Monday, June 29, 2009

Interval Blogging #1

4 x Pop Culture intervals today


Is everybody Michael Jacksoned out yet? I had some thoughts bubble to the surface this weekend and I know you’ve all been waiting for me to weigh in. This is kinda like when Rudy Giuliani appeared on Saturday Night Live after 9/11 and was asked if it was alright to laugh again. Of course it’s alright to laugh again. Otherwise, really, haven’t the cosmetic surgeons won? Here’s a menagerie of pop culture et al intervals. Beware of falling Michael Jackson references.

100 meters

File under: You know you are a runner when…

You walk into your office bathroom and, confronted with the dark yellow, unflushed urine of a co-worker, first think to yourself: Dude needs to hydrate.

400 meters


With all the round-the-clock Jackson coverage, the one thing neat to see is both of my kids new found fascination with the moonwalk. Talk about a flashback to the 80’s! They are trying to moonwalk all over my smooth kitchen floor. If that’s the one thing they take from Michael Jackson, I can be thankful. I was silently fearing they would want a nose job. Who’s got the money for rhinoplasty these days?

800 meters

Blood Run

Against my will, we watched Twilight this weekend. Before you demand my Man card (and Adult card), know that I attempted to rent a four hour documentary on the History of the Super Bowl* but was overruled.

Bo-ring. What is the fascination with Twilight? Vampires, right? Where was the blood? The pointy fangs? Nothing. Just a bunch of pasty faced, sullen looking folks walking around with a chip on their shoulder. They were more emo than vampire.

At a few different points, they show the vampires racing through the woods at super sonic speed and I found my mind wandering to what it would be like to have that speed for a 5k. And why don’t vampires enter 5k’s if they can run like that? Or maybe they do and go just fast enough to make it look normal? Do they make blood flavored Gatorade? And are the undead technically even eligible for local 5k’s? Should we look into amending the rules?

Back to the movie…where were we? Oh, yeah, another blank faced, non dangerous vampire expressing feelings and not killing anyone. Pass the chips.

1600 meters

The Curious Case of Michael Jackson

Here’s an interesting conundrum: What do you tell your kids about this guy? They’re watching all the coverage, seeing the immense talent on display in the videos and concert footage, and then seeing the reports about his life and trials. And I mean Trials. Why was he on trial? What did he do to those kids? Why was he black and now he’s white? What happened to his nose? The questions go on and on.

Before all of these retrospectives, my kids only knew of the freaky Michael. They had no idea the guy could actually sing and dance like that. In fact, my kids are so young they are only aware of Crazy Britney too. They had no clue that there exists a pre-Freak Michael and a pre-Crazy Britney. O.J. has always been an acquitted murderer. And Star Wars is a big, bloated special effects series starring Jar Jar Binks. The shame.

I’ve found myself answering every one of their questions with a qualifier. Yes, he sure could sing and dance but….Or this video is from when he was normal. This one is before Bubbles the chimp. I bet this video was shot between nose job 7 and 8. Things like that. Viewing these videographies is like watching a man disintegrate before your eyes. And then trying to explain why to your kids.

I find myself feeling guilty for recognizing the man’s talent without pointing out the flaws lest I want to appear to be condoning his behavior. I know not everyone’s perfect – present company excluded - but I don’t want a grandchild named Blanket either. Just sayin’

Cool Down

These blogging intervals went about as well as my actual intervals this weekend. That is too say painful and a real struggle. 2 x 1600 meters with a 800m recovery between. First 1600 @ 5:43, I’ll take that. Second @ 5:59, I won’t take that. Maybe it was the one glove I was wearing that slowed me down. Rhinestone studs aren’t wind contoured.

Now, beat it.

* Some people call it “Steel Magnolias”.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Silly Old Bear

I used to have a Winnie the Pooh bear stuffed animal when I was a wee lad. I’m not going to lie to you, I snuggled that thing until its little red shirt started to rip and tear. It wasn’t til years later that I came across him again and – noticing the lack of pants now – became slightly uncomfortable and began an intensive re-evaluation of my childhood. Here I had been carrying on a mostly platonic relationship with Winnie the Eunuch all those years while my parents coyly sat by playing Mr. Furley to my Jack Tripper.

The funny thing is, I’m not really a boobPooh guy either. Tigger always seemed the cool one - all hopped up on amphetamines and bouncing around the 100 Acre Woods one glow stick and pacifier short of turning the place into a rave. I even donned a papier mache Tigger head and costume for the local parade one year at the age of twelve (no amphetamines for me though.) My buddy got stuck with the Pooh costume. He thought it was better at the time. Ha, jokes on you, eunuch.

There’s been a lot written about Pooh and friends and their character traits. Some real deep psycho babble stuff trying to correlate each of their personalities to a certain human psychological profile. For the record, I think that kind of stuff is stupid. They’re playful kids book characters for chrissakes. Leave ‘em alone!

No, if anything, they should be compared to runner’s personalities. See, “experts”? You’ve been one upped by a jackass with a blog.

I think we’ve all seen these type of folks at a race:

The Pooh

As written: Silly, very little brains, loves honey, easy going, wants to solve ‘rumblee in tumblee’ crisis.
As a runner: Didn’t train for the race, not exactly sure how far “10k” is in “feet”, forms a human barrier with other Pooh runners preventing anyone from passing, seeks race medal like pot of honey

The Tigger

As written: bouncy, is the "only one”, likes to bounce because that’s what he does best, appears to have a chemical dependency, is a headstrong risk taker.
As a runner: hardcore runner, trains hard and challenges for PR’s, will endanger everyone’s life around them to get what they want, will run until vomiting, is ‘high on life’ (and prescription drugs)


As written: gloomy, has tail detachment issues, thanks you for noticing him, a real negative Nelly, the closest character to the hated llama in the bunch.
As a runner: tries hard but always fears the worst, poor attitude limits training, needs constant encouragement, could run better if stopped making excuses all the time, always runs directly beneath a rain cloud.


As written: effeminate, likes balloons
As a runner: effeminate, likes sparkly race medals


As written: very organized, confident, pushy, arrogant, yellow, likes to wear aprons
As a runner: extremely detailed training plan, all the latest technological running gadgets, looks down the nose at the newbie runner, wears aprons

Kanga and Roo

As written: “Now now Roo, you mustn’t do that dear”, “But momma”, a real yin-yang thing going on here, bipolar, dominant-submissive
As a runner: can never decide on a race strategy, goes too fast then too cautious, can never get the balance just right, on Zoloft, nickname may be Master...or The Gimp.

Christopher Robin

As written: friend to everyone, likes birthday parties and yellow shirt wearing, over active imagination probably indicates actual Christopher Robin is in a coma
As a runner: that annoying, over eager runner that bounces around at the start line chatting everyone up but has a closet full of Field Day “participation” awards, nice guy but, dude, we are running a race here, and what’s up with the non-moisture wicking yellow shirt?

Which one are you? A combination of some or all?

I’m probably a bit of a Tigger with some Rabbit thrown in. I like to go all out on race day even it means nudging a slower, Gatorade sipping runner head first into the aid station table (water cups spraying everywhere) with a barely noticeable hip check on my way through. And I’m extremely anal about training schedules and planning. In fact, you could say that my I’m so anal that I’m stitched up tighter than my old stuffed Pooh’s posterior.

And, now that I think about it, maybe I do have a dash of Pooh also. I typically run my races pantless and slathered in honey. There’s nothing more enjoyable than the sound of a bottomless race: Thud slap thud slap.

Don’t assume you know what the ‘thud’ is.

Happy trails and Have A Great Weekend!

Two mile time trial this weekend! Saturday = 2 x 1600 with 800m recovery between. This should really give me a clue as to 5k readiness. Shooting for 5:45 pace for the 1600's! Sunday = 8-10 mile long run.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Where's My Taper?

One of the most beloved time periods in any runner’s half or full marathon training plan is, of course, The Taper. That blessed two week time period leading into the race where you pull back on mileage, rest weary muscles, recover strength, become increasingly agitated, and fear every individual Dorito will add 10 lbs to the back of your neck and decrease your pace by 30 seconds a mile. A whole bag of Doritos during taper? Well, you might as well spit at the running gods and run in a cotton t-shirt and jean short cutoffs without body glide.

I love my tapers. But I’m not training for a marathon or even a half marathon. It’s 5k time around these parts. June was the month for 5k training. July is the month for 5k racing. I have three 5k’s planned over a 4 weekend time period beginning July 11th. Three cracks at my SOS2 goal of sub 18 minutes. I must have been smoking crack when I set that goal because it seems like an awfully long way to go from where I’m at now.

My first 5k is in 2 ½ weeks. Normally, this weekend would mark the beginning of taper - if I was training for a marathon. But there is no taper in 5k training. That’s not entirely true. Two days before the race, I’ll probably exchange my hard Thursday run for an easy run but what kind of taper is that? I can’t work up nearly enough fear, doubt, and self pity in 48 hours to make it worthwhile. What’s a taper without a few new neuroses to over analyze?

I’m feeling marginally confident that a 5k PR may be set. At least, my 800 interval times are better at this point than they were a year ago. But I still have another 2 weeks to ponder a list of reasons why my training times are giving me a false positive. Viper seems to have the market cornered on big red FAILS for track intervals but mine haven’t been exactly where I want them either. Remember, I’m the arrogant, boastful blogger so you understand I can’t liter my blog with FAILS all over the place, right? (It would look equally awkward if Viper had a bunch of big red SUCCESSes on his blog.)

So, the next two weeks I will be untapering. More intervals. More mile repeats. More fist shaking anger at the headwind coming around turn 3. More pain all the way to race day. And, hopefully, very few reasons to believe there is a false positive.

Amy and Jess might be birthing real babies. I’m just hoping to birth a healthy, happy 5k. I plan to name him Pee-Are and I’ll thankyouverymuch to be respectful towards his name lest you want to give him a neurosis.

Happy trails.

Banned on the Run

As you’ve probably already heard, there is a new podcast in town. I’ve linked to it on the sidebar in case you are lazy and, maybe, just a little stupid and haven’t done so already. Vanilla, Amy, RazZ, and I hope to make these a regular occurrence. And, trust me, they’ll get better at them over time. You’ve heard the slogan ‘when you reach rock bottom, there is only one way to go’ right? Well, the arrows are pointing…UP!

This show features a riveting discussion on Speed 2 and Jason Patric starring roles. Topical! Also, a mid show golden shower is always entertaining…

Leave your comments over at the Banned on the Run site as well as any topic ideas or email questions. We may respond to your question in a future podcast. You may not like the answer. Most likely, we will respond by outright mocking you. But it is all done in good fun. Mostly. Sometimes, we just might really think you are an a-hole and your question sucks. You be the judge.

What has two thumbs and ran early this morning? THIS GUY! (I don't know if that works in this media format.) 5x800 in the sweltering, humid early morning heat. Average pace for each interval was 2:55. Again, my goal is 2:50 but considering I was sweating like Pauly Shore at a Hamlet audition, it went alright. But, look at me! I ran IN THE MORNING!

Monday, June 22, 2009


My Father’s Day got off to an inauspicious start.

On Saturday evening, I had announced, in that charming, direct, borderline rude way that I do, that I would desire breakfast in bed on Sunday. Implied in that, I assumed, was that I would be getting a full course breakfast – eggs, bacon, toast, assorted fruit chunks – as well as slippers and a newspaper to read. Maybe a little Mrs. Nitmos in a delightful house dress with an apron? The children, with their hair perfectly coiffed, bounding around me eager to present gifts bearing World’s Greatest/Handsomest/Muscularest Dad slogans. You know, the whole Father Knows Best thing. Or, for folks more my age, the whole Brady Bunch thing (the pre-AIDS Mr. Brady, of course.)


They brought me breakfast alright. Orange juice and Frosted Mini-Wheats. I’m not really a ‘glass is half full’ kinda guy. In fact, I’m not really a ‘glass is half empty’ kinda guy either. Usually, I just see a filthy glass that needs to be cleaned never mind the level of the contents inside. (paging Dr. Freud!) No, no, no, this is all wrong. I like my Mini-Wheats laid out in the bowl in a particular order to maximize the wheat square per bowl ratio. I hand select each Mini-Wheat from the box and place four across the bottom in a neat row. One more along the top and bottom of the row. Then, one more layer of three across going the opposite direction of the four wheat sub layer. Fill in with broken partial chunks and add milk until it tickles the underbelly of the upper layer of wheats. Duhhh, everyone knows this. Instead, it appears that they just dumped the Mini-Wheats into the bowl straight from the box. They were all topsy-turvy and jutting out at every angle. How am I supposed to eat ‘em like that? There were wheatless air pockets everywhere inside that bowl.

And to top it off no newspaper. Oh, I shouted out a few times from the upstairs bedroom where I ate alone (from my non-World’s Greatest Dad mug. WTF?!). “NEWSPAPER!” I demanded. No newspaper. “NEWSPAPER!” I shouted again periodically. No newspaper ever came. Sonofa….This is the gratitude I get for being the World’s Greatest Dad? A man can’t even get a pre-Y2K news bearing relic like the newspaper? (I assume they still sell them locally? I get all my news from the interweb which is probably why I think the only news in the last five years is that people want to elongate my penis with pills from a Canadian pharmacy.)

Of course, doing as I do, I continually shouted “NEWSPAPER!” whenever I didn’t like something the rest of the day. My 8 mile “long run” turned into a sweat soaked, shirtless 6.5 mile “longish run” due to the heat and belly full of sloshing wheat. I returned home, showered, and carelessly tossed my stinking, soaked running clothes down the stairs to the basement. Mrs. Nitmos tells me that it would be nice if I walked them over to the washer so she didn’t have to handle the wet clothes. I looked at her and snapped “NEWSPAPER!”

Later, we went to the gym pool to swim and slide gleefully down the water slide a few times. Once again, I spotted an unidentifiable glob of something on the stairs up to the slide. It was deep purple and resembled a partially digested jelly bean that was hacked up onto the stairs. Honestly, people, can we all agree to keep this kinda shit out of a public area where people are walking around in bare feet? Is this too much to ask? What’s a purple jelly beanish glob doing on a water slide staircase? This isn’t a 365 Days of Easter gym and there wasn’t a jelly bean spittoon anywhere in sight. I shook my head, muttered “Newspaper!”, and stepped over it. At least it wasn’t a bloody Band-Aid.

By the end of a day, we had played a little wiffle baseball, knocked some golf balls around and went out to dinner.* They redeemed themselves from the huge faux pas that started the day. I didn’t get my newspaper but I got the love and companionship from my wife and kids.

So, I’d say it was about a draw.

Happy trails.

* At dinner, we overheard an amusing conspiracy theory from a dude wearing a “Been There…Fished That” t-shirt wherein – did you hear this yet? - the government is going to release the swine flu again this fall to trick people into spending money on flu shots. So, beware.

I did a mile (or 1600m) time trial on Saturday. After a 1600m warm-up, I managed 4 laps (1600m) in 5:44. I was hoping for 5:40. Then, an 800m recovery and a hard 800m in 2:55 (hoping for 2:50!) Getting closer but still not at sub 18 5k speed yet. Newspaper! Next weekend, a 2 mile time trial (separated by 800m recovery.) The 5k’s are getting closer! No time to lose!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Randumbery VI: Home of The Original

I used to run this semi regular feature called "Randumbness" about, as you would guess, various random and dumb things going on. It was a nice page filler. You thought you were getting actual carefully constructed content. Instead, you were getting fluff, filler, time wasters. I'm not saying this to foreshadow this post. I'm just saying the post title is Randumbery and if you can put 2 and 2 together....well, we'll both be pleasantly surprised at your cognitive skills.

First, there is no substitute for The Original Randumbery. After the Indiana Jones movies came out, did anyone really need the Allan Quartermain series? Does anyone remember the Allan Quartermain films? There were two. They made a sequel. So, the recent Half-Fast v. Feet Meet Street hubbub started when Vanilla attempted to Quartermain me with his Rundum Thoughts post. Everyone knows I have the market cornered on semi-regular random thoughts posts through-out the entire world wide web. Let’s face it, it’s such a unique concept that no one could possibly have come up with it on their own. I believe that thunderbolt hit me while I was crafting a race report in mile by mile breakdowns in my entirely original way that I do. Little did I know then that I’d be Quartermained in both my race report structure AND random thought posts.

On with the show…


There is a new runner friendly website in town. You may have heard about it already. If you have, then it appears I’ve been pre-Quartermained and I’ll be contacting my attorneys. It’s called Racevine…and you should be humming along with Marvin Gaye “I heard it though the racevine.” This site is designed to be a one stop spot to learn about details of your next race. It features reviews from folks who have participated in the race. You’ll no doubt discover a few secrets that the official race web sites really didn’t want you to know about their race. (i.e. This course is a lot harder than they let on. And the person who handed me the medal gave me the stink eye.) You can – and should – post your own race reviews as well so others may learn from your failure experience. It’s easy to navigate and you can annoy others by constantly singing that you “heard it through the racevine.” Catchy, right?

Thanks but…

Believe it or not, I’m usually quite pleasant and polite to strangers. I even feel vicarious embarrassment when I see someone else do something embarrassing. Rarely, for example, would I clap for the person who dropped their tray breaking all of the plates in a cafeteria. I always avert my head to laugh when one of my filly’s teammates swing the t-ball bat so hard that they wrap themselves around slugging themselves in the back of the head. And mall fatties? Sure, I might think ‘do you really need to double fist those Peanut Butter Parfaits’ but I never say it. I do all of the laughing behind these people’s backs (and on this blog) which, I think, somehow makes me a better person.

But I was challenged the other day. My colt was practicing his pitching. I was catching. This takes place on our front sidewalk. He overthrew one that got behind me and bounded away down the concrete coming to a rest in the direction of an approaching runner. Of course, I was hoping the runner would stop, pick it up and throw it back (something I sure as hell wouldn’t do; pace killer!) so I took a few of those obviously stilted and slow strides in the direction of the ball to try to entice him to get it. He did. Nice guy. I smiled, held open my glove, and waited. He took a few steps and then...kept walking towards me. Awk-ward. Hand delivering the baseball? That’s a little too personal for my tastes, no thanks. He probably sensed my heebie-jeebies. Maybe by the downturn cringing frown that spread across my face as if I just watched a family dog get run over by a tow truck. Then, he stopped, looked at the ball, and chucked it. He was no more than 20 feet away, a completely manageable throw for a full grown adult human male.

I have never seen a ball thrown more poorly. His arm kinda hitched mid-throw and it took off roughly 15 feet into the air over my head and into a tree. It rattled and bounced against the tree limbs like it was making its way down the Price is Right Plinko board. Oh, I tried to catch it. I could already feel my face getting red due to his embarrassment. I followed the ball as it bounced back and forth trying to line myself up to where I thought it would come out.


It hit the ground again about halfway between me and him. Even through his sun glasses, I could see and feel his humiliation. I wanted to say “Sorry” and “Better luck next time” or “Half way is better than nothing” but instead, I croaked out a “Well, thanks. Appreciate the help.” He stammered and muttered something about ‘no problem’ but we both knew that was a lie. Clearly, it was a problem.

As he resumed his run, I turned to throw the ball back to my colt with a huge grin on my face. This was too funny not to laugh out loud. I returned to my catcher’s crouch and watched him run off at right angle surprised he was getting the whole left, right, left, right thing down with his legs without tripping.


I’m not going to spill the details but we’ve been busy recording another podcast. If you don’t know who I mean by “we”, you must be a new reader. I’ll leave it to you to rummage through my archives to find out who constitutes a “we.” Besides, there’s some good shit in there and you should do it anyway (careful, there's few posts describing fruit falling from my anus. Fair warning.) Some of you will no doubt be expecting me to call one of the participants Mr. Quartermain but I will refrain. It’s been awhile. More details to come.

And that, my friends, is how Randumbery is actually done. In novella form.

Have a great weekend!
A one mile 5k training time trial and 8 mile "long run" (or is that a medium run?) on tap for me this weekend. Keep working hard. It's racing season!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Shirtless Coalition

I’m going to use this format as my way of coming out of the closet. The clothes closet, that is. Or, in this case, the no clothes closet. I’m not talking about streaking. These guys cover that. I’m talking about the distinctly male issue of whether or not it’s okay to go shirtless on a summer day’s run.

I’ve seen a recent up tick of blog posts about this topic (mentioned here and here for two but elsewhere also, I’m sure) and the general theme is, no, a man shouldn’t run sans top. It’s considered bad form. It’s cocky. It’s frowned upon. Well, I’m announcing that, on warm summer days, I run without my shirt.

I’m here. I’m shirt-free. Deal with it.

The shirtless male runner is one of the few prejudiced against groups remaining in the United States these days. Nobody - and I mean nobody - has it worse than us. And we’re tired of it. Though we wear no shirt, we have every right to the road edges and sidewalks. Though you can see the glistening pools of sweat on our chests and treasure trails, we are entitled to a friendly passing runner greeting. If we stumble and fall over a popped up slice of concrete, do we not bleed?

Do the folks who condemn the shirtless male runner also condemn a shirtless female runner? I think not. No, they encourage it. Double standards!

I know, I know, you are probably thinking, ‘Nitmos, of course you are allowed to run shirtless. My God, those granite chiseled pecs!’ And I get that. When you hear “Beefcake!” shouted at you several times over the course of a leisurely, topless June run, you start to think you are immune to the scorn of the Anti-Shirt Choice establishment.

But I have to support my less well developed (or overly developed) bare-chested brethren (or sistern – really, we ALL encourage that.) We are HERE. We are SHIRT-FREE. DEAL WITH IT!

Have you ever felt the warm summer air pass over the dimpled convex bumps of your exposed areola?

Have you ever let the flood of chest sweat run unimpeded down to your gray running shorts, dampening them in a triangular pattern that makes it appear as if you’ve wet yourself?

Before you head out for a run, have you ever had to inspect your torso and shoulders for flaming, ripe whiteheads to explode (these reflect in the sun and blind passing drivers)?

If you answered No to any of these questions, quite simply, you haven’t lived.

Vote now to show your support for the shirtless runner. We are HERE. We are SHIRT-FREE. Deal with it.

Would you have me wear frilly tassels on my summer runs? Would that make you feel more comfortable? I could swing them around in exotic, nipple-bending circles for your amusement.

I realize that my chest hair is sparse. In fact, my areola’s are dotted with a ring of single hair follicles laid out like Stonehenge. The sweat runs down the shaft of each strand and lingers on the end like a bulb on Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree before jettisoning to the sidewalk or onto the back of a passing dog. It’s not all glamorous but it’s the price I pay to be topless and happy during summer running.

I’m taking a stand. I refuse to acknowledge the scorn from the Anti-Shirt Choice crowd. I will be running sans top ALL SUMMER LONG. Even during chilly rain storms.

I propose that this July 4th all of the Shirt Choicers out there burn a moisture wicking short sleeve running shirt in protest. Susan B. Anthony, Cesar Chavez, and Ghandi (yes, I said GHandi) have nothing on us. Please leave your supportive thoughts in the comments.


But what’s up with those dudes with the skimpy little split leg running shorts that ride up their hip? Ewww, gross.

Happy trails.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Ever Expanding Oval

Why does my local track resemble an aging males prostate?

As a late 30’s male, I’m only a few years away from regular visits to Dr. Jellyfinger. Now, however, my prostate means nothing more to me than a distant health warning such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Wilford Brimleyism.* But I feel like I’m getting to know my future prostate right now. 400 meters at a time.

I’ve been doubling up on my weekly track interval work-outs in an effort to reach my SOS2 goal of sub 18:00 5k. Right now, I’d say there is, at best, a 50/50 chance of meeting that goal (which, ironically, is the same percentage of an enlarged prostate in men over 50.) I’m doing 800’s on Tuesday and 400’s on Saturday. Those 400’s will turn into mile repeats real soon.

I arrive at the track all fresh faced and spunky. Just a kid, really. Still wet behind the ears and full of piss** and vinegar.*** I’m looking to knock out a reasonable 6x400 with one lap cool downs between each. Shouldn’t be too much trouble right? Really, that’s a total of 11 laps around the track. Not even three miles. An elderly man could eat a heaping bowl of warm Quaker Oats during that time. I can certainly burn some rubber around this oval.

I start on my first 400 meters. 400 meters later, I come to the end and hit the lap button. Okay, not bad. About where I want to be time-wise. Cool down lap. Nine laps to go…

And then the next lap seems slightly larger. There’s no way that was 400 meters again. More like 420 or 430 meters. I was running a bit harder and yet I came in a few seconds slower. The oval has enlarged. I was running fast but there is no way I caused enough heat for the track to expand. I’m capable of many things but sudden track prostatism isn’t one of ‘em.

Sure enough, every lap seemed just a bit longer than the last. Interval four? Easily 450 meters. My form was rapidly deteriorating. I was hunching and muttering to myself and even had the sudden, misplaced desire to play bingo.

As I re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and rounded the corner on my final lap, I felt like a big, fat walrus. A walrus with a belly full of traditional breakfast foods and sporting a Taftian facial growth. Orf, orf, orf, I was going to make it to the finish line, orf, orf. I don’t care if the track had expanded to 14,000 meters by the eleventh lap (sixth interval). No exaggeration.

In the end, I came close to my goal of maintaining an average pace of 1:20 for the 6 intervals. I clocked in at 1:22. Considering the way the track enlarged, I was pretty happy with that. All of my summer 5k’s would be point-to-point, more like an intestine than a prostate anyhow. Very little chance for enlargement. So, I’ll be that much further ahead.

As I cooled down with one final lap (surprisingly, already back to 400 meters), I took stock of some symptoms I was experiencing: Increased thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, blurred vision. Maybe I was using the wrong Wilford Brimley analogies. The track didn’t enlarge like a prostate. I didn’t want Quaker Oats, even if it is the right thing to do and the tasty way to do it.

No, based on those symptoms, maybe I have Diabeetus?

Happy trails.

* Senior onset of over-sized mustache, suspenders, and cane shaking anger. Also, to those who googled ‘Wilford Brimley’s prostate’, welcome to Feet Meet Street! You belong here.
** The track bathroom is always locked.
*** I like cole slaw.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mrs. Nitmos 12, Treadmill 1

Since I previously reported that Mrs. Nitmos had been soundly defeated in her first match with the treadmill, I felt she was owed a public update. You’ll recall that in her first experience, she wound up jetting into the wall behind in a crumpled heap with my mp3 player bouncing to a rest several feet away. If you don’t recall this, we’ll wait while you click the link and refresh your memory.

After Mrs. Nitmos read this, she was highly amused. She got this weird grin on her face and just kept staring and staring at me and asking me things like “ever hear of Lorena Bobbitt?” (Answer: No. Is she a successful treadmiller?) and “have you ever been set on fire in your sleep?” To be honest, I didn’t find it quite as funny as my uneasy laugh conveyed. It was a bit unnerving really. Usually I find self-immolation hilarious too. Non-self immolation? Not as funny.

Sadly, she reminded me – after that last incident – that I forgot the single funniest part of the treadmill pwning: her pants had become tangled on the treadmill handlebar causing her to hang awkwardly off on one foot for a brief moment before the complete and total ejection. I will say again: where’s a closed circuit video camera when you need it?! And how could I have missed this part of the tale in its retelling? It sounds like the only thing missing was someone going whup whup whup nyuk nyuk nyuk during the event. Oh, wait, I was doing that.

She’s been back to the gym many times since then. Not once has she ended up slamming into the wall behind in a hilariously comedic tumble. In fact, I’m pretty proud of her. Without any goading from me, she’s even started running a few miles on the mill. She’s doing this all on her own. Sure I make little tsk tsk sounds and critique her stride, overall form, and hydration technique all the while staring at a stopwatch to measure pace but what else would you expect? Since starting several weeks back, she’s knocked several minutes off her per mile pace. Snot rocketing? A work in progress.

There’s even been talk of Mrs. Nitmos and I, along with some others, joining together to run the Detroit Marathon 5 person relay this fall. How cool would that be? I could once again display my majestic stride in a public forum. And Mrs. Nitmos would be safe from reverse mid stride ejection while on an immobile asphalt footing. A win-win.

Go, Mrs. Nitmos, go! You’re the next Lorena Bobbitt! (Am I referencing this correctly?)

Wanna Hear Something Gross?

Since the internet seems to be awash with mimicry, I thought I’d try out a new, completely unique feature called Wanna Hear Something Gross? Of course, by “hear” I mean “read”. You get that, right? This feature is sure to appear semi-regularly and completely without warning. Kinda like my spastic colon.

My kids are going to summer camps now that school is out. At the end of each camp, they get to swim at a public pool. Now, we’ve warned them many times not to touch anything with their exposed skin or we’ll cheese grater it off when they get home. The motto is You touch it, you lose it.

So, my daughter and I are sitting on the recliner last night reading another chapter in the Junie B. Jones series. She had just gotten out of the shower. Her hair is still a little wet but smells like fresh lilacs just as the shampoo promised. While reading, she reaches down and pulls a Band-Aid off the bottom of her foot. No big deal. Band-Aids are designed to come off. Except, we didn’t put one on her. She had no cut. This is the point where she remembers, hey, there was a Band-Aid next to the pool. I must have stepped on it. And there was blood on it.

After several minutes of dry heaving, I went for the cheese grater.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Slave to the Grind

Your Semi-Weekly Vanillian Attack Response:
Before our regularly scheduled post, a quick response to the weird fixation Half-Fast seems to have with all things Feet Meet Street these days. First, I’m happy that Vanilla, the banker, besides puffing stogies and gleefully observing your disappearing home equity in a plush smoke-filled office somewhere, is taking his much needed tax payer bail out money to spend the time spell checking my referenced historical figures. Try this one: Charles Keating, banker. Did I get it right this time? And for good measure, I’ll throw another disgraced historical figure reference at you: Dick Nixon. Nixon once infamously stated that “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” Applied here, when Nitmos spells it that way, it means it is not incorrect. I might be clothing myself in a mismatched Ghandi (yes, I said Ghandi) – Nixon cheap analogous suit but you are still walking around under a panda carcass pal. And everyone knows skinned, suited pandas aren’t moisture wicking. Score!

Now, on with the show…

My dominatrix training schedule has me tied up doggy style with a big red ball in my mouth. It’s been beating me in the rear with a riding crop and forcing me to call it Daddy. I’m slavishly hitting my Tuesday 800’s, Thursday tempo runs, Saturday 400’s and Sunday long runs in pursuit of my SOS2 goals. The schedule says to do it so I do it. The pain feels sooo good.

And now my knees hate me. Specifically, my MCL’s are pissed. Just for good measure, I think I have a spate of runner’s knee also. Fortunately, everything I read about runner’s knee is that there is not much to do about it other than R.I.C.E and stop slavishly following a training plan. Well, one out of two ain’t bad. Since I usually have a day’s rest between runs, I’m able to revive the knees just in time to destroy them again at the next scheduled track session. Then, I RICE ‘em again that night. What? Where are the holes in this plan?

Recently, though, it has gotten pretty bad. After back to back days of hard runs, Mrs. Nitmos and I took the kids to see Up on Sunday. I took one look at the long flight of theater stairs we were to climb and felt immediately Hugh Hefnerian. Up I went….slowly, painfully. Down I went for popcorn…slowly, painfully. Then back up to watch a cartoon about a spry old man who drags his house, with balloons, to South America when I wasn’t even sure I could drag my 38 year old ass back down the stairs again. I’d be happy with a balloon ride out to the parking lot. (Sidebar: Up was good. It’s probably my favorite balloon-carrying-a-household-object movie since Danny Deckchair.)

On Monday, my knees were still burning with fire so I decided to unshackle the chains and take a break from the training schedule. Tuesday? Nothing. No 800’s. Just me, Mrs. Nitmos, an evening watching my colt win his soccer league, and a late evening complaining to the cable company (Comcast) about their crappy cable (Comcast) and how it went out with seven minutes to go in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals (or, as I call it, being “Comcasted.”)*

I enjoyed the extra day break. I enjoyed it too much. I felt guilty so I returned to Mistress Training Schedule last night when I probably could have used a longer break. And she was pissed. I only did 4 x 800 but the last two felt like Mistress T.S. had me saddled up and furiously beating my haunches with the crop like Mine That Bird in the homestretch at the Kentucky Derby.** 800’s? 2:48, 2:53, 3:00 (who’s your daddy?), 3:00 (I said, who’s your daddy?) Horrible.

My goal is to average 2:50 across the intervals (roughly 5:45 mile pace) so I’m not quite there yet. But, the pain, oh, the pain felt so good. I love it a little rough. My knees are sore again. I iced them down last night again. I think I was treated rougher for taking a day off.

I’ll keep going back. I can’t quit her. However, based on where this is heading, I think we need to agree on a safe word.

Happy trails.

* I encourage all Comcast customers to complain at the first sign of trouble. They throw credits around like flying underwear at a Tom Jones concert. Or so I’ve heard.
** The gratuitous nipple pinching I did on my own. Feel the burn. Try it yourself in the last 100 meters of the final repeat.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Vanilla Hates America

Ghandi had his critics too. I believe they were called “the English.” I’m not comparing myself to Ghandi - despite his impressive record of accomplishments, I’m better looking – but we do share something in common: Persecution by an Englishman.

I don’t know what started the whole flap F.M.S. has going with Half-Fast these days. Like most of you probably assume, I’m the innocent victim of an unprovoked attack. It appears that Vanilla has taken my “words” and interpreted them “literally” to mean exactly what I “meant” to say. Figures. I would expect nothing less from that guy. If you can’t count on someone to misunderstand perfectly worded sarcasm, what can you count on?

I was on my flight to lower Cameroon to bring internet access to nippleless Cameroonian orphans* when I was texted the news of the shameful Vanillian attack on yours truly. By the time we landed, I was in a full panic thinking about the possibility that the orphans, recently connected through a rudimentary dial-up connection, might have stumbled upon Half-Fast and been mind poisoned by his truthfully slanderous comments. I rushed to rip the phone line from the 56k coconut tree.

Too late. I could see from their tear-filled orphan eyes that, besides the whole missing mother and father thing, they had just been handed their worst swift, bloggy punch to their foodless guts.**

“Why does Mr. Vanilla hate you St. Nitmos?” Frung-nuk clucked in Cameroonish.
“Is his heart blackened by all the Pandas he waterboards?” asked Wani-luk.
“Vanilla used to be my favorite baking extract but now…now…it’s chocolate.” sobbed Nitmette.***

I promised the children that my work would go on. Of course, it’d be more difficult and slower now due to the time needed to defend myself from Vanilla’s mean-spirited, llama-esque attacks. Once dial-up is established, we were going to work on high speed….and then wireless. Followed by nipple-forming plastic surgery. And then planting crops for food. Now, it’ll be doubtful if we can get the wireless established before starvation kicks in. Forget even about the nipples. Nice going Vanilla!

As I sat on my nippleless Cameroonian orphan chair, drumming my fingers on the foreheads of the two designated armrest orphans, I considered the best way to respond. I could engage in childish name calling and match fire with fire (dickwad? toolbag? really?). I could turn the other cheek, demand an unwarranted apology, and engage in an attention seeking hunger strike. Or I could respond by placing myself even further on a pedestal (can you all even see my feet anymore?) and make thinly veiled potshots all the while attempting to appear high minded and above the fray. I chose the latter two. Except, I won’t be doing the hunger strike, per se. The orphans will handle that. They’re used to it.

I definitely won’t be engaging in name calling either. That’s too, I don’t know, English somehow. Instead, I thought I’d dangle an olive branch in an attempt to bring this whole kerfuffle to a resolution. We must have common ground. It’s just a matter of finding it. Hmmm, let’s see…

Nitmos likes…

America. Born here, raised here. Looks up to George Washington.

Vanilla likes…

England. Born there, raised there. Thinks Benedict Arnold is a “team player.”

Nitmos likes…

Helping orphans through computer networking and basic furniture creation education.

Vanilla likes…

Depriving orphans of basic needs. And wearing Panda skin suits.

Nitmos likes…

Doing his part for the national and world betterment through important volunteerism.

Vanilla likes…

His career in the world economy strangling banking industry. Finds your depreciating home values “funny.”

Nitmos likes…

Cuddling puppies and kittens.

Vanilla likes…

Punting puppies and kittens for height and distance.

Well, I’ll have to continue to make a list because clearly there’s still no common ground. I’ll keep trying. I’ll keep to the high road. My new motto is “I’ve never made persecution look so good!”

I suggest you visit Half-Fast and let Vanilla know how much you like George Washington also and ask why Vanilla, the banker, hates America. For my Canadian friends, I say “Go Team North America!” High five!

Now back to constructing my wholly original post – in my unique bullet point style – about my latest weekend escapades…Run well and drink well.

Happy trails.

* Carrying forward the work of Ghandi
** Oh, yeah, they are hungry too. One thing at a time people.
*** Don’t ask.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Renee Zellwegger Likes To Run

I decided – out of the clear blue sky – to do this segment in which I feature a celebrity caught in the act of running. The problem here is that, unlike other folks, I’m too lazy to actually find a photo of the featured celebrity actually engaging in the act of running. Now, this particular celebrity might not be as glamorous as, say, Anna Kournikova. And maybe this photo isn’t the best example but here is Renee Zellwegger not running:

Why did you feed me a lemon?

However, here is a post from talking about her running addiction. Unfortunately, her addiction seems to be confined to treadmill running and, apparently, Advil (which explains Me, Myself and Irene.) My favorite part of this referenced post is that they also used the word “copious” which I just had occasion to use in my own last post. Bully for copious!

To be fair, Renee looks much better when wearing make-up and worked over by a team of celebrity fashionistas. However, I still think she always seems to have this odd look on her face as if she just sucked on a lemon, no? To me, she defines “Hollywood beauty.” As in, “if she weren’t in Hollywood and just some regular person working at a grocery store, she wouldn’t be a beauty.”

She does look okay decked out in red and vogueing for the cameras. I find it odd that she’d choose a red carpet event to flex her lats though:

You are under arrest for treadmill abuse.

I’m not sure she "completes me" – only Mrs. Nitmos is allowed to do that – but she might parabola me. (I challenge to work in ‘parabola’ in their next post.)

Keep on runnin’ Renee Zellwegger!

If you think this all sounds familiar, like there’s something more behind this post, an inside joke or something, no, you’re wrong. It’s just a regular ole post by me. Move along, nothing to see here.

Have a great weekend.

Happy trails.


My 400's still aren't up to snuff. 5 x 400 @ average 1:23 pace (I had planned for 1:20 pace). I cannot shake this upper respiratory illness. Perhaps I actually do have swine flu. Maybe I shouldn't make fun of people. See? It's all coming home to roost.

Tomorrow: 4 x 800 @ 2:50 pace and Sunday LR around 8-10 miles.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Hunted

I’m not one for purchasing race photos anymore. For the first couple of marathons, I bought a few of the official photos and now they’ve disappeared into a drawer next to the race medals never to be seen again. When I’m 80 and dealing with bad knees and blood in my urine, I’ll probably take a look at them and sigh wistfully. Then, I’ll look at my withered testes and sigh wistfully again.

Besides, as some of you have pointed out, I wear pretty much the same outfit in every race. It’s awfully hard to distinguish one race from the next when I’m wearing either my red race shirt or blue race shirt and dark blue shorts, with a back drop of bucolic Midwestern charm, in every single photo over the past four years.

I understand the desire to buy the photos – as I said, I have a few myself – because it captures a moment in time and helps to illustrate a story or refresh a memory. It’s your own little souvenir, or monument, of the accomplishment. Or, you might think you just look really cool Schooling Some Fools and want to submit it as evidence for doubtful friends.

Instead of sinking money into race pictures, I’ve erected an actual monument to, well, me. I had a full size statue commissioned to stand at my front door. It’s me wearing my traditional race clothes, with my left foot on a basketball, my left arm flexing skyward displaying my 22 inch gun, my right hand holds a book (The Collected Works of James Joyce), and I’m viewing the book with a sorta bemused, contemplative scholarly stare as if James Joyce couldn’t possible write anything I couldn’t decipher. Mrs. Nitmos and the kids are groveling on the ground and clutching my powerful right leg, arms extended, reaching up towards me as if a simple glance from me would carry their souls to heaven. It’s simple, powerful, classy and understated. It was very expensive but I think it really spruces up the outside of my mobile home. My neighbors, ten feet to my right and left, are extremely jealous. I hear them mocking it every night through their paper thin walls (unless there is a tornado in progress drowning out their envy.)

However, the recent Bayshore 10k photos are a little different than most. They revealed an actual story to tell. I was surprised to see a series of photos showing me locked in a Duel in the Mid Morning Partly Cloudy Sky with a fellow age grouper. I spent all day* working away in MS Paint to bring you this pictorial tour of my last race. Enjoy.

We pick up our tale somewhere after mile marker 5. It’s time for the finishing kick! Though I did not know it at the time, the person in the photo below is in my age group. He stands between me and First Loser (I would ultimately finish second in my age group.)

Note: He did not have a circular purple painted face. His image has been modified to protect his shame.

Notice the intimidation at play here. Could I possibly get any closer? Are we Siamese runners joined by the…well, never mind. I like to play an asshole on this blog but – could it be – am I actually a real life asshole on the race course also? Jeez Louise, give this guy some room. There’s a whole open road here…

I am hunting him down. I, the lion, am tracking my antelope. The flinging sweat that almost certainly is landing in my gaping mouth obviously does not dissuade me. (Remember, I had copious amounts of nose mucous that day so I was forced to be a 100% Mouth Breather for the race.) Can you hear my foot steps? That’s the sound of second place getting ready to pass you by.

What’s the deal? Take a closer look at these three preceding pictures. Note the positions of our arms and legs. Are we…synchronized running? Or am I mocking him by copying his exact movements directly behind him? Look carefully at my expression in the picture above. Looks like some mocking going on doesn’t it? I seem to be saying “Der, der look at me running too slow to hold on to second place, dum di di der der.”

And I was.

Unfortunately, we left the view of the cameras before my glory/his shame could be recorded as I devoured my antelope. I imagine it looked something like this:

Stomach full of prey, I bounded to the finish searching…searching for the first place and fastest, antelope. I could not find him amongst the thicket of runners. His race shirt and sweat patterns allowed him to blend in with other age groups. So I growled to the finish content with only one race day kill.

Those were some cool race photos. In comparison, they almost make my lawn statue seem needlessly braggadocios.


Happy trails.

* If you define “all day” as “20 minutes.”


Good night and good luck to Marcy at I Signed Up For This?!?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Yes, We Are THOSE People

You know the kind…those families that seem to be dragging their kids around from sporting event to event every night of the week. The family that is never home between 6-8 pm, Monday through Friday and sometimes on weekends. That’s us. We permanently keep camp chairs in the trunk. After all, the kids might be sweating their ass off running after various balls for our amusement, but that’s no reason for us to stand for an hour. I’m not the one playing.

“C’mon, run harder. Get after it.” I hiccup between mouthfuls of ice cream. ”Stop embarrassing Daddy.”

There is a six week time frame each year starting in May through the middle of June where we are out seemingly every single night to go to soccer practices or games and baseball practices or games. It’s crazy, really. I feel bad for the kids. On the ride home, it’s all I can do to gently ease up the volume on the radio to drown out their mournful pleadings for rest. It’s so…depressing. (By the way, an overly loud toe tapping remake of “Signs” by Tesla can be the perfect tonic to back seat whimpers and whines. Though I don't recommend Tesla for longer than 3 minutes at a time.)

For you childless folk, heed this advice: the most beneficial skill you can develop is to convincingly pretend that you have a hearing loss. As they express their most ardent wishes over a steadily growing radio volume, you can watch in the rear view mirror as your kid’s face transforms from sincere hopefulness, to frustration, to acceptance, and, finally, to bitter resignation when you don’t appear to recognize their feelings. It’s wonderful really. I like to think that I’m teaching them Daddy’s personal career path encapsulated in one car ride home (minus the “sensitivity training” of course.)

Which is why I found it surprising when my 11 year old colt asked to participate in a youth triathlon this past weekend. Hmmm, there must be a hole in the schedule somewhere that is allowing sunlight to blast through. Clearly, one of his sports team dropped the ball and didn’t fill up our Saturday evening.

The triathlon involved a 150 yard swim, 3.75 bike, and 1.2 mile run.

Just to give you an idea on what kind of people we are, the kids were already signed up for the annual Michigan Mile race Saturday morning. I documented last year’s event here. Both the colt and filly ran well again this year. My filly finished 6th overall in her age group but was the 2nd girl. My colt finished 9th this year but, like a chip off the ole block, struggled with (stomach) cramping for the entire race. Not sure if magical Biofreeze works on the abdomen though.

So, our Saturday evening was somehow open. Sign up he does for the triathlon. He would be the first in my family to do one. Besides, until this event came up, we were in danger of leaving the kids to occupy their time with their own imaginations for an entire evening. Shudders.

The daunting event would be the 150 yard swim. Six lengths of a standard pool. I know I couldn’t do that but, oddly, I had no problem dropping the kid into 14 feet of water for him to do it. I went out for more ice cream.

I’ll be damned, the little bugger did all six laps with only a few rest breaks.

The biking seemed to be a breeze also.

The running went pretty good but the stomach cramps came up again. He was looking pretty worn and hungry as he started his second lap so, as I sat in my camp chair, I used my newspaper to shield the fresh bowl of popcorn and large soda I had from him as he panted on by. I’m not cruel.

My colt finished the triathlon and even had enough energy to bike the 1.5 miles home afterwards with his medal draped around his neck. (No room in the car for him and his bike what with the camp chairs and popcorn and all.) He did it! He’s the family’s first triathlete! It brought a tear to my eye. Either that or I rubbed my eye with a finger filled with popcorn salt.

About two more weeks to go before we can put away the camp chairs for a summer of unscheduled activities. But for these six weeks, we are THOSE people. The ones eating pizza out of the car on the road to a practice…the ones turning friends away from our front door because it’s Game Night…the ones getting borderline verbally abusive towards the volunteer teenage referee, just looking for some on the job experience, when he clearly blows a call because he’s from the Planet Dumbass and must have flow here in his rocket ship, the Headupyourass V, without bringing his glasses.

If you see us on the road racing weary kids to their next event, don’t judge. It’s only temporary. For six weeks, we are THOSE people. After that, we return to being regular ole those people. The kind that others describe as “cartoonishly vulgar.” It’s hectic but the kids love it.

At least, I never hear them complain.

Signs, signs, everywhere signs....

Happy trails.

Sunday: 10 miles @ 7:04 pace (1:10:39)
Tonight: warm-up, 5 x 400 @ 1:20 pace, cool down.