March 15, 2011 § Leave a comment
Before we had facebook, twitter, and YouTube. Before we had podcasts, ipods, and mp3s. Even before we had http, web-browsers, and the world-wide-web, we had gopher, news groups, and electronic mailing lists.
The mailing list concept is simple–you send an email to one address , firstname.lastname@example.org, and everyone who is signed up for the list gets the email. Then someone else responds, sending a message to the list. That triggers someone else to reply and all of a sudden you have a discussion breaking out. And, if you’re not careful, you may just learn something along the way.
March 15th, 1991, Chris Conn, the list-guy, created dead runners society, a mailing list for runners. And, for extents and purposes, the internet was created. Fancier things would come along but the first killer-app, for me at least, was alive and kicking.
I wouldn’t stumble upon “the deads” until sometime during the spring of 1992 while I was diving completely into an insane running time for me. I was a college senior who, not knowing what he wanted to do after his pending graduation, was in the process of throwing himself completely into his running with the intent of going back to school for one more semester and make up for the mistake of not running cross county in college.
The great thing about the deads is that they knew and understood the essence of what I had to say, at least about running, without having to try to explain the running part. I could post about a blister or chafing problem and get serious responses, not “stop running” that my non-running local friends would offer up.
It was a world-expanding, addictive application that I fell completely fell for. Web 2.0? It just builds on the interactive communities like dead runners society (drs) from the dark ages.
After graduating, getting a real job, and real-life, dead runners society has faded into the back ground for me. There have been times when I’ve been complete inactive (un-dead) for a couple years at a time. Mostly, after the initial couple years, I’ve been a silent observer (lurker) that silently reads posts but doesn’t actively participates in the conversations. I’m sure the lurkers make up a significant portion.
I have met a few deads–in the early years there were two, Mike Daly and Dave McNaughton, that lived locally and I saw a few times at races. Mike moved away when Cray computers laid off a bunch of engineers. Dave drifted away from running for awhile. I did meet a couple others at larger races–Grandma’s Marathon mostly.
Regardless of my current involvement with drs, it has been part of me since the first, fatal fling. Phrases like “your mileage may vary” (ymmv), obligatory running note (ORN) and planned obligatory running note (PORN), and many other that I realize and don’t realize are embedded in my BIOS from those early days.
I’ve known, that just like Woody and Andy in Toy Story, that drs always offered that You’ve Got a Friend in Me.
Through the years, posters have come and gone–sometimes silently, sometimes with a flurry, “stop sending me this shit. eric”. There have been fights, there have been marriages, there have been babies and there have been deaths.
One thing drs started early on was get-togethers. The first “World Conference” was held in 1993 and they have been held almost every year sense. While, to my non-benefit, I’ve never participated in one, I think this grew drs from a “community’ to a family. (Sidenote: I think this is the same dynamic that Steve Runner, et al are after with their Mojo Loco vision).
I cannot believe its been 20 years already, but dead runners society has been a good part of my life for a long time and I look forward to 20 more years. Maybe I’ll even start participating more.
March 13, 2011 § Leave a comment
After a pretty lame week, I finished off with a long, easy run of 12.25 today. I plotted out a loop through the country roads. Spent the first 7.5 cruising easy, a little under the 8:40 pace I was shooting for, and listening to Steve Runner’s Phedippidations.
Had a scare at 2.5 when my right ankle bent sideways they way it’s designed not to when I stepped on a frozen tractor track–had a sharp pain for the a bit and thought I may need to use the cell phone to call for a ride but after a hundred yards or so, it was feeling better and it felt fine after a half mile. I’ll see how it feels tomorrow.
I switched to the Beatle’s Please Please Me. After P-dip. I’m glad to run in the country where I don’t have to worry about anyone, other than an occasional cow, hearing me sing along. I’m an awful signer to begin with, but throw in my breathlessness and the fact I know only a tiny portion of the words and the results would be pretty awful.
My pace did start to slip during the later half–I was also interrupted by a “pack” of dogs from someone’s yard, one that looked pit-bullish and a couple of big, black slobbery dogs. They just barked but came onto the road, so I ended up walk-jogging through their territory.
I pushed the final mile to 7:48 pace, finished off with an easy quarter to get home. Overall 12.25 in 1:46ish.
Only have to do one more mile and I’ll be doing my race distance, that always helps the confidence. I have two more easy weeks before I start throwing in actual work-outs. Not sure how I’m going to approach that first week, I’m suppose to be doing rep work but have a 25k (15.5 mile) race scheduled–I’ll probably do one introductory rep workout early in the week and the run the race on Saturday. I’ll run the race hard but not truly be racing.
December 8, 2010 § Leave a comment
A couple weeks ago, on November 24, I wrote, “Steve Runner, perhaps this generation’s Dr. George Sheehan…”
And, after further review, I want to retract, or at least refine, what I wrote.
I’ll preface this by saying I love Dr. Sheehan‘s writings and thoroughly enjoy Steve Runner’s podcast. Dr. Sheehan is one of my running heroes. He is also one of my favorite authors of all time. I hold Dr. Sheehan in very high regard. I still have a folder of his articles that I saved from Runner’s World. I have not felt as connected to any writer the way I have with Dr. Sheehan.
Steve Runner‘s podcast, Phedippidations, is an excellent listen. Prior to participating in an hour-long commute, I occasionally would catch it an episode but it is now chronically on my mp3 player. I look forward to the shows–they almost make my commute enjoyable.
So, with a round of praise complete, let me say that in no way is anything else I write intended to demean or criticize either of these mens’ art and/or work.
I think it was unfair of me to compare Steve Runner to Dr. Sheehan and I apologize. If I making a Mount Rushmore of my running heroes, I would include Dr. Sheehan, Ron Daws, Arthur Lydiard, and Jim Fixx.
If comparing Steve Runner to Dr. Sheehan puts any expectations and/or pressure on Steve (doubtful he will ever know of it or care about it) to live up to that billing, I apologize. While I do see some commonalities between the two–most notably a passion for running–I think the two are different enough that we (I) should just appreciate each for their own style and contributions.
Dr. Sheehan’s death has left me without a Running Guru for a long time. Steve Runner is a guy down the block going for a run with 10 of his closest friends. Steve can not completely fill the loss of Dr. Sheehan but he is replacing part of that gap with something different, something enjoyable, and something that it uniquely Steve Runner. And that’s pretty damn good without trying to recast it as something else.
So thanks, Steve Runner, hope to have a Sam Adams with you sometime.
July 12, 2010 § Leave a comment
I’ve recently acquired a 50(morning) to 60 (evening) commute and have been looking for ways to fill the drive time with a little variety beyond Public Radio, Garage Logic, and FM radio.
So far, I have listening to Phedippidations, a podcast by Steve Walker at steverunner.com. I’ve listened sporadically to Steve in the past but because I never had a dedicated time that worked for me to listen on a consistent basis.
I enjoy Steve’s “thoughts, opinions, observations and rambling diatribes composed on distance long runs.” Much of the audio is actually record while Steve is running which, despite Steve’s background as a radio broadcast engineer, helps provide a home-spun feel to his genuine shows.
I definitely recommend his show.