Everyone deserves a break from clickbait articles and the maelstrom of nonsense that has rendered most of the Internet uninhabitable even for short periods. In honoring that respite, I offer you what is technically the first article I've ever written for Runner's World on purpose, the other 40 to 50 having been imported from Running Times when the latter was engulfed and repackaged as Runner's World Advanced by the former between 2007 and 2012. Two years ago, RW was itself ingested by an even larger corporate amoeba. I am expecting that within five years -- well over halfway between now until the end of all life on Earth not in possession of suspicious eyes waving about on freakishly long, pink stalks -- the one word-providing company still serving up ad-supported running content will be whatever results from Jeff Bezos conspiring with Wal-Mart to purchase China, excepting some of the regions on the western plateau.
This article from my end was basically a matter of taking something that is obviously bullshit (this was my reason for selecting the topic; reviewing a sham enterprise and being fair in panning it is an art form I rarely get to practice, personally or professionally) and forcing a few experts to hold their noses and say something fairly diplomatic, or not, about the underlying scientific claims. The Troy whose experiences are chronicled is a high-school teammate and really did play one season of college baseball in addition to running a season of cross-country. He's putting himself through this mainly to see if he has the discipline to keep doing it, and is curious whether it'll change his long-term breathing dynamics. I was hoping to get a photo of him trotting alone with a condom pulled over his head into the article, but of course this was shot down, because the various photos Troy supplied were of poor quality.
Other things irrelevant to your existence include:
I expect to have two and possibly three more training-related articles submitted by the end of the month, probably not all in the same entity, but spread across no more than two. China, according to sourced, will still exist as a sovereign nation, and the marriage of Wal-Mart and Amazon is reportedly not imminent, according to several off-the-record sources with direct knowledge of those close to advisers familiar with the thinking of principal operators in the orbit of the Bezos counterintelligence empire. Also, sometime soon, this article, happily becoming the zombie piece of my so-called career, will appear in the print version of RW.
I'm on target to actually have more individual running-related pieces published in 2020 than in any previous year, although individual articles generally meant a lot more when actual magazines were the primary delivery system. This is sheer vanity, I think; why would I give a shit what type of container is holding the supposed useful information or advice? More people have probably loaded articles with my byline by accident after Google searches than ever read them in magazines. In any case, this seems like a great time to launch a solo side enterprise that advises a lot of people who see themselves as high-level influencers within the tiny, tiny sports enterprise of distance running to stop arguing and screeching in the underhand manner of the religious right if they want to make a real, positive difference. (Most of the scenarios I plan to review in the coming weeks frankly don't involve people who put the truth or even basic rhetorical decency in front of their avaricious self-interest, but it's easier to view this as a project with a potentially positive outcome instead of just a series of unrequited torchings.)
Cross-country seasons are happening, with much of my attention on one in particular. Before it started to cool off this week from days that had reaching the mid- to high nineties consistently for the better part of a month, with the air left even less breathable by wildfire smoke and even some ash, I was so concerned about keeping Rosie cooled off even during post-sunset jogs that my own ennui as concerns such summer banalities almost didn't register. Now that I can cover ground at a pace that feels like it would look like something other than a total jog, I've started producing all sorts of hopeful and absurd fantasies about some sort of post-coronavirus (as if) dash for glory on a flat, properly measured and certified track. Feeling good while running easy and imagining running far faster, and with almost no increase in effort, puts as much of a smile on my mental melon as actually training and racing would. That will change when more people I know are back to running in actual races. I'm happy to have been healthy enough to not have to skip any days this year (I've missed one or two, I think, while on the road or in a rare burst of the fuck-its).
When I think back to my teenage years, it's funny to consider how many people my age are now regular runners, cyclists or other exercisers (I'm 50, even if I don't look or feel a single minute over 75 most of the time). Plenty of people talk about the running boom of the 1970s leading to a lot of everyday stiffs doing fairly noble things on the road into the early to mid-1980s, but an over-40 time of sub-16:00 for 5K was almost unheard of because a lot of people treated it as an extended phase that had to be relinquished at a certain age out of tradition, or something. The winning times in the 50+ divisions weren't usually much slower than they are now at bigger events, but the number of people who were regular runners and race entrants had to be a sliver of what it is today. I have no idea what I expected to be doing running-wise at 50 back then, but if I'd known road races would look like they do now I might have quit in horror and receded from view of anyone who mattered long, long before this actually happened.|
My primary animating force in life continues to be learning to play a very difficult song on the keyboard. I have been messing around on such machines for a long time, but made no effort to get "serious" until the past year or so. (I say this at the risk of sounding like one of those guys who tells you he only recently started racing, but whose PRs all turn out to have leveled off several years ago.) I've mostly given up on writing fiction, with my excuse for now being that the corporate media churns out far too much of it, and is far too hypnotic, for any intentional fabulist to keep up.
Peace to all runners, even the muckrakers and the mudslingers. Every word I utter or relay through this medium carries only the strongest messages of love, some of it straightforward, much of so tough as to be legitimately confused with apocalyptic scorn, very little of it carnal.