Running for Your Life: The Three Rs, Revisited

Pay a little attention, and the signs will come, pointing to the reasons why I started this business – Running, Reading and ’Riting – in the first place.
For me, it often happens on a run.

In my neighborhood of Park Slope Brooklyn, the scenery is special: a wide variety of trees, sweet-sounding songbirds and books. Residents are always leaving books out on the street, especially in fine spring weather. And, yes, I’ve picked up some of my favorite reads – most recently “Eye of the Storm” by Patrick White – by just paying attention to the titles as I run by.

Today (May 23), while running up Fifth Street toward Prospect Park, I was drawn to a cover that looked familiar. The Virago Book of Women Travellers in paperback, published in England. The same one that my wife Mary Morris and I published more than two decades ago. It appeared to be in good shape.

A few minutes later, on a path just inside the park and in the shade of a copse of 100 foot-plus trees, I noticed a pencil. It lacked an eraser top and the lead was dull but it was near full size. I picked it up and ran the 3.5 miles around the park holding it in my writing fingers. I usually finish my run down Third Street, a grand thoroughfare of magnificent trees, but this time I detoured to Fifth, where I stopped and picked up the paperback, before continuing on my run.

The pencil and the paperback are now at home. I am inspired by the idea of what I will be putting down with that new pencil of mine.

Next: Running for Your Life: American Redstart


     

Running for Your Life: Do You Read Newspapers?

Talk about a bygone question.
I have to admit to a bias here. Aside from a few years (1983-84, 1988-1992, a part of 2008), I’ve always worked for newspapers. Writing and editing.

Quarrel with this if you will, but I find career newspaper people to be the most open-minded people I know. (Notice I write career, not careerist). This is a roundabout way of introducing my topic for this edition of If the Greats Were With Us Thursday: Alexander Hamilton.

You see, Alexander Hamilton read newspapers. (I know, he is also the subject of a must-see Broadway show, but this  blogpost isn’t about that.) He also founded the newspaper that I’m currently associated with: the New York Post.

If this great were with us we would have a firmer grasp of just what we have in the presumptive Democratic president nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Or HRC, as those who’ve been besieged with requests from donations are more accustomed to seeing her branded.

HRC … Hmmm, that deserves more attention. (Remember, the open mind of above. Can’t help it.) Doesn’t that bear a resemblance to HMS? A logo (which equally stresses Rodham and Clinton, not a bad idea given the baggage associated with her personal choices regarding the Clinton name) that seemed just right for a coronation. Now, though, with Bernie Sanders making a mess of things, that’s off. Her Royal Chamelon is on. First campaigning as a small l liberal centrist, then a progressive, with latest news that her camp says she will swing back to the center to defeat Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Whatever it takes, HRC.

All of which is to say (the roundabout continues) that if Alexander Hamilton, also a royalist who wouldn’t sniff at a coronation, were to be alive today we might see a little more clearly into the motivations of this particular candidate. I know, I know, this isn’t time to be splitting hairs. Damn the open mind, just vote straight Democratic! Stop Trump at all costs.

Believe it or not, some folks have had “real” personal encounters in HRC’s presence. Which goes back to my original point. If you’ve got the time, read this piece from, yes, a newspaper! of sorts, the London Review of Books, by the insouciant (and HRC supporting!) Terry Castle.


Next: Running for Your Life: American Redstart


     

Running for Your Life: Sub-Two Gurus

I kinda don’t know what to think about the Sub2 Project.  Part Two of a story by Jere Longman in the New York Times is below:

Science isn’t a passion of mine, but a growing interest. I’m fascinated by the discovery this year of the sound of gravitational waves. Space time. Ripples in the fabric of space.

But when it comes to what it means to be human, my old school brain takes over. Not wild about human gene research, clones, the advent of robots assuming more and more human roles.

What galls me is the idea of strapping measurement gear to a young African boy to benefit those looking to advance the human body to the point that it is a running machine that can do the amazing: Tear-ass around a 26.2-mile marathon course in under two hours. You know, the time it takes middle-aged weekend warrior to run a half-marathon.

I understand that in pushing the human body through more advanced training techniques there likely will be lessons to be learned so that my own training can be improved, which will show up in my results. To run longer, faster, stronger.

That being said, what I suppose bothers me most is the reduction of running as a pure science. That rather than nurture the spirit and mind on a long run, the Sub2 Project leaders see the human body as a means to an end. The machine that gets overhauled so that it runs perhaps faster than it was meant to run. So fast that you don’t notice the cardinal on the branch or even the sun as it sets on the horizon.

Come to think of it, I might just run for my life from the Sub2 Project.

Next: Running for Your Life: Do You Read Newspapers?


Running for Your Life: Shoe Talk

When it comes to running, it took me awhile to be a gear head.

Nevertheless,

  • Am Fitbit-less

  • No mobile phone with earbuds

  • Thirty years of running every other day, in a ratty T, slump shorts, grotty ballcap – wearing shoes until they literally fell apart.
In recent months I’ve learned my lesson on that last point. I can’t say there is any athletic or health benefit to looking slightly more spiffy in T, shorts and cap. But in the past few years I swear by some gear that has kept me running for my life, now in my fifth decade. That’s compression socks (to keep shin splints at bay), patella bands below my knees (to help cushion joint shock) and Brooks Defyance running shoes.

I tried for longer than I should have the neutral strike shoe, Asics Gel Kinsei. The shoe seemed fine at first, but was easily the least durable runner I’ve ever worn, and am firmly convinced that my stubbornness in using them for my usual eight months to a year contributed to all the injuries I suffered last year (primarily Achilles tendonitis, severe knee injury). Now, though, I’m back in Defyance, and the injury threat has fallen into the background.

So here’s the word of caution. If you’ve found a shoe that works for you, stick with it. Oh, and don’t use that sixty year-old body like a thirtysomething. Even if your shoes aren’t showing too much wear, change them at four hundred miles or every eight months, whichever comes first. You won’t be sorry.


Next: Running for Your Life: Sub-Two Gurus 

Running for Your Life: Matt With a Touch of Bobby

How much younger is Penguins goalie Matt Murray now than the incomparable Bobby Orr was when the latter scored The Goal on May 10, 1970? Is it fair to point out that Murray – the clear favorite for Penguin MVP during the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs (if not the tournament favorite) – is from Thunder Bay, a Great Lakes-long drive from Parry Sound, the birthplace of Robert Gordon Orr? Do I jinx the young man by even mentioning how his poise and the aura of sport destiny evoked by his superb goaltending remind me of the great No. 4, arguably the best player that ice hockey enthusiasts have ever seen?

I’ve watched enough of these Murray games to hazard this opinion: There is more than a glimmer of Orr-style fortitude at Matt’s age of 21, just beyond boyhood. He’s 66 days younger than Orr (Murray won’t be 22 until May 25) was when he scored The Goal to clinch the Cup for the Bruins for the first time in 29 years.

It is going to be fun to watch young Murray. If you’re looking for a sports story of the moment to follow, look no further than the Penguins No. 30.


Next: Running for Your Life: Shoe Talk