David Kahn is embarrassingly bad at his job. Immediately after being hired as Grand POBO of all of Wolfdom, he promised to put together a fun, uptempo team that would put butts in the seats and wins in the standings. He then proceeded to hire a coach whose style was unable to match the fast-paced visions in his head while filling out the roster with mismatched (and poor) talent. All the while, Mr. Kahn explained away his actions with a never-ending stream of just-wait-a-little-bit-longer-we're-still-really-young can kicking; knowing full-well that the few remaining fans of this god-forsaken franchise would latch onto anything resembling hope and that the axe at 600 First Avenue never really falls when it needs to.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
There is nothing to say about David Kahn that we don't already know. He doesn't know what he's doing. His ideas concerning the sport of basketball all revolve around either the physical aspects of the players (long and athletic) or things he has seen in Portland (Martell Webster, Blazers' championship team, Bernie Bickerstaff, etc). This man should not be in charge of a professional basketball franchise and if that concept isn't visible to you by now, I'm not sure what else you would need to see in order to change your mind. The guy is in charge of a young team that is undisciplined, not good on defense, full of mismatched talent and not all that good with the ball. He wants them to do what they do...faster. He wants to take the team with the highest pace in the league and make them go faster. Why? Who knows?
What we do know is that David Kahn was somehow able to square the circle of him being less culpable than Kurt Rambis for the 4th worst 2 year loss record in NBA history. He walked up to an open mic and was able to say all sorts of things about Rambis being the wrong guy for the job (who hired him?) and his inability (unwillingness?) to play fast in the open court (again, why on earth do you want this team to go faster?). None of it makes sense. It doesn't make sense because we are beyond the point of ridiculousness. We've lapped absurdity. We've hit nonsense at a full gallop.
Speaking of full gallops (and pace), one of the most frustrating things about getting back into running has been the complete inability of my legs to move in a manner anywhere in the vicinity of what is known as "fast". This is a mental problem more than anything else. I simply have to wrap my head around the fact that I'm not going to be able to train or run at a fast pace for quite some time. Runs that used to take 20 minutes now take 40. I'm running at an 8-10 min/mile pace rather than a 5-7 min/mile one.
On the bright side of things, my long barefoot runs are now up to an average of 4-6 miles/outing. I have been able to get to this point with absolutely zero joint pain. The only thing holding me back is that my calves are simply not at the point where they can handle the increased workload brought about by barefoot running. Also, in terms of speed, my lungs just are not able to handle anything under a 7 minute/mile pace. I am able to maintain that speed for .5-.75 mile and then I have to scale back to 8 or 9 minute/mile.
I can't tell what bothers me more: going slow or developing slow. I think developing slow is the bigger problem. My experiencing self tells me that I am currently contributing to my well-being by getting back into shape and doing the thing I love to do. My remembering self keeps telling me that I've run a sub 4:30 mile and that I'm waddling. I'm not sure how to make my two selves work through their current dilemma. Running long distances is a matter of mental fortitude more than anything else and I need to be able to solve this problem if I am going to add any sort of significant mileage. How do I accept the satisfying slower pace of my experiencing self while blocking out the visions of my remembering self?
Random running thoughts below the fold.
- I'm at the point of getting back into things now where I need to dial back the mileage a bit and focus more on form, a specific distance, cross and strength training. One of the things I was able to do over the past few years is weight lift. I am bulkier and stronger than I have ever been and I really need to dial this back if I am going to continue to run. I have taken up kettlebells and crossfit. I'd like to keep as much strength as possible while focusing on lifting during periods of elevated heart rates and cardio work. I'd be interested to hear any ideas about how to maintain strength while building up running mileage. When I was running a lot in the military, I never, ever, ever lifted weights. I was a skinny weakling. I like the whole strength thing and I'd like to keep as much of it as possible.
- I have noticed a definite difference between my right and left legs while barefoot running. If I could somehow make the rest of my body feel like my left leg I would be on to something. Within the first 30 seconds of running, my left leg (and foot) locks into a perfect stride and I literally do not feel any hard impact, strain or tension during the entire run. Whatever I am doing, I am doing it well on the left side of my body. On the right side (the side that had the last funny fracture in my foot), I can't seem to get warmed up. The faster I run, the better things get, but for the first 10-15 minutes of a run, the top of my foot and my calves do nothing but bark at me on my right leg. Amazingly enough, the leg is able to settle down when I get my cadence above 190 bpm and my heart rate above 160.
- Speaking of which, the most amazing thing about barefoot running (thus far) has been the way high-cadence running locks you into a good stride. Looking back at all of my runs (with a Garmin GPS watch and heart monitor), my best running comes when my heart hits Zone 4 and my cadence goes northward of 190. I don't know if this is a good thing or not but when I cross these lines, my heart rate flattens out, my pace increases and I am able to eat up the distance. It took me a good 2-3 weeks before I figured out the cadence trick. Before really ramping up my cadence, I was focused on keeping things very slow and low. This put undue stress on my ankles and I was unable to get anything done. Once I broke out the clip-on metronome from my daughter's cello bag I was able to know what a high cadence should feel like and I used 180 as my baseline (turning on the metronome every 5 minutes just to make sure I had the minimum beats/min) and then tried to "lock in" to a bpm that gave me the best results.
- I do not suggest running with a metronome beeping at all times. I use my metronome to a) give me a baseline bpm and b) to measure my cadence when I'm "locked in". Right now, I get locked in around 190-194 bpm.
- Geese are, will be and always have been evil creatures.