Thursday, October 29, 2009

Are You Ready?

Hey sports nerds! We are halfway through Marathon Week! Everyone has finished tapering and started carb loading. The Expo opened today, and the chance of Marathoners thinking about anything beyond Sunday morning is absolutely nil. Work is left undone and families are neglected as thousands of runners get their names printed on singlets, email info for Athlete Alerts to friends, and watch the standby motivator; the ING NYC Marathon Inspiration Video. I've got one more thought for you.

My favorite part of every race is the anticipation. The night before, I lay my gear, my chip and my race bib out on the dining room table, set my alarm for 6am, and try to get some rest. The next morning I head to the park with breakfast in hand, listening to my pre-race playlist to get me pumped up for the run. At the park, I take half an hour to warm up, check out the sponsor tents and chat with friends. Then its time to grab a prime spot on the outside edge of my corral and wait. We go through the announcements, the pro racer intros and the national anthem. Then I hear my favorite words of the day;

'Lead vehicle, are you ready?'

This is the point where it all stops for a moment. You are hanging in limbo between preparation and execution. In the seconds before the start horn is sounded, all the prep work has been done, no action has been taken to undo it and decide the final outcome. You are at the top point of an inhaled breath. When you throw a ball in the air, it is the split second it seems to pause before its descent. It is the moment of pure, infinite possibility. It gives me chills every time.

In large races, I am usually too far back to hear the lead vehicle answer back with a 'ready', and I usually have to wait a few minutes after the horn before I cross the start line and begin my race, but I try to hold onto that feeling. I can imagine that my friends and teammates running the Marathon will have an even longer wait and no chance of seeing the lead vehicle, but the anticipation will still be there.

NYRR captured that moment quite well in the Healthy Kidney 10k 2009 race video. At about 35 seconds in, you see the start. There is also some great race footage shot from the lead vehicle, showing how it becomes the rabbit that you chase; telling you how far you've come and what you can still achieve.

Runners-Good luck on Sunday. I will be cheering for you all.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tri Harder

So. After 8 weeks rest, here is where we stand; I can finally put my pants on while standing up. Trust me, this is a big deal and a good milestone in my recovery. It means the fracture is healing and I can start doing some light strength training and cardio. I can also walk long distances without pain, and I can make it through light resistance exercises without muscle spasming. I'm ready to go, which is good, because after 8 weeks of no training, I'm feeling like I need to send myself to fat camp. No running, but I can bike and I can swim, which means I can try my hand at triathlon training.

Everyone says the running leg of the triathlon is the hardest, so the rest of the training should be easy for me to pick up. It'll be a breeze! Well, after tonight I can tell you with certainty that everyone is a liar, because tonight was my first swim class.

I can swim, but by swim I mean lazy breast strokes on a waveless Aegean sea interspersed with lots of floating on my back, contemplating clouds. Or maybe some light body surfing followed by sun downer margaritas on a Mexican beach. I'm pretty good at not drowning, but I am the most candy-ass swimmer you are likely to meet.

My class is part of a series designed to get people ready for triathlon swimming. There are 3 pool based, 9 week levels that build you up from your stroke, to endurance, and then speed work. The final class offered is an open water swimming class, which really should be called 'Advanced Non-Drowning'. I can't even let myself think about that class right now, because after trying two lengths of the pool, I realized...I have absolutely NO idea how to do a freestyle stroke correctly. I am one of the worst swimmers in the class. Which is exactly where I want to be, because that makes it easier to harness my shoshin and truly get down to the business of becoming a good swimmer. After 8 weeks off, I am weak and have no cardiovascular endurance. I don't know at what point in the stroke to breathe, I can't even remember the correct rhythm and body position for more than a few strokes at a time. Awesome! I have no preconceived notions, no bad habits to unlearn, and I'm completely open to being taught. Beginner's Mind is like always coming to a lesson with the mind as an empty vessel; you can accept more of the teaching if your cup is not already full, so stop thinking you know it all, and maybe you'll learn more.

I am sucking so much water and struggling so violently through my pool lengths, maintaining my shoshin is not a problem. Whatever you have to teach, I will gladly take. My ego is taking a back seat on this one. What my body is having trouble accepting is that this is damn hard for me, and I'm going to have to suck a lot more water, and suffer through a lot more pool lengths before I get good at this. My lungs hurt, I'm panting, and there isn't the effortless joy that I get from running. I don't feel like I'm gliding along, I feel like I need to stop every few strokes, lean on the rope, and quietly die. I tried my best to rally, and towards the end of the lesson, I was doing a little better. I pushed myself to not hang back out of fear or laziness, and be the first in my lane to go out and do my laps. By the last set of out & backs, I was getting the stroke rhythm down, and I wasn't so afraid to breathe.

I still need to work on being more comfortable with my head in the water for most of the stroke, and not pull up so much for the inhale. Unfortunately, I will be out of town next Friday and will have to miss class, but I'm going to work on my cardio fitness for the next two weeks, and hopefully sneak into a pool somewhere for a little more practice.

The Comeback...its not building a wall, its making a brick.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Donation Update

FINAL donation update!

We did it! I got to my goal, and not only do I now have guaranteed entry into next year's Marathon, but TFK has more money to fight the good fight.

Thanks to all of my donors; whether you gave $5 or $500, I appreciated every generosity. Thank you thank you. Most were friends and family, but quite a few were more distant acquaintances and even a few complete strangers were kind enough to support me. Some of you gave TFK fake email addresses in your donation forms, so I couldn't send you my own personal thanks. I'll do that now; thank you thank you thank you!

And thanks to those who couldn't give money, but helped in other ways; keeping me company on a run, going out for brunch or a movie when I needed a break, and listening patiently while I obsessed and freaked out. These were important things. Don't think I didn't notice.

If you would still like to donate, there is still time, and TFK would definitely appreciate any extra help they could get. I will leave the thermometer and donation buttons up until December 1st, so maybe if you feel like you are having a fat day, you can remember to help the fat day epidemic and throw a couple of bucks in the donation jar. Or go to the gym. Ideally both. Be healthy AND generous. :)

So, I will have my first training comeback post up this weekend, I will be back on the road in the new year, and I have many races I'm hoping to run leading up to my new Marathon date. Please do keep reading!

Its a thank you...I run road races...whatever. thank you!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Music Monday: Uffie 'Pop The Glock'

This song is a few years old, but the video was recently rereleased with some great graphic animations. The rest of the video is just predictable Cali hipster nonsense, but I do love the new additions.

Also check out the Laundry! website to see storyboard style shots of the animated sequences.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Donation Update: Down To The Wire

So even though I am deferred until next year, I still need to finish my fund raising THIS year, and my time is running out! The big board at the right shows...I got a bit more to go. Any help would be MUCH appreciated! And hey! After 8 weeks of rest, this weekend will be my first time back at the gym to begin my comeback training! I'm gonna swing around on the Pilates Reformer and the Gyrotonic machine tomorrow afternoon, so lets make it rain! Throw me a few dollahs if you can. Many thanks, my friends!

Design: 1972 Munich Olympic Poster Art

I love vintage advertising posters. I started collecting a few years back, and I have a little collection that I am quite proud of. One of my posters is an amazing ad by Ferenc Pinter (take a look at the website. AMAZING artist and designer). I can't find an image of it on the Wide Wide World of Web, so check out this crappy pic I took on my iphone. doesn't begin to do it justice, but it still manages to radiate AWESOME.

This is another one for the same client that I think I need to get for Nixta (OK, its for me, but he can look at it too).

I started poking around for cool Marathon related posters, and they were mostly uninspired. However, once I expanded the search to include the Olympics, I found some beautiful art that reminded me of the Pinter work I have been obsessing over.

Otl Aicher was the designer who created the visual identity of the 1972 games. He created the pictograms that are now used as standard for all games following, and his clean, graphic style translated beautifully across all media.

I found a little info on the Marathon poster in a feature that Wallpaper magazine ran on Aicher's Olympic work. Much like the degenerate artists at Disney, Aicher's team wanted to leave their signatures on the project, and so got a little self indulgent with the last poster to be produced. If you look closely (please do, and report back, because I can't see it), MAYBE you can see that they incorporated their profile photographs into the foliage artwork.

There are more images from the project here, as well as a look at the branding across all promotional media here. Definitely go check it out, the work is just stunning.

Going through all of these amazing posters...I think I need more walls.