A profile and stuff

The "stuff" I'm reluctant to post. None it is tawdry or quarrelsome, so fuck off if you came here for the goods or the antipathy. But like lot of people who maintain low-priority personal blogs, I feel as though I run the risk of not scaling what I say at this point in socio-virological history to the broader, elephantine occasion. It is quite unlike me to care that different receivers process my electronic transmissions in different ways, and that at this time, the lives of parents, kids, anyone in the service industry, anyone who is pregnant, and countless other identities that flit in and out of my mind have already had to shift into completely different modes, and the disruptions are an added stress that at best recedes into the background while still exerting insidious effects on mood, judgment and other things. I had to cancel any serious plans I had for the rest of the year, but, while I was excited to go to Europe and elsewhere, it's not in the same category as an immediate transition to a new, uninvited existence. Worrying about being too far from some indistinct psychosocial center certainly defeats every purpose of a personal blogspace, but I think most people get it. And it's the only disclaimer you'll get from me, because Jesus Christ are you people a scattershot mess.

With that context in mind, the events and ideas I'll relate here -- crap that might be news to the handful of regulars readers in New England, Colorado and a few points yonder -- have been generated from a haphazard series of notes serving as the seeds of this entry, which is how I bet a lot of people do bloggery. That's my advance excuse for material that is out of order, outdated, flat-out incorrect or laughably inhumane.

  • The profile, in Podium Runner, was of Cole Sprout, who's about to finish his senior year in what has become an Eldoret-like pocket of high-school distance talent in the south and southwestern Denver 'burbs. (If you care, that includes Dakota Ridge, Mountain Vista, Rock Canyon, Valor Christian, Cherry Creek and arguably a few others).

    It was my most pleasing writing assignment in years (and when I say "assignment," I mean, "Will you pay me to write about a subject of my choosing?"), mainly because I got to talk about the Colorado 1,600-meter record. I didn't get to explore this in detail, but two main reasons that the mark has stood for so long is that the state championships are now always held over a three-day span at JeffCo Stadium in Lakewood, which sits at 5,550' above sea level. Not only does this in effect add more than a second to the task of lowering the record as compared to the altitude at which it was set (about 4,700'), but the 1,600 is the last distance event, and virtually every athlete with a chance to break the mark has already run at least one open event and often the 4 x 800 meters as well.

    Despite the fact that Cruz Culpepper (the state's, and probably the country's, best prep miler this year) and Sprout are graduating without getting a shot at the official record, I expect it to fall within three years.

  • I have another piece in the works for Podium Runner, although it's somewhat ill-formed at this stage. It is largely the result of studying and judging significant number of you over an extended time frame. I will seek to write semi-regularly for PR since I have less paying work to do, but the main reason is that Jonathan Beverly, who has been looking at my typos and run-on sentences for 20 years now, is used to my particular brand of unclear clarity. He's also open to non-traditional ideas.

  • Since you may be a runner, consider doing regular, supervised time trials of 1,500 to 5,000 meters on a track every three weeks or so, maybe even every two weeks. It's a smallish sample, but the runners I am working with seem to find this arrangement enough to keep them interested during a de facto worldwide redshirt season of indeterminate duration.

  • Outside Magazine, an entity with which I have reported substantive editorial differences in times of yore, fell so comprehensively far behind on its accounts payables that people started discovering they weren't the only ones being stiffed and forced the company to act. And "fell behind" is obviously being generous, because Outside was evidently hoping what the two editors I had dealings with, Christopher Keyes and Molly Mirhashem, hoped I would do and simply give up.

    I guess this is one of their behind-the-scenes ways of promoting all of the kum-ba-ya inclusivity and nonsense forms of feminism: Use, but simply don't pay for, about, let's see, $150,000 divided by $600 or so per unpaid invoice = 250 articles written by people outside the company. Hopefully, the entire enterprise tanks and everyone involved finds an industry other than publishing in which to serve as shitbirds or the servants of same.

  • Someone has sent me a nontrivial (well, I guess that depends) sum to research and perhaps write a screenplay about a certain cultural feature of the 1980s I know extraordinarily little about. This should be fun. Among my requires assignments is watching Point Break again and trying to figure out how much heroin Anthony Kiedis was on at the time.

  • The point of my polemic the other day that more people need to learn how to be dissidents without causing problems. You can be confident of not becoming a part of a coronavirus infection as a result of running outside, but you can also be confident other people appreciate people looking like they care. If you sling a bandana around your neck, and kind of move to touch and adjust and play with it they way a lot of fellows already treat their crotches in public, you'll make just the right, healthful impression.

  • A friend with whom I regularly trained for my first marathon in 1994 got in touch with me from his surgical practice on the west coast of Florida and asked if I could help him get ready for a road race once they're available again. More important than that was getting to catch up on each other's lives. I've found myself reaching out in much the same way, and am now tasked with setting up the training of one of the best returning runners in his state.

  • It's become too hot to take Rosie on legitimate runs during the day, so I have been doing more of my daily hour or so alone. This has led to some tentative pace explorations and half-ass almost-workouts, and I will probably be taking part in a time trial shortly. You won't have heard about it because I may be one of two people in attendance, and if it goes poorly you'll never learn I even tried because no one will leave the track alive, although that in itself may send some kind of signal even in these times of corpses piling up high in the streets.

  • I can and do tan my face through a screen in my bedroom window. The optimal time frame shifts by a minute or two a day, and the angle gets funny, but it often coincides with attempted naps or reveries about cracking the Earth in half just to see if the middle is really filled with nickels.

  • I made my mom a five-minute Mother's Day video that was not quite scripted and not quite memorized, mostly thanking her for getting me into and out of the right places with enough right ideas to still be here and mostly thriving, in spite of some seriously contrary efforts on my part. Its intended effect was very much diluted by my unwillingness to watch my own face talking during the recording, which led me to talk while flitting my eyes back and forth between browser tab headers and whatever else might have been around. It was probably like getting an appreciative personalized video from any one of the many characters played by Steve Buscemi since Reservoir Dogs and possibly before.

    I was supposed to meet my mom and dad as well as my sister's husband and kids in D.C. next month, which would have put the entire family in one place for the first time in who the fuck knows. I haven't seen or talked to my father in almost eight years, but he was happy and surprised to get a birthday present from me last month. So I heard. It's been a difficult realization, but my parents, though generally healthy, are basically old people now and they act like it. I can't finish a sentence on the phone without learning which of my mom's contacts is now in an assisted-dying facility or an urn. This is not at all nettlesome on its own, but it's abrupt. I have to be grateful that I managed to become a fully sentient and participating human being while both of my folks, whatever my relationship to them is, still have some life in them, and that they got a pleasant surprise in the form of that lasting sentience and participation.

  • New challenge: Assuming you're a regular runner, see if you can go one week using a chronometer ("stopwatch") as your only training adjunct. Actually, adverse selection alert; anyone reading this shitblog probably hasn't learned that there are other parts of the Internet as well as ways to calculate distance involving human-engineered objects orbiting the Earth. Instead, find a runner ten to fifty years younger than you who isn't in rehab or jail more than about half the time, and challenge him or her to take this challenge instead. No GPS data -- just guess at how far you ran for parts not on a track or that you otherwise can't know for sure. Or measure it with a car, fire truck or horse if you must. Really, if you can't guess your pace within thirty seconds a mile, you have no business telling people you even run, so it's unlikely you'll be off by much and no one gives a shit how many miles you wind up with at the end of the year. As a consequence of the foregoing, there is no uploading anything to Strava, Garmin or any of member of that misbred clan; no mentioning anything about running specifics on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any similar dipshit-amplification system. If your fraying and frantic ego requires something resembling relief after being starved of mindless, mostly nameless appreciation for a whole seven fucking days, you can, without violating the terms of the challenge, post an end-of-week summary on a Mumbai slum of a message board that's been overrun with anonymous trolls, rarely me, for years.

    Your reward for successfully petitioning for a claim of completion, even on behalf of someone else, will be a free hatchet kick to the face of a startlingly lifelike facsimile of your least-favorite professional running coach, agent, administrator, fan, or corporate lightning rod, preferably a fat white guy over with a beard. I would ask that you leave athletes themselves out if it, as the goal here is to create a supportive environment in which people can achieve their full running and human potential, with as many full-on posers purged from the slurry as possible.