Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving, Vertically

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to take the time to thank everyone individually for the generous encouragement and support you’ve provided me over the years through this blog. But then it dawned on me that you’ve provided neither encouragement nor support. In fact, you’ve all been more like an anchor that I’ve had to drag through the internet sand. Ridicule. Torment. Accusations. You’re all a piece of work. I don’t like to participate in childish name calling but, if they say that a 1,000 turkeys with a 1,000 typewriters would eventually write a masterpiece, it’s not so much to ask one turkey with one keyboard to comment something readable and half way entertaining.

In case you missed that, I called you a turkey.

So now that the holiday greetings are out of the way, on with the show. I’m sure there’s some sort of technical literary term for the device I’m about to use. I wouldn’t know and I’m not going to Google it either. I’m sure one of you Brainiac Bobs or Smart Sallys will have an answer for me though. Basically, I like to celebrate all of my holidays by writing nonsensical lists to the first letter of the holiday greeting. It’s tedious but my therapist tells me it helps mollify my crippling seasonal depression.

To the bolded, vertical greeting HAPPY THANKSGIVING, I have listed things I am thankful for and happy to have in my life. These came naturally. In no way whatsoever did I forcibly rephrase anything to make it line up with a particular letter.

Here’s one turkey with one keyboard’s list:

Holograms. Awesome.
Asswipe Johnson (pronounced ‘os-wee-pay’) from the old SNL sketch.
Pancreas, “the underrated organ”
Yearnings for life left to live, challenges to face and conquer, and butter

Toilet plungers
Health ockey fights
Angry Albinos
Ninjas, obviously
Kicking ass and taking names Nitmos style (or, b.a.u.)
Garmin, pbtn
Indigestion and its natural side effects (i.e. farts)
Videos of babies laughing (not really but sounds better than “vicious animal attacks”)
Indecent exposure charges/difficulty to prosecute
Ninjas, again, obviously
Gang Nitmos including the Mrs., colt and filly (and our little dog Bella, too)

As you stuff your face tomorrow, some of you should keep in mind that you’ll have to run that much more in the days ahead to work off the holiday gluttony. Not me. I have no race to run. Instead, I’m going to eat. Eat some more. Eat a little more. Probably gag out some mashed potatoes and cole slaw discreetly into a napkin. Wait 10 minutes and then eat some more. After a few trips around the dessert table, I’ll waddle over to the couch to watch the Lions lose their annual Thanksgiving day game while I try to push some escaping M&M’s off my chin and back into my mouth before my head falls back asleep over the back of the couch. The little buggers always keep falling out with each chew of my food encrusted jowls..

Before long, fast asleep with chocolate spittle running out of the corners of my mouth, my body calls in reinforcement enzymes to process the food through my system. At some point, I’ll be awakened by the combo belch/fart that snaps my head back from back of the couch into a dazed, lip licking consciousness. Dogs will bark from the sudden noise. My eyes will wander back to the dessert table as I take a quick internal analysis to determine, like a game of food Tetris, if I have enough room now to work in that Apple pie wedge.

Yes, it will be a wonderful Thanksgiving. It may start vertically but it’ll end horizontally in a triptophanic bugaloo.

I hope you enjoy yours. I apologize for the “turkey” crack. This isn’t the time or place for that. I’ll call you all that AFTER Thanksgiving. I have class.

You’re welcome.

Have a great Turkey day!

Note: Episode 3 of the Runner's Lounge LoungeCast is now up and available. Prepare to be audibly tickled by me. There are some others on here I think as well (maybe RazZ, Vanilla, and Amy to be exact.)

Go here (or see the moderator RazZ's announcement here) and download the podcast. I promise you'll derive no motivation, barely laugh, and wonder why you wasted 45 minutes. 100% guaranteed!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Nipple Principle

At the risk of (again) drawing creepy internet traffic to this site*, I now provide you with The Nipple Principle.

This may apply more to men than women. I wouldn’t dare to speak on this topic for the females. I’ll leave it to one of the ladies, or Vanilla, to address it on your behalf. Way back** when I was just a little, burgeoning, running Nitmos, I experienced chafing and red rose blossoms on my shirt. Bloody nipples. The rite of passage for a wet-behind-the-ears distance runner.

I had my moisture wicking shirt. I thought I was safe. I was naïve and innocent. My mileage increased. The top layer of my fleshy protuberances scraped off unknowingly. The first time, I didn’t bleed out. Only the sting of the shower alerted me that my nerve endings were dangling from the exposed nipples like wiring from a new home construction’s wall sockets. Oh, God, that hurts. I’d cave my man-lion-beast chest inward to avoid the trickle of water.

Maybe this shirt is still a little rough, I thought. After a few more washes, it should be fine.

But it wasn’t fine. The next time, 10-12 miles into a run, red splotches appeared on my chest like a pastie clad exotic dancer. I wasn’t shaking these ta-ta’s though. My nipples were bleeding. And I’ve had a long standing rule that “nipples” and “bleed” never appear in the same thought or sentence. The rule was violated.*** I had a 5 alarm, full blown case of Bloody Nipples.

By the time I raced home, I was looking at a 3 inch diameter. This was going to be ugly. Off went the shirt. A quick inspection followed. Nope. No skin. Just glistening red, dripping blood stumps. It was as if someone had scalped my nip tops and taken them back to their village as a war souvenir. This was not right. I didn’t know much about nipple injuries. Did I need a mammogram now? Is this what a “maxi pad” is for?

Sometimes it’s cool to walk around with a huge scab or a new scar. It’s a war story that you can tell your friends and family about. I doubt any of my co-workers would be impressed in this case though. Besides, in order for them to see it anyway, I’d have to cut a few holes into my dress shirt and walk around with my nipples poking out on either side of my tie. It would be a conversation starter though.

“Hey, Nitmos, have a good weekend? And why are your nipples showing?”
“Oh, they are just a little sore and need some air. You see, I was running….(
insert impressive running war story)….”

After several occurrences, I decided that I better get serious about nipple care and protection. So I bought some anti-chafing lube. It’s weird to put speed stick on your nipples. Welcome to the dark side of running, I guess. I taped a podcast recently (for Runner’s Lounge with him, her, and him) and a question came up as to when you knew you were officially a runner? I think I said ‘when I bought a Garmin’. I’d like to amend that answer to when I bought my first stick of anti-chafe lube. A proud, proud moment.

Before every marathon, I still apply the lube to several unmentionable areas including the nipples. Mainly, just out of habit now. However, I don’t use it on my training long runs anymore. In fact, I’ve noticed that after the first several times that they chafed, bled, and healed over they’ve built up a sorta resistance to it. I can go 20+ miles on my training runs without a chafing incident. They’ve hardened and/or become immune to chafing.

So, I call this The Nipple Principle. At first, your nipples may chafe and bleed on your long runs. Let them. Over time, they’ll callous up like a lumberjacks hands. This is a good thing. You’ll never bleed again. If you continue to treat them delicately, they’ll continue to bleed when the lube eventually wears off.

The Nipple Principle: The more you run long distances, the less your nipples bleed.

And you don’t want to have to swipe your finger through one of those community Vaseline boards folks hold in the air at a marathon. Shudder. Community nipple lube?

Now that I’ve discussed my nipples this morning, I look forward to the return of the eastern European site traffic. Hi folks, welcome back to F.M.S! Please stop google searching on ‘fruit in anus’ because it’s only taking you to this post about my race goals and nothing more. Sorry for the inconvenience. There are no pictures.

Happy trails.

* This post seemed to be inordinately popular…until I removed the nipple photo a few months ago. Suddenly, my site traffic from eastern Europe dried up.
** Roughly 9 years ago.
*** The only rule left for me now is “penis” and “blender accident” appearing in the same sentence.


More cold air asthmatic running. Did I mention how I love the cold!?

6.5 miles
46:48 time
7:12 pace

...and the rest of the day spent trying to catch my breath...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Out Like A Lion, In Like A Snowman

I’m pressing on with my no plan training schedule. I don’t know what I’m training for right now exactly but still I’m hitting my 3 runs per week. I guess I’m training to stay “in shape”. Or maybe I’m holding out hope that my mixed martial arts (MMA) career is just blossoming. I can shadow box with the best of ‘em. There can’t be much difference between punching an imaginary assailant and brawling with a real psychotic behemoth that still comes at you when his shattered femur is jutting through the skin like a piece of snapped driftwood, right?

In my imagination though, I’m a real lion.

So I suited up last evening in my long sleeve wicking shirt, wicking zip up vest, wind jacket, hat, gloves, shorts and wind pants for a nice run in 30 degrees and snow fluttering sky.

Five miles. Maybe some 800’s around the high school track (if it isn’t covered in ice).

As soon as I left my house, the wind picked up sending the light snow shooting sideways into my face. I could see the faces from the passing cars looking at me with that this guy is nuts look. That’s okay, for every look, I was sprouting another hair on my awesome man-beast-lionesque chest. Keep the deriding looks coming, I’ll be Sasquatch by the time I return.

The track was only lightly covered in snow so, what the hell, I’ll do some 800’s. Around and around I go into a stifling wind whenever I turn north. The snow has turned to a sleet mix. I can’t even open my eyes until I round the next bend. For every half lap, I’m the Ray Charles of running.

I did learn one thing that should be fairly obvious but, since I’m a little dense, wasn’t to me. I normally run clockwise on the track with my Garmin on my left wrist (i.e. outside of body from the center of the track). Common knowledge has it that each lap of the track is ¼ mile. My Garmin consistently registers ¼ miles while I’m still roughly 50 feet from the mark. I was thinking my high school track was not standard. You can see where this is going right? Last night, I ran counter clockwise so my Garmin was on the inside edge. Guess what? The ¼ mile markers lined up perfectly with one lap. Go figure. Don’t wear Garmin on the outer wrist especially if, like me, your arms flop around like a spastic. Apparently, I’m geometrically challenged that way.

Sorry for that tangent, let me get back to my story arc. After completing the circumference of the track for several laps, I marshaled on home through a driving blizzard of snow. My eyes crusted shut like a medication neglecting, pink eye sufferer.*

The snow was coming down hard. Visibility was low. The faces from the car windows shifted from condemning annoyance to sheer surprise. My running gear and knit hat covered in snow.

Arriving home, I checked the mirror and I looked like a well proportioned, though oddly bewitching, snowman. I believe the car people were surprised to see Frosty out for a jog.

I didn’t become lifeless when I removed the hat but I did visually confirm three new chest hair sprouts under all of the layers. A run like that brings out the lion in me. My brock lesnarian heart now melting the ice and sleet.

I’m ready to take those MMA pansies on. I would so kick their asses. Ever punch anyone with your Garmin? Just how big is the radius of an MMA ring anyway?

5.0 miles
34:56 time
6:59 pace

Happy trails.

*No? Was that metaphor a bit of a stretch?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Break Now, or Forever Hold Your Peace

These next few weeks hold a recipe for weirdness for me. I’m not tied to a training plan. It’s getting cold, wet, and slippery out. Not only will I be fighting the current state of my bodily fitness but I’ll also be battling vengeful Mother Nature in my quest to maximize speed.

Here’s where the weird comes in.

Without an actual scheduled race, nay marathon, looming, my concern for my overall well being has gone completely out the window. For perspective, last year at this time, I was busily preparing for the Goofy Challenge (half marathon Saturday/full marathon Sunday). I was hitting long runs…back to back medium/long runs...and weekly runs in the dark of night. I ran across ice covered roads and sidewalks. Though I was officially “in training”, my primary concern during these runs was not to bust an ankle in a snow covered pothole. Or lose my footing on a patch of ice shattering my pelvis in so many Humpty Dumpty pieces. There was a lot of time and money tied up in those races. By God, even if I couldn’t run them as fast as I wanted, I was going to run them. “Crutching” a race sounded completely unappealing.

Fast forward to last evening, off I go as the sun disappears on the horizon and I’m left to discern between a patch of ice or a shadow from a tree. Could be either. I guess we’ll find out as soon as I plant one foot in the middle and….no, no I’m good. And repeat this every 25 steps or so. Did I decrease my speed? No. Was I concerned that I might jam my foot into a shadowy pothole and invert my knee in a hilariously cartoony fashion? Not really.

There’s no race on the schedule. One would think a general concern for my overall health and safety would still encourage a sense of caution. Apparently, now that I‘m obsessed with running, ALL things are tied to my next training plan and race. Even the threat of sudden, severe injury.

I ran only 3 1/3 miles last evening but, upon arriving back home, I distinctly remember thinking ‘whew, I didn’t break an ankle. Dodged a bullet there.' Absolutely no concern during the run. Caution thrown to the wind. Besides independent mobility, what is there to lose?

Now, I’m not going around licking door knobs clean at daycares or picking food out of my teeth* with a dollar bill I just got as change from Burger King, the bill that was used as payment from the car in front of me with the “My Parents Just Went To Romania and All I Got Was A Scorching Case of Tuberculosis” bumper sticker.** That would be stoopid (heavy Midwestern drawl, please).

No, I guess my attitude is that if something is going to happen, it better happen now. Break now or forever hold your peace. I’ll be married to another training plan soon enough.

Then, broken bones and malaria will matter to me again one day as that might impact my training. Until then, flock to me ye microscopic mites and tibia fissures for I stand with welcoming arms extended. Do your best. I do not have a care in the world.

At least, for the next 6 weeks.

Happy trails.

* I use a library card from 1988 to pick my teeth. True story. Never been washed either.
** I did have some trouble breathing later after the run but I think it was a bit of cold weather asthma rather than tuberculosis.


Best wishes to Kristina, Marci, JoyRun, and Ted at the Philly marathon!! And anyone else I forgot.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Lost My Long Run At The Casino

I don’t know how but I left the casino Saturday night with fewer Andrew Jackson adorned bills in my pocket and missing my long run. However, my mortgage, car payment and wedding ring are still with me so, at least, all was not lost.

Mrs. Nitmos and I escaped to the cooler confines of northern Michigan this weekend with some friends * to enjoy time away from the kids, a warm, swirling hot tub, lots of drink, and gambling. Basically, all of the things we tell the kids NOT to do when they are within earshot.** Oh, the simple joys of eating a meal without drinks being spilled, forks clattering to the ground, looking at colored doodles on the kids menu, and escorting a bladder-challenged child to the restroom while your salmon cools at the table. Heaven, really.

My right ass muscle is refusing to relax ever since the Detroit Marathon four weeks ago. It’s not preventing me from running. It’s just sore enough where I spend the first mile of each run silently threatening it with a foam roller if it doesn’t get back on board soon. I’m hoping the heat and percolating bubbles from the hotel hot tub have done it some good. If not, then certainly the copious amount of rum consumed on the trip must have done something for it.

Saturday night, in a smoke filled, loud, and obnoxiously lighted casino, I tested my luck. My daughter’s medical bills from her seizure several weeks ago have just started to roll in. I did what any sane, pragmatic father in charge of a family budget would do. I tried to parlay the money from my meager paycheck into a fortune! I can win, I can win! I have a “system.”

An hour later, we emerged from the casino defeated. It didn’t take long to spit us out the door with our pockets turned inside out and our pride stripped off of us like Peter Pan’s shadow and tossed into a pile somewhere in a dark backroom. Let me tell you, friends, the casino has the odds in their favor. I did not know that. The billboards and glittery lights make it seem like they are just anxious to give their money away. Who knew? It’s almost as if the odds are stacked against you before you even walk in there. Hmmpf. Surprising.

We coasted back home Sunday on fumes. We managed to scrape just enough cash from the children’s wallets to buy a few necessities: a few gallons of gas and a six pack of beer for later.

I had every intention of hitting my Sunday long run. Penniless and no doubt still circulating the booze from the previous evening in my bloodstream, a nice long run in the cold, wet snowy weather still sounded good. Besides, the kids’ complaints about their “stolen” birthday money were getting real tiresome. It’s not like they didn’t get a ride home in the car too. And I already promised them the refund fee from the bottles of beer to split. What more do they want?

It was then that I noticed the desire for the long run was simply not there. It was gone. I had lost it at the casino. I must have wagered it that time when I had a 15 but needed to flip a 6 or less and busted with an 8. The casino has my long run. Along with my pride and money. It’s probably propped up in the same dark backroom next to someone else’s long cycle ride and another’s pool laps.

Maybe I’ll return with a future pay check and try to win it back.

Once I realized the long run was gone, I thought the best thing to do was to sow seeds of doubt now about the kids’ future college plans. I sat them down and explained to my colt and filly how money floats in and out of Daddy’s life and that you can never count on him having it when you most need it. I might need to pay bills. I might need to register for a race (and, of course, buy new running shoes.) I might try to compound their college fund in one evening of alcohol-soaked decisions made before the turn of a card. And they need to understand that sometimes Daddy will win. Sometime he’ll lose. In fact, usually, he’ll lose.

But he’ll lose more than your college fund. He’ll lose his long run too.

And this is just as fair for you as it is for him.

Happy trails.

* I have some. Really. Well, okay, they might really be more of Mrs. Nitmos’ friends that tolerate me hanging around, I guess.
** Except murder. We didn’t do that. Unless you mean the way we killed the liquor. We killed that real good.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cap'n Crunch?

<~~~~ What a tool.

Seriously, does anyone believe this guy has done one crunch his entire life? Maybe Cap’n Carb or Cap’n Clogged Artery is a bit more appropriate. I’m more of a Crunchberry man myself. It’s healthier because it contains “berries”. Just like Starburst comes in “fruit flavors”.

I hate to put out another post about myself. But, by perceived popular demand, I’m going to.

One of the things that helps us runners, so the experts tell us, is a strong core. For those Puritans that like to avoid four letter words, the “c---“ is the midsection, the abs and hips primarily. But the core is not a dirty word. It’s not even dusty. It helps runners maintain a proper running form and stabilizes the torso and legs to maximize your stride.

I do lots of sit ups and crunches along with my interminable stretchy banding to support my core. In fact, many a TV show is watched with me folding back and forth on my living room floor. My dog thinks it is play time and helpfully places her knotted rope on my chest while I crunch away. Every throw buys me about 6 more crunches before it comes back. And if I don’t throw it right away, she starts biting at it again perilously close to my nipple.

I like to think that this core work has had some effect. I rarely feel sloppy with my running form anymore. As I tire, I can still maintain posture. It doesn’t cost me valuable seconds. Or, what I call “sloppy seconds”. So I’m a big believer in core strengthening exercises.

What I am not, however, is a patient exerciser. The “long, slow distance run” many runners favor is not something I’m familiar with. I train at faster speeds mainly because I’m inpatient by nature. The same thing happens when I crunch. I crunch every night except Friday where I crunch a few beers instead (rim shot, please?) Of course, I don’t do just 50 good, solid, slow crunches. You know, the kind the “experts” recommend. Nooooo. I do a few hundred hyper fast crunches that, most likely, have very little effect due to improper technique. But the big number sounds good. One thing I’ve always known, it’s not about how you use the crunch but how big it is (amount, that is.)

Does anyone else work on their core? Does it help? And do you prefer Cap’n Crunch or Crunchberries?

I’m assuming our mustachioed Cap’n Crunch must have been promoted from Sargent Sit Up at some point in his career. But, while I live and breathe, with that portly figure he’ll never become Admiral Ab.

Happy trails.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Somewhere Between Heaven and Snickers

I have a problem. A monkey on my back.

I sent the kids out on Halloween night to beg for sweets with the full knowledge that I would be eating ½ of the contents of their bags. They were tired and dispirited but I pressed them to knock on that one last door as that might hold the elusive full size candy bar. They were asked to go to the far, lonely house with the police tape and chalk outline because I sensed a King Size Snickers.

And now I can’t stop eating junk food.

Like good communists, we stripped their individual bags from them and dumped them into a family community bowl that sits on the kitchen counter. They no longer own their own candy. The house owns it and disperses it as it sees fit (i.e. they get what Mrs. Nitmos and I don’t want.)

While I have been busy engaging in Deadly Sins sloth and gluttony, a third sin has been carried into my brain on a wave of androgens and estrogens.* Lust.

I heart that candy bowl. I pick through it like a hobo at a Bennigan’s dumpster anxiously searching for a half eaten Monte Cristo. I get depressed when I’m at work and it’s a home all alone. If it had ears, I’d make it a mix tape loaded with Pat Benatar, Hall and Oates and some Air Supply.

What does any of this have to do with running? Well, of course, we know that nutrition is said to shape our bodies and fuel our runs. If true, then I’m four planks wide like a Kit Kat (maybe 2 planks for the mini-size, at least) and can run like a Baby Ruth. Despite my general chocolaty squareness (ChocolateNitmos Squarepants), I haven’t really noticed a problem with my speed. Or weight. Normally, my race day fighting weight is around 158 lbs. I stepped on the scale this Sunday expecting a 163 or so and found…159. I also managed a pretty normal pre-Halloween style run of:

6.30 miles
44:34 time
7:05 pace

Maybe all of this nutrition mumbo jumbo is just that. Mumbo jumbo. Lies spread by the vegetable and toothpaste lobbies. Maybe sugar and sweets can fuel my runs. Maybe it is good for my teeth.

I’ve kept the vegetables locked away in the refrigerator lately. The carrots and apples in the frig part (gen. pop). The frozen vegetables in the freezer (solitaire). I’m still eating bananas. Banana Laffy Taffy, that is. The kids don’t seem to like this flavor so I find the little yellow packages dotted through out the candy bowl. Silly kids. Don’t they know they need their potassium? Plus, you can extract little pockets of taffy from between your teeth at unexpected times for the rest of the day.

My dinners have consisted of a hunk of beef (unwrapped full size Snickers) and a side of mixed vegetables (if you squint real hard the Skittles do the trick). My after dinner dessert involves downing SweetTarts ‘til I get the sugar sweats and I mop my forehead.

The only down side seems to be that the sugar molecules are locking arms and putting up resistance in my colon. It’s a regular sit in protest going on. Lech “Milky Way” Walesa and Cesar “Starburst” Chavez are holding my lower g.i. hostage. While the candy bowl has been socialized, my colon appears to be unionized.

Despite the scale, I’ve noticed a few new aerodynamic ripples on my abdomen** for Mrs. Nitmos to enjoy. All of this talk of smooth lines and sleek, rounded curves and tapered lines to maximize wind flow, speed and efficiency. More mumbo jumbo? Is this just another lie from the aerodynamic lobby? After all, 17th century sailors seemed to do just fine with big, lumbering ships with puffed out sails. Maybe, instead of a six pack, I should strive for a ballooned out blimp belly?

Lust. It’s got me rethinking everything I thought I knew these days. Bless Mrs. Nitmos for tolerating my time of introspection. Bless her nougaty goodness and marshmallow crème heart.

Happy chocolate trails.

* We all have estrogen. Look it up.
** And though I can’t confirm it, I suspect there might be a couple new matching dimples on my ass as well.

Friday, November 07, 2008


In music, syncopation includes a variety of rhythms which are in some way
unexpected in that they deviate from the strict succession of regularly spaced
strong and weak beats in a meter (pulse). These include a stress on a normally
unstressed beat or a rest where one would normally be stressed. "If a part of
the measure that is usually unstressed is accented, the rhythm is considered to
be syncopated."

Since I know this term, did I just out myself from the band geek closet?

Really, I was very, very cool. I was the one band geek that was immensely popular. Honest. My imaginary friends and collection of unfortunately located pimples were a testament to this coolness. You might say that I was one of the pioneering RBF’s before there was blogs…or internet…or household computers. The RBF’s existed in my head. And I was their king.

This entry isn’t about band or my childhood syncopated pimple pattern. I believe we’ve covered engorged pores here ad nauseum. Today, it’s about running. Syncopated running. As always happens after a marathon, I devolve into a slothful, gluttonous orgy of rest and sugary food. When I finally get back out on the road, it takes some time to get back into the smooth, steady rhythm of running. My steps are awkward. My mile splits are erratic. Basically, I’m out of sync (i.e. syncopated).

Now, I’ll take syncopation over constipation any day. But, really, there was no reason to bring up constipation here other than a cheap, loose rhyme. Since I’ve covered zits and poop now, let’s see if I can work in boogers and vomit at some point and really not act my age. Just because I’m officially closer to applying for my AARP card than being in high school does not mean Adult Onset Maturity has set in.

Do you ever feel out of step with your normal stride? Something’s not right. I still have a lingering hamstring pain from the marathon. I’m sure I’m carrying around an extra 5 lbs worth of bite size Snickers and Three Musketeers pilfered from the kids’ Halloween bags. Maybe this is knocking me off stride just a bit. My training mile splits are about the same but it’s taking a lot more huffing and puffing to knock out that 3 miler than it did just a few weeks ago. Perhaps, post marathon 3 miles = pre-marathon peak training 16 miles? Is that normal runner’s math?

For kicks and giggles, I did 2x800 at the local track last night. Both 800’s were at 2:46. Okay, I’ll take that. But it sure would have been nice not to feel like puking all over lane 8 and wiping my chin spittle with the High School Track Records banner hanging precariously within arms reach.

I’m sure things will be back to normal after a few more runs or so. I won’t be that goofy, syncopated, red faced, air hogging runner that children are pointing and laughing at from passing cars. I’ll shed the syncopation for the smooth, steady pace of a metronome. Children will once again look upon me in wonder and amazement. ‘Mommy, mommy, look at the expected, rhythmic, non-syncopated beat of that majestic runner’s pace’. I can hear the awe in the little booger eaters voices already.

I haven’t decided on a theme for this fall/winter. I had my Summer of Speed. The Fall of Fast seems redundant. The Winter of Whiz could be mistaken for things other than speed. Maybe this will be the Season of No Theme.

Without being tied to a training plan, the next two months will find me attempting to build speed again at a distance of 10 miles and under. I consider this my base building time. Shorten the distances. Maximize the speed. When another marathon approaches, I’ll just need to build from the base of 10 miles. Prepare yourself for a steady diet of 800 split times and limbo runs again in future posts.

First, however, I need to conquer the syncopation. Like a true, strict Carmelite monk, I find the best way to knock myself back into rhythm is through a form of running self-flagellation. I’ll hit some 800’s. Hard. Every lap around the track is a whip strike to the back. I will pay for my sinful two week exile from training.

Before long, I’ll be back in rhythm.

And, probably, pretty pissed at llama’s again.

Happy trails.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Who's Laughing Now?

From Yahoo! News, Thursday, Nov. 6th:

PRESCOTT, Ariz. – Authorities in Arizona say a jogger attacked by a rabid fox ran a mile with the animal's jaws clamped on her arm and then drove herself to a hospital. The Yavapai County sheriff's office said the woman told deputies she was on a trail near Prescott on Monday when the fox attacked and bit her foot.

She said she grabbed the fox by the neck when it went for her leg but it bit her arm.

The woman wanted the animal tested for rabies so she ran a mile to her car with the fox still biting her arm, then pried it off and tossed it in her trunk and drove to the Prescott hospital.

The sheriff's office says the fox later bit an animal control officer. He and the woman are both receiving rabies vaccinations.

At first glance, this story about an Arizona jogger, ahem, runner who arrived at an emergency room with a fox firmly clenched to her arm seems mildly humorous but, ultimately, dismissive. Poor schmuck (schmuckette? Is there a gender difference in this word?) Sucks to be you!

However, we need to remember two important things here.

First, "Michael Scott's Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure" from NBC’s show The Office somehow doesn’t seem so funny now, does it? Rabies is a very real concern for us runners. And now with an actual documented instance, I hope you’ll all join me in condemning those who laugh and joke about this dreadful disease and our threat to it. After all, it might be YOU that comes back from your next run with a rabid porcupine attached to your pelvic bone.

Second, the story makes no mention of the woman’s time for her mile with the fox attached to her arm. I’m pretty sure this would be one of the quickest miles I would have ever run if put in her situation. I’m willing to bet this is a world record for the Rabid Fox One Mile run. And most likely, the record will stand for some time.

The truly sad part of this tale is that the animal control officer, when provided with perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity to challenge the woman’s world record, opted for the DNF. Booooooo. Way to suck it up, animal control officer. It’s not like you couldn’t be treated after you ran a mile with the fox attached to you. The rabies ain’t going away. Show some heart…some drive to succeed!

Anyway, congratulations to Arizona Woman on her rabid fox one mile PR! (I assume it’s a PR anyhow.)

So, about that election the other night. I guess I shouldn’t have started my campaign the morning of the election. By nature, I’m a procrastinator. I feel like things usually resolve themselves if I ignore them and those that don’t are probably such big jobs that I never would have gotten them completed on time anyhow. That’s how I’ve soared to such mediocre career heights! Share the secret. I’m sure this is the governing style most of you desired as well. I was flattered by the many comments indicating a desire to vote for me.

Which is why you haven’t seen me on your TV conceding just yet. There are still votes to be counted. Hanging chads to be unhung, local officials to be intimidated, recounts to be demanded. And everyone knows the write-in votes take longer to process. I’m sure most of you have pretty sloppy handwriting and spelling, ugh, I can only imagine. This could take awhile. I wrote me in. So, by my count, I’m roughly 64 million votes behind. But there is a large bloc of heavy pro-Nitmos votes coming in from Canada as I understand it. And the heavy Nitmos chartreuse counties along the Wyoming/Mississippi border haven’t been counted yet. There’s still a chance here.

The nerve of Obama and the networks to go ahead and call this thing and basically take the voice of the Nitmos Nation away before they’ve been heard is very, very rude. I was going to put on my navy pants, light blue blazer (I don’t have a matching jacket for the pants unfortunately), and my stove pipe Lincoln hat I still own from my 6th grade play and hold an indignant, accusatory press conference but, you know, that’s a lot of work and can wait ‘til later…

Happy trails.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Impressive James Madisons

It’s election day in America. The day when our employers refuse to allow us time off to stand in line for hours in the rain and cast a ballot that will be immediately invalidated due to a voting machine snafu. Third world!

Though I’ve received no emails or phone calls, I firmly believe most of you are waiting for me to tell you who to vote for. And the answer? Nitmos, of course. Write me in. If you didn’t anticipate that answer, clearly you haven’t read this blog very closely. The only thing that eclipses the size of my ego is my rather impressive James Madisons. There is, in fact, a third party candidate on the ballot that shares my real last name. Don’t vote for that guy. Write in Nitmos. Everyone will know who you mean.

As president, I promise to federally subsidize chip timing for all races that don’t have a budget for it.

I promise to raise your taxes only if I decide to head overseas to run the Berlin or London marathon. I’ll need some cash.

I vow to allow 2 hours during every work day to complete a run. Employers who refuse will be required to perform 8x800 speed work sessions until they get back with the program.

I promise to abolish Fig Newtons at a race finish line. Ever try to swallow those things with a dry mouth? It’s criminal.

A do nothing president like George Washington will be replaced on the dollar bill by Steve Prefontaine. A “buck” will become a “Pre”. It’ll now cost 8 Pre’s to go to the movies.

I vow to be the fastest U.S. president on record. I know Woodrow Wilson had great “hops” but he had no kick.

If these are some of things you are looking for, you know what to do. Send my Asics to the White House. I put Running First. I am the Fartleks We Need. Let’s get this country running again!

Need further convincing? I’ve had both a phrenological study and a craniometrical study done on my skull. My phrenology compares favorably with Teddy Roosevelt. And my craniometry is a precise match to our favorite non-successive president Grover Cleveland! Combine that with my Madisons’ and you got yourself an impressive Frankenpresident.

Now, go do your civic duty. Vote Nitmos!

We had a wonderful 60 degree Halloween night here in the middle of lower Michigan (the so called “mitten”.) My filly dressed as Violet, the Incredible. My colt started out with a rubber evil old man mask. He borrowed one of my over sized shirts to complete his costume. Later in the evening, I passed his group as we were walking our filly around. His mask was off so he was basically just walking around in my shirt. I said, “hey, where’s your costume? Nobody is going to know what you are.” He replies,”I’m going as a hobo.”

I chuckle. Walk on…then realize he just insulted me. He’s wearing only my shirt and says he’s going as a….


I need new clothes.


Great job by the Running Laminator on an amazing 3:02 NYC Marathon! I'll need to nominate him as my Secretary of Kick Assedness once in office.