors of chocolate packed into 1 container.
- Received 80 e-mails, replied to 5 and generated 1 of my own as of this posting.
- Answered 3 phone calls and made 3 myself as of 10:05 p.m., which is coincidentally the exact time when Jonathon Papelbon threw strike 3 to pick up his 23rd save of the season and seal the deal on the Red Sox 1-0 victory over the Indians, their 5th win in a row.
- Wasted 22 minutes of my time this compiling the 10 items that make up this post, my 14th straight this month.

Quote of the day:

"I was actually kicking around running that race on Sunday until I realized that a hilly course in Holden in probably more severe than a hilly course in Billerica."
- An e-mail from my topographically savvy coach, Kevin Curtin.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Webbed feat

A belated congrats to Alan Webb, who most assuredly doesn't waste his time reading this blog, on his 3:46.91 American Record in the mile over the weekend. Exciting? Yes. Inspiring? Absolutely. Surprising? Not at all.

It was just a matter of time before Webbster surpassed ol' Steve Scott in the record books, and he's not done yet. Despite the ups, downs and all the B.S. in between, this guy stayed the course, his course, and didn't let anyone lead him astray. That single-minded attitude will carry him a long way and might be more impressive to me than the record itself.

The lesson here? Don't try and replicate the record; rather, try and emulate the attitude.

Quote of the day:

"Look at him hack his way through there. Jim Duggan would have been proud of that."
- Bob Roll, who else, during Saturday's coverage of the Toor Day Frantz.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mixing it up

This is what 5:50 pace for 5.3 miles and a sixth place finish in a local Sunday night road race gets you these days. Maybe I should have kicked down the guy in front of me for fifth and snagged myself the toaster. Oh well, either way it's one less thing I need to buy for my new kitchen.

Quote of the day:

Dave Wilbur: Did New Balance give you those flashy orange shoes for free?

Me: Yeah, why?

Dave Wilbur: Well they sure look nice but tell them you want a faster pair next time.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Training Log: July 15-July 21

Sunday - PM: 6 miles, 42:00. Hopedale. Double dirt loop with Marky Mark and Matty T after work. Celebrated this great run by consuming many cookies and a good hunk of tri-berry pie at Driscoll's afterward.
Monday: OFF. ART appointment before work in the continued attempt to make me a structurally sound running machine. Then I went ahead took the day off.
Tuesday - AM: 7 miles, 48:20. Rockland 7. Holy hills! OK, only two hills but still two more than I've run recently. Need to get more of these into my diet.
Wednesday - PM: 5 miles, 36:00. Westboro roads. Legs full of lead after a long day at work. Thankfully Driscoll tagged along to mask the misery.
Thursday - AM: 8 miles, 56:45. Hopedale. Third run with Driscoll this week, felt pretty good, hit up Town Common afterward and didn't have to go into work till noon! Now that's a good day.
Friday - AM: 6 miles, 42:35. Industrial Park. Same loop as a week ago in about the same time. Ankle feels fine, body is b-e-a-t.
Saturday - AM: 6 miles, 42:25. Westboro roads/trails. Met up with Colin Ingram before work at his hotel and after a couple miles on the road, hit up some trails behind the Westboro Business Park. Yes, trails in Westboro -- not a lot of them, but trails nonetheless.

Totals - 38 miles, 6 runs. Good week, slowly moving in the right direction down the old comeback trail. Hopefully I can avoid any more unnecessary detours on the way to my desired destination this fall.

This week I'll continue to build up the mileage and mix in a few strides and a moderate progression run or two. I have also been tweaking a dynamic stretching/drills routine I hope to incorporate into my routine once or twice a week now that I'll have a little more time on my hands. Hopefully a little regular preventative maintenance will go a long way.

Quote of the day:

"I had eight races in my life where everything went perfect. I could make any move, surge, respond and run a PR. I trained the rest of my life for the ninth one."
- David Moorcroft

Friday, July 20, 2007

Signed and sealed...

...just waiting on the delivery, which currently has an ETA of sometime around January, in line with the completion of Phase II of the Arboretum Village. After ironing out some legal wrinkles, I finally signed the much ballyhooed Purchase & Sale agreement on Wednesday morning, entitling me to that lovely pile of dirt pictured back there. It's a nice shade of brown, don't you think?

Quote of the day:

"You’ve got to take each race as it comes, and I’ll race to win like I always do, and put myself right in the race, and you never know. Sometimes you surprise yourself."
- Alan Culpepper

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sacred obligation

Back in April, while attending that lengthy Easter morning Sunday service all 21 miles of it with Marcus Aurelius LaRosa at Our Lady of the Road in Melrose, the now new dad mentioned coming up with a design for a technical t-shirt call it our Sunday best that we could wear to properly pay homage to the running gods that faithfully guide our weekly blacktop service. Well, three months, a couple hundred miles and a few missed long runs later, good friend Melissa Kinney came up the above kickass design.

Because of the devilish injury that ravaged my body the past few weeks I haven't been very successful at fulfilling my weekly obligation to the running gods, but now that I'm finally healthy and properly attired my attendance at Our Lady of the Road should be more regular as we head toward the fall. Remember, the long run is an act of reverence; missing it is just plain sacrilegious.

Quote of the day:

"He was impressive tonight. He went directly behind the pace and I followed, then when the pacemaker stepped out of the way he threw in a 57-second lap or something stupid like that."
- Craig Mottram on Keninisa Bekele's 7:26 3K victory.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Welcome back, fatso.

Just for clarification purposes, I stole the above line straight from Greg's training log on athleticore.com. As far as I know, he wasn't talking about me but he easily could have been and I wouldn't have argued with him one bit.

This evening's 5-mile, post-work slogfest with Marky Mark Driscoll on the affluent streets of Westboro served as a lead-laden reminder to my legs why I hate running after work. Luckily, the quality of the company and the flowing conversation served as a pleasant diversion from the guaranteed mental anguish that occurs when an overweight skinny guy waddles down the sidewalk with Clydesdale-like precision all by his lonesome. Henry Rono, I feel for ya man.

Quote of the day:

"It was like being wrapped in a cocoon of common purpose. The key was to stay healthy. As long as I was practicing, everything was good. It was only when I was hurt and unable to practice that I felt like I was living on the opposite end of the earth."
- American Shaolin

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

PT Running

My most recent bout with injury, combined with an apparent structural misalignment and accompanying failing biomechanics, has the back room at PR Running looking more and more like a physical therapist's office than a shoe warehouse. Given my experience dealing with and treating my own various running injuries over the past three years, it might be worth suggesting to Rich that we open an in-house training room as a way to help grow the business. Given my lack of a qualified degree and absence of the title "MPT" on my non-existent business card, however, it might be a tough sell, despite my wide array of in-store rehab weapons including half a dozen ice cups, Strassburg sock, a bright yellow theraband, golf ball, The Stick and a ProStretch when we're not out of stock.

So I guess I'll just stick with managing my own self practice between helping customers, monitoring inventory and unpacking shipments. Now if I can get my hands on a foam roller, wobble board, e-stim and an ultrasound machine, I may never have to battle the hassles of health insurance ever again, or leave the back room for that matter.

Man, running was so much much easier when I was a structurally sound, efficient, aerobic machine.

Quote of the day:

"The heat sucks here for running. I'm running 9:30's - should've brought the Reeboks."
- E-mail from my vacationing boss.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Kason Gabbard did in fact not suck tonight. In fact, he was pretty friggin' awesome, which made an already good night at Fenway that much better. Gotta love it when the Triple-A transplant pulls through.

Royally flushed

Busy week at work and a pretty loaded day in general, so I'll keep this one short and sweet before I take off for Fenway to watch the Red Sox lay down a royal ass kicking on Kansas City.

1. Kason Gabbard better not suck tonight.
2. Check out my buddy's new blog, for a daily dose of misinformation if nothing else.

That'll have to do it for today. Take it easy.

Quote of the day:

"In this sport, there's a fine line between running great and not running at all."
- Dennis Barker, coach of Team USA Minnesota

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Bombs away

Around 4 o'clock this afternoon an apparently shocked co-worker of mine pointed out that I had just used a vulgarity for the first time all day. Shocked and chagrined by his observation, I questioned the frequency with which potty words are actually emitted from my pie hole. Quite often, apparently. Allegedly, most of my choice verbs and adjectives are rooted in some variation of a four letter word mostly frowned upon by a majority of the general public. Whodathunkit? Certainly not me, as I always try to make a conscious effort to watch my mouth, especially at work. Maybe I need to make a better effort from now on. Maybe not. Maybe Matt just doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about.

Quote of the day:

"This is a guy who doesn't like to pile on the points on the flat stages. He likes to win the King of the Mountain jersey in the mountains."
- Al Trautwig clearing up any confusion about Michael Rasmussen's uphill attack during today's eighth stage of the Tour de France.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Training Log: July 8-July 14

Back by unpopular demand, I'll once again be posting the most current edition of my training log on a weekly basis. In the interest of fulfilling one of the original intentions of this space, I've decided to put forth a better effort in sharing my trials, tribulations and occasional small triumphs as a competitive distance runner. Hopefully it can help you as much as I hope it will help me.

As a disclaimer, I wouldn't try any of this at home. Known side effects include a torn Achilles tendon, pelvic stress fracture and tarsal tunnel syndrome, as well as persistent aches and pains and prolonged periods of fatigue. Run at your own risk.

Sunday - AM: 4 miles, 30:00. Sterling Rail Trail. First Hodgie-San Sunday shuffle in a while. Dead-on 7:30 pace was just dandy with me.
Monday - PM: 4 miles, 30:00. Hopedale. One loop with A-Ten and Driscoll before finishing up solo. Just glad these guys took it easy on my gimpy ass, I mean, ankle.
Tuesday - OFF. Or as teammate and good friend Ryan Carrara would say, "off off". Zero, nada, zilch. No training or meaningful physical activity of any sort. Got a lot of other important "life" stuff done though.
Wednesday - PM: 6 miles, 42:00. Sterling Rail Trail. Easy afternoon stroll with Driscoll. Need to save up energy so we could dominate lunch from S&S Deli afterward.
Thursday - AM: 4 miles, 30:00. Hampton 4. Solo jaunt before work; kept it short to make up for yesterday's overdistance day. OK, so maybe the loop is a bit longer than 4 miles, perhaps 4.315 to be precise, but it will NOT get cut it!
Friday - AM: 6 miles, 43:35. AHS track-and-back. Dry air, sunny skies and no issues with the lower extremeties left me happy as a pig in shit when this one was over.
Saturday - AM: 6 miles, 42:55. Industrial Park. First run out of the fat shorts. Ankle felt fine but my legs, moreso both calves than anything else, were expectedly a bit tight. Nothing a little more consistent running won't work out. PM: BIKE, 63:00. Easy spin after work to stretch the legs and shake a splitting headache. Tylenol probably would have been just as effective.

Totals: Run - 30 miles, 5 runs. Bike - 63:00, 1 ride. Good first week back after three weeks on the shelf, or in the saddle rather. Didn't ride much this week, mostly due to laziness and lack of time. Lungs feel good and legs are responding nicely to a rude re-introduction of pounding on the pavement. Still somewhat shocked, but very happy, with how quickly things turned around after a couple rounds of ART.

This week should look pretty similar to last and then I'll start thinking about working in some longer runs and perhaps some strides toward the end of the month. I'm feeling good about where I'm at right now and the direction things are heading.

Quote of the day:

"As long as there is passion, there will be success."
- Joan Benoit Samuelson

Friday, July 13, 2007

Back on track

Or so it seems, anyway. I don't want to jinx myself at this stage but the suspect right ankle has made some real good progress since I first saw Dr. Weiss last Thursday. I've run 6 out of the last 8 days, which is six more days than I ran in the three-and-a-half weeks prior. The combination of two Active Release treatments, consistent icing, along with daily stretching and strengthening exercises has everything around the malleolus feeling the best it has in over a month. This morning's 6-mile slog around A-town, in fact, was my first carefree foray into forward motion since before the marathon, which seems like eons ago now that I'm thinking about it.

But enough about the past, time to start looking ahead. You'll notice to the sidebar at the right of the page a few new features meant to spruce this space up a bit. Selfishly, those same elements are strategically placed for my own motivation: dates to look forward to and old numbers to finally eclipse. Despite my newfound affinity for racing longer distances on the road, I haven't PR'd at any distance under 10K in over three years now. It's time to change that. Waking up every morning tied down to your college PR's is no way to go through life.

So how am I gonna do it? Easy -- stay healthy and stay consistent. OK, easier typed than done, especially considering my my injury-riddled rap sheet, but I'm confident that if I can finally achieve these two goals, I can run faster than I ever have before. The VCM buildup, aside from 8 months of uninterrupted, strength-based training, showed me that despite all the injury-riddled bullshit I've dealt with over the past three years, the fire inside still burns. Luckily, I've also got two strong legs, a great set of lungs and a coach who knows his shit. If I can stay in one piece, there's no reason I won't run fast. Not one.

Quote of the day:

Everything has been part of a master plan. Of course we've had to re-focus and re-adjust along the way, like everyone does, but there has always been a plan.
- Scott Raczko, coach of Alan Webb

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Just Roll with it

This is what I have to wake up to every morning in July.

For an American watching the race on TV, the Tour de France is much more than a hundred some-odd guys with foreign-sounding last names flying across France on two wheels at 30 mph. It's much, MUCH more than that, especially when Bob Roll is doing the color commentary.

First of all, in this country it's the Toor Day Frantz. The name of the race, as well as the names of the riders contesting it, are interpreted as widely as the gap between Bobby boy's two front teeth.

Even more entertaining, perhaps, is the commentary that whistles its way through that very same gap and eventually emanates from the Versus microphones. Keeping in mind the non-continuous nature of his pearly whites, Roll's words are priceless. Here are a couple gems from yesterday's fourth stage coverage.

"Someone tries to break away and the peloton puts the hammer down in the gutter."

and my personal, as well as obvious, favorite...

"The Spanish rider Freire is trying to close the gap down at the end of the stage."

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. So for the next couple weeks you can be sure that I'll be watching Versus' coverage of Le Tour with notebook and pen firmly in hand, for my own amusement if no one else's. Hey, it's not just sports anymore, it's sports entertainment.

Quote of the day:

"I wouldn’t be afraid of anybody in the race. Maybe I might not win, but I’m going to go down swimming."
- James Carney

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

It's baaaaaaaaack....

...and hopefully better than before, with more frequent updates and in need of no further name changes. That's right, the daily runaround has returned, inspired by the lunchtime prodding of one Mark Driscoll over a couple of massive sandwiches and a few chocolate chip cookies at the S&S Deli in West Boylston this afternoon. Yes ladies and gentleman, a little guilt trip goes a long way with me.

Look close enough and you'll notice I've cleaned the place up a bit. A couple cosmetic changes, a few additions and some minor edits should enhance your everyday blogging experience. Yes, everyday -- that's the hope anyway.

That being said, I'm sure some issues will arise that threaten the attainment of my just published goal but hey, I'll deal with them as they come and power through 'em as best I can. No, this isn't an early excuse, just a documented disclaimer. Hey, shit happens! I'm just covering my ass, the same rotund specimen I'm gonna need the Jaws of Life to help peel off this humidity-infested wooden chair I'm currently sitting in. Thank Mike Ditka that my new place will have central AC; it should be well worth the 25-year wait.

Time to get some shuteye. Take it easy.

Quote of the day:

Think rich. Look poor.
- Andy Warhol

Monday, July 09, 2007

No laughing matter

Injuries are a funny thing. Not that the one I'm currently trying to shake is a laughing matter but it's humoring me just the same. I've run three of the last four days with no noticeable issues other than feeling like a hunk of waddling lard, which is most assuredly a scene of hilarity to anyone unfortunate enough to witness it. After three weeks of no running, a few nut-crushing hours in the saddle and two ART sessions with Dr. Weiss, the suspect ankle actually feels pretty good. I've still got a long way to go but I'll take each 30-minute trot as a small victory right now. Hopefully by being diligent about the icing, stretching, strengthening and all that other preventative b.s., I mean maintenance, that will now be as much a part of my daily routine as my morning dump, I'll be able to stay a step ahead of injury. Actually, there's nothing funny about that, so scratch my original statement.

Injuries are a shitty thing. There, I feel better now.

Quote of the day:

"You cannot be a good fighter if you are always afraid of what might happen."
- American Shaolin

Friday, July 06, 2007


You know you're a total track dork when your best friend calls you from San Diego and tells you that Alan Webb just won the 1,500 meters in Paris with a PB and world-leading time of 3:30.54 and while sitting in traffic you start honking the horn furiously in celebration. Attaboy Alan!

Official Result
1500 Metres - Men

1. Alan Webb - USA, 3:30.54
2. Mehdi Baala - FRA, 3:31.01
3. Tarek Boukensa - ALG, 3:32.77

Quote of the day:

If I have given my all and still do not win, I haven't lost. Others might remember winning and losing; I remember the journey.
- Apolo Anton Ohno, 5-time Olympic speed skating medalist

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pre-weekend update

Since a fellow blogging teammate of mine inquired yesterday as to whether or not I was ever going to update this thing again, I figured I'd make him and the rest of the masses happy by chiming in with one of those much-anticipated token updates that I happen to hit the publish button on from time to time. Plus, Gwyth started harassing me again last week about my posting infrequency, so let's hope this short snippet keeps the threatening Facebook wall posts at a minimum.

OK, last things first. A few days ago I went off on a small tangent on the distance runner's not-so-distant cousin, the cyclist. To anyone on two wheels who was offended by the insolence manifested by the injured runner in me, please find it somewhere in your florescent spandex to forgive my wacky rant. I like cycling, I really do, and as an olive branch of sorts, I offer up a newly-discovered link to Kerry Litka's website, an entertaining -- and well-written -- look at life from a distance runner-turned-professional cyclist. Give it a look!

Speaking of looks, I finally got one from a medical professional today, namely Dr. Brad Weiss at Performance Health Center in Natick. After an initial consultation and thorough structural evaluation, I was diagnosed with tarsal tunnel syndrome in my right ankle. Basically my right side is way out of whack from the hips on down, which may be the root of all my problems on that side of the body, i.e. Achilles issue two years ago, last year's pelvic stress fracture, perpetually tight hamstring and the like. Currently, that same out-of-whackness is causing an entrapment of the nerve under the medial malleolus in my right ankle. The solution? Free up the nerve by means of a technique called Active Release Therapy, which I had my first session of today. It involved "flossing" the nerve with some manipulation techniques. It's hard to tell at this point if the first round of ART helped or not, but I've been given the green light to try and run for a bit tomorrow so I guess I'll find out soon enough. Good, bad or otherwise, I'll be back in Natick on Monday morning for a follow-up, so cross your fingers, channel your inner Chi and stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I'm gonna tune out and get to bed. One more day of respite from the rigors of the working world so I'm gonna take advantage and bank some Z's while the rare opportunity presents itself. Take it easy out there in blogland, a.k.a. boredatworkland.

Quote of the day:

The best way out is always through.
- Robert Frost

Sunday, July 01, 2007

By definition

Other than getting to rock spandex shorts and tight shirts on a daily basis, along with having a free pass to act like a conceited elitist asshole, I guess the other advantage to spending more time in the saddle rather than my running shoes is the accompanying increase in cognitive weightlifting, flexing the old cerebral muscle if you will. Hey, before you dismiss this as a waste of my time, remember I majored in philosophy -- time spent in thought is time well spent.

So while shifting gears somewhere along Route 122A in Grafton the other day I began thinking about how I might stack up as a competitive cyclist. I suppose the only real way to find out is by racing, something my current schedule doesn't allow for. Plus, I'd need to get a racing license, attach aerobars to my bike, hire an entourage with matching hot pink uniforms, shave my legs, act like an asshole and go through a bunch of other beurocratic bullshit, and really, who wants to deal with all that? Not me, so better off just contemplating it all anyway.

As I understand it, cyclers, as Rich likes to call them, define themselves by categories, 1 through 5, with Cat 1 being just south of professional and Cat 5 including just about everyone else who's displayed enough skill on the bike that they've finally been allowed to remove their training wheels. And unless you've paid the annual USAC fee to earn yourself such a label, forget about it, you're just a recreational cyclist in the eyes of anyone who gives half a shit. Despite your epic 6-hour training rides averaging 25 mph, you can try and convince anyone you want that you're the greatest thing on two wheels, but unless you've got a $6,000 Cervelo, flashy spandex and a fake European accent you aren't getting on the same starting line as Lance Armstrong unless you've got a couple thousand bucks to fly over to France and are an expert at dodging drug tests and jumping through beurocractic hoola-hoops. Fuck that.

Within running's hierarchy it's a bit different; it's all black and white, no labeling necessary. You're defined by your numbers and since prehistoric times the numbers haven't lied. As John L. Parker wrote in Once A Runner, "Lots of people can't take that kind of pressure; the ego withers in the face of evidence." My 4:09 mile PR is just as legit on BU's banked indoor track as it is on a flat dirt oval in Kenya, with the only difference being that if I ran that time in Nairobi I'd have about a dozen teenage Africans who broke 4:05 in the same race laughing their asses off at me. And if I want to know how I stack up against some of the word's best marathoners I can take the easy 40-minute drive to Hopkinton on a Monday morning in April and within 2-1/2 hours know down to the exact minute and second just how badly I got my ass kicked.

Running's that simple, not to mention relatively inexpensive, and aside from the pure joy the sport brings me that's what I like most about it.

Quote of the day:

The longer I ran the more I felt energy was there. The harder I trained the more joy I experienced.
- Gerry Lindgren