Sunday, 24 July 2011

Stuff I thought would make me faster

I am about to read Shermer's The Believing Brain, a book about how we come to believe in things, and how often we get fooled in the process. I thought I'd list some of those things which had me fooled, and how I've since stopped believing in them. I am happy to say my mindset is skeptical, but optimistic. I take equal pleasure discovering something is true or outright false.
       I should point out that nothing on this list is completely wrong. If any claim was totally false then we would be foolish to believe it for any length of time. You would be hard pressed to find anyone advising you to drink 5 gallons of water per diem, run with rocks in your shoes, or chug a beer before racing (then again...). In contrast, these items were convincing because they appealed to some kind of rational way of thinking. Sometimes they were even based on solid scientific research. Science likes averages (as it should), but it's possible for an average value, like an average family of 1.8 children, not to represent a single actual family. If vitamins did not work for me, I cannot claim they will not work for anyone.
Here is a list of what I believed would make me a faster runner.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Tely 10

Next Sunday on July 24th I will be running in my fifth Tely 10 in St. John's Newfoundland, a ten mile point-to-point race sponsored by the local Telegram newspaper (hence the name). It runs like a miniture Boston Marathon in that it's mostly downhill and there's fleet of school buses that ferry you from downtown to the start line. It starts in the town Paradise, just outside of St John's. They've always started from the same place so now there's a permanent start line and mile markers. It has been around since 1922, which makes it one of the oldest races in Canada. In fact Newfoundland was not part of Canada in the 1920s (one of those easy-to-forget factoids). I recently read a book on history of the Tely 10, which recounts stories from every year of the race from 1922 to 2000. Early on they used to not close the roads to traffic, so one year a lead runner got hit by a car. The things we take for granted nowadays...

Thinking about running

Runners fall into three categories: the talkers, the music listeners, and the quiet ones. If you run a lot, you will probably find yourself in at least two of these groups. (Whenever I pool run, I no choice but to listen to the radio playing or nothing at all). I find the majority of my time is spent in the last group, running on my own. Of course running ‘silent’ does not exclude the possibility of being in a group; there are many occasions where everyone is too tired to talk, or maybe just have nothing to say at that moment.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Why run?

If you never asked this question someone else probably will, like your family or friendsDo you run because because it’s inexpensive? Because you don’t need to travel? To be part of a group? Feynman once said "Physics is like sex. Sure, it may give some practical results, but that’s not why we do it". Maybe the same could be said for running. Certainly it is not done strictly for practical reasons.
Is there something that sets running apart from other sports? 

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Marathon training

Probably time I write something about running. Here goes.
I registered for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon today. I suppose that makes it official. Somehow paying money to run a race hits home faster than months of training for said race. Whatever psychology is going on here probably explains why I  read all the books I buy and none of the ones I download.