Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I’m not running this week. So I’m not posting about running. I’m being all tangential. (+3)

That’s right. There’s a period at the end on purpose. Shitcoms are definitive. You either are or you aren’t. No middle ground here.

As the name implies, it covers any crappy, poor quality, laugh track filled sitcom. And if one of your cast was on another, infinitely more successful show, yours is the career killing shitcom for that actor (see Jason Alexander, “George” from Seinfeld and subsequent shitcom, Bob Patterson – forgot about that, didn’t you?). I’m sure this word has been around for awhile but I was first exposed recently by watching the hilarious Extras (HBO) season 2. Extras is definitely not a shitcom.

The networks birth more and more vapid shows onto the airwaves each season. I don’t know what the success rate is but I would guess there is a 10:1 shitcom ratio going on here. Its pretty easy to identify the quality shows versus the shitcoms. They jump right out at you. Even a terrible, utterly unredeeming shitcom can last on the air for YEARS before anyone notices and puts us out of our misery. How else do you explain How I Met Your Mother. In what world is Doogie Howser a playboy Lothario? Next, Saved By the Bell’s Screech is going to try and pass himself off as a tough guy. That would be one sign of the apocalypse.

My original intention was to publish a list of the worst shitcoms. Quickly, I realized this would take weeks to compile. You can’t rate shitcoms against each other. Once they fall into that bin, they all carry the same ranking. It’s futile to differentiate. I had this whole rating system worked up where I was going to categorize the worst shitcoms based on how they make me feel watching them. Something like:

(5) Makes me what to punch somebody
(4) Makes me want to punch self.
(3) Makes me want to eat California Tortilla again and puke for distraction
(2) Please induce coma
(1) Would rather watch a ventriloquist

But a true shitcom coerces all of the above emotions.

And there’s no end to the candidates. Do I qualify it and say it had to have been on the air for a certain number of years first to qualify, like shitcom Just Shoot Me? Or you had to occupy a prime Thursday evening time slot and fail miserably, like shitcom Veronica’s Closet?

There was just to many kinks to work out. And way too many terrible shows to review.

So, I thought I’d present my list of QUALITY sitcoms that actually DESERVE to be watched. I have a bit of a warped sense of humor if you haven’t picked that up by now so maybe these won’t appeal to you all. However, here are some decidedly non-shitcom sitcoms:

The Office (BBC version)

It lasted only 2 seasons with an hour long finale. This was a GREAT show. It has spawned the NBC Steve Carell version which is also funny but cannot hold a candle to the original. If you like the American version, check out the BBC version. Warning: Give it 2 episodes as the English accents are a bit thick at first until the ears adjust.

Extras (BBC/HBO)

From the same folks that brought you the BBC’s The Office. Not quite as good but funny stuff. Again, it lasted only two seasons with a finale. Quality writing.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (F/X)

This is a low budget comedy about a group of young bar owners in Philly. Danny Devito joined in season 2 to try and give the show some mainstream recognition. I don’t know what the status is for this year. It usually airs over the summer on F/X. The writing is uneven but when they hit a ticklish spot you laugh your ass off.

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

This show gets the most extreme reaction of any I mention. Folks either “love it” or “hate it”. If you liked the wit of Seinfeld in a more frenetic, less structured, non-laugh track environment, you should love Curb. It’s from the main writer and creator of Seinfeld who stars as himself. You need to give this one 3-4 episodes to pick up the unstructured flow.


Just seeing if you are paying attention. OZ is not funny. Nor a sitcom. It features anal rape, Nazi’s, drugs, and violence. It did give us the word “prag” which I used in a previous post. I find that word funny but probably not enough to qualify it as a sitcom.

Hit me in the comments with your favorite sitcoms. I’m sure there’s more out there. Don’t be afraid to make a suggestion. Sure, other folks will feast on you like sharks in a feeding frenzy in the comments. You can always return though and laugh at the poor schmuck who suggested Mr. Belvedere.

Happy shitcoming! (Two 'm's or one? This apparently isn't an actual verb based off the little squiggly line I get under it.)


Perhaps I should now google “anal rape” and Feet Meet Street. I fear I’ve intertwined these items across the net. I'm not going to do it though for fear of what may come up. Probably Vanilla's site. You do it and report back.

Check out:

The Running Laminator takes an indignant tone towards bandidos.
Vanilla takes a pot shot at me while wearing and reviewing some sort of space age moon boot.
NWGDC shamefully solicits donations to buy him running gear.
Everyone stop by Eric's home to congratulate him on a PR in the half marathon.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Too Much Time On My Hands

("Too Much Tim on My Hands" by Styx, Paradise Theater)

I’ve awoken each of the past 7 days with nowhere to be. No run to get in. No need to check the weather to see if I can squeeze in 5 or 7 miles. Basically, no running schedule whatsoever.

It’s kinda nice.

Except I also feel a little lost. I’m not anchored to anything. I can play with the kids. There’s time to do that. I don’t. But I could if I wanted too.

I am determined to wait 2 weeks before taking my next run. I have ants in the pants but I’m forcing myself to do it. I keep telling myself it’s the best thing for me but I can’t help obsessing over the marathon results and the 5k for which I want to get busy training.

Also, I have way too much time to think of Styx and how to incorporate them into a post. I’m not that into Styx. In fact, a quick perusal of my CD collection shows that I don’t even own one of their albums. Yet, I seem to know all of their songs by heart. Maybe it’s because their cheesiest recording years coincided with my music-awakening adolescent years. Who hasn’t done “the robot” to Mr. Roboto? (broken elbow action and all)

Who has even noticed the sidebar (look right) listing my PR’s under the very clever reference to Styx’s Best of Times? C’mon, people. It’s been there for years (or year + anyhow)

Damn, if I like ‘em so much, I guess I should buy an album at least. Dennis DeYoung’s hair ain’t gonna perm by itself.

70's chic at its finest

So, what to do with myself?

I’ve gone through all of the junk in my race goodie bag. Most of it went in the trash. Some of it will be used. And some of it saved only to go in the trash 14 years from now when I next look at it.

So…fingers drumming, fingers drumming….what to do?

It took me 3 days to finally start feeling like I earned the race medal. I have a weird love/hate thing with those medals. If I had a great race, the medal seems like a sweet trophy. If not, the medal feels like a scarlet letter emblazoned on my chest as a mark of shame.

Yes, I wear my medals. Everywhere.

I don’t like to be obnoxious about it but, hey, they give you a little strap to wear around your neck for a reason right?

So, I wake up, put on my medal, and go about my day. Sure, it gets in the way sometimes. I bent down to give my daughter a hug (actually, I was picking up the newspaper but she thought it was a hug so what are you going to do?) and the darn thing whacked her in the mouth and chipped her tooth. Don’t worry. It didn’t scratch the paint off of it. A quick scolding later, I plopped back into my chair with my medal and newspaper (and rapid fire volume increase on the TV what with all the crying and all).

My neighbor was out cutting his lawn and I was able to angle the reflection of the sun off the medal and directly into his eyes. Fifteen minutes later when he finally realized the source, he wandered over to say hello. I pretended not to notice his approach.

“So, you ran the Boston Marathon?”

“Oh,uh, yeah, how did you know?”

“Well, you were standing on the edge of your deck working that medal around your neck back and forth getting the sun in my eyes. You might have noticed that it caused me to mow down my rose bush.”

“Oh, I forgot I was wearing it. Silly me.”

“Well, congratulations, I guess. I’m going to go back and cut my lawn now and try to resuscitate my rose bush. Are we good here now?”

“Not sure what you mean but…thanks.”

“Yeah, well….by the way, what time did you get?”

Pfffffffffffttt. (Air escaping the balloon.) I immediately feel the need to jump into Time Justification defcon 1. Ugh.

My local newspaper had the audacity (+1) to publish the list of Boston Marathon finishers from the area without my permission. Now, I’m getting emails from folks I barely know congratulating me on my time. This presents a bit of a quandary. Not sure I know them well enough to plead my case that, really, I can do even better. Honest. I really, really can.

The only thing to do is send them a note back thanking them with a simple reply:

Domo Arigato”.

Friday, April 25, 2008

2008 Boston Marathon RR part III: Introspection

See 2008 Boston Marathon RR part I: Pre-race
See 2008 Boston Marathon RR part II: The Thon

Subtitle: “My White Whale”

I have spent the last 2 marathons searching for him. In Chicago ’07, he bite me and took out my calve muscles. He didn’t appear at Disney. Or Boston. I may be doomed to search the world marathons for my salvation.

Where is he? I need my revenge. I have to slay this beast before I can return to normal marathoning.

I have adjusted, tinkered, hydrated, studied, stretched, rehydrated, realigned my running form, modified nutrition, re-rehydrated, practiced voodoo, and done the hippy-hippy shake. My calves! My calves! Why have you forsaken me??

I don’t get it. My calves are pretty attractive too if I do say so myself. A nice blend of manly muscle tone, light hair covering, and the perfect amount of vein protrusion. Anything you could want in a calve.

The thing that gets me is this:

- I ran a 19 & 20 mile training run in similar weather conditions as Boston at almost a similar pace with no cramping whatsoever in the weeks prior.
- On those training runs, I probably only drank 8-10 ounces of water total.
- I have NEVER experienced cramping in any sport or activity EXCEPT in my last 3 marathons!!!!

So, what is going on? I hydrated very well. I took Tylenol (which I never did previously) and I ran at a comfortably hard – but not overexerted – pace.

Cramps at 15-16 miles? WTF? I ran at least that distance 6-7 times in preparing for each of the last three marathons without any problems. The only thing I have done differently on race day is stop for a quick walking break.

Somewhere in the Newton Hills, I had this epiphany: I have started cramping up within a mile after taking a walking break. I first stopped to walk a bit in Chicago ’07 at 14 miles. By 15, cramps! In Disney, I stopped for a quick walk at 18.5 miles. By 20, cramps! In Boston, I stopped just after 15 miles. By 16, cramps!

I never stop running in training.

I never stopped to walk in my first 2 marathons predating this problem.

Am I destroying my race by thinking I’m doing the “smart” thing to stop and walk to recharge? Maybe I’m a shark.* If I stop moving, I die.

Whatever. I’m going to continue introspecting the hell out of this situation until I find my white whale. Then Queequeg and I can go all harpoony all over its ass.

In a completely unrelated matter, I’m going to go back to wearing shoes in my marathons. I did that in the first 2 but haven’t since. My feet get too calloused if I don’t wear them.


Boston, by Bullet Points

  • Nice city. Clean. Well groomed.
  • Everyone wears a Boston Red Sox hat. Everyone. I'm not kidding.
  • Has anyone seen a Dunkin' Donuts? (1:2 block ratio)
  • How 'bout a CVS pharmacy?? (4.5:1 block ratio)
  • Best dressed panhandlers I've seen to date in a city. Some dressed better than me.
  • Managed the entire city over 4 days using only 1 cab ride. (Hooray for the "T"!)
  • Despite being a "big" city, it feels so much smaller than Chicago.
  • The race spectators are tremendously enthusiastic. You can tell they love this event.

Conclusions, by Dashed Lines

- I am thrilled to participate and complete this event. Make no mistake about that.
- However, I am very annoyed at my finish time. Real pissed….like ridiculing orphans pissed. **
- The course was a bit tougher than I thought it’d be. I’ll modify my training for it the next time.
- There will be a next time.
- This experience has only motivated me to refocus, regroup, re energize, re-----,*** my efforts towards the marathon. I think I’ve been coasting a bit. I need to get back to Boston now to set my time right.

For now though, it is a couple of weeks off. No running at all. I’ve done 3.5 marathons in 6 months and 4.5 in 11 months. I’ve been on a training schedule of some kind now for over a year. It’s time to relax. Run without purpose for awhile. And then dive right into more training. I see you Mr. 5k PR Time. I’m coming for you this summer!

Thanks, by Regular Paragraph Formatting

I want to send a huge thanks out to all the well wishers and supporters that have posted comments here or just stalked the site, left, and thought ‘what a loser’. I appreciate that very much. Not the people who called me a loser, of course. You’re assholes. The others, though, are very much appreciated.


We didn’t get many of the race itself believe it or not. Here’s the ones where I’m not looking like a real jagoff.

Steers LDP permanent tattoos. Regret!

Crossing the finish!

Growing increasingly lobster red post-race back at hotel.

* Mrs. Nitmos thinks I'm more of a cuddly little monkey but that's neither here nor there.
** I wouldn't ridicule an orphan. That's mean. I might kick an orphans puppy though.
*** I really felt like a I needed a 4th "re" word here but couldn't come up with one. Fill one in for yourself.

Next week: Back to our regularly scheduled shenanigans. Don't think I wasn't serious about that upcoming Mr. Roper post.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

2008 Boston Marathon RR part II: The Thon

See 2008 Boston Marathon RR part I: Pre-race

Subtitle: “A Big Serving of Humble Pie”

I thought Boston was famous for Boston Creme pie?

Somehow I ended up with a plate of humble pie.

The day started well enough. I was down at Boston Common for the loading of the school buses to Hopkinton by 6:45 AM for the 10 o’clock race. I know I could have been there as early as 6:00 and as late as 7:30. But I’m a “medium” kinda guy so I chose a medium kinda time.

At 6:45, the lines were so long I thought I would never get on the bus before the race even started. They moved ‘em quickly though. By 7:30, our bus was off.

Now, I’m no genius (see previous post and references to airport meal) but a 25 mile ride to Hopkinton should take, what, about 45 minutes with a few delays, etc?

How about an hour and 45 minutes?

At 9:15, I finally escaped the bus. I escaped the Ziploc bag of piss that was rolling around the back of the bus like some sort of demented water balloon. (Some poor fellow just couldn’t hold it.) I had planned to relax a bit at the start and get into character. I do this whole channeling Clarence DeMar thing that’s really neat to see (but not for the kids…or the faint at heart…or people who love animals). Instead, it was off…out the bus door…through the Athlete’s Village….over to baggage claim…on the slow march to the starting corrals….arriving at…9:45. Whew, just made it.

But I have to tinkle.

I spy a couple hidden porta-johns behind a store outside of corral 5.

At 9:56, I’m back in my corral. It’s a nice overcast 55 degree day. Beautiful race weather. One minute to start and the HEAVENS OPENED. The sun comes shining through! Normally, I love the sun. In this case, I was hoping the sun would go away.

I didn’t hear a starting gun. Just some guy shouting “Go, Go, Go!” through a bullhorn.

So, I started running (thats what I do when people shout ‘Go!’ at me through a bullhorn - just my policy). So did everyone else so I was pretty sure we started.

For me, the plan was to exercise restraint on the early down hills and save some energy for the up hills in the second half. I did that. My miles early on were pretty consistently around 7:20 exactly as planned. I didn’t feel rushed. Things are going pretty good. Look at me – weeeeeeeeee – I’m running the Boston Marathon. What a glorious day!

Wellesley and the infamous Scream Tunnel/Kissing Zone came. I took a look at the selection but took a pass. Nothing compares to Mrs. Nitmos (Hi, hon, how are you today?)

My pre-race plan was to hit the half at 1:36:30. I look at my official splits and it is 1:36:29. Bingo!

I figure I can glide in with a nice sub 1:45 second half and call it a day.

I can feel the Newton hills looming now though. Beardsley is lurking. If I was carrying a cup of water, it would be rippling from his footsteps off in the distance. Wait. I was carrying a cup of water but it was rippling due to my footsteps. Or so I thought.

Just past the water stop at mile 15, I made a decision to stop and walk for 30 seconds or so and take in plenty of fluids for the charge up the hills. I didn’t need to stop. I wanted to be strong for this next 5 mile section. After mile 16, I took another quick walking break.

Something happened during these walking breaks.

My momentum was totally destroyed. My right knee felt a twinge…my legs felt like lead weights (where did I hear this before?).

Just kidding about the twinge part (read that in the comments from somebody). My legs felt extremely tight though. I was having a real hard time getting them back into a running motion. Like someone had wrapped my legs in gauze from hip to shin. I checked. There was no gauze. I figured this was some sort of Beardsley brain enchantment. I wouldn’t fall for it.

And then the dreaded calve cramps returned. Followed by the hamstring cramps. And their golfing buddy, Mr. Groin Cramp.

For the third consecutive marathon!!!!!

Well, press on, we must. So, up the hills I go. Heartbreak Hill is a long annoying slog but, for my money (or calves, in this case), the hill at mile 18 right before Heartbreak is much worse. It’s shorter but steeper and takes all of your energy to crest it.

I’m still running more than walking here. I’ve pulled off a couple of times for some Biofreeze which worked so well at the Disney Marathon. Except, they don’t have Biofreeze in Boston. They have something called “sport spray” which does not work at all. So, be prepared.

By the time I reached the end of Heartbreak Hill, Beardsley had had his way with me. The spectators were calling me Beardsley’s “prag”. What does that mean?

It’s all downhill from here right?

Five miles to go. Again, the calves and hammys are cramped. I can run but not quickly. As soon as I pick up any speed they knot right back up again. I feel like a broken record in every one of these race reports. I can't stand having to put together another report with the same basic story. I should just copy the Chicago/Disney ones into here. But, hey, I’m just reporting on what happened. And you have nowhere better to be.

At this point, I'm crawling around deep inside my head oblivious to what is going on around me. What is going on here? Is it a mental block? Physical? Both? Is it that guy there's fault? Vanilla's fault? Did someone poison my water? Do my kids not love me enough? Should I stop flipping off other drivers? Is this because I put mixed nuts into the bag but punch the code for the cheaper regular peanuts at the grocery store to save a few bucks?

I'm seeking redemption...searching for my white whale.

The last 5 miles went by in a fog of spectator screams, pit stops for more crappy sports spray (which does not work, did I mention this?) and a big heaping helping of humble pie. With each step I dutifully ate and simply said:

Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.

Only I was using a far worse swear word. Since it was multi-syllabled, I could use it across both the right and left foot falls. Shit is really just a one foot word.

I remember some college dude around mile 24.5 or so running along next to me trying to encourage me to keep going. He kept with me for about a ¼ mile. I smiled and waved when what I really wanted to do was punch him in the throat, wear his sunglasses and drink his beer. And drive his cool convertible if he had one of those.

Taking the left on Boylston St. with a mere 4 blocks to the finish was certainly one of the highlights of my (non-family related) life so far. Despite the humble pie crumbs ringed around my mouth, seeing that giant FINISH sign in the distance was a joy to behold. I wanted to run out those last 4 blocks. And beat 4 hours, if possible. I’m down to small victories by now, folks. So, I picked a pace that was above a saunter but not quite a shuffle to make sure the cramps would stay away until I finished. I ambled on in (for those scoring at home: saunter < amble < shuffle).

I finished 39 minutes off of what I thought I could do that day.

That's not enough sarcasm.

I finished a mere 39 minutes off of what I thought I could do that day.

There. That's better. That's fairly dripping with sarcasm.

I’m bummed that I missed Mrs. Nitmos (and apparently a bunch of people she was standing with) at the Boylston St. corner screaming my name. That would have been cool but I was in full on marathon stupor by that time and missed their cheers. I got my medal and met up with the wife after the race. I was unusually emotional. I’m usually a pretty reserved guy (see previous description as being “medium”) but there is something pretty powerful about finishing that race no matter what the circumstances. I kept things in check though. I didn’t want to look wimpy to everyone. I’m Beardsley’s prag after all. (I have got to get a dictionary to see what that means).

More PhotoShop magic!

Beardsley may have gotten me this time. In fact, he’s apparently been casting this muscle cramping spell on me since I qualified last May.

I’ll be back to tango again.

Next time, hold the dessert.

Next the Final 08BM RR post: Introspection, race photos, and more lame Moby Dick references.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

2008 Boston Marathon RR part I: Pre-race

Subtitle: “California Tortilla Sucks”

I want to put my own voice to the tale I’m about to spin. It’s a personal tale and one with an unexpected conclusion. So, here goes….

Call me Nitmos. Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no time for running, and nothing particular to interest me in Boston, I thought I’d challenge myself to a 5k.

I stole that. Blatantly. (Does anyone know where this slightly modified famous opening paragraph comes from?????)

Actually, I did reach a sort of personal enlightenment in the Newton hills area which I will share with you all in part 3. A sort of white whale I’ve been hunting and finally (maybe?) located…

Here’s the deal. On Friday, we flew from Detroit into DC for our connection to Boston. Foolishly, I decided to eat a taco. From an airport. Fast. Food. Stand. While gazing at the distant Washington monument, I consumed this largely inedible concoction.

By Friday evening and two splatterings on the toilet later, I would see that taco again. My 5 year run of not throwing up – since that wicked evening of rum debauchery - was over.

Do not ever visit California Tortilla. Their food sucks and induces vomiting. I know that most people already know not to eat a taco in an airport but I’ve already covered the fact that I’m not very bright.

Friday was spent groaning in bed…and puking (see above). We did make it to Cheers on Beacon St. for, in my case, an uneaten meal and a stroll around Boston Common.

Saturday morning, race expo and check-in. I still couldn’t keep any food down. It’s all nibbles and sips. Any food creates a rock in the gut.

The expo was crazy busy but well organized. We walked around a bit. Saw Ryan Hall signing posters and chatting with folks. Unbeknownst to me, Beardsely was a scheduled speaker in the next room. There would have been words. I’m glad I didn’t go.

They were setting up the start/finish line for the Women’s Olympic Trials and the Boston Marathon Saturday morning. The finish mat was going down. Pretty cool to see. Here’s the sign on the Boston Public Library, which is right at the finish.

The rest of Saturday was spent walking the Freedom Trail checking out some historical sites. I had to chuckle at this site below.

The 2 story brown house is Paul Revere’s 400 year old house in the middle of the modern Italian Village section of Boston. That is a Mercedes in the foreground. I find stuff like this funny. Here’s something minding its own business being all old-timey and someone parks a big ole not-old-timey car in front of it mucking up everyone’s pictures. Geesh.

Sunday morning I was starting to feel a bit better. Able to get some food down in larger quantities. I had been nursing Gatorade bottles non-stop since Friday night’s PukeFest Jamboree to keep from dehydrating. I wandered down to see the women’s Olympic Trials. The first mile was two blocks from my hotel going by the edge of Boston Common for the one and only time. I don’t know the names of these superfast ladies real well but here they are going by.

Leader at 1/2 mile was about 25 yeards in front of the pack.

The pack.

Mrs. Nitmos and I did go to the race sponsored pre-race pasta dinner as it was a short walk from the hotel. That was a last minute decision.


My next door neighbor had this sign on his room door:

"TAPERING. Monday is the big day and I need my rest"

I’m feeling pretty good about the race for the next day. I was able to eat fairly regularly Sunday with only a little leftover California Tortilla floating around the intestines. I was well hydrated as demonstrated by the lemonade colored urine discharged from the ole bilge pump.

Let’s get it on.


See 2008 Boston Marathon RR part II: The Thon.

See 2008 Boston Marathon RR part III: Introspection.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Am Apollo Creed


The first part of my edge-of-your-seat three part 2008 Boston Marathon restrospective begins tomorrow.

I am lobster red. Did you know the sun causes burning? Hmmm, live and learn.

Until tomorrow...

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I’ve done the training. Slowly, at first, my head wasn’t in it until Mrs. Nitmos gave me a pep talk. Then I refocused and trained my ass off for 3 hard, intense minutes set to an 80’s pop-rock song. That should be enough time. I’m ready. I’ve crumpled the picture of Beardsley that was stuck in my bathroom mirror. I have the Eye of the Cheetah (much, much faster than the lame, slow as molasses Tiger).

I even beat Carl Weathers in a foot race. And I like to wear yellow shirts.

It’s off to Boston tomorrow (Friday) morning. That is, if my flight isn’t canceled. Geesh, airline carriers, do you need to be TOLD by the FAA to performed standard maintenance on your planes? You won’t just do it yourself? Are you 3 years old?

The plan is to get to Boston early and go into immediate full blown tourist mode for the next 36 hours. This includes many national historic sites and a stop by the Bull & Finch, the #1 cheeseball tourist schtick in Boston. I’m sorry but I loved Cheers. For many years, I wanted to be Norm. I strived for it but ended up more of a Clavin, so, you know, life didn’t turn out exactly as I dreamed. Saturday morning will also be race check-in at the expo. It won’t be crowded right? Right? What?

Sunday will be a day of rest, introspection, and continuing to rub all things shamrocky in appearance. Oh, and shitting. I take a pre-race bowel mover so I’ll be doing a lot of that introspecting on the toilet.

Monday, of course, the marathon itself! I may or may not be posting between now and the race. We’ll see how much contempt I have for you.

I think I’m prepared to do battle with the Beardsley Monster.
I think I’m gonna love me some Newton Hills.
I know I’m going to love the sight of that finish line.

Dun Dun Dun dun-dun-dun
Dun Dun Dan, Dun Dun Daaa

Dun Dun Dunt Dun Dun Dunt
Dun Dun Dant Dun Dun Daaaa

That’s harder than it looks (theme to Rocky). Probably would have been easier just to clip in an audio file.

If you see me walking around, feel free to say Hi. I’m hard to miss. I usually either have my finger in my nose or am scratching my rear. Or both. I’ll probably be the guy doing that who also looks very confused and disoriented (Schwimmered! Zing!) Also, I have a distinctly “Michigan” appearance. On race day, I should have some sort of Steers LDP insignia somewhere on me.

Mrs. Nitmos and I will be haunting:
-Hyatt Regency Boston
-Friday night Bull & Finch?
-Saturday morning expo
-Saturday afternoon at random sightseeing stops

Post race? Not sure yet but we don’t fly home til Tuesday morning. Beer will be consumed in a yet to be determined location Monday night though.

In case I don’t post again, I encourage you to send positive thoughts out to all runners Monday between 10 and 4 or so ET. I’ll consider this a sort of open thread in the comments. Call it a Virtual Race Cheerleading Section. I WILL receive the message on the race course. I’m that clever. Please keep it positive (I’m looking at you Vanilla). If I receive a thought wishing a bowel movement on me, you better be prepared to send along physical toilet paper as well.

Visit the Boston Marathon website for live in stream split updates as the race goes on. If I slow horribly in the 18-21 mile range, you’ll know Beardsley got me. And I’m not the Rocky I was hoping for but more the Apollo Creed in the Drago match up (think all charismatic-y, red white and blue-y, and dead-y minus the charisma and the red,white and blue). I hope you’ve seen the Rocky flicks or this is making no sense.

Bib #5962, ready to roll.

By the way, you don't realize how long it took me to find that Rocky on the mountain top photo from Rocky IV online. Really, I'm behind in all my work assignments while searching for it. I found it! It's all worth it...I'm fired? What do you mean "fired"??

Also, besides next week's race report, I'm also working up a profile on my favorite sitcom side character, Mr. Roper. You don't want to miss that. I hope to complete my thoughts on that during the marathon.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Rubbing All Things Irish

(Considered alternate title: Irish Molestation.)

It’s Boston week! Exactly one week from now I’ll be amongst 25,000 or so of my closest friends participating in the 2008 Boston Marathon. It could be a time for deep introspection about what it took to get there. All the toil and sweat involved to realize this goal.

Or, it could be just another excuse to make a few cheap jokes.

For sure, I’ve done the necessary physical training. A bit on the light side but still, I trained nonetheless. During taper, I’ve spent quite a bit on the metaphysical (twice in one week both most likely used incorrectly = ch-ching!) training.

Boston is a city steeped in Irish traditions. The group of folks identified most closely with Boston are Irish immigrants. As such, I’ve made it my own personal quest these past few weeks to come in contact with as much Irish charms and traditions as possible. And, of course, no ridiculous Irish stereotypes were used when compiling this list.

I have:

Worn green clothes on a daily basis. Since I own precisely one green shirt, I stink quite a bit.

Watched a lot of Phoenix Suns basketball to bask in the glow of athletic achievement by the great Irishman Shaquille O’Neal.

Ate Lucky Charms every day for breakfast.

Dinners at Bennigans.

Nightcaps at home with Guinness.

Consumed copious (+5) amounts of corned beef, colcannon and potatoes during snack times.

Tried to work “pissah” into every day conversation.

Watched Boston Legal and The Departed constantly.

Set a leprechaun trap near a fake pot o’ gold I put out in my living room. Ended this when daughter suffered finger lacerations.

And you don’t even want to know what I’ve been doing to shamrocks.

I don’t know. Maybe I’ve been going overboard. Who can tell? You’ve probably seen an upswing on this site lately with goofy names starting with “Mc”. All part of the plan, baby.

I knew things were getting a bit obsessive when I started hanging out at McDonald’s (is that even Irish?) and fantasizing about Rosie O’Donnell (is that even right?).

There’s still a few days to go. I’m making my last minute plans. In the meantime, if you are out in my neighborhood wearing green or sporting a perceptible Irish countenance (not sure what that means), you may find some strange man rubbing up against you. Be forewarned, it’s best to let him(me) finish.

I’m ready for a wicked good time.

Happy trails.


O’Nitmos McBostonbound

Check out this article on Jewish runners and the obstacle they face in carbo loading during Passover before the Boston Marathon. Pretty interesting.

Note: Several of you have dropped pretty impressive words into my comments section seeking Word Score credit. I'm sorry that I cannot award them here. I'm quite sure you made them up as they are obviously NOT real words. Verisimilitude? Piquant? Vernacular? Beleaguered? Good try, folks. I'm not falling for it.

Also, some have taken to refereeing my little Word Score game by pointing out perceived mistakes in my posts. I can only say, if I were to take points away for things you do not understand, I would be in the negative and never be able to recover. Lets just assume I'm always correct. Or I'm applying a grammatical rule you are not familiar with.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wasting Away to...Speed?!

I’ve been reading lots of different books and articles lately and I’ve noticed a common theme developing: Get skinnier. Run Less. Become super fast.

Really? That’s all there is too it?

Here I’ve been wasting time eating and running when both of these activities have been costing me precious speed!! What a sucker. My mother always said she only raised one idiot. I have two brothers. I kinda assumed it was one of them but, maybe, is it me?

Of course, I’m simplifying things a bit. I know I need to boil things down to a pitifully basic level for you, my reader, to understand. Go ahead, finish looking up ‘pitifully’. And ‘boil’ means “getting really ouchy hot”. There, saved you some time.

We are in the heyday of efficiency. Everything is getting smaller but more powerful and in less time. Where will it end?

The current issue of Runner’s World features a Q&A with erstwhile (+3) cyclist turned marathoner Lance Armstrong. In it, he mentions the desire to lose 10 pounds so he can be faster for the Boston Marathon and next year's NYC Marathon. C’mon, dude. Give us a break. If you are worrying about a few pounds, what the hell should I worry about? At least once a week, I wake up on my recliner to the nightly news with a friggin’ Cheeto stuck to my face. And your worried about a couple of L.B.’s?

This is not the only mention I’ve seen on weight in relation to optimal running. You’ve all read - and tried to ignore – the articles. I’m waaay to lazy to link any here. They’re out there. Trust me.

The way I see it, if Lance can lose 10 lbs and get faster by ten minutes, what can happen if I lose, say 75 lbs. I’m 159 now. If I knock that weight down to 85 or so, will I be roughly 75 minutes faster and, thus, a future marathon champion?

On top of that, there are several recent studies that suggest you can actually run faster by training less (but harder intensity). Now, I’m a BIG proponent of this approach. I had been doing this for years before the FIRST method (detailed in Run Less, Run Faster) was birthed to the world. My lawyers are, in fact, checking with their lawyers to make sure there’s nothing fishy going on. Just because the authors have fancy descriptions like “P.H.D.” and “thorough researcher” and “wonderfully honest and trustworthy” attached to their name while I enjoy common descriptors such as “unsavory appearance”, “penchant for mediocrity”, and “big asshole” does not exclude the possibility they learned this from me.

The convergence of these two streams of running wisdom set off a sort of Big Bang in my skull during one of my recent runs. If I get faster by weighing less…..if I get faster by training less albeit very hard….if I get “cleaner” by showering…how far can I take this?

Conceivably, could go on a crash diet and hole up in the corner of my house in the fetal position until it was time for my once weekly 50 yard dash? The fastest, most intense, 50 yard dash I could muster?

Would I reap HUGE benefits as I become skinnier and lighter as long as – when it was time to run – I explode down the driveway with every ounce of energy my celery-only diet could handle?? Would the whistling of the wind passing over my rippled, exposed rib cage mark the sounds of running triumph or the start of a various serious kidney disease?

It may be worth a try. The way this is going, new science may soon tell us it’s best to not run at all during training and simply visualize running a marathon while taking exorbitant amounts of crystal meth. Taper, of course, would also be known as “withdrawal”. And the GU company would have a potentially dangerous legal situation.

Lots to think about. Maybe I missed the point though. I do tend to overreact. I admit to shrieking uncontrollably and having to be restrained on my first airplane flight because, doggoneit, based on the trajectory we sure appeared to be heading to outer space. But could I have gone too far with all these new studies and their line of thinking?

I don’t know. I’m going to give it a shot and report back. Won’t have much energy to blog, I suspect. Need to save it for my lean, mean, green 50 yard driveway dash. Maybe I can get that down to 25 even more intense yards during peak training??

Happy trails.

It’s off folks. I ate an Almond Joy prior to pressing the Publish button. Diet blown. Back to my regular training plan.

Forget all this and have a great weekend instead.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Occupancy Awareness Week

Seriously, I must be living The Office or Office Space here.

A memo comes across the ole work email announcing Occupancy Awareness Week. On title alone, you know you are in for a good chuckle.

(click to open)

Let’s see what this little gem of corporate wisdom holds. As you would expect, it’s hilarious, completely without any value, and destined to be mocked and ignored. Basically, it hits the corporate memo idiocy triumvirate (+6).

The idea here – hatched by scheming executives apparently tired of playing FreeCell and laughing hysterically over a bubbling cauldron of their very souls – is that employees are not coming into the office when they should be.

One thing to understand: we don’t punch a time card here. And our individual bosses are not necessarily on site. In fact, my boss is physically located 300 miles away. Metaphysically, of course, he sits on my shoulder using my ear hole as a pencil sharpener whenever I fall asleep. In three years, I’ve never met him. Wouldn’t know him if I passed him on the street.

We are left to our own supervision. It takes incredible self discipline not to fritter that time away on running blogs and other personal interests. That would be akin to stealing.

In between cackles, the execs decided they needed a method to track who actually comes into the office and pretends to work. And who stays at home and blatantly flaunts the "paycheck-for-a-day’s-work" industry standard.

Thus, Occupancy Awareness Week was born.

It could have been called Be An Ass To Your Fellow Employees Week but, for whatever reason, they decided on the longer, more impressive sounding words. Regular Webster McWordsmith’s, these folks.

In order to “trap” the unfortunate Home Bodies who don’t know how to get into the office, they’ve decided to enforce a strict policy of registering every person who enters the building. We have a card swipe machine tied to our ids. So, every time we enter or exit, the machine will register this action.

In order to comply, we must:

- Enter the building using our own id card
- Not let anyone else – even a fellow employee – come in under your id (practice known as piggybacking). Slam the door in their face if need be. Tell them they look disheveled and smell like they urinated on themselves (this was implied).
- Report any improper loaning of id cards further ensuring your popularity at the next work gathering.

As soon as the memo was received a roar of guffaws was heard through-out the building. It sounded like a bunch of, well, guffaws, I guess. Not surely really how to describe intermittent, murmured hrrumpffing and guffawing. You get the idea.

I watched with glee as Occupancy Awareness Week came and went. This is right in my comedy wheelhouse. Really, a little slice of heaven for me to enjoy for the week.

I saw:

-Folks purposely letting other employees in under their id just to confound the rules.
- Phone calls placed to the Home Bodies to warn them to come in at least once a day or, at least, loan them their id cards to swipe for them.
- Outright mocking of "Mr. Corporate Executive" in hilariously deep, sonorous (+4) tones with exaggerated hand motions dictating the rules of Occupancy Awareness Week like Moses on the mountaintop.

One very clever person * even suggested that we ALL use the same id card for the week and really throw them into confusion. **

For me, besides the laughter, Occupancy Awareness Week came and went without a change to my normal behavior. Except, I did have an excuse to slam the door in Cube Farters face as he was trying to piggyback in behind me with a handful of Arby’s. I shrugged and shouted through the glass, “Sorry. Corporate policy.”

I think I got even.

Until he entered, ate, and got even all over my nose through-out the afternoon.

* And handsome, too.
** This was me.
Check out The Running Laminator's riff on "how fast do you run?".
Vanilla, in his randomly regular site feature, has some nice tips on Alien Encounters.
Viper explains his true feelings about running. My favorite is #13.
Don't forget to take Nancy's photo tour of her running route.
Note: You should already be anticipating Friday's landmark post in which, I humbly believe, will improve the race times of every single runner. Period.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Six Words: A Memoir

It’s time for me to play this game. I’ve been tagged a couple of times and need to respond before I’m responsible for bringing the game to a complete stand still. I’d hate to suffer angry emoticons like:

<:-) [dunce] or
L:) [loser] or
:-( [frown]

Seriously, there are web sites devoted to emoticons. Looking over the list of emoticon possibilities, I decided I’d rather shoot myself between the eyes. +-(

Both sRod and RazZDoodle tagged me. I am compelled to present the summary of rules:

(1) Write your own six word memoir.
(2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want.
(3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogs-universe.
(4) Tag at least five more blogs with links.
(5) Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

In light of future events and the total preoccupation of my mind on the Boston Marathon, my memoir will be of a singular tone:

Boston Runner Seeks Crampfree Glorious Finish

I’ve considered posting this same message in the Boston Globe the weekend before the race but thought maybe, just maybe, there is a woman out there named Crampfree Finish with a middle initial of “G” and I didn’t want to open up that can of worms. I’d hate to have to explain this situation to Mr. Finish.

Requisite visual illustration:

That’s not me but photo credit goes to the Boston Globe (image from 2007). It might be me in a few days. One never knows.

I now deem it necessary to place the tagged burden on these folks:

(1) Annoyingly infrequent blogger, Mike.
(2) L*I*S*A
(3) Russ
(5) Eric

And, anonymous poster Tange, you can leave a six worder in the comments section.

You all may not have time to do this. But I know I don’t have time to listen to you whine. So, if I can indulge myself a second six worder:

Tagged! Shut Up and Do It.


Sending a hello over Lake Michigan to Mrs. Nitmos on a work related assignment in beautiful, if not a little rusty, Milwaukee. Rest assured, hon, I'm still "hard to explain". Oh, and how do you put out an oven fire?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Fear the Spatula

Note: I will not be spoiling the plot of this film in the following review. Unless you don't like to know a mannequin will be molested prior to watching a movie. In which case, well, I guess I just blew it for you.

I’m not going to take credit for spreading the word of Run, Fatboy, Run to the running community in a previous post. After all, it’s a major film production with a large marketing budget. So let’s just say I probably single-handedly spread the word and leave it at that.

My wife and I took in Run, Fatboy, Run yesterday sans kids. God bless, Mrs. Nitmos. Not only did she tolerate my 14 miler on Sunday (when there was plenty of work to do at home), she then survived a trip to TWO bicycle shops and then sat through a movie heavily involved with marathoning. I expected to fall asleep last night and awake to the repeated thuds of my Asics GT2120’s whacking across my forehead. It didn’t happen (though I noticed my water jug had floaties in it this morning. I don’t remember there being floaties before. I’ll go in for a closer inspection tonight.)

What follows is my two minute review.

The flick is not necessarily a “running movie”. That is just the background for the fairly generic love story surrounding the oafish male lead and his pencilly (+5 for word invention) thin female lead. The movie is no more a running movie than Indiana Jones is an archaeology movie.

That being said, I had some concerns going in:

1) Would the scenes involving the marathon seem realistic?
2) Would I get a couple hilarious gross out jokes to blog about?
3) Would something connected with David (Ben Affleck of the Small Screen) Schwimmer be any good?


1) Yes. The marathon scenes were realistic (except for the part where our oafish marathoner takes a lead ahead of the elite runners for a brief period. I don’t care how fast he was sprinting, he ain’t gonna pass 5 minute milers.)
2) Yes. The film featured the “Scrotal Zone”, mannequin molestation, flying blister pus, and nipple lube. Check. Check. Check. And check. No snot rockets though? (fist raised in anger) Schhhhwiiiiiimmer!!
3) Yes, sorta. The final analysis to follow. I left the theatre feeling slightly light headed and confused though. A feeling I describe as "being Schwimmered" (zing!!).

The main thing I took from it is that a spatula is the best training aid. It doesn’t appear in any of the so called “professional” manuals. However, the film makes pretty clear that a spatula applied swiftly to the back of the legs works extremely well in motivation, endurance, and speed. Fear the spatula. I would have thought, of all kitchen utensils, that a turkey baster would find the most uses in running. Shows what I know.

So, how to score this film? If I use the standard Ebertian scale, I’d give it a Thumbs Up. If I use the more common 4 star scale it becomes more difficult but I’d say its either a 2 ½ or 3. Which one? A fellow runner like myself might lean towards a 3 while a non runner (see Mrs. Nitmos) might opt for the 2 ½. Hmmm, much debate. That pus filled blister spraying over the poor schmuck’s face was pretty funny. And the physical representation of the runner’s wall was pretty neat. But the overall plot was fairly average. Hmmm, well, I’m not going to waffle. I know my readers stop by for expert analysis and definitive answers and the complete lack of a criss cross pattern to my face (no? no? reread the previous sentence). I refuse to be indecisive. So, probably, definitively, I’ll give it 2 ¾ stars.

The fact that I got free tickets in made it a lot more palatable (+2) I suspect. I’d sit through another Sister Act sequel for free tickets.

Happy trails.

Sunday was my last double digit mileage run before Boston! I don't mind saying, it was great! Shorts. No gloves. I wouldn't say I was blurry but I was certainly a bit frayed around the edges to the casual observer as I passed by.

14.0 miles
1:39:37 time
7:07 pace

Last mile checked in at 6:53. Bring on the 'thon.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sad Dad Bad Had

Dad is sad
Very, very sad
He had a bad day
What a day Dad had

Hop on Pop, Dr. Seuss

Actually, I had a great day! It was my kid’s who had the bad day. Due to me. Fortunately, I’m able to divorce myself from the feelings of others to the point where I can independently have a great time while others in my orbit are not as happy. It’s one of the main reasons people don’t like me, in fact.

Here’s the story.

Every now and then, a local running event comes around that offers a Kids Run as part of their race line up. As both of my kids aren’t quite old enough yet to take part in a 5k, they look forward to these Sunday morning ½ mile or 1 mile races preceding the bigger events.

This past Sunday was one of those events. We registered early Friday, got their race t-shirt, and filled their heads with excitement for the event and the bright, shiny race medal they would get for participation. Friday night and all day Saturday we would mention the impeding race to kind of stoke that excitement and watch the smiles blossom on their sweet, innocent, about to be crushed little faces.

‘No, you cannot have such-and-such friend stay over Saturday night because you have to get up early the next day.’

‘Yes, you have to keep polishing my car as its good for your pre-race mental preparation.”

You know, the usual Keepin-It-Fun-For-The-Kids technique.

We had a nice leisurely Saturday. Awoke real late in the morning. I checked out some bikes at a local cycle shop taking my first ginger (ws= +3 pts) step into the world of duathletes and triathletes. I don’t know what I’m looking for quite yet as far as novice quality bikes go. The one with the basket and horn looked cool though.

Saturday, the alarm was dutifully set. Mrs. Nitmos handles this task as I have not mastered the finer points of alarm clock setting. For some reason when I do it, it goes off 2 hours later to the soothing sounds of Barry Manilow.

The alarm triggers on time. Everyone is in the car on time. We are at the park on time. We even had our pick of parking spots. We literally could park anywhere we wanted. You see, the event was on Saturday not Sunday. We missed it. I missed it. No race. No medal. No proud feelings of accomplishment.

Just another gray, cold March raceless, medaless day.

I had to think fast. If this was Monday, I could have turned around with a big convincing smile and shouted “April Fools!”. Instead, I did what anyone would do in my position when faced with the sad, heartbroken faces of your own children: I made them feel as if it was their fault.

“If I hadn’t been so concerned with feeding you on Friday, I would have remembered the race was Saturday morning. Besides, you barely polished the car anyhow. It’s a mess. So, look on the bright side, you have time to finish!”

I suspect they wanted to do a bit more than Hop on Pop. Probably something more in the order of a "The Bitsy Big Boy Boomeroo" (who knew Dr. Seuss could be so serious?).

We had a bad day
What a day we had

The kids ran an exciting ½ mile loop around my neighborhood that Sunday morning. They were timed. They each came in first in their age division. Since we paid the entry fee, we are now in process of trying to acquire 2 left over participation medals from the event organizers. After all, who holds a race on a Saturday? Honestly!

We did attend the event last year as reported here. And, yes, it was on a Saturday then. The difference was that I was running on that day. See, if it’s about me, these “details” seem to matter a little more.

Since I encouraged you to shower nasty comments on the anonymous photo in the previous post, I now open the floor to disparaging remarks about my parenting skills. Have fun but remember I'm as tender and as easily broken as an innocent foal.

Happy trails.

Last night, I had another terrific "Limbo" run. In shorts, even (50 degree heat wave)! Except, I started too fast and actually didn't make it under the bar for mile 2. Again, I cut it off after mile 5 to keep with my training plan.

5.0 miles
34:37 time
6:56 pace

Miles of 7:10, 7:12 (missed limbo!), 7:05, 6:50, 6:20.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Your Garden Variety H---- K---- N----- Guard

It seems I was taken to task in my last post by a fellow Steer over my Boston Marathon goal time of 3:25. He seemed to feel I was setting it too slow. He may have a point. In fact, last year around this time, I set my Bayshore goals faster than 3:25 and achieved them!

So, maybe 3:20 would be a better goal. I’ll consider this an amendment to my official goals.

I sure appreciate his frank and honest feedback. Not to worry, I was not offended for being harangued in the comments section of my “goals” post. I always value good, honest feedback from my readers. What are we if not a society of open communicators?

On a completely separate matter not at all connected with someone criticizing me over my Boston goals….

Have you ever seen a grown, hirsute (word score = +15 pts) man wearing H---- K---- band aid n----- guards??

Let’s all laugh at how funny it looks.
Update: 8/14/08 Hilarious picture has been removed. Sorry.
From Runner's Gone Wild, Fall 2007 edition.

Any other comments on my Boston goals can be left in the comments section along with an incriminating photo, if you please.

I would also appreciate hilariously deriding comments about the person in this “anonymous” photo.


I never thought I'd have a chance to use one of my favorite English language words, hirsute, in a post. What an unexpected treat. Check another item off the "100 Things To Do Before I Die" list!