Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I Met the Enemy

And he is me.

Not really. But you can’t say the “I met the enemy” without the matching “and he is me (or us)” part. Symmetry, people, symmetry.

I was in my local running store the other day when I happened across a flyer innocently announcing the arrival of my Boston Marathon nemesis, Dick Beardsley, on Tuesday March 3rd, for a meet-and-greet, autographs of his books, followed by a lecture. I let out an indignant snort through my slightly over sized and upturned-like-a-ski-jump nose. Sure, I thought, Beardsley just happens to be coming to within a mile of my home for a presentation. Right. And I just happened to be doing chin ups on the window sill outside of the girls’ locker room in eighth grade.

You may remember our long running and completely fictional feud documented here and here.

Beardsley, or Beardzilla, appeared in his human form last night sans Godzilla body and laser Gu shooting eyes. He chatted amiably with local runners as he sat at a table signing their books and posters. I arrived a bit late and just before the scheduled speech but I could feel the tension once I walked in. Clearly, Beardzilla was here to take an early appraisal of me before our second tango on Heartbreak Hill. He got the better of me last year but, in this second game of chicken, Beardzilla blinked first. After all, I didn’t fly to Texas to do a speech within a mile of his home did I?

I spent the few minutes before the scheduled speaking time looking over the new shoes, perusing the running shorts, and fondling the wicking socks. A long and steady line of folks – or his “minions” as I call them – approached his makeshift altar for some sort of written instructions inscribed onto the front flap of their Beardsley bibles. Obviously, I’ve underestimated the depth of this anti-Nitmos conspiracy.

I could feel his eyes burning into the back of my calves as I wandered about the store. I’m pretty sure his head spun around backwards like The Exorcist’s Regan when I silently moved behind him. We were like two caged tigers pacing, alert and vigilant, each waiting for the other to make the first move. In the background, a large screen projection of the final minutes of his near miss in the legendary 1982 Boston Marathon (chronicled in Duel in the Sun) repeated in a loop. Every six minutes or so, Beardsley would barely lose again to the “unbeatable” Alberto Salazar.

Finally, Beardsley took the floor for his talk. His forked tongue* spewed out hilarious tales of awkward teenage rejection, inspiring anecdotes about his running failures and how his positive attitude carried him forward with each new setback, and his almost unbelievable tragedies involving tractors, T-bones, trucks, and cliffs all occurring within a short time frame. His stories about his drug abuse were heartfelt and emotional. Beardsley’s voice trembled and almost broke as he revealed the hurt it caused to his family and friends.

In short, the man appeared distinctly human and genuinely likable. For a brief period, I even regretted superimposing his head onto a Godzilla body and assigning him all sorts of maniacal characteristics. An apology felt in order.

Dick and Jill Beardsley now run the Dick Beardsley Foundation to benefit those struggling with chemical dependency. As he mentioned last night, it’s a difficult charity to garner contributors as – unlike cancer or diabetes or muscular disease sufferers – those suffering a chemical dependency are often looked upon as weak and are left to struggle with their disease on their own. Folks leap to help out a cancer patient but frown at someone with a chemical dependency. Just try coaching your daughters soccer team after 14 beers and see what I mean. You can really feel the negative vibes from the parents. Trust me. It’s a worthwhile charity and one I recommend you all check out and, if you feel motivated, contribute. Here’s the link again.

When the talk concluded, I realized 80 minutes had gone by in a flash. I had the feeling the man could talk all night if you let him. Sadly, we did not get to hear about how his eye got glued shut though I will never approach a tractor again, thankyouverymuch. I was intermittently inspired, laughed my ass off, motivated and touched by his personal stories.

Then, it dawned on me. I had been mesmerized for over an hour. He’s a mind control ninja. Obviously, he had decided that, physically, I would not be beaten on Heartbreak Hill again but, maybe, mentally, he could destroy me.

Nice try.

The final laugh is on him. We are only six weeks out from the 2009 Boston Marathon. However, I will not be returning to Boston until 2010.

Ha and ha.

Happy trails.

* Unconfirmed.
_________________________________

I am still sabbaticaling. You have not cried out loudly and repetitively enough for my return. My ego takes tremendous stroking and you are all treating me like some anonymous, easily replaceable blogger and we both know that ain't the case. Sadly, March promises to be even more busy for me than February.
_________________________________

I am preparing diligently for my "fun run" Flying Pig Marathon on May 3rd. Despite the freezing ass weather, I have hit every scheduled run - a first for January and February training for me. My love for marathon training was renewed this past weekend when, after four weeks of long runs in the 15-16 mile range, I did an "easy" thirteen. I love the fact that a half marathon is considered an easy training distance!

Sunday: 13 miles @ 7:18 pace in full on Sherpa training gear.

Last night: My first Limbo run of the year! 5 miles @ 6:55 pace. Miles of 7:14, 7:03, 7;02, 6:45, 6:29.

36 comments:

Sun Runner said...

Nice to see you again (however brief the appearance may be). I just know you're loving this late-winter MI weather, eh? On the bright side, it's supposed to hit 50 on Thursday.

I think you've got an orphaned asterisk in there. Something about Beardzilla's forked tongue?

Vanilla said...

But you did punch him in the face, right? Tell me you at least punched him in the face.

Xenia said...

Nice to know you're still getting your sherpa on.

As for stroking your ego, doesn't my threat to cast you in another of my whacked out stories mean anything to you? *sniff*

Happy continued sabbaticalling.

Nitmos said...

Asterisk inserted. Thank you. I'm out of shape, asterisk-wise.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

I myself spent some time offline a while back. Like you, I spent a lot of that time " fondling the wicking socks" (nudge-nudge, wink-wink).

But the Intertubes has the best - um - wicking-socks-fondling sites.

WAY better than that tattered issue of Playsocks you've been "wicking off" to. I assume.

So come back, already!

Jess said...

Damnit you fooled me....I thought you were back for real.

Blyfinn said...

Nice to see that you're still out there and kicking. Made all your runs for Jan. AND Feb.! That is immortal.

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

'Limbo' run? I like it. Keep up the training and don't let Beardley Jedi-mindtrick you into not showing up in 2010.

Kristina said...

How many llama references must we make to get you back in blogland?
And, you're very astute about my spiteful review. If they're not gonna send me shoes that fit, they're gonna get a review of shoes that don't fit. So there.

Roisin said...

Yay! You're (almost) back!

I saw a poster in the Naperville Running Company store advertising a Beardsley appearance soon too. It made me think of you.

I can totally head down there to punch him if you want.

Jess said...

Nitmos, you tease, don't "sabbatical" for too long.

KimsRunning said...

I knew deep down inside you loved him...lol

C'mon back...you are missed!!!

tfh said...

This post had me snorting with repressed laughter at my desk until you had to go ruin it all with the nasty "still sabbaticaling" comment. Come on. You owe those of us who are trying to shirk work SOMETHING. Otherwise, Beardsley WINS.

Mike G said...

Wow you were kind of rude to that poor old guy.

How do you know precisely what your mile splits were? Do you use a Garmin? If so which one. So it will break up each individual mile for yoiu, nice.

Nitmos said...

Poor old guy? He looked like he could still knock off a marathon quicker than me if someone shouted "GO". I trust the Beardsley's recognize playful teasing...I hope.

I use a Garmin 205(p.b.t.n.) and it will break at whatever you set it to (miles...800's...1/4 miles.etc)..

The Laminator said...

You are one sly dog! Did Beardsley by chance mention whether he'll be running this year's version of the big bad rase? I'm looking forward to meeting him there personally next month.

As for you...meh, you're not really back until you're fully back!

Marathon Maritza said...

whaa whaa please come back! Whaaa whaaa I can't blog or blog-read without you! Whaa whaa I neeeeeeedddd your posts and funnnnnnyy quips!

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa*








*good enough?

theloosemoose said...

Did you see what maritza wrote? Consider your ego stroked and come back, already!!

Awesome pace on those runs, btw. COnsider me impressed/insanely jealous.

joyRuN said...

You're like those nip pasties already with all this teasing.

I agree with the moose - maritza's plea should be plenty!

Coachhrd said...

Too bad we won't see you on Heartbreak Hill until '10.

Run For Life said...

Come back Nitmos! We miss you and your tales of the saga b/w you and Beardsley.

chia said...

Booo, no more sabbaticalling :-(

carla said...

waaaaaaaah.
how did I get so behind??

I thought you werent posting.

off to catch up.

Spike said...

you sabbatical the way Michael Jordan retires...I'm gone, I'm back, I'm gone again, I'm back again...its tiresome.

I had to miss Beardsley's appearance, and now I'm sad that I did. I could have seen two of my heroes.

jen said...

Great story Nitmos. I read the Duel in the Sun and Beardsly sounds like an amazing person. I'm glad you didn't heckle him. :)

We miss you lots, come baaaaaaack.

Ms. V. said...

Nice to see you're still running.

I'm waiting patiently until you are fully present in my Zen. Until then, keep enjoying sabbaticalling...

sRod said...

Awesome. Love it. If sabbaticalling means you get to write posts like this all the time, I suggest you take a permament sabbatical.

Hope alls going well.

AKA Alice said...

Ego stroking...what is it with you men and the need for stroking...

Vava said...

80 minutes and you felt he could keep going on and on if he was allowed? I know it's in poor taste, but the first thing I thought of when I read that was, "What's he smokin'?" I'll try the 14 beer thing when I coach my son's baseball team this summer.

... maybe.

Velma said...

I am glad fun was had at Playmakers. Great store. Come back!

Stuart said...

Oh nice job on the limbo run very sweet numbers!

I am sure Dick is playing the long game!

Jessica said...

Nitmos! Great post...how much crying do we have to do to get you back...wallowing, begging...what's it gonna take?? Llamas? Nice to hear from you.

nwgdc said...

yeah. any time now...
the flying pig training needs to be updated.

nwgdc said...

by the way, the word verification for my last comment was "hurrytheeffupandstartpostingagainnitmos"

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Me sabbatical too. Yours seems more contested. :D Good luck with Flying Pig. If your last mile was 6:29, clearly you were slacking off early.

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