Running for Your Life: More Beatlebone !!

More words of sighing grace from my fab read of the week (month?), all in the spirit of what this blog set out to do five and a half years ago: offer advice and words of passionate belief (if not wisdom), occasional witticisms, on the following topics: Running, ’Riting, and Reading.

This novel by Kevin Barry, “Beatlebone,” is proving to be so quotable, especially during these trying days in both the political and social arenas. How to keep your head when others are losing theirs. This is the latest in the timeless dialogue between Cornelius (Our man Friday) and his charge, the imagined John Lennon (Lennon tees off below):

I lost my father. He went away.

We all lost our fucken fathers.

I lost my mother. She went and died.

We all have dead fucken mothers.

So tell me how do you get by, Cornelius!

It’s simple, John. I listen to what’s around me.

Okay …

And then?


I react.

You listen. And you react.

Because everything you need in the world is there to be heard.

You have my interest, Cornelius.

You can see very little in the world, John. But you can hear fucken everything.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone !

Next: Running for Your Life: Slow But Sure

Running for Your Life: Off to See the PT Wizards!

For reasons that close readers of this blog (don’t be so na├»ve, Larry!) know well, my experiences have not been all that favorable on the physical therapist and massage table. The nightmare occurred in Winter 2011, when I was in the care of a physical therapist office, whose sole goal was to assess my slight hamstring tear to determine if it was reasonable for me to rest and then continue my training for the Boston Marathon of that year. But after one deep tissue massage that my therapist insisted on giving me despite my misgivings, I very nearly passed out a half-hour after my treatment with the pain of a full-blown hamstring tear while on a simple errand run in busy New York City traffic.

That was going on five years ago. Now I’m thrilled to report that I’m a PT believer. Why? Thank the good folks at NYU Langone Medical Center, who steered me in the direction of a place called One on One Physical Therapy on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn.

The first day going to the PT Wizards I got into a funky ’70s-style elevator – think Eastern Europe, the Cold War years – with a fellow athlete who seemed surprised when I told him to hit “6”. (He had just pressed the button for “7,” home of the athletic club in that Eastern Parkway building.) As I was leaving, he said, with all earnestness, “Good luck.”

Which, in the end, is what I didn’t need. From the moment I arrived I felt welcomed – and better than that – understood. G and the team of PT specialists did and do precisely what I was looking for and didn’t find back in 2011. They listened closely to me, to my fears, to my goals, and we immediately started to allay them, and to work toward them.

Under their careful watch, I feel a total, mid-training-style health is only weeks away. It’s been only five sessions (Nov. 24), and I’m back on the treadmill. Only five minutes, the lightest of jogging. But I’ve the tools I need, thanks to a muscle stretching and strengthening program that has me confident again – just three weeks since I thought all was lost when I stumbled home in terrible knee pain after escaping injury on a rapidly moving treadmill.

When I’m off to see the PT Wizards, it’s with a smile on my face. Which is some kind of gift, I can tell you.

Next: Running for Your Life: More Beatlebone !!  

Running for Your Life: If the Greats Were With Us Thursday

Missing John Lennon (1940-1980)? Trust Kevin Barry to give you what you seek -- and more -- in his new novel, "Beatlebone." Here's a sample:

"And now the fat old dog rests its chin on his [John's] knee, and he places a palm on the breathing warmth of the dog's flank, and they share a moment of sighing grace.

Never name the moment for happiness or it will pass by."

Next: Running for Your Life: Off to See the PT Wizards !

Running for Your Life: Leaf Envy

These weeks of non-running have coincided with the falling of the leaves in Prospect Park.

One strong storm or blustery day and the thousands of beautiful trees in our Brooklyn forest will be more bare that leaf-filled.

For a variety of reasons – and not just injury – it’s been years since I’ve caught my annual leaf on the run. If I were to have goal, upon returning to running after my nasty knee injury, it is that next November I will have my leaf.

To explain what I mean when I say this, here’s a sample of a previous blog post about my leaf practice:

“When the leaves fall I don’t vary my route, don’t steer myself under trees to increase my chances of catching leaves as they fall, instead, I just run as I always do, don’t press any harder or, God forbid, slow down or stop, and the leaves that come to me – not trap against my body or get caught up in my clothes but rather that I snatch from mid-air with my bare hand – are mine. The ones that I’ve put up on the wall-of-progress I’ve caught only in this way. And not just leaves, but maple keys and acorns, too. Those that I trap against my body I drop to the ground. The rule is it has to be a leaf or a seed that has come falling from a tree. I then hold the leaf only in the hand it was caught in, don’t let it touch any other part of my body, and continue on, completing my route before I return home. I only tack up those leaves that have not touched anything but my hand and the wall. That have only been in air and held in my open hand.”

In 2016, I will be in Leaf Envy no more, I trust.

Next: Running for Your Life: If the Greats Were With Us Thursday

Running for Your Life: The Long, Hot Stretch

So, yeah, it has been, what?, seventeen days (Nov. 16) since my-day-before-Halloween knee injury. The closest I’ve come to running – outside of twice at the Y pool – has been an ill-advised hustle across Broadway after a dance party on Saturday night (Nov. 14). And, yes, I did dance … Although the knee didn’t twinge exactly when I crossed the street, it didn’t feel at all right either.

And, of course, all this is written after the Brooklyn Marathon (Nov. 15), which I trained for but did not compete in.

Which brings me to stretching. Heretofore stretching to me meant a half-hearted half-hour every other day – and less during heavy running weeks. Now, with the help of one full session with an athlete-focused physical therapist, I’m on it with the long, hot stretch. What’s required is to loosen overly tight muscles from the calves (all that foot pain) to the IT bands (which my physical therapist has re-diagnosed as the cause of this race-ending injury), and that means doing the stretches for longer periods of time than I’m used to, and to doing a lot more stretches than I’ve led myself to believe would be enough so that I could continue with my plan to run for the rest of my life.

And I scrupulously set aside time for the long, hot stretch. Each day at a minimum of 45 minutes, with two hours per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) devoted to work with my therapist one-on-one so he can assess my strength – and readiness for return to the road and the treadmill.

So my advice to runners after injury or feeling too much tightness: Be patient. Don’t skimp with the floor routines. Love the long, hot stretch, the latest and currently greatest tip I have for those a little older – and yes, even those a decade or two or three younger than me – who are determined to run, to get on with reversing that age …. !

Next: Running for Your Life: Leaf Envy