So I went into Starbucks this morning and ordered the big, big Sidamo coffee. Of course I mispronounced it which drew a bunch of blank stares from the baristas, before they realized what I wanted and corrected me.
"Oh... you mean Sis-AH-mo."
The Sidamo brew was described on the board above the urn as "delicate yet complex." OK. But when I quipped, "Delicate yet complex... sounds like me!" I got nothing.
Anyway, there is a lot going on today. To start, the struggling Phillies offense takes its road show to Arlington, Texas this evening to play the Rangers. Actually, when I write struggling offense, I really meant all-or-nothing offense. That really seems to describe the Phillies' hitters perfectly.
Need proof? Check out this stat I was e-mailed about the all-or-nothing Phillies:
The Phillies have scored 10 or more runs in eight games this season for 110 runs. In the other 72 games, the Phillies have scored 294 runs, or 4.08 runs per game.
When scoring 10 or more runs the Phillies are 8-0. In the other 72 games they are 35-37.
Feast or famine.
When was the last time a team with numbers so skewed won the World Series?
Meanwhile, the track portion of the Olympic Trials begins in earnest tonight in Eugene, Oregon at Hayward Field. For those who don't follow the sport (and you know who you are), holding the track trials at Hayward Field is staging the World Series in Wrigley Field, Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium rolled into one.
Yeah, it's a pretty big deal. It's an even bigger deal when one considers that the Olympic Trials are about as dramatic as it gets in sports. Think about it -- athletes get one chance once every four years to qualify for the Olympic team. If they don't finish in the top three in their event, they have to wait another four years for the next chance.
Needless to say, they bring it at the Trials.
Tonight at 9:20 p.m. the women's 10,000-meters team will be determined. But if Shalane Flanagan doesn't run away with this one, something is up. I'm also predicting that Katie McGregor and Elva Dryer will take the other two spots on the Olympic team.
What about Kara Goucher? Come on, you can't go with the chalk all the time.
Finally, the final appeal of the Floyd Landis case will be issued on Monday by the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.
There's more coming later today. I went to see Ted Leo and Pearl Jam in Washington last Sunday so I figured I might as write about that, too.
Cryptic sentence of the day:
Clips are back.
Regular readers of this site don't need to be told that I love coffee. To be more precise, I believe in coffee. Loaded with antioxidants and natural goodness, coffee is one of those little pleasures in life. Sometimes when it's quiet in the house and everyone is asleep at night, I catch myself pining for the morning so I can get downstairs and pour that first batch of the day into a big, blue cup.
Some research indicates that coffee appears to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver and gout. Better yet, because it's loaded with those glorious antioxidants, it stops free radicals from damaging cells.
Better yet, coffee can be a load of fun. Once, for no particular reason other than I was in college and had nothing better to do, I drank nothing but a Colombian hazelnut brew continuously and stared at my face in the mirror until I actually saw the hair on my face grow.
Then we went bowling.
I don't recall what my score was from that outing on the lanes, but I bet it was pretty good. That's because coffee can also be classified as a performance-enhancer. In fact, the glorious caffeine that is the main stimulant found in those roasted beans is classified as a banned substance by the I.O.C. in certain doses. Actually, because of the ban on greenies and other amphetamines in baseball, coffee urns are quite prevalent in big-league dugouts and clubhouses.
For folks that like to train for and run marathons, coffee is very much a part of the training regimen. Speaking for myself, I don't move very well in the morning without coffee chased by approximately 90-fluid ounces of water/electrolyte replacement.
It's a strict drug regimen that helps keep my mind limber.
However, if there is no time for the coffee to settle in before I have to get out the door extra early, a glucose gel fortified with about 100 calories and caffeine does the trick.
After all, the point is to pile up the work in order to make the lungs and legs stronger than Babe the Blue Ox. Because there is no limit to a human's aerobic capacity, strength over a long distances is a matter of piling on as much work as possible. Sometimes it's a balancing act between health and injury, which very well could be the issue with Shane Victorino and his seemingly chronic calf problems.
Victorino, the Phillies' center fielder, is on the 15-day disabled list with a calf injury. Worse, it's the second time the so-called "Flyin' Hawaiian" has landed on the disabled list since last August with an injured calf. The calf muscle, of course, is the engine of the leg. If a person has trouble with their knees, hamstrings or quads, chances are the problem began in the calf.
Meanwhile, calf injuries are largely preventable. Most times they are caused by tightness, tiredness, hydration issues, or weakness. Certainly all sorts of variables could lead to those problems, but usually it doesn't take anything more than a few strengthening and training adjustments to correct the problem.
Then again, maybe Victorino wasn't properly healed before he jumped back into the action last season. Healing, after all, takes time just like building strength does.
Speaking of coffee, I finally got a chance to try out the Pikes Place blend at Starbucks the other day. The much-heralded blend from the uber-coffee shop is an attempt for the company to go back to the old days when it was all about the coffee and simplicity and not all the other stuff it seems to focus on these days.
The hook with the Pikes Place coffee is that it isn't over-roasted like all of Starbucks' other blends. In fact, each shop posts when each particular batch was roasted in order to advertise some sort of bourgeoisie-ness in which the date a coffee is roasted is vital information.
People need to know this.
Anyway, according to a story in Time Magazine the Pikes Place blend is supposed to be lighter and crisper cup of coffee for "people who don't like Starbucks."
I don't know... I guess that's right. Then again it seems as if my palate is ruined from drinking Starbucks coffee too much.
Kind Coffee of Colorado... now that's a cup of coffee.
In other news, Chelsea Clinton dropped into my neighborhood today -- with Ted Danson, too...
Yeah, I didn't see it. I'm too busy watching Michael Bourn beat the Phillies.
Apparently her mom is in Philly doing something on the other end of town.
People who can juggle kids, jobs and running with calculated efficiency, always amaze me. Those folks who can get up at 5 a.m. in order to get a run in at 6 so they can be finished in time to get the kids out the door by 8 are Supermen and women.
(right: The Breakfast of Champions.)
Even better, some of them even add a second run at the end of the day or during a lunch break. It really is very amazing.
I can’t do it. Even when I didn’t have a real job, a mortgage, bills, kid, etc., I was never one who got up early. Before I actually began writing about baseball and sports I kept “baseball hours.” That means if I get to bed before 2 a.m. I must be sick or really tired or something.
Because of this schedule and lifestyle, racing is often difficult since they are usually held early in the morning. In order to race, I have to make a real commitment to a particular event and then make sure I’m in bed or horizontal very, very early – for me. Nevertheless, the day before a marathon I make sure I’m finished walking for the day at 5 p.m. and in bed at 8.
The rest is just that important. I never realized that until I went to race a couple of months ago and just couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t able to get loose or run the way I had been in workouts. When I expressed this to my wife she smartly told me why I was slow on that particular day.
“You got up in the middle of the night to run. You’re usually asleep at the time the race started so you intentionally got yourself up in the middle of your natural sleep time to run. You were tired.”
She’s very smart.
Fortunately, I have the luxury working out when I am well rested. My wife is to thank for that. While I keep my baseball hours, she keeps her schoolteacher hours. That means she is up by 6 a.m. even on days when she can sleep in. But she’s always been that way, I’m told. So while she tends to our son and gets him ready for school, I ease into the morning. I can get all the sleep I need, wash up, get my coffee, do a few hours of work and then start my workout. Afterwards, I pick up the boy and we wait for her to get home.
It definitely works out well for me.
But today’s schedule had a bit of a monkey wrench throw into it. There was no school for the boy, which meant an extra-early wake up call for me. Usually this means I have to start my run when my wife gets home around 4 p.m., but with an ART appointment as well as the threat of 24-hours of downpour looming, I was left scrambling for a mid-day sitter, which isn’t exactly the easiest thing to find in the world.
But my mom came to the rescue by taking an extended lunch break. I guess 30-plus years of service at her job has its benefits… for me, too.
Thanks to my mom I was able to squeeze in a quick 13-miler, which I completed in 1:27:10. That’s not so bad when the fact that I did it on five hours sleep a days after doubling up for 21.5 miles. It took some extra effort to keep the pace in the early going, and loosening up wasn’t fun, but it’s definitely one I’ll take.
I just wish I could have gone longer. This is “Blast Week” after all. Perhaps if the rain holds off until the boy goes to bed and I’m not too tired after the ART, I’ll double-up again.
Stats: 13 miles in 1:27:10. The first nine went in 60:01. Not bad for a sleep-deprived dad.
On another note, my boy Michael and I had a lovely breakfast at Starbucks this morning. He had one of their apple streusels and organic chocolate milk and I had a venti Colombian with a Clif Bar. He enjoyed the overstuffed chairs and the broad windows. I enjoyed the company. If mornings like that is the reason to put off workouts, I’ll have no qualms about becoming a slouch.
A tremendous slouch.
Running nugget Runnersworld.com reported that Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion, would get some help in his marathon debut on Nov. 5 in New York City.
According to the brief, Armstrong’s sponsor Nike is putting together a pace team that could include 1984 Olympic gold medal marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson, three-time New York City Marathon winner Alberto Salazar, and 2004 Olympic 1500 and 5000-meter gold medalist Hicham El Guerrouj.
So a guy hoping to run 2:45 or so gets a team of rabbits? Wow. If Nike wants to send someone to Harrisburg on Nov. 12 to help me snap 2:40, I’m ready.