Unlike most people who sometimes write about their own lives, I have a hard time pretending that the mundane events in which I take part are interesting to anyone who isn't actually there as a participant or fellow observer. True, despite the crippling combination of age, apathy, and the challenges presented by a willful overexposure to bad ideas, I run every day, usually twice and not at all hard; still, I struggle to portray this as properly heroic or even noteworthy. It's hard to get excited about much, since, according to prevailing wisdom, all of us will soon perish in an epochal flash of unprecedented governmental incompetence.
But those unspeakable horrors are for tomorrow, and no one comes here for anything besides intra-rectally generated sunshine and other in-ass commodities. So here's the latest.
I've fallen into a routine of generating two or three articles a month for Podium Runner. This both allows me to remain in de facto retirement (see below) and keeps me focused on goal-oriented people and behaviors, as does helping a tiny but powerful global network of people with their own training.
The two I haven't mentioned here yet: A primer on combination workouts, which most people don't seem to think about until trying until someone suggests it, and one that profiles three world-class runners who quit the sport for years only to return to peak form (adjusting for age) in their early to mid-forties.
The workout piece was enjoyable to prepare and assemble thanks mainly to Tom Schwartz's input. You may know Tom better now and evermore as Tinman, and he recently moved to the area to be near his elite athletes. Tom has spent most of the last 40 years formally and informally trying to figure out the determinants of running performance at the margins, and rather than being a mere collector and regurgitator of facts, he has integrated a lot of his insights from various areas into a progressive and coherent training philosophy. (He spent many years dutifully posting examples of these insights on a well-known industry forum before anyone even knew who he was, but thanks to the ever-unraveling character of that trolltastic virtual fartbox, he now focuses his erstwhile evangelism on his own projects.)
That said, the retrospective on Steph-a-nie, Ju-di and John (oh my) was a lot more interesting to write, because at this point, when I write about running for people who expect value from the presentation -- and I hope that's not the case with any of the saddies regularly picking their noses as they scan this virtual taint-wart -- I prefer personal stories to instructional stuff, even though with these it takes me twice as much time to produce half as many words. And despite perhaps fomenting an occasional veneer of rancorous unapproachability, I prefer doing interviews over the phone to conducting them entirely via e-mail. I often learn helpful things from these conversations that have nothing to do with whatever I ask my interlocutors directly. And when I talk to a fellow proto-geezer, the result is usually a lot of jocular reflection on back-in-the-day events that would never have survived the reckless processing of social media -- then thankfully decades away -- without needlessly beshitting numerous lives. In this case, one of the three even extracted a promise from me to train for and race a mile sometime "soon," so in theory, I'm on that. It's actually off to an amazing start, with the details left entirely to your own imagination.
Those are my self-required justifications for posting about other stuff, all of which can be reduced to bullet points which are of no general interest all all, but rich in the sexualization of barn owls:
Speaking of Tinman, his athletes came together on Saturday with a handful of Lee Troop's T.E.A.M. Boulder runners and a contingent from Scott Simmons' ADP group in Colorado Springs for a low-key distance meet at Nevin Platt Middle School (elevation about 5.305'). Despite the temperature being close to 90 degrees at the 6:20 p.m. start, new open state records were set in the men's 2-mile (the old mark of 8:43 was set in 1977 by Frank Shorter himself) and the women's and men's 5,000 meters. The in-state marks were, and actually remain, fairly soft; while elites love to train at altitude, they don't tend to waste all-out efforts on altitude competitions. Since a 14:00 5K at 5,000' requires close to a 13:30 effort, and most people in sub-13:30 shape are generally off racing elsewhere, the records statewide are really hit-and-miss.
The meet was almost spectatorless by design and essentially unannounced owing to covid restrictions. Between this and the faint stench of wildfires west of town in the mountains, I would say that the conditions were even worse than they looked on paper. All told, this was a worthy thing to pull together to give the fast types up here a raison d'etre for the time being. (I hate the very sound of French, because the version I grew up occasionally hearing was the Quebecois-West Manch Vegas version, a feeble and inglorious bastardization of the real thing, or so Francophiles say.)
Speaking of elite records, I know that a world record was just set in the men's 5,000 meters, and other elites are laying down smashing performances, like a 3:28.x metric mile by a 19-year-old Norwegian. I don't know if it's mostly the pandemic, but I've stopped following the pros for the most part, except for the ones I might happen to run into when shopping for food or weed. I could list all the other reasons, but they're about the same as yours. I like what high-schoolers and working stiffs are up to. That, standing alone, looks pervy, but then so does most of the stuff I say here and I don't even realize it.
Speaking of weed, I found a device resembling a strange woodwind instrument device in in the the expansive fields surrounding the aforementioned track. I came home and washed it and tried to use it, but I have no panache, or product.
</div><br /><li>Speaking of Nevin Platt Middle School, which used to be Fairview High School until a new location for the latter was established in the mid-1970s, I have done a couple of "workouts" on the same track and decided I need to accept that the lack of fun in trying to run fast should not prevent me from trying to briefly improve at it. Any halfwit can train himself into condition to race a decent mile with comparatively little knowledge or guidance; I'm a closed-minded ignoramus whose only true area of expertise is trudging though road marathons at a gomer's pace, but I think I can get myself close to a time that won't have me craving the sweet and lasting release of a spectacular headfirst dive from a very high place, at least not in the immediate aftermath. <br /><br /></li><li>Speaking of injuries resulting from falls, I had a tumble the other day that was inconsequential, but less than an inch from being a lot less so. I hooked my toe on a root while running into a park the other day and when I went down, I slid to a stop on my side in a sort of "C"-shape, with what turned out to be the small trunk of a broken-off sapling pressing into part of my lower spine between vertebrae just hard enough to send a little thrill up and down my entire body. Had I slid into it a little more forcefully, based on what's known about series injuries to that level of the human spinal cord, I doubt I would have gotten up or ever walked again at all. I did get up, thought "I wonder how many other times I came that close to being paralyzed when I was fucking around drunk," and resumed running with <a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-FTvz5Sl61SU/Xz43auyLSSI/AAAAAAAA_Dg/LJ77J4dgQSQEySCzv1IRqH17EOCj1-IpQCLcBGAsYHQ/s576/20200730_174921.jpg" target="_blank">Rosie</a>, who, for the better, was oblivious to all of this. I guess if I were on the side of the <a href="https://chimprefuge.com/category/steve-mcconkey/" target="_blank">Evangelical deathmongers</a> in today's U.S. culture wars, I would have chalked this up to divine intervention, since my life is clearly of galactic societal importance. I think instead I need new trainers and a diminished appetite for taking pointless shortcuts when I'm always just running for time anyway, and not the hell much of it. <br /><br /></li><li>Speaking of the U.S. culture wars, as well as the same park yonder, I took interest in <a href="https://www.dailycamera.com/2020/06/23/wicked-gravity-bursting-boulders-bubble-a-racist-act-a-noble-heart/" target="_blank">this story</a> when it was published because the events described took place on a stretch of pathway I cover almost every day. I had never seen the runner described before, but on Sunday morning I was standing close to one end of a <a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-eQzs4NmF6xM/Xz44WuCCIhI/AAAAAAAA_Dw/N1Ik8JoE6Fc3ZwYdIdOjTfpEF7Ef9701wCLcBGAsYHQ/s768/20200814_184758%2B%25281%2529.jpg" target="_blank">nearly completed pedestrian tunnel</a> when I saw a runner who was clearly him enter the park over a foot bridge and turn south, ultra guy's fluid pack and all. It was already pushing 90 degrees. Seconds later I heard a commotion and the guy was darting around a woman I recognized as an occasional foot traveler on my street. She had come into the park from the southern end, and he was taking pictures or video of her from a roving distance of about 10 feet. She kept turning and walking in the other direction and putting a hand over her face, and the guy kept darting over to get a clear shot at her face.<br /><br />Without context, I would have thought the guy was harassing her for no apparent reason, but given that the incident described in the article took place less than a quarter-mile from the spot where this drama was unfolding, I concluded, and continue to believe, that this was the guy's first sighting of his verbal assailant since it had taken place, and that he was establishing a way to prove her identity for the first time. Since she seemed more annoyed than threatened and concluded the exchange with an extended middle finger and (I'm 95 percent certain) a call of "Get your black ass out of my face," I'm pretty confident in my theory. (In some fairness to the woman, some people react to unexpected citizen photographers <a href="http://beckofthepack.blogspot.com/2019/07/fuckin-weirdo.html" target="_blank">in much the same way</a> I saw her react.)<br /><br /></li><li>Speaking of road trips, I am probably headed out of town for a while in about a week. Between the stank of wildfires off in the canyons to the west, the return to campus this week of <a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gfneBwVv9kM/Xz45c5-FHSI/AAAAAAAA_D8/azQcJ8Ly4LozBhWbsNR303QzDsCbJuI1ACLcBGAsYHQ/s768/20200811_144952.jpg" target="_blank">undergrads</a> (a questionable and probably short-lived decision by the university) and the fact that nothing is keeping me from taking my uneventful self eastward for a spell, it feels like time. I need to be back in time for my mom to visit sometime in the fall, hopefully.<br /><br /></li><li>And finally, speaking of things I hate about this and other running blogs, you may have noticed that this isn't a numbered list, and if it were, it wouldn't contain ten items. Neither is <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/15/opinion/turbo-tax.html" target="_blank">this</a>, but that didn't keep either the title or the scattershot content from getting past an editor. It continues to amaze me that someone this parochial-minded and self-deluded is somewhat successfully successfully positioning herself as a not merely rational but necessary voice in distance running, despite Donald Trump levels of truth-bending and misguided braggadocio. </li></ul><p></p><p>Apart from this and pursing a few joint creative projects that appear to have more than the usual faint level of promise, I continue to live as an energetic retiree, spending lots of time wobbling around outside in the sun with a dog and happily butchering songs on my keyboard until they sound more like passable covers than shreds. I actually hang out more with others than I did pre-pandemic, though that isn't saying much and is always one-on-one.</p><p>The one problem with this otherwise welcome identity: I don't enough have savings to retire unless I agree to die within the next couple of years (which, according to sources, is virtually assured). But since I have no real expectation of outliving my ability and willingness to do the few things I do for work now, I guess it doesn't really matter. I have every intention of being the agent of my own eventual end, but I have a beautiful dog to take care of and am not quite exasperated enough with myself and the rest of you to abandon this 8,000-mile wide whirling Eric Cartman head, acne scars and all, just yet. The more clever and industrious among you have created some interesting things for me to use, like electric piano machines and mapping software, and these compensate for my disinclination to meaningfully engage in the kinds of things that make life interesting for the majority of Earth inmates. </p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p></div></div>