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Posts Tagged ‘turfcasts’

Tuesday was the second meet-up of our burgeoning clutch of New York City area folks who run, and then blog or podcast about it. Once again, some interesting and well-mannered examples of the species gathered to connect over beers and appetizers. We met at Blackfinn, and took over the platform by the window. There were some returning bloggers, and some new names as well. In attendance (name, blog, Twitter handle):

So, dear readers, please do take a moment to click-thru and check out these blogs and podcasts. They are all fabulous people and dedicated runners, with a lot of inspiration and advice to share for other athletes.

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Earlier this week I made the impulsive decision to go to the first 3.5 mile race in the Media Challenge Series to cheer on my colleagues and see some friends from other companies (including Brenn). Spectating and hanging out with other runners cheers me up and inspires me, and I was relieved to finally be able to report to everyone that I was definitely on the mend as we mingled before the start. 

This morning I hit the gym again, and did my strength and balance exercises. This workout includes squats on a bosu, static lunges on the bosu (deceptively difficult), squats with 10lb dumbbells, the leg press machine, and my mat workout. Owe (in the good way)! Then, the highlight of my day: 15 quality minutes with my new flame, Mr Treadmill. Funny how I used to think he was so boring, but now? Now he puts a great big smile on my face, even though I’m the one doing all the work. 

So, I had no hard feelings when it came time to watch others race. It was just plain fun–a whole hour of running talk, finding out that one of our young guns editors was a high school middle distance track star and our sci-fi specialist is signing up for the Brooklyn Half. Who knew? Seeing my office mates getting their competitive dander up on the course was fun, too. We showed well, with two runners in the top five.  And, I am looking forward to when I’ll be able to race with everyone in June. 

(Brenn came in sixth, despite the sliders he had for lunch (apparently they slid back up somewhere around mile 2. Yeah!). The top female finished in 21:57. Whoo-ee.)

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Talk to Me

I tend to compartmentalize activities throughout the day. I like to answer email for the first hour I’m at my desk. I peck out a blog post during my commute home and call to check-in with the family on Wednesday evenings after Nike Speed. And, I listen to running podcasts while I walk the dog each morning. 

As you know, Matt’s Dump Runners Club podcast is my favorite. (His new format within a two-week cycle is a stroke of genius, and his episodes get better and better.) But recently he tipped me off to a new podcast called turfcasts, thinking I would be interested in Brenn’s vignettes of his marathon training and racing in New York City. Matt hasn’t given me bad advice yet, so I checked out the first episode, “Prologue: Running and Boredom.” In less time than it takes me to run a lap around the East Village Track, I was charmed by its thoughtful NPR-esque presentation. I wanted more, and so I downloaded them all and listened to the first dozen episodes on Wednesday. Matilda was thrilled because it meant she got lots of walks. 

Brenn, the host and narrator of turfcasts, is about my age, ran track growing up in Rochester NY, lives in Brooklyn with his wife, and races for the Central Park Track Club (which means he’s one of the fast, lanky guys in orange we see at local races). He is training for the Big Sur International Marathon, which is the same day as my Flora London Marathon. 

He sets the scene so we’re right there with him, stride for stride; and he has the chops to describe the things about our city that only runners tend to notice or think about. In “When Nature Calls,” Brenn reads the passage which hooked me: 

These observations of dogs, dancers, and silhouettes, pedestrian as they may seem, are more poignant when running, because the mere act of running, like any form of moderate or intense exercise, tilts the perceptual and emotional plane. Observations register as impressions. These impressions provide the color to the run. As for the running part of the run, there are better and worse days, but the basics are always the same: a management of breathing, a negotiation with pain, and a feeling of relief when done. Recalling how one feels during a run is like recalling a day at the office. Recalling what one sees during a run is like recollecting a dream.

After a few episodes, I was lulled by their essayistic quality, and recognized the three separate satisfactions Brenn delivers to his listeners: one guaranteed laugh, at least one nod of recognition, and the “Ah-ha!” that accompanies the oblique, casual poignancy of his conclusions. 

If you run in New York City, if you listen to NPR, if you enjoy being told a story, you will enjoy Brenn’s turfcasts. They are of a manageable length–never longer than 9 minutes. For me, that’s ideal because I rarely have more than 15 minutes of uninterrupted time. 

The writing on this podcast is so good that listening to it is a little bit like training with a faster runner. I’m both inspired and annoyed: Brenn prods me to look at and think about my running more keenly, and he also motivates me to up my game here on PF. 

Brenn on…
the potency of the cheering crowds in the New York City Marathon: “The sirens do call, but not from Manhattan-from Brooklyn. Spectators line several deep along Fourth Avenue….After a silent passing through the Hassidic neighborhood, Hipsterland is raucous.” 
the weather conditions in the 2009 Bronx Half-Marathon: “The wind was strong enough to make drafting a legitimate strategy.” 
his running shoe fetish: “Mimura [Asics’ Japanese master cobbler] compares runners and their shoes to Samurais and their swords. How refreshing and appropriate is this reverent approach. I imagine Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill rewritten.”

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