It’s yellowjacket season

I got stung four times by a yellowjacket on Wednesday morning. The thing got me on the arm, then proceeded to fly into the sleeve opening of my shirt to then sting me in two other places on my side. And one final sting on my hand as I reached in to the grab the bastard, throw it on the ground and stomp on it.

I’m sure it made for an entertaining sight, with my flailing around and engaging in a loud, frantic soliloquy in florid NC-17 language. In the 48 hours since, I’ve been treated to a wandering backache, a blocked sinus, and edema in my feet and lower legs.

Have I mentioned before how much I hate summer in New York? No yellowjackets in winter; just attack dogs.

Lolo Jones: Winner

Watching Lolo Jones tumbling over the penultimate hurdle in the 100m hurdle final was the only Olympic moment so far that actually brought me to tears. Sure, there have been some other failures and losses so far, but this was the most spectacular; “the agony of defeat” writ large.

Lolo held up like a trooper in the post-race interview, but lost it right afterwards, sobbing and so terribly alone in a corridor just off the track — a spectacle, which, thanks to NBC’s voyeurism, the entire nation witnessed.

She’s a class act, though, as evidenced by this great video from AP, which shows that she has enough perspective and resilience to avoid equating herself with one really bad race — and is taking it in stride, as it were. Rather than wallow in self pity, to be followed by a downward spiral into post-Olympic maladjustment, you just know she’ll pick herself up, get back to work, and be back for 2012. What a champion.

Go, Lolo!

Fall Training: Week 13

A little late in coming, but it was quite a week last week and I’ve been sleeping when I haven’t been working (or propped glassy-eyed in front of the Olympics).

I had big miles again last week and three hard workouts: 99.4 miles with a tempo session on the track, a midweek long run and a big 24 miler in Central Park.

A look back at the week:

  • Monday: 6.1 miles recovery pace (AM); 6 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Tuesday: 6.8 tempo run (AM); 4.1 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Wednesday: 14.3 long run (steady pace) (AM); 4.8 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Thursday: 6.3 miles recovery pace (AM); 4.5 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Friday: 6.1 miles recovery pace (AM); 5 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Saturday: 6.4 miles recovery pace (AM); 5 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Sunday: 24 mile long run (various paces) (AM)

Total mileage: 99.4 miles

Paces this week:

  • Recovery: 9:30 – 10:40
  • Tempo: 6:33 – 7:20
  • Marathon pace: Pffft!
  • Long: 7:40 – 8:30

The weather was somewhat better on a few mornings, but most days it was hot again. Too hot to hold desired paces. Again. If I hadn’t done some successful marathon pace running last week during a rare cool and dry morning, my confidence would be completely shot at this point.

Tuesday’s tempo run was an experiment with something I found called Frank’s Killer Tempo Run: 25 laps around a track, alternating between marathon and 5K race pace. I’m not sure how many runners’ deaths Frank is responsible for, but this workout nearly killed me. In fact, it was impossible to run at my (projected) 5K race pace of 6:30 for most of those quicker intervals. The usual problems: heat, humidity, blazing sun, and 8-10mph winds. *sigh*

Still, it was a good workout and I’m sure it did me some good because it basically wrecked me for the rest of the week. I’ll do it again, but next time I’ll run the faster loops at 10K race pace, which is closer to what I was able to do anyway.

Wednesday’s 14+ miler went very well. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I can sometimes do good back-to-back days, with the fatigue delayed until after that second hard day. I usually feel great (and run well) after the first hard day, in fact.

But I do pay for it during the latter part of the week. I gave myself three days to recover and get ready for the longest run of this training cycle, a 24 miler. Because I hate myself, I decided to do this one in Central Park. I had planned to do 10 at marathon pace, but, alas, the tireness after banging away at close to 100 miles for three weeks — combined with the relentless hills, heat and humidity — meant that marathon pace running was not to be.

I did manage about 6 miles at marathon effort (although not marathon pace), which I was fine with. Hey, doing the other 18 miles at 8:30 pace is nothing to sneeze at, considering. So I made peace with my legs and with myself and looked forward to this week’s recovery period of low mileage and low intensity.

We went out to dinner Sunday evening (for the great caloric blowout a 24 miler calls for) at a newish place in Tuckahoe, The Tap House. Nice place, but unfortunately the food was mediocre. With the exception of Sammy’s Downtown in Bronxville (where we had a very nice dinner on Christmas Eve), the restaurant pickings up here have been slim. I always end up wondering afterwards why I bothered going out when I can cook great stuff myself at home. They do have some interesting beers there, though.

Next week begins the month long “peak” period, otherwise known as Julie’s Odyssey of Pain and Exhaustion. Four weeks of high mileage, high intensity work with lots of marathon-specific running. Including a 10 mile tuneup race* (pray for cool weather). So I want to make damned sure I’m recovered going in. I’ll be running somewhere in the neighborhood of 55 miles this week, perhaps less if I’m still feeling tired as the week progresses.

Coming up in Fall Training Week 14: Two full days off on Monday and Tuesday. Then recovery running all the way through Saturday, topped with a leisurely paced 14 miler on Sunday.

* This is the best race ever, as far as I’m concerned. The post-race party features fresh ravioli, ice cream — plus beer poured from a spigot attached to the side of a van. Now there’s a reason to run 10 miles fast!

NBC is redeemed. For now.

NBC redeemed themselves from their sin of shortchanging the women’s 10,000m final with pretty much horn-to-tape coverage of the women’s marathon. And what an interesting race it was. But there are plenty of other people who can give better analysis than I can.

I just got in from a 24 mile training run in Central Park this morning. Make that a brutal 24 mile training run. I. Am. Pooped.

How to watch the Olympics live

I give up on NBC for track and field. So can you!

Here’s how to watch a live stream of Olympic action from Denmark:
http://www.racingsnailclub.com/

There’s also information about how to get the BBC stream and highlight video. One thing (warning? tip?): There’s hardcore porn just one menu item away on the Danish site. ;) Ah, Europe.

Track and field coverage has started. Let the outrage begin.

I just watched eight minutes of the women’s 10,000m final: The first five minutes and the final three minutes. NBC cut out over 20 minutes of the race for commercials and shotput. And now, I’m watching coverage of the men’s racewalking event, to which NBC is devoting more broadcast time. That’s right: racewalking.

What the hell is wrong with NBC? Can even the most dedicated T&F fan name one champion racewalker?

Since I didn’t actually get to see the 10,000m event, I have no idea what happened between minute 6 and minute 30. I couldn’t even tell if runners like Goucher, Kiplagat, Wangui and Smith were still running, or where anyone was in terms of laps by the time they cut back to the race.

This really steams my rice. I’m dreading the marathon coverage; we’ll probably get 10 minutes tops.

Here’s what’s wrong with most coverage of middle and long distance track and field events: The emphasis is always on the finish. Broadcasters don’t understand that the real drama is oftentimes not played out exclusively (if at all) at the end; it happens sometime earlier in the race, often much earlier. It’s bad enough that broadcasters are obsessed with sprint events, willing to show every 10 minute delay due to false starts. But to make things worse, they apply the same sensibility to the longer events, calling them like horse races and failing to present the whole story from a wider perspective.

If anyone knows of a video feed that shows the entire event (and other Olympic running events, for that matter), please comment.

Grr.

Anyway, I’m glad Flanagan won the Bronze. She’s in good (and extremely limited) company with the great Lynn Jennings. And, like Tirunesh Dibaba, she’s only getting faster. Maybe I need to get food poisoning more often.

New York Times’ Olympics Tracker

The NYTimes has put out a snazzy little interactive Olympic events calendar. You can use it online or download it as an application to your Windows or Mac desktop. Whether you’re into dressage, Greco-Roman wrestling or hurdling, you’ll know exactly when your favorite events are on. Get it here.

The wisdom of Jack Daniels

“When my runners are getting ready for an important race, I always tell them: ‘There are runners in the race who are not as good as you, so make sure you beat all of them. There are also runners in the race that may be equal to you, and you can beat all of them because you run a smarter race. And, there may be some runners in the race who are better than you, and you should beat half of them because they run a stupid race.’”

Fall Training: Week 12

The second week of a three week cycle of hard weeks, I ran just under 98 this past week. The only notable aspect to the week was the fact that I ran twice a day all seven days. I’m not compulsive enough to go back and review my training logs to see if I’ve ever done that before. All but three sessions were recovery pace, so I’m still standing on Monday morning.

A look back at the week:

  • Monday: 6.1 miles recovery pace (AM); 4.9 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Tuesday: 11.5 easy run with 6×1 mile hill repeats (AM); 4 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Wednesday: 5.5 miles recovery pace (AM); 4.5 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Thursday: 15 mile long run (steady pace) (AM); 4 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Friday: 6.1 miles recovery pace (AM); 6.1 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Saturday: 10 miles with 4 at marathon pace (AM); 6.2 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Sunday: 10 miles recovery pace (AM); 6.2 miles recovery pace (PM)

Total mileage: 97.9 miles

Paces this week:

  • Recovery: 9:29 – 11:15
  • Easy: 8:00 – 8:15
  • Marathon pace: 7:12 – 7:14
  • Long: 8:05 – 9:15

The biggest difference between this past week and the week before it was the weather. For the first time since mid-June, I wasn’t running under a heavy gauze of humidity and high heat. Some mornings were almost pleasant, and you can see that reflected in my paces.

The hill run on Tuesday went well, but really wore me out, so I moved the midweek long run to Thursday. Nonetheless, I was still pretty tired and ended up cutting the run a mile short (yes, I was so beat that I couldn’t even run just one more mile).

By Saturday I was recovered enough to do a marathon pace run that went extremely well. I moved the training paces down last week from 3:13 to 3:10, so I approached the marathon pace run with some trepidation. But I was able to handle the pace, and in fact ran most of the miles a few seconds faster, despite an 8mph headwind in some spots.

My marathon pace right now is about the same as what my half marathon pace was three months ago. So I’m not surprised that I can handle it easily enough. I’ll train at a 7:15 pace for the new few weeks, and if that proves easy to sustain, then I’ll push it down again to 7:10 (~3:08 marathon equivalent).

Steamtown is just nine weeks away. I’m starting to feel that odd, alternating combination of excitement and dread. We’ll see which emotion wins out.

Coming up in Fall Training Week 13: Something new for a tempo run on Tuesday: 10K (25 laps) on the track, alternating 5K and marathon pace for each lap. Then a midweek longish run on Wednesday or Thursday. Sunday is a big 24 miler with 10 miles at marathon pace toward the end. I may do this one in Central Park, but I’m not sure yet.

Olympic announcers announced

Perhaps more important than the athletic start lists: The Olympic announcers list. Unless you can tap into the Canadian broadcast, these are the people who will determine the quality of your Olympic viewing experience in the coming two weeks.

The bad news is that Al Trautwig is back. The good news is that we’ll be spared Larry Rawson’s rambling incoherence and occasional racist or sexist howlers.

And do they really need three people to cover racewalking? The entire Tour de France only needed two guys.

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