Saturday, May 3, 2014

FlyoverStatements is moving - Please read

Hello everyone,

I have been thinking about moving my blog for some time.  With the release of the novel, Run, I have finally decided to switch to a blog title that more aptly addresses the subject matter of the blog - running. From now on, please follow

It has been great fun to write under the title of Flyoverstatements for many years. Feel free to peruse old postings if you want. But this post is the last one that I will have on this site for the foreseeable future.

Keep running!

When release is not a release

I had a decent week for running - 30 miles even. That followed on the heels of a 35 mile effort last week. I would like to do more, but am still chilling out a bit due to the hamstring injury. And the hammy is getting better. But I am trying to take it slowly, and not push the envelope on how much running to do while recovering from a running injury.

I had a bunch of sleepless nights as well this week. Releasing the book, Run, which I thought was going to be a relief, has actually stressed me out. . . completely. With its publication, I somehow feel as if I have invaded my own privacy; oddly in a manner that is more personal than this personal blog. Somehow, sharing a story from my imagination, to me, seems much more revealing than putting a weekly summary of thoughts and activities in this space. It is kind of like how some people think a kiss is more intimate than sex. And in some ways it might be.

I found a typo in the book - that was a bit traumatic for me. It isn't glaring. And everyone - editors, me, other readers (except the one who pointed it out) - has glossed over it. But I know it is there, and it bothers me. I will, at some point, talk with the layout people and see if I can't get it (literally one word, 'are') deleted.  My mother had been reading a best-seller a few weeks ago and had found a huge typo in that work; a sentence that started and then ran into another sentence to be absolutely a jumble of meaninglessness in the middle of the work. So I can take some sad solace in knowing that these mistakes happen in the big leagues as well. I am hoping that 'are' is the only error I find (or have pointed out to me).

I'm finding most reactions to the book to be very favorable. The novel is meant to be a fun read for runners and fans. It isn't meant to be great literature - only a good story. I think most people get that. I want people to like the characters, even though in some ways, they are unlikable. I have been told by many people that the narrator is ridiculously like me. And that is probably true. And that is also probably where a lot of my anxiety is derived.

I'm taking today off and hitting the trails on the Rock Hopper.  Afterward I hope to grab some veggies at the farmers' market. Tomorrow I'll kick out a long run and try to have it pull me out of my brooding self-doubt for a few hours.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Weakly Run, The Long Run, and Run

I'm at 29 miles for the week so far. The past several runs, however, have felt clunky. My legs have been heavy. My pace has been off. Breathing a bit gaspy.  But I've put in the miles without much difficulty by slowing down . . . a lot. Slowing down doesn't bother me too much as long as it is for a short period of time - a week or so. What concerns me is that the 7 month hamstring injury may have decreased my speed more than I had realized by affecting my stride length. I have been shortening my stride to avoid pain and continuing to run with the injury. So now I'm taking steps (no pun intended) to pulse-stretch the hamstring and re-lengthen my stride.  The process will be ongoing. The results, I hope, will be a return to a faster pace and diminished pain.

Before moving on to news of my own book, I thought I'd take a moment to plug a novel I finished this week. The Long Run, by Leo Furey, follows a year inside a Catholic boys' orphanage in Canada. It is a bit what you think it would be, in that there is an overriding sadness to the story, with some instances of humor thrown in (much like most of our own lives, I suppose). The boys in the novel (set in 1960) secretly train for a marathon. As the event approaches, the boys become both increasingly independent and interdependent in order to achieve their personal and collective goals.

The descriptions of running and training are a bit lite, but the story and the writing is not. I was drawn in and went through the range of emotions - rage, hilarity, and sadness - as I read the book.  If you like running and coming-of-age stories, The Long Run is a good choice for a Spring or Summer read.

A quick note: If you do buy running books, whenever possible, buy them through sites like Your purchase helps top  runners who train and compete with limited sources of funding (when compared to other top athletes).

My new novel, Run, is now available in paperback. It will be up on Amazon and Amazon Kindle within the next week. It can be purchased now at . 

I've experienced a bit of trepidation in publishing the book, mainly centered around the intended readership. I have been encouraged to market the book as YA (young adult) and also general and sports fiction. But in order to be true to my main characters, all older teenagers, I had to write what is real. And that group doesn't speak or act in a G-Rated manner. Instead, the lives of a lot of younger Americans seem to be lived in a world that is more NC-17, with language, actions, music, videos, and other entertainment outlets reflecting this sensibility.

The full synopsis can also be found on the CreateSpace site listed above.

I hope you have a chance to read Run. If you have time to comment on it, please feel free to do so on Amazon (once it is on their website), on RunTheNovel FB page, my Twitter account, or right here. I love to hear from friends new and old.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Running and Longview Disc Golf Course

PT for my hamstring issues has started to work. They don't hurt much when I'm simply as they did for the past seven months.  I still experience pretty good pain when I run and stretch, but it slowly subsides to manageable levels once I've passed a mile or two.

Last week was an excellent time to put in some miles. While it happens to be snowing as I type this, the last seven days were mainly warm, with runs on Sat and Sun taking place in 70F+ temps. 

After seeing my first copperhead of the season on the Clinton trails two weeks ago, I passed my first garter snake on the River Trails on Saturday. It was good a good size critter. I tried to get it to move off the trail by squirting it with beet juice from my hand-held water bottle. I didn't want it to be crushed by a mountain or cross bike. It is odd that I've only ever seen garters and black snakes on the River Trails, and only copperheads at Clinton. You think there'd be some crossover. But I've never seen it. 

Anyway, week complete. 33 miles.

Gregory Thomas driving at Longview

After Saturday's long run, I popped out to Perry Lake with my disc golf buddies, Chris Ford, Mathew Faulk, and Greg Thomas. We normally play courses in Lawrence, but wanted to try out the Longview course at Perry Lake. And what a great idea that turned out to be. The course is challenging and one of the best-marked I've seen (in my limited experience). The pads and baskets are also perfectly maintained. It has some of the most extreme holes - in terms of shooting through canopies uphill for successive shots - that one can imagine on a course. The layout among the boulders, ponds, and trees also makes for one of the prettiest settings imaginable. Another big plus for Longview is that the pars are correct. Birdies and eagles can be had, but shots have to be well-played for those to occur. Due to the extreme terrain, plan to spend around 3 hours per 18 holes. This is not a course like Centennial - which, while challenging - is a course that can be run in about and hour and twenty minutes. At Longview, you will finish feeling as if you had a real workout from tromping up and down hills, over ravines and streams, and around ponds and boulders.

Based on the fact that I can't wait to get back to Perry to play the course again, I'd have to give it an A+ rating.

Now, I think I'm going to go and do my last run in the snow for the season. . .

Monday, March 31, 2014

Salomon SpeedCross Update & Copperheads Are Back

Salomon SpeedCross 3s

Time for an update. If you recall, some months ago, I tweeted and FB'd about a new pair of trail shoes I had purchased. Since I'm pretty much a Mizuno guy, the change to Salomon was a bit of a stretch. Still, though, I thought I should expand my knowledge of trail shoes beyond Brooks Cascadias (ok, IMHO) and Mizuno Wave Ascends (good, also IMHO). 

Now, after having logged a few hundred trail  miles on the soles of the Salomons, I feel somewhat qualified to deliver a verdict. At first use, I liked the shoes, but they felt (to be honest) weird. To stand in a pair for the first time is something akin to standing on a step-ladder that has been placed on a foundation of grade school erasers. I seemed taller. And the rubber cleats on the soles were much more flexible than those on either Mizuno or Brooks. I could stand in one place on a hard surface and sort of twist without lifting the soles - the cleats are that rubbery. And that took some getting used to.

Once I became accustomed to the new feel, however, the SpeedCross 3s quickly became my favorite pair of trail shoes. They are lighter in weight than the other two, fit my feet better than the Cascadias (and fit as well as the Wave Ascends), and are much grippier on a variety of surfaces - particularly dry rock and wet mud/sand. The softer rubber on the soles coupled with deeper-profile cleats is a combination of components that I would not have guessed would work as well in concert as they do. The height, as I mentioned, felt strange at first. The drop from heel to toe also seemed too dramatic initially. But now it feels natural. In this case, familiarity breeds comfort.

While I have only used my Mizunos for trail marathons (Wave Ascends) and gravel ultra marathons (Wave Inspires), I would happily run either in the SpeedCross 3s.  The longest distance I've logged in the Salomons was 17 miles on a relatively smooth sandy trail. Last week, however, I ran in them 5 out of six days on a variety of trails, and found no hot spots, or areas of discomfort.

This past winter the Salomons also served as my go-to snow running shoes. They performed well. The sides also endured many scrapes with hard snow and ice without showing any signs of fatigue in the rubber or wear in the fabric.

Over the past few months, the Salomons have become my favorite pair of trail shoes. They are certainly unlike other trail shoes, and thus require a bit of adjustment time. But the rewards they provide are well worth the price (slightly higher than other shoes I've bought), and the unique feel.

Clinton N.Shore Update:

I have to report that I came across my first copperhead on the Clinton trails yesterday. Even with the cold winter, the snakes are already hanging out and will certainly startle the unsuspecting runner. So pay heed.

Also poison ivy is around. I've already had my first minor encounter.  Just because the leaves aren't around doesn't mean you should grab every random vine.

I'm still looking to be bitten by my first tick of the season. And I haven't stumbled into a pack of oak mites yet either.  I'll let you know when either of those fun events happens.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I'd Rather Switch (back)

The Verdict? Too Sweet.

I use flavored protein powders occasionally. They're kind of a treat, and a switch from muesli or Grape Nuts-type cereals I usually eat in the morning. After runs, I'm a pretty big believer in hemp protein. I usually have it straight in water. But for breakfast, it doesn't seem to cut it. I usually go for a blend. Sometimes I'll throw a banana or some other fruit in as well.

A few days ago I stopped by Natural Grocers. My plan was to buy the Vega Sport French Vanilla blend. But it was out of stock. So I opted for the powder shown above. Honestly, on paper it looks just as good and costs a lot less. The ingredient profile is excellent. I was relatively stoked (if one can be relatively stoked) to give it a try.

Vega's products, to me, are slightly too sweet. And if I had a complaint in general about protein blends, the candy taste would be it. I normally mix in a bit of straight hemp protein and water just to knock down the sweetness level.  

But MRM's Veggie Elite blend brings sweetness to a whole new level. I would list it, for me, as almost undrinkable. I have used half the amount of powder they recommend, added a lot of water and hemp protein powder, and still find it to be overwhelmingly sweet. I'm kind of at a loss as to how to make this product work for me.

So, I'm thinking that reluctantly I'm going to have to give this products a big thumbs down - even though I am hugely in favor of lower-cost, quality vegan options in the world of protein powders. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Birthday Pi

Birthday run at far end of Riverfront Trails - Al, Adrian, and Derrick

I've got a couple of friends who are planning to run the Pi Day half marathon. The run takes place on or near 3/14 of each year. Finishers get pie. Winners get engraved pie pans (glass or Pyrex or something). Anyway, it is a fun, single-track race. I've run it in training many times, and usually volunteer to help on race day.

Anyway, my buddies Adrian and Derrick are doing the race this year. so on Saturday, I met them as well as Chris Ford, and we set out to do the long loop which would pass by all of the shorter Pi Day course loop turnarounds. Since Saturday also fell on my birthday (and I like to do long runs on my birthday), I had already planned to do a good run in the am, before the ground thawed and turned into a mud pit. We met at 8:30 am, while the temp hovered just below freezing.  It was slated to be 40F by the time we finished.

A quick note here: because my birthday is Feb 22nd, the weather is normally awful. Having a day slated to be 56F in late February is a bit if a rarity. So I had planned to spend as much of the day outdoors as possible.

We ran the first half of the run on ankle-twisting hard mud ruts, created by bicycles that also use the route. On the way back, there was a sheen of mud over much of the path, making footing a bit sketchy. Still though, everyone cruised the course without too many slips (and sadly, no funny falls).

The earliest beer I've had in a long time. Hand models L-R Allen, Derrick, Chris, Adrian

In celebration of my birthday, Chris brought some nice beer to have. While it was only 10 am, is there ever really a wrong time to have New Belgium Ranger?

After lunch with the parents who loaded me up on veggie tacos and a gift certificate to Sunflower Outdoor and Bike, I played a round of disc golf before heading out for a celebratory Moscow Mule at the Bourgeois Pig, and finally, vegan pizza at Morningstar.

The great day ended as KU thumped Texas in b-ball.  

Possibly my best birthday in years...