Brown’s The Boys in the Boat


The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Daniel James Brown

Dad literature in extremis. Which usually isn’t something that turns me off, but this time, it was all just a bit too much bootstrapping, a bit too much greatest generation propaganda, a bit too much they beat the nazi’s twice kind of thing.

It isn’t that the lives of these young men, almost uniformly from hardscrabble depression era childhoods aren’t inspiring. They are, but that isn’t enough to make a good book.

Joe Rantz, the central character here had a childhood that’s hard to imagine today in most of America today. Living in work camps, and unheated shacks, he started working at an extremely early age, and was abandoned by his father and step mother when he was still in high school. Even with all that, he managed to attend the University fo Washington, and win a gold medal in Berlin. That’s inspiring. But in the hand of Brown, it all comes off as a little too Horacio Alger. The prose is too purple, and descriptions, too overwrought. When dealing with material as compelling as the lives of these young men, its better to be subtle, reserved, but Brown doesn’t write that way and that’s a pity. There’s great story here, but not a great book.

I’m sure this has been optioned for a movie. I hope whoever directs it does a better job.

Not recommended.

Training Totals for 2.21.10

RECAP: The last week of catch up for these totals. This was my second week of twenty miles and damn it felt good to be running that much, and (because I am in NY for the month) running on the familiar turf of Prospect Park.

When I first started running many years ago now, I could barely get around the park loop once, now I do that with ease. It feels good to be running well, and it feels good to be back in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, come the end of the month, I am heading back to D.C. and the beautiful but less meaningful to me Rock Creek Park.

Anyway, here are the numbers

Summary

Work out streak: 51 days; (314 to go)

Average Weight – 190

Running Miles: 20 in 3:09:51 average pace: 9:30

Row Meters: 5,000 (3.1 miles) in 21:53

Bike Miles: 0

Swim Miles: 0

Body weight exercises and balance work: 20:00

Total exercise time: ~3:40

Weekly Data:

Monday – Rowed 5K in 21:53

Tuesday – 100 push ups in 20:00

Wednesday – Ran 4.5 in 42:15

Thursday – Ran 4.5 in 44:35

Friday – Ran 4.5 in 43:23

Saturday – Ran 4.5 in 41:19

Sunday – Ran 2 in 18:19

Goals for Last Week:

n/a

Goals for Next Week:

Not going to pretend to set goals for a week which already occurred.

Training Totals for week of 2.14.10

RECAP: So, I have just finished one of the busiest two month stretches of my life. Through it all I was able to keep to my promise to myself to work out everyday, and I’m pretty happy about that.

The last couple of weeks, I not only keep the workout streak going, I drowned my sorrows in logging more miles. I went from 14 miles for the week ending on the 7th to 20 this week. I needed to run, and it felt good. No problems with the foot and it feels really good to be back up to twenty miles per week. I can’t wait until I am north of thirty again.

Now that my life looks like it will get back to “normal”, I hope to write a lot more here about running and my obsession with it. Expect more than just weekly totals coming soon. But for now, more numbers catch up.

Summary

Work out streak: 44 days; (321 to go)

Average Weight – 188.5 (I think, I haven’t weighed myself in a minute)

Running Miles: 20 in 3:09:18 average pace: 9:03

Row Meters: 15,000 (9.3 miles) in 1:12:17

Bike Miles: 0

Swim Miles: 0

Body weight exercises and balance work: 30:00

Total exercise time: ~4:45

Weekly Data:

Monday – Rowed 10K in 46:22

Tuesday – Ran 4.5 miles in 42:41

Wednesday – Rowed 5K in 22:55; 100 push ups in 10:00

Thursday – Ran 5 in 45:00

Friday – Ran 4.5 in 43:04

Saturday – Ran 4.5 in 43:48

Sunday – Ran 1.5 in 14:45; 100 push ups, 40 pull ups in 20:00

Goals for Last Week:

n/a

Goals for Next Week:

Not going to pretend to set goals for a week which already occurred.

Training Totals 11.01.09

Recap – I had a really great week exercise wise. Joining the local gym was the best investment in fitness I have made in a while. With my running so limited recently, I need to be working out in the gym or I am going to get enormous and out of shape.

Anyway, the take away from this week is I crush my goals rowing wise, and I think if I can manage my schedule properly, the holiday challenge shouldn’t be a problem. Check out the numbers below.

Training numbers for the week ending 11.01.09

This week’s training numbers are brought to you by the pain felt in my butt after rowing 10,000 meters.

Weekly Data:

Average Weight – 188

Running Miles: 13.5 miles in 2:01:01 hours

Row Meters: 17,000 (10.6 miles) in 1:16:58

Weight Training and Bodyweight work: sets of push ups, pull ups, dips, crunches, in a total of ~ 45:00

Total exercise time: ~4 hours

Review of Last Week’s Goals:

1. Increase run mileage by ~10% to 13.5 – DONE

2. Increase row total to 7,000 meters – DONE

3. Do body weight work three days – DONE

Goals for Next Week:

1. Increase mileage by ~10% to 14.5

2. Increase row total to 20,000 meters

3. Do body weight work three days

4. Keep to schedule regarding limited alcohol consumption

Holiday Challenge

As this lingering foot issue is keeping me from running the miles I want, I’ve been hitting the concept2 rower again with some frequency (logging 5000 meters this morning, longest row yet!). I love the variety it offers from running and man do I break a sweat on the thing.

Now, because I can’t do anything “just for fun” I’ve been poking around on the concept2 site and decided that I am going to go for the holiday challenge this year, 200,000 meters between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That is roughly 7,000 meters a day. Everyday. A commitment, sure, but not insane. I’m wondering if anyone else out there in internet land would be interested in joining me? Knowing someone else was out there logging the meters would be a great incentive to keep me on the machine.

 

Training Totals – 10-25-09

Recap – Though my running numbers are still nowhere near the level of respectable, I feel good about the training I have been able to do this week, both on the road and in the gym, and I am going to return to the longer form training summary.

This week felt good. I lifted and rowed for the first time in forever which felt really good. As of now, with the mileage being so low, I think I have time to fit in a fair amount of cross training, and I hope in the coming couple of months to get in a lot of rowing and bodyweight work along with some limited weight training.

I have some big plans for how to stay fit (and hopefully lose a couple of pounds) here in the last months of 2009. I’ll be posting more about that in the near future.

Training numbers for the week ending 10.25.09

This week’s training numbers are brought to you by my beloved 6.5 mile Rock Creek Park loop.

Weekly Data:

Average Weight – 188

Running Miles: 12.5 miles in 1:53:30 hours

Row Meters: 5,000 (3.1 miles) in 23:45

Weight Training and Bodyweight work: sets of push ups, pull ups, dips, crunches, dead lifts, squats and overhead presses in a total of ~ 1:15:00

Total exercise time: ~3:31:15

Next Week’s Goals:

1. Increase run mileage by ~10% to 13.5

2. Increase row total to 7,000 meters

3. Do body weight work three days

Another Day, Another Couple Miles

I did a set of deadlifts two days ago for the first time in at least six months and man, my legs are still hurting. I have to find a way to get reular strength training back into my routine without giving up miles and without adding too much more time to my training regime.

Yesterday was another fun day at the gym. Its been raining every day here for a week and so I have been on the treadmill, which I hate. The only upside to the ‘mill is knowing your pace and getting to watch Manny Ramirez coverage on the television. After 4.75 miles of utter boredom I did some jump rope work and benched a little just cause I had the time (3x5x115) and then did some rowing on the concept 2 (1221 meters in 5 minutes). Man that thing take it out of you. I felt great about it though and will definitely be rowing a bunch for crosstraining.

Learn to love the rower

Learn to love the rower