Running for Your Life: Thurber !

The boys are back on the road …. ! I’m happy – and Thurber too – to report that my knees feel secure enough to take my redbone companion back out on the Prospect Park roads for at least a once-a-week jaunt.

That’s about four miles of jogging, and even though my devoted mutt had not been out with me for months and had to be literally champing at the bit, he did do me the solid of taking it easy on me.

In what I recognize is a misty-eyed view, I find myself thinking that Thurber – who heretofore in the years we have run together has pulled hard on the leash, yanking me uncomfortably as he surged ahead, especially in the beginning, which raised some doubts in me about the wisdom of taking the chance by running with him while my healing isn’t yet at one hundred percent – ran by my side on purpose. That he was keyed in to just how fast and vigorous I could run and that he adjusted his pace to accommodate me.

Whatever, as the kids say. We’re back. I may not be running a marathon this year, but I’ll be running with my dog !

Next: Running for Your Life: After New Hampshire

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

What do you do for openers, Patrick White (1912-1990)? If you’re interested in one of the truly gifted novelists, get a load of these first words. With a shoutout to John Blanton who turned me on to the power of Patrick’s prose.

The old woman’s head was barely fretting against the pillow. She could have moaned slightly.
        The Eye of the Storm

“There is a man here, miss, asking for your uncle,” said Rose.
And stood breathing.

As the carriage drew back from Circular Wharf, Mr. Stafford Merivale tapped the back of his wife’s hand and remarked that they had done their duty.
        Fringe of Leaves

And my favorite:

A cart drove between the two big stringybarks and stopped. These were the dominant trees in that part of the bush, rising above the involved scrub with the simplicity of true grandeur. So the cart stopped, grazing the hairy side of a tree, and the horse, shaggy and stolid as the tree, sighed and took root.
        Tree of Man

Next: Running for Your Life: Thurber!

Running for Your Life: Sentences on Fire

You may have missed it, but “City on Fire” was the US literary publishing event of last year – according to all the most important press (the New Yorker, the New York Times – not the Post, I’m proud to say, whose headline called it “A steaming pile of literary dung.” Or in text, “The only thing ‘City on Fire’ will burn up is the remainder tables”).

In her review of the steaming pile, which set back the publisher a cool $2 million, critic Elisabeth Vincentelli gives us cause to feel the way she does by quoting a sentence from the book itself, to wit:

“Against the flames, Felicia’s body was a smudge, save for her mask, whose red sequins shimmered intelligently.”

Two months later, a second critic, Carmen Petaccio, delivers the goods in The Awl. This you have read to believe. For hours of giggly fun, click here:

As to my personal favorites of Petaccio’s literature police takedown, consider:

“The sun over Jersey was medium rare.”

“Hairs snowed crimson on the formica.”

“Looks like you got a real shitstorm on your hands, Pulaski.”

And the piece de resistance of schadenfreude delight,

“Great rolls of toilet paper arc like ejaculate through the black sycamores.”

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

Running for Your Life: Straight Ahead, Mac

These old knees are masquerading as young knees again. It's been almost three months since I blew out my left knee during an ill-advised stepped-up training for the 2015 edition of the Brooklyn Marathon.

My advice for others looking for such a recovery? Don't have surgery on your knees -- or any joints, unless you absolutely have no other option. I was lucky with my knee. I didn't suffer any structural damage. Near as anybody can figure -- and when it comes to the threat of higher malpractice costs, it's amazing that doctors tell us anything at all -- something called the IT band slipped out of place along the left side of my left leg and went for a short trip over the knee cap and back into place again, inflaming nerve endings and otherwise causing killer-painful discomfort and wobbliness that lasted for weeks.

What has got me back on track? Physical therapy, in which I strengthened the muscles around my knees, through a 80-minute regimen built around lunges and squats.

Slow and steady. Straight ahead, Mac. I feel the knee start to squawk when it feels lateral stress (for now tennis, a passion of mine, is out of the question.)

I'm still jogging, not running. But my knees feel as good as new. Hit 3.7 miles today (Jan. 26) in a 40-minute run on the treadmill.

It is such a great pleasure to be back at it. When you are used to running every other day for going on 40 years, you miss it.

Many people stop running following an injury. I certainly understand why. But if, after injury, you can find your way to avoiding surgery and finding a no-nonsense, hands-on sports rehab practice, you can beat the odds and, yes, if the gods are with you, run for your life.

Next: Running for Your Life: Sentences to Fear

Running for Your Life: Winter Storm Jonas ??

When it comes to blizzards – no matter how great, as this one (on Jan. 23rd) most certainly was – they should not come with a name.

Blizzards – and for that matter hurricanes and tropical storms – should not be the equivalent of pets. They are less golden retriever than wild boar. If it were possible, some people who shoot to kill a blizzard just as they would shoot to kill a charging boar hog. They wouldn’t be naming it before they pulled the trigger.

What’s more, it just doesn’t catch on. In the three days since Jan. 23, not a single person asked me how I was enjoying Jonas. Perhaps if its name were Donald or Ted or Marco, then, yeah, folks would be gassing on about Donald this and Marco that. But Jonas just didn’t fly.

Does it have to do with meteorologists not getting enough respect? That like the Entertainment Tonight folks they need to be associated with celebrities? Not Brad and Beyonce and Kim. But Katrina, Sandy and Jonas.

Sad. Not Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Just sad.

Next: Running for Your Life: Straight Ahead, Mac