I thought of doing a program on RunnersRoundTable on building a running-trail site, like WestchesterTrails. I realized video would be the way to go. So I tracked down a site that allows for making videos of screen activity, ScreenR.com, and away I went.

This is how to build your own running-trail web-site from scratch in 25 minutes.

Not much, but more than I expected. Now, at about 6, my right calf is a little tender, but otherwise I am much more optimistic than I’ve been for a while. This was the first run in about three weeks, not counting one in which I made it about 1/2 mile before having to stop. At the Rockies, the group is Bobby P, Charlotte, one of Charlotte’s daughters, and her friend from Rye Brook:

Of course the prior video, from Mount Vernon High School seems like a different world. Ewen suggested that I might want to avoid intense speed-work for injury-avoidance purposes. He may be right. For now, it’s trying to get things back.

Having taken up the bass, I decided to write. It’s hard to do that on the bass so for that I revert to the guitar. I took an on-line course from Berklee College of Music in Boston, as part of the coursera system. On song-writing. There’s a bias that one needn’t/shouldn’t need a course to learn how to write. I found it useful. Boy things can be complicated. But the ideas were mostly about coming up with a structure for your songs.

In the recent Eagles documentary, Glenn Frey said that one has to write lots of bad songs to get a good one. When you write, though, it’s hard to tell which are “bad”. I use time on the subway and bus to write. Lyrics first. Then simple chords. Then fleshing out. I’m having problems with choruses. Strangely, the tunes that bounce around my head are of songs that I’ve written. Each has its own personality and they needn’t be autobiographical, although some are.

I can’t sing, but that doesn’t matter in the confines of my den, where I usually play. I want to improve because I enjoy singing them. And there’s the dream of doing it before other people.

When I say each has its own personality, it’s that they each have, I think, a unique sound. Even if there’s overlap on the topic.

I read this article, on a 2 train in Brooklyn as it happens, about the “Brooklynization” of music. It’s a call-to-arms of maintaining one’s own, or at least one’s own regional, sound. As a guy writing on subways and playing in a den, it’s a reminder akin to what bloggers should remember, that no one else cares what you say, or write, or sing. Or that you should act as if no one does and then everything is gravy.

You create characters. On Friday, for example, I put together some lines on the subway and got a verse-and-a-half. I had no idea where it was going  but when I put it to music — C F C G F C, as simple as it gets — hitting the lower strings of the guitar it had a Springsteen “Nebraska”-era sound. The start could have gone either way, but as lines were added I realized that the guy I was writing about was going to die. Turns out, he died in a “silly street fight” after “he was caught up in a lie”. I don’t know his name, in fact he went to a new town where “no one knew his name”, but he left a young child (the toddler next-door wandered about as I was working), a daughter, in a town far away, who he never really knew and would always wonder why he “gave up on her”.

New Town
He didn’t know anyone cdcdec
But he went anyway cddcde
 C                       F
He needed something different cdcdfc
F                        C
So he couldn’t just stay cdcde
It was a long trip ffefgd
Made longer by delay dddcde
He didn’t know anyone cdcdec
G                       C
But he went anyway cddede

Wasn’t what he expected.
He thought it right for a new start.
Sure it had museums and things.
He hadn’t come for the art.
Soon he was settled in
In the next to the toughest part.
Wasn’t what he expected.
He thought it right for a new start.

Chorus: G   C   G   F  C   G

Things had not gone the way he thought they would.
Sometimes he didn’t understand; he always tried to do good.
Was it too late to change? He needed to know.
Which is why he couldn’t stay but needed to go.

The days were getting longer.
Lots of things to be thought through.
He left a small child,
Who he never really knew.
He felt it made him a coward.
But it was all that he could do.
The days were getting longer.
Lots of things to be thought through.

He started as a stranger.
No one knew his name.
Free of all the baggage
He’d shed before he came.
Hoping that having done so,
Things wouldn’t be the same.
He started as a stranger.
No one knew his name.


But it didn’t matter.
He was the same man deep down,
Whether he had stayed home,
Or moved to this new town.
He couldn’t change things,
In the end he’d have to drown,
It just didn’t matter,
He was the same man deep down.

It was a silly street fight,
And a stupid way to die.
He had gotten hostile,
When he was caught up in a lie.
He had the chance to back-out,
He didn’t even try.
It was a silly street fight,
And a stupid way to die.

For no reason
He’d orphaned his flesh and blood,
Who’d never understand
Why he just gave up on her.
He never really knew her,
Didn’t want to drag her through the mud.
For no reason
He’d orphaned his flesh and blood.

(All rights reserved.)

Things were going well. Then they weren’t. So no need to choose between the Litchfield and Rockies races. After everything was falling into place — solid long runs at a proper pace, some track speed, dreams of racing — I was hit with a pain in the hamstring. Just when I was getting through that, on an eight-miler I was hit with something in the Achilles tendon at five-and-a-half. These are things that even a few years ago would be gone in a few days. Now it’s a matter of weeks and I feel no closer to being able to run today than I did a week ago, when things collapsed a half-mile in.

So I don’t know whether this is the end.

Sunday Morning Racing Blues

Gm Blues: Gm, D7, Gm, Gm,  Cm, Cm, Gm, Gm, Cm, D7, Gm, D7

It’s nearly seven and I can’t find my racing shoes.
I should’ve taken them out, I can’t find my racing shoes.
I really need to calm down.
I’ve got the Sunday morning racing blues.

Deep breath, I’ve got everything, time to head into town.
Ready as I’ll ever be, time to head into town.
I’ve been doing this a long time.
Yet each race I get so tightly wound.

Check bag, pin number, do some jogging and I’m good.
I’ve made it here, things taken care of, and I’m good.
Get to the start line.
Try to line up where I should.

A little bit of a wait now, try not to lose adrenaline.
Feel excitement fading, try to keep the adrenaline.
You just have to trust yourself.
And the shape that you are in.

Finally the horn goes, bit of jostling left and right.
Now people are moving, bit of jostling left and right.
I need to keep my composure.
Not let the leaders get out of sight.

Suddenly it’s Cat Hill then float through mile one.
Wave to the cat and then float through mile one.
Time to check and collect myself.
This race’s only just begun.

Starting to get tough, three to go and running fast.
Opening juice gone, three to go and running fast.
Breathing harder, quads streaming.
I swear this race will be my last.

Heading to the transverse, 2 mile water stop coming up.
Left on the transverse, 2 mile water stop coming up.
Douse myself with the first, drink the second cup.

Turn left on the West Drive, and starting to feel the pain.
This is where it all matters, starting to feel the pain.
I just want to stop and not do any of this again.

Somehow I drag my bones and get through the third mile.
Over those little hills and somehow through the third mile.
Although it’s mostly downhill, the final stretch will take a while.

Finally the last left turn and the finish comes into view.
Around that Webster statue and the finish comes into view.
Pick it up a little bit, to gain a second or two.

Through the finish and all I want to do is stop.
Please Mr. Marshall just give me a moment and let me stop.
Keep on moving they tell me, which I should do or I might drop.

Every time I do this I hate it hate it hate and vow not to come back.
It’s like this every time, I swear I won’t be back.
Now that it’s over I want to shave a few seconds, see you Tuesday on the track.

Mary Cain ran a 4:04.62 1500 last night in California. It would apparently be the second-fastest 1500 ever by a US collegian (behind Jenny B.) if Cain weren’t a junior in high school. And the second-fastest 1500 runner in a US high school is Jordan Hasay, all of 10 seconds slower.

Although I’ve been paying attention to what she’s been doing I’ve not written because she has moved on.  A friend who was much more knowledgeable than I could ever be pointed out to me last fall that Cain already had done the high-school team thing about which I said she would be missing. This year she’s shown on the track that she is in fact well beyond the high-school racing thing. I don’t know that she’s elite quite yet. She is knocking on the door. She’s learning how to race and is showing no intimidation. She seems to be racing a lot, but I’m sure everyone is being very careful about it. It is clear, though, that she is well past high school and may have leap-frogged most college runners (she’s beating them routinely now).

It is unfathomable what she goes through. We get anxious about our little 5Ks, races about which no one else cares. For her, there was a LetsRun thread before last night’s race speculating on how fast she’d run (including “let’s get real, sub 4:06 isn’t going to happen this season”, apparently from a Romney pollster). Every couple of weeks we get a where-is-she-going-to-college? thread (and there’s a when-is-she-going-pro? thread now).

Yet she hasn’t had a sub-par race. To the contrary, she’s faster. The last disappointing race I recall from her, going by memory, was indoors in 2012 when she was racing at a high level although not doing much speedwork so it was only disappointing that she was not winning for those who thought she was in full racing-shape at the time when she was training for outdoors. In fact, since I started paying attention, I think the only truly disappointing race she’s had was in the 1500 at Nationals as a freshman, the day after her 2:03.74 800 leg, and I think that she suffered from that 800 in the 1500. That’s a virtually unblemished record under incredible scrutiny.

She just turned 17.

I almost ran into her last week. We were both doing speedwork in the same lane at the same time in opposite directions. She deferred to me, I to her. We missed.  (She was just doing end-of-workout 200 pick-ups.) Yes, there’s a reason one goes counter-clockwise doing speedwork.

I thought Alberto Salazar gave a nice interview about the race and Cain’s progress.

I wore racing flats for the first time in over a year and that may have caused the twinge I mention. Excuse the heavy breathing. I was a bit winded. But here’s a video of the Mount Vernon HS track.

When I first saw this, I thought it was a mistake:

“Shakin Boreyko Consulting (SB Consulting) provides advice, review and editing of written materials needed to help board members feel comfortable in discussing NYRR’s programs with their colleagues/friends/family.”

Yet it appears in NYRR’s tax report for the years-ending March 31, 2010, 2011, and 2012. There seems to be some overlap, but at the least SB Consulting received $64,000 for these services in this period.

UPDATE: Last month I posted about NYRR’s non-response to my query as to why the corrals closed 30 minutes before the start of the NYC HM.  Apparently there’s a good reason because it’s the rule for the upcoming Brooklyn Half. This is a club race.

I thought of the Loucks 5K yesterday and wondered when it was, thinking I might give it a try. Discovered that it was today. I was planning on a Tempo last night and a long run today, but I figured another race would do me good. So I ran it.

Last time I ran it, in 2010, I did an 18:14. Today it was 19:15. It’s a fairly flat course, with a downhill stretch to a final 500 meters on the White Plains HS track.

I ran hard but under control. There were some crisis moments but it helped to know that the final mile was mostly downhill. So a time not as fast as I’d like. Still I’m pleased in that I raced it and did as well as I think I could have. I got through those bad moments and everything held together.

Per my Garmin, splits were 6:09, 6:24, 5:53, 5:30 (pace) (Garmin has 3.15 miles at 6:07 pace.)

In my last report, I mentioned the Litchfield race, on June 9. It turns out that there’s a 10K at the Rockies on June 8. I did it in its first year. It starts and finishes at Rockwood Hall. I’m torn about whether to to that instead of Litchfield.

All manner of “slow” movements have evolved — food, cities, sex — and it seems strange to include a roadrace among them yet I think it’s a fine way to describe it. Most of the races up here in Westchester qualify. A number in the City do as well. Annual races put on by towns or organizations, manned chiefly by volunteers and part of the community’s fabric. In fairness, the courses may be of questionable distance, but you can use Gmap to check. Since I’m not running for a club now the sole reason to run an NYRR “event” — the Club series — is gone for me. And once the horn sounds in any race it’s me, the course, and the guys around me.

So not having raced since September, I felt I had progressed enough to jump in. Consistent long-runs, increasing amount of speedwork. I picked the Riverdale Y 5K in the Bronx. Ten minutes away.

So I entered the 5K (there’s a 10K too) put on by the Riverdale Y in the Bronx. $20 (plus $2.50 processing fee) for the race ($25 for the 10K). Including a tech t-shirt. Of course Riverdale = hills. Apart from an all-uphill RTB leg, this was the toughest course I’ve ever run (a bit tougher than the Sleepy Hollow 10K). Turns out that in Riverdale the Bronx is up, and down, and up again. My post-race complaint to the race director received no sympathy. Course.

I hoped to go sub-19. I didn’t. I surely would go sub-20. I didn’t. 20:10. Stopped twice on one long hill, although they didn’t cost me much.

But I think it was a good race. Bobby Asher won the 10K which included the 5K course in 36, and he’s a 33 guy, which tells me that the hills cost a big chunk of time. I pride myself as a very good hill runner. I was not ready though and actually stopped twice running up Wave Hill, a long, gradual climb. Throughout, though, I kept things relatively relaxed. I wanted to have the race come to me and the object was to keep things under control, and they were.

Racing after a long lay-off is a shock to the system. Even pushing tempos or intervals doesn’t prepare one for the mental turbulence as things start to hurt on the course. So I’m bloodied, but not beaten.

I hope to run the Litchfield Road Race on June 9. It’s not quite as local as races around here. It’s one of the classic New England weird distance — 7.1 miles — races, with a notorious hill. I have five weeks to figure how to handle that one.


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