Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Publication: The Unfulfilled List (Gravel A Literary Journal)

A quick post here. Gravel Magazine just released a piece of flash fiction/free verse poetry of mine that can be found here. The 50 word piece, a result of my recent effort to produce quality, single serving literature (discussed here), aims to explore the idea of lists, their meaning, and their endgame purpose.

For those who didn't click, see below:

The Unfulfilled List

Two Eggs,
Four Apples, green in color,
One bottle of cinnamon—ground,
Three bananas, overripe,
One promise,
Four dried, Turkish Apricots,
Three pineapple cores, moist,
One gallon of organic milk, free range,
Two pounds of brown rice,
Four mandarin oranges,
Conceits collected,
Wet paper torn in half,
Smudged ink.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Run for the Pies 2013: Race Report

The Run for the Pies is an annual race held in downtown Jacksonville and put on by 1st Place Sports. The race, which is advertised as a giant block party, is broken into two separate categories: and elite race open to men who have broken 17:00 and women who have broken 20:00 in the last year and an open race open to all other comers. The elites run a circuit style course, passing the other races and crowd three times in an exciting, track style experience which saw a male winning time of 14:42. Upon conclusion of this race, the open race is run on a traditional urban course that spans the city. Regardless of which race you enter, free apple and blueberry pies are distributed to any finishers who break 20:00/24:00 (male/female).
On the right of the Frame, 1.25 in.

The Race:
Result: 20:02, 94th overall, 15th in 30-34 age group
State of Mind: Pleased
Weather: 82, clear, mild humidity, slight breeze
Shoes: Skora Forms with Injinji socks (these felt awesome on the all concrete/brick/asphalt course)

The Report:

As always, this race was a blast. This event is one you get there early for, cheer on the elites after your warm-up, and then go give it your all. Part of the pleasures of being a coach is that I often have athletes in the elite race, and I was able to watch a fellow coach and one of our runners compete this year.

That said, I went into this race a bit banged up. Since the conclusion of track season I’ve dealt with a lot of nagging injuries that have prevented me from training at the level I normally expect—my Achilles Tendon has been inflamed, and the calf on my left leg, my turn leg from the barrage of track workouts during the season, has been sore and feeling strained. Some hip pains, all the residuals of a hard few months and a failure on my part to take the requisite time off from it before entering a marathon training cycle. So minus the typical two to three quality workouts a week, I’ve been concentrating on mileage a more intense pace and trying to get one solid session of speed in a week.
Going into the race I set a goal of breaking 20:00. I haven’t done this since my teens (before taking a multiyear break from real running and consistency in it) and had run a 20:06 my last time out, albeit feeling healthy and ready in cool February weather. I wore my Skora’s, representing for the team and was excited to race in them again.

At the Finish
Taking a coach’s perspective, I aimed for a steady race, not trying to go out too fast and trying to hit negative splits—but I went out a bit faster than I should have, hitting mile one around 6:10. The first mile is a long, flat stretch, an out and back, and I felt strong, but I backed off a hair going into mile two, attacking the brief hill, but knowing I needed to conserve due to a faster than wanted and expected start. Heading onto another straightway, a portion that goes a bit up and downhill (not much elevation change, but slowing nonetheless) I hit mile two with a total of 12:39 on the clock. The 6:29 mile two made me feel good, but also alerted me to the fact that my GPS was a bit off (the buildings can do that) and that the race would conclude mostly on feel.

Yet I felt like I was on. When I came upon the finish I could see the clock, hear the PA announcer, and I fully thought I would break 20:00, yet my kick, perhaps from the lack of speed and interval training, never came, and I crossed the finish at 20:02, as the race organizers literally pulled a you don’t get a pie ribbon across to block the men. Either way, on the same course, I had run a 1:30 slower just one year before, a fact that proves both the joys of running real and the increased vigor of my training the past year.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Personal Footwear Recommendation Service

Skora Phase in action.
As a featured Optimal Runner and guest blogger for OptimalRun.com, they recently invited me to Personal Footwear Recommendation Service. This service, which can be found by clicking the title above, takes you to an easy to follow, easy to complete form in which they ask you a variety of questions about your status as a runner, your style of running, the shoes you wear, what you like about them, what you don’t, the events you are training for, etc. These questions, which will take you about five to ten minutes to complete (maybe less, I filled mine out on my phone), allow you to create the local running store experience from the comforts of your couch, car, office, boat, or in my case sitting on the beach.
try out their new

Yet, this form is far more complete than a local running store, where a few questions are asked, a treadmill is used, and an employee (typically a strong runner himself) quickly leads you into one or two models he prefers. Optimal Run takes this process a step farther—they examine your answers, pull from their stocks, and present you with a three minute video (in my case) that not only describes in detail the models they have pulled for you, but also why these models fit your profile. They matched my preferences (less shoe, built in tongue, wide toe box) with models that I had yet to try, but might fit me better, both of which seem interesting to me. What adds to the intrigue is that they know I am an Ambassador for Skora Running and thus, instead of taking the easy way out as often found in the local store, they searched for other options in order to expand my horizons.
Screenshot of the Video

Too often you walk into a store, say you wear Altra, and well are handed another pair of Altra. Not to
say Altra doesn’t make a great shoe, the One is in my rotation, just that sometimes these shoes aren’t working for you and an attentive salesman, in this case the form you provide, will find said information and lead you into a more preferable option. That said, Optimal Run often runs weekly coupon specials, posting them on twitter, and if available, they will give you a code with your recommendations. They have free shipping and no questions on returns for a total of 40 days. I have undergone the purchasing process, buying a pair of shoes for a friend, and also gone through the return process in order to understand the ins and outs. They ship priority in all directions, maintain a high level of communication and work to create a satisfied customer.