22 September 2012

Nyah, Nyah! God Gave Me An Extra!

I might be premature in saying this, but we may have reached Slumpus Terminus. One word: WOOT! But first, an interesting tidbit along the way of getting there, which starts with a cut to a seemingly unrelated topic…

In my business of technology, there are consulting houses who’s very names turn heads. Needless to say, vendors such as my employer spend many cycles trying to convince these Industry Gods of our own Godliness. Said Industry Gods therefore hear an awful lot of corporate blather, and, speaking as one who cannot stay awake more than about fifteen minutes in a meeting where I’m expected only to listen and not participate, I can only imagine the scale of their agony living through endless days of Death by PowerPoint. It was thus with great mirth that I read a report from one recently, where instead of reporting on technology, they reported, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, on what to do – and not to do – when presenting to them. Rule Number One was not to put up a slide that says, “Our people make the difference.” Having worked for many firms whose corporate overview decks obligingly include this bit of inanity, I laughed out loud at the consultant’s decree that, [sic] “Unless you’ve bred some mutant DNA, we’re pretty sure that all firms that come before us have good people. Don’t waste your time claiming otherwise.” Touché!

Here’s the funny part. I’ve got a bit of that mutant DNA in me, so I learned this week. Take that, Industry Gods!

What does all this have to do with running, the slump, and the price of oolong tea in Tibet? Dear reader, think back to the Adventure of the Cardiac Ultrasound, which stemmed from seeing Lady Doc. Another outcome of said visit was a strategy to attack the Pesky Left Achilles, now in an annoying painful state for a solid six months, long enough to cross out the word acute and write in chronic in crayon. On top of the squishy New Balance shoes I’d procured a few weeks prior to ease the pounding and potentially heal the beast, Lady Doc packed me off to x-ray the heel (which turned out to be just fine) and to be made to heel at the hands of a good round of physical therapy. So as I padded around in the slipper-like Squishy Shoes, I also submitted to the skills of my new Sadistic Practitioner, so dubbed because the name Physical Terrorist (my last PT, also of the same fine firm) was already used, and because it is a kinder version of a name one of her former patients involuntarily emitted while enduring her painful goodness.

Several myofascial release scrapings (painful, but it’s good pain), and many wonderful minutes spent on the electro-stim later, progress was obvious, but a new worry arose in the front half of said abused podiatric appendage, a pain weird and strong enough to have me dreading a stress fracture. With the New York Marathon looming, I kvetched until Darling Spouse reached her tolerance of grouse and insisted I get it checked out, reminding me of our new, “Damn the torpedoes, we’ve hit our deductible!” status. Yep, she’s right on that one.

Dr. Foot Doctor (you do remember Dr. Foot Doctor from the Famed Surgery of ’08, right?) to the rescue! Here’s where the right guy makes all the difference. I could have called Lady Doc, who would have been happy to pack me back to Local Hospital to x-ray the front of the same foot (can you get foot cancer from two x-rays in a month?), and a day or two later heard that the radiologist reported there were indeed no cracks, but nothing beats one stop shopping with the famed father of foot features. No, nothing beats having the x-ray machine in the back room, then walking twelve feet to the exam room and studying the ghostly images together, working out the mechanics and strategies to recover. And nothing beats getting in on six hours notice (big thank-you!).

When all was said and done, it made sense. The knee bone’s connected to the leg bone and so on, and using such logic we surmised a pretty plausible principle for the pain, which stemmed from trying to deal with the Achilles with the Squishy shoes. It did not, I repeat did not, seem to be related to the fact that we found an extra bone in my big toe. There’s that mutant DNA. Yep, God gave me an extra one that you probably haven’t got. Nyah!

Now, this isn’t entirely rare, but it’s not entirely common, either. A little web research turned up the fact that there isn’t even a solid agreement on the number of bones that you’re suppose to have in your foot – one site said twenty-six, another twenty-eight. But several sources did acknowledge that a percentage of freaks (my wording, of course) in the universe have extras which appear in various places in the foot. My special little stowaway is known as an Os Interphalangeus, one form of the class of “accessory ossicles” (which I think are frozen drippy things that form off decorations you hang outside your house in the winter, oh, wait those are accessory icicles). Said ossicle has apparently been living under the joint of my big toe for God knows how long, never paying rent, never doing the dishes, just adding weight to my stride – at least a gram or two, clearly enough to add a microsecond to my marathon time.

But frankly, I thought he was kind of cute on the x-ray image, and I’ll let him stay.

(I trust you’re thinking, “Gee, two weeks in a row he’s showing off pictures of his innards, what a weirdo!” Guilty. I find this stuff ultimately fascinating.)

In any event, many good things came of this beyond pride in another element of uniqueness and a chance to reconnect with Dr. Foot Doctor. I walked out with the confidence that nothing was broken, a roll of kinesiology tape (no, that’s not a mystic religion), and a script for a kicker dose of anti-inflammatories that in a mere day have me thinking they’re either magic or the best placebo on the planet. And they’re not even on the World Anti-Doping Agency banned substance list! Double bonus!

But before I’d popped a single pill, I hit the roads after seeing Dr. Foot Doctor and hammered one, breaking a four-year-old personal best on a training course that I run several times a month. The power of positive thinking! Another solid one yesterday, and nearly twenty this morning, and suddenly New York in six weeks doesn’t seem like a problem.

Slumpus Terminus? I sure hope so. Let’s hope it sticks!

12 September 2012

Eighteen Again

Through a twisted series of events, I was told that I’ve got the heart of a healthy eighteen-year-old. After duly professing my love to Tina the technician for her assessment (and wishing that other parts of my body imitated that condition), I’ve had some fun with this convoluted story.

Revert to my review of Joey Keillor’s book Run Great When it Counts; High School. In that review mentioned that I took some of his advice. His book addresses a topic I’d never really considered: the unique blood-iron-levels required in endurance athletes, entirely aside from standard anemia, and how this metric is generally overlooked yet often implicated in poor performances. His recommendation was simple: It’s a quick test, just get it done. Uncover the problem or rule it out.

Not only did this seem potentially plausible, but I knew I had a few additional unique characteristics (I’ll spare you the gory details) that could up the likelihood of this being a factor in the now-you’re-bored-of-hearing-about-it slump. And a few days later I heard about this same issue from a club companion, unprompted and independently. My racing buddy specifically brought up the problem of foot-strike hemolysis, or micro-bleeding through the feet that can occur with high mileage on asphalt – gee, sound like me? Stars aligning, time ticking toward that fall marathon, I needed to find a way out of this slump, so let’s just do this, do it fast, and find out.

But I’m what one might call an activist when it comes to trying to contain medical costs. I take the intent of the high-deductible insurance plan to heart, which tries to make us smarter consumers of health care services. Call it economic patriotism, call it core frugality, whatever, but I boil when I see pharmaceutical companies doing their best to convince the public that everyone needs treatment for toenail fungus. I cringe in the face of so-called defensive medicine, where tests and procedures are run in the interest of avoiding future lawsuits. So my first step was to call my insurance company and verify that this was not an extravagant test. Based on their assurance that it was indeed inexpensive, (which turned out to be a total lie, but that’s another story), I rang up Lady Doc’s office in early August and explained my wishes with no economic guilt.

With this background you can appreciate my dismay when the response was both a great delay – please come in for a visit first, and we can schedule you in four weeks – and the recommendation to pile on a bunch more tests – cha-Ching! I had neither time to waste nor desire to soak the my wallet or the medical insurance system. What followed was a somewhat comical series of negotiations, during which I came to recognize that she was clearly right in that it made little sense to address my complaint of a performance slump with simply one simple test, and her office came to recognize my sense of urgency and agreed to move forward in advance of our planned visit. And heck, that high deductible was about to tumble anyway, so go ahead, pile it on! I changed my stance from medical frugality to damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, and obligingly gave up several trillion red cells in the interest of science, the end result of which was to prove that there was utterly nothing wrong with me, at least not that a blood test could determine. I had plenty of iron and all kinds of other stuff floating around in me, and no discernable lack of anything. OK, so now at least we knew.

Time flies when you’re documenting adventures, and by then it was time for that office visit anyway. Lady Doc and I had all kinds of great chit-chat, bringing a few grins to the young resident accompanying her on her rounds. I learned a new word, bradycardia, the name given to an abnormally low pulse so typical of runners, like mine which dips into the high thirties and beats when it feels like it, sometimes at mildly odd intervals. But importantly, Lady Doc took a sincere interest in trying to uncover what, if anything beyond my head, was ballooning my training times. The best we came up with was those pesky cholesterol meds, which we decided I’d knock off of for a while just to see (so far with potentially promising results, we’ll check back in on that in a while).

Meanwhile, back in the White and Chrome exam room, Lady Doc decided that a baseline EKG wouldn’t be a bad idea, slump or not, for a nearly fifty-year-old guy. (Fifty! Yes, it’s coming.) Now, Lady Doc, like any other doc, deals with a daily stream of non-athletic (read: normal) people, sick, aged, unhealthy, out-of-shape, and it is easy to chalk up this EKG decision to sticking to the medical norm. After all, as a marathoner, pretty much the last thing I worry about is my heart. But I had to agree that no matter how fit, there’s always that chance that there’s something going on, and besides, we’re all going to die of something, right? So wire me up, bring it on!

Two EKG machines later (apparently we killed one, they all have to die of something, right?), we’d produced a single sheet with a bunch of squiggly lines that looked to me exactly like, well, an EKG. A perfectly normal EKG, because unless they are filled with flat lines, they all look pretty much perfectly normal to me. But I’m not a doctor, she is, and there was one eeny-weenie little bump that indeed did not look perfectly normal to her.

I do like my doctor, and I have a feeling that in a convoluted sort of way, she appreciates my quirky involvement in medical topics where she is clearly the expert. And I appreciate that she finds herself in a predicament in cases like mine: balance the fact that this guy is highly fit and conditioned against the fact that he’s basically fifty and has a funny bump on his chart. I could stand there all day long and promise I would never sue her, and she could even believe me, removing this from the realm of defensive medicine, but as a doctor, she really can’t ignore this. “Look,” she says, “this is probably nothing, but we should be sure, and I’m not the expert here.” And so off goes my collection of squiggly lines to the cardiologist.

Just saying the word cardiologist, when you’re a marathoner, evokes funny emotions. Aren’t those the people who get involved only when things are really ugly?

She reports the next day that the cardiologist said, “Look, this is probably nothing, but we should be sure.” She explains that said chart bump hints at thick heart walls, also known as cardiac hypertrophy, a possible sign of, say WHAT? Heart disease?

We’re all going to die of something, right?

But a little medical web sleuthing – usually dangerous for anyone remotely prone to hypochondria – turns up yet another new phrase for my vocabulary, Athletic Heart Syndrome, which, as its name implies, is what happens to your heart when you train a lot. It’s all good, but on paper, specifically EKG paper, it looks a bit like, well, heart disease. And it’s exactly what you’d expect: bradycardia – that low pulse, arrhythmia – irregular heartbeat, and, wonder of wonder, an enlarged heart, a.k.a. cardiomegaly, including that enlarged heart wall, a.k.a. cardiac hypertrophy. Got all that? There will be a quiz later. In short, your heart’s a muscle. You work it and it gets bigger and stronger and just doesn’t have to work very hard when you’re not working it. Go ahead, be proud.

But we’ve got to be sure, and so I am booked for a cardiac ultrasound. I’m ever so mildly apprehensive – hey, you never know – but pretty confident this will be an academic experience. And at this point I am really happy that my deductible has been met.

Long story preserved from becoming painfully even longer, it was a blast! It was so just plain ultimately wicked cool, wicked pissah cool as we say in New England, that I’d do it again just for fun, if it weren’t so darn pricey. There’s little that can compare to watching your own heart, the pump of your life, chug away happily on the screen. Tina the technician was more than happy to oblige my child-like curiosity and explain every angle, every image, every valve and movement, and while she couldn’t pronounce a verdict, she was happy to point out the lack of all the typical woes she sees daily. Further, while she promised that the medical imaging department would supply my hoped-for souvenir CD (which they did, and several images of heart valves and so on are scattered herein), she invited me to snap stills and videos of the screen with my phone as we went along. Oh my golly this was just plain fabulous!

It almost goes without saying that the report came back the next day with a verdict of, “Not going to die, doesn’t have heart disease,” which I translated into, “Athletic Heart Syndrome, yeah baby!” But I pretty much knew that before I left, having asked Tina, “If you didn’t know I ran or anything about me, would you be able to tell from looking at these images?”

“Well, no,” she started, much to my dismay, but then continued, “I’d assume I was looking at a very healthy 18-year-old.”

Ponder if you will, how this came about. I’d really had no plans to see my doctor. But a simple bit of advice in a coaching book – one aimed at teens for that matter – led to, via this twisted path, a pleasing confirmation that all the energies we put into running really do produce benefits. Seriously, I don't really believe my heart is eighteen, but I know it's not typical nearly-fifty, either. Sweet.

Run on, my friends, run on.

06 September 2012

Midpack of Lies

Seemingly overnight, with the change from August to September, my body seems to have decided to begin its emergence from The Slump, and with it, my mind seems to be emerging from its drought of blogging motivation. Suddenly I am faced with more topics than you, my reader, probably wish to see in such a concentrated stream. So bear with me as I mete these out over the coming days. Let’s start with the timely stuff first.

What’s this most timely of items? I’ve got a serious bone to pick with a major politician who has sullied my backyard. Play politics all you want, but don’t lie about your running exploits and expect to get away with it. You simply expose yourself as a morally bankrupt jerk.

Let’s back up a bit. What happens when running and politics cross paths? On the local level, it just means I run, rather than drive, to the polls to vote, as I did today for Massachusetts’ oddly scheduled Thursday primary. The kind ladies covering Ward Six don’t seem to mind my sweat, especially on a day like today when few realized there was actually an election, and thus they’d go for anything to break the boredom.

But what about on the national level? There’s been a long history of politicians who run, some who have made it quite visible. Back in my First Lap days, the Secret Service had to find a few guys who could pop in a few miles with Jimmy Carter. (And what do you know, he’s still alive and kicking!) Since then there have been many others. When on the fence about any candidate, knowing that they’re fitness-oriented, specifically runners, certainly says something about their character to other runners. And with all the spin and rhetoric that flies constantly in political circles, often it comes down to a judgment of character. Character matters.

Let’s stop here for a moment. If you see me on the street and we talk politics, you’ll know quickly where I stand. If you really want to scour past postings, you can get a hint. But I’m not going there tonight, I’m going to character, specifically where it crosses into my world, the world of running. I tell you emphatically that I would publish the forthcoming rant no matter who the candidate to blame was, and whether I felt they were Pure Evil or Goodness and Light (though as I noted, since this is about character, following this doozey if would be hard to characterize this person as Goodness and Light).

While they say all politicians lie, I don’t believe that. There are a few honest ones out there, though debatably it’s hard to be sure. There are plenty of arguments about what constitutes a lie, a fact, a spin, a twist, a deception, a slant, or what the definition of the word ‘is’ is. But while it’s hard to prove honesty, it’s easy to prove the opposite when someone steps into your realm of expertise and spews forth obviously recognizable lies.

Which brings us to the man who wishes to become our Vice-President, Paul Ryan. As I said, I’m not going to discuss his politics. This is a running blog, not a political soapbox. But as a running blog, I feel a bit of an obligation to help keep my sport pure. And Mr. Ryan has entered my world, come into my backyard, and dumped crap all over it. Major foul. Fifteen yard penalty. Red card. Ten minute major, game misconduct. And a full disqualification.

What am I talking about? Ryan went on a national radio show and said (I may not have the words exact), “I was fast when I was young, I ran a marathon in two-fifty-something.” His staff confirmed his claim.

Except, of course, that he didn’t do that. Not even close. The folks at Runner’s World set a staffer on the hunt and found the truth. He ran one marathon, Grandma’s in Duluth, 1990, as a twenty-year-old college student, in FOUR-OH-ONE-TWENTY-FIVE. He was a solid mid-packer, but that, apparently, wasn’t good enough for the image he was trying to put forth, so he became a liar from the mid-pack instead. Caught red-handed, he was forced to confess – at least to the press. He’d better take it up with his pastor as well. I think there’s a commandment thing going on here.

Now, this tidbit didn’t get a lot of press. To the average Joe on the street, what’s the difference? They guy said he ran a marathon and he did. Time? Schmime! (Is that how you’d spell that?) But to a runner, a marathoner, a marathon racer who actually has run a two-fifty-something a half-dozen times, this is a mind-blower that exposes moral bankruptcy.

First, anyone who runs a marathon remembers it. It’s a life experience, sometimes a life-changing experience. And while I know people who have run so many that they can’t always recall each one (this is a mental exercise I do on some runs, trying to recall each of my seventeen marathons and the times), I don’t know anyone who doesn’t recall their first, especially if it was their only. They might have the time a few minutes off, but they know what they did. Cape Cod, October 2005, three-twenty-nine.

Second, anyone who has run a marathon cannot possibly confuse a sub-three-hour marathon, where you are racing the distance, with a four-hour marathon, where the ordeal centers on tactics to achieve the distance. Runners I know who run four-hour marathons view a sub-three the same way I view elite marathoners’ performances. It’s something to be respected, awed by, and recognized as a gift that’s simply not evenly distributed among the population. No four-hour marathoner I’ve ever met could possibly ever assert they’d gone sub-three, just as I could never possibly assert I’d run sub-two-twenty.

Finally, any runner with any self-respect is proud of their accomplishments for what they are, fast, slow, or otherwise. Am I impressed with a two-thirty performance? Of course I am. But am I impressed with a four-thirty performance as well? More than you’d know. I see people achieve their marathon dream coming from very different places with very different talents, but universally displaying dedication, motivation, and just plain guts. Whenever they get there, they are winners. And let’s face it. I don’t want to be out there for four and a half hours. I’ve got tremendous respect for those who keep at it for so long until they reach their goal.

This doesn’t just apply to marathoners. This applies to anyone who gets off the couch and runs any distance to better themselves. You’ve got my respect, and the respect of any other runner who’s strapped on a pair of shoes and gotten out there.

But lie about it?

I’d settle for Ryan admitting he didn’t recall his exact time. I’d settle for him getting it wrong by a few minutes (indeed, he got the date wrong by a year, who cares?). I would have been impressed solely by the fact that he had run a marathon – and he did run a marathon. But to turn this into a self-serving, massive, and outrageous lie which one has to believe was intended to build up his P90X fitness related image? This simply can’t be dismissed as a misstatement. The word pathological comes to mind.

This isn't about Republicans or Democrats. This is about personal integrity and honesty to our sport. You’ve not only offended runners everywhere, you’ve thrown away any shred of self-respect. That’s not what marathoning or running is about.

Links on this abomination:
Runner’s World
Grandma’s Marathon 1990 Results
NBC News
Fox News
New York Daily News

02 September 2012

Location! Location! Location!

Tonight, I take a jog to the course of my usual discourse. A jog is probably an appropriate choice of words, since in my continuing state of extended slump, a jog is about the most I can muster. Yet while I remain in the midst of what my countless readers (countless because I can’t stand to count such a small number) may rightly perceive as a slump-induced blogging drought similar to, but in no way as severe as the Midwestern drought, just as like Hurricane Isaac is at least briefly interrupting the dryness, there are hints of my own relief on the horizon. But I digress needlessly. Rather than blather on my own woes, I’ll blather on someone else’s prose.

I hold in my hands a copy of the slim volume, Run Great When it Counts; High School, by Joey Keillor, an author I’ve never met but who is a friend of a friend who is an amazing and rare person, that is to say, she actually reads my stuff. We’ve got a tradition of meeting up, family to family, on an annual basis in a secure undisclosed location where we both prefer to vacation, and this year’s event was a delightful reunion as always. The topic arose of her friend’s pending publishing, and several weeks later said volume landed on my always-overloaded reading pile.

I’d like to tell you that as a famous blogger, piles of promotional equipment, supplements, clothing, books, and bags of cash arrive on my desk weekly. I’d also like to tell you I’m retiring to that island, having reached Romneyesque levels of wealth as well. Neither being true, I’m still easy to sway into providing a quick review of the few perks that come my way, and as a result, I set immediately to intending to publish said review.

That was in July. It’s now September. You know how it goes.

Catholic Guilt sets in as usual. Joey’s work (can I simply call you Joey? It’s so much easier…) is targeted at the high school runner, and good press for his efforts would of course be most effective before the high school running season kicks off. Well, I missed that deadline, but teacher, dear teacher, I swear I have a good excuse. You see, I tried to follow some of Joey’s advice myself, and hoped to have the story of its success or failure ready to include in this story. Alas, that has become an adventure in itself, and a story for a future post. Check back later.

But as for the work itself, my reaction when I read it, both initially, then again to retrieve tips to use personally, and yet again to garner points for this piece, was to compare it to the old real estate adage: Location! Location! Location! In real estate, the finest business can fail when placed in the wrong place, and the lowliest hovel can become a commercial hotbed in the right spot. In coaching volumes, the finest, most authoritative, comprehensive, and superlative work is utterly useless when it sits on the shelf. The most mundane, simplest, and basic work (and in no way do I imply that Joey’s work is such, just making the example here) can carry the value of gold if it actually gets read.

Did you notice that I mentioned I’ve effectively read this book three times? I chide my daughter for re-reading the same books over and over. Her reply, quite logically, is that she likes them, and I really can’t argue with that, but from my perspective there are so many books on the stack to be read and so little time, how could you do that? But here’s a book that I’ve read three times, because I could (and admittedly, because the third time was to complete my homework here, but still, because I could).

Joey has written a book aimed at high school runners. My daughter notwithstanding, she being unique among teens as the giant sucking sound in the middle of the library, most teenagers are not big readers, and given the suggestion by a coach or supportive parent to actually read a book, even on their sport, are quite likely to set it aside and ignore it (at least until it becomes a more palatable diversion than that term paper due in the morning). But Joey’s packaging is the key to the success of this volume: It’s slim, non-threatening to the non-voracious reader, barely over one hundred pages, and organized into quick tips that can be read in five-minute segments. It’s a collection of sound-advice sound-bites for the distracted and overtaxed world of the five-minute attention-span teen. He’s nailed it: Location! Location! Location!

And the advice is pretty good. It’s not sophisticated, highly scientific coaching methodology. Instead, it’s solid common sense. If you’re in high school, you might not have thought about all these things yet (ah, the teenage brain, as seen from the perspective of dad…). If you’re well beyond high school, these points are not only good reminders, but you’ll find that they ring true with many of your own experiences.

Joey doesn’t try to boil the ocean. As the title implies, he focuses on the key goal of surviving the season and peaking when it matters, rather than, as is all too often the case, peaking early and crashing late. Is this real? It took me back thirty-two years to the two state meets I made it into during my senior year in high school And the results? Tanked at cross country states on Long Island in the fall, and tanked again at winter track states at Cornell’s Barton Hall the following March. I always liked to blame that last one on dental work the week prior, but let’s face it, I tanked, and Joey’s advice probably would have been helpful at the time.

So what does he cover? Sound logic, like relying on your body, your brain, and your feelings, rather than devices and fancy schemes. Knowing when to back off, and how to back off, to preserve top performances all season long. Remembering what racing is about, which is beating the other guy, not hitting a certain split (which is, of course, much more applicable to the high school runner than we veterans in large road races). Being confident in your own training and abilities, and being aware that there are no secret formulas. Accepting that while there are many training strategies, nobody has ever truly proven one to be superior, so common sense and confidence take precedence; and not letting yourself get spooked by stories of what the hero across town supposedly does since it’s probably not true. Strategies for preparing in the off-season, including what struck me with some amusement as a thinly disguised use of a quasi-streak (his recommendation of keeping constant daily mileage) to both prepare and motivate. And attending to your health, both on simple, and on some more sophisticated levels.

There were a few things I found somewhat annoying in this work, such as the author’s tendency to refer to various tips throughout the book solely by number that left me baffled and often not motivated to flip the pages to decode these cross-references. The section on stretching and strength, while certainly not invalid, seemed so compact as to appear almost as an incomplete afterthought. These are minor nits.

But there were tidbits I utterly loved, such as the perceived exertion chart, relating how you feel to the comparable workout intensity. I’d just read this back in July and laughed about its description of 100% effort, race level intensity, as “All out, spent at the finish, gasping for air, you can’t wipe the spit off your face,” when a day later, halfway through the Carver Five-Miler, I realized that I really couldn’t wipe the spit off my face. Yeah, kinda’ gross, Too Much Information I know, but the point is that Joey nails reality. He nails it when he drills in that there is no secret training formula. One of the columns I’ve never gotten around to writing is the answer to people asking me what my formula is, and the answer is there isn’t one. No amount of reading specific workouts in Running Times provides better benefit than a few motivated companions and just about any combination of hard work on the track.

There are points here that are clearly targeted at the experience level of a high school runner. Don’t carbo load for a 5K. You won’t dehydrate in a mile. Understand and work with your realistic talent level. And so on. But there is a lot of good stuff that is easily lost on any runner in the heat of any racing schedule, not just the inexperienced youngster, but even the grizzled veteran. I took one of the health suggestions to heart, and the story is still unfolding with great blogable potential. But that will have to wait for another night, as we’re already over quota here…

The bottom line is that if you’re looking for a comprehensive, sophisticated guide to all things running, training, and racing, this is not your solution. But if you’re looking for a practical approach that will actually get used, especially if you’re a coach and you’d like to get into the head of your athletes whom you know have more talent than the time to think about how to work with it to their best success, Joey Keillor has assembled a handy package here.

Click here to go to Joey Keillor’s website.
Click here to view his book on Amazon.