25 October 2010

NFL Priorities

Jerramy Stevens was released by Tampa after he was arrested on drug charges.
Given his history and the fact that he was a marginal player on a bad team, it's not surprising everyone was willing to wash their hands of him. It's not the first time he's been in serious trouble. I don't know all of the facts, but as I've said before, all indications are that he's garbage. I'd argue that this offense (marijuana) is the least of his offenses. I blame Stevens, but I especially blame the coaches, boosters, fans and agents who for the past ten years have enabled this reprobate to earn a lucrative living instead of going to prison.

23 October 2010

Running Nerd

Moved my long run to this morning from Sunday. 10.2 in 1:34 (9:12 pace). Weather was about perfect (50 degrees), felt great afterward. I love getting in a good run like that. It's like hitting a good drive in golf - keeps you coming back.

I've registered for the ATC Thanksgiving day race (half). If I can shave about three seconds off that pace (I can) and can sustain it up and down the hills (less certain) I'd finish in under two hours, which seemed inconceivable not long ago.

Ten months ago, my 2010 stretch goal was to finish a 10k not in last place. I'm still slower than just about every runner I know, but I'm very pleased with the progress I've made. I know I'm racing the calendar. It is likely that my lifetime PRs will happen before long. But I'm really enjoying the improvement while it lasts.

16 October 2010

Hicks and Gillette

In May of 2007, I sat in a pub in Birmingham with three American colleagues enjoying Liverpool v Chelsea in a Champions League semi-final. The BBC was there with cameras; they had already interviewed a Liverpool fan and were looking for a Chelsea supporter when someone pointed out that I was an American Liverpool fan and they felt it was worth a couple of minutes of videotape. I'm pretty sure they didn't use my footage. I was asked whether the then new American owners appreciated the passion and tradition of Liverpool. I answered honestly that I did not. I said that unfortunately, I believed they believed they had bought a "franchise".

Sadly, I was spot on.

Hicks has shown himself to view clubs as an asset to be exploited. He intentionally put the Texas Rangers (baseball ) into administration in an attempt to block what he considered to be an unfavorable sale. In what appears to be a pattern, a higher authority (the commissioner of baseball in this case) had to step in to force the sale. One can assume that when he divests the Dallas Stars (hockey) there will be litigation.

In the end, I think H&G can be judged to be strangely both cynical and naive. I believe they were masterfully manipulated by Benitez, who knew that he was immensely more popular that the Americans. Benitez whined about funds while spending pretty freely. He had one great buy under the Americans, but Torres must be weighed against Lucas, Babel, Aquilani, Riera, Keane, and Dossena.

H&G believed they would have no trouble getting financing for a new stadium (something that it does make sense to borrow to fund). As it turned out, the global economy went off the rails, and banks became reluctant to make the highly leveraged loans that Hicks used to made his fortune. A bigger stadium, with luxury boxes, high ticket prices, and a capacity to rival Old Trafford or the Emirates might have boosted the clubs value and revenue to make their tenure viable. Instead, their relationship with supporters deteriorated to the point that physical violence seemed inevitable.

In the end, the same banking crisis that thwarted their stadium plans spelled the end to their tenure. RBS, mostly owned by the government, must have winced every time their name was mentioned in association with the loans. The uncertainty meant no other banks wanted to replace RBS, and finally RBS forced the Americans' hands. Plenty has been written about Broughton's work; I won't repeat those events here.

Good riddance to Gillette and Hicks. I doubt the new owners will be as good as I think Liverpool supporters deserve, but they certainly won't be as awful as their predecessors. Now here's hoping that success in the boardroom and courthouse translates to success at Goodison tomorrow.

12 October 2010

The Trial of Miles; Miles of Trials

I finished 1281/2864 overall, 761/1252 among men, and 94/147 in my age group. My time was 2:06:39 and my 10k split was 57:55. Had I maintained that pace, I'd have finished in 2:02:06, but the hills between 9 and 11 were brutal.

Once again, I did better against men in general than I did against my fellow geezers. To get to the 50th percentile among men would have taken 2:00:41 but in my age group it only would have taken 2:01:57. It's do-able, but it'll take hard work.

For the next 18 weeks my focus is on one race. I'll run a couple of others in the interim, but I don't plan to do any speed work; it's all about the miles.

02 October 2010

Painful

As I write this in October, Liverpool is in the relegation zone. Inconceivable.

They're not going down (even if Hicks's last gift to the club is a nine point deduction), but sheesh.

I Think I'm Ready


Left to right (more or less): gear bag, car key, driver's license, gels, recovery drink mix, bottle, dry shirt, gear belt, phone, water proof phone case, shoes, shirt, shorts, towel for car seat, face towel, bib, socks, cap.

A lot of this stuff will stay at the gear check; the only extra items coming with me will be the belt and phone and maybe the cap. The only reason for the belt is to carry the phone; the only reason for the phone is for an app that will track my run. If you're awake (race starts at 7AM EDT), you should be able to see my progress live at RunKeeper. Since I'll have the phone and I plan to run/walk, I may take some pictures on the course. I have mixed feelings about the cap, which I think looks dorky but would help keep sweat out of my eyes.

A few things about the bib: In all of the other timed races I've run, the chip was on a mylar covered strip that you'd loop through your shoelaces, but for this race the chip is actually meant to remain attached to the bib. Trevor observed that my bib number missed being 1337 by only two. The bib designates my starting corral (presumably by color, which is a little more maroon than appears in the photo), but I don't know which one. I'd have given my only other time at this distance of 2:19, which means I will be toward the rear, if not in the "open" group with the walkers.

My goal is 2:11. I've been training since the Peachtree and have run a little over 190 miles in that time, plus about 110 "miles" on a stationary bike.