Wednesday, January 30, 2008

little updatelets

Allie and I have gotten hooked on another HBO show called In Treatment. It's quite amazing. I can't believe how good the acting and writing is.

It's been a while, quite frankly, since we've watched absolute brain rot on TV. When we have been zoning out to the boob tube, it's been on pretty quality stuff, like this new show, and, of course, this final season of The Wire, which is getting really, really good.

I wish it were warmer out. I'm ready for spring.

I'm angry at my daily newspaper. Like, really angry. Like I can't believe how freaking irresponsible they've been lately.

Not sure what else.

Sorry for the lame post.

My job is quite captivating. For the most part, I've been having a blast. Sometimes I get really pissed and frustrated, like tonight. But for the most part I find it thoroughly invigorating.

But it really cuts into my posting ability.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


I've been having a lot of problems with my legs. So today I decided to run without them.

It worked!

I went five miles and I feel great. No real pain to speak of.

I think I'm going to go legless from now on.

Here's how it works: You puff your chest out and lean forward, like you're trying to pull yourself along by the sternum. Then you pump your arms, pushing your elbows back and forth to a nice rhythm. Everything below the waist you try to keep relaxed. And off you go; the legs just sort of following along.

Most of the way, I felt little tinges of tightness in various spots on my legs -- quads, calves, IT band. But the more I focused on my upper body, the more those pains dissolved away. I also tried to concentrate on going real slow, and that worked too (though I finished the loop at about the same pace I would if I'd been laboring more).

So I'm making a little progress.

I'm starting to think I'm going to make it on February 17.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

carlsbad half marathon

The race was quite a let down, to be honest with you.

I felt achy and out of sorts for the first seven or eight miles or so. In retrospect it's because I was overcompensating with my form adjustments. It wasn't until the last part that I slipped into a somewhat comfortable stride.

But it was too late. For one, I was spending so much time thinking about the aches and pains in my body that I was sort of oblivious to the beautiful surroundings. Second, and more significantly, I think I might have hurt myself.

My knee has been killing me since Sunday afternoon. I mean really painful. I'm having trouble walking stairs and stuff.


I'm pretty worried about Austin.

I think if I lay off for the next four weeks, and maybe just do a couple of real short slow runs, I'll probably heal enough to be able to swing it. But it's gonna be tough regardless.

So what's up with this? Is it because I'm getting old? I'm I just flawed in this area? Or is this correctable?

Don't know right now.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

san diego county

I am such an idiot.

For the last year or so, I've been working like crazy, trying to help Mark Funkhouser make Kansas City a better place. And the whole time we've been struggling to do this, there's been this place called California that already did it.

Sheesh. What a beautiful part of the world.

The only bad things about it are the traffic and the lack of Allie.

Damn, I'm such an idiot for not insisting that she come with me. Being without her dulls the experience of discovering a cool new place. It's like I haven't fully experienced it.

I think I'm going to have a good run tomorrow. I'm still a little bummed that I'm not doing the full marathon, but not much. The half covers pretty much all the really beautiful parts of the course. And it won't beat me up as much.

I had a lot of fun at the expo today. I found a pair of the new shoes I bought for just $40. So now I have two pairs, so I can ease the new pair in a few months down the road without risking injury -- just like the pros say you should.

I also bought The Stick. I think it's going to help. And of course I bought a souvenir hat, which I will do at every race for the rest of my life.

For the rest of the day I've been guzzling water and Gatorade and shoveling pasta down my throat. And missing Allie.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I went for a run tonight, the first one since Sunday. Went about three miles. Not a big deal ordinarily, but considering that I tried to run last night and I couldn't make it a block, I'd say this was pretty good.

Last night when I tried to run I had pain in my quads. Tonight I figured I wouldn't even try to run, because my quads felt tight all day.

But when I got home I stretched, and then I did my hamstring exercizes, and then I stretched again. And by the end of that, I had this inkling that maybe I could run. Maybe if I started out real slow, with real tiny steps.

So that's what I did. And for the first three minutes, it was quite achy. But then I tried really hard to do some of the techniques described in ChiRunning. And I'll be damned if it didn't work.

Basically what I did was lean forward, so much so that I would have fallen down if I weren't moving my legs. Then I tried to simply lift my feet by bending and unbending my knees. That's it.

It was hard to keep the form. I kept kind of falling in and out of it. But when I was in the rhythm, it felt like I wasn't even running at all, like I was just being pulled along. Or, it was more like the way running is in a dream, like when you're moving but it seems like you're not moving at all.

Throughout the run I felt little aches up and down my legs. But when they came up I tried to relax my leg muscles and let my lean pull me along. It worked.

When I got home I stretched again, iced the quads, and now I feel not the least bit of soreness.

And then on Saturday I'm going to get a private ChiRunning lesson from a certified instructor who lives here in KC.

Who knows, maybe this is the ticket...

Sunday, January 06, 2008


As per doctor's orders, I have switched my entry for the Calrsbad Marathon to the half marathon.

Ever since the 20 miler, I've had persistant pains in my quads. It reached a zenith on my 23 miler, which I didn't really even run.

So I went to the sports medicine folks. They put me on a treadmill and analyzed my stride.

They discovered that I'm a total tight ass. No rotation in my hips. And I run in a kind of squat, with my knees and head out in front of my lap. As such, my quads are pretty much doing all of the work. My hamstrings are apparently just along for the ride.

So one of the docs did some deep tissue work to flatten out adhesions in my muscles. And then a trainer gave me a routine of exercizes for my hamstrings, abs and butt.

This coupled with copious stretching, icing and heat padding, I should be able to have a comfortable half marathon in two weeks, and (knock wood) a marathon four weeks after that.

So far so good.

My quads seem to be getting better. I'm going to try a run today.

As for the eercize routine -- good god it's hard. My hamstrings and butt cheeks burn like hell fire!

But I feel very hopeful. I think this is the beginning of a redirection in my running that'll pave the way for a long and very fun running life!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

the wire

The fifth and final season of The Wire begins this Sunday. It's the best TV show ever made.

The first season told the story of a police wiretap operation on an inner-city drug ring. The theme was about operational power structures. The series brilliantly revealed the similar hierarchies in the drug operation and the police force.

The subsequent seasons have broadened in scope. The second encompassed international smuggling, and it conveyed a message about the death of the working class. The third went into political corruption, and the myth of reform. The fourth examined the education system, both in school and on the streets.

For this final go around, they're taking on journalism.

They have a handful of new characters this year, all employed at the Baltimore Sun, the most amazing of which is the city editor. I am blown away by how realistic this character is. He reminds me of my old city editor in Lawrence, only better (wich is saying a lot).

I mean, this character is so real, Allie and I both felt waves of dread when he stood up from his cube and yelled, "Alright people! It's 2 o'clock. Budget time! There are a million stories in the city of broken dreams. I only need three or four from you mooks!"

I could go on and on about how good this show is. And someday maybe I will. But for now suffice to say that I'm pleased to be in a new season.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

train in vain continued

Allie wrote me a note saying that the Hollywood extra guy was the worst pick up artist she'd ever seen. It wasn't news to me. He seemed boring, the way he repeatedly pushed the conversation to the weather.

Then, he asked one of the girls what she was majoring in. She said English. At that moment, a young man with a beard who was sitting nearby said he was an English major too. In an instant, both suiters were invited to join them at their table. The poured the men drinks and instructed them on how to play the card game they were playing.

The bearded English major was really chatting up his scholarly counterpart. They discovered that they both love Virginia Wolf. "Do you think she's a feminist?" The bearded young man asked.

"Oh definitely," the young lady replied.

In time, it was revealed that one of the young ladies was half Jewish, at which point the young bearded fellow said, "Really?! I'm a Jew too."

Either the women were not sufficiently impressed, or they cast him some suspicious glance that neither Allie nor I could detect, because he suddenly began acting like he was on trial, hurriedly offering up details about family tradition. At one point he seemed to be desperately floundering. "I'm trying to think of more Jew stuff," he said.

Allie and I found this young man to be a little snarky. On several occasions he made fun of the Hollywood extra. He refered to him once as "the limo driver."

Despite this, the extra seemed to have a few more skills in the move-making department, though they weren't getting him very far. While the young bearded fellow blathered on and on about things they had in common, hopelessly dooming himself as a mere friend, the extra pushed the boundaries a little. He rested his arm on the seatback behind the young lady he sat next to. He touched her every now and then to emphasize certain points in his stories. He even tickled her a couple of times, which she didn't like at all. "Stop tickling me!" she barked.

Meantime, beard boy kept his hands to himself, which I'll bet he has a lot of practice doing.

In the midst of all this, the longhaired liberal know-it-all returned. The women invited him to join them. But they were four stuffed into a booth and neither of the two men, both sitting on the outsides, were going to make space for more competition. So the longhaired liberal moved on.

A moment later he returned saying he found a spot in the back of the lounge car with five seats. "But there's no place to play cards," he admitted. They just sort of looked at him, and he moved on again.

The four of them poured more drinks. The extra revealed that he was 37. The bearded boy pulled out a notebook and jotted something down. The women asked to see what he wrote. He demured. "I'm shy about my writing," he said.

He changed the subject to music. He asked them what music they like, and he was pleased by the specificness of their replies.

"When people say they like everything," he said, then pausing to add an air of profoundness to the pending closing phrase, "they really mean nothing."

So true, young man. So true.