This title of this post is inspired from the title penned by Dave Zirin, 2016 in Sports: Joy and Resistance While the World Burned. He fails to articulate the incredible reemergence of American distance runners as a true force on the global stage. Nonetheless, he expresses what I believe to be true. Sports were an oasis of joy in a year which contained more than its fair share of human suffering. Personally, the latter half of this year is one that was wrought with the challenges of living the quintessentially urban and flat East Coast, running injuries and most traumatic, the rise to power of a genuine American demagogue.
How can you be proud of such personal goals in the midst of a toxic political climate of hate? Why should anyone care about my frustrations or triumphs? I honestly don't have the faintest clue. I hope to achieve in 2017, what I have been unable to achieve in 2016. Namely training consistency which results in fitness that surpasses the gold standard which I embodied in 2014. However, unlike that year, I hope to build a comprehensive system of systems which is sustainable. The political winter upon which we are soon to enter will undoubtedly wreak havoc on my psyche. I have been disdainful of New Year's resolutions in the past, but I find myself drawn to her political twin. Election resolutions. I vow to be a more ardent advisory to white supremacy, misogyny and xenophobia where ever I encounter it. I don't believe that to be confrontational is my default persona, but I do believe that it is what I should aspire to be in the face of bigoted hate. I am lucky enough to have the chance to influence the minds, habits and self-esteem of almost 100 fifth and sixth graders as their teacher. This is opportunity provides me with some solace that I can work feverishly towards excellence in the revolutionary craft of providing a high quality public education to students whom most of the world gave up on before they were even born. So too do I hope to work towards excellence in running. It has been a year which has both shown me the talent and skill which I still possess without giving me the keys of consistency which I need to unlock my bodies next gear.
Looking Forward to Running in 2017
This has been a long con. Having expected to run my first ultramarathon almost exactly two years ago. I am finally dedicating myself to an aggressive plan of attack after recovering from the debilitating stress fracture and graduate school both. If all goes as planned I am going to tackle a 30K in February and a fun and elevation-gain heavy 50K in April. If my body is responding well I hope to go ahead and tackle the USATF trail 50 mile championship in upper state New York in June. As always, if my body is not responding well I will not hesitate to table these aspirations. I do however think the time for patience has come to an end and it is time to dip back into the fierce well of dedication and resolve which have yielded a certain degree of success in the past. Let’s see what happens.
After not having raced the distance in nearly 2 years I found towing the line to be a rather terrifying experience.
Having to weave through the slower marathoners as we wound the way through Golden Gate Park was definitely odd. I'm sure many of them were off put as the first wave of 2nd half marathoners was released on to the course. There was one point in the 2nd mile where I was completely pend in and had to make may way across an entire lane to try to capitalize on a downhill.
No PR, no smile. I finished 25th in 1:17:23 and averaged 5:55 minute miles. It was hard to push the pace in the final 100meters as I would normally do when you finish alongside people who you assume to be running a different race. Many spectators could not discern between those running the half and full marathon. Even if the effort was slightly off my very best, it is reassuring to know that your body is still capable of achieving.
The substantial and infamous San Francisco hills result in heavy legs more akin to what you might expect from a full marathon performance. Despite the lack of a groundbreaking performance, I was grateful to have a significant contingent of the family out to support me in my first big city marathon affiliated race. I'm certainly not done PR hunting in the Half Marathon. In fact, I believe it may be my favorite distance. Next however I will toe my line at the 20k distance at the national championship in New Haven. I know I will be so soundly outclassed that the first runners will have time to complete a few uber rides before I finish, put I will strive to finish top 60 all the same. It is not everyday you get to run "with" people you read about online.
During a phenomenal trip in Canada I realized something. For 16 years I have been taking wilderness for granted. I have been assuming that wilderness would be present in all world class backcountry. Reality hit me like number post identifying campsites, a cabin and picnic tables.
In the United States, the wilderness act of 1964 established the management of people and natural resources within in designated wilderness to conform to a particular character. Ever since then men and women have worked tirelessly in order to preserve this character. Absolutely no structures, mechanized or motorized equipment is permitted. When campers spend hours on wood or stone camp furniture wilderness rangers dismantle it. Our ethic is so pure that we dismantle rock cariegns marking the trail. This is in strong contrast to the majority of trails on the east coast which use color blazes to mark the path.
I recall a time in which I strapped on no fewer than four metal grills to my exterior frame pack in order to remove them from the wilderness. Hundreds of hours are spent every year in Sierra National Forest alone in order to sift through the burnt remnants of campfire rings to remove the trash, dismantle the campfire ring and naturalize the area. By the end of a tour (anywhere from 5-7 nights) a large trash bag is often filled with the refuse left behind by recreational users.
The majority of backpackers don't have a wilderness ethic, and for that reason education is a huge component of the wilderness ranger's job. Hazards are not managed on the users behalf in the wilderness. The user is responsible to be prepared and observant. If a snag is hanging precariously over a popular camp site, it is not up to anyone but the user to realize that. The wilderness is by definition full of natural hazards. It is not planned to accommodate human safety and comfort. It is for this reason that we feel so alive in the wilderness. In the wilderness it is your right not to be protected nor guided.
American wilderness is not managed perfectly or consistently. While hunting is permitted wilderness areas within national forests, it is not permitted in national parks. Furthermore the National Parks are far too quick to ask for congressional approval to use chainsaws to clear trails within park boundaries. In comparison, Sierra National Forest had gone over 30 years without a chain saw being used within it's wilderness areas. Despite this, no campground is ever predetermined for you and you are able to camp upon which ever rock shelf, duff, dirt or snow that picks your interest.
Banff National Park & Mt. Assiniboine Regional Park
Despite significant rain during the course of half the trip I was able to run every day. Although backpacking and high altitude sleeping is beneficial, in of itself it won't provide the specific stimulus and consistency in your training that you are looking for. The following video will provide you with a (very small) glimpse of the spectacular country that you can traverse in the Canadian Rockies.
Dolly Copp Campground is one of the largest campgrounds in the national forest system and conveniently located about 4 miles north of the race starting location at the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road. It was surprisingly uncrowded by other runners and general summer campers alike. It also offers some fantastic trail heads right out of camp for after the race, including hikes up Mt. Madison and even Mt. Washington if you are inclined to summit the peak from both road and trail.
The Mt. Washington Road Race winds it's way up over 4,660 ft to an elevation of over 6,200ft (the finish line is below the summit of 6,288ft).The race is highly competitive drawing athletes from Italy and Colorado as well as all of the 'local' competitors from the northeast corridor. For me as well as many others this was a special chance to brush shoulders, and then get thoroughly spanked, by some of the best mountain runners in the country. A prize purse five places deep ensures fast times.
Although the 2016 race had perfect conditions, often athletes are fighting the weather as much as the climb. Barely more than week prior to the race, racers found this image awaiting them as the race began to focus more prominently in their thoughts. Does that look like an image to inspire confidence in running a road race? Not to me.
After the race you have completed an incredible cardiovascular workout while barely taxing your muscles at all. The gentle footfalls of an all uphill race made it perfect for someone like myself who wanted to train and race in a manner which would provide a successful experience without the pounding and miles which contributed to a stress fracture.
This is was a hugely enjoyable event. Unfortunately I finished 6th in my age group as opposed to 3rd (which would have ensured me an entrance into next years event). I was lucky to get into this race in their lottery on my first try, I would certainly enjoy repeating this event and attempting to chip away at my time.
I am shocked and happy to announce that I am a member of The Honey Stinger Hive for 2016. Following a year in which I was unable to race a single time, I am sure that many companies would have cut ties with injury prone, sidelined athlete-ambassadors. The fact that Honey Stinger was able to look at me and say that we still believe in you is a huge endorsement of the company's values.
Now that I am training, and in grad school I took advantage of a Honey Stinger sale resulting in some prime come ups. See below.
Mendocino Adventure Trail Running Retreats
I'm also very excited to be leading two trail running retreats this summer on the trails of Mendocino this summer with Mendocino Adventure. If you are interested, click on the logo below to learn a little more.
2016 Goal Races
As I mentioned in my vlog above, I will be competing in the following races this year. Apparently, I am only competing in races which brand themselves with right facing running shoes with ample traction.
You are running a flat and fast 5K course for the first time in a long time due to injury. A very long time. You want to prove to yourself that you've still got it. You let the lead pack go because you know this is a fast race. Running on effort you are vindicated when a volunteer calls out your 1 mile split. 5:18. You are on pace to match your pre-injury PR. In ones and two people continue to pass you. Someone in a Saint Patrick's Day onesie. This does not feel good. You are able to keep from falling apart entirely, but you do not feel fast nor confident. 10:52 through mile 2. Ouch! Definitely off pace.In the last mile a few more runners catch you. Hanging on to top twenty for all it's worth, you put in a surge, but can't maintain it. You fall out of the top twenty within the last 400meters. However with 100meters remaining you engage a kick that has never failed, regardless of your aerobic fitness. You catch two runners who can't fend off your kick and narrowly miss out on a third. You scrape underneath seventeen minutes with a 16:57 5K. You are underwhelmed.
Afterwords enjoy your free pint of Guinness before 10am. If you are accustomed to enjoying pints of Guinness before noon, then that is your problem right there. Easy solution. If you are not, the solution may require some more time on the roads, track, trails, gym and pool. Allow yourself a one day pity party, and then move the hell on. Stay healthy, thoughtful and hungry and the results will come. Enjoy the fact that being surrounded by better competition than you are accustomed creates an environment for growth. Grow!
Pre-race nerves. The sensation of almost throwing up on the finish line. Pushing yourself into an anaerobic state in the last 30 meters after going a mano a mano with the same runner for the entire race. Beating your opponent. These are the experiences which have eluded me for over year. No longer. What I ran today was a victory lap, the likes of which I have never run before. A comeback for the ages.
I remember desperately looking for success stories, as well as useful information, regarding tibial stress fracture recovery and prevention. It felt at times impossibly hard to find these resources even though the literature says these things are incredibly common, right? They say there is no loneliness like the long run. I disagree. There is no loneliness like the injured runner, isolated from other competitors. With no mechanism of injury clearly identified, I felt betrayed by my body and the sport. If any of you are at a point along this journey, I hope that I might offer you some hope and reassurance woven into my personal narrative.
Since last writing much has changed in my life. I'm not sure where to begin, but this is as good as anywhere. Moving to Connecticut was a daunting decision from Southern Oregon. Before getting on a plane to fly to Philadelphia I had never set foot in the northeast. I have now visited New York, Philadelphia and Vermont. I was immensely proud of my partner for being admitted into Yale School of Nursing and the opportunity to receive a high quality education with amazing peers. Nonetheless, we both still feel that what we always believed remains true - we love the mountain west, and will return there in several years. It is stupefying to think there are no Wilderness areas in this entire state, no BLM or National Forest roads to train on. But, I think I'm getting ahead of myself a little bit.
August 2015. Medford, OR. 8 months into stress fracture recovery.
I was fed up. Red rashes covered my body from my torso to my toes. This was poison oak to new and unbelievable heights, surpassing anything I had previously experienced. I purchased no fewer than three bottles of calamine, and was bathing in Tecnu and oatmeal-based lotions. I finally showed up at an emergency care clinic and told the doctor that I wanted a steroid shot. I wanted it to be done.
Building a mountain bike trail through the poison oak laden hills of Gold River, Oregon may have been a noble thing to do. My job as the Jackson County Conservation Corps Crew Leader was exhilarating. Hard and interesting physical work outside with young impressionable students who need cash, self esteem and something on their resume. What's not to like? Well, the fact that we had to build a trail through a poison oak forest. That was not to like. To make it worse most of the crew did not get poison oak, so I didn't even have much company through my suffering. A crew member who did get poison oak didn't show up for a few days. I couldn't blame him, if I wasn't in charge I wouldn't have shown up to that site again for anything.
In the doctors office I was met by a man who understood my problem. In order to obtain my Masters of Science in Education degree, I needed to take six online prerequisite courses and two standardized tests as well as gain admission into the University of New Haven. When I got poison oak, I was leading Crew in the day and doing classes at night. I told the doctor, "I have three tests to take in the following eight days and I don't have time for this." He understood the situation and went along with giving me the heavenly corticosteriods.
The day after I felt so rejuvenated, I actually had a decent run into Ashland's trail system. It was one of the first long runs since my injury. My body was covered layer upon layer in pink gooey calamine lotion, covering my textured rashes. I must have resembled a rattlesnake about to shed it's outer skin. Luckily I didn't cause any heart attacks. Even better, I caught an orange sunset out over the Rogue valley and stained my fingers purple with the juice of ripe blackberries.
While working Crew for a few months I had the chance to live in Ashland, the regions' trail running mecca. I used the Southern Oregon University gym to build strength in my body and mind. I also returned to my roots and ran stairs, a lot of stairs. The stadium and I became friends. Often after Crew and before hammering out College Algebra problem sets I would raise my heart rate to something reminiscent of my former self.
I also found joy in biking and bike commuting whenever possible. In New Haven that means most of the time. I currently have night class three to four times a week. On those days I am able to log in 10 miles of riding. Although not the same as running (not even close), the invigorating feeling of taking on the world at 8:30 pm when it is 20 degrees Fahrenheit has done a lot for my mental health.
The Science of Recovery
"Without vitamin D, absorption of calcium suffers, and so do your bones. Runners low in vitamin D have an increased risk of stress fracture. After Deena Kastor broke a bone in her foot during the Olympic marathon in Beijing, it was discovered that she was high in calcium but low in vitamin D. Vitamin D also helps muscles move, nerves to send impulses, and the immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses. Few foods naturally contain vitamin D, so many of the foods you can buy are fortified with it. Your body makes vitamin D when directly exposed to the sun." - From Build Your Running Body by Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz and Melissa Breyer.
I should interject here. It is true that your skin synthesizes vitamin D. However, if you live above latitude 37 degrees north or below 37 degrees south, you will be unable to receive enough UV radiation from the sun during the winter months to produce vitamin D, even if you absorb at midday. Moreover, factors like cloud cover, pollution and your age all influence how much UV actually reaches your skin (http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Time_for_more_vitamin_D).
To compensate for that lack of sunshine it is recommended that you eat fish twice a week. I do not, but I do take cod liver oil daily. I wish I had been doing this in 2014, but when you live on a shoestring budget and everything seems to be going fine hindsight is 10/20 (I know that's not a saying, but it indicates sharper vision so go figure). I take 400 IU (International Units) of vitamin D a day in fish oil. The daily recommended value is 600 IU. To take more than that is probably detrimental to your health. If anyone recommends 5,000-10,000 IUs of vitamin D a day they are at best dangerously ill-informed and at worst have an incentive to profit from a deterioration of your health. For a complete understanding of the issue I HIGHLY recommend this recent documentary by The New York Times and Frontline.
I now suspect that my December stress fracture was due in part to a lack of vitamin D consumption and production through the fall. As vitamin D became harder to produce, and as I absorbed less calcium from my diet, I simultaneously increased my running volume. I suspect my body was unable to repair the stress sustained from running. In addition to those factors, as my schedule became busier I abstained from the weight training, which would have benefited my skeletal system with testosterone production and impact-free bone stimulus. When the sun comes back out in the spring and summer, and my body can actually produce all of the vitamin D it needs, I will tuck my fish oil away until the fall.
February 2016. New Haven, CT. 14 months into stress fracture recovery.
Although I had pledged not to race until I could average 60 miles a week for two months, I boldly failed to honor that commitment. A dissing array of soft tissue injuries kept me cross-training and unable to run consistently. However, I had already paid for this race, and was able to get some good speed work and climbing done in California over Christmas. The jet lag helped me get out of the house around 5:00am to run some 800 meter repeats on the local middle school track. So while I was unable to put together consistent training following that, and had lingering muscle and soft tissue injuries, I decided to race because my bones felt strong again.
The course profile was challenging. In first mile and a half we gained 187ft in elevation. The rhythm of African drums met us following the first mile. Despite the recent snowfall the roads were mostly dry and we were able to let ourselves go on the downhill. I ended up finishing in 4th with a time of 17:09, which I am quite proud of. With a weaker will and without my finishing kick it easily could have been 5th place. The time is some 42 seconds slower than my personal best, however taking into account the hill, and the lack of consistency in my training I consider the result to be fantastic. It also proves that cross training can keep you in pretty good shape. In one months time I am running a flat fast 5k which will be a more easily measurable gauge of my fitness. I'm excited to attack the future!
On a final note, it is difficult for me to determine what volume of running is truly safe is for me. I believe that 60 miles a week is certainly conservative. Ten months after my injury I ran 13 miles, and could still feel pain occasionally in my right tibia. I also felt as if I had run 23 miles with 3,000 feet of elevation gain. The furthest I've run since my injury has been 15 miles. I don't regret the aggressive nature with which I entered the sport. But I have two great fears in running. One is that I will not be able to achieve what my body is capable of because of the constraints of work, family and other responsibilities. The other, greater fear is that my bone density is not good enough to support the high volume training which is required to be a truly competitive runner. If the latter ends up being the case, at least I know that I will have the credentials, interests and abilities to be a dedicated teacher.
Although I am no longer injured, I am going to continue recommending good books when I encounter them. This one is fascinating. If you didn't get caught up in the hype and read it shortly after his election, now wouldn't be such a bad time. I honestly cannot say that I have read a true biography before. However, this is an incredible read and I am more than a little sad to see the Obama era come to a close.
With the US Marathon Olympic Trails this Saturday it is cool to take a look at one of the best runners in the game right now, Desiree Linden. Plus this was shot in Iten, Kenya. Who doesn't want to be in Iten when it is 28 degrees and icy outside?
My father took me on my first backpacking trip when I was 9 years old in Yosemite. We have been getting after it almost every summer since then, nearly exclusively in the Sierra Nevada. However, the most recent trip we took together was way back in 2012, making this trip perhaps more cherished.
Although we didn't plan it this way, my father and I met up in Weaverville, CA the day before Father's Day to take on the unexplored Trinity Alps Wilderness. After a mediocre lunch at what is probably Weaverville's only pizzeria, we made for the hills. We started out at Canyon Creek Trail Head late in the day, which leads you on an incredibly gentle and soft first several miles of trail. As the shadows lengthened we saw a bear on the other side of canyon creek.
A word on some fellow backpackers. Where are the wilderness ethics?!?! I know that I will never again be able to traverse the wilderness without seeing it through a Wilderness Ranger's eyes. At every campsite we saw how people either willfully ignored or unknowingly violated the basic principles of Leave No Trace, sometimes with flagrant abandon.The chief failure seemed to be camping too close to the water. I'm talking about not even being ten feet from the water, let alone one hundred feet. And while that habit may only impact the environment, other habits such as the quality of bear hangs can dramatically affect their lives by leaving them stranded without food miles from help.
The first night we camped a mile or so from the Canyon Creek Lakes on a beautiful shelf of granite with a gorgeous cascade of water below us to the west. The second night we made camp above, and just to the south of El Lake. Although we attempted to summit Sawtooth Mountain, we settled for a false summit just to the west. I believe that we most likely could have gotten to the top of the Mountain had we made an approach from the east. Nonetheless, the view of the Trinity Alps and Mt. Shasta was stunning.
The following day is when our trip began to get strenuous. It took us many, many hours of off-trial hiking to cross the ridgeline dividing the Big Bar and Weaverville Ranger Districts. We began that morning at about 9:00am, and made camp at Emerald Lake. The red route below traces our route to El Lake, and the orange route demonstrates the off-trail traverse that rejoined us with the established trail at the outlet of Sapphire Lake.
The cross-over from El Lake to Mirror Lake was some of the most technical backpacking I have ever done. There was zero margin for error as we walked along searching for a route to descend from the steep rock cliff that encompassed the majority of the granite bowl encompassing Mirror Lake. After some scouting, without our packs, I confirmed that we could connect with a rock strewn drainage which descended diagonally to the talus field below us.
After having successfully navigated that, and a short break at Mirror Lake (which is stunning), we saw the second bear of our trip. We then followed in its footsteps around the edge of Sapphire Lake, where we were finally able to rejoin the trail after some 8 or 9 hours of off-trail scrambling.
Up to this point nothing too out of the ordinary had taken place on our trip. Indeed if not for the events of the last eight hours of that day, we may have considered it just one more carefree backpacking trip in the books. Instead it turned into something else entirely.
After having made good time on the trial, we were beginning to keep an eye out for the "unmaintained" trail which we hoped to connect with towards Alpine Lake. This trail would connect us to Bear Creek and allow us to complete our ambitious loop of the most spectacular country that The Trinity Alps Wilderness has to offer without incident.
Instead, we went off the trail about a mile early or so, and spent the next four hours looking for the trail connector to Alpine Lake. To our credit, we did not separate or panic and we did establish our location once we had risen above the tree line. Despite all of this, the terrain was incredibly exhausting. For much of the afternoon we were fighting for every step through incredibly thick brush. At one point I was stung by a bee on the ankle, and to be honest I barely noticed. When you are in survival mode, that type of discomfort is irrelevant.
Our Wilderness Area map was not nearly detailed enough to use for off-trail orienteering, nor did we have any information as to what condition the non-maintained trail was in. After four hours of searching, and actually establishing our location, I estimated that we still had a good two hours of bush-wacking to have any hope of connecting with our trail. My father agreed to pull the plug, and to descend the drainage we were in to rejoin the main trail. At this point the sun was getting lower in the sky. I knew that I had an appointment at 8:00am the next morning, and I was beginning to get concerned that I would not be able to make it. Nature doesn't care about your survival, and it certainly doesn't care about keeping your schedule.
I can honestly not remember feeling so grateful with the universe as I did when we found the main trail again. From there we had another six miles to get out to a trail head which did not have our cars. Our adventure wasn't over yet. Once at the trail head we were both extremely tired. On our second attempt to get a car camper to drive us into town we were successful. Feet throbbing from walking in wet boots, skin stinging from surface cuts we were able to let our loved ones back at home know that we were OK. They had been fifteen minutes from calling Search and Rescue.
We were unable to get ahold of the taxi service that night or the following morning. It turns out Weaverville's Taxi service doesn't care about your schedule either. Instead we were reunited with our vehicles by a tow truck driver.
If you go, consider stopping at The Etna Brewing Company located in Etna on Highway 3. In the age of the brew pub boom, it's refreshing to sample some quality brews from an establishment that has been around since 1872. Maybe it was that I was looking at the world through slightly fresh eyes after my recent misadventure, but I thought the beer I tasted was exceptionally good, and the Brewery in that tiny town deserved a special shout out!
The much awaited Billy Yang film from The Lake Sonoma 50. Enjoy!
Recently my stress fracture turned six months old. I have long since given up any hope of competing in some of the area's summer flagship races, and I've come to terms with missing the opportunity to see where I would stack up against the country's best in Bend's National Mountain Running Championships. I also gave up hope of competing in the Mt. Ashland Hill climb. As tempting as it may be, I know that I can't enter a race without putting the peddle to the metal in training, and before I can do that, my body has to regain my trust.
One week ago, the high school seniors I worked with throughout the year graduated from their alternative high school. Within 30 seconds of talking to a graduate's mother she was in tears. Graduations at alternative high schools are not taken for granted, and my work has been a powerful way to keep me from moping around all of 2015. Even if my own life has been on hold, I helped 81 young adults get a powerful prerequisite to start theirs.
As long as I can remember, the close of a school year has been followed with a trip into the mountains. Luckily, this year was no different. This weekend's trek into The Sky Lakes Wilderness was certainly not a strenuous backpacking trip. It was however a chance to head into the mountains, and enjoy the relative health that I am enjoying now. Friday night we camped above Cliff Lake. We might have enjoyed the Seven Lake Basin more if it weren't for the incessant and plentiful mosquitoes who enjoyed sucking our blood whenever the opportunity presented itself, which was often. Welcome to Oregon below the tree line baby! Saturday morning we packed up camp with the ruthlessness and efficiency that a couple of Sierra vagabonds take for granted, and bombed up the ridge towards better views, scree, wildflowers and no more mosquitoes. We decided to camp just below the summit of Devil's Peak, and day hiked south along the Pacific Crest Trail for a while.
I have been out of my walking boot since the end of March. Nonetheless I can still feel that my right leg does not have the same level of strength and stability as my left leg. I have been vigilant in cross training, including swimming, bicycling, and using the stair master. I also have been weightlifting since before I removed my boot. I feel that while my leg has progressed, this injury continues to keep me guessing as to when I can return to running and full body exercises. I can tell that I am very close to feeling healed, however I trust the sensation of my body more than anybody else in these regards. When it is time to incorporate step ups, plyometrics, back squats, dead lifts and other exercises, I will know.
It is incredibly frustrating to be so close to the end of a long injury. You are ready to return. You know that it would only take a matter of weeks to regain the majority of fitness that you lost. Even though I don't believe it myself sometimes, the fact is that you will run again! In the mean time, you can check out the volcanoes and smell the flowers, because we all know that I won't be stopping to appreciate these in the same way when I am able to compete again.
Injured Athlete Book Club
George Vecsey does a great job of assembling an informative tour of his personal soccer journey, from bumbling high school defender to New York Times sports journalist chasing the world's biggest games and names. Although some of the names are familiar, he is able to add depth to the characters and the sport which I dedicated myself to without hesitation or reservation for 16 years. It may be a timely read, as FIFA cronies such as Sepp Blatter and Jack Warner have their early exploits highlighted. We are also reminded that FIFA was squeamish about the USA hosting the World Cup in 1994. Why? Because of the level of oversight and accountability that would be demanded by holding such an event in the US.
Forget the sports administrators though! This book reminds us of the quirks, brilliance and controversy surrounding Maradona, Baggio and Zidan. Vecsey also does a great job of tracing the public and media attention to the world's game here in the USA. It seems that I was born in the year that the USMNT (US Men's National Team) returned to the World Cup for the first time in 4 decades.
Anyways. No matter what book you bring along, you will almost certainly enjoy it if you are reading it under the same scrubby tree on Devil's Peak that I did. As the pages turned Mt. Shasta and Mt. McLaughlin maintained a commanding presence over the southern horizon.
I wasn't a fan of Billy Yang's first installment in his 15 hours series, it seemed to represent everything I dislike about the ultra runner scene. Nonetheless, the second installment in his series with Anton Krupicka was dynamite. As one of the sport's greatest, he has dealt with persistent injuries for a while and his perspective is worth your time.
My name is Marshall Genn. I split my time in between teaching and running. I aspire to help students break out of generational poverty and to run fast. That said, this blog is about running fast.