Sunday, November 21, 2010

Like A Hammer On A Semi-Precious Stone

I just got back from Austin, TX and I've been inspired to kick off my blog again. Over the last year its seen the grave on more than one occasion, mainly because it was loosing its luster and its very reason for being in existence. Its hard to maintain a training journal when one doesn't actually train anymore. However, over the last month between NYC Marathon week and especially last week at The Running Event in Austin TX many people, some I know well, some I don't know at all told me that they were disappointed in the lack of posting. Some people told me I went from the Favorites toolbar to the deleted bin. And what was most interesting was to hear that it was nothing to do with the running part, it was to do with the music part combined with the struggles of someone who is in constant pain and working full time to get out the door. On Wednesday 2 people came up and told me that they needed the blog to keep them up to date on new music, or different music. There was no mention of running. So after some thought I decided to get back on to daily posting. Maybe every other day during busy periods but at least consistency.

So where to start? Well, I race cyclocross these days and I'm awful at it even though it should be right up my ally. All out bike riding on a cross country course does not equate to all out running on a cross country course. For one, there is no skill in running, nor is there the need to output lots of power. I loose ground on all technical sections and the stop-start nature of the game serves to frustrate me and coming out of every corner I have to watch powerful dudes (less fit too) pull away because my skinny arse cannot push the pedals hard enough. I have crashed in every race and think I broke a bone in my hand because its been three weeks since I landed on it and the pain hasn't subsided. On the flip side, cross is one of the most inviting and cultish sports I've been part of. The guys and gals love it, they live it, and they are hardcore about the scene. Cross Running can learn a LOT from Cyclocross. The courses are challenging, and where in running they avoid too many bends or ditches in cyclocross they seek them out. They have beer sponsors that pop up tents along the most technical parts of the course and allow fans a few pints and the opportunity to see the odd crash. The last time (maybe the only time) we had something like this was Jonseys Ditch at the 2007 national xc in Boulder. Pete Julian decided he was not going to avoid the dodgy and very muddy ditch and reassured by Jonsey he kept it in. Some athletes complained. Coaches were "concerned" about injuries. However, nowhere on the course could you find more people cheering and embracing the joy of cross running then right at the ditch. I have always maintained that Cross Running is too soft and not in the muddy sense. Coaches want to protect athletes and courses are becoming more and more like road races. Flat and firm. Cyclocross is the opposite. They want courses that are unique so that Cross Specialists have their moment to dominate. I would love to put on a race in Providence that was technical, muddy, and had atmosphere in the form of music and a beer tent. It would never work of course but maybe a collaboration with a cyclocross race? That might work. Here is some sketchy video I took at Gloucester this year.

Enough of that. Over the last 6 weeks I've been on the road, San Diego, Alaska, NYC Marathon, and Austin TX. All great trips and very productive. Things at Reebok keep getting better and more and more the positives encourage a stronger work ethic. Happy days. It was during the week in NYC that my highs and lows couldn't have been more pronounced. The week was excellent but I had lots of bottled up feelings of depression. Seeing all the people in town to run the race, not to mention the race itself kills me. Especially given the hangovers and the highs from seeing both Interpol and Wolf Parade in concert. I was going to run NYC this year, just for fun. We were talking about a few of us from Reebok doing it together at 3 hr pace. I know I would have most likely broke off and ran 2:40 or something (7 min pace hurts more than 6 min pace for some reason) but I can't do it. The pain in my knees won't allow me to complete 6 miles let alone 26 miles. Its when I'm resigned to wanting to do something for fun and my legs can't handle it that gets me down even more. On a positive note I went to Philly to see Wolf Parade with Bob Schwelm and Terry + Carley Shea. The show was incredible and we all had a blast. It was Bob's first time seeing Wolf Parade and I think he realized exactly what I've been preaching about this band. He put it best when he said that every song seemed like the last song of the night. I agree. They put such an epic performance into every tune that some songs actually require recovery, like a hard repetition on the track.

The following night myself, coxy and mylene went to see Interpol at the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights. The venue is really beautiful, one of those classic theaters with tight seating and ornate decoration. I am typically not a fan of these venues for shows that I want to dance at but I was close to the front and the people around me were jumping and singing so it was all good. The show was very good but still my least favorite of the 5 Interpol gigs I've been to this year. An Interpol show is always fantastic but one has to be the worst and for me it was this show. The all seater definitely takes something away and the night before Wolf Parade had so much energy that this show seemed a little subdued. I compare it to Interpol up in Rochester NYC at the start of the tour and it was a completely different atmosphere. We were treated to all the great songs and it was still a fantastic and very uplifting show.  

The race was wonderful. Haile Geb had his issues but didn't take away from a great day. The womens race was better than the mens in terms of drama. Flannigan had an incredible debut to finish 2nd but I was most excited about my landlord Kim Smith grabbing 5th after a pitstop that cost her 30-40 seconds. She would have undoubtedly challenged for top 3. She is disappointed and fired up so expect to see her on a rostrum at a major very soon. It was great to be in NYC catching up with lots of friends. We had a blast the night before the race taking the show to a dodgy karaoke bar and getting well oiled. My good friend from Drogheda ran and to see him embrace the event made me very happy. He did what all positive people do, took advantage of everything good about the NYC Marathon. High fiving the spectators, chatting with strangers, and embracing the culture of marathon running and the energy of the city. Hopefully we'll see Yogi back next year with some of the other members of the lads fc.

So thats the NYC buzz and thats all for now. I need a separate post to discuss the good times in Austin, TX. Some fantastic stuff happened down there.

Great to be back!

Love Kel


  1. thanks for the return keith, period.

  2. Glad you're back - for all the reasons you mentioned.

    cheers and thanks

  3. Good energy bro. Just clicked on 15 Steps and decided to see what you produced. I will find my way back too. I think our year has seen similar parallels but I feel like swimming to the surface and getting afloat as well. Peace.