Thursday, December 5, 2013

quality 12/5/13

5.6K tempo / 21:00

I can never decide between the NHS and WHS tracks. The surfaces are similar. NHS has shorter curves, which I like. WHS has better wind protection. NHS generally has fewer people using the track, which is good, but the WHS walkers use outside lanes more consistently. So NHS is my choice if it is a calm day and nobody else is out, but that rarely happens.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

quality 11/28/13

12mi LSD / 1:28:40

Thursday, November 14, 2013

yasso 800s 11/12/13

Most LDR geeks have heard of Yasso 800s. The idea, credited to RW's Bart Yasso, is that you can confirm/predict your ability to run a specific marathon time by converting marathon hours to minutes, marathon minutes to seconds, and then doing 10x800 at that pace. So someone aiming for a 3:10 marathon should do 10x800 @ 3:10. The appropriate rest interval is kind of a gray area; I think the original article said it should equal the time of the workbout interval but I've also heard that it should just be a 400 jog.

At any rate, there has been lots of debate over the past dozen years about this workout. The negative criticism is usually: 1) it is not actually a good marathon predictor, and/or 2) it is not a good marathon prep workout.

My response to criticism #1 is: It depends. I don't think I'm one of them, but there are probably plenty of runners out there with a physiology that reflects this marathon/800 relationship. Bart Yasso, for example. As for criticism #2, I mean... please. I don't think 10x800 is the best idea for a VO2max workout but it is still a VO2max workout and, unless you are at 100% of your VO2max plateau (I'm not), VO2max workouts help.

But I don't really care about any of that. I just like them, which is probably the best reason to do any running workout. Seeing as how this was still 27 weeks out from my next marathon -- assuming I do Sugarloaf, that is -- I decided to stop at five. Yasso did explicitly say that the full 10x800 should only be attempted towards the end of marathon prep. I also decided to subtract six minutes from my 2:50 target because I think I have a higher proportion of fast-twitch fibers than the typical marathoner. 2:44 then, with equal rest. My times were:

2:44.2 - 2:45.4 - 2:43.3 - 2:43.4 - 2:43.2  (avg 2:43.9)

Not bad, except for #2. The weather was typical New England: Cold, wet, windy, some snow. Fantastic.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

quality 11/9/13

Did a 15.5mi trail LSD session all through the Blue Hills Reservation with four representatives from the local ultra crowd. Definitely not the type of LSD that I am used to, but wow... the 7:45 AM view from the top of Buck Hill was glorious. And I only fell down once -- within sight of my car, of course.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

quality 11/6/13

15 min easy + 30 min tempo + 5 min easy. Excellent weather conditions.
Still not feeling quite myself, but 100% better than last week!

Monday, November 4, 2013

recovered yet?

I did the Bird Park Trail Run on Saturday 11/2/13. This is what I get at the tail end of a strep throat episode: 4 miles (and change) at slower-than-half-marathon pace. Officially 24:58. Awesome. Nice little course though, if you don't mind lots of concrete paver surface mixed in with the grass and trails. Despite the lingering illness I just couldn't skip this because Bird Park is a two minute walk from my house. Stella would never forgive me.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

maintenance 10/30/13

7mi easy / Still working through this strep throat nonsense. Zero energy.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

shoe lineup

It's been a long time since I've been this happy with my running shoe selection so I'm recording it for future reference.

Base mileage / LSD: Skechers GORun2. Light, flexible, spacious toebox, 4mm drop, doesn't try to "fix" bad mechanics. What's not to like? Also, Meb wears Skechers.

Speedwork: Adidas adipure Gazelle. Everything I said about the GORun2 but with less cushioning.

Racing: Adidas adizero PR. They weigh 3.9 ounces. Let me repeat that: They weigh 3.9 ounces.

There is, of course, some crossover here. I wouldn't wear the adizeros for a half-marathon. Ouchie. And I will occasionally wear the adipures for base mileage if it's the short-and-soft-surface variety.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

quality 10/15/13

15 min easy + 5 x 400:
73.0, 73.8, 73.4, 73.3, 72.5

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

quality 10/12/13

15 min easy + 20 min tempo + 10 min easy

Friday, October 11, 2013

one last thing before you kill me...

[Disclaimer: not a running post. Also, Breaking Bad spoiler alert.]
Last night while discussing the final episode of Breaking Bad with some friends, over friendly beer, I said that I wished BB hadn't resorted to that tired old "one last thing before you kill me" cliché. Those dreadfully insipid twists where the villain has a gun pointed at the hero, and is about to pull the trigger, but the hero manages to talk his way into a tiny bit of breathing space, and in that space the hero has just enough time to flip the situation and take down the villain.

This is used in everything from Scooby Doo to James Bond to Superman. Roger Ebert called it 'The Fallacy of the Talking Villain.' So, here we go... Uncle Jack is about to shoot Walt, so Walt has to find a way to: 1) grab his car keys and 2) trigger the automatic weapon contraption that 3) kills the bad guys. How does Walt pull this off? He pokes at the villain's pride, referring to Jesse Pinkman as Jack's "partner". Jack gets all in a tizzy because Jesse is merely his meth cook slave, and Jack has to prove that Walt is mistaken and... distraction achieved, victory!


I sensed the "one last thing" moment coming on, right before Walt mentioned Jesse, and I cringed a little. I mean, guys, really? This is BREAKING FRICKIN BAD and you're going to end it with that trite device??

But what bothers me about the "one last thing" moment isn't so much the overuse; it is the plain silliness of it. I don't actually know any Uncle Jack-types, but I'm assuming there are a fair number of Uncle Jack-types out there. Real-life bad guys. In those situations, when they are about to kill someone, will insulting their intelligence/competence/whatever honestly give them pause? Come on. In response to the Jesse Pinkman taunt, Uncle Jack would have just fucking shot Walt in the head.

Which brings me to my real motivation for writing this post: HAL 9000. I recently re-read 2001: A Space Odyssey and... good god... HAL is such a fantastic villain. Even though HAL is an inorganic machine, he can't be classified as evil, or as a psychopath, or even as a sociopath. Clarke clearly defines HAL - within the reality of the novel, of course - as a substantial leap forward in artificial intelligence. HAL isn't merely a supercomputer; his designers were able to create "neural networks [that] could be generated automatically - self-replicated ... artificial brains could be grown by a process strikingly analogous to the development of a human brain."

In short, HAL does have emotions, and a sort of moral compass. And it is precisely these all-too-human traits - guilt, fear, shame, a sense of being trapped - that lead to HAL's temporary psychotic break (again, without any explicit conversion to psychopathy). Once HAL suffers this break and is forced into the climactic decision moment [how can I best alleviate this emotional turmoil?] we are rewarded with one of the most chilling moments in all genre fiction: "Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye." The one thing HAL doesn't do? Despite Dave's attempts to keep HAL talking? He doesn't fall for the "one last thing before you kill me" trick.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

quality 10/8/13

32 min with 4 x 400;
74.3, 75.1, 74.5, 74.6

Monday, October 7, 2013

maintenance 10/7/13

am: 31 min easy
pm: 30 min easy

Sunday, October 6, 2013

LSD 10/6/13

10mi easy / 76:17

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

200s 9/1/13

30 min with 6x200 @ 36.5