Showing posts from May, 2009

Scott and Erin's Wedding Day 5k

After all the doom and gloom surrounding my last marathon, a fun 5k was just what I needed. So, I jumped in my first 5k since January. It was really fun. Fun?! A race can be fun? Training for the marathon is like reading El Quixote ( apologies to Mikey ). Or Ulysses . Or Hegel's Logic . You have to become the work to get through it. There's this huge mass of meaning that lies in front of you and behind you. And there's this sense that somehow the task will make you a better person when you're done, a sense that keeps you going, but is never really cashed out completely. Sure you come out on the other side vaguely transformed and perhaps with a few inchoate insights into things. But you know that you could read the book a hundred times again and never get to the bottom of it. Even though you've given yourself over to it, completely. The marathon, like great art, is life: absurd, tragic, confusing, enlightening, difficult, meaningful, and dark. The 5k is fun. I didn

The Medium of Running

I just finished Neil Postman's The Disappearance of Childhood . Postman draws on McLuhan's idea that the media is the message, drawing connections between the notion of childhood and print media. He argues that childhood is a specific effect of a print-media culture and wonders what the effect of new media, centered around the image, will be on childhood. Postman's account was written in 1982 and his main worry is the television, which is rapidly losing ground to the internet as the main communicative medium of public life. So, his analysis is a bit dated, but the crux of his main argument--that forms of media are not neutral conveyors of information but also work to set the conceptual and practical limits of culture--is still highly relevant, if yet to be applied to the internet. In other words, forms of media do not just communicate culture; they are the very conditions of culture, as culture is no more and no less the sum of forms of communication. A culture is what it

On the body, natural training, and specificity

Running guru Tinman wrote this on a letsrun thread about Dathan Ritzenhein: "When you are fit, you are fit; and you race well over variety of distances. To be fit, you have to train in accordance with your body's natural laws. If you race outside your natural range, all you have to do is "touch" on race-pace or tactical training for the event; not focus a great deal of time and energy on it." This is a wise comment. As I look back over my last training cycle, it is very clear why I did not run my best in my marathon attempt. The reason was simply this: I focused for too long on marathon specificity and got away from the task of "training according to my body's natural laws." What does this mean? We need to look at the relation between specificity and training that works according to the body's natural laws. Training according to the body has less to do with the particular sorts of workouts that one does and more to do with the effects of thos

Got a Garmin, Have No Pride, etc.

"This is a first draft, last minute attempt to lash together a vague preamble, of sorts, with regard to the obvious question: what the fuck are we doing here in Elko, Nevada, in a corner of the Stockman's Hotel about 200 feet from the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks on a frozen weekend in late February?" --HST Yeah, so I imagine that the rise in blogging as a literary form is one of the reasons that the good Dr. Thompson put 200 lead pellets through his brain a couple years ago. But if it wasn't that reason, it would have been another. So, WHY NOT? Well, before that, why? I blame Mikey. And anyways, I just wore a Garmin and a heart rate monitor for the first time on a run. I've been wearing an ipod now for the last couple of months. All of these instruments and contraptions I have mocked mercilessly and endlessly. Why not forsake all pride then and make this shit-show public? Hell, times change, why can't I? Here comes the strange philosopher-quote. It

On Running and Progress: A Report from the Flip-Side

"But there was one thing I did miss, and when I realized what it was, and thought about it, it became something of an obsession. ... What it was was this: When you're a competitive runner in training, you are constantly in a process of ascending." --Q. Cassidy "We do not know what a body can do." --Spinoza I had decided to run Avenue of the Giants because, well, it is beautiful [yes, it was] out there on the Northern California coast. Also, it was located close to one of my oldest running friends, a fellow named Andy. Another high school buddy, Jamey, would be running the first 15 with us. It would be a chance to visit him, to run together. We were both as fit as we'd been in a long time and thought it would be great to pace each other through to a couple of PR's. We would run fast, like we had when we were young. Such was the plan. I'd been doing everything right. Running a lot. Mostly easy. Sometimes hard. I'd run more mileage than ever in my l