Davis’s Are Prisons Obsolete

Are Prisons Obsolete?
Angela Davis

 

This book came out more than ten years ago, when the modern-day prison abolitionist movement was surging on the left, powered by groups like Critical Resistance and intellectuals like Davis. I was part of that world and I’m a little embarrassed it took me this long to read this.

This is make, no mistake, a polemic. But it is also well done arguing the case that we need not just prison reform, but prison abolition. That the institution cannot be reformed, but instead must be abandoned. It’s a radical, idea, of course. But one worth taking seriously.

There’s nothing that says we must imprison those who break societies laws. Other forms of restorative justice and mediation should also be considered. Davis makes the cases for these alternatives to incarceration eloquently and succinctly in this slim volume and while I don’t also agree with her, I always find her compelling. Too often today we tune out the voices that don’t align exactly with our own opinions. That’s a mistake. Take the concept Davis is arguing (that prisons are barbaric and should be replaced) seriously. Listen to her arguments, look at her sources, and decide what is valid and what isn’t. You’ll be a better citizen for it.

Worth a read for those interested in criminal justice and a just society, which, really should be all of us.

Recommended.

Meredith’s Story of Qualifying for Boston Marathon

Name: Meredith

Sex: Female

Age (at the time of first BQ): 29

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’1″

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 110

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Chicago

Tell us a little about the race. Flat, fast, tons of support and mental distraction. was great weather the year I went as well. Was first marathon so wasn’t sure what to expect but thought it was awesome and I went back again the following year.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? I was a 3 sport athlete in high school, college basketball and soccer player but never long distance runner. Joined track shack program 5k/10k after moving to FL 6 years post college (still playing lots of indoor soccer). Went from 5k/10k to joining sat long runs for fun. From there I liked the long running.

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? no idea

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? no idea

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 1

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

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

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

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Tempo one day and track one day or hills one day with track the other. And long runs on weekends.

My more successful marathoning and much faster marathoning has come 11 years later. Longer tempos, pick ups during long runs (barely any track work) and increased mileage.

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

For me the mileage build during base has been really helpful in getting stronger. I don’t do a ton of all our hard speed, but a lot more sustained longer efforts, longer runs during base, and pick ups during long runs to not let pace get stagnant.

My first marathon was a 3:38 in 2005 (29 years old). Down to 3:20 in 2011 (36), and 3:07 in 2013 (38) – after living in Boone for almost 2 years – I swear elevation and always having hills involved was huge help in addition to hiring a coach in 2011 and increasing mileage.

Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Art

Chödrön’s Start Where You Are


Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

Pema Chodron
An accessible and clear introduction to foundational principles of Buddhism told through a series of Tibetan Buddhist maxims. Chödrön writes with compassion and clarity, and the structure of the book is elegant in its simplicity, taking one maxim at a time and reflecting on it.

I should have nothing but praise for this, especially as its considered one of the great introductory books out there. But it didn’t resonate with me. I prefer my Buddhism served up with the irony and anxiety of a Dan Harris, or the science of a Robert Wright. But that’s just me. If Tibetan Buddhism interests you, especially its aspects which focus on love and compassion, then this is a fine introduction. Perhaps I’ll return to it if someday meditation turns me into slightly less of an asshole.

Quick Thought on Weight Loss

I’m trying to stay off twitter, but still want to write (and, apparently, share) my random thoughts. Here’s one:

Since my second kid was born, I’ve put on a little weight. Not a ton, but some. At the height of my running prowess, such as it was, I was about 170 pounds. These days I’m floating around in the low 190s. I’m six feet tall, so twenty five pounds is noticeable, but not life altering. My clothes still fit, but a bit snugger. My face is fuller,  but not pudgy. Horrifically, I can feel some jiggle when I run, but at least I can still run.

This is the current state of things:

Me. circa July 2018

I’m trying to reverse this. But with two kids and a demanding career, it isn’t easy. Most of the change has to happen not through my old stand by – high mileage, but instead through  my biggest challenge — controlling what I eat.

All of this is made even harder by the fact that I’m 43 years old now. Old enough that the metabolism is really starting to slow, and every poor food choice goes right to the gut.

So, I’m doing my best to follow the diet protocol described by Dr. Valter Longo. Its simple, its intuitive, and its showing some modest results.

It’s also leaving me hungry.

And that’s fine. I need to remember that if I’m eating a snack and two meals in a twelve hour window, that’s significantly less than I was eating before. And a body at rest likes to stay at rest. Once you get to 195 pounds, your body wants to stay at 195 pounds. Changes to that are going to be hard. They’re going to require some unpleasant hours when you’re not starving, but you could definitely eat.  I need to get through that, I need to find a new equilibrium. I need to be hungry.

As Dr. Peter Attia said somewhere, if our ancestors couldn’t perform complex tasks while hungry, we wouldn’t be here today. I’m trying to remember that while I write this memo on an empty stomach.

Ward’s Men We Reaped

Men We Reaped: A Memoir 
Jesmyn Ward

There may be other American writers working today who are as gifted as Ward, but I have a hard time believing there are any more gifted. From fiction to memoir, Ward consistently leaves me at the edge of tears at the raw emotion of what she is sharing, and the technical brilliance with which she does it.
This is a memoir. It is the story memorializing the dead men from her hometown in rural Louisiana. All the men here were young, all died unnatural deaths, and all were black. None of that should surprise you, young black men in our country die at shameful rates. How this comes about is what Ward is struggling to explore.

The story focuses on the untimely death of Ward’s brother, but it comes to his death last, as a sort of culmination of a series of events, all related in one way of another, that hit Ward’s community over the span of a few short years. The book is pitch perfect in balancing reportage with anguish, making us feel the loses Ward suffered, personally, with every death, while also not losing sight of the larger story here – that our society sends young black men to the grave with alarming regularity.

All of Ward’s books are worth reading. She is truly among the best living American authors, but this one feels the most necessary, the most urgent, of what she has done so far. If you’re going to start anywhere with Ward’s work, I suggest you start here. But keep going, she has much to share.

Recommended.

Marc G’s story of Qualifying for Boston

Name: Marc G

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 26

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5’9

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 165 lbs

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Carlsbad

Tell us a little about the race. First ever marathon, first year of running. Told a girl I would break 3 hours and she was waiting at the finish for me. Went out in 1:22 or so feeling like a rock star, finished in 2:59 seeing purple elephants flash before my eyes. But I did it. Didn’t run another one for well over 10 years. Bet if I would have run 3:00 instead I would have run another the same year.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 1 year

Did you run in college or high school? No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 3000 (including childhood play I guess)

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1000

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? Yes

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Maybe I went to the gym, surfed, and swam a bit

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Our club did speed work one day a week

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

Boston Qualifier Scott’s Story

Name: Scott

Sex: Male

Age (at the time of first BQ): 27

Height (at the time of first BQ):  5′ 10”

Weight (at the time of first BQ): 140

At which marathon did you get your first BQ? Erie

Tell us a little about the race.

Ran 2:58 relatively even split. Flat course. A little warm and sunny (mid-60 F)

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? 10 years

Did you run in college or high school? Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? 5000

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? 1000

Approximately how many races did you run in that year? 2

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?

Did very little to no cross training.

Did speed work play a role in your training? If so, how? Did little speedwork. Shortest were some 400 repeats.

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

Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Art