Ruminations by CtCloser

“Ruminations” is a feature of Shawmont Running Club‘s Weekly Run Report.

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I started running with SRC in 2012 and became a Ruminations contributor in 2019.

I Couldn’t Say (#100: Published in 5/28/22 RUN REPORT)

The worst at sharing the running trail

Do you mind?!

The worst part of running with SRC is sharing the trail. Them, not us. We can be a big group at times, but even we have to contend with road hogs: individuals who just don’t know how to make room for others on the trail. During last week’s run, Maya and I had to jostle for space on the towpath with 2 Canadian geese families and a sizable snapping turtle. They were both nearly as testy as the bikers and other runners. For our part, I will testify that we have never been accused of being testy about hogging the trail. And if I ever heard someone grouse, I will plead the 5th amendment against self-incrimination.

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) “Negative Split or Positive Splat” #dothedue

Fine Print
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 ¶Based on true events. Likenesses used with permission[: the turtle’s, too. I have their signature].

[Original version in Facebook. Co-published with caption, image, and additional comment in brackets.]

 

The Running Life (#99: Published in 5/14/22 RUN REPORT)

Another marathon deed done

Jim Thorpe Marathon is now in the books as of 05’15’U [with anticipated publication date of this run report on 05’20’F]. It had so much potential, given that the Lehigh Gorge (rail) Trail has a 2% down grade. Personal record? nope. 3:45 Boston qualifying time? nope. Negative split? Positive splat. Sub-4:00? ding, ding, ding. 3:57:08. Not the best, but not the worst.

I did have a late training start because of Achilles tendinopathy. And my mind still isn’t fully in the training game after last spring’s PR. Then there was the unexpected, if seasonal (70°), warmth.

For context, someone I ran with from my W night group killed it by coming in 2 minutes under her fantasy goal of my elusive 3:45. She trained extremely hard and well. The guy from my W group who thought he would do 3:40 came in at 4:00. And finally, the 3:40 pacer admitted to struggling. That’s life, running.

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) #negativesplitorpositivesplat #dothedue

Fine Print
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with caption and amended text in brackets: 2022’06’16’R.]

 

I Am Unworthy (#98: Published in 5/7/22 RUN REPORT)

How one runner buddy outdid me, at least

There are some real runner buddies out there and I needed mine last Saturday. I wasn’t doing SRC because I wanted to do a desperation, marathon-taper, interval workout, so I texted Buddy to say I wouldn’t be at SRC. Buddy was bailing from SRC themself because of wind concerns on Forbidden Drive and managed to read lack of motivation in my messaging. The light rain was not helpful. Buddy suggested the track at the local school district and tossed out the time we could start out. The moment they got to my house, the light rainfall increased to steady and there we were. Buddy didn’t need the speed of the workout. They didn’t need the timing. But that runner buddy did see the need to get this rudder bunny motivated to start it. So they and I completed an entire 8-mile interval workout in the rain. That very I ditched that very they for our traditional Monday run on an equally soggy evening 2 weeks before. I. Am. Unworthy. Jim Thorpe Marathon: 05’15’U.

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) Negative Split or Positive Splat” #dothedue

Fine Print
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with caption: 2022’06’16’R.]

 

A Little of This. A Little of That. (#97: Published in 4/30/22 RUN REPORT)

Talk and run. New and old.

I’ve been more scarce from SRC than I would really care, which feels kind of sad because I love the group so much. Two weeks ago when I ran, though, I had a chance to chat with one of the newer runners. Being the sociable guy that I am, we talked a lot both about running and about lives outside of running. I like meeting new folks. That same week a pre-pandemic runner returned. We talked a lot about running and about lives outside of running. I like seeing old folks. With my ins and outs, I guess I might just be a version of new and old to someone else when I am around. Yeah. Talk and run. New and old. Sounds like a good SRC outing.

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) Negative Split or Positive Splat” #dothedue

Fine Print
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with caption: 2022’06’16’R.]

 

Age is Just Another Number (#96: Published in 4/23/22 RUN REPORT)

One runner’s numbers for the books

My fave running publication, The New York Times, just featured someone not so unlike our JustGene with his prodigious accomplishments. Mariko Yugeta is 63 years old and just became the first women over 60 to break 3 hours in the marathon (2019: 2:59:15).* Last year she did it in 2:52:13. Her oldest son is the same age as Eliud Kipchoge, 37. She finished Boston on the 18th in 3:06:27. Talent is important, but how about the conviction that one’s best days are not in the past?

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) #negativesplitorpositivesplat #dothedue

Fine Print
*Minsberg, Talya. “She Set Marathon Records in Her Sixties. Then Came the Fans.” The New York Times, 18 Apr. 2022.
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with amended title (from “Age is Just a Number”), caption, and embedded hyperlinks: 2022’06’16’R.]

 

[#95] (Published in 4/16/22 RUN REPORT)

Yay to RunAnon who offers his haiku cameos every now and again to break up my succession of Ruminations as he did 2 weeks ago. Until I started my string of submissions (9/7/2019 RUN REPORT), [RunAnon] was the author to match. I haven’t gone back far enough or thoroughly enough to tally all the contributions from all the different people, but KayCee is definitely among them (9/19/20 RUN REPORT) to represent the lasses. And at some time in the more distant mists of time zen yanni (the editor of this illustrious publication) was the regular author.

Yay also to OKhen, last week, who threw his hat into the ring. He had the right idea by taking his first ‘riting steps, even as he had to take his first running steps to begin that other journey.

This is Rumination [#95] for me. Even though I would be tallying them at a slower rate, I’m happy to do so in order to make room for the creativity waiting to be expressed by ‘riting Ruminators rushing to come out of repose.

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) Negative Split or Positive Splat” #dothedue

Fine Print
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with amended information (including from miscounted #93) in brackets, caption, and embedded hyperlinks: 2022’06’15’W.]

 

Really, Not a Spectator Sport (#94: Published in 3/26/22 RUN REPORT)

Jump in and participate. You’ll never be readier.

I’ve been writing what I call “Cerebruns” for Jenkintown Running Company’s Wednesday night group for longer than I’ve been writing Ruminations for this space. Between the 2 groups, that’s around 250 entertaining and enlightening entries. In both places, I’ve noticed how many people say, “This such-and-such would make a great Cerebrun” or “…Rumination.” Sometimes I agree. Other times I’ve challenged them to write it. The fact that the response has always been, “Oh, I can’t write,” sounds suspiciously like someone who’s never run saying, “You should try X race. It sounds great!” Given that everyone who’s commenting to me actually is wearing running shoes compels me to point out that there’s also a place for putting fingers to keyboard. A Rumination isn’t an essay, right? That’s the Broad Street Run. These shorties are really more like literary 5K’s and I know we’ve all done a kajillion of them. So Rumination spectators, “Get in the race! YOU CAN DO THIS!” Couch to 5K? How about couch to keyboard? Add your voice to the Rumination mix, peeps. It’s time for you to stop watching me run this race by myself. (Or mostly. Thanks RunAnon [2/12/22 RUN REPORT] and KC [9/19/20 RUN REPORT].)

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) Negative Split or Positive Splat” #dothedue

Fine Print
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with caption, additional information in brackets, and embedded hyperlinks: 2022’06’15’W.]

 

The Bigger Picture (#93: Published in 3/19/22 RUN REPORT)

Your perspective depends on your position

I’m definitely a big picture person who likes to look across partitions and perspectives. But as far back as I think I’m standing, I’m regularly amazed at how much further back I can still go. As a marathoner, I know the value of competing in 5K races for developing speed early, otherwise I’m barely getting warmed up until mile 5.

Talk to high school runners and everything changes. Cross-country runners cap out at a 5K. That means every other event is shorter; much shorter.

I was running with a new SRCer who is a former high-school runner. Their event was the 100m, a distance I ran in high school phys ed and watch on televised competitions. But that new SRCer was telling me about some of the subtleties of actually running that race. For the 200m, you have to pace yourself and not go out too fast so that you have enough for the entire distance. (Rather like a marathon effort?) For the 100, you have to go out fast early. (More like a 5K, relatively?) But wait, for a race of that length, every single one of maybe 15 steps is vital. Wow. Numbers of that magnitude normally represent miles for a long distance runner. Individual steps are effectively meaningless. Aside from the 100m race, there’s the 400m, the 800m, the mile, and Then the 5K. My respect for folks like that new SRCer who transition effectively to distances like miles over meters just went through the roof.

Maybe one day when I can no longer do marathons, I’ll benefit more from the perspective around shorter distances. Maybe not 100m, but who knows: 105-year-old Runner Breaks 100m record.*

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) #negativesplitorpositivesplat #dothedue

Fine Print
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
¶Based on true events.

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with caption and embedded hyperlink: 2022’06’15’W.]

 

NYT and Me (#92: Published in 2/26/22 RUN REPORT)

How much are we shaped by our information sources?

I admit that I like The New York Times. And I’m impressed with their running writing. Does that make me a bad person? As far as bias, though, it is a little left of center, so maybe watch out for fringier views on things like training strategies.

As someone in the information business, I should mind my sources. I should be reading from across the spectrum. I should be challenging my baseline convictions. No echo chambers. Extreme expressions of misguided conviction manifested in egregious behavior against innocents? Wait, we’re talking about running here, not international affairs. NYT does happen to cover those kinds of issues, too, though. Well, I would be doing broad information-gathering on running but monitoring multiple sources consumes energy and I’m not exactly getting paid to do it.

More to come on NYT and our fave past-time.

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) “Negative Split or Positive Splat” #dothedue

Fine Print
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
¶Based on true events. Likenesses used with permission.

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with caption: 2022’06’15’W.]

 

Getting Professional Help (#91: Published in 2/19/22 RUN REPORT)

From the right sort of professional for runners

Why is “professional help” a euphemism for psychiatric help? We’re runners and help for us comes in the form of a visit to a PCP, physical therapist, or ultrasound technician; or all 3. I’ll tell you, though, the PT is really worth the money. Better yet, get a free consultation. That’s what I did for my left Achilles tendon. It started as tendinopathy in December and I injured it badly at the end of January (Rumination in 1/20/22 Run Report). Since then I’ve been taking it very easy under the advice of PT assistant BB Betsy.

Last week (2’17’R) I went to my regular PT at Physical Therapy and Wellness Institute on Easton Road in Glenside for a consultation. Some simple advice on freeing up the tender nerves trapped in my bulgy ankle (active stretching) made all the difference and I was walking limp free within a couple of days. Then some advice on heeding the whispers of discomfort and not getting above it talking to the point of yelling allowed me to start running again. And finally I got the recommendation for running on an elliptical to work on cardiovascular strengthening. All that was before I ever even got to the formal assessment. (The ultrasound is still to come.)

I’m well on track now for training to do the Jim Thorpe Marathon in May. What a relief. A much longer delay would have necessitated a visit to a mental health professional.

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) “Negative Split or Positive Splat” #dothedue

Fine Print
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
¶Based on true events. Likenesses used with permission.

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with caption: 2022’06’15’W.]

 

Are You Paying Attention? (#90 Published in 2/5/21 RUN REPORT)

How much and to what?

A New York Times article recently featured an article on the best way to improve your running.* Do I need to say that it caught my attention? It seems that a bunch of researchers determined that the way to improve your running is…to not think about your running when you’re doing it. It says a lot about the value of running groups like Shawmont because we know that talking and running is a great way to make the running seem effortless.

This news is an odd counterpoint, though, to a research article on running that I also found recently.^ That one says that those who hit the runner’s wall during a marathon were more likely to have dissociated during the run. In other words, not thinking about your body while marathon running was more likely to cause bonking than paying attention to your body. So don’t pay attention or do pay attention?

I guess that paying too much attention to your body can cause you to overthink, instead of just run naturally, but that paying enough attention so that you can recognize warning signs of over-exertion protects you from exceeding your limits. Maybe that’s the problem with research, you have to pay so much attention to the details to figure out how they apply to you. As one wise Shawmonter said to me about their running, “I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.”

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) “Negative Split or Positive Splat” #dothedue

Fine Print
*Reynolds, Gretchen. “The Secret to Better Running? Try Distraction.” The New York Times, 14 Oct. 2021.
^Stevinson, Clare D., and Stuart J. H. Biddle. “Cognitive Orientations in Marathon Running and ‘Hitting The Wall’.” British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 32, 1998, pp. 229-235.
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with caption: 2022’06’15’W.]

 

I Feel So Much Better (#89: Published in 1/29/22 RUN REPORT)

I’m joining good company

Depending on how much you’re following what I’ve written recently¹ you might be wishing that I was talking about my [moderately] injured left Achilles tendon. I’m not. The issue is still my Achilles, though. Others of you deal with plantar fasciitis, overworked piriformis, tender hamstrings.² My Achilles tendon is my Achilles tendon.

My right was a problem a bunch of years ago and PT put me right. My left was a problem last May (5/22/21 and 5/29/21 Run Reports) and transferring the activity from the earlier PT put my left right. Now I have a scheduled visit to my PCP because of a possible tear after 3 successive injuries [with the last possibly being a potentially catastrophic problem].[³]

I did a search on ‘Achilles tendon’ using my favorite information source, The New York Times. This decent article came up from 2003.⁴ The writer is nearly as entertaining and informative as I am;) But I had to go through 19 other article titles to find it; past all the athletes who got injured or rehabbed or sometimes went under the knife: football players, footballers, baseball players, basketball players…and [celebrated Olympic marathon runner] Paavo Nurmi in 1932.[⁵] I compare to Paavo Nurmi! I feel so much better!

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) “Negative Split or Positive Splat” #dothedue

Fine Print
¹[DELETED: Facebook: Jenkintown-Running-Company Growlers Group Run.] Strava. [ADDED: Wang, Calvin. “SRC Aborted Shawmont Ave.” Strava, 15 Jan. 2022. “Shawmont Running Club: That left Achilles’ tendon turned a Shawmont into a bust”]
²Reread 12/29/19 RUN REPORT’s classic Rumination.
³[ADDED: Wang, Calvin. “Running with Maarten II.” Strava, 26 Jan. 2022. “St. Martin’s French border: Missed it by that much when I partially ruptured my injured left Achilles tripping over a stone on grassy terrain. The end of running for an indeterminate period. Thanks for the recovery well wishes Chris Goodwin. Didn’t work. Sorry Caitlin Rosemary. We’ll keep discussing Jim Thorpe prep”]
⁴Gorman, James. “Aches and Pain; It Hurt Achilles, and Now It’s Hurting Me.” The New York Times, 21 June 2004.
⁵Daley, Arthur J. “Nurmi Is Ordered to Rest His Leg.” The New York Times, 20 July 1932.
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with caption, bracketed revisions, additional Paavo Nurmi article, and hyperlinks: 2022’06’15’W. Seems I passed this one on for publication too hastily.]

 

Pain?! My Foot, It Is. (#88: Published in 1/15/22 RUN REPORT)

It’s baaaack

Here we go again: Achilles tendinopathy (Last mention: 5/22/21 RUN REPORT). It’s not a tendinitis because it doesn’t embrace all the qualifications of a true inflammatory injury*, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still a pain. Take last week on the Stone Bridge path up to the Orange Trail when I toed off a rock unexpectedly with my left foot: WOWHOWHOW! OW!

I did know this was developing, though, since I was 3 weeks into track workouts in prep for marathon training. Sudden changes have a way of doing that to a body. I’ve been back to eccentric-ankle-drop rehabbing. I need to be ready to start formal training for Jim Thorpe Marathon (05’16) beginning February.

While tendinopathy isn’t a chronic problem for me, it has been recurrent in both ankles. The fact that I had to dial in an aborted effort to Wife for the first time (who came down to fetch me from Main Street after 8 miles) means I have to be even more careful. None of us is getting younger. And while I got a good omelet and some coffee while waiting for her (Winnie’s! Recommended!), I don’t need to make a habit of abandoning Greg to finish a solo Shawmont. His hill-climbing misery loves company and deserves it. My injury-tending misery does not.

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) “Negative Split or Positive Splat” #dothedue

Fine Print
*Maughan KL, Boggess R. Achilles tendinopathy and tendon rupture. UpToDate, n.d. Updated July 15 2021. Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with caption and embedded hyperlinks: 2022’06’15’W]

 

Huge Pain (#87: Published in 1/8/22 RUN REPORT)

Where are these wire rings coming from that I keep tripping on?

A bunch of years ago I was doing a neighborhood run with BB Betsy. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the metal ring on the ground that sent me sprawling when my foot stepped on a section of it flipping up the rest just so. Wotta pain.

Since then I’ve been more successful noticing and avoiding tripping hazards, many of which happen also to be wire rings. They’re always about 12” in diameter and on a sidewalk or roadside right where a hapless runner like me happens to run. Where exactly do they come from?

I passed one last 3 weeks ago. “That’s from a hub cap,” said the guy I was with. !!!

For a professional information person like this university librarian, elusive answers are exasperating. But they can’t come unless you ask questions the right way of the right information sources. Np. In cases like these, the pain of it isn’t anyone’s grade. That’s good because knees heal; grades are forever.

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) “Negative Split or Positive Splat” #dothedue

Fine Print
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with caption: 2022’06’15’W]

 

Project Progress (#86: Published in 1/1/22 RUN REPORT)

A status report on the pedestrian bridge renovations

So about those pedestrian bridges. People seem to remember that the reno’s were supposed to be done by now. But I point to the article Waterbottle’s 2/19/2021 message referenced in this here group: “lasting at least into fall.” This wasn’t wrong. Winter has only just started and a gander from Lincoln Drive zipping by at an only-slightly-above-the-limit speed says the second bridge down from Ten Box is still very enveloped in scaffolding.

I don’t see any updates around and a friend with the Friends of the Wissahickon is still waiting to hear from their sources. In the meantime, Shawmonters are starting to give up on doing Shawmont Ave runs because it requires running up on the Orange Trail which harbors too many trail hazards for road runners with spring race goals.  Keep a good attitude people. “This short-term closure will deliver long-term enjoyment for generations of commuters, hikers, and cyclists” (CtC).

Runners; runners, too. Happy 2022, all!

-CtCloser (Calvinthe) Negative Split or Positive Splat” #dothedue

Fine Print
Text by Calvin Wang (Wäng), CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

[Original version in Facebook. Republished with caption and embedded hyperlink: 2022’06’15’W]

 

 

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