Monday, December 18, 2006

Global Warming and Running Barefoot

This is crazy. I am complaining about my ability to continue to run barefoot through December in New Jersey. If the Earth was right, I should not be able to run barefoot so much this late in December. Last year we had already had an 8" snow and a day off from school by now.

Friday, Saturday and today's runs were 100% barefoot. I ran six miles today on the road. The air temperature was 55 degrees Fahrenheit! Half of my mileage so far this month has been barefoot; though it has been relatively low, especially with six days devoted to a trip to Vail - where there is snow, thankfully. Last year, I did about 7 barefoot miles in the entire month of December. This year, I have done 22 so far; 15.5 within the last 4 days. We haven't seen a flake of natural snow yet in the Northeast. Looks like these temps are going to stick around for a while. Can't stand this global warming stuff. You can read in my other blog how I am writing about not skiing in the Catskills. But we will be there all next week. Looks like I am going to be able to wear flip-flops to the ski lodge!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Time to Move On

It has been over a month now since the New York City Marathon. I skipped the two important category II races to complete my USATF-NJ Grand Prix in the weeks after the marathon. My training has been minimal. I spent 4 days skiing in Vail and have not been out running for 10 days straight. Even though Vail skiing is high altitude, and it was hard skiing with bumps and backcountry, all day nonstop, it isn't the same as running. This is entry is not about running barefoot, or running at all.

I have been following the Floyd Landis doping situation very closely. The best place for keeping up with the daily news and chatter about it, on both sides, is at the Trust But Verify blog, a.k.a. "TBV". (Today TBV linked to the great cartoon screen-captured at right. "Hand over the medal, Tortoise. Your "B" sample also tested positive....")

The case is emerging at an important time in drug testing for sports. I believe that the majority of the public at large and athletes think the general idea of drug testing to deter and punish cheaters is a necessity. However, the method and quality of enforcement seems to violate the rights of the athletes. Some become victims of bad tests, ambiguous test interpretations, rule changes they are not informed about, contaminated and mishandled samples, and accidental ingestion of banned substances because of manufacturer errors or misinformation. These athletes are found guilty and penalized as stringently as deliberate cheaters. The accidental positives have chemical values that would not result in performance enhancement. The deliberate cheaters have quantities hundreds to thousands of times higher than the accidental positives. See these recent outstanding LA Times articles for an excellent overview!

In July 2007, when I am putting in a lot of barefoot miles, I want to be able to see Landis race, fully recovered from his hip replacement. After reading most of the case documents that have been made available, and following all the Internet analysis and discussions centered around Landis, I believe his high ratio of testosterone test result is an error. He should be in the Tour de France in the summer of 2007, defending his 2006 win. If he and Basso and Ulrich and Vino get to be there, it is going to be an awesome few weeks.

It is time for the sport of cycling to move on. Anti-doping procedures and protocols need to be changed to be fair for all athletes.

And It is time for my own training to move on to the next set of progressive goals:
  1. Resume running in an "active rest" cycle for the next 10 days before our annual Christmas-New Year's Day ski trip.
  2. On January 1st, begin a build up for possibly running the Boston Marathon.
  3. January-February run from work 3X per week at least 10 miles, plus the Wednesday night club run, while still getting the ski weekends in regularly.
  4. Enter Boston on February 20th if the run-from-work strategy works.