January 20, 2006

Random ramblings

I should be writing an abstract for a conference. On a Friday night. "Should"? But the week kind of got away on me, and it's not as done as it "should" be. That's the trouble with wanting to get it written early. Now, even if it's on time I'll still feel it's late. Oh well. So instead of getting on with it, I'm blogging a post no-one will read ... Not that I keep very close track of the matter, but readership declines markedly on Saturday, and picks up on Sunday. This is not unique to me, the famous bloggers have noted this too.

[The cat does not understand that when I have the laptop on my lap she cannot also sit there. Hey, it's a magic Apple cat-warmer pad, she's thinking.]

But anyway ... where was I. No-one's going to read this. More stuff I can't really link to stimulating bloggable posts.

We were at Half Price Books this evening looking for Christmas presents for my parents (the strange advantages of visiting your parents six weeks after the actual holiday ...) and I came across Jim Fixx's Complete Book of Running. (possibly annoying bold text to help the one person reading this navigate the topics) And his Second Book of Running. Came across? Well, I suppose that after we'd found the Christmas presents I might have made a beeline for the sports section. That brought back some memories. Memories of being a 12 year old kid getting into running, and reading my father's late 1970s collection of running books. You see, I don't actually remember the late 1970s jogging craze in America. Though I've read more about it than you might guess. Or as much as you might guess, given my academic inclinations.

I digress ... Fixx was a good writer. His sheer enthusiasm for running came through. I didn't see anything about capping your mileage at 40 miles to avoid injury. You can, I'm sad to say, read that nonsense in Marathon & Beyond this month. Now, 40 miles is a totally fine mileage if that's all you have time for, if you're susceptible to injury, or you're just not really into running a lot. But Marathon & Beyond? It has always seemed to me to be a magazine that caters to a people with, at the least, an intrinsic enjoyment of running a lot, and at the most a verifiable obsession. I can't quite understand how it is that we currently have a boom in participation in marathons, and a print media for the sport that mostly caters to the idea that going beyond 60 miles is dangerously high mileage. And I exaggerate somewhat when I say 60, "run a marathon on 40 miles a week" is a not uncommon article summary in Runners World.

[the cat has left ... momentarily ... for a drink]

This time last week I was telling myself that I should probably take a recovery week in the running. I didn't. That was the right decision. It's been a great week running. 4 weeks into this buildup and the pace is starting to come. At the end of runs I find myself pushing down towards marathon effort for a couple of miles without really thinking of it. I was also telling myself a week ago that I would top out at 100 miles (repeatedly) in this buildup, but just try to run it at a strong pace. Now I find myself wondering if by the end of the 12 week buildup I might not be able to run more miles (111 miles per week has a nice ring to it ...) and keep them at a decent pace. We'll see. Expert opinions vary. I have been reading Run Strong and John Kellogg writes about doing base mileage at 60-65% of maximum heart rate. This seems slightly slower than I've been going. Time will tell. I do have a dissertation to write too ...

Moving right along to the next magazine rack, I was browing tonight while doing errands: Minneapolis/St. Paul magazine at Lunds. Once you get past the 400 pages of semi-advertising for the city's top doctors you can find interesting, balanced—in the best sense of the word—yet still skeptical articles. Like one about Al Franken, and his potential run for the Minnesota Senate seat in 2008 againt Corm Noleman or whoever the current incumbent is. The gist of the article, so you don't have to read it, is this: "Al is serious about running. But a lot depends on what happens in the 2006 elections."

[the cat is now quietly resident on the sofa behind me ... time for catnip, no?]

Online I read this article about Hillary Clinton, which argued that, really, she did not do that well in upstate New York in the 2000 Senate race, and that her ability to do well in "red states" is being overblown on the shaky grounds that she did well in upstate New York. Who knows? I'm somewhat skeptical that Hillary Clinton would make the Democrat's best candidate for President, and frankly that's all that matters to me. Here's the trick the Democrats need to pull off: to nominate the most 'winnable' candidate, without that turning into a superficial rush to annoint a biographically driven candidate with little demonstrated appeal and ability on the national stage. Not that I'll have any input at any level ... Nor will I likely be here for the election. But I'm still interested!

In any case, Hillary, if you're reading, please don't run! I write this completely independent of their other merits and demerits, but it's been slightly corrosive for American democracy to have the son of a recently former President be elected President. It would be just as corrosive to have the wife of the previous one run and be elected. Democracy, if it means anything, should be an open, competitive system, not something resembling a feuding aristocratic house.

They're having an election in Canada on Monday. It looks like the Liberals will lose, after 12 years in office. I don't keep much of an eye on Canadian politics, but the Liberals look tired, the Conservatives have found something of a theme and consistent voice, and that should be enough to seal the result. Interesting how the slicker, more polished Paul Martin has proven to be a much less adept politician than his tough, gritty predecessor, Jean Chretien.

If you're still reading, get in touch, and I'll send you a fruitcake by way of appreciation.

What a great issue of the New Yorker this week! Interesting—if short—article about the Diversity Visa program (online). A retrospective on interviewing Ariel Sharon. And an article on car chases in Los Angeles. All very interesting. And so different. So truly random. Whereas I give that adjective to a post on my predictable interestss.

I rarely read the fiction in the New Yorker, and suspect I am not alone. The real life they write about is more interesting than the fiction. You can't make a lot of that stuff up!

Posted by robe0419 at January 20, 2006 9:10 PM