Monday, July 19, 2010
Posted by Michael Ring at 7:35 PM
By Kate George
Perhaps his writing style is too conversational for my taste and his "metaphors" are certainly too literal. Nevertheless, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, is a wonderful book! It's helter-skelter sequencing and repetitive passages are like running itself. Isn't running always the same and always different? Don't runs always seem to meld together yet feel distinctive? I don't think Murakami is deep enough to have intended the book's structure to so closely parallel the experience of running but he accomplished it. It is a book that only a runner could understand.
Murakami's memoir made me reflect on my own running history. When I started seriously running in January of 2009 I wasn't registered for a race or on a team. I had no special clothing and very old shoes. Why did I hit the icy roads morning after morning before dawn? The streets called to me. They did! I would head out and one foot after another I would just lose myself. But at the same time I became more fully aware of myself than ever before- every muscle, every tendon, every heart beat, every breath. My mind emptied but when I returned home that awareness lingered. Sure, I was aware of sore muscles throughout the day especially after a particularly long or hard run. But it was more than that. As I learned to strengthen my muscles and control my breath, things that seemed impossible, like running ten miles, became easy. I was teaching myself control and the courage to press on through difficulties. This idea began to permeate other aspects of my life and things that I'd never noticed began to come into focus. Running taught me to see possibilities I'd never considered.
Murakami spends quite a bit of time talking about what running taught him about writing. It is of special interest to me because I am a runner who enjoys writing, though I am not a writer. The role of talent in an endeavor like writing is a subject that has always intrigued me. How much talent do you need? The question is difficult to answer because talent can't be measured, doled out as we please, saved, or multiplied. Murakami argues that although talent is important it is useless without FOCUS and ENDURANCE. Running taught him both things and made it possible for him to continue a long career as a writer. I agree with the assessment because running has helped me develop my own focus and endurance in writing, reading, problem-solving, and quilting. None of these things are accomplished easily or quickly. Writers have a saying, "Push through the hard parts...and they're all hard parts". Running long distances is the just the same: You run until you can't anymore...and then you run some more.
What I talk about When I talk about Running is a quick read for the season but it will stay with you long after the Summer turns to Fall.
Posted by Michael Ring at 8:47 AM
After a 10+ year hiatus from running, I resumed training (judiciously) in the spring of 2009. By July I was feeling confident enough to enter the last two Al Goldstein 5Ks and was overjoyed to finish the first at a sub 10 minute pace and knock another 45 seconds per mile off the second race. It was such a great feeling to rejoin the running community that I immediately sent in my dues to both the PPTC and the NYRRC. Besides, I thought I could serve as a role model for slightly younger running fathers (and mothers) of twins who had attended PS 321 in Park Slope!
I kept going and was approaching 10K by Thanksgiving. Then my right knee started to hurt, a lot, more and more, and not just when I ran. I got a fancy knee brace and started icing regularly but soon I was spending more time treating the pain than actually running. I finally dragged myself to an orthopedist who delivered the bad news: torn cartilage. I could do physical therapy, stop running and probably walk around relatively pain free. Or, if I wanted to resume running, it was time to get my knee "scoped" and clean out the gunk. I might lose the summer, but I could be running again by the fall.
So that's why I'm sitting here today, July 14, six hours after the procedure, with my leg up, wrapped in an ice pack, hurting like hell but expecting that, after 4 to 6 weeks of rehab, I'm be back doing my laps of Prospect Park just in time for some beautiful fall running. And I'll still be able to beat my 16-year-old twins! Lucky for me, their 19-year-old brother will be back at college because I don't stand a chance against him anymore.
Posted by Michael Ring at 8:45 AM
Monday, July 12, 2010
More of What You Do Not Know Because You Are Not Me! By Michael Ring
On a Friday morning I woke up early and did the run I often do on a Saturday morning. Starting at
Since I left the house at 6 am instead of the usual 8 am I did not think automobile traffic would be an issue. I was wrong about that; rush hour was starting when I was running home.
The one major obstacle faced on my run was the people. Just as I was running towards the
"Sure, but then I have to tell you that I am not a jogger." He wanted to know why he can run for 45 minutes on a treadmill but he can't really run outdoors for 5 minutes. So, I explained that on a treadmill you are just spinning your legs, you are not making the effort to move your body forward, that running on a treadmill is like running down stairs. The treadmill is softer than any outdoor running surface and it is probably in a nice air conditioned gym. I told him that unless you set the treadmill at a serious incline, it is mostly a waste of time.
I saw the light bulb go off in his head. In under a minute I was able to teach this man something, "So why can't I call you a jogger?"
"My grandmother was a jogger; it was about the jogging suit and running in circles. Runners are training for events; events where someone says "GO!" and there is a clock at the end. I am a runner. Joggers jog, runners train."
The commuters had all gotten on the subway so he wished me luck on my next race
Posted by Michael Ring at 9:09 AM
JULY 2010 THE INSIDE LOOP TOM BYRNES AND FRIENDS
Let’s keep Carole Rondinelli and family in our prayers upon the recent death of her dad Anthony. He had a good run and we hope that the fond memories of times past will be a comfort for Carole and Ron Rice.
Tommy Hart is trying to get his timing down. He’s waiting until after his Fort Hamilton Summer 5ks are over late August, the Utica Boilermaker races are history, and his stock of running magazines are all lined up before he gets his knee replacement op late summer. Good luck Tommy!
PPTC scrambles, sets up the clock, and manages to make it happen grass roots style. Not that large of a turnout the very wet nite of the second Summer Speed Series 5k thanks to the rain but those who came, ran, and conquered. When the going gets tough, the tough get up and go home? Those who stay, run and race.
Glad to read that Jason Horowitz is shaking things up a bit, changing his approach to training as well as tweaking his carb and protein intakes. The proof for Jason will be down the road when he finishes that fall half marathon he’s planning to race.
Lovely to hear that Irene Torres’s family reunion went so very well. With over 110 Tiernans turning out at Holy Name’s Shepherd’s Hall on a Saturday mid-June, the best of times were had by all.
Need a new couch because you slammed the armrest so hard during the USA-Slovenia Wolrd Cup Soccer game that it broke? Happens to many of us. Hey, put it on Craigs List along with the used running shoes that you have stored away in your closet.
Bobby Fisher’s completed his 10th Century on the Ride To Montauk Saturday June 19th. He’s ’s also completed a recent tour through northern
Speaking of PPTCers who bike , both Gillant Phillips and Doug Olney have had recent up close and personal experiences with the pavement. Both are on the mend but both realize that while biking one has to be hyper vigilant about the condition of the roadway surface and drivers who aren’t paying attention to sharing the road .
PPTC was all over the roads at the NYRRC’s Mini with Maggie DesChamps leading the fast feet. Check the race results for the glorious details! Many thanks to PPTC’s Maria K Green and PPTC friends Asteria Howard and Maria Arias for volunteering with USADA and drug testing at this NYRRC in
Geoffrey Vincent’s first place finish in age at the XTERRA LI Trail Series race in Montauk was the clincher - now he can start planning his trip to the National Championships in
Following extensive research and consideration, USA Triathlon announced today that beginning in 2013 the use of wetsuits exceeding five millimeters in thickness will not be permitted at USAT-sanctioned events. Anyone with a 5mm thick wetsuit still interested in still looking like characters from the “Pillsbury Dough Boy Meets The Teletubbies” can still do so but not in a USAT sanctioned triathlon.
PPTC’s David Chen bringing home the hardware from Dragon Boat races in July . Way to go David!
Big congratulations to Sarah Scott for winning the Kona, Hawaii Half Marathon Sunday, July 27th!
The photo of Sarah wearing a PPTC singlet holding her hardware on the awards podium with the race director and
Sure it’s hot and yah, it’s humid too. Now stop complaining and get out there and run some. See you on the roads.
Posted by Michael Ring at 9:03 AM
It Took 30 Years, But It Was Worth It!
By Tom Meany
PPTC has been engaged in dialogue with the
Our premise has always been that if Park users do not perceive their experience as being safe, then it’s not a good experience.
On Wednesday evening June 23rd, PPTC was asked to present the main agenda item at the Prospect Park Alliance Community Committee meeting; “Development of a Master Plan for Education and Enforcement of Park Rules.”
This was the first time all uniformed Park service personnel (Parks Enforcement Personnel: PEPs, NYPD: 78th & 71st. Pct.’s) were asked to be part of a team in developing a Park safety plan.
All of us have had the experience of witnessing the results of cyclists and/or runners/pedestrians not being aware of or just not complying with Park rules. I’ve been hit three times by cyclists; my wife has been hit twice.
To not address these issues would have been immoral and unethical. We have been knocking on this door for 30 years and now it appears we have a foothold.
An Alliance Community Committee Operations Committee meeting is being scheduled this month to include the uniformed Parks personnel, representatives of the cycling community; Transportation Alternatives (TA), plus representation from the running community; PPTC, to develop a Master Plan.
The preliminary discussion at the 6/23 meeting indicated a need for an ongoing, long term civic educational approach, starting with elementary school children, regarding the rules of the road. It was also agreed that after a period of education and warnings, that enforcement, in the form of ticketing needs to take place.
We all know why the pooper scooper law, as well as the smoking ban in public buildings, has been so effective: violators are ticketed & fined.
I envision the main thrust of our role as one of educating the public and not seeking to punish cyclists or runners/pedestrians. At a fairly recent Club Board meeting, one of our Board members suggested I ask the
I believe our patience and perseverance will pay off in the long run.
We have a great Club that only gets better when you step up and volunteer. I promise your membership will be a more enriching experience when you respond to that arm reaching around you that says; “You’re very special and we need your help? Share your special gifts: The Summer Speed Series, The Club Championship,
Posted by Michael Ring at 8:02 AM
Thursday, July 1, 2010
What You Do Not Know Because You Are Not Me!
By Michael Ring
By Michael Ring
There are two things you don’t know, and both of them have to do with the PPTC Picnic/Relay Race. The first you might know if you are a member of the PPTC Board. We had to make a quick “executive decision”.
It turns out that the Oriental Pavilion was double booked for the morning of the Relay Race and that when I arrived Tom had already negotiated a sharing of the space with the Best Man and the Maid of Honor. But as a Board we realized this would not work, their wedding was to be at 11am, just when the relay was to end. We decided we would move our Picnic; we would move it to the shady area of grass that was a little closer to the ice rink. Not because the reprehensive from alliance was begging us to, not because we were gonna get our $25.00 permit fee back, but because a bride and groom were involved. They should not have deal with a bunch of sweaty runners, chugging down Gatorade
and beers. We just moved because it was the right thing to do.
It is nice not to be selfish. Years from now we might look back and say “Oh, do you remember the picnic in 2010; we had to move because there was a wedding in our spot. That is much better that some couple looking at their wedding pictures in 20 years and seeing us in the background.
Anyway… They moved, they moved to are really nice spot near the statue of Abraham Lincoln. That turned out great because just as the Bride was walking down the aisle the Brazilian Dancers/Kick boxers were doing their tambourine dance right next to the Oriental Pavilion.
The other thing you might not know because you are not me is what it is like to get beat by your 10 year old daughter. It is a combination of enormous pride and nauseating embarrassment. I am so proud of her, but this was not supposed to happen for a few more years. I was not mentally prepared. I guess one never is.
Posted by Michael Ring at 9:14 AM