Slowing down faster



A couple of days ago, I observed a milestone that I had been dreading for a while: I turned 59 ½. Continue reading

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IAAF’s misguided idea for sanitizing the record book


…We want to change the concept of a record and raise the standards for recognition to a point where everyone can be confident that everything is fair and above board.”
— European athletics president Svein Arne Hansen

“It is a heavy handed way to wipe out some really suspicious records in a cowardly way by simply sweeping all aside instead of having the guts to take the legal plunge and wipe any record that would be found in a court of law to have been illegally assisted.”
– Paula Radcliffe

“There’s no record I’m 100 percent sure is clean and no record I’m 100 percent sure is dirty. But […] some are a heck of a lot more suspicious that others. If the records are reset, there will absolutely be some clean athletes who lose records.” – Alex Hutchinson Continue reading

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An Unremarkable Summer Evening

IMG_3883The Harvard outdoor track at twilight

Is it a trick of memory, or was there a time when I wasn’t so dull and listless in the afternoons? I feel sure that when I was younger I had the vigor to fill the day with useful activity, to be productive from the time I arrived at work in the morning, until quitting time at five or later. And then — because one has dreams beyond work — I still had the desire to throw myself into a good run or workout before heading home for a late supper. These days, I’m happy if I manage a few good hours in the morning where I can maintain enough focus and energy to take on life’s everyday tasks, and maybe sneak in a run before the urge for a nap becomes too great.

I thought of that last Thursday as I drove into Cambridge late in the afternoon, watching all the cars leaving the city. I was on my way to join an impromptu workout at the Harvard Track, and recently these late-in-the-day workouts have been tough. Normally, by the time 6:30 p.m. rolls around, I’m struggling not to crash, and it’s not an hour when I usually accomplish anything that requires more than token mental effort. Even my relatively easy sessions on the track require more than token mental effort, and so I regarded the imminent task with some trepidation. Continue reading

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Field Guide to North American Tracks: MDI High School

Summer Schedule: Who knew retirement would be so busy? I’m going to try a new schedule of posting every Monday, perhaps more often for special occasions like the World Championships or for multi-part stories like the most recent one. Feel free to throw praise or money my way to try to guilt me into posting more often. 


The MDI H.S. Track: Home of the MDI Trojans

On a typical summer day on Maine’s Mt. Desert Island, the parking areas near Eagle Lake fill early, and by mid-morning, an overflow of hundreds of vehicles line the sandy shoulders of Route 233, a two-lane highway that connects downtown Bar Harbor to the East with Somes Sound — a natural fjord that divides the island into two large but unequal lobes — to the West.

Millions of visitor come to Mt. Desert Island every year to experience the beauty of Acadia National Park, and Eagle Lake is one of the more popular access points to the many miles of dirt carriage roads that loop through the interior of the park. Anyone wanting to hike, bike, run, or ride in horse-drawn carriages through Acadia finds their way to the carriage roads.

Approximately two miles West of the Eagle Lake parking lot is the entrance to MDI High School. For the locals, the high school is a center of activity and civic life for much of the year, but by late June, it’s pretty quiet. A few cars are parked in the teacher lots. There are a handful of maintenance vehicles in the large lot in back of the school. On this Tuesday afternoon, there is exactly one car occupying a space within shouting distance of the tennis courts, and beyond that, the MDI High School track. That car is mine. Continue reading

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The Old Man and the Hills – Part 3 of 3

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“[I felt]…glad as anyone can who feels afraid, and as afraid as anyone can who feels glad.”
– C.S. Lewis Continue reading

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The Old Man and the Hills – Part 2 of 3


Ragnar NEw England

“Ragnar was a king and hero of early 9th century Scandinavia. He was a conqueror, a wild man, a leader, fearless and free-spirited. *  

* Actual history may vary from our romanticized version.” – Excerpt from the Ragnar Relays web site, Continue reading

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The Old Man and the Hills – Part 1 of 3

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About six weeks ago, when the track season was still in full swing and summer still seemed far off, I agreed to fill one of the spots on a team planning to compete at the Ragnar Trail Relay at Northfield Mountain on June 16th and 17th. It wasn’t something I would have thought up on my own: I’m not a trail runner or a mountain goat, and given all the trouble I’ve had lately with short, easy runs in the city, it was odd that I’d sign up for an event that would require three separate runs of 3.2, 4.8, and 6.5 miles, up and down thousands of feet of mountain trails, sometimes in the middle of the night Why would I do something like that?

It was partly the feeling of being wanted. Continue reading

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