Lots of good stuff

So things are a little nuts.

I just started a sizeable corporate writing job, although I capped it at 20 hours a week. It runs through New Year’s Eve. Whee! If I gave you the description of the project, you’d probably wonder why I haven’t shot myself in the face by now. But in fact, it’s just the sort of project that appeals to me. I will be making real improvements to a big mess and the work taps into some of my obsessive-compulsive content strategist skills. I’m even getting to do a little on-the-fly usability work.

I’m putting the finishing touches on my second article for Running Times, the subject of which is “what do race participants want from their race directors?” Sound familiar? Yes, there was a reason behind that survey. To round things out I did some great interviews with directors of races both large and small, along with runner Kim Duclos, of Emerald Nuts Midnight Run gatecrashing fame. Unfortunately, because of tight space considerations, I could only use about 1% of their material. But maybe I’ll use it for something else eventually. That article comes out in December (Jan/Feb issue).

In the meantime, my first paid byline, a portrait of masters Marathon Trials qualifier Tamara Karrh, appears in the November issue, which should be hitting newstands and doorsteps in about two weeks. There is a companion profile for Karrh on Houston Hopefuls. That’s scheduled to autopublish tomorrow (I think — I put it on autopilot for a reason). Now I’m just trying to find the hours to transcribe and publish the latest excellent interview with Chicagoan Julie Wankowski. I may find those hours over the weekend as I…

…jet off to Arizona for a family get together from Saturday through Monday. I’ll have much time in airports and on airplanes. I am also hoping to do some work on the Fifth Avenue Mile elite interviews I did last week. They will take the same structure as my previous “A few minutes with…” pieces. Those seemed to work well and my questions are not tied to the event the runners were here for, so I can take weeks to publish them (much as I hate to). I’ll take this opportunity to say this again: professional runners are delightful people, by and large. They seem to like their jobs and most of them are, I suspect, brighter than the average person. When I find myself sitting there talking to one of them, I still feel like I need to pinch myself.

As far as what you have to look forward to, I had great chats with Shannon Rowbury (who won the women’s race), Leo Manzano, Molly Huddle, Alan Webb and Morgan Uceny. I’ll get those posted eventually. My one mistake with this race was not taking NYRR up on an invitation to sit on the “press truck.” This is a flatbed truck that drives along at the front of the race, outfitted with bleachers, from which gawking members of the press sit rearward, enjoying a panoramic view of the race as it unfolds. Well, that looked like a total gas, if incredibly dangerous. Yeah — like I said: total gas! My hope is that next year I can run in the race myself, go shower at someone’s apartment nearby, then come back and jump on the crazy truck for the elite races.

And there’s more. I’ll be at the finish line (and perhaps also along the course) of the NYC Marathon on November 7th, serving as aide de camp to photographer Stacey Cramp, who’s shooting the event for Running Times. I get a groovy press pass, a nice Asics jacket and entre to a big party on the Friday that kicks off race weekend.

And there may be still more. Later in November, Coach Sandra, who has several parallel careers, is agenting 10 elites from all over the place (people I’ve mostly heard of and, in the case of Adriana Pirtea, met) to a 10K race in her country of origin, the Dominican Republic. I may be able to get comped on travel costs in exchange for doing a writeup. That’s a big “we’ll see” at the moment, but it should be a lot of fun if it happens.

All these developments are almost enough to make me forget that these days I am a runner in theory only. But not quite. It’s been seven weeks since I’ve gone running. Since my insurance sucks, meaning my stratospheric deductibles require that I  pay out of pocket for things like MRIs and bone scans, I am going on the assumption that a stress fracture is what ails me and will take another 4-5 weeks off (or, rather, spend another month doing insane cross-training only and not running at all). Then I’ll try a run. It will have been three months by then. If I’m still in pain, I’ll bite the bullet and shell out the thousands required to look inside myself.

This was a long-winded way of saying that things might quiet down on this blog. But only because my offline life has gotten considerably more noisy.

Except for the running injury, everything else that’s happened is exactly the sort of thing I wanted to happen when I jumped ship from my corporate gig over the summer. Let’s hear it for leaps of faith.

7 Responses

  1. Consider me impressed. Really impressed. Congrats.

    And as to the injury, I’ve got my fingers crossed for you. I imagine being able to run again would make all this stuff even better. ;)

  2. Tons of exciting news! I’m so happy for you on all fronts…and incredibly jealous. I’ve always dreamt of being sucked into the elite running world, though never counted on my actual running skills to get me there. :)Congrats.

    • As you can see, there are no running skills required! All you need is a willingness to type up some questions, lurk around with an audio recorder, and try to do something halfway interesting with the results.

  3. Lots happening alright. That was a good leap of faith.

    We’ve only just received the September issue in our newsagents, so it might be a while for the November.

    It might be worth getting the bone scans and MRIs. A friend had both recently, and turns out she has a stress fracture of the femoral neck bone. It didn’t show up on the bone scan (they take a while to show up). Also, it’s 12 weeks of no running for a cure (although water-running is OK). Would have been surgery if the break was more serious.

    • Ewen, I think that’s probably exactly what I have, as numous people have suggested to me both online and offline. The onset, symptoms and how it’s run its course have all been dead ringers for a FNSF. So I will be waiting it out for a total of 12-13 weeeks. I’m just sorry that I hobbled around on it for those first three weeks. Had I used crutches, I might have shortened the layoff a little.

      I can’t abide paying $1500-2000 for something that’s going to confirm what I already know. Now if I’m still in exactly the same place a month from now, I will worry enough to find out if it’s something else.

      • My friend is on crutches. She had them from a previous stress fracture. Yes, that’s a lot of shoe money — Medicare down here makes them in the hundreds. Just wait it out.

  4. Great stuff happening in your life. It couldn’t have been timed better as far as keeping you beautifully occupied and in the thick of the sport. Hope the weeks zoom by and we hear you’re back on the roads very soon.

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