Tuesday, June 15, 2010


When born, most Americans get inoculated against the futbol passionata. The futbol passionata is a powerful virus that affects the nervous and motor systems and, like malaria, comes in cycles.

Most other countries in the world don't bother vaccinating their citizens. Even though it does have some downsides and its effects are occasionally deadly, its benefits far outweigh its dangers.

As implied in the name, those affected by the futbol passionata benefit from higher levels of passion. They also have a greater appreciation for sportsmanship, the beauty of human movement, and, in most cases, beer. Furthermore, they are likely to find joy and an opportunity for play whenever a reasonably sturdy spherical object is nearby.

Futbol passionata also provides an outlet for nationalist feelings that does not involve killing your opponent. It provides the agony and ecstasy of the battle, the redeeming aspects of arduous struggle without leaving bodies on the field.

Due to its cyclical nature, those under its influence are often affected at the same time. Thanks to that, friends and strangers get to vibrate in unison.

Right now we are undergoing one of its most powerful cycles: the World Cup.

This cycle has been strong enough to weaken inoculation in some Americans as was evident at the Bell House this past Saturday. South Brooklyn is in its grip.

As some of you know, I'm the Overflow Magazine World Cup Correspondent and I'll be documenting the spread of this epidemic throughout South Brooklyn bars and restaurants. Drop me a line or leave a comment if you want to join me for any game.

Please keep me in your thoughts as I undertake this arduous task and pray I manage to come out of this without a face tattoo.

PS. Here's a Lego replay of the US vs England 1-1 win from last Saturday.

Monday, June 14, 2010

About Nathan

I know it's soon, and yet, I know it's true: I'm in love with Nathan. As is often the case, things were awkward in the beginning. That didn't last long and now I can't even imagine how I ever did without Nathan.

When I go out running with Nathan, I feel badass rocking my hydration belt (yeah, I know I might be in denial here, but I believe Nathan is much better looking than other belts out there). Never underestimate the effects of badassness on your run; if you manage to turn feeling tired into feeling badass, you'll want to run more so you can feel even more badass. It's the well known and scientifically proven Tinoco-Brady Principle of Badass Propagation.

I also feel less tired and less heated when I'm well hydrated and Nathan is better at that than a Roman slave fanning me and feeding me bunches of grapes.

It's true I can't compare, but I don't need to; I'm happy with Nathan.

I bought a Nathan Sports Speed 2 - size M. Sites mentioned most runners prefer wearing these belts low and to buy by hip measurement. Though Nathan is designed to go in the front, a lot of people prefer running with him in the back. So that's what I first tried: low and in the back. Bad idea. Because of how my butt curves, wearing it low meant the bottle tops were pressing against my back.

Switch to the front, low. It bounced and was riding up, so I let it stay were it wanted to go and it worked. This all took less than one long block. Nathan doesn't bounce, but it does provide a little extra movement which took me about half a mile to get used to (the aforementioned awkward period). Since then it's been bliss.

However, I wish I had bought a size S. At my waist, I have to wear it as tight as it goes and there's a lot of belt sticking out in the back. Plus, if my waist shrinks any, the fit won't work anymore. I might either have to fiddle with the velcro or buy another one in a few weeks. (Does anyone want a gently used size M?)

I've done two long runs with Nathan and they've both been awesome. In one I miscalculated and ended up lost in Bensonhurst and doing two extra miles at noontime. Nathan was great and kept me calm. Nathan was carrying electrolytes, my phone, metrocard, money, so thanks to Nathan I was able to call my friend Reiko and she figured out where I was and how I could get out of there. The electrolytes and the water helped keep me safe in the heat and I was comfortable doing the additional miles.

I'm looking forward to long summer runs with Nathan. I know we'll have a great hot and sweaty time together.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Being watched

Runners are creatures of habit who derive comfort from routines, schedules, rituals, and mantras. Not candles, but specific pre-run sequences that go from eating and suiting up to warming up. And there's no mantra chanting, but if you could get in a runner's head during a hard stretch of a run, you'd hear the same thing repeated over and over again. It can range from common ones like "Pain inevitable, suffering is optional" to briefer ones like "one more" (step, block, or mile) to more motivational ones like "fried chicken."

Research would be needed to determine whether creatures of habit are more likely to become runners or if running acts as a personality catalyst turning otherwise normal individuals into sole obsessed maniacs who quickly become experts at Newton's First law of motion and consider distance and speed appropriate Happy Hour conversation.

I ran for about a year without a watch and finally got one last fall when I realized I had completed NYRR's 9+1 program and had some decisions to make. My running changed once I got it.

I have a hard time getting going. My body is slow to respond to my will to run. It takes me about twenty minutes or two miles to warm-up. So I tell myself I can't make any decisions before twenty minutes. I just have to keep going. If things are hurting, I can slow down as much as I need to. I listen to my body and adjust my gait. Relax. But keep it up for twenty minutes. Usually, by the end of that, the stiffness and aches are gone and I don't feel like stopping, which makes five/six milers my favorite distance. Two to warm up, by mile three I really start going, mile four I hit my stride, mile five and six are fun and by the end of that I'm pleasantly tired, but not burned out.

But I couldn't do that without my watch.

I lost my watch while Woodstalking last month. Sure, my legs hurt, but the real reason I couldn't run for the weeks after that was that I didn't have my watch. After looking for it for two weeks (I'm convinced it's somewhere in my apartment) I gave up and bought a new one, which was just the same as my old one. The better to avoid having to re-learn which buttons to press.

Oh, watch! I'm so happy to have you again!
Now at least I know how slow I'm going.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jailbird Running

My mamma always told us not to write on our skin. She said that's what jailbirds did because they didn't have any paper. She said it in a disapproving tone that let us know we never wanted to be jailbirds. We still sometimes wrote on our hands and though it didn't land us in jail, scrubbing it off we felt the relief of a near miss.

Now there's barely a need for pen and paper, and yet, writing on my arm was the only way I could figure out how to do this.

The PPTC Summer Speed Workouts program is kicking my ass and straining my noggin. Last Thursday I had run 1000m repeats at current 10k pace. With the NYRR's handy result search, my 10k pace was easy to find, and thank be the google, knowing how long it would take me to run 1000m at that pace was not much harder (awesome pace/distance/time calculator here). I was running at the 200m track at the Armory.

In order to be able to maintain that pace, I needed to know both my target time for five loops and my target time for one. Plus how many times I was to do this, how much rest time in between, and how much warm-up/cool down. And I needed to either keep all this information easily available without access to a handbag.

Sorry, mamma.

Fortunately, today there will be no need for that. I'm running to Bay Ridge with Nathan. It's only our first run together, but I have a good feeling about this.