Training Totals for the Week Ending 8.31.2014

Run Miles for the week:

19.2 in 2:59:06

Run Miles for the year:


Projected total miles for the year:


Run Streak:


Number of runs that were one stupid mile:


Number of days until I beat my old run streak:


Prospect Park loops for the week:


Prospect Park loops for the year:


Body Weight Work:


Average weight:


Total Exercise Time:




Books Finished

2 (Lure of Long Distance Runner, Robin Harvie; All’s Well That Ends Well, William Shakespeare)

Total Books Read for the year




Notes: Obviously, not a great week. Scheduling got in the way of a run, then laziness got in the way of another. Better luck next time. Hey, at least I’m back on the Hebrew wagon!

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More on Why We Run

When I picked up Bernd Heinrich’s Why We Run, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it. It is both a memoir of ultra training and a mediation on what we can learn from the endurance and running abilities of various animals. Generally, I’m not a huge fan of naturalist writing – I’m a city boy, and the life of bugs isn’t really my thing. However, Heinrich’s strong writing, and idiosyncratic approach, really sucked me in. I couldn’t put the book down. I’ll probably write a fuller review in the future, but here’s another quote that has stuck with me.

A quick pounce-and-kill requires no dream. Dreams are the beacons that carry us far ahead into the hunt, into the future, and into a marathon. We can visualize far ahead. We see our quarry even as it recedes over the hills and into the mists. It is still in our minds eye, still a target, and imagination becomes the main motivator. It is the pull that allows us to reach into the future, whether it is to kill a mammoth or an antelope, or to write a book, or to achieve record time in a race. Other things being equal, those hunters who had the most love of nature would be the ones who sought out all its allures. They were the ones who persisted the longest on the trail. They derived pleasure from being out, exploring, and traveling afar. When they felt fatigue and pain, they did not stop because their dream carried them still forward.

They were our ancestors.

Pictograph of Runners cited by Heinrich in Why We Run

Pictograph of Runners cited by Heinrich in Why We Run

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Friday Inspiration – Kai Lightner and a Mother’s Love

Ok, maybe its because I’m a parent now (or maybe not) but something about this film of teenage climbing phenom Kai Lightner and his incredibly supportive mother really struck a chord with me. Ostensibly, this is a film about Lightner’s rise in climbing, but really its about a mother son relationship. Just try to watch this without being moved by Kai’s Mother’s devotion.

As a side note — Lightner is another example of the rise of the kid climber. Tiny hands? Strength to weight ratios? Fearlessness? I’m not sure what is driving this trend, but its interesting to see it develop. Are we headed for a world like gymnastics, where the most famous climbers will all be children?

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The BQ(Q) Jane (50 State Canuck)

I’ve finally really started using twitter (@miloandthecalf) and have found some great runners on there, including Jane from 50 State Canuck.  Jane has not only qualified for Boston, she is also in the process of running marathons in all fifty states! Amazing. Thanks for taking the time to fill this out, Jane!

Name Jane


Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 28 

Height: 5’8

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 135lbs

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? What was your finishing time? Tell us a little about the race.

It was at the Ottawa National Capital Marathon (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)


It’s my home town so that makes it extra special as you see tons of people you know along the route. Additionally, Ottawa is an absolutely beautiful city to run in and much of the course is along the water.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Did you run in college or high school?

In high school I did track – no more than 200m. I thought people who ran long distance were crazy! When I started grad school I found myself in a lab full of long distance runners who just pretty much told me I would now be running long distance – and sure enough, 2 months later I was running my first half marathon! That was 2002 – age 24. By the spring of 2006 I had run 3 half marathons and 5 marathons and in May of that year, I qualified for Boston. Note: I have never run a race distance less than a half marathon. Ever.

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?

I have absolutely no idea. When I look back at my “training” I don’t know how I even qualified. I had no structure, I didn’t track my mileage – I just ran.

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

Again, I have absolutely no idea. The year leading up however, I ran 2 marathons and a half marathon, so I was consistently running.

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?


Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

No program – I think I probably just looked at a bunch of different ones available online and just created my own based on those and what my work (and social) schedule would allow.

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?

I ran on my own for most of it – occasionally ran with some friends who were hoping to qualify for Boston as well.

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

Yes, but not because I wanted it to. At the time I worked part-time as a personal trainer and fitness instructor at the YMCA and taught 3-5 aerobic and strength training group classes a week and did a lot of strength training on my own because of my job.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

No – I didn’t learn the MASSIVE benefits of speed work until after I qualified for Boston!!

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

It is a very cool race but I have now run 13 marathons and 13 half marathons and know that there are TONS of really awesome races out there – that you don’t need to qualify for. When/if you make it, you’ll love it. But along the way, enjoy some of the other amazing races out there – use it as an excuse to see the world! I’m working on racing in every US state and in addition to Canadian races, I have also raced in Bermuda and Ireland. I have no favorites as each one is unique

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Your Occasional Stoic: Self-Control and Resistance to Distractions

For Maximus:

Self-control and resistance to distractions.

Optimism in adversity – especially illness

A personality in balance: dignity and grace together

Doing your job without whining.

Other people’s certainty that what he said was what he thought, and what he did was done without malice.

Never taken aback or apprehensive. Neither rash nor hesitant – or bewildered, or at a loss. Not obsequious – but not aggressive or paranoid either.

Generosity, charity, honesty.

The sense he gave of staying on the path rather than being kept on it.

That one could ever have felt patronized by him – or in a position to patronize him

A sense of humor. 

Meditations 1:15


Maximus is Claudius Maximus, the Stoic senator. Maximus, besides being one of Marcus’s heroes, also oversaw the trial of Apuleius (he of the Golden Ass, the only surviving Roman novel) for the practice of magic.

As I’ve said repeatedly in these, there isn’t necessarily a lot of depth to many of the mediations. They, rather, rallying cries Marcus wrote to himself t encourage himself to lead a more perfect life. Kind of like the runner’s of today posting Prefointaine.

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Numbers Don’t Lie: The Cold Simplicity of Running

“Ultimately, running appealed to me because its quality cannot be defined in terms of anyone’s use or place in a hierarchy or plan. Perfection is fairly and objectively defined by numbers. There are strict levels of excellence that anyone who chooses can easily recognize and aspire to, with the ultimate being a record. There are rules to the game and the number that one may achieve – whether time taken to run a certain distance, place in a race, or a record – is never open to judgment. Nor can it be snatched away, falsified, or claimed by anyone else. The test is the race, where credentials mean nothing and performances everything”

  • Bernd Heinrich, Why We Run

Bernd Heinrich

As someone who works in a world of smoke and mirrors, where interpretation and obfuscation rule, I find the know-ability of running appealing. * There are no judges to grade your performance. No scorecards and no precedents that need to be honored.

There are numbers.

The number of miles and the time it take the runner to complete them. One’s performance is measured by the clock and the distance. Success and failure are not open to interpretation. One either meets one’s goal, or one doesn’t. You can’t fool anyone, and you can’t be fooled.

Who wouldn’t be drawn to something so simple and so hard?

* For those who don’t know, I’m a lawyer.

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Diet Failure: More thoughts (and a confession) on antelopes and diets

Last week, with great pomp, I declared that I was going to try to turn myself from an ox into an antelope. When I wrote that, I meant it somewhat facetiously. I know you can’t turn an ox into an antelope and I know I am never going to have the body composition of Ryan Hall.

Ryan Hall.

Me (and the Little Dude)

Me (and the Little Dude)

What I meant when wrote that I wanted to become more like the antelope was that I wished to become a bit thinner, more graceful in my run, and a lot faster. A number of people raised really excellent points about the post. Most importantly, a good friend, frequent commenter here (and BQer!) called me out for the dude privilege inherent in the post. If I were a women writing about attempting to change the nature of my physical self through dieting there would have been choruses of anorexia* but because I’m a dude, I got far more “good job, great will power”. That’s fucked up, and I should have seen it. coming

Frankly, I regret writing the post. At the time I was finishing Bernd Heinrich’s excellent Why We Run where he talks extensively about the antelope and what we can (and can’t) learn from it as runners. I had antelope on my mind and well, I let a metaphor get the better of me.

Now, to add insult to stupidity, I need to come clean about my bold declaration of reshaping my body through diet – I can’t do it. Or rather, I’m not doing it. At least not in the form of the Whole 30. After a mere six days on the diet, I caved on Sunday and ate a delicious carbohydrate and gluten filled bagel.

It was wonderful.

I’d been feeling really lethargic all week, especially on my runs. I was struggling to get through a simple five miler. On Sunday, I had a 13 mile long run planned. I was dreading it. I was worried I would be dragging ass out there for two and half hours. Or worse, that I wouldn’t finish the run at all. The whole point of the damn diet was to improve fitness and here it was, screwing with my training. So I stopped. I order the bagel, (with lox spread no less!), ate the thing, and went out on the run.

And guess what? I felt great! Sure the last mile was a bit of a slog, but nowhere near the slog it would have been if it’d continue to deprive myself of life sustaining bagels.

Some have said that I should have just hung on, that if I’d made it a couple of more days, I would have adapted and burned fat for fuel. Perhaps they’re right. Or perhaps as a wannabe endurance athlete, I just need large amounts of carbohydrates. Or perhaps I lack sufficient will power.

I don’t know.

I do know that when I told my wife I was stopping the diet she made me promise I would never do something like this again. That’s a promise I intend to keep.

So, no more diet. But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my antelope metaphor. I’m still aiming to be fast, and graceful in my stride. I’m still trying to be a better runner. Restrictive dieting just isn’t the way I’m going to get there.

* In pretty much all the sports I’m interested in, anorexia is a serious problem. Many, many, distance runners, triathletes and climbers of both sexes have battled with eating disorders. It’s a serious issue I should have considered in the post.

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