Sunday, April 27, 2008

8:11 mile

Today I ran the Trolley Run. It's a four-mile point-to-point with a lot of gentle downhills. I finished in 32:43, an 8:11 pace. It felt pretty darned good, like I was running right at the edge of my ability. Maybe I could've gone a little faster, but not much.

I'm pleased with my performance. Six weeks ago, I ran 4 miles in 36, a 9-minute pace. That was a hillier course, and it was colder. But still, I propelled my body through space and time at a much faster rate than before.

According to an online pace prediction calculator, this means that I ought to be able to run a marathon in 4:03. Of course I can't do that right now. I will not do this in Cincinnatti. But given my current fitness level, if I were to do more training at higher pace for longer distances, I should be able to do it. In fact, it's more likely that if I embark on a training program like that I will wind up running a 4 mile faster, kicking the whole prediction model up a notch or two.

Which is all a longwinded way of saying that maybe, just maybe this "qualifying for Boston when I'm 45" thing could work after all.

Still, I have a ways to go. If I were to run as fast as I did today for 26.2 miles, I would still miss qualifying by almost five minutes. To make it, I would have to maintain 8-minute miles the whole way.

But while I still have a ways to go, I also have plenty of time. I haven't even really begun speed training yet. In fact, I haven't really done a sustained time-goal training program yet. My first will be for Chicago, which will be the culmination of an 18-week training program developed by Matt Fitzgerald, in conjunction with participation in a running club. I have a hunch that I met well make a good run at the four-hour barrier in that race, if training goes well.

In other news: I'm going to be on The Walt Bodine Show tomorrow, talking about speech writing. It is at 10 a.m. Central time. You can listen online if your like.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

speech writing

Today, I pretty much finished writing the state of the city address. Between now and Thursday, all we'll be doing is tweaking it as the mayor practices reading.

This has been a terrific writing challenge. I've learned a lot, and I think my writing has taken a major step forward.

Early in the process, Funk loaned me On Speaking Well, by Peggy Noonan. It quickly became one of the most influential books I've ever read.

Her guiding principles for speech writing are really simple. They're almost obvious, except they never would've occurred to me if I hadn't read them. They're basically this:

The strength of a speech lies in the logic of its argument and the policy at its core. Everything else is just bullshit.

In other words, don't set out to write a moving speech, or a funny speech, or a speech that'll inspire or anger. Just write a logical argument as clearly as possible. And make it about something real. And let all that other stuff -- humor, inspiration, anger, the full range of emotions -- emerge naturally.

I think this is something I've stumbled into accidentally, through the course of being a writer and trying to improve. But now that I have it before me as a basic formula I feel like a karate student who has finally mastered an advanced move.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

world records

One of the exciting stories going into the London Marathon was a 101-year-old man's attempt to run it. He would be the oldest man to have ever run the distance. Now it appears the record is in doubt. Still, there were a number of records set on Sunday. From the London Times:
A number of world records were set at yesterday’s marathon, including the fastest time for those dressed as a film character, Santa, fireman and clown. However, four men attempting to break the world record for fastest marathon dressed as a superhero were not so super. None bettered the record of 3 hours, 4 minutes and five seconds.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Carlsbad and Austin

I finally uploaded my GPS data from the Carlsbad and Austin races. Check out the maps. Austin has "street view" available for every inch of it, so you can actually do a virtual tour of the course. Carlsbad only has street view for some.


View Larger Map


View Larger Map

london to kansas city

I woke up about 4 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep, so I logged on to the live coverage of the London Marathon and caught the tail end. I was hoping I might see Ryan Hall in the lead pack, but he had fallen off by then.

Still, he wasn't that far behind. He finished a m back from the winner, Martin Lel, who set a course record. He came in fifth in what was one of the fastest marathons of all times. Never before have three runners in a race finished under 2:06. Hall almost made it under, with 2:06:16.

Hall is definitely going to be a contender in Beijing.

Looks like a super cool race. Beautiful course, of course, with spectators lining the street several deep. Check out this with all the crazy characters out running.

Though I was tired from lack of sleep, I decided to jump right into my weekend long run. Turned out to be a great idea.

We're having another cold snap. It was about 34 when I started, but I was appropriately dressed and my mind was in an acceptance mode, so it actually felt pretty good.

I figured it might be a good idea to shake things up, so I left Cliff Drive about two miles in and took a detour through the East Bottoms up to River Market. Once I got there I felt so good, and the scenery was so interesting, I just kept going, picking up pieces of the Riverfront Heritage Trail (which is a pathetic joke), until I wound up down in the West Bottoms.

From there, the only way home is back through Downtown. But instead of heading straight back, I did an extra loop around the park overlooking Cliff Drive to boost the mileage up to 16 for the day.

Good run!

I think I'm definitely ready for the Flying Pig.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Today I did a 20 mile run with a local running club.

We met at 6:30 at Olathe North High School, and did an out-and-back on the lovely Mill Creek Streamway.

I don't feel too bad, considering.

I've been really working on my form lately. I've gone back and reread Brain Training For Runners, and I'm trying to the proprioceptive cues he suggests. I think it's working. That plus the strength training and cross-training I've been doing (though I've fallen out of my strength training routine a little bit). I've definitely been avoiding some of the more serious injury type pains I've felt in the past (knock wood). All I feel is sore. Which is probably what I ought to be feeling after a 20 miler.

At the end of the run, I talked for a while with the guy who runs it. He's a coach, and he helps folks in the group who are at all levels.

I asked him if it's possible for someone to go from a five-hour marathon to 3:30 in five years or so.

He asked me how fast I was when I was younger.

Fast, I said. I ran about 36 or 37 for a 10k.

At that, he said I could probably do it. Or that it would be a 50/50 shot. The important thing is that I have the genes to go fast. I've just got to relearn what my body knew when I was 15.

This was all very encouraging. I've been worrying lately that I've lost my speed forever.

So for now, here's the plan. After running the Flying Pig, I'll come back and regroup and join this running club when they start back up in late June. I'll go through a regular marathon training program to get ready for the Chicago Marathon in October (which I just registered for yesterday). But a month or so before that race, I'll do an all-out 5k race, just to see how fast I can go. Then we'll take the time for that one and come up with a prediction time for Chicago. Then we'll see how it goes.

From there, it'll be new time goals each year until, hopefully, I'll be hitting 3:30 about the time I'm 45.

Allie and I are going out for pizza tonight.