Thursday, December 06, 2007


This is a picture of the young men that I was responsible for in Brooklyn. We'd have a Xbox night at my place every 6 weeks or so. Order pizza. Have extra TVs and Xboxes.

Here in the Bay Area, I have also been asked help with the young men. However, the activities and make-up of these two groups are very different. First, we went ice skating where not only the girls, but the boys knew what they were doing. Second, when I was giving a few of them a ride home, one boy told me that he lived in a mansion. I smiled. Then we pulled up to his mansion. Four people, 8000 sq ft home. Six cars in the driveway, including a Maseratti, a Porsche, and a cheap old Acura. And those were the ones that didn't make it into the garage.

Monday, November 26, 2007


I realized I never posted a picture. This is me right before Mile 23. Right before I decided that I couldn't take the massive amounts of calf pain anymore.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pool Review

I was checking out the official length of my pool and ran across this review of another community pool that isn't too far away.

"Good News: Outdoor, 25 yards, kickboards, clocks.

The Bad News: TEN dollars. In (blank). You bastards are lucky I'm in this shit town to begin with and I have to pay ten bucks to swim? You should pay me for bringing some life into snoresville. But I digress.

Details: Bring some sandals, because you have to walk over the rock-embedded, foot-thrashing concrete that surrounds the indoor pool to get to the outdoor pool. Some negligent mother let her kid wander into my lane but I showed him who was boss in this town in no time. I'm doing fly, kid- take that! I don't pay ten dollars so I can be polite to some commune-raised hippie brat who calls his mom "Sarah.""

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

So Serious

I went swimming for the first time in over three years this morning. I found out that swimmers are just as anal as cyclists are. Apparently you must inform the other swimmers in your lane prior to beginning your laps that you will be swimming in their lane. Additionally, if there are only two people in your lane, you stay on the same side of the lane. If there are more than two people, you circle, which is how I swim if there are at least two people. If you don't follow these rules, they'll stop you in the middle of the pool just to let you know that you've broken the rules.

Also, don't pay cash to get in or the entire line will groan. Finally, a speedo is required or you are laughed at.

I'm glad that I now have two sports whose participants I don't like. I was getting bored only hating cyclists.

Just swam an easy 900 this morning. I'll probably be swimming twice a week until I start training seriously for a race again, at which point I'll drop swimming for the boring exercise that it is.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sakae Sushi

Just in case you were wondering, Sakae Sushi has the best sushi I've ever eaten. That includes all the sushi I consumed in New York and Japan. Granted, I didn't have the pockets to go to the uber-nice sushi places while I was in Japan, but still, I ate some pretty quality sushi.

My favorites:

- Barracuda - flown in from Japan daily - very rich and meaty
- Bluefin Red Tuna - also flown in from Japan daily - almost steaklike
- Uni - shipped up from Monterey daily - super sweet with a texture that wasn't too firm and wasn't too slimey
- Oh-toro - This place has three grades of toro (fatty tuna belly). This grade is the fattiest. As I eat it, all I'm thinking is that I want to rub it all over my body and then lick it off. It's that good.

Who am I kidding, it is all outstanding.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


The other day I was running in the foothills with a friend. We wanted to do 11 miles and didn't want to run over the same ground twice, so we stopped at a trail map to check out where we could go. As we investigated the map, we heard runners coming. I couldn't see them, but could tell from their voices that it was a group of women. My friend looked at me and said we better go so we wouldn't have to pass them on the trail. So we headed up the trail.

About a minute later, the voices were right behind us. We were in a canyon, so I figured it was just acoustics of the canyon that made it seem as if they were right behind us. After another minute, I finally figured out that they were right behind us. Embarrassed, I moved over to the right, heard a little "Thank you" and watched three young girls run by us.

They couldn't have been more then 14 or 15. And they were blowing past us. Now let me say that were were not trying to run fast. Leisurely 8 minute miles through the hills. We'd also been running for 5 miles with 6 to go and they probably had only been running for 1 with 5 to go (we were on a popular 6 mile loop). However, we still got blown by by three teenage girls.

My friend and I were silent for a few minutes. I broke the silence by saying that that was unexpected. He responded by saying that the girl in the lead "looked good". I was a little shocked. He noticed my shock and quickly said, "You know, her running form. It looked good."

Yep, these are the kind of people I run with.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Weight Loss

Apparently the best way to lose that last 5 pounds that you've wanted to lose for the past year is to cut your mileage by 75% and drink cases of Diet Dr. Pepper, both of which I've done in the past three weeks. It's the new South Beach.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

So Close

3:02:06. A PR of 6:40.

I was on track for a 2:58 through mile 17. At mile 18, my calfs began to seriously cramp and I couldn't get much push. I would do 7:10s uphill and then 6:40s downhill. At mile 23, I was on track for a 2:59, but my calfs began to scream. No push at all, but all I needed was to go at 7:00 pace for the last 3.2 miles. It was not to be. I had nothing left.

I'm not disappointed with the effort because I gave it everything yesterday. I'm a little disappointed with my preparation. Not enough LT runs or downhill training.

I'll probably take a week off and spend the following six weeks training for CIM on December 2.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Taper Madness

When running a marathon, you get to experience something called the taper. A taper is what you do two to three weeks before your marathon. Essentially, you chill out on your mileage in order to give your body time to heal and to store up glycogen.

For this training cycle, I chose a two week taper. Much of the literature out there says that if you're running less than 60 or 70 miles a week, which I am, then you only need a two week taper. Last week, I ran 53 miles. This week, I have cut my mileage back to 29 miles. Next week I'll only run about 17 miles before the marathon on Saturday.

Now tapering is a difficult thing to do. My body is ready for a race. It's been training for almost 19 weeks and is in the best shape of my life. Seriously, the best shape of my life including high school. Cutting back on miles is difficult. I feel lazy and feel like I'm losing speed. At the same time, I have aches and pains that are telling me that I don't have what it takes to go under 3. My shin splint in my lower left leg is telling me that it's a possible stress fracture, when I know full well that it's just a shin splint.

Finally, I am having to think about what I eat. When you're running 50+ miles a week, you can eat whatever you want and I do. When you're running less than 30 miles a week, you can't eat that much. In addition, cutting out the grease and fat becomes essential in cleaning out your system. Going to bed hungry because you're used to 1000+ calorie dinners and you just ate 500 calories with no ice cream is somewhat dissatisfying.

As you can tell, I am slowly going crazy and I need to race already.

Monday, September 24, 2007

24 Miler

My last big training run was this past Saturday. 24 miles. A friend from San Mateo came up to run it with me. It was about 65 degrees and raining. In other words, almost perfect. I like running in the rain, as it cools me down. I felt great the entire time and we finished just under 3 hours. I wasn't trying to push it and felt that I definitely have what it takes to go under 3. Two weeks to go time.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge (3.5M)

I wasn't planning on running this race, as I haven't raced anything under a 1/2 marathon in about 7 years and haven't done anything under a 10k in about 16 years, but my firm, more specifically, my office, appealed to my ego and asked that I represent my firm/office, as they knew that I could easily beat the fastest time from all of the other offices (24:50). So I decided to do it.

6:30pm last night at Crissy Field right next to the Golden Gate bridge. Very flat, simple 3.5 mile loop. I arrived and as soon as I got out of my car, I knew that I'd made a mistake in not bringing warmups. It was about 20 degrees colder than where I live and there was 20mph wind coming in from the ocean. Nice. Fortunately, we started and finished with a tailwind. However, the middle 1.75 miles were a little onerous.

Before I get to those miles, let me back up. This was not a chipped race. The only clock was the race clock, which meant that I was fighting 5000 other people to start up front. Lots of elbows. I was about 3 rows back, which was fine because there were some serious runners out. Like sub-5 minute mile runners. The last thing I wanted to do was get in their way.

The gun went off and off we went. First mile was at 5:58. I wanted it to be faster, but congestion and some tight turns slowed me down a little. Then we turned into the wind. I tried drafting, but the wind was whipping too much and each person I tried drafting off of was either too fast or too slow, so I ended up running the next 1.75 miles straight into the wind. Not too fun. I don't have my exact splits, but looking at my finish time, I'd say they were in the 6:25 - 6:33 range.

As I was approacing the turnaround, I saw the leaders headed back and they were seriously flying. I heard afterwards about the tactics employed and was pretty impressed. Apparently about a 1/4 mile before the turnaround, a breakaway into the wind occured. Then once at the turnaround, the 3 leaders really took off since they now had the wind at their back while everyone else was still headed into it. Smart tactics.

At the turnaround, I finally got the wind out of my face and picked it back up. At mile 3, I really picked it up because I wanted to beat 22 minutes. With about a 1/4 mile to go, I wanted to vomit and remembered why I don't really enjoy these shorter races. I finished in 21:48 for a 6:14 average.

I didn't push as hard as I could have, particularly during the headwind portion of the course and raced it more like a 10k, but was still ok with the time. I probably finished in the top 150, but won't know for sure for a couple of days.

EDIT: I finished 101st out of 5200

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I seriously have no idea where my fitness is. If I had to predict a time for St. George, it would be anywhere between 2:58 and 3:15. This might just be because I've been training for 17 1/2 weeks and my body is completely broken down. It might also be because I'm just getting older, but I only have one fast day a week in me and my right glut is pretty sore all the time. I'm going to push it tomorrow, omitting the hill, and see where I'm at. Two more long runs (an 18 and a 24) and then it's off to the races.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Nocturnal Rack

As I began my 22 mile run at 8:30pm last night (again, I have problems), little did I know that I would end up witnessing one of the most glorious racks that I'd ever seen on the Iron Horse Trail. Truly, it was magnificent.

Usually on the trail, I don't see many racks at all. In fact, I don't recall ever seeing one. I didn't expect to see one last night either. It was after all perfectly dark (there are no lights on this trail), but when my headlight spotted two eyes up ahead (and at eye level), I was stunned to see an 8 point buck standing in the middle of the trail just watching me go by.

I'm very glad that he didn't decide to lower his head and charge, as it was at about mile 18 and I was pretty beat.

Getting home a little after 11, icing for an hour, then finally eating dinner around midnight while I watched the History Channel is all something I'd rather not repeat next week, particularly because next week's run is 24 miles.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


It's finally happening. This sharpening thing. This past Saturday on a 20 mile, very hilly trail run, I had a reserve of energy and speed that I didn't know existed. At one point, I was actually sprinting up a hill, at mile 15 feeling great. Today, during my speed workout (6 x 1600s), I ran my last 1600 in 5:44. The only reason I didn't do a 7th was due to time. It just might all be coming together.

Monday, August 20, 2007


That was my 1/2 marathon time on Saturday. 6:42 average. I'm moderately happy with this time. In order to run a sub-3 hour marathon, all of the calculators say that you need to run a 1/2 marathon in 1:25, which I really wasn't close to. However, I didn't taper for this race and actually ran hard on both Thursday and Friday. So, moderately happy. I have hope.

I also now have a blister on my left big toe that pretty much encompasses the entire right half of the toe. That's what happens when you wear your racing flats. Shoes that you haven't worn in about 3 months. I needed every advantage I could get for "race" day on Saturday. "Race" because it was only four of us and we weren't racing each other, only the clock. Everyone seemed pretty happy with their times.

I'm thinking of wearing my racing flats for the marathon. I'll run in them during my interval workouts and maybe my medium long days (10 - 13 miles usually on Thursday) and see how it goes. After the "race", I took my flats off, put my trainers on, and ran another 5 miles. My trainers felt like bricks. Bricks do not enable one to run fast. I might try thicker socks to stem off the globe-sized blisters.

Three of the next four weeks have me running in the high 50s, low 60s for mileage. Let's tear down this body even more.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Dead Zone

I'm entering a phase in my training where I'm simply tired of training. Mentally, not physically. It's been 12.5 weeks, with 7.5 weeks to go and mentally I'm barely hanging on.

Last Saturday's 20 miler that began well, was a disaster in the middle (stomach issues), and exhausting (dehydration) at the end didn't help. The subsequent 24 hours of blood and mucous didn't thrill me either.

I need a vacation.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dead Legs

Last week, I was completely shredded. Dead Leg City. Every step was like I was running in mud. Therefore, I took this week as a serious recovery/step-back week. I'm only running three times. However, two of those three runs are serious. On Tuesday, I ran 5 1600 repeats. On the treadmill of course at an elevation of 1. First mile after my 1 mile warmup was at 7:03 (speed warmup). Mile 2 was at 6:38. Mile 3 at 6:18 and miles 4 and 5 were at 6:00. The crazy thing was that I felt great. I haven't had a speed workout like that in years. I'm hoping that it wasn't an illusion. I'm running a casual 6 tomorrow and an 18 miler on Saturday, with 9 miles of it being at 6:48 pace. So while the mileage is down, I have two intense workouts.

Cutting back this week has been great. No falling asleep while driving and I've been strong for once. Next week, back to the 50 mile weeks.

One more note. I ran a 22 miler last Saturday. I don't know if other runners experience this, but when I stop running any time after 18 miles, the pain is so intense that I usually audibly moan in pain. It's only when I stop though. Very odd.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Warming Up

Today I learned the value of a good warmup. It's Tuesday. My speed workout day. Typically, I run a 1 mile warmup, then do a speed warmup 800 or 1600, running at right about marathon pace. Then, I go into my actual workout. Today, I was scheduled to run 5 1600s. However, I was running a little late and decided to forego my speed warmup. Big mistake. I was done after my 2nd 1600. Tried #3 and was almost thrown off the treadmill because I was already dead tired.

Now this might have been because I was dead tired. Five to six hours of sleep ten days in a row will do that, but I also think it was because the shock of not being properly warmed up completely threw my body for a loop.

The really funny thing is that I can run faster eight miles into a run than I can one mile into a run.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Last Week

51 miles last week. Pretty good week. Only 16 on Saturday, but that was planned. No real soreness. This week is a doozy. 57 miles, with a 22er on Saturday.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Artistic Purity

I was reading a post on Drew Carey as the new Price Is Right host on Metafilter earlier today and a comment on how Drew just lost all of his artistic purity credentials by selling out as a gameshow host caused me to laugh out loud. Just the phrase "artistic purity" cracks me up. I'll leave it to your imaginations as to why.

So this morning's run. Definitely lacking artistic purity. First, it was on a treadmill when it was about 63 degrees outside. Second, my treadmill was right in front of a television that had an infomercial on about double action colon cleansing. Now I'm not one to begrudge one's colon cleansing because I definitely don't want to be the guy that has 42 pounds of fecal matter in his intestines, but I would rather have watched SportsCenter or at the very least CNN (and the commentary on the Democratic-YouTube debate last night (BTW, Hillary won)), but no, I was forced to watch double action colon cleansing. How exactly is it double action? I'm glad you asked and if you find out, please let me know. All I know is that I'd like a shiny pink colon instead of the disgustingness that it is today. However, no ass punch please. I've been through two colonoscopies and the ass punch is truly terrible. Never have my co-workers been as horrified and empathetic as those two days that I had to take the ass punch at work.

I'm off track. Back to artistic purity. Let's recap. Treadmill despite beautiful weather and double action infomercial. Let's move on.

As I stated last week, I renewed my membership at the gym solely to use the treadmill for my interval/speed workouts. Today was day 1. Incline at 1.0. 1 mile warmup at 8:30 and then 7 (although I was supposed to do 9) half mile repeats. The first one was a warmup at 7:03 pace. Two and three were at 6:38 pace. Four, five, and six were at 6:18 pace. Seven was at 5:58 pace. At the end of the seventh, I was done. The legs were shot. However, it was a much better workout than any of my previous track sessions. Oh yea, I have only 7 more weeks of speed workouts. The outcome is still in doubt, but at least there is hope. My legs haven't felt this good in years. Defiling myself on the treadmill will definitely have been worth it if a sub-3 happens.

BTW, I am at my target racing weight. I've been struggling for weeks to lose that last three pounds and like magic, it just simply vanished this past week. I think it was the 50 mile week. My body simply finally surrendered. And no, I'm not looking emaciated. I've been focusing on my core and upper body as well (i.e., crunches, pushups, The Plank, curls, and back work before bed). No swinging the arms side to side on this runner.

Monday, July 23, 2007


The unfortunate thing about living in a nicer suburb is that my running experiences, unless I drive somewhere to run, are pretty boring. In NY, I'd be dodging and flipping off insane drivers and cyclists. I might even see a police chase. In CA, not so much. I just go and run.

Last week, I ran 47 miles. I missed one day because I decided that sleeping in on a recovery day would be a much nicer recovery than running a slow 6 miles. It was. However, I didn't cross the 50 mile mark for the week.

I did run a 20 miler on Saturday. I wasn't feeling it and I didn't get out until 8am, at which point, it was a sweltering 75 degrees (you think I'm joking, I'm not. It was hot.), so I didn't push it.

Not pushing it meant I ran 20 in 2:29 (7:28 miles). By the way, that tied my personal best for a 20 mile training run. Encouraging. However, well off the pace I was at for my 16 miler two weeks ago (7:10 miles). Tomorrow the treadmill calleth. Hopefully there aren't any insane retired Eastern Europeans with gold chains at the gym. Although at least I'd have an interesting entry.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Not the drink, the card game. I've been playing gin since I was six or seven and my grandfather taught me. He would pretty much smoke me every time as he is the ultimate card counter. However, as I grew older, I began to hold my own. As a result of my experience playing this game, I have never lost a match, except to my grandfather. A hand, yes. A game, yes, but never a match (5 games of 100 pts each). The closest I ever came to losing a match was to my friend Lee many years ago.

I taught Liz how go play several years ago and she has consistently gotten better, even winning games from time to time. We usually play a 100 point game during the evening.

Last night, I won 110 - 0.

Back to the Treadmill

Only on Tuesdays. My speed workouts just aren't happening on the track. Well, they are happening, but they just aren't fast enough. So next Tuesday I will be heading back to Ballys. Don't worry. Just Tuesdays.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I should have begun posting about my weekly training weeks ago or at the minimum last week (as you'll soon find out), but here it is anyway. I'm eight weeks into a twenty week program. Last week, I ran a measley 36 miles. I was scheduled for 52, but I missed two days. The week before I ran 50, which is why I should have started this last week.

My schedule pretty much looks like this every week:

- M,W,F - 6 recovery miles (usually in the 7:40 - 7:50 range)
- Tu - track workout (alternating 800s and 1600s at 6:00 - 6:10 pace) - I'll talk more about these later
- Thurs - medium long run (10 - 13 miles) with hills with 4 to 5 miles being at tempo pace (6:30 and below)
- Sat - long run (16 - 24 miles at 7:30 pace for 50% to 75% and 6:48 pace for 25% to 50%)

It's a pretty demanding schedule. I hit my pace on all of my runs except for my track workouts, where I'm a little slow. Apparently running that fast early in the morning is extremely difficult. Also, the track bores me to tears. It's a little discouraging, but the long runs at marathon pace pick me back up to end the week.

I'm thinking of alternating hill repeats with my medium long run. Same total distance, but doing four big hills in the middle. That Veyo volcano scares me. I could easily lose 2 minutes on that thing.

No real injuries, although today my right hamstring is a little sore. Ok, more than a little.

I have had some interesting experiences on my long runs. My brother is a die hard triathlete and when we were talking a month or so ago, he mentioned that he was trying something new with his cycling. Instead of going for a high cadence, he was putting his bike into a big gear and keeping the same speed. He said something about this being recommended because it became more anaerobic and saved your heart for the run.

I decided to try this out while running. I typically have a shorter stride and focus on my leg turnover. I measured my heart rate with my usual stride/turnover/speed. I then ran with a longer stride/slower turnover/same speed and what do you know, my heart rate was about 3% lower. I've done this several times with the same results.

As a result of my results, I have now begun alternating normal stride/quicker turnover with longer stride/slower turnover during my long runs, particularly with the MP portion of my long runs and have found that I am able to keep up MP for a much longer time. I can't run for long periods of time with my longer stride/slower turnover, but I can run this way long enough that it acts as a recovery due to the slower heart rate even though my speed is constant.

So that's the report. This Saturday is my first 20 miler in about 3 months.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Sorry Guys,

but my mom is making me get off the computer." Those were the words I read last night as a group of Alliance questers were trying to kill the last boss in a lower level dungeon in World of Warcraft. It had taken us 1.5 hours to get to the boss and this kid's mom was ruining our fun.

I have problems.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Break From Running

I normally don't dive into politics or economics too seriously on this blog, primarily because my blog entries normally take five minutes and five minutes is not enough time to form a logical, coherent, defensible political or economic statement. The recent debate on the immigration issue caused me to think back to a paper I wrote while I was in business school. Remember that this was written in 2004 and that some of the numbers have changed and Greenspan is no longer at the Fed. Although not my best work, I thought that the topic was fairly interesting. My paper, probably not so much, but here it is. My position has changed a little, but not by much. The original paper had citations in it, but because this is a personal blog, I'm excluding them.

‘You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.’ Whether or not Dick Cheney said this to Paul O’Neill is a matter for debate, but the underlying question remains. Do deficits matter? Is a large public debt a threat to a nation’s economy? Because the question is rather nebulous, I’m going to interpret the questions thusly, should the U.S. be concerned with the size and projected growth of its current debt? Our simple answer is no and our more sophisticated answer is also no, as long as certain criteria are met. Within this paper, we will address the risks and potential benefits of large deficits, why the current size of the debt does not matter, and why it will not matter going forward as long as certain conditions are met.

The opponents of a large public debt argue that the long-term economic health and social stability of a country are put at risk by this debt. Crowding out, a regressive distributional impact, a burden on future generations, and the diversion of revenues from social programs to interest payments are all familiar arguments against running large deficits.

Those in favor of a large public debt argue that the debt stimulates the markets, creating new ones in some cases, acts as a tax smoothing instrument, injects capital into the economy and provides a stimulus for growth, improves the infrastructure, and acts as an automatic demand stabilizer.

The question is who is right. Let me share a little story. One day at the Chateau Fuller, high up in the Sierra Nevadas overlooking Lake Tahoe, an enterprising young snowboarder surveyed the valley below and the mountain above. He reflected on his previous day’s ride through the valley and how nothing, not moguls, not rocks, not skiers, not newbie boarders got in his way. He was one with the mountain. Then he began to wonder what it would take to go up the mountain, aside from a ski lift, helicopter, or Snow Cat. He wondered about a magic snowboard that would defy the law of gravity and allow him to blaze up the mountain unabated; a magic snowboard so strong that he would be able to tow his friends along as well.

Obviously, or maybe not so obviously, this is an economic metaphor. The snowboarder is the U.S. economy. The velocity of our young friend is the well being of the economy or growth. The obstacles are, well, obstacles to growth. What about the magic snowboard? It represents policies that stimulate growth. Policies that promote and actually result in growth are the key in ensuring that deficits do not matter. As long as growth continues, deficits will not matter. And, as we discussed previously, one of the key benefits to a large public debt is its ability to stimulate growth. The question then is how does the U.S. ensure that when it is running a large deficit that growth continues? The answer is that it avoids the obstacles and provides stimuli.

Generally speaking, obstacles to growth include higher interest rates and higher taxes. The argument that many take as a wizard’s, or in this case, economist’s first rule is that deficits lead to a rise in interest rates and a rise in interest rates lead to the crowding out of the private sector and slower growth. Let’s take a look at some work that Robert J. Barro did in looking at the effects of deficits on interest rates in non-wartime periods. In 1833, the United Kingdom freed its West Indian slaves. As compensation to the slaveholders, the government provided the former slaveholders with a one-time payment. This compensation was funded primarily through debt. In addition, in 1909, legislative deadlock prevented the United Kingdom from levying any taxes. Again, the government was funded through the issuance of debt. In both of these cases, the large deficit that was created did not result in increases in the interest rate. A more recent example is the past twenty years. During the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II years, large deficit spending occurred and interest rates were not affected. Currently rates are near all-time lows and the deficit as a percentage of GDP is lower today than it was during the Reagan and Bush I years. The argument here is that deficits do not lead automatically to rises in interest rates, which are analogous with slower growth.

During wartime, Barro’s evidence points to deficits in fact leading to a rise in interest rates. However, the debt that is issued during wartime is principally long-term debt. Today, the U.S. is primarily issuing short-term debt. 72% of all current debt issued by the U.S. is short-term, defined as being under five years. Regardless of whether the U.S. is considered to be in a current wartime state or not, Barro’s long-term debt and corresponding rise in interest rate evidence does not apply.

We come back to a possible rise in interest rates on the U.S.’s short-term debt. If a rise did occur, the U.S. could be under pressure to use inflation as a tool to lighten the burden on itself. The question hinges on whether or not this will happen. The simple answer is no. It is a political economy question. Alan Greenspan says inflation is under control. Inflation has been under control the past 25 years, times of large deficits included. Greenspan’s word is as good as God’s. Governments and people believe him as he pronounces his edicts from on high. If governments and people believe him, then they will not ask for higher interest rates on the U.S.’s short-term debt. As long as the economy continues to grow, demand for higher rates will not happen. In addition, Asian governments such as Japan’s have a vested interest in keeping the U.S. economy going. Their insatiable demand for U.S. debt, as a result of their desire to keep their currencies from rising against the dollar, is crowding out any type of crowding out.

We’ve discussed the obstacles to our magic snowboard. Now, let’s discuss the stimuli. Deficits and tax cuts are the stimuli that will keep our snowboard out of harm’s way. When the government injects capital into the economy and cuts taxes on corporations and people, it spurs growth. Companies have more cash to invest and rely less on debt. This growth leads to higher tax revenues, which in turn enable the U.S. to pay back its debt and lower the deficit.

As we can see, deficit spending and lower tax cuts go hand in hand with growth. They create a positive growth feedback loop. So what is the big deal? Why have the CBO and every other economist worth his or her salt projected huge deficits at current tax levels beginning in 2014? It’s the boomers. The boomers will begin to retire. They will generally begin to leave the tax-paying workforce, move to Florida, and begin to collect social security. This is potentially a huge problem. Without the tax receipts from these boomers and with entitlements going to more people, the U.S. could be in big trouble. To pay these entitlements, taxes would need to be raised, which again, will slow down growth. The deficit will widen. However, taxes won’t be raised and the deficit will not widen.

The CBO projections account for stable population growth. Immigration growth is not included as a major contributing factor. Maybe the CBO should have spoken to the Center for Immigration Studies. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and the Census Bureau estimate that by 2050, the U.S. population will increase to 550 million. That’s almost double the current population. Why will people from other countries be coming here? Supply and demand. The growth of the U.S. economy leads to job creation. Job creation leads to the need for more workers. People immigrate to the U.S. to take these jobs. In addition, the boomers will be retiring and replacements will be needed. These are additional taxpayers that will fund the additional entitlements the retirees are due.

There are 76 million baby boomers. Let’s divide them into two main groups. 39 million will be eligible under current social security rules for benefits in 2021. 37 million will be eligible for benefits in 2039. Based on the CIS and Census Bureau data, let’s assume 100 million additional tax paying Americans by 2021 and roughly 200 million by 2039. Granted not all are tax payers, but the numbers are there to support the boomers. It will not be a crisis. Immigration solves the problem of possibly having to increase taxes to pay off the debt and to pay the boomers what is due to them.

The population increase leads to the normal deficit cycle of deficits going up and down as the business cycle goes up and down, funding recessions with deficits and paying them back when we have surplus.

Deficits and low taxes go hand in hand with our friend growth. Do deficits matter? They can, but under the right conditions, which are being fostered now, they will not.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Catching the Rabbit

I wanted to have some reggae music playing in the background and then make up some very clever running lyrics that went to Bob Marley's "I Shot The Sherriff" and when I got about half-way through it I realized that it was probably the dumbest, corniest, embarrassing thing I had ever written. And that's saying something. It's not often that I blush at my own writing. I realize that I am not as clever as I think I am and that I say and write things that at the time I think are amazingly witty, but upon reflection are just plain dumb. I'm not sure how Liz puts up with it. Another reason to keep my mouth shut. You keep your mouth shut and people thing you are introspective, thoughtful, and intelligent. The reality is that I'm just barely smart enough to realize that my best chance in life is to keep silent and keep tricking others. It's worked so far. Here's hoping to another 40 years of successful silence.

Anyways (not a good transition, I know, but it's the best I could come up with), I caught the rabbit last week. It was a minor miracle, not because I only ran 7:00s, but because I ran into a skunk about a mile into the run and he didn't want to leave the path. I almost was doused, but fortunately about 6 feet before I came upon the kitty and was about to say, "Hi kitty, looks like the Grizzley Bear didn't find you", I saw a huge tail go up and sprinted backwards. I didn't realize I was so quick. I could play tennis, although that really wouldn't fit into the endurance athlete macho persona that I'm trying to foster. All 150 lbs of macho. Yea baby. You better watch out. Yes, I've dropped 4 lbs. I'm about 3 lbs shy of my target weight. (Maybe that's why Liz made me 2 dozen delicious gluten-free chocolate chip cookies. I ate 10 for breakfast. Hey, I was hungry. Now I just need a chocolate milk dispenser and we'll be good to go.)

So the rabbit run is on again tomorrow. Need to drop my tempo run speed by another 20 seconds per mile over the next couple of weeks if I am to have any chance of making my goal. Here's to the slow down of old age (for any of my friends that have access to the pharmaceutical "Fountain of Youth", please give me a call. I'm in serious need. Just don't tell Liz.)

Friday, June 01, 2007


I'm a smooth runner. My form is smooth, my breathing is smooth, my stride is smooth. No wasted motion. Efficient. It's what enables me to be a decent runner. Smoothness translates into comfort. When I run, I'm comfortable. There is no haggard breathing, no wild swinging of the arms across the body, no anything that would cause me to be uncomfortable. I'm grown comfortable with my comfortable style of running and look what I've done. I've run 5 marathons. I've BQ'd. I've run Boston. It's all been very smooth, very easy. That's not to say that I haven't worked for it, but just that working for it has been easy. That's not the case right now.

Right now, comfortable running leaves at around 6:50 pace. That's a problem. My training calls for running at least once a week and sometimes twice a week distances between 8 and 12 miles at 6:20 pace. Right now, it's not happening. Whether it is the increased mileage, which has given me a mild case of dead legs, overall exhaustion of only getting 6 hours of sleep a night, or my legs just not wanting to turn over quickly enough (the secret to running fast is leg turnover, not increased stride. Your stride is your stride.), I am unable to ratchet up to a higher gear for longer periods of time. Again, this is a problem for someone who needs to run 6:50 miles for 26.2 miles. Training at 6:50 just won't cut it on race day.

I've now completed my first two out of twenty weeks of training. My legs feel like iron. I'm strengthening my core. I've stopped drinking soda completely. I'm weighing myself about six times a day (my ideal race weight is 147. Theoretically, you gain a second a mile for every ounce you lose. I have about 6 pounds to lose). I'm eating right (I'm only getting a bacon cheeseburger with fries and ranch instead of a double bacon cheeseburger with fries and ranch). I'm in the mode. The legs just won't go where they need to go comfortably.

To rectify this problem, I incorporated strides into my easy workouts starting today. Strides are 100m sprints that you do at the end of an easy 4 to 6 mile run. I'm also going to start doing light track workouts at the end of my other easy days. Gotta get those legs going. It won't be comfortable, but I'm hoping that by changing my training strategy at this point, that I will be able to slowly increase my comfortable pace speed.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wanted: New Lungs

Today is Day 4 of my 20 week training program in preparation for the St. George Marathon and today I really began to realize what a fight it is going to be to run a sub-3. Today was my first tempo run in a long time. 8 mile run. 2 mile warm-up, 5 miles at 10k pace, and 1 mile cooldown. Well, my 10k pace should be around 6:15 - 6:20. However, today, it was 7:00.

My lungs are completely out of shape. This is what happens when you haven't trained specific to your capabilities, but rather to someone else's capabilities. Your lungs go to pot. Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed the social aspects of running here. It's really the first time that I have found a large group of people to run with. The problem is that they run hills and when we do run the flats, I'm typically holding back. I'll still run with the group, but I will likely only do it on short recovery runs when I'm just looking to get mileage. Good thing I have 19 weeks and 3 days to move the needle.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Liz!

I hope all of your birthday dreams come true. I plan on making lots of gravy. And slathering it all over me.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lottery Winner

This isn't about money, but about my entry into the St. George Marathon. You see, due to local and state regulations regarding the road this race is run on, only 6900 people are allowed to participate. However, because it is a very downhill course, very well organized, and in a beautiful part of Utah, many more people than 6900 try to enter each year. That's where the lottery comes in. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky ones and got in.

With the reality of me running St. George in October (potential reality really as we have a newborn coming in August), comes the necessary creation of a training schedule. Not since I ran the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon in 2004 have I created such a detailed schedule. The reason being is that this race will represent my attempt to go under 3 hours. Having a marathon result that starts with a 2 is my ultimate running goal. I am quite sure that if I ran a sub-3 that it would be the most significant athletic accomplishment of my life. I would probably even shed a tear or two. It means everything to this runner.

However, when I looked at my schedule and truly began to comprehend what it would take, a little bit of fear crept into my psyche. It's going to be extremely difficult and even if I train perfectly, the possibility of not running a sub-3 is there. With a perfect training cycle, I still put the odds at about 50/50.

Training starts May 21st. May I have the strength to wake up at 4:30am Monday through Saturday for 20 weeks.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Social Running

Now before you get all excited thinking that this post will either be a)witty, b)educational, or c)spiritual, please don't get your hopes up. In fact, if you are thinking along those lines, please be prepared for disappointment. As you all know (I think there are more than 2 of you now), I am none of those things. And no, I am not being facetious. I understand and embrace my limitations. To do otherwise would be to suffer a life of failure and that is something I am not psychologically prepared to do. I'd rather be the King of Mediocrity (in my own mind) than the guy who tries so hard to be so good, but it just never really happens, unless he gets really lucky, which doesn't happen all that often (I can count two times - 1)Liz agreeing to be my wife (I read a book on trickery) and 2)Conning my way into my current job, although really is it that great of a job? Well for the average/mediocre person that I am, as long as I can continue to talk a good game and pass responsibility and blame on to others, then yes, it's a swell job.)

Anyways, sorry for the rambling. I just wanted you all to be prepared for a very average, very dull Salt Lake City Marathon report.

I finished in 3:26:32 or about a 7:54 average mile. Now using average pace per mile is pretty deceitful when it comes to this marathon. I'm not actually sure if I ever ran anything close to a 7:54 mile. That's the thing about averages. If you're performing during the same race as two distinctly different runners, who are running two very different paces, you end up with a skewed average result that really reflects nothing about your race.

The first thing you need to know is that I knew 11 people who ended up running this. 11. Yea, I know. Did I ever think I would personally know 11 marathoners on a personal basis? Nope. I grew up thinking that my father and the people he ran with were 100% crazy and that they were few and far between. Little did I know that marathoning would become the phenomenon it is today. It has come to the masses, which is hard for the King of Mediocrity to accept, but at least the King has more subjects now. Sorry for the slippage into the 3rd person. It's annoying, but it seemed appropriate given my Royal Majestyness.

Anyway, 11 people I knew ran the race. I planned on pacing three of the runners to 3:30, which for two of them was their Boston Qualifying time. However, it was not to be so smooth. I went to the designated area after dropping my stuff off and making a port-o-jon run, but nobody was where they were supposed to be. So I stood in place for 5 minutes after the gun went off watching everyone I knew run by and then at last one of the 3 appears. Do not fret faithful readers. Although the clock had started, there are these magic things called mats that are able to magically sense when your shoe, which has a little chip in it, crosses it and your official start and end times are tracked by this chip. Chip time. It's wonderful. So I didn't lose 5 minutes, except for being 5 minutes behind the other two who were going for 3:30.

I really wanted to push it and make up the 5 minutes, but I also didn't want to kill the other guy shooting for a 3:30 in the process. As a primer for the unmarathon initiatied, the marathon is broken in three phases. First 10 miles - very social, everyone is happy, talking, blah, blah, blah. Second 10 miles - less social, people still feel good, running strong. Last 6.2 miles - no talking, serious pain, survive.

So back to me and my friend. I could tell immediately that it wasn't his day. He was just tired. His muscles were fine, no pain, but he wasn't going to be able to average the 8:01s necessary to make a 3:30. We had spoken prior to the race about our strategy around this considering that there were other people running that I wanted to support and had said that if we fell off pace for two miles that we would have an honest discussion about if he could make it up or not. If not, I would go and support the other two.

Before we get to where we separated, let me just say that starting 5 minutes after the gun was in all respects, except for one, outstanding. I saw everyone else, including my dad and a friend from Kansas that I hadn't seen in a year, as we ran by. We would run a few steps together and then push on. It was very nice. I'll get to the one non-outstanding moment in a minute.

At about mile 9, we fell off pace. Two miles later, we had our discussion and he told me that he just didn't have it. It was time to go. I told him to have a good race, passed two others in our group who were close by and told them to have a good race and then I was off. Now at this point, I estimated that I was 7 or 8 minutes behind the other two, so if I wanted to catch them and I did, I really did, that I was going to need to run swiftly. You know, like a deer. So run swiftly I did. 6 minute mile after 6 minute mile. I passed the 3:40 group after about a mile. The 3:30 group based on where we were in the race was only about 5 minutes ahead. Charge, charge, charge. Well, making up those five minutes was the one unoutstanding thing about starting the race 5 minutes behind everyone else. It was tough. It took me another 5 miles to catch them, with some of my miles being in the 6s and some of them being in the low 7s. By the time I finally caught them at mile 19, I was done. (And by the way, for those doing the math. Don't. This race report is all about perception. It's my reality. It's mediocre. Don't challenge it or I'll just need to point out just how mediocre you are as well.)

But, I had finally caught them. However, I was spent. I had not trained to run 6s for that far. I had trained to help my friends to run 8:01s. When I finally caught the other two, I didn't have much left. And we hit concrete. Let me tell you about running on concrete. It sucks. Particularly when the majority of the time you run on trails and asphalt. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. While I'm here, the course was forgettable, although the post-race party and food was outstanding. All marathoners should expect pizza and wings after running a race. The King of Mediocrity will now declare it so. It is so.

I hung on for five miles until mile 24. At that point, I let one of my friends go. After another mile, where I think I ran an 8:38, I let the other runner go. Although as I did that I smiled to myself a little. I had a little surprise for them at the end, which was the fact that I started five minutes after the gun and hence after them. Once I finally dragged myself across the finish line, we hooked up and of course the first guy to finish asked my time and I told him. He was confused and asked how I had gotten in front of him. When I told him that I had started five minutes after the gun, he looked a little crestfallen. Hey, I wasn't going to say anything, but he did ask. Such is the life of a super-competitive average person. I think it was even better when the paper and web site published results according to chip time. I know. I'm not very nice. Sorry. Most average people aren't very nice. We're too busy being angry about being average.

On Saturday if you had asked me about running a sub-3 hour marathon this year or ever, I would have said no way. Now, after much reflection on my training and how I should approach a sub-3 hour attempt, I have changed my mind. The #2 will appear at the beginning of a marathon finish time. Probably even this year.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Get A Move On

That was one of the phrases that came out of my mouth this morning as I ran around Briones Reservoir alone. Apparently the ranchers have moved their cattle to the reservoir as they felt that there wasn't enough cow dung along the path to fertilize all of the thorns and briars.

It was pouring rain this morning and yet I went out. I hadn't run all week due to work being a little more crazy than usual. Remind me to tell you what it is like working with a team that consists of the client and four different consulting firms. Lots o' fun.

The rain didn't bother me too much as it was a warm rain (50s). The hills bothered me a little and I just decided to relax and go slow. The mud really bothered me. The clumpiness factor on a scale of 1 to 10 was a solid 7. The only solution was to run through the grass, which of course has thorns. Fun stuff.

At about mile 7, I started noticing many piles of fresh cow crap. I wish I had had my camera as there is nothing quite like clumpy mud, fresh cow poo, and rain. I guess it was kind of like running in diarrhea.

About half a mile after noticing the diarrhea mud, I encountered my first herd. Probably 30 or 40 cows. No bulls. However, there were about 10 calves. Remembering the lessons learned from Grandma F's ranch back in the day, I knew that just trying to run by them wouldn't work. I had to scare them off. It was at this point that I started shouting, "Yeaaawwwww! Get a move on! Yeaaawwww!" and waving my arms. I almost took off my hat, but due to the rain, I decided against it. Also, I was looking ridiculous enough. Adding a waving white running hat would have been too much.

The cows moved aside and as I ran by, they all mooed at me. I was a little tired at this point, so I didn't moo back, but believe me, next time I see that herd, we're gonna have us a moo-down. About a mile later, another herd. Only this one had about 60 cows and one bull. Fortunately, the bull decided that I was pretty scary and just took off. I hope the cows remember how he wussed out against a skinny pale white guy dodging cow patties.

I thought I was done with the cows, but at the top of a ridge about two miles later, I encountered a very large herd. Probably a 100 or so cows. The problem with these cows was that they were on the trail and there was nowhere for them to go. Both sides of the trail were just too steep. So here I go with my arms waving and my "Yeeeaaaawwwww!! Get a MOVE ON!!" routine and the only place they can go is right down the trail. We did this for about a half mile before the ridge flattened out and they were able to bolt to the side. Seriously, there needs to be a camera crew following me around when I run. I was herding cows. It was somewhat ridiculous, but at least they didn't slow me down.

It reminded me of when I begged a cowboy at Grandma F's ranch to let me ride a horse when I was seven or eight and he said he'd get a horse ready, but only if I chased all of the cows in another field down a path to another field. Sure, I said just wanting to ride a horse. So he saddled up a horse for me and off I went to the field to chase cows. The problem is that I had no idea how to chase them in an organized fashion so that they would all go down the path. I spent about 30 minutes chasing individual cows across the field before the cowboy came riding up to me on his horse asking me what the hell I was doing. I of course told him I was chasing cows. He spit, told me to go back to the barn and then proceeded to chase the herd down the path to the other field in less than ten minutes.

As you can tell, I remembered that lesson today. All the cows went where I directed them. That cowboy would have been so proud.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Fast and Furious

That's our team name.

Where to start? I'm not sure, as I'm still on a little bit of a high from the whole event. This is definitely going to be a stream of consciousness post.

It was nuts. I'm still sore and it is Wednesday. Here's the setup:

- 12 person team (6 women, 6 men)
- 188 miles from Wickenburg to Scottsdale
- Two cars, six people in each car
- The first six runners are in the first car and once they finish running, they go somewhere and take a break for 4 or 5 hours while the next car with the next six runners does their thing. Repeat 3 times for a total of 36 legs that were between 3 and 8 miles.

My first leg was around 3:30pm. It was 6 miles, with the first 3 being a gradual uphill. I was too anxious and tight the whole time being amped up for the race, but I did decently and averaged 6:51 miles.

After our team finished the first six legs, we went to a high school, which was where the next major exchange was and ate and relaxed. I paid $5 to take a cold shower and use a wrestling mat to lie down on. Cold shower. Not happy. Oh, did I tell you that my main source of food was Diet Dr. Pepper and Ruffles Masterpiece BBQ chips? I also ate some good salami and cheese.

My next leg was at 1:30am and was almost 7 miles along a gentle downhill the whole way. I felt great, especially because it was nice and cool and I averaged 6:33 miles. I was pretty impressed with myself until I stopped and felt my hamstrings tighten up immediately. They are still tight by the way. I felt even less impressed with myself when a guy came in about 5 minutes after me having averaged 5:42 miles. Wow, that's smokin'.

After we finished our second leg, we went to a member of our team's house and relaxed. Notice, no sleep. We layed down and relaxed. No shower this time.

My last leg was at 8:30am. It is considered the hardest leg out of the 36 legs of the entire race. Only 5.5 miles, but the first 3 are uphill and the last 1/3 of a mile there was a 300 foot elevation gain. It was brutal. Hot and no sleep made me completely exhausted. It was out in the middle of the desert, which was pretty, but i was totally dead. I ended up averaging 8:00 miles.

I was just glad to run as early as I did. It was only in the high 70s when I ran. The rest of my teammates had to run in temperatures that reached 93. Ouch and ouch.

One of my favorite legs that I didn't run was Richard's second leg. Dirt roads at midnight through what appeared to be a very posh neighborhood. I'm sure all of the people loved hearing the roar of the Escalade as it powered over some of those hills. The funny part is that might be the first time that that particular Escalade has ever been on dirt. I think I also enjoyed it because Richard has some power and overtook some people as we went through some slow rollers (hills).

Overall, it was totally fun. I ended up riding the bike with Julie Ann, Lisa, and Melanie while they ran, which was nice and relaxing. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Everyone did great. Out of 73 total teams, we finished 27th. In our division (Mixed), we finished 9th out of 31, averaging 8:32 miles.

Here's a link to some pics. Unfortunately Richard, our fearless team captain, was also our photographer, which means there are not any pics of him, primarily because I'm a slacker. Actually, his leg was right before mine and because I was busy skipping, warming up, and getting myself psyched to kick some butt, I forgot all about pics. Such is the mindset of the insane runner.

The moral of the story is that running two times within an 8 hour period, including the middle of the night, just isn't that tough. Running 3 times in a 16 hour period, with only about 90 minutes of quasi-sleep is very difficult. The clincher is that there really isn't a good way to train for that.

Next year, we will decorate our vehicles and maybe even have a more clever team name. Any theme ideas?

Oh, I forgot to tell you, my middle leg is the hardest. And, "Who's that coming down our chute? It's Amy! It's Amy!"

Thank you to our volunteers mom, Erin, and Kevin, as well as to Chris and Anne for seting up our living quarters.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My Legs

Not my actual legs, but the legs I'll be running this weekend at the Ragnar Del Sol Relay.

Monday, March 26, 2007


You've heard me complain about my hamstrings. You've heard me complain about my ITBs. You might have even heard me whine about my arches. What you've not heard is any complaints about my quads. You see, long distance runners don't really hammer their quads like they do to their hamstrings. Quads are a sprinting muscle. The only time distance runners seriously use them is when they are going downhill. Well to my surprise, my quads have been sore for a week.

Last Tuesday I did my usual track workout (5 x 1600s). Wednesday I was fine. Thursday morning I woke up and my quads were sore. This was surprising, but it wasn't painful, just sore, so I ignored it. However, the soreness has continued. It's a little baffling. I went faster than normal last Tuesday (about 30 seconds per mile faster - 6:30s) in anticipation of Richard yelling at me to run faster for our relay this weekend, but it didn't hurt at all. I've run a 1/2 marathon doing 6:30s the whole way and I wasn't sore afterward. I haven't run any massive downhills lately.

The only thing I can think of is that my shoes have broken down a little earlier than normal. They have 480 miles on them right now. Usually I retire a pair of shoes at 500 miles, even though I know they probably have another 100 miles or so in them. I just do it to avoid injury. However, the only other time I've run in shoes for too long and felt the pain, the pain was in my foot and calf, not my quads. It's puzzling.

The other thing is maybe I'm just getting old. I thought I had another 5 or so fast running years left in me, but maybe I was wrong. Or maybe I'll still be able to run fairly quickly, but will be made to pay a price. I really am not looking forward to the breaking down of my body. Maybe I need to look into the whole Barry Bonds regimen. So I live to 85 instead of 100. Not that big a deal.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I've been called many things over the years, most of them I will not print due to sensitive eyes (Who am I kidding, I just don't want both of you to start asking for Miggidy Mixmaster Mike (Triple M) when you call and Liz picks it up, which would then lead to her asking me to put on her blue sequin blouse and spin my Kenny G records). However, I've learned over the past year in consulting how clients view consultants. Clients. Not those affected by the work that consultants do. Huge difference there. How clients view me has led to an interesting nicknaming phenomenon.

My two favorites are:

- The Quiet Tornado


- The Sledgehammer

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mo, Compel Me

During break time when I should be buying another 20oz Diet Coke or perhaps just stretching my cramped hamstrings, I instead have taken to commenting on this blog. Mo, you posting about politics has got to be the single worst thing you have ever done to me. And you have done some pretty terrible things to me. We won't discuss those things. Will we. Ever.

Monday, March 12, 2007


I'm a decent cook. Actually, I don't cook very many things, but those things that I do make, I make better than average. You see, I've discovered the secret to food that tastes good. It's called fat. My main ingredients are butter, cream, chicken fat, and whole milk. Although I'd much rather use cream than whole milk, as whole milk just isn't fatty enough.

Well, Liz has recently discovered that I have perfected my gravy and now desires it above all other things. All. Other. Things. The sounds that emanated from her yesterday made me a little jealous. I kept telling myself that at least I was the indirect cause of so much ecstasy. After 30 minutes of ooohing and aaahhing, I decided that it was little consolation. I might make her wait a month for the next batch.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


The five of us training for the SLC Marathon, plus three others, went for a 20 miler on Saturday. We met in Orinda, ran 3 miles to Briones Reservoir, ran the 14 miles around it, then ran the 3 miles back. You'll notice a sudden drop in elevation right before mile 16 and that my total mileage on my watch was only 18. Both were due to me forgetting to turn my watch back on as I was waiting for some other runners to catch up.

The run was inspiring, as any run that has the climbs that this run has should. I think that going forward I am going to incorporate two 20 mile hill runs into my training schedule. The current schedule has five 20s and two 22s, but it is all on flat ground. I have a feeling that having two of my 20s be on runs like this can only help.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I've noticed that oftentimes I am the last person to comment on a particular blog entry, usually after I've commented about something I feel strongly about. I've come to the realization that this phenomenon occurs because I am right. Oh, you could say it's because I'm a troll and others don't want to feed the troll. You could also say that most people really just don't care what I say. And finally, someone could say that I'm often late to the party and others have moved on to newer blog pastures, but I know the truth and deep down, so do you.

PTC is on the money. Don't forget it.

Market Research

Apparently I don't know my audience very well. Maybe I should put some of my marketing knowledge to work here.

Market Potential - about 2 billion

Current Market Share - .0000000000000000000000095%

Market Concentration - we'll go with geographical concentration - primarily a 15 square mile area in the East Valley with a few outliers

Market Demand - almost 0

Elasticity of Demand - well, since this is a free site, we can't really measure it, but let's assume that my content is so good that it's about .2

Here's where it gets fun:

Market Segment - if you simply looked at my posts, you would assume that I am targeting runners and readers (although really, who am I kidding, my real target audience is myself)

However, if we measure how well my content is received by the number of comments that each particular post receives, we can plainly see that my content needs to change if I want to drive up my readership.

Popular culture appears the way to go. Running, gone. Reading, gone. The Lottery, stays. WoW, not sure yet. 8.5 million current subscribers can't be all wrong. Stay tuned for my next post about the Anna Nicole mystery, to be followed by my post on Tom Cruise's bizarre love triangle that involves a donkey.

This change in strategy should increase my comments, drive up my earnings, and give me an overall boost in self-esteem. I probably should have caught on to this trend a long time ago, but you know me, I'm a little stubborn, prone to delusions of my own self-importance, and basically not too bright. Thank you all for this revelation. I didn't even need to fast to receive it. It would have helped if someone had told me this 25 months ago when I started this thing. I could have been living off of this site by now.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

$370 Million

That's a lot of clams. Every news site has a headline on it. The radio personalities keep talking about what they would do with that much money. I'll admit, I'm not immune. That much money would be very nice and I can imagine many things I would do with it, not all of them frivolous. However, when it all comes down to it and as has been said by many others, "The lottery is a tax on the stupid." If you're going to gamble, play something with a little bit better odds, like craps or poker or insider trading. Not that I am encouraging gambling.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Guilty Pleasure

Not every book I read is about history, war, politics, and economics. I do have my guilty pleasures. Stephen King's Dark Tower Series is one of those. I had read books 1 through 4 many years ago and at Christmas, when I received a Barnes & Noble gift card, I decided not to add to my non-fiction library, but to add to my science fiction library and bought the last three books of the Dark Tower. I started reading Wolves of the Calla two days ago and am now about half way through it. I'm not going to summarize it because if you haven't read books 1 through 4, you'd be completely lost. It's a very good read. The series is unlike most of King's writing. When I read book 1, The Gunslinger, I was immediately hooked. There's a broad theme of showing humanity how tiny we really are that resonates with me. That and all of the gun play of course. Although if you start at book 1, know that it is the slowest of the books in terms of action. When King wrote it originally as a short story, I'm not sure he meant for it to become what it has become.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Some have asked about moving your VO2max. Technically you cannot move your VO2max. It is determined solely by genetics. The purpose of the VO2max workouts is to be able to run at your VO2max for long periods of time. What you are moving is your current ability to transport oxygen to your heart. Let's say my VO2max is 100. However, today, my current ability to transport oxygen to my heart is 70. What the VO2max workouts do is allow me to achieve my ceiling (my VO2max). However, everyone's ceiling is different. If my ceiling is 100, Lance Armstrong's drug-free ceiling is 300. With drugs, it's probably 350. I kid. I kid.

I'd Forgotten

What a workout this is. I was home early yesterday and because my training partner begged off of our morning run due to injury, I decided to not wake up at 4:30am and to run after work with the little guy. Well, he's not as little as he was seven months ago. I would have thought that my recent speed and hill training would have given me a boost, but apparently either Zane gained 25 pounds or I am weaker than I was when I was training for Tahoe.

Yes, yesterday was a tough 8 miles. Of course Zane fell asleep about 1 1/2 miles into it and woke up about two blocks from our house. He missed the two giant hills, one of which left me feeling like I was about to vomit. He missed his dad sprinting at the end barely able to breathe so that he could make his goal of averaging under 8 minute miles, which I did, but it took a 7:20 last mile to do it. He did not miss opening the garage door when we arrived home though. Pushing the "button" is his favorite thing to do. I'm sure our neighbors love how many times a day the garage door opens and closes and opens again, particularly because it needs some oil.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Interval Training

Aside from long runs at goal pace, the key to running fast for long periods of time is long interval training. Long intervals combine VO2max and Anaerobic Threshold or Lactate Threshold training. A long interval is a distance of 800m to 1600m. However, my personal feeling based upon experience is that intervals of 800m only really contribute to helping your VO2max, while intervals of 1600m contribute to increasing both your VO2max and anaerobic threshold.

For those that did not click on the links. VO2max is your maximum capacity to transport and utilize oxygen. Your lactate threshold is the point at which lactate begins to accumulate in your blood stream faster than it can be metabolized. Exercising at a greater rate than your lactate threshold means that you are exercising without oxygen (going anaerobic) and will tire faster than if you were exercising at below your lactate threshold. Fortunately, doing specific workouts can increase your maximum oxygen capacity, as well as push your lactate threshold back (to a point pre-determined by your genetic make-up).

My long interval workout is as follows. Once a week I go to the track (in NY, I did my long interval workouts on a treadmill). One week I will do 800m intervals. The following week I will do 1600m intervals. Today was an 800m day. One mile warmup, then right into the first 800m interval. You typically want to run each of your intervals at exactly the same pace. I'm training with someone whose Boston Qualifying time is 3:30 and according to Yasso, our intervals should be 3:30 each. Read the article. Apparently there is a correlation between running 10 800m repeats in terms of minutes and seconds that tells you how fast you will run a marathon in hours and minutes with the same numbers. Again, read the article. For me and many others, this has proven itself time and time again.

When I qualified for Boston, I was running my 800m intervals in 3:10 and my 1600m intervals in 6:20. Later this year, when I go for a sub-3 hour marathon, I will be running my 800m intervals in 3:00 and my 1600m intervals in 6:00. Yea, that'll be fun.

So back to this morning's workout. We're not up to 10 800s yet. This week, we only did eight. After each 800m interval, we slow down to about 1 minute slower than marathon pace (9 minute mile) and do this for 1/2 a lap (200m). Once we hit the 200m mark, we go right into our next 800m interval. Every fourth 800m, we slow down to 1 minute slower than marathon pace for a full lap (400m). Once finished, we cool down with a very slow 1 mile jog. And you're done. Today, our times were 3:28, 3:29, 3:31, 3:32, 3:29, 3:29, 3:33, and 3:22. The last 200m of our last interval we just sprinted for kicks. Hey, we felt good. The keys are consistent speeds and not slowing down too much during your rests. You need to train your body to experience the peaks and valleys of the marathon gruel. This includes brief periods of recovering by slowing down, but not jogging or walking. If you cannot do 8 or 10 intervals in this fashion yet, then I'd recommend to start off with 3 or 4 and to slowly build up until you can do 8 or 10. It's better to do less right than to do more incorrectly.

1600m intervals are similar, but significantly harder. Same total distance. Next week, we will do 5 1600m intervals at 7:00 pace. Between each 1600m interval give yourself a full lap (400m) of running 1 minute slower than marathon pace. Every 4th interval, give yourself two full laps (800m) of running at 1 minute slower than marathon pace. 1600m are more difficult because of the need to sustain this speed for a longer period of time, but they are also more beneficial because not only do they increase your VO2max, but due to the distance, they increase your lactate threshold. Again, aside from the long training run that incorporates marathon pace, there is no other workout that will help you as much as 1600m repeats.

I typically start my speed work 14 weeks before a race beginning with 5 800m intervals and 3 1600m intervals increasing the number of intervals each week until I am at 12 800m intervals and 7 1600m intervals. My last 1600m interval workout is 3 weeks before the race. Two weeks before the race, I do 800m intervals and 1 week before the race I do 400m intervals just to keep the leg turnover going and not to wear out my legs.

Hope this makes sense. If you have any questions, let me know. Next week, I'll talk about the tempo run, which is the more traditional form of lactate threshold training.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


As I've made my way through Azeroth, I've come to the startling realization that there are more active members of World of Warcraft (8 million) than there are active members of my church globally. WoW has more active members than any religion's total number of active and inactive members in the United States except for the top four. And WoW players don't even knock on doors. I feel an entirely improper anecdote that I could share in fast and testimony meeting, minus the fasting, coming on.

Friday, January 26, 2007


My cheapness creates interesting situations. Some might even call them awkward. I've been at a client site in the South Bay for a few weeks. That means I am able to drive, rather than BART to work. It's nice because I get to listen to KNBR, a sports radio station. However, I only get to listen to it from the front left speakers in my car. You see, I am driving our Brooklynized green 1997 Toyota Corolla and all of the other speakers have blown.

I will post a picture of it one day, but most of you have already seen it. First of all, it's green. Second, there is a large dent on the front left side from the kids playing stickball on the street in our last Brooklyn apartment. Third, there is a large key mark that starts from one side of the car goes around the back of the car and then back up the other side of the car from when Liz and her friend 'stole' an angry white man's parking spot at the Macy's in downtown Brooklyn and he decided that keying our piece of HUD was the appropriate response. Fourth, the right headlight is out. And fifth, on the hood of this car, in large keyed out letters, is the F-word from when we went apple picking in New Jersey. NEW F*%#!+@ JERSEY!!! Anyways, this car is a piece of work. But it is a paid off piece of work that gets almost 30 mpg. Buy a new car? No way. I'm driving this thing into the ground and then Zane is going to drive it to high school.

Well, last night, the team at this client decided to go out to dinner in the city, which is about a 45 minute drive. A principal at my firm (that's the highest level) who is from out of town asked me to pick him up from his hotel and drive him to the restaurant. I swallowed my pride and said sure, I'd be happy to give him a ride in The Green Hornet. He laughed and I said, no, I'm serious, it's The Green Hornet. He then just looked at me funny and I just smiled.

When I was about five minutes away from his hotel, I called him and told him I was close and to look for the green Corolla with one headlight. I'm sure he was very impressed. He mentioned on the way back that he had ridden with an analyst once who did a fantastic job on a project, but who also had a beater of a car. He said that the only feedback he had for this person once the project was complete was to get a new car. I can only hope he has the same feedback for me.

And yes, I've probably written about my car before. Redundancy strikes again.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Scroll down only if you'd like to see the roof rat that was killed in our garage last week. Hey, at least I didn't need to chase it around in my garage with a shovel like Tom Tolbert.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Two Months Early

Apparently I should have looked more closely at the race links I posted earlier. The Salt Lake City Marathon is not in the first week of June, as it was last year. It is on April 21st. That's less than 14 weeks away. As I'd only been averaging about 20 miles a week, that means that I need to quickly kick up the mileage and do so while not injuring myself, which as both of you know, is a tough task. My foam roller will help, but I'm not sure if it can accomplish what cortisone shots and physical therapy could not. Keep the ITB pain away during serious marathon training. We'll see.

The good thing is that SLC is not my goal marathon, but my warmup marathon. I'd be happy with a sub 3:20 and will probably run a 3:15. The fun part about this training schedule is that I have a running buddy that is pretty close to me in terms of how fast he is. We're running together Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings. Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays are easy days of 4 to 6 miles.

Tuesday mornings = speed workout. We're rotating 800m and 1600m repeats at 45 to 50 seconds faster than goal marathon pace, which for him is about 7:50. We had our first speed workout this past Tuesday at 5am at the local track. It was 29 degrees, which sucked at first, but was nice once we finished our warmup and was great when we were on our 5th 800, which we did in 3:30. Nothing popped and everything felt good. Next week, we'll drop the time by another 10 seconds or so. We'll peak at doing twelve 800s and seven 1600s. Those should be pretty interesting days. Maybe I'll work from home.

Thursdays = Hills or Tempo workout. We're rotating an 8 mile trail run in the hills, again at 5am with our headlamps with a tempo run, which for the non-runners is a run where the middle 60% of your run, you run it at your 10k pace, which for my friend is about 7:15 pace. Our first run is tomorrow and we're starting with the hills. At 5am. I don't think I'm going to be able to give up caffeine for this training cycle. I do need to stay awake during most of work.

Saturdays = Long workout. Notice that I didn't say long and slow. I don't believe in running slow. To run fast, you gotta run fast. Our schedule includes three 20 milers and two 22 milers. For the first four weeks, our long runs will be 75% at a nice easy pace and 25% at goal marathon pace. The next seven weeks, we'll run 50% easy and 50% at goal marathon pace. Then of course is the taper.

WoW continues to progress slowly, although I haven't played for the past couple of days. My main character, Vlabba is at Level 15, but if I focus tonight, I think I can get him up to 16. The other day I meandered into contested territory the other day and was quickly felled by some dude riding a dragon that shot a lightning bolt at me. I told you that I hate The Horde, right? Well, at least Vlabba does. I haven't told Liz yet about the role playing aspect of this game and the dwarf costume I must buy. It's pretty tough.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Racing Schedule

- Ragnar del Sol Relay I'm the third leg.

- St. George Triathlon Although it appears to be sold out at the moment. Ben and Josh, you need to help me out here.

- Salt Lake City Marathon A training run for me where I'll likely be the pacer for a group that will be trying to BQ at a later marathon.

- St. George Marathon This is where I will attempt what is for me my ultimate marathoning goal, a sub-3 hour marathon.

I'll probably have some 10ks and half-marathons thrown in for good measure. Some of the people here in the Bay area want me to run some crazy trail runs, but I'm not sold yet.

What does your racing schedule look like?

Score The Quiz

Political MapAs expected, I am a conservative-leaning libertarian. No shock there. Take this quiz to find out where your political philosophy lies and with which candidates that philosophy aligns with.

On a more serious note, my Dwarf Paladin Vlabba is progressing nicely. This two handed mace thing is absolutely destructive. I'm on the Hakaar server in case in of you other nerds want to go on a raid sometime.