Monthly Archives: July 2012

A Plea

I’ve said before that cycling is dangerous. Running is also dangerous. There are things that my friends have created to mitigate the risk to some extent, but there’s little we as athletes can do, aside from being wary and alert all the time. Sadly, that’s not always enough. News out of Colorado tells of one cyclist being run over by a car and not expected to make it, and another killed by a hit and run driver who took the bicycle. According to twitter, at least one, if not two, cyclists were hit in Boston today.

One lasting memory I have from Jacksonville is riding in the car on a weekend morning and seeing a giant crowd outside of a driveway, huddling around a body on the ground. The female runner was still alive at this point, but she ended up dying later that day from her injuries.

A little math. I weigh ~160 lbs; my bike weighs about another ~20 or so pounds. Your car probably weighs at least 10x that and is designed to protect the occupants inside from a collision with a vehicle of similar size. As a cyclist, I’m protected by a helmet and little else. As a runner, I’m protected by… staying off the road when I can. Your car is aluminum or steel or carbon fiber or plastic; I am flesh and blood and family and friends and loved ones. Should we attempt to occupy the same space… I won’t win. Everyone will lose. I’d prefer it not to happen.

I know it’s annoying to be slowed down by a cyclist… but at most it’s going to delay you a couple of minutes. That’s not worth a life. The vast majority of cyclists are trying to do the right thing. The vast majority of runners are too. And so are drivers. But we could all do a lot more to watch out for each other, to be more predictable to each other, to be better to each other.

Please please please share the road.

Update: As Laura says below in the comments, cyclists can do more too. Respecting the laws of the road goes a long way towards being more predictable for drivers and pedestrians. Also, not treating a mixed use path (e.g., the Charles River bike path) as your own personal time trial is a generally good thing to do.

Update 2: In terms of amount of damage that can be caused, it’s pretty clearly cars>bikes>>>>>>>>pedestrian. While I agree that cyclists should abide by the rules of the road, a car running into a cyclist or pedestrian is typically going to cause catastrophic damage/injury (I got lucky once, I don’t want to have to be lucky again), and a cyclist at speed running into another cyclist or pedestrian can also be catastrophic (lots of sharp and pointy bits on a bike), I think we as drivers get so complacent with our driving skills (I do this all the time, I can text and drive, I can read emails and drive, etc) because the risk of injury to ourselves is so much lower (I’m not saying that cyclists don’t do stupid/risky things (they do), but just that the risk to themselves is high as well).

Where does the time go…

Last week was messy. Some ups, a few downs. Lots of patience-trying time, some patient time.

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Breaking Bad (Habits)

Me, all week.

A two part post… they are slightly related? Buried myself on a dehydrated 10 miler today. You never know what race day might be like.
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F and Yes

I’ll speak more about the experience of Portland (which was an awesome experience and a great time), but I want to get the race report out of the way. Because holy shit, it was a really good day.

Woke up at 5:30. Put on my kit, tattoos, and game face. Had some coffee, wheat thins, and gatorade.

We (Alisa, Justin, Alex, Heidi, Kristen and I) left for the race site at 6:15. Got there and set up transition. This time I had my Garmins charged and with me, I had a race belt, it wasn’t raining, and my mind was in a really good place. I was kicking my get psyched/HTFU playlist (for those interested/worried, the dj, Sean English, did play Call Me Maybe). Despite the olympic race going off at 8:30, we had to clear transition at 7:45 as the pros were going off at 8. So I grabbed my camera, BlueSeventy wetsuit, TriSlide and Endurance Shield and headed out with Erin and Alisa to wait. And wait. Finally, it was my turn to get ready to swim, so I quickly put on my wesuit, cap and goggles, and gave Erin the rest of my gear. Wished my Rev3 teammate Josh good luck and we were off.
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My Package was Suspicious

The original title of this was Chasing Daylight, but the current title is a lot better
A few notes from 34,000 feet above Real America. We’re flying west towards Portland and we should land not too long after sunset:

I qualified for the enhanced patdown (we’ll call it the EP) at Logan today. Before I make any jokes, and I will, I felt as bad for the TSA agents (who were extremely professional and described everything they were going to do multiple times) as I think they did for me. I did get one comment from a third agent (who wasn’t in the room for the EP) that it was probably my compression socks that caused the whole kerfuffle. But anyhow, the reason for the EP? “Sir, we saw an anomaly in your private areas”. You’re damn right you did. The jokes were far too easy (see, twitter feed, etc). Offsetting that unfortunate invasion of my privacy was the fact that JetBlue has waived their bike fees for the month of July (which made my response of “bike parts” to the ticket agent seem a little silly). Anyhow, if you want to make any jokes about the EP, make them in the comments.

I’m thinking I need a get psyched mix for racing. I usually start off way to calm and even keeled (I suppose perhaps I need a get psyched mix for most things if this works this weekend. That’s not to say I don’t like living, etc. it’s just that my emotions are usually very moderated). If I figure one out and figure out a way to share it with everyone, I will. But right now I’m thinking:

  1. Walk Away – Ben Harper (for Derek and Jane)
  2. Carolina in My Mind – James Taylor (for Oliver and the Wades)
  3. The General – Dispatch
  4. Little Black Submarines – The Black Keys
  5. Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men
  6. Hummingbird – Wilco
  7. Casanova, Baby – The Gaslight Anthem
  8. Anna Sun – Walk the Moon
  9. Wasted and Ready – Ben Kweller
  10. Take a Walk – Passion Pit
  11. Sincerely, Me – Better Than Ezra
  12. Hurricane Drunk – Florence and the Machine
  13. Anthem – Welbilt
  14. Farewell to the Fairground – White Lies (for Kerry and Chris – keep on running)
  15. It’s Nice To Be Alive – Ball Park Music
  16. We Are Young – fun.
  17. 45 – The Gaslight Anthem
  18. encore. At Least That’s What You Said – Wilco
  19. encore. Turn Off This Song And Go Outside – The Lonely Forest

I know the RD2 crowd will be upset that there’s no Call Me Maybe on there. After having Lump stuck in my head for a two hour ride last weekend, the last thing I want is to have Carly Rae Jeppsen stuck in my head for a two hour race.

A bit about the contests/charity fundraising. Part of the reason that I’ve not asked that anyone donate to a specific charity is that I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my life to not have been significantly impacted by any disease/disaster/etc. That’s not to say that life for my family has been all roses and trumpets, but the impact to me, while significant, has been slightly removed. Furthermore, for contests like the ones I have run in the past, I like to let the people who win the contest choose where the money goes. It befuddles me slightly that participation is so low (it’s not as though I’ll be insulted if you choose a time that is far slower than I think I can go). After all, it takes very little effort on the part of the contestant. There will come a time (next year), where I might ask you to donate to a specific cause, but that time is not now. So what’s the point? I guess I feel fortunate to be making a living I enjoy, train for crazy races, and enjoy the company of wonderful friends and family. And while I’ve been impacted by various events, no singular event/issue/disease has impacted me as much as I know it has impacted others, so I’m more than willing to donate to a cause that’s impacted my friends (just ask any of my siblings, dear friends, etc).
While playing Beirut at the family compound, I decided that one good way to get people to donate would be to really do something crazy. The only issue is, I’m not sure what level it would take. See, I’ve got this natural sweater of mine that I get a not so gentle ribbing about from time to time. At a certain level of funding, I’d be willing to wax it. At a higher level, I’d be willing to wax it and publish the video. I think. But now it would be you donating to the charity of your choice, and me doing something crazy. Like I said, I’m not 100% sure. But the thought is out there.

Putting my foot down. Badly.

Hey. You should enter the PDX contest. It takes almost no effort from you. And you could get cookies.

New Hampshire and sobriety are two states which cannot easily coexist

My alarm went off at 6:30 Friday morning, and again at 6:39 (hooray for the snooze button). I needed to get my gear together for a trip up to the family compound, and my bru would be picking me up at 7 AM-ish to drive up. The drive up to the lake was uneventful: I was a passenger, I had coffee, and there was no traffic.

My feet were supposed to be made for running

Worked all day, then threw on my BlueSeventy Helix for a swim while my dad and bru canoed alongside and fished. I made sure to try and stay ahead of them, lest they catch me. Back on shore, I found my nephew had arrived and was ready to fish. We fished for a bit (I caught a singular tiny rock bass) and I snared my lure on some rocks. As I was going to recover the lure, I misjudged my footing on a rock and lost my balance, slicing my right heel and getting some awesome rock rash on my left shin. At this point, there was no way I’d be able to get in my run with my heel in that shape.

My left leg was all scraped up, but the cut on my heel has messed up my gait.

After dinner and a few beers and some gin, my brother arrived with his girlfriend and we decided to have a Beirut tournament, with the two Princetonians going up against the Harvard kid and the Brit. We lost the first game, but then cruised through games two and three. I may have run through the house arms up in the air doing the Chariots of Fire theme. Maybe. And then, I went to bed.


Ready to roll out

Saturday was set up for a brick ride. Bru and Lankford started a ride together with me, and then we parted ways as I got to the meat of the training. Rode out into the sticks along a road I knew pretty well, and as I got out there I realized my water was barely going to last the entire ride. I was a bit stupid and hadn’t brought any cash or cards with me, so there was no way I could stop at the country store or a gas station to refill in case of a bonk. Perhaps worse… I had Lump stuck in my head. Passed by the White House again and I’m still confused by the sign. The house is indeed white, but that is not rare like Mr. Pine’s Purple House.

It’s not even all white!

Despite all of that, I crushed my intervals and got back up to the house where I was able to rehydrate and take in some calories… consider it a long T2. Then I threw on my Pearl Izumis and Swiftwicks to see how my heel would hold up. Hit the first mile in 6:22 (target of 6:30), tried to drop down to 6:15, and after a quick bathroom break, I narrowly missed it. My attempt at a 6:00 mile failed (a couple of stops) and then I finished with an “easy” 7:15 back up to the house. I was cooked.

Fork me

Recovery was a swim out to the floating dock with a Long Trail IPA in one hand and my camera in the other. The lake my parents live on was having their annual boat parade (now with Pirate Theme!) so my oldest nephew and all my brothers joined my on the dock for the festivities. Afterwards, I swam back to shore as my beer was empty. I had a few more, then a coworker stopped by and I shared a couple. Then some of my sisters’ friends and their families arrived and I had more beer and some ribs and chicken.

Thirty minutes before the fireworks, we lit road flares, as did all of the neighbors. I have first (degree burn on my) hand experience that they burn hot (protip: place flare firmly in the ground before lighting it).

We all adjourned to the dock for the firework show and somehow I ended up without a wine glass. However, I am a terribly classy individual so I decided that drinking from the bottle was fine by me. I explained to my nephew how fireworks… work, while ruing the fact that we had no fireworks of our own.


After the show ended, my two brothers-in-law (would the abbreviation be BsIL or BILs?) and I sat around the fire pit (now with fire!), finishing another bottle of wine (well, actually Lankford had beer, bru and I split the bottle).

Together, you and I are going to make the greatest single contribution to science since the creation of fire.

And that’s when I got my only really stupid injury of the weekend: I tried to move one of the logs on the fire with my hand. Mind you, I didn’t touch the log where it was on fire, but it was still hot enough to burn my middle finger pretty well. And then… we had the fire put out on us (granted, the fire was supposed to be put out at 11 but it was so tiny at that point we were going to let it go on its own) and I retreated to the safety of my room to pass out fall asleep.

Sunday morning I woke up at 6 am, and tried to stave off my hangover by staying in bed. That was less than successful (toddlers are loud and they wake up early). Joined the rest of the family and decided to avoid the dehydration issues that have been plaguing me of late. Had multiple sodas, read the NYTimes out on the deck with the rest of the adults, and generally tried to move as little as possible. Ate lunch, then got on my bike for a quick 10 mile ride around the lake, up the hill into town and then back to the house. Afterwards, my brother and I kayaked and his girlfriend and my oldest sister canoed. We paddled across the lake, said hello to some fellow lakegoers, and then paddled back in time to beat the storm and see the kick off of the Euro2012 final. Watched that, packed up, and came home for my long run. On the way home, I stopped at the liquor store to pick up a few bottles of my favorite wine. Because while I might not have many wine glasses at home, I’m totally ok drinking from the bottle.

Take an educated guess as to what it’s called.