Thursday, May 31, 2007
Last Saturday not only did I clock 18+ miles in 2 runs but I did it so before my 3pm date - which at the request (or direction) of the woman started at the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle - she needed to “pick something up” which turned into her needing to shop several stores - as I politely played the husband role - basically standing around (and telling her how great she looked in the varying outfits zzzzz). Within the stores I would look out the window at all the people outside around the very large fountain and into Central Park enjoying a gorgeous New York City Day - precisely what I should be doing! I wondered to myself “why am I here and not out there?“ Then it occurred to me - this is a “test”. Women do that on occasion and have ways and means to measure character or suitability of a man for them. I did not complain - I patiently let her do her shopping. Recently different woman has reached me and suggested this weekend after a morning run we perhaps have brunch at iHop. I don’t live in NYC to go to the same place they do in Podunk, KY ya’ll - I’m no NYC snob, I’m just say’in. On first blush iHop does not sound like a date to me - certainly not sexy. I would have to be in some kind of crazy love with this women for her to get me to be agreeable to iHop. “Yes dear” kind of love, the kind of love that’s so good you say "yes" to everything - even a counter productive outing to my sub 3:00 Marathon goal….like iHop!….but if we had a child together ……now that’s another story as it’s kind of like a kid’s right to go to iHop with no concerns of fat and cholesterol. So there you have it, 1) get me crazy in love with you or 2) give me a child: the two ways to get me to go to iHop! A good rule of thumb is if the restaurant has glossy photos of the food built right into the menu - beware (Denny’s, Olive Garden, Applebees, etc.). But then I realized perhaps as in cases before… this is a test!. Think about it - I know what the iHop scene is going to be like - it’s the same everywhere in America - married adults with their toddlers and kids, family, etc. Maybe she wants to see how comfortable I am in a family atmosphere - and see if I have an allergic reaction to the scene etc., all the middle America stuff that‘s at your local iHop. This “iHop” thing just might be a veiled yet sophisticated family man test in her dating repitorie of measuring a man - she suggested this weekend get-together on a Wednesday and honestly, who in the heck actually plans on going to an iHop? Don’tcha just kind of “end up” at iHop? The whole success of the place is based on default - it’s 2am, you’re hungry - where else ya going to go? Suggesting going to Chuckee Cheese is too obvious - that’s a big ‘ol “let’s have a baby and do this kind of stuff” date for sure. And the traps? If I note the nutritional questionability of the menu, the syrup is not real syrup, the butter is not real butter, and so forth, that would not be good. No upside to ripping on "Americana". When you go to iHop, you gotta let iHop be iHop and just forget about your diet…..it’s iHop after all. Perhaps this woman wants to see if I am going to be middle America accepting, composed, comfortable - perhaps embrace a slice of her childhood, - iHop. Wow, this woman just might kind of like me - subjecting me to the iHop test and all. That just might be an inner circle in her world, you never know - simple and plain on a surface level yet oh so deep and meaningful on an interpersonal level - possibly. Maybe this is kind of sexy after all, I see the sequence now - it goes iHop -> Comfort Food/Zone -> Sleepy after eating pancakes -> Sleeping Together -> Marriage- > Baby! --- and before you know it you’ve come full circle and are back at iHop again - this time as a husband and wife with your baby! Is it possible when a woman suggest you all go to iHop, she’s possibly also asking you to have a baby with her? Is there a chance I am reading too much into this though? I can just see me meeting this woman before this date smiling and saying "I’m flattered you want to give me the iHop test - whaddaya want to name the baby?" ! - to which after I explained she’ll likely respond, “…Oh brother…..Lance, Lance, Lance….. they say IT IS WHAT IT IS for a reason Lance and this is a case where it is what it is - this is about pancakes Lance , not you Lance, pancakes”.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I loved running this morning – gorgeous days in NYC. Did 3 miles flat at 80% and 1.5 miles of hill repeats in the Harlem hills end of Central Park. Okay, someone emailed me and asked me about my comments on the NYRR organization in general in yesterday’s blog entry. For clarity purposes the omission of a race event honoring the contributions of Ted Corbitt while there are 3 separate races honoring Fred Lebow, Joe Klienerman, & Al Gordon - is a disgrace and an illustration of subtle organizational racism. The NYRR are good people - they simply don't see their own omission. These 3 White men have lobbying groups (basically), supporters that rallied their cause to create these events & have them honored - I am basically Ted's only supporter. If Yes I am saying it, if Ted was White, he would be annually honored with a NYRR race as there other men who are less distinguished in the context of the NYRR. That's Ted on the right. I don’t need to make the case for Ted Corbitt again, but let me let you all know some "behind the scenes" NYRR stuff that few knew about. Before there was the NYRR organization, there was a running club called the NY Pioneer Running Club and they ran around McCombs Damn section of Upper Manhattan / the Bronx and in historic Van Cortlandt Park. The NYRR is an outgrowth of the Pioneer Club. Note the NYC Marathon used to be 4 and some change laps around Central Park. One of the key politicians in the '70's at the time is a gentleman named Percy Sutton, that's him on the left, the Manhattan Burrough President, a Black man - the leading politician (at the time ) to get the Marathon expanded across the 5 burroughs (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Manhattan) and who did the Burrough President Percy Sutton rely on to organize, map, and lay out the Marathon course? Ted Corbitt. This is one of the many things wherein Ted Corbitt was an expert like no other in the world – laying out and measuring running courses. Just click this link and read this html file of Ted Corbitt on Measuring distances for races and this document goes back to the days of the Pioneer Club. How do I know all this inside information? Percy Sutton is alive and well, I see and speak with him every day – he lives at the other end of the hall from me in my building, he's my neighbor and he gives me the history of all this stuff. This is real history I’m telling you all about - not the version the NYRR promotes - listen to them and it's all Joe Kleinerman, Fred Lebow, and Al Gordon - with no mention of Ted Corbitt - damn shame. The truth is it was not one but 2 Black men that were key in creating the organization and marathon that is is today! - Yet somehow.....no race event recognizes them.
at 9:56 AM Posted by Smith
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Only ran once on Monday - a 9.6 miler w/a third being hill training. Clocked 4.5 this morning and will go out tonight for another 4.5 miles. This weekend I learned fellow runner and Harlem resident was not randomly selected in the lottery process for entry in the NYRR Nike Half Marathon in August. They did not ask me to but I have asked the NYRR to reconsider and extend an entry to this NYRR member for the right reasons. First of all "entry" to any and all NYRR events is never a province of integrity. All sorts of people gain inclusion for all sorts of "who you know" reasons - I even know a regular runner who never has to pay an entry fee for any event, including the Marathon. The many clubs get their runners in with no problem - they are not subjected to the lottery process - this person just does not have an organization serving her interest - that's how the NYRR rolls. It's not a "level playing field" within the NYRR's plain and simple - all members are not treated equally - that's just real life ya'll. Having said that, noting African Americans & Harlem residents are grossly under-represented within the NYRR membership and at every event ---and though this is not the fault of the NYRR - it's something wherein they can play a role in supporting "a solution". If NYRR is about promoting inclusion and diversity - they can take steps to craft a diverse field reflecting the streets these races take place on - again, this is all assuming part of the NYRR mission is to "make a difference", promote and foster running across all communities. The truth is NYRR is often ran like a big 'ol country club, yup and do you really want me to go into asking how Ted Corbitt, the first NYRR President, the man who founded the NYRR, and Road Runner's Club of America, do you want me to go into how the NYRR has no event honoring him but they do for Al Gordon and Joe Kleinerman and Fred Lebow, etc on and on? Oh I could rip on that all day. Ted Corbitt, the Black man did as much as any of these others for the NYRR - but somehow he's forgotten. But most importantly this Harlemite I am trying to get entry for is a medical doctor - this is an asset and serves to the good fortune for the NYRR & this event. On August 4th - the date of this race the humidity and heat can easily be unbearable in New York City - even in the morning. Heat strokes, dehydration, hyponatremia, all sorts of casualties may result from 10,000+ people running 13.1 miles in possibly brutal conditions (peak of Summer). Wisdom and prudence points to having as many physicians on the course as possible - no?, especially a “back of the pack” runner like this person – functioning like an added “safety net” and capable of helping the distressed and any emergency. I am trying to promote running with the African American community and it would make a difference to our community here in Harlem to have as many of our residents as possible, espcially Black Harlemites in this event - and it's that simple. I expect them to accomodate my request too - and if they don't? Next year I will be in the 45 - 50 Master's grouping and I will be winning medals. As bogus and loose the NYRR are with entries....if they do not allow this.....I will take that future medal - wrap it up in a box and send it right back saying, "You can keep this shit". I am serious ya'll - everyone who knows me knows this is exactly how I roll.
Monday, May 28, 2007
On this Memorial Day I have to recognize the historic Harlem Hellfighters - the popular name for the 369th Infantry Regiment. The unit was also known as The Black Rattlers, in addition to several other nicknames. The 369th Infantry Regiment was known for being the first African-American Regiment during WWI. You can read about them here.
Sunday I clocked 13 miles, ran strong 4 miles of that was hill training. Today Monday – this morning I rocked 9.6 with 3.3 of that being uphill and I will rest this evening and work on computer problems galore :( I’m probably still 5 .lbs over where I want to be and I would like to lose that weight.... would love to have my BMI at 23 come mid – June. The noteworthy thing about my Sunday run was my exit from Central Park. On a Holiday weekend like this a lot of parents were out with their toddlers and very young children in the park – playing. I stopped running at the Harlem Meer, the lake at 110th and Lenox and just watched all the many parents with their kids. This made me feel like I was missing out – no! That made it crystal clear I am missing out....this running stuff is good and fun and all – but I kind of felt I would rather be exploring bugs and swans with a child – or in other words, I would rather be a father more than any silly running ambitions I have. For the first time the scenes I was observing really touched me and placed into context for my desire to be in the “cycle of life” - made this running thing seem very trivial. It was endearing and touching and very reflective of what’s most important – family & the life experience. That photo is of me from last week while I was out in and went to check up on my dogs that my former live-with long time girlfriend now has. The breed is Shiba Inu - they’re Japanese Dogs that have only been in the California since 1965 and are known for their expansive vocabulary – they can understand up to 250 commands. Victoria, the former girlfriend, and I taught our dog English, Spanish & Sign Language. My dog, Akishima (Autumn Stripe in Japanese) is in 2 books on dogs and sometimes when I’m in Barnes & Noble I go take a look at him in the book - just being nostalgic. When Victoria and I broke up the only thing we fought over was this dog. The dog ended up flying back and forth, NYC to SF, etc. every so often and one time U.S. pulled a fast one on me. She got a female Shiba Inu so my male Shiba Inu would have company – and when I learned that, I did not have the heart to pry away my dog from his new girl friend dog - his new mate - so I told Victoria Akishima can stay out there in Victoria with her and his new mate. I wanted my pooch to enjoy and experiece the cycle of life! California
at 4:54 PM Posted by Smith
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Best training day in years on Sat. I ran 9.6 miles, 3 flat - 6.6 hill repeats 6am. I then drank 3 bottles of carbo force to recover, build back my glycogen stores and at 1:30 clock 9 more at 80%. 18.6 total miles in the heat, loved it! This is what I am supposed to do! Kneew handled it well....however this all made me think about a heat strategy - managing hydration in the heat. In 2003 before she ran a Marathon I had the pleasure of meeting Deena Drosson, now (Kastor). That's her in the photos. It was at a marathon expo, no one was giving her much attention or recogized her - I did because I knew she was a cross country superstar. She gave me an autographed Poster which I still have to this day (the only white woman you will see on the walls of my apartment ya'll, LOL.) Very cool lady, I see her training in Central Park all the time, she's since won the Chicago Marathon, London, etc. She's awesome. However one thing about Deena few people know is she employs a somewhat controversial strategy called "Glycerine - Glycerol Loading" which I am going to talk about since I am going to tinker with this a bit in the Summer heat and humidity this year. Definitely check that link before you play with this! I read in the Times - Q. How do the athletes accomplish "glycerin loading"? Do they ingest the drugstore lubricant? How did they discover that? A. Glycerin should be used with great caution, Dr. Martin says. It you use too much you can end up with excess fluid in your cells. The excess fluid in your brain can give you a headache, and excess fluid elsewhere can make you bloated. Glycerin should only be used for long runs, two hours or more, under conditions of high heat. It is useless in cooler weather. And anyone who tries it should start gradually with lower dilutions and be sure they can tolerate it before using it in a long race. That said, the formula is one tablespoon of glycerin in 36 ounces of water. You should sip it over one to two hours before you run. Dr. Martin discusses the technique in his book, "Better Training for Distance Runners," 2nd edition, published by Human Kinetics in 1997. The glycerin section is on pages 370 to 372. Here's another Article.
at 9:20 AM Posted by Smith
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Nutrition/Hydration - Gotta have these two together and on lock as it gets real warm and humid! I could not run on Friday. Got up at 5am – started working (on a computer) and did not stop till 7pm. It was a bummer to miss a great day 90F weather to run in & work on my tan - or as I call, operation –get Black! – but I have to make this business thing happen again. Don’t get me wrong, I did my ritual pre-run shower and geared up at 7:30pm standing at my usual starting point in front of my building. Only problem is I could not move really. I stood at my starting perch for 10 minutes simply staring in daze – my body clock out of synch – nutrition suspect – hydration lacking – my tank was on empty. Humbled by reality – I just laughed at myself there at the start – as if I have the energy to run – you can’t fool the Running Gods or yourself. I turned around and walked by into my lobby and to my apartment.. I might have been able to turtle my way through 3 – 4 junk miles – faking it…but I opted to listen to my body – I ordered some take out and drank about 36 ounces of my glycogene source/CarboForce, there on the right. 1 Bottle is 110g of Carbs = 2.5 servings of pasta and no wehre near as filling! – off to bed. I woke up at 5:15 am this morning, 1 CarboForce more and my protein source, MuscleMilk - Runnng produces micro-tears on a daily basis..protein is critical to rebuild the body....felt - like a Spring Chicken – my God, what a difference a day makes. Rest means everything in this running game & hydration this time of the year is mission critical to be aware of even in training! Dehydration cuts performance by as much as 8% in a marathon! (Training Too!). If and when on a given day I don’t have it, like I did not last night – I no longer try and "catch up" and or "make up" for unrealized miles. I simply resume the next day and appreciate the moments I can train. That’s what it’s all about, realizing how fortunate you are to be able to run, not sweating the days you’re less than you hoped to be. I brush those low moments when I can’t put it – or don’t have it together - right off my shoulder. The promise of a new day. There’s always a new day just a few short hours away – and anything can happen with the promise of a new day! Make it happen for you today!
at 9:23 AM Posted by Smith
Friday, May 25, 2007
Had a great 6 mile run last night – gorgeous weather for an evening run.
Central Park was fantastic! And I was a bad boy last night – I was definitely a running ‘ho (not to be confused with Nappy Headed ‘Ho) last night. I live in a typical with a lobby – elevators, etc., the whole bit. When I complete a run I do so at the very front of my building and immediately enter the lobby and onto the elevator to my apartment. I will do a cool down stretch in my apartment – perhaps on my terrace – with music. So I am fresh from running and in a state of complete exhaustion when I enter my building – generally hyperventilating rather strenuously. Last night I jumped in the elevator just as the doors were closing and to my surprise were 4 women – non tenants. Not just any women – Jehovah Witness women. Lawd have mercy. Do I have fun with the Jehovah Witness women after a run. Invariably I will find myself in this situation at least a dozen times in a year. Here’s how it goes down – all within a time span of 30 seconds or so. Meet Lancelot Smith, the exhibitionist. The elevator door closes, we’re in confined quarters , sharing space. Everything is shared in an elevator – space, what you look at, words, sounds, breathing – think about it – an elevator trip is a behavioral orgy – it’s all shared. I somewhat startled the women with my last minute and aggressive entry (read in that what you will). Note I am sweating profusely as I just pushed 6 hard miles in the evening heat with 4 Jehovah Witness women. I don’t know a lot about this religion – the people – other than they don’t celebrate many things and ain’t exactly the life of any party. When I initially entered I was slightly embarrassed in that I’m am very revealed and showing a whole lot of skin – but I thought “what the hell – have some fun with these repressed women and give them a collective thrill”. And as I imagined they’re sexually repressed, I could have repressed my heavy breathing as my chest was fully expanding and contracting – heart beat pounding – and my thigh muscles were pulsating and sweating dripping and glistening fully from my groin – down my thighs, over my neck and shoulders – it was a total profile of a fully exerted man. These women were basically speechless, not knowing quite how to react in my presence with no place to go. I was teasing and tempting them – hardcore – all out – veiled in the disguise of recovery from a run – over the long lingering seconds it takes an elevator to rise up. These women were definitely looking at my skin & body – believe me – no one said anything – my heavy breathing is all that filled the air – one of the women would seemed transfixed on my thigh as it pulsed from the post run recovery and all I thought was, “yes lady, that is pulsing thigh muscle with sweat glistening down”. So as we rose I wondered when was the last time any of these ladies had sex? This was actually scary for me because there is a very real possibility that one of these women [or God forbid all] in this elevator has had sex more recently than me! Dayum - that’s a very personally distressing thought – that a Jehovah Witness might have a more active sexual life than me. That’s actually depressing the more I think of it – so I will put it out of my mind. I decided the break the silence and show and said, “You ladies will have to excuse m – [breathing deeply] it’s….it’s…it’s hard…it’s hard….it’s hard for me to catch my breath” - the elevator became the “champagne room” (strip club terminology) and I was on stage. There are tips for having sex in an elevator ya know. The elevator is a world to its own with the pressing of the buttons after someone else, dominance, deference, sex, authority, etc. - there's a whole culture to an elevator and it can be very sexual - and sometimes I work it that way - for fun. Apparently my floor was the first stop- but it was a long 14 flights up while it lasted – we got there – the door opened – and I exited knowing what happens in the elevator, stays in the elevator. New York City Doorman Building
at 8:46 AM Posted by Smith
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Had a great 4.5 mile run last night, followed it up with another this morning - definintely clocking 70 miles/week this week. Okay, not infrequently when I am running in
Harlem down Lenox Ave., someone will yell something out to me – this is what is called, “Harlem Love”. Now mind you, Black folks tend to have to shout. It’s explained away on a scholarly level in Ralph Wiley’s Book, “Why Black People Tend To Shout”. A great read. However on a more commonplace level, just go to any movie theater where Black folks tend to visit and you’ll see what I mean – don’t ask me why, Black folks gotta holler at the movie screen – going to the movies is an interactive experience for many Black people and they feel it’s their right to participate with the movie. Same thing with me and my running all the time as I run through Harlem. People whisper, talk, and shout to me all the time. Most of the time it’s supportive – rooting like “Running Man” and that’s what a lot of people indeed call me, I always extend a head nod or a hand movement to the person to let them know I appreciate their encouragement. On rare occasion a group of young teen girls will say something rather fresh to me. Here I’ve been known to stop and proceed to lecture the girls on how they are not to talk to any boys, let alone men, until they are out of college. These same girls would not be fresh if alone but they’re just exhibiting a group behavior and up to teen antics. I used to also tell them with the intent to shame in a verbal spanking, “I am older than your father”. That got the point across until 2005 or so until with this latest generation too many of these girls starting replying to that line with, “So”. On rare occasion the confident and somewhat aggressive gay man gets in a line, he is the smoothest, the most discrete and subtle of those saying something to me – he’s always walking solo and if and when he says something.... it’s confined to one word, generally one syllable, something like “nice” or a verbal “ummm”. This is hitting on the “down low” in public – - it’s only my ears that can hear the comment – and unlike the teen girls he’s serious and looking for a reply, a sign, an indicator of some sort that his expression is received and we are “brothers in arms” – just on the down low. If I extended the slightest recognition to this guy in any way – he thinks we’re code talking and I want him. I've learned what women have long known, men are a trip like that. So Running Man is #1, but the second most common thing I hear running in Harlem is “Run Forrest Run!”. Yup – Forest Gump. I hear this every single week at some point – generally twice. Black people love this movie and coincidentally I went to the same high school in as the lead actor, Tom Hanks (Skyline). It’s a good movie, I liked it, but its has damn near “Roots” like status in Oakland, California Harlem, why i'm not sure. In fact I am willing to bet with people aged 15 – 25 in Harlem, more have seen Forest Gump than Roots – seriously. Forrest had great form!...just look at it... Forrest Gump! - Hey the shoe fits, Forrest is always running in the movie I suppose – in leg braces as a kid, in Alabama, in Vietnam, across the country on the road, etc and it’s true, going out for a run through Harlem and into Central Park is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get – and that’s what this blog is all about!
at 8:50 AM Posted by Smith
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Running in Central Park was fantastic last night!– perfect conditions - mid 70’s – not too much humidity and there were lots of runners (individuals, teams training, people taking running classes). I did 5 miles at 80% with half of those being hill repeats. This morning I had an equally wonderful run in the park – gorgeous weather – lush greenery everywhere you look 5 miles @ 80%. Looking to clock 70 miles this week! While away this weekend there was a big 10K race in Central Park that attracted tthe fastest runners in the world. Dathan Ritzenhien won and in the process set a new 10K record time for running the loop in Central Park, 28:08!!!!. I first read about this guy a couple years ago when he graduated from the University of Colorado, was installing wood flooring as his money making job – contemplating attempting to "go for it" and give professional running a whirl – and engaged to his girlfriend (hoo-ray!). I met Dathan last year at the New York Road Runner’s Expo before the Marathon – last year was his first trip to New York City & his first Marathon. That's him above on the right breaking the tape and on the left in the NYC Marathon race. I always ask runners for advice, tips, stuff that isn’t revealed in the books, seminars, the beaten path on running lore. I said, "what’s up with the necklace?". That got a response – not a question he’s asked much and I told him I noticed he always wears a choker – he told me it’s just something special – (just check in the photos and you'll see it). I sensed it’s something between him and his now wife and refrained from prying further. I saw it was a private thing and respected that – ended my probe. Often I run wearing a necklace choker of Australian opals. Adorning something natural - brilliant – and of the earth in the land of people of color - the Aboriginals as a source of inspiration. I also sometimes wear a semi-antique African beaded choker. You see that woman on the below on the right? That’s my fellow New York Road Runner friend Angela Gonzalez – she’s a Nike Running Coach and you can always find her in Central Park. Angela has two lovely daughters and writes her children’s names on her running shoes for every race - one name on each shoe. I know runners with lucky socks, bracelets, shirts, you name it. Running is an act of ritual, requires commitment and devotion – how, where, & what fosters inspiration for a runner to persevere and realize a new plateau is entirely "their thing". This may sound silly but years ago I used to wear a band-aid at a certain spot on my leg – below my knee at my shin and in most all photos of me racing in ’02 – ’04 – you will see that band-aid at that same location on my shin. This is all in the domain of Sports Psychology – and having something - an object on "your person" to drive you when you’re at your breaking point and looking for that edge to get you past the "wall" in a marathon or to a PR in a 10K. I’ve switched from the band-aid to a necklace and am borrowing a page from Dathan’s book in this regard. It’s about infusing meaning into something you can carry on you while you run. It’s personal – private and if you run and race enough, you’ll spot it. I recall at the start of the ’05 NYC Marathon I was next to a guy that had what seemed like a shoe string tied around his wrist. I nudged him, pointed to it, and said, "Good luck charm"? He smiled and replied, "a shoe lace from my son’s first pair of shoes". That’s what it’s about – that’s what I one day hope to do too! I’m a big proponent of incorporating a Sports Psychology practice - regime into your training and racing, an easy read that’s a great starter is a book called, "Mind Gym" – Gary Mack. If you’ve never read a book on Sports Psychology, this book is an eye opener and fantastic starter with neat stories in the real world supporting every strategy & practice. Want to get motivated in that training program? For that big race? I read this same book every year 3 days before I race the New York City Marathon. Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to go work out my body and mind. If you don't have "something" a charm of some kind - Get One! The Ultimate charm is a Wedding Band and that's what I'm aiming to get - real soon!
at 10:35 AM Posted by Smith
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
on Monday afternoon, took a 2 hour nap, shower, went out and clocked 5 miles at 80% with half of those miles being hill training in Central Park. I’ve not blogged in 4 days - been in – California , my home town. While there I trained at Oakland , a 3 mile flat loop –the same place I ran nearly 30 years ago in the 70’s as a kid - that's it above - It was nostalgic - I reminisced but at the same time it made me see how fortunate I am to be able to live in Manhattan and train Central Park – a challenging course with hills, continuous views, and interesting people & runners to encounter. Every time I run in Lake Merritt Central Park I see a couple of dozen men and women I wish I could run like in grace, ease, form, strength, etc. While in after a run I hooked up with an old friend, David, at a lovely café with outdoor seating on a lush sun drenched mid morning. As we sat and talked a while convertible BMW parks squarely in front of us with a seemingly attractive woman behind the wheel - a more prudent, refined, and stately version of the proverbial “little red corvette” you might say. David is telling me the terms of his divorce as my attention is slightly diverted to the woman wondering if she herself in appearance was going to match that car (this is California ya'll). She opens the door and rises exposing a physical profile of herself - I interrupt David and say, “Now David, that’s a jaguar” – David replied, “no, that’s a BMW”. "No David, the woman, not the car" I said. Hey, I'm a feminist so please don't knock me for characterizing as I do and drawing the nexus between women and felines – it dates back to the Egyptians and the Cat Goddess "Bast" - is as current as Catwoman - and you know damn well why they call themselves the PussyCat Dolls - and yes, I wish my girlfriend was hot like her, hell I wish I had a girlfriend - working on that! So the jaguar takes a seat some tables away from us – at this juncture like David’s ex-wife I too divorced all interest in him and was wondering what was this woman’s story – I ran the metal detector - that’s when I check for rings – when she got out of her car she gave us a friendly smile – this woman is not gay – and then it hit me. Oh crap – she probably wonders if we’re gay - think about it - what in the hell are 2 men doing at an outdoor café soaking up the sun together on a gorgeous day when there are all these single women out here? hummmm, that don't look right – I agree, very suspect! I thought about walking up to her and saying, “Hi, that guy I’m with is a childhood life long friend, we are not lovers or anything close to that, I am single and straight and would definitely hit on you with the objective to make love with you if only I thought the slimmest chance existed - but unfortunately 3000 miles of land distance definitely exist as I live in New York City and the Manhattan and the long distance thing never works – Brooklyn’s too far in my book – but damn, you are a jaguar and JetBlue does fly into Oakland – I wonder if between me and you and JetBlue we can have a relationship”? That’s what I wanted to do and say, what happened in the real world? David and I got up to leave and I walked up to her and said, “Hi, I say you work out 5 days a week to get your body like that, David here says 3 days a week, who’s right?” She smiled and said, “6” – and since I wearing some of my racing gear she asked me if I was a runner and told me she was entering the San Francisco Half- Marathon in July, her first Half-Marathon. My reply was kind of like, “well….yes, I know a few things about running & racing and all that - in fact I kind of blog about it every damn day hahaha”. Turns out she and my friend David went to the same school in Oakland and somehow or another her business card got in my hand. Her name is Paula and that’s her on the left above and believe it or not that body is over 40 years in age, dayum! . She’s got an interesting website and is a fitness superstar with a health and wellness practice called Sesa Woruban (“I change or transforming my life”). If anyone in the Bay Area is looking for a trainer or the like, she’s your go to professional. And the San Francisco Half and Full Marathon? Yup, know all about that race as well, my friend who've I've paced in a Half-Marathon in Central Park for a mile - up and over the Harlem hills, and fellow Bay Area native - current New York City dweller and lastly of course, New York Road Runner Julie Stamps won the full San Francisco Marathon in 2006, that's her on the right breaking the tape! It's great to be back in Harlem!
at 7:48 AM Posted by Smith
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Those are runners at the ING San Francisco Bay To Breakers 12K race I am scheduled to be in on Sunday – I qualified for a seeded start in front with the elites – which is necessary, this race has over 100,000 runners! Of cours 99,000 of those runners are in zany costumes or in nothing at all – there’s the proof. Yes, that is the last time you will see naked White men on Harlem 26.2 - I love this race, ran it in '90 & '91 - It was my first road race and I took 400th place out of I think 30,000 at the time. The only prettier race is the Wharf to Wharf - Santa Cruz to Capitola race down the coast a little ways in July. However due to injury although I can train, still can't race. This ACL tear takes a long time to mend on its own - I can feel it with a full knee squat - oh well. I am still going to fly out today to San Francisco to see my family & my dog (which means I get to see the place my money partially bought! LOL - the Ex's place - and of course the lovely Ex). Honestly sometimes when I meet women I want to say, "why not cut to the chase, if you really what to know what kind of guy I am, if you want to figure me out.... go talk to the Ex!" - together 9 years, lived together 7 of those years - solid supportive friends to this day - I can pass the "talk to the ex-test" with flying colors. I'll be back early next week and resume my little silly blog then - this will thus be the last blog entry for the next 4 or 5 days. --- However speaking of races that are pretty, the other day I received an email from a woman that's pretty - that's her on the left - yup, that's her - she's a woman with whom I have no past – but who tells me in the email I have no future – unsolicited no less. She knows I find her attractive but who does this...other than George W. Bush? A relationship bombing Pre-emptive first strike when there's been no crafting of a relationship? I have no weapons of mass destruction either - we've never dated, I've never called her, ever - yet I can only assume she believes she has me figured out. The email went like this, "Hi Lance just touching bases, everything’s great, blah blah blah – hope you are well by the way forget any hopes you had on making love to me, I regret to inform you that you have been eliminated from further contention as Mr. Right, but we’ll have to get together and catch up real soon - have a great day!”. What the #%@! I don’t really know this woman - and it’s visa versa too. I got voted off the island without ever trying to make port - just one outing at a Chinese restaurant, Ollie's - ah yes, but that's where maybe, just maybe she got me entirely unbeknownst to her. It was living in Hong Kong where I found my favorite dish, Singapore Mei Fun. Ever seen a menu at a Chinese Restaurant? - Ollie's has 101+ dishes. With no preliminary back and forth menu talk this woman ordered my dish, Singapore Mei Fun - I was stunned – could not believe it – sat there quietly thinking how in the heck did she just do that? - that has never happened to me, ever - of all the 101+ items on that menu - she hit the bullseye...(and in doing so became my favorite dish)....and then to follow it up she ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio. Everybody knows I’m a white wine drinker - her selection won with me - culinary kismet - Singapore Mei Fun is spicey + a white wine that leans sweet = Harmony & Balance or Ying Yang. In an instant she had Chinese math and me figured out.
at 6:09 AM Posted by Smith
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I've spent a lot of time running in Cental Park and noted how I see more interracial coulpes there than I do Black/Black couples. Yesterday I received an email from a friend (a Black woman) regarding my Jungle Fever blog entry she said, “….The other thing I must expand on is the options factor when black men reach a certain level. Black women now have to compete with the white woman, the Hispanic woman, Japanese woman etc….. Fun scenario for us, isn’t it- You played in this sand box yourself”. Ouch! That’s a shot! - I just got whacked! She went on to school me about the Black man and his ways. Some background: This Black woman, early 40’s, great life, single, no kids, married for 4 or 5 years and to a WHITE MAN. Oh it gets better – I made love to this woman and believe it or not according to her – I was the first Black man she's ever been intimate with - Bethchabygollywow - look at me, Black Captain Kirk - going where no Black man has gone before. This was not a good thing to me and only caused me to speculate on the psychology swirling around in her head that produced this track record. How does a Black woman grow up, go to school, work, and live all in New York, single for the vast majority of her adult life , date, over 40, yet never, not once intimate with a Black man? This in and of itself is unbelievable - but how this very woman is the woman that takes a shot like this at me? - and she wonders why I’m not digging her? I can talk about running because that’s what I do. If you've never done the Electric Slide, you can't talk about the Electric Slide. It's called "speaking out of school". Is there a Black woman over 40 who's never done the Electric Slide? If there is - something's up with that! But speaking of shots, Black women and White men - when I am running in Central Park and a Black woman is running with a White man and we cross paths I will get 1 of 2 reactions: She might note me and extend a curious glance as if to say, “where were you when I was looking…you look like you might have had a shot”. This eye contact usually prompts me to think “dating – less than 6 months - still adjusting with him". But the usual response is none, zero, which is fine. I'm unconcerned with who’s loving who and in fact happy that Black woman has a man. Marriage rates among Black women are low. Across the U.S. only about 30 percent of black women are living with a spouse and in Manhattan only 37 percent of women of all races ages 25 to 64 ever marry. I gotta believe that number's much lower with Black Manhattan women. How does blackfeminism.org explain away the vast number of single Black woman? “In many, if not most black neighborhoods, the numbers of marriage worthy Black men is small and by that I mean: alive, legally employed, disease-free, addiction-free, never been to jail, not crazy or abusive and actually want to get married — are low. If you have the nerve to also want “child free,” “reasonably fine” and “compatible with me,” giiiirl, just give up and invest in a B.O.B. Physical and cultural racial isolation means there’s also no opportunity to marry someone of another race or ethnicity". Black women are faced with the marriage squeeze - however fortunately in New York City a Black woman has access to plenty-o-White men so I say go for it! Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be married to a white spouse and 3.3 times more likely to be cohabitating with a White woman as compared to their Black American female counterparts. Research yields that 7% of married Black American men are with white wives and 15% of African American men cohabit with white women. I think the women are going to out do the men in the next 10 years for sure - Why? They're organized like I've never seen. Books galore like this one that even comes with a blog site “Supposing I Want To Date A White Guy”. And Check this one Black Female Interracial Marriage, it's like an e-zine complete with favorite movies with Black women and White men as love interest and "how to tips" - wow. So Black women - do what you have to do but please, teach your White man the Electric Slide so you all will look right at your Wedding! But seriously, go for it! I understand - and at the end of the day - if any of you are still into Black men - you can find me in Central Park! Here's the deal when you're running with your White man and see me coming: If you give me 2 eye winks that means to meet you in 1 hour at Tavern on the Green! We got a code & a plan!
at 11:52 AM Posted by Smith
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
2 nice runs on Monday - total of about 9 miles - still confident I will race in June. I saw an Islamic woman in full garb today - literally only exposing her eyes. Ever see an image of an empowered strict practicing Islamic woman? How about about an empowered strict practicing Islamic female athlete? Probably not, I never had until I was watching a race some years ago on TV. Meet Bahrain sprinter Ruqaya Al Ghasara who says she isn't held back by running in a hijab, In fact, she says, it makes her even quicker. "Wearing traditional Muslim dress has encouraged me. It's not an obstacle - quite the opposite," said Al Ghasara, who won the gold medal in the 200-metres in the Asian Games with in 23.19 seconds. The bronze medal winner earlier in the 100, Al Ghasara is instantly recognizable in her full-length running suit which leaves only her hands and face exposed. It's only traditional in spirit, however: The fabric is clingy and stretchable and her white hijab headwear bears the swoosh trademark of her sponsor. Al Ghasara said her outfit is a personal choice, although tradition weighs heavily. While other Bahraini female athletes compete in the clothing more typical of their sports, many are naturalized Bahraini citizens who were not raised Muslim. The 15th Asian Games are the first to be held in an Arab state and Doha officials are using it as a test run to bid for the 2016 Olympics. Other Muslim women have competed in clothes that conform with their traditions, but Al Ghasara has the highest profile. "Wearing the hijab shows that there are no obstacles. I've set my best times wearing the hijab and even qualified for Osaka in it," she said, referring to the Japanese city which is hosting next year's World Championships. Discovered running on her high school track, she was pointed out to Bahraini coach Tadjine Noureddine, who led her to her first gold medals at the 2002 Arab Games in Jordan. You gotta love someone who finds empowerment in what can easily be seen as an impediment. Great attitude! On that note, let me go clock my morning 4.5 miles.
at 6:42 AM Posted by Smith
Monday, May 14, 2007
I had two great weeekend days of running - clocked a total of 26.5 miles - wow-more than a Marathon! Some fun - What's it like to be a Black Man running in Central Park & encounter another Black man running with his White woman? Oh, don't think nothing goes down, - it gooooooeeeees down. I always run Central Park clockwise counter to 95% of the other runners - thus pass face to face hundreds of runners on a typical weekend run. I prefer this direction because the biggest races with the New York Road Runners run in this direction. When a Black man is running side by side with a White woman and sees me approaching never is he oblivious to my presence. One time I stopped on the course having ran into friend to talk, another Black man. So here we are - 2 Black men standing - talking and along comes a Black man running with a White woman - as he approaches he looked at us and said in as hard a ghetto dialect as possible "Wassup Brothas". We acknowledged him and said, "Hey", then looked at each other perplexed. That's not exactly how we speak - we doubt he speaks like that too in real life - and it was hilarious that this Black man running with his White woman had to make this greeting with as extreme an ethnic stamp & tone on it as possible. It was a verbal 1970's Blaxploitation soul shake you might say - he might as well have said, "slap me 5 blood!" This guy comes off all "Black Panther" on us and he's running with a White woman? We figured he was trying to show off his ethnicity to his White woman or something - I told my friend instead of saying "Hey" I should have replied back, "Way to keep it real - my man". This incident though is the exception as usually Black men running with White women don't seem comfortable when I am approaching. That's putting it mildly. More times than not it's the "deer in headlights" - I call it, "Black man going Buckwheat". In sum Black men are shook & frozen. You see the Black man is master of his universe and wants to be the only Black star in his White woman's galaxy. Basically these Black men are no different than White men of the antebellum South - insecure with their White woman seeing a half-naked Black man - it just works that way. I suspect it has something to do with them thinking one aspect of their White woman's attraction to them is his Black man physicality - and here we are running and I've never seen a Black man with a White woman that's a more serious runner than me. I do this [run] for real and I look it - the Black man sees that & fears his White woman is going to see something closer to the real thing - then him in this physical thing - running. Trust me folks - this is how it goes down - laws of the Jungle take hold, he knows his woman's got Jungle Fever and I'm Black Tarzan. Generally it seems these Black men are running for obligatory reasons as none have familiar faces to me. Sidebar: More women run than men, going running is a common dating activity in NYC - so many of the Black men I suspect got snared into running with their White woman. In these moments I want to communicate to the Black man, "I''m not thinking about your woman - she's not thinking about me - don't sweat this - this moment will pass and you will once again be king of the jungle". How do I know all this? Well for starters, "Black Telepathy" is real. When Black people see other Black people in unusual places - we know how to communicate with each other - it's always been that way and Black folks running in Central Park is unusual. But all this was confirmed for me by the source, White women - yup. And How does one white woman tell it? -> "A white woman past forty is often passed over by her white-male contemporaries. She goes younger or ethnic or foreign-born or down the socioeconomic scale or darker or she spends lonely nights at home with her cats. Black men are happy to get the babe they couldn't have when she was twentysomething and fertile. The laws of the marketplace do prevail. It's not me, it's them—them being the white guys who weren't after me anymore...Even in a time when nearly 40 percent of single Americans have dated outside their race, that deliberate seeking of the specific other makes some people, especially black women, damned mad. Black men are two and a half times more likely to marry a white woman than a black woman is to marry a white man. Black women can point to that statistic in justifying their wrath. But in truth, black sisters, we're after the sex, not the ring—and these guys aren't the marrying kind anyway. - Oh Snap! - that's taken from this article, it's a must read called a "A White woman explains why she prefers Black men". Day-um! Don't worry - I'm going to flip the script and break down my experiences and observations in running of the Black woman running with a White man thing very soon.
at 10:01 AM Posted by Smith
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Had a nice running Day on Saturday, clocked 3.5 in the morning @80% and then turned right around about 4 hours later and did 9 more @ 80%. Loved it. As it's Mother's Day, I thought I would put some shine on a great runner, who became a mother, and then an even more amazing marathon runner. That is Norwegian superstar of the 1980's Ingrid Kristiansen who won the Boston Marathon (twice), New York City Marathon, Chicago Marathon, & the London Marathon, and is also a former world record holder in the marathon. In 1982 Ingrid ran a 2:33 marathon which for her was rather slow. Her coach advised she get a physical examination and in doing so Ingrid learned she was four months pregnant. She had a healthy baby and 4 months after giving birth won the Houston Marathon in 2:27! But it does not stop there.....3 months after that she won and set the women's world record in the London Marathon in 2:21 - note all this within 7 months of giving birth. Well I've learned during pregnancy your cardio is enhanced - your blood volume increases by about 40 percent and your heart rate increases about 15 beats a minute to supply the growing baby mild exercise 24 hours a day over 40 weeks, adding just a little more load each day, your respiratory rate increases, thus raising your oxygen uptake. Apparently just being pregnant is great marathon training - certainly worked well for Ingrid. Today Ingrid runs an interesting Scandinavian Holistic E-Fitness Concept Retreat & Wellness Center. Looks like a nice day in New York City, I'm heading into Central Park to clock 10 and will do my best to remember to say "Happy Mother's Day" to every woman I see with a baby jogger - hope I can bring a smile to some women today in doing so! Happy Mother's Day!
at 10:19 AM Posted by Smith
Saturday, May 12, 2007
I'm going to push a hard 10 miles this afternoon, waiting for the sun to come out so I can tan as much as possible in the process. Kenyan domination of distance running. While environmental influences such as training and diet are important, it is likely that there is also some genetic component to elite athletic performance. This phenomenon has led to the suggestion that east Africans possess some inherent genetic advantage predisposing them to distance running. A growing body of evidence suggests that genetic variation does influence athletic performance, yet despite the speculation that East Africans have a genetic advantage for running, there is no genetic evidence to suggest that this is the case. The only available genetic studies of elite African athletes do not find that these athletes possess a unique genetic makeup. But what about my very own genetic make up? Note the West Africans do not run distance, they sprint, and West Africa is where Black American's roots originate - at least I like to think. However that darn Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., (on the right) head of Harvard 's African-American Studies department has me worried. I'm curious about my own genetic make up and there are numerous labs that for $200 - $1000 will provide you various levels - depths of research on your genetic make up, you can purchase your genetic map - here is a listing of various dna testing services. that's what Gates did and he has his genetic map on his kitchen wall. Gates knew he wasn't 100 percent African-American (heck who is?). According to family legend, Gates's only white ancestor was a slave owner named Samuel Brady, who had sex with Gates's great great grandmother Jane on his farm in Maryland in the 1800s. But his very own DNA analyses had no trace of Brady on Gates's genome. Further testing revealed that Gates, in fact, carries as much Western European blood as he does African—and that one of his white ancestors was probably an Irish servant who met Gates's sixth or seventh great-grandfather sometime before 1700. "I'm thinking I'm a Brady and maybe I'm from Nigeria, and here I am descended from some white woman," says Gates. Oh Crap! I can't say what Gates has in "the only white ancestor was slave owner..." - I don't have to go nearly that far back. Do I really want to get my DNA mapped out?....because it's possible - and God forbid but my DNA might say I'm more White than Black - perish the thought! Can I live with that? The implications, the fall out, it would definitely end up being a secret that I would keep in the closet! Where the hell is the "one drop rule" when you need it? No, this is just waaaaaay too risky for me to do - I'm happy with and would rather be Black thus I think I'll pass on the dna testing thing - I have to meet with my friend Bryonn later on this Saturday, that's Bryonn [Bain] there on the right - he's a Spoken Word superstar, has a show on BET and just got casted for his first film. Bryonn was arrested for "Walking While Black" - the police unfortunately did not know when they arrested Bryonn, the nearest Black man, they arrested a Black man with a Harvard J.D. - big mistake. The television show 60 Minutes had a segment on Bryonn - check out Youtube to see the video of this following sequence (it's also on his website). 60 Minute's Mike Wallace sat across from Bryonn and said: "This is a stupid question, but answer it, take it seriously, would you rather be White"? Bryonn Bain replied: " A great line from a poem I recently heard says I wish that I were White, .....I wish that I were White,.......... so that I could know...... what it was like........ to want to be Black".
at 7:31 AM Posted by Smith
Friday, May 11, 2007
The humidity has started to rise in NYC - a mile into my 5 miler last night I was kind of soaking - but it was a good run. That on the left is a runner putting in those miles around the popular 1.5 Mile loop that is the Central Park Resevoir . I don't run the loop myself however thousands do for the fantastic views and forgiving gravel surface. I think there's an unwritten rule there that you must run it counter clockwise, the path simply is too narrow to support running in both directions. Years ago I heard legend of the supposedly "first person" to jog the Central Park Resevior (and likely Central Park). Could it be possible? The very first person to run Central Park? Well so goes the story and no one has ever challenged it, I met this gentleman in 2003 and I will now introduce him to you - meet Alberto Arroyo also known as "The Mayor of Central Park". Per what I've read, "Back in the mid-1930's, when he was a young boxer from Puerto Rico with a radical sense of physical fitness, he began running on the 1.6-mile path that encircles the Central Park Reservoir. Now, thousands jog there every day. "I am the first man to run in Central Park," he says, a claim that no one bothers to challenge. This veteran with a wrinkled conquistador face is not the usual grandaddy. Born in 1916 in Porto Rico". In 1970, at 55 years old, he entered the first New York marathon and that's his medal he's proudly wearing around his neck. That photo is 1 year old, Alberto Arroyo is still very much alive and kicking (however had to retire from runninng in 1996). Cargo Films has made a movie about this gentleman with a trailer that you can see by clicking Cargo Films. There's also a short clip of him being interviewed on Youtube. Note this was back in a day when people thought it was bizarre to see someone running at all and for any reason - he basically ran on the same paths of horses, sometimes in boots to combat the mud. I'm not too concerned about the accuracy of the title "first runner of Central Park" - since he's been doing it longer than anyone can recall anyone else running Central Park, I say give him the title, why not! Just wanted to salute and give some shine to a running living legend. Now let me go clock my morning 4.5 & get a Venti so I can wake up!
at 6:15 AM Posted by Smith