Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Time Out From Writing About Running

I got into an interesting Twitter exchange with one of the editors of Velo News (who was, I believe, speaking for himself, not necessarily the publication) after I had commented on a story that discussed the disparity in punishment for those 'caught' cheating in the TDF.  The article had pointed out that Lance Armstrong was treated more harshly than other riders.   That is a fair statement.  But I had pointed out that it was reported that he had also attacked those who had accused him in such a way, and with a vehemence, that surpassed others in the sport who were using PEDs at the time. I think that the manner of denial does have an effect on the way a punishment gets handed out.  Maybe it should.  Perhaps it shouldn't.  But a strong denial proven false does affect our emotional response.

To continue this train of thought: Suppose a gang has been defrauding a bank for years.  Due to a technicality, the statute of limitations (that has run out on the imaginary crime) is eliminated for one of the miscreants. That person is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  This perpetrator is still guilty whether the rest of the gang gets penalized or skates on the charges.  Are they all being treated fairly?  After all, they all did it.  And they were all subject to the same statutes. An argument can actually be made either way.

For the record, I am in favor of going back as far as possible to try to get to the bottom of the mess that seemingly overwhelmed the sport.  Cycling's governing bodies should be about fairness, even if all of its riders were not.  Lance, Tyler, Joseba, Jan, Floyd, and many, many more, held our dreams on their wheels and then ripped our hearts out.  Honest brokers like the Andreaus and others who questioned both rider and team integrity were dismissed by the cycling sports media.  Undoubtedly, many clean riders of the era were denied victories, or even spots on teams for some of the world's top tours.  We should set the record straight for them, and worry less about the feelings of those who weren't competing honestly.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Triathlons by any other name

Lately, I've been keeping my running between 20 and 30 miles each week.  I almost never run races, and had been doing 30-40+ miles regularly.  But since I have years of running as a base, coupled with an interest in other sports (swimming, biking, disc golf, etc), I don't think that the decrease will affect my overall ability to quickly ramp up for a marathon or some other distance should I choose to undertake one this year (I'm actually looking at the Big Bend Ultra in January if they ever open registration).

This past weekend, there were simply too many athletic opportunities available.  On Saturday, I got up early and hit the trails with my running buddy, Chris.  Except we weren't running.  We took our bikes for a change - mine, a new Specialized RockHopper, and his, my former Cannondale 400 which he had just decided to buy.  We cruised through the course pretty quickly.  I actually had to work to keep up with him on his more nimble, yet less boulder-happy Cannondale.  We finished the course satisfied with our new velos, and with the odd sensation always felt when you have biked a route that you normally run.  For me, biking always seems longer.  Not so much in time, as in distance.  While biking the trails, for instance, I continuously think about how long the route is, and how I can't believe I can run it.  When running it, however, it doesn't seem particularly long.  I think your mind simply goes into different states of time/distance awareness and calculations depending on the type of sport being undertaken.  That is the only explanation I have for the phenomenon.

Later on Sat, I played a round of disc golf with my buddy, Mathew.  While the round itself was unremarkable, I had putts of 30 and 50 feet that went in - not a usual occurrence (at least for me).

Sunday found me back on the trails - running them at 7 am, and then biking them at 3 pm.  Both times the humidity was a force to be reckoned with.  And both times I did so with aplomb.  I planned for the two jaunts to be my workouts for the day.  On the way home from the ride, however, I received a text asking me to throw another round of golf.  I threw on a new shirt and hit the links.  While a lot of my game held together, a lot of it, namely putting, faltered due to fatigue.

As I reclined on my couch last night, watching a few episodes of the wonderful BBC series Coupling on Netflix, I felt that great type of exhaustion and muscle fatigue that you only get when you overdo it a bit.  I always enjoy the weariness that comes as the result of going full-on athletically over the course of an extended period of time.  I usually just get the feeling from running and occasionally from swimming.  But the weekend's odd triathlons of running, biking, and disc golf, had served up the same feeling.

Monday, July 1, 2013

3 R's - Running Reading Racing

I got in a couple of runs over the weekend.  One of them was good.  The other, not so much.  That happens.   If half my runs could be as good as the good one was, I'd be a pretty lucky person.  I saw two deer.  One on the trails on Saturday, and one in my back yard before I had even left for the run.  Unlike the past week, I had no issue with horse flies.  I had thought about what might have triggered the two attacks, and came to the conclusion that dark shirts might have been a deciding factor.  Both Sat and Sun I ran in light-colored shirts.  The result: not one fly was spotted.

I finished Albert Camus' A Happy Death.  The book was one of his first written, but wasn't published until after Camus had died.  I have mixed feelings about publishing works that writers had not wanted to have published. On the one hand, it is great to see and know everything the writer wrote.  On the other, the previously unpublished works can change a reader's view of the writer's oeuvre or not present the writer's actual intent.  It is a fine line.  I must say that I thought Camus' The First Man was a fantastic example of a work that should have been published posthumously.  Camus was writing it at the time he died, and had clearly wanted to have the work published.  A Happy Death, might not fall into the same category.

I decided to take a short break from the Camus fest of late, and started a book of short stories by Sartre - The Wall (Le Mur).  As with some other writers and thinkers, Sartre is never at the forefront of my mind when I go to pick up something to read at the store.  But every time I do read him, I am not disappointed.

I finished out the weekend hanging out with my friends at the VeloTek pavilion at 8th and Mass during the Tour Of Lawrence criterium.  It was a great vantage point from which to view all of the races.  VeloTek is a good all-ages team.  The teams riders did very well in most races (including a victory) from the low categories up to the pro race.  If you missed the Tour this year, look for it ti be going on right around the 4th of July in 2014.