19 and Pain-Free — 3 Weeks to LA Marathon!


This morning I ran further than I’ve run since finishing the Honolulu Marathon in 2002, just over 19 miles in 18 rounds of run one mile / walk one minute. Big ups to five year-old Lucinda who patiently sat in the stroller for all two hours and forty-five minutes and to my new friend Scott for running along, chatting, pushing the pace, and generally making the whole thing seem like it was half as long as it was. Killer way to burn twenty-two hundred calories in just under three hours.

Next weekend the three of us will do it again but slightly longer, 20 rounds of the same instead of 18. After that it’s a week at SXSW immediately followed by an early morning cab ride downtown to the starting line of the LA Marathon with the lovely and talented Nicole St. Jean. I’m stoked. I wish the marathon was tomorrow.

Most exciting is to complete the above-mentioned with no pain in my left knee. It was just a few weeks ago I couldn’t run the day after a 16-mile outing. Between increased mileage, new shoes, new trails, and running tights that affected how my knee tracked I’m not certain what the cocktail of cause was, but rest, slow mileage rebuild, swimming instead of running two days per week no tights, and glute exercises have me back on track. The long run today felt great all the way to the end and the encouragement equals crazy stoke. KNOCK WOOD (KNOCK KNOCK) cuz anything can still happen, of course.

Also, I’m two weeks into Crossfit LA’s Whole Life Challenge, which means daily exercise and a diet lacking grains, sugar, dairy, soy, processed food of any kind, and alcohol. I’m not getting all my points every day but I’m not losing them for bad habits, either; I’m mostly compliant. Two weeks back I actually made my own Gu from mashed sweet potato for the long run but after reading (the excellent and highly recommended) Paleo for Athletes book and wanting to approximate my race-day diet as closely as possible I’m back on the Gu-brand Gu and Endurox recovery drink again. I’m also cheating with Deep 30 protein powder on strength training days, but these performance-related cheats don’t seem nearly as bad as a host of other ways I could be losing points on this “challenge”/game. Overall I’m really enjoying the challenge. I think I’ll keep grains, sugar, and dairy out of my diet long-term save the occasional beer, wine or dessert treat. No need to have those on the regular and I’m definitely feeling better without them.

Thanks everyone for supporting Pablove in celebration of my self-abuse. I really appreciate all who contributed to getting me over my fundraising goal of $2,012. I’ve dropped into 6th place in the overall standings, though, so if you haven’t donated yet, please do! I’m gonna run this damn thing!

Finally, if you’re headed to SXSW this year please join this group and run with the SXSW run club. You will be glad you did. I won’t make it out every day as I’ll be tapering for the marathon but I will certainly make it out a couple of the days and there will be a small group every day. We did this last year and it was a great group of people.


The Whole Life Challenge


Topspin‘s Santa Monica office has grown into what I always wanted it to be: a family. Like any family, we’re slightly dysfunctional but we love each other and have more fun together than apart.

If you know me you know that over the last five years I’ve taken my nerd and obsessive leanings and applied them to fitness. I’m not sure if Topspin self-selects similar folks or if these things are contagious, but I’m not entirely alone in this at our office. Nicole is an ultra-marathoner. Brad has found himself listening to Ben Greenfield and ordering goat milk-based protein powder from far away lands. Brian and his wife are long-time Paleo/Crossfit sort of folks.

This week two inspiring fitness-related things happened in the office. Well, two started it and they spurred a third.

First, Chris Carlson mentioned he’s starting something called the Whole Life Challenge. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it’s basically an 8-week game hosted by Crossfit LA meant to create good habits and slow down bad ones. You get points every day that you: a) exercise, b) stretch, and c) avoid foods that add weight to your frame. OK. Sounds like a fun game. Until you look at the diet. Then it looks fucking hard. But ok, they did say “Challenge”. And I love a challenge.

Then, since one of the many Berklee grads in our office drums in a spinning class, half the office decided to go to one spinning class last night. Some liked it better than others but they were funny as hell all heading off to an exercise class together. It was inspiring.

So I decided I would do the Whole Life Challenge myself because I thought it would be fun to commiserate with Chris (who rules) for eight weeks. We started to recruit others in the office. I just counted and we managed to get no less than 12 (maybe more?) people to join in. I don’t expect everyone to be dedicated or strict but I’m pretty sure everyone will learn a little something and maybe even change some habits along the way. It’ll be fun, no doubt.

The challenge starts on Saturday. Anyone else wanna join in with us? Send me an @reply on Twitter with your email address and I’ll send you an invite so you can get yo azz signed up! Let’s transform.


Chuck Prophet’s Love Letter to SF, Temple Beautiful, Out Today

First of all, if you like rock n roll and don’t already own Chuck Prophet’s ┬íLet Freedom Ring!, get it. One of my favorite records of the past few years and favorites in my collection, period.

Chuck Prophet - Temple Beautiful

So this is an exciting week for me as Chuck’s brand new album, Temple Beautiful, came out this past Tuesday. Here’s my favorite song on the album thus far:

Stream the album here: Spotify, MOG, Rdio, Rhapsody

Buy the deluxe from Yep Roc (shame it’s not Topspin, I would have paid extra for lossless digital) or the CD/vinyl/MP3 from Amazon.

Los Angeles, hope to see you at Bootleg Bar Friday night. More tour dates here.

Happy Chuck Prophet day!


Promise: The Making of Darkness on The Edge of Town

If you haven’t seen this documentary yet, watch it. I’ve never been a die-hard Springsteen fan but this is an incredible tale of artistry and it’s hard to imagine anyone who is either a listener or involved in the creative process not appreciating what they did. It’s a story of how magic comes from balancing visionary and obsession, friendship and oppression, cooperation and standing your ground.

I watched it on a plane but I’m told you can find it on cable, rent it from Netflix, buy the DVD from Amazon, or get it inside the Darkness on The Edge of Town box set.


Running With Friends


I’m training for the LA Marathon and have been writing a few blog posts along the way, with “few” being the operative word as of late. Around the holidays I tried to spend more time with family and less time on the computer, then work picked up pace starting week one, 2012. But there’s plenty to report.

Very sincere thanks to Ryan, Kerry, etc who put me over the top of my training goal of $2012 for Pablove. Honestly, having these folks give money to Pablove along the way has kept me training despite injury. I thank you for keeping me going. Let’s not stop here. If you’re reading this and can contribute anything, from $1 on up, to Pablove, please do. My new goal is to be their number #1 LA Marathon fundraiser. I’m currently $6,000 behind the leader. Any help is appreciated and the cause worthy.

Hello from the plane home from MIDEM! Every year the music industry gathers in Cannes, France for a long weekend of meetings, idea sharing, dinners, and drinking. It can be pretty heavily weighted toward the latter of those and this is the third year in a row I’ve taken my running shoes and used them as the balancing point to keep me closer to the former. It’s not easy, but others can be recruited into waking early and coming with. The first year we had a great little run club including Yancey Strickler, Ian Hogarth, and Sydney Wayser. Year two Glenn Peoples was my running pal. This year we had more interest than ever but mis-coordinated schedules kept J Herskowitz, Ian Hogarth, and Tim Heineke out of the MIDEM Early-AM Run Club and my only taker was Cortney Harding. Courtney returned the favor by getting me out for a 7:30am Crossfit class on Monday morning, too (Yes, Crossfit in Cannes! And it was good!), which was an incredible way to start the day and way better cross-training than I’d have accomplished in one of the Croisette hotel gyms.

We’ll do the same thing again at SXSW this year. The LA Marathon is the Sunday SXSW Music ends (poor planning on someone’s part, yes. mine, perhaps?) so it will be a taper week for me but stay tuned if you’d like to join and I’ll post more information in a future post.

It’s been great connecting with colleagues over running on these trips. I got to hear Official.fm’s J Herskowitz’ NYC Marathon story last evening, the tales of the many marathons Thingfo’s Cortney Harding has done on our run, and Cornerstone’s Jon Cohen‘s long (and fast!) run career yesterday (knee surgery kept him one off his 10 NYC Marathons in a row goal last year).

I’ve had more than one person tell me their reading these blog posts has inspired them to get out there and lace up, and nothing could make me happier. Remember what my mom (who herself is a former marathon runner and cross country coach) told me: “The hardest part is putting on your shoes.” Kudos to everyone who can get past that first step, no matter how much or fast you run or walk. Get a Fitbit and get your 10,000 steps/day by any means necessary.

My training has been a roller coaster. Here’s the update:

Training was rolling right along no problem until that magic point that often trips up those who try to pour on mileage, mile sixteen. The week between Xmas and NYE I completed my sixteen mile long run as part of a forty-five mile week total in a brand new pair of Newton natural running shoes (exact same model as my old pair) Santa brought. Saturday was eight miles at pace and Sunday was the sixteen miler. The eight felt great but during the sixteen I had pain in my left knee. It wasn’t terrible and I finished strong but I could tell something wasn’t right. The next day I stepped out to do an easy three-miler and couldn’t go one.

After a day’s rest I finished the week’s workouts without much pain, including the eight miler the following Saturday. But when I stepped out to do seventeen on Sunday I made it four, turned around and walked four home. I knew I was injured and needed to heal this properly.

Damn. I’ve been here before. And for the same reason. Crank up the mileage and the body reacts. After doing thirty to thirty-five miles per week for years I still got tripped up at the forty-five mile per week mark. Textbook typical. I thought I had a strong enough base to skip this step. Of course that was naive.

I wasn’t sure if it was IT Band or PFPS but it doesn’t much matter, the prescription is the same: Rest, Ice, Advil, and try to fix whatever biomechanical thing landed you here to begin with. I went to my sports med doc and we talked it out. Dr. Randy Davis in Marina Del Rey has seen me for countless running and skateboard injuries over the last 12 or so years and like any good sports med doc his attitude isn’t “you’re too old to ride a skateboard” or “you are turning your bones to dust by running” it’s “you wanna get back out there, right? ok let’s fix this and get you back at it ASAP.” He thought my kneecap was ok and that it’s mostly IT band flare-up, which is good news to me. I’ve been through that on the right leg and have overcome it over many years. He prescribed Ibuprofen horse pills and physical therapy.

Next stop was Meredith Soelberg’s office. Meredith is a former competitive gymnast and marathoner who knows about as much about what happens under your skin as anyone. She went Columbo on my injury, put me on the treadmill to study my gait, examined old and new shoes, watched me do box jumps, and interrogated me to try to get to the bottom of what’s really going on. She also put me on a pared back running schedule, prescribed cross training to keep the fitness up, stretched and massaged my legs, and applied ionto therapy.

I started swimming and enjoying it. I get up at 5:30am, make it to the Y when they open at 6am, and share a lane with a friendly older dude named Frankie. I can knock out just over a mile before I have to get back home to start the day with Lucinda. It feels good. It’s not hard physically, but hard from a coordination perspective. I feel like I’m learning something totally new, but getting better.

I picked up a book called Smart Marathon Training by Jeff Horowitz. It takes a different approach than the Higdon program I’ve been following. It tops out at thirty-five miles per week (conveniently the same as my base), focuses on three quality runs per week (tempo, speed, hill, and/or long runs), nd adds cross-training (his preference is biking) instead of the “junk” miles. His take: get into marathon shape and no more. If all you’re getting out of a four or five mile “easy run” is cardiovascular fitness then get that in a way that builds complimentary fitness and doesn’t wind up the same muscles you’re pushing on the quality run days. I am disappointed because I was enjoying running six days a week but it makes sense and given where I’m at seems worth a try.

So now, thanks to Meredith’s help, I’m back in action. I ran twenty-six miles last week without pain, including a ten-miler in Cannes on Sunday morning. I’m going to ease back into a plan that looks more like the Horowitz plan, quality days and cross-training.

Thanks to everyone for the support!