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Showing posts from June, 2013

Being There

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You know how part of what runners love about running is just the sheer fact of being outside? Once in every dozen runs or so, I have these moments where I lift my head up for just a second or two and I'm like: damn -- just LOOK at those trees. Oh, and the sky: it's still blue as all get-out. Or I will see a buzzard drifting on an up-current and think: he and I are the same, in a deeply inarticulate way. We're just here in the world, without much more to it. He, buzzarding about in his (yes, somewhat nasty) buzzardly way; and I, down here below looking up at the buzzard, running along doing my thing.

Back to the same old question: why do we run? Here's another insufficient answer to throw on the pile: it's because running is a practice of presence. Though the new-agers are all a little loopy and smoked way too much dope back in the day and tend to be over the top with their purple colors, etc., they are right about one thing. We have a tendency to live almost ev…

Time Moves Differently: a report from the 145 mile Grand Union Canal Race

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Editor’s note: This piece was written by one of the toughest people I know, and it’s one of the best race reports I’ve read. Jen (aka Wrigleygirl) takes us deeply into the experience of running 145 miles. Jen has run around 80 marathons and ultramarathons and has also run 128.13 miles in 24 hours. The report is long (appropriately for the distance,) but make sure you have your schedule cleared before you start reading – because you won’t stop. Thanks to her for allowing me to publish this!
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Friday night before the race it is very cold and extremely windy, but the temps and conditions on Saturday are perfect. The race starts in the center of Birmingham. I've been promised drunks spilling out from the bars at 6 am, but someone has lied and the drunks fail to do their part. I'm disappointed.
The paths are all cobblestone, and on any incline or decline every third one is raised, presumably for traction when it is wet, or to trip klutzy runners. I was warned about these earlier, …

Two Kinds of Races

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Martin, my brother-in-law, approached me with a proposition.

He is a banker in the Caribbean, and we were down there for a family vacation (and yes, the beach!) The way he put it to me was like this. 
He explained: "One of my co-workers at the bank was a good 800 meter runner in high school, a sub-2 guy, and he was talking in the lunch room about how he would love to race again. So, I told him you were a runner and that you were coming down."

"Yeah," I said. (Sub-2 is pretty fast, but hey I did that, too.)
"Anyways," goes Martin, "We put together a group of five guys. A relay. We thought they could each run 1000m and you could run 5000m. You could take them on. What do you think? This guy wants to run against someone fast."
"Sure," I said, without thinking about it too much, not really ever being one to turn down a race.
This was one kind of race. A runner against five untrained non-runners. I would come to learn before the race that t…