Monday, July 26, 2010

Numbers Lie

I was able to get a last minute entry into a local 5k this weekend.

I wish I hadn't. I'm not even going to dignify the "race" I ran with a report. Horrible, just horrible.

I've been training great all year but, for some reason, my heart just isn't into the actual races. I've consistently posted slower race times than training times in three consecutive events. I don't have race day anxiousness and excitement anymore. I find myself literally yawning during countdown.

File this under Numbers Lie:

Final results:

Overall: 21st of 1130
Age group: 3rd of 56

Yippee! Another coffee mug.

You won't be seeing a final finish time posted here as it sucks (compared to what I know I can do - I realize others would like to run my time but I'm speaking only of my own personal competitiveness with my past self). If I had posted this exact same time in either of the last two years, I would have finished no better than 40th overall. In a weird twist, this year's entry numbers were down as was the level of competition so my finish standings look way better than they should be. Don't be fooled, the numbers are lying liars.

I seem to be finishing higher up in my age group for both 5k's this year despite running slower times than the previous year. I figure if I get another 30 seconds slower next year, maybe I'll win my age group!

I'm on vacation now. Another 5k coming this Saturday.

Happy trails.

Friday, July 23, 2010

My Filly in Three Acts

I don't have any mildly clever alliteration for my Friday post title. Sorry. You can make one up if you like and mail it to me somewhere in the future where I might be interested in such things. I can pick your suggestion up from my holographic mailbox as I'm pretty sure those would be available about the time I cared. I thought I'd pop in real quick and share three amusing stories from my 8 year old filly. She's a spirited gal and one never knows what she'll say. She's called a department store Santa fat to his face (to be fair, he was), constantly tells her brother he smells like cheese (the family dog apparently smells of spaghetti), and seems to have a mild form of hair Tourette's, in which she feels compelled to loudly express her opinion about the hair style of everyone she passes. Mostly negative groaning with a taken aback, crinkled face.

She's the wild card in the family. Go out in public, you don't know what random stranger you'll be apologizing to.

But she's also pretty sweet as illustrated in this series of one act re-enactments of recent true life events.

Scene: Living room, 10 PM, ordinary night, post Filly bedtime.

Filly comes bopping down the stairs and stops on the fifth step from the bottom.

Filly: Hey, I saw a rocket ship out my window.

Me, perplexed: You did?

Filly: Yeah, it went zoooom across the sky. (Making a horizontal sweeping motion with her arm.)

Me, destroying her childlike wonderment: No, that was probably a shooting star.

Filly, disappointed: Oh.

Me, to the rescue: Did you make a wish? You are supposed to wish on a shooting star.

Filly, pausing in reflection: Um, no, I like my life how things are.

And back up the stairs she goes.

Don't think her mom and I didn't share one of those pursed lip, tilted head sighs of parental satisfaction. We did. Youda thought someone sprayed us down with lemon oil the way we were lip pursing. That alone made up for at least ten hair related public verbal assaults.

Scene: My basement (i.e. office), yesterday, mid-afternoon.

I'm busy attempting to solve the country's BIG GOVERNMENT health care related payment crises. Filly is busy trying to stuff a one-armed Aragorn, the future Middle Earth king (her brother's old "action figure" - not a doll!), into a red convertible with a perky gymnast Barbie. Aragorn, even minus an appendage, is just not fitting. His scabbard keeps getting caught on the door handle. (I hate when that happens...huh, huh...double entendre! Can a fella get a rim shot?!)

Frustrated, Filly flings (<-- alliteration!) him aside.

Filly, in Barbie voice (which is higher pitched and more needy, for some reason): I'm breaking up with you!

Callously discarded Aragorn lies there silently offering no resistance with his one arm.

Filly, still in Barbie voice: C'mon, Ken, you're my boyfriend now.

She stuffs him in the car and off they go.

Warning to future boyfriends: You better fit in the car.

And finally...since I'm now working from home and the kids don't have to go to summer camps, the kids have been spending a lot of time together. And that means one thing: Fights and general disharmony. After a particularly hard day of my Filly comparing the Colt to various aroma's of Wisconsin's finest, she says to me:

Scene: Home, morning.

Filly: When I have kids, I want a girl and a boy so I can ignore the boy like Colt does to me. I won't play with him.

Me: You're not going to play with your own son?

Filly, emphatic: Nope! I'm not going to love him.

Me, stunned: Ooooo-kay.

Later that night, Filly, apparently conflicted over this comment, pulls me aside and whispers:

Filly: If I have a boy, I really will love him and play with him. I was just kidding.


Yes, Spray me down with lemon oil cuz I was a lip pursing motherfucker once again.

If I were to go four acts, I had another amusing tale of her diligently taking care of a fledgling bird fallen from its nest one ENTIRE day. But that one ended with me flicking its ant-riddled corpse off the end of a spade shovel into the bushes late at night and then lying to her about how it magically got better and flew away in the middle of the night.

I'll stick with the three acts and all the lemon your lips can purse.

Have a great weekend!

Happy trails.

I may have another 5k coming up on Sunday. I failed to pre-register so I will wander in on Saturday hoping spots are still available. If not, no sweat off my back (literally). The age group prizes are a coffee mug. I already have two of those and have no need for any more. I'm the only coffee drinker in the house.

However, I am pre-registered for a 5k coming a week and a day from today. If you're lucky, you'll get a long-winded, overly detailed duo race report....sometime. This one sometimes gets political because the race is put on at the TCFF which is run by this guy. Plus, the race is a movie costume race though the only costume I'll be wearing is that of an obnoxiously handsome man with a generally sarcastic disposition and unusually sensitive nipples. Mrs. Nitmos will be running as Mrs. Potts. Ever see an over-sized polyester tea kettle get phenomenally sweaty?

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Taste of Hobo

My 2010 Cherry Festival 5k Race Report

Remember how I mentioned back in the winter that this would be the Year of the Ass Kicker? PR’s, PR’s, PR’s would flow like NBA free agents to South Beach. Yeah, well, something happened on the way to the start line. This is quickly turning into the Year of the Sack Kicker. My nuts, your race aaannndd KICK. The Cherry Festival is my oldest and dearest race. It’s the first race I ever trained for and, at the time, foolishly thought I’d do once and then wrap up the running career and return to basketball. I believe I even wore a cotton t-shirt for that inaugural race. Cotton! What a noob! I remember someone talking about a “Garmin” in the starting chute and I honestly thought they were referring to a character from Disney’s Pocahontas movie (the raccoon?). If someone had offered me some Gu, I would have punched them in the face, blew my rape whistle, and started screaming “STRANGER! STRANGER!”.

This year would mark my 10th running of this race. I did miss one year – 2007 – after I qualified for Boston the first time. After the BQ, my inflated ego and constant self-congratulating interfered with my ability to register for a local festival “race”. It just seemed so beneath me at the time.

But enough nostalgia, you came here for a riveting race report and not a trip down memory lane. Most of you know already that I can make a race report longer to read than it was to run. And that includes a marathon report.

My 5k PR is 18:22 set at this same race last year. This year, I went all Six Billion Dollar Man in training at the track. Since the Bayshore Marathon over Memorial weekend, I intervalled longer and harder (t.w.s.s) than ever before. It is PR or bust for every race. I missed my marathon PR by the equivalent of 1.5 seconds per mile. The goal for the 5k was to (1.) PR and (2.) Break 18 minutes. Number one seemed all but assured based on my training times and number two (tee—hee) seemed a 50/50 proposition.

Enter race morning.

There’s a little park right across from the community college from which the race begins. We park, poop, and warm-up in this empty space whilst the masses scramble to get inside a smelly port-a-john a ¼ mile away. I was feeling especially poop-weighted that Saturday morning as the hamburger I had the evening before was suffering from separation anxiety with my colon. Usually, the only thing greeting me, as I enter the cemented walls of this spacious shit shack, is the reassuring aromas of defecations past. Not this time. A scraggly bearded hobo was busy washing up at the single sink. I paused for a moment, deciding whether or not to flaunt my well-housed appearance next to his bag of returnable cans, and then passed by and into the stall.

With one eye shooting down, the other two nervously peered through the door crevice at my vagabond bathmate careful not to tap my foot. Apparently done washing (a futile effort if ever there was one), he began reapplying his tattered clothes one at a time. The giant hole of his t-shirt was covered by the long sleeve shirt, whose own giant hole was located in a different spot. In all, four layers went on though I doubt any area of hobo was covered by more than one layer at a time due to his holey patchwork Dalmatian apparel.

I squeezed; he grunted. I ridded myself of waste; he reattached it. And the smell? Oh, the humanity! The room quickly filled with the odor of rotten eggs, beard tangled garbage entrée residue, and disappointment. I could taste it on my tongue as he clanged the bags of cans against the wall and squeezed them through the door with a metallic scrape. Seven varieties of lice left spinning in the air like a less funny, potentially communicable Witch Hazel.

I finished up and headed over to the start line eager to wash away the hobo taste dancing across my tongue like Gavroche in the Paris slums.

The plan was to run the first mile in 5:40-5:45 and the second in 5:45-5:50 and then, from there, something below 6 for mile 3 and gut it out to the finish.

Those plans evaporated with a first mile of 5:49.

Egads, my over confidence was showing. I thought I’d stroll through that first mile before the real work began. Nitmos, you are a cocky ass.

The second mile passed with a certain slappy-footed Lurch chasing me down. How someone can run a race with the bottom of their feet performing constant, rhythmic high-fives with the pavement is beyond me. I tried to move away but he followed right on my heels…then he passed me…then I passed him…then he passed me again. I think he wanted to work with me to push each other to the finish but, secretly, I just wanted to get away from the SLAP SLAP SLAP. The second mile passed in 5:53. Strike two.

The third mile finishes up along the parade route. The villagers stare at you from their lawn chairs patiently waiting for the inflatable cartoon characters, adorable children waving from floats, and attention-seeking politicians. They think we’re crazy; I think they look silly sitting in a lawn chair beside the road three hours before the parade begins.

Third mile: 6:00 even. Strike three!

As always, the course is a bit longer than the actual prescribed 5k distance and I covered the last .11 miles (according to Garmin, .16 miles) in 55 seconds (last year, 43 seconds!).

No PR. No sub 18 minutes. Just another kick in the Sack.

I grabbed some water and waited for Mrs. Nitmos (running her second 5k ever!) to come in. I drank and drank but, no matter how much I drank, I couldn’t get the taste of lost dreams, disappointment and, just maybe, restaurant waste slurry out of my mouth. A missed PR tastes a lot like hobo.

All was not lost, however, as a weaker race field left me with second in my age group. I’ll be able to house that medal in a place where I have a documented history of mortgage payments!

I’ll chalk this up to a bad race and prepare for the next 5k…hopefully with considerably less hobo.

Numbers? Yes, numbers:

Official time: 18:37
Official pace: 6:00/mile
Overall place: 42nd of 2,149
Age group: 2nd of 69

Happy trails.

Congratulations to Mrs. Nitmos for posting a second race PR of 23 seconds! No hobo for her.