Me (in just about a thousand words)

I was born into a middle class Irish American Catholic family in Bridgeport Connecticut in the 1970s. I grew up mainly in the small town of Rockville, Connecticut in a family with a mother, a father and two sisters. I wasn’t the best student in school, often bored and distracted. I was more interested in the reading and experiences I was having outside the schoolhouse than in it and it showed in my grades.

In high school, I was involved in the surprisingly robust punk rock scene developing around me, including contributing to various fanzines of pretty universally poor quality. The world of misfits, geniuses, self starters and weirdos that punk rock introduced me to changed my life and I cannot imagine where I would be without it.

Eventually, after barely graduating from high school, I moved to New York City. While in New York, I got involved in the club/rave scene then popular in the city, while maintaining many of my friends from the punk rock world. I lived first in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, then the Lower East Side and worked as a clerk in the now defunct Tower Books, an experience, which though I didn’t know it then, would be formative in my development. Books stores, and books, would become one of the central refrains of my life.

After about a year, I split New York, taking a bus to the Bay Area. I lived first in a ramshackle punk rock house on the Oakland Berkeley border working as a tele-fundraiser and house cleaner. Eventually, I moved to San Francisco, first in the Tenderloin, and then behind an anarchist bookstore in Haight Ashbury. I worked a number of not very good jobs including as a shipping clerk, truck loader and clerk in a book store (again, though this time in the famous Green Apple). I became very involved in left politics, joining the collective that ran Bound Together, an Anarchist bookstore. I was part of the team that established the Bay Area Anarchist Book fair and was involved in scores of demonstrations and actions. I was also deeply involved in the punk rock music scene, going to hundreds of shows and volunteering at the legendary punk rock music magazine MaximumRockNRoll first as a zine reviewer, and eventually as one of the “coordinators” of MRR, co-running the magazine for a bit more than two years.

Running MRR is one of my proudest accomplishments, and I wish I’d stayed longer. But love brought me back to New York City where I got another crap job (in a video duplication house) and immersed myself further in politics. I spent scores of nights in my twenties in meetings in activists spaces, apartments and cafes. I was one of the founders of Critical Resistance NYC, a prisoner rights organization and helped organized our conference at Columbia University. I also worked on immigrants’ rights and other issues for a number of different organizations.

Somewhere along the way, it began to dawn on me that I’d reached an end of sorts for what I could do, both professionally and intellectually, without a college degree. So I started attending Brooklyn College at night and on the weekends as part of a program for “returning students” (read, old people). At the same time, I was working in communications for the legendary impact litigation organization, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). At CCR I was lucky enough to work on a number of historic cases, including the defense of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other post-9/11 litigation.

I was inspired by the work being done by the litigators at CCR and as graduation approached (double major in economics and philosophy), I began applying to law schools, eventually being accepted at Georgetown. I left CCR, upended my life, and moved to D.C. Soon after arriving in D.C. a long term relationship ended and I began spending time with a gorgeous and brilliant New York transplant known around here as E. Someday, she’d be my wife.

In law school I focused my studies on so-called “corporate” law, taking advanced classes in taxation and corporations. I also started running regularly, something I still do today, despite being down-right terrible at it. I spent my first summer of law school working for a law firm in Cairo, Egypt, and my second with a law firm in D.C. which specialized in representing nonprofits.

After law school, I accepted a position with the D.C. firm while E moved to New York to begin work at her firm.  Six or so months of long distance relationship followed, during which I underwent a conversion to Judaism which is complicated and personal and hard to explain. Eventually, E and I got formally engaged and I moved back to New York, taking  a position as a staff attorney with the Fair Housing Justice Center, where we litigated cases of housing discrimination. Thereafter, I worked briefly at a boutique litigation law firm before returning to my area of passion – working for nonprofits. I now work as in-house general counsel for a large New York nonprofit. .

Professionally, I’m an expert in exempt organization law and am interested in the way our current political situation has lead to the rise of private governance, non-governmental actors, and changed the way we work (or if we do at all). Privately, I’ve continued my interests in all the random stuff you see around here – running and other endurance sports, reading, ancient history and thought, Judaism, mindfulness, health and nutrition, and whole bunch more.

What can I say? I contain multitudes.

Though I rarely write about it here, the most important pieces of my life are my family my wife, E , and our kids L born in December of 2013 and A born in May of 2016.

If you’d told 20 year old me splitting a room in punk house in Oakland that someday I’d be a lawyer, with a wife and two kids and a weird internet site where I wrote book reviews and stuff about running, I’d have thought you were crazy. Yet here we are.

When not blogging, running, or working, I carry small children on my shoulders.

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Review: Woodward and Bernstein’s All The Presidents Men


All the President’s Men
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

I’m as surprised as you are that I never read this book before. Sure, I’ve seen the movie, and know the story, but reading this play by play of how Woodward and Bernstein uncovered the levels of deceit and criminality in the Nixon White House is fascinating, and sobering.

Especially in days like these.

Much of it is eerily prescient. The initial impression that the crimes were by underlings or those only tangentially related to the campaign, followed by more and more revelations of how high up it went, and all the while with the White House disparaging the press and claiming, essentially, “fake news” every time Woodward and Bernstein dropped another bombshell.

Sound familiar?

There’s more here as well, the deep concerns the Washington Post had about not going farther than the facts substantiated. The times they got it wrong, and the way those errors hurt innocent people. The courage of Katherine Graham to stick with the story, and the cowardice of many in Nixon’s white house who tried to silence whistle blowers and lied to the public. It’s a fascinating read, told in a staccato reportage style I love. I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to read it.

Recommended.

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Review: Alter’s Irresistible


Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked
Adam Alter

This book, on the way smart phones and social media are behaviorally addictive, has led me to a mini-reading binge on the ways technology is changing our behavior for the worst. It’s been a personally transformative little journey that I’ll be writing about elsewhere and it started here.

Alter is a psychologist and an expert on behavior addiction. Here he shows how the nature of many of our consumer tech advances of the last ten years feed a desire to compulsively engage in online activity. Watching the likes pile up on Facebook, or the episodes automatically playing on Netflix encourages us to spend more and more time with these tools of distraction. And all that time cycling from Facebook, to Instagram, to twitter, is fundamentally changing the way our brains work, and our ability to focus. As someone who works in an area where focus is everything, this is troubling stuff. As Alter says, we can use some of these technologies to improve ourselves (step counters) and the world (online activism) but much of it is borderline destructive and should be treated with care. I know I’m paying far more attention to how much time I’m spending online and distracted.

Recommended

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Brady Bennett

Name

Brady Bennett (www.sub230project.com)

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

21

Height:

5’6”

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

130     

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Multiple BQs NAIA National Track Championships (2009); Cleveland Marathon 2010; Publix GA Marathon 2012

Tell us a little about the race.

Both of my first two marathons were not traditional build ups. I, unfortunately, was diagnosed with viral meningitis in March 2009 in the middle of my track season. I took about 1 month off and started running again approximately 7 weeks before my race (I had qualified in Feb).

Because of the buildup I started off fairly slow (6:20’s). I continued this through 5-6 miles, then slowly started picking it up. Over then next 15-18 miles I worked my way down to 6:00. Final mile I gave it everything that was left (5:46). Course was hilly, 4 loops with a big hill up one side, flat, down the hill on the other side and flat again.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?

8 years

Did you run in college or high school?

Yes

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

12000

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

3000

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

12

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, I was being coached by my collegiate coach at the time. Our program was a lot of strength workouts (miles/thresholds/LR’s) but mileage was moderate (70’s). I was also training for 5k/10k in track, so I did V02 workouts

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

Yes

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

Only when injured

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

Definitely. I primarily trained for 5k/10k that spring (before sickness), so I was doing some speed work for that (400’s, 300’s, 200’s) along with V02 max intervals, shorter/faster thresholds.

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

The main advice I have is to realistic goal pace. In my second and third marathons I did a lot of work on my goal MP. For the second I ran several long thresholds at 6:00 pace and ended up running 21 miles 5:58-6:02 in route to a 2:37:07. My third I did something similar but faster. Unfortunately weather prevented me from hitting my goal paces for that one (unusually hot!). Also add in race pace work into long runs. If you have 22 planned, do 2x10k at race pace in the middle, or run 10 miles easy followed by 12 miles at goal MP. This type of work teaches you to hit your MP when tired.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Kris Depew

Name

Kris Depew

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

45

Height:

5’10”

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

147 pounds

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Vermont City Marathon May, 2015

Tell us a little about the race.

Finished in 3:09:43 or so. I was on 3:05 pace through mile 22 (7 min pace), but lost about 4-5 min in the last 4.2 miles. I had hit the wall at that point and just wanted to be done at mile 22.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?

8 years

Did you run in college or high school?

Yes

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

30-40 mpw

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

About 1700

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

10

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, I ran this marathon on a lark, really. The training I had been doing (always a mix of road, trails, speedwork, hills was preparing me for other ever longer races. I just hadn’t done really long runs (16-20 miles). My typical longest was 14-15 miles.

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

No

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

No.

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

Yes. I routinely hit the track for intervals (every other week) or interject tempo runs or fartleks (ad hoc basis) into my normal training runs.

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

Based on my training and half marathon PR (1:23:20), unless I had a really bad day, I knew I would get a BQ on my first marathon (and I did by 15 min). After the race and experiencing the wall at mile 22 (where I lost 4-5 min in the final 4.2 miles), I realized I needed to fuel more throughout the race (I only had 3 gels). So, in my second one, I ran my some long runs with fuel (fed) and some without (fasted). The fed runs give me an idea which ones I like and which ones I didn’t like. The fasted runs trained my body to burn fats rather than just carbs. In general, I run my long runs in a fasted state. For my second marathon, I consumed 6-7 gels and never hit the wall. I run intervals regularly (since I’m in my mid-40s, I do these about every other week (to allow my body time to recover). The other big thing is finding light shoes (7-8 ounces) that will hold up for a marathon. I train in shoes that weigh 14-15 ounces as I wear an orthotic insert. I searched high and low for a shoe that was as light as a racing flat that wouldn’t kill my feet during the marathon. I finally found it in the Nike Lunartempo. I bought a half size larger shoe than my normal training size to allow my feet to expand during the event. I can run about 15-20 seconds/mile faster in lighter shoes with the same effort than in my trainers.

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Review: Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress

Devil In A Blue Dress

Walter Mosley

The first of the Easy Rawlins novels featuring an unemployed African American factory worker turned private investigator in post-war Los Angeles. A well done, if standard crime novel, which includes the usual characters — the missing woman, the crime boss, the good guy PI forced into morally questionable world – all well done.  It’s raised to a higher level by its well-drawn characters and pointed examination of race and racism. I’m a sucker for a good crime novel, and one that also investigates race as pointedly as this is not something I could pass up. The only surprise is I didn’t read it earlier. I’ll be reading the rest.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

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The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire – Bob Pollmann

Name

Bob Pollmann

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

53

Height:

5’5’

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

135

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

St.George Marathon

Tell us a little about the race.

It could not have went any better! I had completed a great marathon training build up, so was plenty fit. Did a lot of early AM training, so the early start was perfect. Ran comfortably the entire race, getting mile splits on roadside timers on the course, I was ‘hot’ at every point – under my predicted/desired pace, as I was shooting for anything under 3:00 – 2:59:59 would have been ‘just fine.’ I only ate two gels along the way which proved to be adequate, and drank every several miles. I actually dropped some faster miles at the end of the race, and finished well below my goal of just under 3 hours, and ran a 2:53:52!

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?

20 + years

Did you run in college or high school?

No

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

No clue

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

 

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

3

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

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

No

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

No, not this time. Pretty much just ran.

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

Did speed work early in the prep phase – based on the ‘Canova’ model

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

I think that the key is getting in the solid ‘race pace’ runs – making them longer and longer

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