Running Update

I realize I haven't done a running update in awhile as I've been preoccupied with Ukraine's World Cup run. My 10K race went really well last Sunday. I was first place in the 40-44 year old division and 7th overall. I ran a really smart, solid race, starting slow and working my way up through the pack. My second half of the race was about 30 seconds faster than the first half. The time was kind of slow -- 39:04 -- but the course was hilly and it was humid and I think it was a little long as some of the splits didn't make sense (I measured it on and it was 6.4 miles instead of 6.25, which would mean I would have been about 40-45 seconds faster, which seems about right for the course and weather). I think I'm in shape to run 37:30 (6:00 pace) on a flat course in moderate weather. OK, enough excuses. The training is going well. I'm getting used to higher mileage and looking forward to a 5K race in Ann Arbor on July 4 with my BMLC team mate Tom Sisson. It's a long way to SF in December but I'm getting there.


Ukraine into the Quarterfinals!!!!

OK, this is seriously the greatest non-running sporting moment of my life! Ukraine just got by Switzerland in a dramatic penalty shootout and has advanced to the quarterfinals against Italy. Thanks to the Soviet Union going down (Ronnie Reagan was actually right about the Soviet Union being an evil empire -- ask my dad or anyone else who grew up behind the Iron Curtain), countries like Ukraine finally got a chance to strut their stuff on the international stage. I'm pretty speechless. I was just hoping for Ukraine to make the round of 16 -- never in my dreams did I think they'd get this far. Let's hope more miracles are in store against Italy!


Smart Running

This isn't a plug for "Running with the Buffaloes," which is an amazing book by the way, but a starting point to plug a fantastic e-book called "Smart Running" by my coach Josh Scully who is also on my old man racing team, BMLC Track Club, and who has coached numerous high school state championship teams and All-State runners during his tenure at Greenhills School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Like Colorado University's cross country teams, Josh promotes 'smart' racing. CU's teams are noted for starting slow and working their way up in the pack before putting the hurt on in the final stages. Josh's Greenhills teams also utilized this strategy, often seemingly being out of the running half way through a race before capturing victory in the final stages. "Smart Running" is an amazing, easy-to-read analysis of training and racing and often goes against the grain of conventional 'wisdom'. Racing smart isn't as easy as it seems. In order to race well, you have to train well and simulate racing conditions in practice. My 41 year old body is running way faster than it has any right to do after taking 19 years off of running between 1985 and 2004. I owe a lot of this to Josh's coaching. If you want to find out more about the Scully program or what we at BMLC call the Scully regime, visit his website at:


Go Ukraine!

I'm by no means the biggest football (or as we call it in America, soccer) fan, but I'm half Ukrainian so I'm psyched as hell that Ukraine has just advanced to the round of 16 by beating Tunisia 1-0! Ukraine started the World Cup on a bad note by getting thrashed by Spain but rebounded by annihilating Saudi Arabia 4-0 and ended up finishing second in Group H. They will face the winner of Group G in the next round -- probably Switzerland or South Korea.


The Hard Lessons: Detroit Rock City!

I was complaining about wussy ass bands who don't rock last week so now I'll plug a band that kicks ass, the Hard Lessons, from Detroit. Like most of the current crop of Motor City buzz bands these guys know how to combine noise and melody. The Hard Lessons who include Augie on guitar and vocals, Ko Ko Louise on keyboards and vocals, and The Anvil on drums create a racket like your favorite '70s hard rock band with a touch of '60s soul. Ko Ko Louise has an amazing set of pipes! We saw them play in Cleveland at the CMJ Festival last Friday and though they were the opening act they stole the show from their more famous homeboys The Dirtbombs and The Detroit Cobras. Their new EP is really great too. It's been living in my car CD player. For more info and to see if they're playing in your town soon, check out:


Hangin' Tough

Like the New Kids once did, I've been "hangin' tough" only in my case it's not because I'm going out in public dressed to get my ass kicked, but rather because I've been kicking my ass into shape with my training. Last week I ran 6 days and did 46.5 miles. Highlights included a solid 12 miler with the last 2 miles in 12:27 (6:01 final mile) and a session of 8 x 1000 meters with 200 meter jog recoveries (i.e. 1:00-1: 10 rest) in 3:43 (5:57 pace). I also ran a hard 8 mile run on the horse trails in the metro park. You can definitely feel it in your legs hitting the dirt hard. I'm going to try to do off road training at least once a week this summer. This week has been great too. On Monday I ran another great 12 miler and finished even faster than last week with the last 2 miles in 12:22 (5:57 final mile). My next race is a 10K on June 25th. It's supposed to be a pretty hilly course, a 5K loop which we will run twice.


Primal Scream - When the Bomb Drops - Album Chart Show

Screw you Pitchfork, this fucking rocks!


Bring Me the Head of Sufjan Stephens

Remember when Bluto, played by John Belushi, smashed that hippie's acoustic guitar in Animal House? I sure do! When you've got Otis Day and the Knights in the house, the times sure as hell don't need to be a changin'. I feel the same way about today's wussy-as-all-hell indie scene. 'Folk artists' like Sufjan Stephens, Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom and Jens Lekman are like the 'alterna' reincarnations of all that '70s easy listening crap like the Carpenters, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Simon & Garfunkel. Newsom sounds like an 80-year Bjork having a stroke; Banhart is like a lo-fi and lo-intelligence Donovan, Stephens and Lekman are so fey that they make Belle and Sebastian sound like Motorhead in comparison. But they're socially relevant says the sensitive indie boy with a beard. Yeah, but so are MC5, Easterhouse, The Smiths, The Jam and god knows how many others and they rock! It feels like rock 'n' roll is on its last legs when the new folkies get rave reviews, while loser ass Pitchfork gives the new Primal Scream album 2 out of 10, the main criticism seeming to be that they've abandoned their techo influences of their previous releases for the more rock 'n' roll sounds of their 1995 album Give Out But Don't Give Up. Bands like Primal Scream and The Hellacopters do utilize every cool cliche in the book but they do it well and I'd rather raise my fist in the air at a concert than sit on a floor of some stinky coffee shop and listen to some hippie jibberish.


Monster Training

What does my favorite old school boxer, Thomas "Hit Man" Hearns have to do with cross country running? Well, boxers are fit as all hell and John and I just started a summer training program to begin our build up for the USATF Masters XC Championships in SF in December. Our coach and teammate Josh Scully calls the regimen monster training because in his words, "It is a time to put on the gloves and workout! Take your fitness to the max." Good enough excuse to include a badass image of Hearns!

Anyway, here's the game plan:

Monday - Long run of 12-16 miles, pushing really hard on the last 2-3 miles.
Tuesday - 7 miles at long run pace -- kind of an extension of Monday's workout
Wednesday - 5 miles easy
Thursday - Interval workout @ 10K race pace with minimal rest -- i.e. 10 x 800 with 1 minute rest or 8 x 1000 with 1 minute rest
Friday - off
Saturday - 8 mile progression run on dirt trails
Sunday - 5 miles easy

Total each week is about 45-50 miles. I have 3 races planned for the summer: a 10K at the end of June, a 4 miler in mid-July and an 8K in early August.


Fly Like A Falcon

If we told you what BMLC stood for, we'd have to kill you but on Monday, June 5, some of us will be starting a hardcore training program designed to peak for Masters Club Cross Country Nationals in San Francisco on Saturday, Dec. 9. It will be a 10K race at Golden Gate State park against the very best runners this country has to offer in the 40-49 year old age group.

Here's our mission statement:

Three quarters of the founding members of the BMLC Track Club, Ben Szporluk, Erik Fadiman, and John Voorhees all had successful cross country and track careers in the early 1980s for one of Michigan's premiere distance running programs, Greenhills School, coached by R. Bruce Dyer. But, like many budding high school stars, our three heroes all drifted away from running in their college years, with occasional half-hearted comebacks, until Ben had a midlife crisis as his 40th Birthday loomed. Ben started to train seriously and soon got hooked on running local 5K races, proclaiming that 6:00 is the new 5:00! With his newfound enthusiasm he got in touch with the last quarter of the founding members, Greenhills' current cross country coach, Josh Scully, a tough as nails masters runner and brilliant coach. Ben proposed a cross country alumni reunion, which ended up taking place in Ann Arbor, Michigan in November 2005 to great success. Feeding off of the reunion-induced frenzy John, Erik, and Ben decided to form a club and compete in USATF masters competitions. Our first stab at national glory will take place at the cross country club nationals in SF in December 2006 with hopes that 5:30 will be the new 5:00!!

Other members of BMLC include Tom Sisson, Robert Cherry, Sam Nichol, Peter Ross and Michael Dubin. (coming soon!)


Takin' it to the Streets


The Streets frontman Mike Skinner has signed-up to run a marathon.Writing on his official blog, the rapper revealed after talking to the trainer company that sponsor him, he plans to run this year's New York Marathon, which takes place on November 5."Spoke to Reebok about things and I've decided to run the New York Marathon," wrote Skinner under the heading Big Grief. "I know it seems a bit long but if people do it dressed as milk cartons it can't be that hard, right?"The race - which will feature other celebrity runners including Tour De France winning cyclist Lance Armstrong - sees 670,000 runners annually take to the 26-mile course, which transverses the city's five boroughs before finishing in Central Park.Skinner didn't specify what his training routine will be, though worryingly he also used his blog to try to blag a new Rolls Royce car by having his photo taken next to one."I enclose a promotional photo of me standing by my choice of car," explained Skinner of the snap. "ROLLS ROYCE if you're looking at this, please feel free to send me one over."


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