Monday, December 31, 2007

Here’s to 2007

I’m not one for resolutions (if you want to change yourself, go do it, you don’t have to wait until the calendar changes) and I’m not so much into year-end navel-gazing, either. I’d rather look at now and tomorrow, but whatever works for you is fine...

I think I had a pretty good year running my butt off, and from the sound of it, most of the running folks stopping and reading and surfing around and commenting did, too. I am my own worst critic, and that criticism carries over into the general population, as the title of this ole’ running blog tells you. Then again, you knew that. Anyway, many of you out there are like me and know well you’re strengths and weaknesses. And you try hard to do better, or just have fun, or both, and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. But I think it usually does work out because just being out there and finishing one more damned race is enough sometimes. Especially the older you get, though try telling me that at the finish line of my next ‘hit the wall’ race.

So, I guess I can look back (didn’t I just type out something saying I don’t do that?) and be happy with what I accomplished. 19 races, including 3 marathons in the fall, a surprise PR in the 5-mile, and a lot of training just to get through all of that crap. And my running log tells me I finished 2420 miles this year; apparently, that’s a one-way trip to the outskirts of San Diego from NYC…

Now that I have a pain in my left knee, a tired right Achilles tendon, and a full-blown dread of winter training, I’ll have to start all this up again tomorrow.

And today I signed up for the Patriot Half in July and checked out my local pool facility where they are all set to get me going on the path to chlorine ingestion. The usual suspects out there got me all hopped up on their stories of brick-training and shit, and now I’ve gone and done it.

WELL. I know many of you out there have your goals for ’08 already lined up, even some of them that are real soon, so here’s to your goals and may we all meet them somehow (whether it’s a first marathon, an ironman, an ironman on the other side of the world, new races, whatever). Thanks go out to all of you who shared your joy and pain and comments over the last year, I know it helped me and I hope some of my rants and obvious observations showed you that running and pain and aggravation and failure and triumph happens to us all. Of course, it doesn’t just happen, we make it happen, so all the best to everybody out there who keep at it in ‘08.

As the annoying trust-fund anti-Christ kids in my neighorhood often scream into their cell phones, ‘like, you guys are so awesome, except when you finish some stupid race, and then you’re all gross and stuff, and I’m like, so over it…. Shut up!’

Happy ’08!

Friday, December 28, 2007

I’m Baaa-ck….

If anybody had checked this blog over the last week or two, and found nothing much going on, at least I can say that I was away from the old keypad most of the time. Last week I flew to southern VA, aka Crackerville, for a little family Yule-ishness. You know it’s C.R. writing this, not many others could come up with a dumb-ass phrase like that. But you’re welcome to try.

Anyway, I have nothing to report beyond that I got a head cold for Christmas, among other, far more rewarding things. I am just getting over it (I hope), and I’d write more about it but you’d end up reading a whiny tirade, and enough of that crap, right?

Now I’m finding myself sitting down and conversing with, well, me, about what races are coming up and damn training during winter. Which I hate, but if I map it out, it gives the illusion of being somehow official which in turn makes me feel like I know what the hell I’m doing.

Next up is the Manhattan Half Marathon at the end of January, then a few odd races probably, followed by Boston’s Heartbreak Hill on 4/21. And I am edging closer to the Patriot Half Marathon Which Includes Some Swimming and Biking, Too, on 7/5, a first for me. Before then I will at some point be discovered swimming in the Hudson River, NYC’s very own petri dish on the west side. And running over tourists in Central Park on some borrowed bike that’s been carbon-14 dated to 1986.

So pretty soon the complaints and snippy observations will begin anew. I have a feeling that ’08 Crankiness will a lot like the ’07 Crankiness, except with new features, like ‘Bike Seat Tokhes Pain Roundup’ and ‘Somebody Bitch-Slapped My Rotator Cuff’. I apologize, in advance…

P.S. Above is a picture of my niece Chelsea, in pre-nap mode, which adequately describes her entire life. If you have food, great, but if not, you’re wasting valuable time and interrupting canine REM sleep. I felt her facial expression also adequately described the after-holiday torpor that hits us all before the arrival of guilt-inducing ‘what have I done with my life this year?’ thoughts that arrive right at new year’s…

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Today’s To-Do List:

1. Watch Video.
2. Go Into Trance.
3. Become Insane.
4. Find Someone You Love, Very, Very Much.
5. Kill Them.
6. Get Dressed for 5-Mile Run.
7. Finish Run. Nice Job!

Happy Day!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Race Report: Joe Kleinerman 10K

Yesterday it was time to get out of the pre-holiday doldrums and get some layers of moisture-wicking material on, and run a little old race. And it wasn’t a marathon, thank you, Jesus. And Dude! Happy Birthday. Visa and MasterCard love you, too.

So I doled out the twenty bucks and got my bloody typical long-sleeve cotton tee-shirt for the Joe Kleinerman 10K, named after a running ‘legend’ in NYC. Race time was 9:30, and the temperature was 37 degrees. On the way to baggage check, I ran into a friend who wondered if there would be an elite corral, he hadn’t gotten the e-mail. Not being an elite runner myself, I’d never gotten one of 'those' e-mails; sounded like some kind of ‘secret society’-type of thing, along with a secret handshake that only sub-six minute mile runners know. Sure enough, he was looking to run about a 5:50. ‘Good luck with all THAT’ I thought. See you at the afterparty.

With no expectations other than low ones, I lined up with the nearly 5000 runners ready to circle Central Park once, and only once. The crowd was jammed with folks trying to meet their quota of nine races to qualify for next year’s marathon, and I wondered what the hell I was doing there among the cotton-clad novices. Oh yeah, trying to remember what it’s like to run a race under an hour. Whatever.

Off we go, blah, blah, blah, hills a-plenty, been there, done all of ‘em a million times. I pass a number of people, get passed by a few myself, and… actually feel OK. I realize I need to write a book about pacing, because I’m pacing at a machine-like 85% effort like I always do. Sometimes I feel like I’m not working hard enough, but I know I’ve got a few miles left and I’m not interested in hitting a wall during a measly 6.2 miles, that’s embarrassing. So I cool it.

And guess what? Yeah, you guessed it, all went well. In fact, I ended up with a nice finish time for me, my best 10K in years. I haven’t done speedwork or tempo runs in weeks and weeks, and here I go and pick it up in the last couple of miles, and finish respectably. A few seconds beyond 42 minutes, I’ll take it. They had hot chocolate waiting for us after the finish line water station, that was nice, too.

Well, I’ve written this before, but it’s worth repeating. Sometimes it’s just a good idea to show up for a race with low expectations, you end up surprising yourself. Even if you’re out there just to have fun, and how hard is it to achieve that? So don’t overthink, get out there, do it, and see what happens. If speed and clock-watching is your thing, fine, if only having fun on a course is your thing, then fine, too. I do a little bit of both, and it works for me. But you never really know how well it’s going to go until race day, so get your ass out there once in awhile, you may end up feeling better about yourself.

So for me, Sunday was like a very special ‘21 Jump Street’, I got to kick some ass and learn some life lessons, all in under an hour.

P.S. As for comments on my last, bleary post:

SR, you got it right, I have to get my butt in a pool, and perhaps the rest will follow. I’m currently looking at a local recreation center that has swimming instruction for dummies, which I need badly. I have been doing the stationary bike thing (though admittedly not the same as getting out on the road), and it’s been refreshing not pounding my knees and ankles into pavement for hours. Who knew? Oh yeah, triathletes.

Speaking of the dark side (Mindy), I’ll be sure to post whenever I make the dive into three-sport events, I’m still looking for ones that include running, bitching and moaning. Wait, that’s a marathon! Never mind.

And Angry, you know you’ll hang in there and be fine, so I won’t say it again. Just finish the damn race, that’s the best goal you can make for yourself at this point. Go to Epcot and point and laugh at everybody after it’s all over. Or go to faux-France and get a greasy croissant served up by surly French exchange students and yes, most of them are ‘pretty gals’.

S-Shine, thanks for commiserating, you know it’s true…

Bob-O, good luck in academia, I have no advice to offer there. I was busy with pseudo-allnighters way back when, cramming economic theory and international relations into my head, albeit temporarily. I think I’d rather run a marathon and get a root canal at the mile 22 marker than go through that again.

And finally, anybody out there facing the usual challenges we all encounter in the last month of the year… well, best of luck. It’ll be over soon!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I haven’t had much energy to post or discuss anything running-related over the last week or so, and haven’t even looked much at other folks’ blogs (sorry). It’s that time of the year for me when most of the races are over and I begin to consider and plan for winter and early spring crap that I don’t even want to think about right now. So I’m avoiding all that, and feeling vaguely guilty for not mapping out training for the next few months.

It got damned cold here, and it even snowed almost two inches in the park on Sunday, so that didn’t do much for the daily dedication, either. No, I won’t whine about the weather, it’s just the time of the year when freezing temperatures and annoying yuletide cheer slap you upside the head, and there ain’t nothin’ you can do about it.

So I’m still running, but along with it comes the ‘here we go again with this crap’ feeling I get at the end of every year (and returning in February); guess I’ll just slog through it. At least I don’t have a marathon a month away like Angry. Head on over there and let him know he’s only a couple of weeks away from tapering, that should lift his spirits… Otherwise, I’ll post something soon that will try to lift mine and anyone else’s, for that matter. ‘Til then, stay warm…