"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Back to a Running Blog... Soon

I enjoy having this blog spin out of control for a while, but it's about time to get back on track (not literally - indoor track season notwithstanding). First, I'll answer the questions I got asked; I'd expected more "What races are you doing this year?" and "How can men possibly miss a toilet?" questions.

From Glaven: "What's your position on oral sex?" I never know what to do with my hands, but I've learned that shadow puppets is a bad idea.

From Trailgrrl: "What's your stance on multiple wives? Do you think it would make for happier relationships?" Odd question for a guy who's been engaged twice, but never married. There's undoubtedly circumstances under which it would make sense (I recall reading of sibling polyandry in the Himalayas that seemed to work), but I can't imagine it working in our society. Most women I know wouldn't share mascara, much less men.

From Sea Legs Girl: "How many dimensions are there?" Dimensions are a philosophical construct with no basis in objective reality, so there are precisely as many as you need. For example, if describing the trajectory of a bullet, you need two spatial and one temporal dimension; if describing the position of a marking on that bullet, you need another one, even though nothing has changed. String theories postulate 10 or 26 dimensions, but I expect that, once boundary conditions are set, there are at most 4 that are independent.

A better way to think of the universe is as functions of dimensionless constants. If the water coming out of a faucet is clear, it has a Reynolds number under 2000; if completely turbulent, over 20000. One doesn't need dimensions, but observation. However, to predict if water will be laminar or turbulent, one needs to know the diameter of the faucet and the flow rate, so dimensions are used.

Dr. Nic asked: "Is your right shoulder dislocated in the [banner photo, since replaced]?" No - never dislocated a shoulder - hip, yes - elbow, yes - fingers, yes - toes, yes. Does look weird in that photo, though.

Dr. Nic #2: "When will you agree to coach me?" Now, if you have a goal that interests me.

Xenia: "What's the farthest you've been from home?" In the words of Tom Waits, "Anywhere I lay my head, that's my home." I travel very, very little and have only been on a plane once since 2001. Before then, I managed Europe once; since, I think Colorado... less than 1000 miles!

Ross: "Replacements or Husker Du?" That's like choosing between one's children! At the time, I would've said the Mats, but Husker Du has held up better. I actually prefer the solo works by Westerberg and Mould, the edge going to Westerberg.

Anon #1: "Boxers or briefs?" Neither: compression shorts or retired running shorts. If I had to choose, probably briefs.

Colin: "What did you study in grad school?" Interdisciplinary biochemistry, with an emphasis on virology; tyrosine phosphatases was my research project. Really, though, I studied bad movies, Chinese girls, Belgian beer and issues of Track and Field Technique.

Colin again: "If you could coach the runner you were 25 years ago, what would you have him do differently?" Rest more (especially before races) and focus less on what other people thought were glamour events. Also, I'd have him visit a few doctors.

Anon #2: "What advice do you have for a road runner signing up for a trail half-marathon?" If possible, find people you finish near in road races and let them set the pace. Don't try to run even pace in the race. Experienced trail runners will bomb the downhills; no matter how good you are on road downhills, don't try to keep up with them until you've got some trail races under your belt. Think of the race as being longer than a half-marathon; if the course is sort-of like a golf course, it'll feel like 25K; if it's a typically hilly trail race, it'll feel more like 30K... so train as if it's a longer race. Try to train on surfaces like those you'll race on and run lots of hills.


Karen said...

I've got a question that I wrote a little about yesterday related to running that I'd love to hear your opinion on: How important is getting to a racing weight? Is it still important for someone that isn't really fast (like me) or is training harder more important?

The questions also segue into getting back to running topics. Win-win, right? :)

SteveQ said...

@Karen: Excess weight lowers one's maximal oxygen uptake. Decreasing fat stores thus should make one faster, but the difference is most apparent at race lengths where maximum oxygen uptake is most important, around 5K. At marathon distances, it becomes a matter of heat dissipation and area vs. volume, so smaller runners have an easier time. Losing muscle mass can make one slower. That said...

What I tell runners is that they tend to get things backward: running faster makes one weigh less, weighing less does not make one faster. Train to run better and your weight takes care of itself.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

"How many dimensions are there?"

You EEEEEE-dyit! You need at least FIVE dimensions to appreciate the view from my beautiful ball-OOOOOOOONNNNNNN!

Also ... Tom Waits wrote "Papa was a Rollin' Stone"? Ska-WEEEEEEEEEEEEL! Turns out he's my favorite Motown composer!

Anonymous said...

Yeah Steve....train to run better and the weigh takes care of it's self. I wish more runners, especially female runners would heed this advice.

Case in point, I have beat many a gal much smaller than me.

Karen S.

Karen said...

Very true! However....I've been training to run better, actually adding in tempo and track workouts, and find myself almost 10 lbs heavier (was at 120), and I wasn't too small to begin with; so I'm not really sure where to go from here. (I'm 5'6", 127 lbs. now)

As the other Karen said, I too have beat many a tiny waif girl at my modest racing pace.

nwgdc said...

Sub-4 trail 50k and a Sub-3 marathon less than a month apart?

It's a scary thought to try and figure out what you'd find interesting...but I figure I'll give it a shot.

Jean said...

I just about spit beer all over my computer at the "shadow puppets" line! :) Ha!

Agree on Mould and Westerberg's solo stuff. Love Mould's "Workbook" album in particular.

Robyn said...

Hey, thanks for the trail 1/2M advice! (I was the anon poster, but it's the Surly Trail Loppet in Theo. Wirth) I had the training-on-trails part in the plan, but hadn't thought about training as if for a longer event. Might up some of my long runs a mile or two. Luckily, lots of time to figure it out.

SteveQ said...

@Glaven: WHOOPS! Possible Freudian slip there. I meant "head," not "hat." The Marvin Gaye song is better - and more famous - but not what I was thinking. I'll make the correction.

Colin said...

One more question which only you can answer: what's the next number in the sequence 11, 9, 2, 3, ...?

SteveQ said...

@Colin: Hoping it's not 0. We'll see around Brian Kraft 5K time.