Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Book Report

Bush II, Book I: 49 copies sold.

The Year of Bad Behavior: Bearing Witness to the Uncouthiest of Humanity: 52 copies sold.

A Conversation on The Way: Manuscript complete, 215 queries, 76 rejections.

Bush II, Book II: Manuscript 47% complete.

The Year of Bad Behavior II: More Scalawags, Dirtbags, Bullyrags and Lollygags: Manuscript 30% complete.

The Year of Bad Behavior III: More Widespreaded Blockheaded Braindeaded Mislededs: Writing has begun. Title tentative.

My First 15 Marathons: The Running Story of a Midpack Runner: Putting all my running reports together. Hoping I can find them all.

Zaidy's War: My grandfather's memoirs, which I recorded in notebooks and on VHSes. Must find time for this project.

Children's Book with Classified Title: I'm trying to write a parody of a famous children's book. First draft did not pass muster with my Editor-in-Chief. Will submit new drafts shortly.

The Inevitables: A Gladwellian idea I have about people who spend their entire lives in pursuit of a specific career, switch to something else on a dime, and become wildly successful despite a complete lack of practice or the 10,000 hours Gladwell himself talks about.

Obama, Book I: Must Finish Bush II, Book II first.

Obama, Book II: Oh God, no.

Finally (and thanks for listening up to this point) Ammon Shea inherited my favorite newspaper column (On Language) from my favorite logophile writer (William Safire). Needless to say, I'm a fan. He's just written a book on the Phone Book, of all things:

Before that he wrote a book about reading the Dictionary:

Another favorite writer wrote a book about reading the encylopedia:

Another writer covered the Bible by simply pointing out interesting things about the contents:

I need in on this action. As I process all the books detailed above, I can't help thinking I'm overlooking something. There must be a book out there about which a well-researched discussion would spur the interest of the masses. I do not fear research and I love reading. What can I read that I can write about? What am I missing? Help me out, please. Thank you so much.

And let me know what my grade is on my report.

Oh, and feel free to add to my sales numbers. I'll have one more item on my bookshelf for you very soon:

Sunday, April 01, 2012

My First Ever Running Trophy

Woody Allen famously said that 80% of success is showing up. Interestingly, I had devised a ranking system for my JRunners club to know where we all stand as athletes. I got grief for granting points for runners just for their participation. I proved today the value of being there. On a day when I became the Last Man Standing in the quest to run every JRunners race staged so far (7 to this day), the karma gods swept me to my first ever trophy-winning race performance of my life, in this, my 161st race.

I was in first for the first 10 yards, and immediately learned that I do not like to be in that position, ceding to Shia Itzkowitz, who was pushing hard out of the staring gate. Moshe Gamss came up on my right, Yaakov Bressler on my left, Sender Kruto joining the pack, and it was us core four for a half mile. Kruto worried me, he had the legs to keep me from the podium, but I moved ahead of him and stayed with Gamss, Bressler until mile 1, which we finished in 6:06, tying my fastest ever race mile.

For mile 2, Gamss inched away from me, and Bressler pulled away, and the position held for The Hill and Over The HIll. I never looked behind me (I find it unclassy), I simply resolved to run hard all the way to the end. At one point, I heard footsteps behind me, and I thought "glass trophy, glass trophy" and that was enough to energize me and improve my stride and kick. I finished strong in 3rd place with a Prospect Loop PR of 6:42, clobbering my old PR by 8 seconds per mile.

I had to head for home to help my wife out with Pesach Cleaning and getting the kids out from under her feet, so I convinced the organizers to give me my earned hardware - that gorgeous, shiny, beautiful glass trophy - and forgo the glory of the podium.

After 16 years of running, I'm finally putting this all together. The last puzzle piece is added mileage, which I'm piling on this year. I'm dying to do a 5k soon. I want to go sub-20:30 very badly. I can soooooooooooo do it. I'm gonna do it. Maybe I'll get another trophy while I'm at it.