Facebook side dishes

If you haven’t yet friended me on Facebook, then you’re missing a lot. I tend to post things there that are too ephemeral to warrant a post on this blog. They might be links to articles, interviews of note, links to notable discussion threads, or weird things that break up the day. Here are just a few of the things you missed just in the past few days by not being my friend:

A sendup of the “motivations” people post to one another on DailyMile.com

A link to an article and video about the New Bedford Half Marathon. I love how reporters for these things never do any research. The interviewer has no fucking clue who Kim Smith is. Last year it was the interviewer getting Kara Goucher’s first name wrong at Boston.

A glimpse into my growing obsession with women’s roller derby.

Some of most idiotic threads I can find on LetsRun.com.

Ridiculous images, stolen from others.

Funny comics and other things.

Photos of mass destruction.

You don’t have enough ways to waste your time. Let me fill that need. Friend me today!

Random crap

I’m looking for an excuse to stave off my evening run. Today is my sole day of doubles for the week. But I’ve managed to run outside for the last few days. This evening I need to take my 4.4 inside, after which we’re scheduled to get 4-8″ of snow. So the brief window of happy running outside has once again closed. On my fingers.

Since I ostensibly work in new media, I thought it was time to replace my 7-year-old piece of shit Palm device (the lowest end unit I could get at the time: the Zire) with something more up to date. Something that runs “apps.” I went for a 32G iPod Touch. Well, this thing is like crack! I can surf the web in the tub. I can go shopping with my list on something other than a post-it. I can sit in bed and play a game. I can listen to any episide of This American Life while cooking dinner. Whee!

Among the many apps I’ve downloaded and frittered money away on, two are relevant to runners: iPace and Race Pace. The second one covers the first’s functionality, but I didn’t realize that until later.

iPace ($0.99) is a simple conversion calculator. Plug in a distance and time and it will tell you the pace you need to run per mile and kilometer (and 400m for some reason). Or you can flip things around: plug in a distance and a per mile or per kilometer pace, and it will give you your finish time.

Race Pace ($1.99) is a little fancier. It’s basically a performance equivalent calc, much like the industry standard online version from Greg McMillan. Plug in a recent race time and you’ll get predictions for what that might translate into at various other race distances. You also get training paces for basic types of runs: tempos, long runs, easy runs and recovery runs. The paces are, for the most part, more aggressive (or optimistic; take your pick) than McMillan’s. But they offer a pretty good place to start when goal setting for your next race. You can also modify them to your liking in your iPod’s Settings area (something I only recently stumbled upon).

Speaking of paces, I’ve been tearing up the streets of Scarsdale the past few days, just as a nascent cold has started to take hold. I ran just shy of 10 miles yesterday in dreadful conditions (wind, sleet/hail/rain, slippery roads) at 8:21 pace at 80% effort. At lunchtime today I followed up with a recovery run at 9:27, or around a minute faster than those runs have been lately). I should get sick more often.

Introducing The Performinator

Have you been frustrated by your inability to accurately predict how you’ll do in your next marathon? Or even know if you’ll finish the damn thing?

Well, wonder no more! Now there’s The Performinator, the first online calculator that can answer that tough question: “Will I be like Happy Paula or Sad Paula next Sunday?”

Click on the image above to see a larger version.

Pretty exciting stuff, huh? If it actually worked, you’d see something like this. The reality, however, is more like this.

And that’s what makes the marathon so exciting and mysterious.

Fear and loathing in Buffalo

I like to research potential marathons on MarathonGuide.com. It’s hard to know what to make of a race when the reviews fall on the extremes of the spectrum. But, in the case of the Buffalo Marathon at least, it can make for some pretty entertaining reading.

Ann Onymous from Rochester, NY writes:
“I signed up for a large shirt; to me, this is an implied contract – I sign up ahead AND PAY MONEY and I get a race and a large shirt (unless I show up last-minute). A t-shirt is not that big a deal (well, on second thought it is – I trained long and hard all winter for this race; it would be nice to have something to show for it, like the women in my group who got shirts). How this has been handled is an issue reflective of the race management – poor. And while I’m on my soap box…. Maybe have a few more than the dozen or so porta-johns for the 2,300 racers at the start area – I’ve not seen as much public urination in my life (well maybe except for the Boilermaker in Utica – but that doesn’t start in a downtown city area).”

I don’t get why people get so outraged about race tee shirts, either when there are only large ones left or none left. I don’t even take shirts anymore since I have so many of them clogging my drawers. If you finish a marathon, you’ve got something to show for it: your finishing time, your bragging rights and your memories. You’ll usually get a cheesey little medal too. As for public urination, she ain’t seen nothin’ until she’s come to New York, Boston or Chicago.

S.N. from West Yorks, England whines:
“The course itself is flat and fast, but crowd support is spread out – there are long periods with very little support, although there are pockets of strong support to lift you.”

Oh, for fuck’s sake. Do your research. You’re running in Buffalo. Buffalo! If you want big crowds, run in West Yorks. Or better yet, Shitterton.

L.W. from Washington, DC reports:
“The course was 0.3 miles too long according to my GPS system (and my husband’s) – even in the first five miles. A third of a mile wreaks havoc on your pace when you’re shooting to complete the race before being asked to move to the sidewalk.”

A GPS reporting .3 miles extra for a marathon is actually very good, considering that it’s nearly impossible to run every single tangent perfectly. More important, how can a course be “too long” in the first five miles? I think my head is going to explode.

J.C. from Pittsburgh exhorts:
“The women runner’s were phenomenal. I was with a group running 8:05’s to 8:15’s that strung me along. Another important rating for this course, all the women runners were 5 stars and some are even good runners!!!”

Oink.

And, finally, there’s this screed that sounds like something out of The Daily Worker. The inscrutably named “m. g. from Parkside with my wage freeze! On ice..” writes, somewhat bafflingly:
“My running partner got hit up for change at mile 25 from some panhandler dude!REALLY! Last bummer: all that was left were loaves of bread and some off-brand diet pop for my post-race party… BREAD AND WATER! HMMM, like I said, the Control Board MUST now have taken over our local road races as well as the economic freedom of the working class! When you see them at the Corporate Challenge in their HUGE tents with catered food and limo service, wave and say hello!”

Will I run Buffalo? I have no fucking idea.

NYCRunningRaces.com

Robert (Cowboy Hazel) has just launched a brand new resource for NYC area racers:

http://www.nycrunningraces.com/

The site provides a monthly calendar of races in NYC and environs. You can follow updates on Twitter and even submit a race for inclusion. I’m hoping he’ll add Connecticut, given how extensive its racing scene is year round.

In an age of complex web sites, this one just does one thing and it does it well. Thanks, Robert!

NYC Marathon: How to get in if you didn’t get in

On behalf of a friend of a friend, I’m shamelessly plugging a charity that’s offering guaranteed entry for this year’s NYC marathon in exchange for a fundraising commitment: Team Continuum. They engage in fundraising through a bunch of different events, including NYC. I notice that their page about NYC mentions a per-runner goal of $3,750, but the note I received stated the minimum for entry as $2,950.

If Team Continuum doesn’t float your boat, it’s one of several official “charity partners” for NYC you might hook up with, as well as Team for Kids and Fred’s Team (which fellow blogger Marci runs/fundraises for). And there are lots of others too.

“Hey! You got running blog in my Facebook!”

“And you got Facebook in my running blog!”

Do you maintain a blog about running? Are you also on Facebook? Well, your ship has just come in, my friend. Because now there’s yet another lame-o group on Facebook, exclusively for … wait for it … runners who blog — about running!

Join us today. And don’t forget to post your blog’s address.

For Nate Jenkins fans

A new podcast interview.

Coach Greg McMillan on training for masters runners

Interesting interview by Scott Douglas via Running Times Online. McMillan makes some good points, particularly with regard to not lumping all masters runners together, and how the differences in background, rates of adaptation and recovery, and other factors influence how he coaches them.

Listen to the interview.

Kibet, Kwambai and Claudio Berardelli

Anyone watching the Rotterdam Marathon this year saw one of the closest finishes in marathon history, with Duncan Kibet nipping James Kwambai in a finish so close that they were both credited with a time of 2:04:27. But, perhaps more important, we witnessed two of the fastest times in history — just third behind Haile Gebrselassie’s two world records at the distance.

With this race a new era has dawned, at least in men’s marathoning. The bar has been raised and, as so often happens, it’s a good bet that runners will rise to the challenge in the coming months and years.

What’s also notable about the two performances in this race is that both men are coached by the same man, Claudio Berardelli. His fellow Italian coach, Renato Canova, is a frequent (and eagerly received) contributor to LetsRun.com. In this recent thread he provides insight into the training that Kibet and Kwambai are doing. Unfortunately, English is not Canova’s strong point, so understanding his posts takes some effort and reading between the lines. But it’s mental work worth doing.

Jonathan was so curious about how these training concepts translated into his own race goals that he created this basic spreadsheet [updated 4/19/09]. Using the examples that Canova provided as a source for calculations and ratios, the spreadsheet can be used to calculate workout paces for any marathon goal. I refined it to make it a little more user friendly.

I had to rename the extension from “xls” to “doc” in order to upload to WordPress. So you may need to change it back to “xls” in order for it to open in Excel. To use, enter your goal time in the blue box at top left — you actually update it in Excel’s formula bar, with (x, y, z) being hours (x), minutes (y), seconds (z). Your paces will be calculated automatically. In order to understand the sets of workouts (Fundamental, Special, Specific), you should read through the thread linked above. You should read through it anyway, actually, as it’s full of interesting ideas and, unfortunately, lots of unanswered questions.

The usual caveats apply: This was created by a couple of amateur schlubs using information off a message board. So you get what you pay for.

It is amazing to think that these guys are doing workouts like these (4 x 7K intervals?). But they apparently work.

Have fun!

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