Holy fucking shit. I’m watching the opening ceremony for the Beijing games.

There are people running upside down around a giant globe right now. The world’s largest LED screen painted itself with dancers, then peeled up and flew into the sky. Human beings performed perfectly synchronized squats to render undulating waves of printing blocks.

This is breathtaking. Jawdropping. Demented.

Yes, this makes Cirque du Soleil look like an afternoon at the DMV.

Zhang Yimou will always have work after this. And Canada and the UK are wondering how they’ll top this in a few years…

And the best part? This lavish extravaganza is was probably covered by a week or so’s worth of interest on our enormous national debt, $500 billion of which is owned by China.

What not to wear

More from preracejitters on countries’ Olympic uniforms.

Let’s see: The Germany uniforms look like stylish athletic uniforms. Check. The Australians look like a bunch of flight attendants. Check. New Zealand’s uniforms look like what I grab out of my running clothes drawer (or maybe even the laundry bag) in the dark at 5:30 in the morning. Check. And..wait a minute…who knew Canadians could be so ballsy?!

Radcliffe’s a scrapper

The world’s fastest woman in the marathon distance has recently dealt with:

  • A stress fracture
  • A toe injury
  • Hip troubles
  • A nasty spider bite

But she’s still going to run.

But can she win?

It’s the Olympics. Anything can happen.

The importance of being flexible

Well, I had a 16 mile run scheduled for this morning, but outside my door is a downpour punctuated by lightning strikes, and my street looks like the Colorado River. I also woke up with a resting heart rate of 52 this morning, owing to yesterday’s hill repeat run.

So, I’m going to do what I didn’t do last training season (remember? The one where I go really tired and then suffered a calf strain? You don’t remember that?). That is, the smart and sensible thing. Gosh darn it, I’m going to rearrange my schedule a little.

The forecast calls for a cooler, drier morning tomorrow and even moreso on Friday.* I’ll do my 16 miler tomorrow and my easy+race pace run on Friday morning. I would have been doing back-to-back quality sessions between yesterday and today anyway; I’m just choosing different back-to-back days.

Pigtailsflying handed out not one but two awards for my recent submissions to her “six word race report” contest. *blush* Thanks, TK! I guess this means I should get back to writing some haiku on this here blog.

*Of course, they could be wrong. In fact, they probably will be wrong, with my luck. But I’ll take my chances.

Fall Training: Week 11

“Runners like to train 100 miles per week because it’s a round number. But I think 88 is a lot rounder.”
– Don Kardong

Although I hadn’t intended to, I hit over 100 miles this week. 100.1, to be exact. The plan called for 97. But a half mile extra here, a quarter mile extra there, and over 13 sessions it’s easy to inadvertently tack on a few extra miles. So far, so good. My legs haven’t yet snapped in two, fallen off or worn away to unsightly stubs at the ankles. Nor has the niggling sore spot returned.

Aside from hitting triple digits, the week was notable in a few other areas. I started adding a second recovery session to most quality days. I also started the process of extending the length of a few of my recovery runs by a mile or so, which I’ll be doing to keep the mileage up there for the remainder of training.

A look back at the week:

  • Monday: 3.0 miles recovery pace (AM); 7.5 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Tuesday: 14.4 mile long run (steady pace) (AM); 4.1 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Wednesday: 5 miles recovery pace (AM); 6 miles with 3 at tempo pace (PM)
  • Thursday: 7.5 miles recovery pace (AM); 5.5 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Friday: 7.4 miles recovery pace (AM); 6.1 miles recovery pace (PM)
  • Saturday: 20.5 mile long run (steady pace)
  • Sunday: 7.0 miles recovery pace (AM); 6.1 miles recovery pace (PM)

Total mileage: 100.1 miles

Paces this week:

  • Recovery: 9:16 – 10:28
  • Tempo: 6:45 – 7:00
  • Long: 7:45 – 8:45

The tempo run on Wednesday was done inside on the treadmill. I really don’t trust the treadmill’s calibration. Maybe it’s the effect of being pulled backward on the belt, but it always feels as if I’m running a lot faster inside than I am outside at equal paces. I broke up the run into a 2 mile segment at 7:00, then a 1 mile bit at 6:45. Running that fast is a real shock, and I had trouble relaxing my shoulders and arms, as well as getting my legs to move fast enough. I’ll be glad when I can get back to doing these on the track in the fall, after the weather turns cooler.

The other tough run was Saturday’s long training run in Central Park. It was quite hot, with a dew point approaching 70%. I’d planned to do this as a marathon pace run: First 13 easy pace, last 7 marathon pace. It was obvious pretty early that I wouldn’t be able to hit that pace. So I ended up doing 2 miles very slow, then started working my pace down from 8:45 to 7:45, taking 5-10 seconds off per mile, then back up to 8:15 and the last few miles easy.

It felt like a failed run at the time, but when I got home and looked at my splits I realized that I managed to run 16+ miles at about 8-12% slower than marathon pace. So, while it wasn’t a marathon pace run, it was still a well-executed workout considering the course and conditions. I’d like to do more of the NYRR training runs. It was enjoyable to run with other people without the pressure of racing. There were enough people to run with, but not so many that it felt crowded. Everyone was very low key and there was plenty of water. I’m sure I took in more than I normally do on summer long runs; I certainly took it in more steadily, as compared to every five miles or so when I’m relying on stashed bottles between Bronxville and Valhalla.

The heat and humidity subsided yesterday and, at least in the morning, it was — yes, I’ll use this word: “delightful” — to be outside. That is really saying something, considering it’s August in New York. It seems pretty nice out there right now, where I’ll be heading in about 15 minutes. I hope it holds through to tomorrow morning at least, when I have my next session of hill repeats.

Complete non sequitur: My legs are becoming very shapely indeed.

Coming up in Fall Training Week 12: If this week is anything to go by, I’ll hit triple digits again. I’ve got a full dance card, with hills on Tuesday, a mid-week long run on Wednesday, an easy run with some miles at marathon pace on Friday, and then a mere 16 miles on Sunday.

Inspiration on the running path

Actually, more hilarious than inspiring.

During yesterday’s evening run, I saw a squirrel dragging a 10″ long Italian hero loaf across the path; an amazing score from the tourist information center along the Bronx River Parkway (which was just nearby), or perhaps something that was thrown from a passing car.

The squirrel panicked when it saw me, assuming I was going to swoop in and grab its treasure. So I stopped and watched. Squirrel dragged the loaf, like a canoe, over the path and into the grass and safety of trees. I wonder what the squirrel will do with it.

We’re heading into the city for a 20 mile training run in Central Park. It doesn’t seem that bad out right now. But that will change. At least it’s not raining.

A man and his dog

Bernard Lagat is about the only guy in the world who could bring his dog along for track work and not annoy me. Also note that she’s actually faster than her master. And she sticks to her own lane, which makes her smarter than the people I share the Bronxville track with.

Meet Ms. Piggy


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