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.
5 days ago