Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Year That Wasn't

How do you encapsulate a running year when you didn’t actually run a race during the ENTIRE YEAR?

You lie. The Koreans can have their “gangnam-style”; here on Feet Meet Street, I do it “Nitmos-style”. It just so happens that “Nitmos-style” involves prevaricating, expactorating, and swaggering. Good thing I have a blog! Reality gets so cliché…

So let’s review, Nitmos-style:
  • Planned a spring half-marathon. Planned so hard I conveniently forgot to sign up because, you know, nothing fit into my “busy” schedule. I felt like I wasn’t in PR shape anyway.
  • In July, decided I’d run the local festival race – that I once ran 8 years in a row but took the last two years off – then failed to sign up. I felt like I wasn’t in PR shape anyway.
  • In September, RAN a 100k relay race, Dances with Dirt, with some friends. It’s a relay so…not relay a “race” per se (get it?). At least, not when all five of you are crossing the finish line trying not to spill your beer. Oh, and we got beat by a group of ladies in French maid outfits.
  • Could have done the local half marathon in late September. I’ve done it three years in a row and set a better time each run. But the kids had soccer – stupid kids – and, really, I felt like I wasn’t in PR shape anyhow.
  • But at least I got to run the New York Marathon right! Er, right? Of course, I totally was in PR shape too. If only the winds weren’t unusually strong…
And that’s it. Three near races. One relay. One canceled race that, no doubt, would have been an automatic PR.

Final tally? Not a single race run.

But here’s the good news: I’m on track for my second HIGHEST mileage year ever (only 40 miles off my most). So I’ve been running, training, expactorating…just not racing. I’m like Rocky without the ending fight. I scream “DRAGOOOOOOO!” from the mountain top and then….roll credits. It’s like being half way through sex (or “87 seconds” to the rest of you) and then saying “nah, I’m good” and rolling over…

I know you are thinking ‘but Nitmos there is still time for a Jingle Bells run or New Year’s run, don’t give up now’. Then, you are new here. Welcome. Do I look and sound like the type of guy that attends a run like that? You can put a red reindeer nose on me for a race when you pry my running shoes from my cold, dead feet.

Perhaps This is 40, Running.* Running fits around a busy kid schedule. Running fits around a busy work schedule. Running fits around a busy…I don’t need to give excuses I just don’t feel like it schedule. As a competitor, running, for me, is about challenging my best times. When I don’t feel that I can do that, I don’t really feel like racing. It’s not about red noses and shitty times, for me. Never has been. I enjoy running and being “in shape”. I can do that without the race fees. The race is about the time challenge, for me.  The stark reality of 'peaking out' is fast approaching.  Will I find enjoyment in attending races with absolutely no hope of PR'ing?  Stay tuned.

So what will 2013 bring?

I wish I could say. I know I’ll be running, training, expactorating, prevaricating and swaggering. Will I be racing? If I were to bet, I’d bet on a Yes. A little time away from a timed event…you start to miss it. Besides, I receive almost all of my personal validation from a stopwatch. And that is in no way pathetic whatsoever.

In the meantime, I'll continue posting...sporadically.  And, yes, I realize that this is my lowest number of postings in a year since 2006.  But, ask yourself, have you done your part?  Who's really to blame here?  Are blogs becoming more like MySpace or AOL, a relic of the past that only the coolest of people hang on to?  Those same people may also have an extensive Beanie Baby and Silly Bandz collection that can be purchased by inquiring at the email address in the preceding sentence.  Used Kajagoogoo CD's also available.

I tweet some.  Always witty, sometimes malicious, rarely important. 

I'll be along soccer pitches through-out mid, western and southeastern Michigan every weekend starting January watching the filly knock in goals and the colt destroy attacking forwards. 

Considering the popularity of racing, it’s also time – probably well past time – to start scheduling next year’s events. Hell, it might even be time to start planning 2014 events before they sell out.

But you can count on me running no matter what. I’m always running. I hope you are too.

Happy Holidays!**

*I’m totally copyrighting that title.
** I don’t even have the energy to compose a full length post this year about the ridiculous “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays” debate. Suffice it to say, I will now always say “Happy Holidays” simply because I know it annoys a certain segment of our population despite the religious etymology of the word “holiday” (i.e. “The word holiday derived from the notion of "Holy Day". The word originally referred only to special religious days. In modern use, it means any special day of rest or relaxation, as opposed to normal days away from work or school.) It seems so easy, people. Keep teeing ‘em up for me.  Let's all pretend that the word "holiday" doesn't have religious connotations so we can engage in an asinine debate!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Food Goes in Here

Tomorrow, we celebrate Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving America! For non-Americans and native Americans, have a great Thursday! My gift to you is to present my Detroit Lions humiliating themselves before a national television audience once again. If you think you received this gift before, you’re right. It just keeps on giving…since the 1950’s!

A turkey?  A bunch of rebel fighters attacking the Death Star?  'A' for effort; 'F' for execution, kid.
I’ve been ravenously hungry lately. You’d almost think I ran a marathon. Wait, let me rephrase that: I think I almost ran a marathon.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year. It signals the point at which I throw away 11 months of vigilance over my financial budget and spend like a Michael Jackson in a creepy mannequin store.

It brings me closer to my family. Yes, closer to the people I purposely moved away from.

It brings lots of drinking which, in turn, lowers inhibitions which, in another turn, allows us all to tell each other what we really think. You know that old saying, ‘What starts with the pop of a wine cork, ends with a splash of “Shut the hell up, motherfucker!”’

And the eating? Oh, the humanity! It’s elastic-waisted wind pants season, my friends. It comes in with a turkey and leaves six weeks later amidst the confetti and empty bottles with a serving of shame and despair. The only good thing about all of this eating? The pooping. Sometimes twice a day! You can imagine all of the reading I get done too.

But we are runners and so we can run our calories away. Want that extra scoop of mashed potatoes? Run an extra mile. Want another piece of your Aunt’s pecan pie? Eat up, your shoes are right over there. Add two miles, please. There’s another old saying: “You can take what you want but you run what you eat.” It goes something like that…

In case you’ve forgotten, food goes here:

1990's goatee!  (Not me)
If you are “cat people”, for some reason, food goes here:

And if you are dog people:

Afterwards, of course, run forest run!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. For my money, I have the Lions winning tomorrow.*

We plan to celebrate a “traditional” Thanksgiving this year. Along with the turkey and squash and corn, half of us are going to get smallpox and the other half will steal our cars while we writhe around in agony.

Now, let's get our uvula massage on!

Happy gobbles.

* In Lions fan lexicon, a “win” is described as losing by less than 2 touchdowns.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Randumbery Bats Eyes at New York, Still

You come here for the snark; you stay for the soccer updates; you click away unfulfilled. Such is life on Feet Meet Street. Now you know how Mrs. Nitmos feels.

Randumbery lives! Do I need to explain this segment still after five years?? On with the shooooowwww…..

Kummerpecking Like a Motherspecker

Have you worked kummerspeck into a conversation yet? Ten points for Gryffindor if you have. I don’t need to ‘work’ kummerspecking into anything. I’ve literally been eating my grief bacon for a week now since the cancellation of the NYC Marathon. I’ve been kummerspecking the hell out of our leftover Halloween candy reservoir. And, to be honest, who’s kidding who about this “leftover candy” bin? I purposely bought way too much candy to give away full well knowing that there would be some left over. When events transpired that threatened to call my favorite candy into action Halloween night, I took control of the Front Door Sweet Dispersal Interface and reportioned our, ahem, rather generous contributions to a more modest size. Voila! My favorite candy saved just for me and my self-pity.

Is that a dickish move? I don’t care. If you want my fun-size Heath bars and giant fecal-reminiscent Tootsie Roll turds, you better not be the 17th Power Ranger I’ve seen. Or the 22nd Cinderella. Is that a magic wand or did you glue some glitter on star shaped cardboard and tape it to a pencil? #cheapskateheresabutterscotchdrop

One Bite of the Apple is Not Enough

Running a HUGE marathon is more about the event itself rather than the purity of running for running’s sake. My best race times have been at smaller races. I’ve enjoyed the sport more at those smaller events also. However, there is a tangible and invigorating energy surrounding these BIG ROCK STAR SUPER GALACTIC events that is missing at the small localized races. Though financially and logistically they are often a nightmare to deal with, I still like to experience them on occasion to take a dip in full on runner porn. Plus, let’s face it, the New York Marathon is a big “get”. Boston was a fun experience but New York was the one I was really looking forward to.

Did you know I didn’t get to run it? Did you drop out of the sky and start reading at this paragraph as that would be the only explanation?

After doing a few “laps” around Central Park that fateful Sunday, I can definitely say I’m still hungry for more. In fact, I think that only stoked my appetite. Before, I wanted to do New York. Now, I believe I NEED to do it. And I will….pending word from NYRR about how they are handling this year’s entrants. Next time, my bite of the Big Apple won’t have a worm in it.

FU Sandy.  I ran anyhow!
There can’t possibly be another inconvenient hurricane next year, can there Al?  I want to race down those streets like the winds of a....nevermind.

Oh, yeah, and rebuild Staten Island! Preferably with a heated indoor lounge able to house approximately 47,000 people once a year (or twice, pending natural disasters.)


This lady used her time NOT running New York to give the running community a good name. What a terrific ambassador(s) for the sport! Me? Too busy hobnobbing with huge international celebs here, here, here and here to be bothered.  Big gold star for her; picture with The Fonz for me.  Who won?

Mercury Up, Nipples Out

What has two nipples and ran shirtless the other day? You can’t see but my nipples are bending playfully back towards my areola as if to say “THIS GUY”. That’s right, 65 degrees in Michigan, in November! Oh yeah, I popped my top. It might be months before I get another chance. I was so excited that if Joe Francis and his Girls Gone Wild motor home been around, I might have giggled playfully, signed a release form, and stepped aboard in exchange for a t-shirt.

Soccer! Me, This Time

What has two aching hamstrings and doesn’t know its age? My spasmic hamstrings, bending like angry electrical arches, are saying “THIS GUY!” Is there anything more futile than running to near exhaustion, to a 6-6 tie in an over-30 co-ed league, against opponents of which half do not have functioning ACL’s and are forced to wear a knee brace?

It turns out, I’m much better telling my kids how to play rather than doing it myself. Speaking of which…

Soccer! The Colt and Filly, for the Final Time…This Season

Since I know you care and haven’t clicked away unfulfilled yet, here’s the final soccer update for the year. The colt’s J.V. team finished 10-2-3 allowing only 8 goals against this season to go with 10 shutouts - his stat sheet as a defender.

The filly’s team finished 5-3. As striker, she converted 16 goals in 8 games on the year (and about 6 other crossbars, ggrrrrr) and took home the team MVP trophy for her club team at the end of season banquet. The filly feels she can do better next year!?! Why do I think she’ll be complaining of sore hamstrings as a 41 year adult in a co-ed league one day? Circle of life!

That’s all...until January when it begins again. And again. And again…

Randumbery out.

Happy Seacresting.

Running isn't as popular as the NFL.  Who knew?

Thursday, November 08, 2012

NYC Marathon: The Race That Wasn't

Wherein I recap not running a marathon. In other words, a weekend like almost every other…almost.

You may have heard of the New York City Marathon. It’s a pretty big race. You may also have heard of Hurricane Sandy. It was a pretty big storm. I know you heard that they crossed paths last week.

I was all set to run this race. I’m not going to kid you….my whole year was aimed at this event almost to the exclusion of running any other races. I wasn’t in hyper-Rocky training mode or anything. I just spent time planning this race out and, frankly, barely looked at the race schedule of anything else going on. You know my kids’ soccer schedule. Who has the time? This was to be THE event of this year. And as Events go, it’s a big one with a capital E.

Then Sandy ripped through Staten Island and New Jersey. Then Sandy stopped being the name of America’s sweetheart from the 1970’s, in Grease, and became a life altering Bitch from Hell. San-dee!! (/surprisedTravoltavoice)

I’m not going to demonize, moralize or generalize about the events that transpired next. I’ll leave that to the arm-chair bloggers, couch-side psychoanalysts and knee-bending moralists. I’ll tell you what I saw and what I felt, however.

Mrs. Nitmos and I, filled with uncertainty and with mixed emotions, traveled to New York last Friday morning. We expected long lines for a cab and stand still traffic. Instead, we boarded a cab quicker than ever before and raced into midtown in record time. We expected tattered store front signs, broken windows, garbage –strewn streets, and store closings. We found none of that. Midtown was bustling with activity just as it was 2 ½ years ago when we last visited. Outside of the dangling crane, as seen on TV, two blocks from our hotel, you wouldn’t have known that a hurricane had just ripped through there. In many places there was a large amount of garbage bags piled on the curb waiting for the delayed garbage trucks.

The most painful damage was primarily in Staten Island it would seem.

Visually, in midtown, everything was basically normal. Times Square was gaudy and bright as usual. Business folks were racing about; tourists carrying arms full of bags around. However, the impression from Sandy was visible on the faces of the people. The cabbie expressed concern on a couple of occasions that he had enough gas for one more day of work and that would be it. The front desk clerk did not have power back at home. Lower Manhattan was still in the dark when we arrived. The folks that live and work there had greater concerns on their mind than greeting and serving guests and tourists (and runners). But the cabbie needed the money and was going to drive until his last drop of gas ran out. The restaurant staff wanted the tips because, on top of a hurricane, a reduction in pay was not what was needed.

And here’s where the strong emotions come in from runners, non-runners, media, Staten Island residents and everyone else that watched this play out on TV.

What to do about the New York Marathon?

I like how some members of the media (and fellow bloggers) think the answer is so very easy. For them, I’m envious. I always see complexity where others see simplicity. My decision-making thought processes take many twists, turns, lefts, rights, loops, and triple salchows before arriving at a final destination. Oh, to be a speed skater instead! Despite how I play on this blog, I often see a path to lemonade where others stop at the lemons. What to do about the New York Marathon??? Cancel it, the cry started early and persistently. Bloomberg and the NYRR resisted. CANCEL IT! The media outrage grew. Bloomberg and the NYRR resisted. For sure, canceling it was the easiest and simplest short-term solution.

I know that I felt extremely awkward about the whole thing. Mrs. Nitmos and I determined that we would donate in any way called upon: financially, physically, or otherwise. (And we did as many other runners did as well.) We knew, as we’ve known about the running community for a very long time, that runners tend to be an abnormally giving and generous group. Runners would loathe to think that they weren’t contributing to a greater good. Runners would not selfishly TAKE from a battered city without GIVING more back. I know I just generalized when I said I wouldn’t but, screw it, this is my blog.

All along on Friday we had side conversations with other marathoners. We overheard conversations on the plane, hotel, and restaurants and at the expo. Obviously, Sandy, the marathon and the future was on everyone’s mind. I did not hear one selfish comment. Like us, most runners understood right off that this was an extremely strange situation and would roll with whatever decisions had to be made. However, I heard countless stories of runners getting involved to help with the relief effort. For some, a plan was in place to take the bus or ferry to Staten Island race morning and, instead of running, peel off to do relief work for the Staten Island residents. Extra large tips, on top of general relief donations, were being handed out to workers who needed it to support their families. In short, lemonade was being made all over the city in various small ways.

There’s always a straw that breaks the back, a tipping point, a lasting indelible image that becomes irreversible to the course of events. For the marathon, it was the sight of the pasta dinner tent in Central Park and the three LARGE generators to power it (while lower Manhattan was still in the dark and Staten Island was still digging out). Like everyone, I was pretty outraged by that. How on earth did anyone think the pasta dinner should go on? I realize I’m drawing a moral line when I said I wouldn’t but, screw it, it’s my blog. A marathon is a pretty extraneous event to begin with. But it does bring money and, with it, aid and relief long-term. It does bring a volunteer group of gaunt-looking aid workers if the city had only set something organized up. Believe me, there were hundreds – thousands – of runners ready to donate time and money. EVERYONE understood that the marathon might be a bare bones operation to conserve anything that could be conserved. It would/could STILL work out to a net positive for the city.

But a pasta dinner? Even extraneous as far as extraneous things go.

Boom. CANCEL IT!!!! Everyone screamed – nay – demanded. The tipping point had occurred and cancel it Bloomberg and the NYRR did. It was hard to blame them.

I wasn’t even that upset about it because (a) I knew there were more important things going on and (b) it was obvious at that point that it was the only – and simplest – solution.

So, the race was not run. On Sunday, what would have been race day, I joined thousands of runners in Central Park as the marathoners ran “unofficial” marathons that day on the old NY marathon course (self-contained within Central Park) hoping to still collect money for charities that were counting on them (an unconsidered side effect of cancelling the race.) Would this have been an option to shrink the number of needed resources? Were other options considered (i.e. NOT starting on Staten Island) before turning away an estimated $340 million dollars that the race brings in and that, especially now, residents (wage earners) desperately need?

I don’t know the answer to it. I don’t know what was “right” in general versus what is best for the city in the short and long term. I don’t know what is right in “reality” versus “what looks good or bad on TV”. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.

I do know that New Yorkers, metaphorically, can take a punch. They've proven it many times in the recent past. The city bends like rubber but bounces back.  Myself - and the other marathoners - had shown up determined to reinforce the rubber to allow the city to snap back quicker not be the enemy jabbing them in the belly./endmixedmetaphors

Mrs. Nitmos and I were invited over to sit and chat with another marathoning couple at a restaurant Sunday night (we were both wearing our race shirts and were easily identifiable to each other). They were an older couple from Washington state and, as it turns out, were marathon race directors back home. They didn’t know what the right thing to do was either. The husband felt it should’ve gone on; his wife felt it should have been cancelled. Like me, they were constantly evaluating the positives versus the negatives and, by the way, NONE were “because I just want to have fun and run a race”. To continue the analogy, our minds were busy finding ingredients for the lemonade.*  

Or were we merely assuaging our feelings of guilt?

I’m home now and I still don’t know what the right answer is. For those of you who do, congratulations. Mrs. Nitmos and I certainly “used some resources” while there. We also left some resources behind on our way out. Lots of “resources”. From talking to hotel, restaurant, retail, and transportation staff, their weary, worried faces explained to us that, though they were still recovering from Sandy, they were more worried about the rough weeks ahead facing a reduction of cash needed to support their families. Sandy is gone; bills need to be paid tomorrow.

Is the New York Marathon so unnecessary that it could be summarily dismissed as a lemon in a time of need? Perhaps. Could it have been a net benefit to the city and region as many runners were determined that it could? Perhaps.

Or perhaps not. I don’t know. My thoughts are currently doing an axel jump. I’ll let you know when I land it and complete the routine if there’s any lemonade to be had.

Happy trails.

* It’s more than just water and lemons right? Right???

For those of you who followed me on Twitter, you’re welcome. (And those that didn’t, WTF?) I hope you enjoyed your tour of 1970’s celebrity. Just bummed that I couldn’t get Sandy Duncan's picture (assuming she’s still alive). Sandy….ugh!!!! (fist shaking)

Also, though I didn’t get to use my svelte cut and rippling abs across five Burroughs, I do start my own indoor soccer season on Friday! Think I got some pent up aggression to blast out? Yup. Beware Over-30 co-ed opponents, Nitmos is coming with sharpened spikes.

To recap my race goals for you scoring at home: I accomplished goals A, 7, and X!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NY Marathon Frankenstorm Impacted Goals!

Wherein I wax unpoetic about the upcoming New York City marathon and display almost no human-like sense of compassion for the folks in that region.  It’s post-Frankenstorm-Hurricane-Sandy-General-Freakout New York City Marathon week!!*

Oh my, look at the Runner’s World calendar on the wall, it’s well past time for the blog obligatory marathon goals post. Or, as I call them, List of Impending Disappointments. What would a run blog be without a statement of goals before a big race? And I’m certainly not one to extend a middle finger at blog clichés and traditions. Shoot, I have an alliterative post coming up next: Whackadoodle Wednesday Wackiness! And, guess what? I’m now a running coach! I love me some clichés.

Despite the rain literally raining on my marathon parade in NY right now, I’m pretty excited. Yes, I know people are suffering and it’s a bit uncouth to say how excited I am to run something so extraneous as a marathon down the same streets where, currently, people are canoeing to their homes. But you don’t come here for couthness** and sympathizing do you? Boy, are you in the wrong place. I hope you come for inappropriate blogging and a slight feeling of discomfort like I really shouldn’t be enjoying this because the guy’s a jerk but I can’t tear my eyes away.

As I look gaze into the mirror and rake my hand through my playfully floppish mane and gangnam-style dance my irrepressible pecs, I note the general gauntness of my figure. Sunken cheeks? Check. Loose fitting jeans? Check. Malnutritioned appearance that would make WWII era Louis Zamperini blush? Check. I appear to be on heroin. Don’t touch me; I might give you a paper cut.

In other words, I’m in marathon shape!

A few people at the mall the other day snarkily spat at me in passing, “Eat a burger fergodsakes, pervert.” To which I smiled that knowing, hungry smile of a soon-to-be marathoner. Then picked up my pants that had fallen to my ankles and cinched the belt another notch. When is Sarah McLachlan going to sing a sad song for the Feed the Marathoner campaign? Screw those adorable one-eyed ASPCA puppies.***

Mrs. Nitmos and I are due to fly to New York on Friday unless general plane/airport disruptions ensue. She will be participating in the Saturday morning 5k that starts at the United Nations building and ends in Central Park. I will be taking the recently drained (fingers crossed) subway at 4 am on Sunday down to Battery Park to catch the ferry to Staten Island. A corn-fed Michigan man with wide eyes and a nervous disposition riding a NYC subway at 4 am? What could go wrong?!?

I’d like to say that all of my summer long hard work during this “Tyler Perry Presents: Summer of Speed 2012” will come to fruition during this race. I’d like to say that but then I’d be a big fat liar. Truth is, I’ve trained adequately…even pretty good during certain stretches, but definitely did not kill myself out on the roads. I’m comfortable running the speeds I’ve been running the last few years and I’m slowly coming to accept that. Plus, I have a pile of empty fudge stripe cookie boxes and fun size Snickers wrappers that belie any attempts to convince myself otherwise. Oh, I’ll be lugging a barely distinguishable – but definitely present – Cheeto Layer along with me during the marathon. I’m actually about 2-3 pounds heavier than I normally am pre-marathon.

So maybe all of the gaunt talk was a bunch of bluster. Am I a big fat liar after all? Nah, I’m definitely still gaunt. And my pecs DID dance gangnam. The mirror don’t lie.

So, just what are the goals in this current Stormocalype climate? How can I use Frankenstorm to blame my failure to achieve my goals on something other than myself and my own training efforts? It won’t be too hard, trust me. Natural disaster = ready made excuse in anybody’s world!

The Goals (in Helvetica! and purple!):

A)   Make it to New York on time, find hotel has power.
2)   Do best to avoid Charity/Clean Up New York fund raisers by not making eye contact.
Z)   Beat 3:15.
VI)   If race turns into a waterlogged steeplechase, call it a “Tri” and buy Ironman car sticker.
AA)   Beat 3:20 if it is just not my day. Plan to blog that I stopped to help “victims”. Invent elaborate stories of my heroism.
7)   Avoid falling cranes from the sky.
Z)   Finish race and spend the next two days in New York eating and drinking nearly everything in sight…even aid relief supplies if they are in my line of sight. Ever have post-marathon sore leg muscles? Just as bad as not having a home. Give me the water and cheese.
X)   Leave NY dryer than when I arrived.

My training is in the barn. The hay is already done. There’s nothing left to do but run the race…if the race occurs.

My Wal-Mart discount sweats are purchased and ready to be worn once before discarded at the start for the Hobo Christmas that starts at the same time as the marathon. Hope they enjoy my donation! Merry Hobo Christmas.

Believe me, I have feelings too. I feel the pain coming from New York and I’m sympathetic. But, after my training 21 miler, I didn’t see anyone from New York massaging my cramping leg muscles youknowwhatI’msayin?! #karmaisbitch****

I know everyone is concerned about the folks on the East coast but, while you are praying, say a few words for me. I’m running a freaking marathon people not sitting around looking at all of my drenched photo albums.

And I’m not saying it’s going to come down to this but, if it come’s down to this, guess who’s in pretty good shape to get to an Ark first if there's foot race? Mrs. Nitmos, better keep up, we need to go two-by-two. The unicorns, then us, then the llamas….

Llamas?!?!? Not on this hypothetical Ark. I'll end the human race right then and there before a llama boards that Ark...

Happy trails.


* For the sake of argument, let’s assume there will be a marathon.
** It’s a word. If not, it should be.
*** No, don’t do that. I like puppies…almost as much as I like turtles.
**** I kid because I care.


I may post photos regularly as the weekend progresses. If you care to follow along, you can follow me at @nitmosruns on Twitter.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What Beer is Best for Your Long Run?

I don’t encourage drinking alcohol before a long run.  I don’t discourage it either.  I’m realistic when it comes to my own habits.  I have a few beers on Saturday night.  I do my long run Sunday morning.  That means, every single one of my long runs is fueled, in part, by beer.  Add in the fact that it is football season, tortilla chips are flowing like salsa flavored electricity, and friends are over to help you yell at people on the TV and your long run just became more challenging.

I don’t fight it.  Beer:  It’s gonna happen.  Didn’t someone once say something about if it is inevitable you might as well enjoy it?  That's me.

So how do you mitigate its effects on your long run?  I suppose I could drink less.  But the football players on TV aren’t done running around and need my encouragement, berating, and directional assistance.  I cannot properly provide these things with water or Gatorade.  And, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the football is played all day according to channels 201, 202, 203, 231, 233, and 256. 

I suppose I could have only fruits and vegetables on Saturday.  I do:  there’s an orange wedge in my Oberon.  Sometimes I have some coconut flavored rum to switch things up.  Diversity!

I suppose I could do my long run Saturday morning before football begins.  But bad news there, my Friday night looks quite a bit like my Saturday night except with less football.

No, it’s inescapable really.  The beer will be drank.  But what brand is best?  I don’t mind a little gas.  Gas is fun, exciting and suspenseful.  I’d like to avoid the lump in the belly though.  Running 20 miles with rock gut is an unpleasant experience.  That means Heineken is out.  Good beer but it sits in my upper intestines like an unemployed Wall Street occupier. 

This past weekend was the Dos Equis experiment.  My friend provided the beer so I had no choice but to drink it.  Surprisingly, it went pretty well.  I was able to knock off my 16 miles with little to no gas and no rock gut.  This has me thinking that maybe I can squash a sixer of Sam Adams Octoberfest this coming Saturday.  But I don’t want to fly to close to the sun on wings of barley too soon.  Gas is okay.  A shart is entirely different.

Does anyone have any personal success stories?  Blue Moon, Moosehead, Leinenkuegel?  Something of more quality and/or substance?

Once I cross this hurdle, I can move along to my greater issue:  How pure does the meth need to be to fuel my long run?

Happy trails.

I always wondered what it would be like if I was one of those over exuberant jackhole parents watching their kids play sports.  Oh, wait, I do know.  And now so do you.  BFP ALERT!  Razz's car will be given away soon.  Don't miss out.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

How to Train Your Braggin'

One of the most important skills a runner must learn is how to properly brag.  Running is hard.  It doesn’t always go the way you want.  After months of training, you may show up to the starting line during a total rainstorm.  Or your hammies ache.  Or you have a bad b.m. waiting in the wings ready to pop out for a little how you do? right around mile 3.  Or, most likely, you half-assed your training and would rather be home eating pie.  Anything can go wrong.

So how do you make sure the race still goes right, at least, as far as any of your non-running friends or acquaintances are concerned?

You brag.  Loudly and repeatedly.  And you never let an annoying fact get in the way.  It doesn’t matter that you walked off the course 17 seconds after the gun.  Barely anyone you know runs right?  They’ll never know the difference.

But you have to be clever about it.  There’s always one office Johnny Asshole that’ll take the time to dig around the internet looking for your race results.  And, God forbid, race photos.  You know as well as I that a photo of you holding your knee with your head flipped back in a painful grimace is a dead giveaway that maybe you weren’t actually crowned King of All Runners and carried around on the shoulders of the defeated for 45 minutes.

However, you can, in fact, BE the King of All Runners if you follow these simple rules.

  1. Never use your real name when entering a race.  You’ll never be found on an internet race results check.  Or sites like Athlinks.  No one can ever judge your actual times.
  2. Always enter an age group at least two categories older.  I’m 41 but I typically compete in the 50-55 age group.  It’s so much easier to win age group awards.
  3. Only enter small races with no internet presence.   Believe it or not, there are still races that only advertise through flyers and mailings or signs at your local running store with no race results posted online.  Jackpot!
  4. Enter races at least two hours from home.  Anywhere closer may put you in contact with someone that knows you.  Too risky.
  5. Wear your race bib over your face like a 19th century bank robber.  Race photographers are a pesky nuisance determined to ruin your carefully constructed web of lies.  One image of you panting in a sweat drenched shirt to catch up to a 12 year old girl blows the whole sham.
  6. Order various first place trophies from a trophy shop at least three cities away to display on your desk.  Do NOT put a name of the race on the trophy.  NO PAPER TRAILS.
  7. Make sure you running friends and non-running friends never mix company.  You’ll need to tell each group horror stories about the other group so they’ll never want to mingle.  This might mean two separate home holiday parties but that’s the price you must be willing to pay.  Just make sure to remove the trophies before the ‘running friends’ holiday party.
  8. Always have a knee or ankle wrapped in gauze.  This is a readymade excuse for skipping out on the local charity run that folks in the office are always participating in. 

Follow these 8 simple rules and you can brag all you want, repeatedly, obnoxiously, and with complete immunity to discovery.  It takes a lot of work to set up this fantasy life but, heck, if you want to be a great runner you need to put the work in.

Or you can just work really hard at the running and forget the other stuff.  But who has time for that?  It’s much better to follow those rules and, just to be safe, keep a horrible performance evaluation on hand in case Johnny Asshole gets a little too suspicious and clicky-clicky with his skeptical finger.

Your title as King of All Runners - and the respect and prestige of your friends and colleagues - is just a bit of planning and a short drive three cities away to a safe-distance-from-home trophy shop!

Happy trails.

Have you added Bottle Fed Parents to your reader yet?  No?  What's your deal, man?  We may be planning a surprise giveaway to anyone who comments.  We might not be but there’s always the possibility that we MAY be and that's what you should really focus on.  You can’t win if you don’t comment.  I have a hilarious post up over there today about Chutes and Ladders.  You’ll never know what I said unless you go there and find out.

Add to reader.  Add to favorites. Etc.  Don’t miss out on the fun.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

21 Run Salute

After all of these years, there’s still something about that 20 – or 20+ - mile run.  It still seems like something special.  At times like this, I wish I was a real wordsmith to describe my feelings.  Instead, let’s all collectively envision James Earl Jones standing on a baseball field wearing suspenders, an uncomfortably itchy hat, and waxing poetic in his sonorous baritone about the magic of twenty mile training runs.  While you’re at it, go ahead and read this entire post with JEJ as your inner narrator.  He really ups the classiness of this shit box, I think.  (You don’t need to have your inner JEJ say “shit box” if you don’t want to.)

Sunday was the day for my high-water distance 21 mile NYC Marathon prep training run.  I always try to do three runs in the twenty mile range before a marathon.  Usually something like 20 miles, 21, then 20.  Sometimes I do three, sometimes I do two but three is always the plan to begin with, at least.

After my first 20 miler two weeks ago and the leg destroying 15.5 trail running last weekend, I was as curious as all of you about how this would turn out.  My right shin was still a bit tender from the trails at DwD last weekend and both quads had been complaining like sweatshop workers from this week’s track work.  And like a good sweatshop supervisor, I ignored them and told them to work harder anyway or get turned out on the street.

Once you've built up your stamina and overall conditioning for regular 17-18 mile runs, you know that the first 15 miles of a long run are no sweat.  Well, not no sweat literally but figuratively.  I’m a sweater by nature.  I sweat a ton.  Sometimes I have to change my shirt after going #2 in a poorly ventilated restroom.  Three miles in to any distance, I look as if I've been dipped in magic waters.

But the hard part comes in those last 5 miles.  Everything else is just biding time until you get to about mile 15-16 and then the legs want to start chiming in with their opinion about this whole twenty mile run business.  Funny thing is…it is never the cardio that gets me.  My breathing is nice ‘n easy; my hair, moist but impeccably well-coiffed; pecs, buoyant and inviting.  Legs?  That’s where the trouble starts.  The one constant through all the years – somewhere around mile 17 – has been the soreness in the legs.  Marathons have rolled by like an army of steamrollers.  They’ve been erased like a blackboard, retrained, and erased again.  But leg pain has marked the time.  The entire preceding paragraph is all my invention by the way.

 Twenty miles is the distance that exposes your body’s weak spots.  For most of you, that probably means your jaw or looks or sense of humor hurts.  For me, that right shin and left hip and quads were aching.  When you enter the twenty mile zone, it’s payback time for any pre-existing weakness you were able to cover up on shorter distances.

As I limped into the house and barely managed to stop myself from curling up on the floor and sucking my thumb for an hour, I poured a nice tall glass of chocolate milk.  There is nothing better tasting after a long run than chocolate milk.  It’s like having Blatz beer injected directly into your veins.*  Try it and see.  As I gulped it down, I noticed my daughter peering at me strangely, as if I was James Earl Jones that just wandered into the house.   I was seated at the table rocking back and forth and stamping my feet.  Oh, the right shin wanted to cramp out and I was battling by the second to keep it stretched and loose.  I've had a shin cramp one other time – during the marathon leg of the Goofy Challenge – and it took out the calves and feet with it as my entire lower leg turned into a pretzel.  I smiled meekly and croaked “I’m fine” in between convulsing and stamping feet.  I must have looked like a Crystal Blatz addict.

But the 21 miles were accomplished.  After a half hour of torturous leg pain, my body gave in and me and my stupid marathon plans won again.  In two weeks time, as I set out for my last 20 miler, I’m sure I’ll have completely forgotten about this run.  So load up the canon and fire off the 21 Run Salute!  Stand on an aircraft carrier 8 years prematurely and declare Mission Accomplished!  Crush a case of Milwaukee’s finest!  Whatever your preferred form of celebration.**

But the celebration shall be short-lived.  The marathon waits for no one.  It does not care about your tough training runs or leg pain.  It cares only about the distance and the people who dare to run it.  It reminds us of all that was once good, and that could be again.  And people will come, reader, people will most definitely come.

I came up with the preceding paragraph entirely on my own.


Happy trails.

* "Crystal Blatz"
** For me, it was actually standing around a soccer pitch and watching the filly knock in 4 goals (and hit two other crossbars, arrrgghhh) in a 5-1 victory over one of the better club teams in southeast Michigan.  Like how I added a soccer update in there?!  Buried it right down here in the asterisks so you’d have to work to get it this time.  Clever, no?  Don’t worry, soccer season ends in less than three weeks.

Ian introduces himself at Bottle Fed Parents today.  You might remember him as the guy who used to call himself Vanilla and leave snarky comments here before I chased him out of run blogging.  Go there and give him a gentle pat on the back and a "Nice job Buddy!" like people do to the slow kid.  Go ahead and pop over for a visit to the BFP.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A New Blog in Town

I know most of you read this blog and, while thoroughly entertained, think to yourself ‘Nitmos is a fascinating person and philanthropist but just what are his views on parenting and family life?  I wish there was an avenue with which I could learn more from Sensei Nitmos’.

Your prayers have been answered.

Through almost no action on my own – other than a ‘sure, I guess’ reply to an email begging me in the most pandering and embarrassing possible way to join – a blog has been established for a small band of folks to discuss kids, parenting, family life and whatever else is annoying us that particular day.  Don’t worry, I plan to take on Honey Boo Boo and people who say “I had to get up at the BUTT CRACK of dawn” in landmark posts.*  Ian, Razz, Amy and Niki will probably spew out some drivel as well. 

The best part of this new blog is that, since it is a group effort, I won’t have to write as much to keep it going.  Considering how much I’ve been posting lately, this should be right up my alley.  This affords me maximum laziness with none of the feelings of guilt.  Plus, you may not get as many soccer anecdotes over here as you are used to.  I can dump them over there and not feel off topic at all.

The site is called Bottle Fed Parents and I think you are all clever enough to get this hilarious joke right there in the title. 

If you don’t like kids or don’t have kids or don’t want the ones you’ve got, don’t be afraid to come on over.  I have a feeling we’ll be specializing in the downside of parenting…the side that can only be cured with a stiff drink sipped through tears of shame and regret.  If you’ve ever looked at an innocent, cherubic, screaming-until-the-snot-drips-into-their-mouth child and thought ‘what the fuck is that kid’s problem?’ then you should be a good match for the new blog.

Please to join us?  Head on over NOW and leave us a comment.  Bookmark us.  Favorite us.  Add us to a Reader.  Twitter us.  Facebook us.  MySpace us.  Fax us.  Ham radio us.  Latin us.  Sanskrit us.  Whatever.

If you don’t like the banner, blame Ian.

Happy trails.

Using the phrase “butt crack of dawn” is one of my personal redneck identifiers.

P.S. I will still be posting here.  This is “in addition to” rather than “in place of”.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bad Out of Hell

Well, that was an experience.

Dances with Dirt 100k relay was Saturday.  Here are the important parts in summary:

  •           It was chilly and alternating between sun and rain storm throughout the day.
  •           When I ran, it was sunny.  When I had to stand and wait, it rained.
  •           I would rather it rained during my run.  Standing in the rain sucks.
  •           Our first runner twisted an ankle.
  •           My legs were of 6.1, 2.55, and 7.1 miles (nicknamed Potto, Bad Out of Hell, and Vertigo respectively.)
  •           I did not get a river or mud pit crossing.  They stuck me with the long distances involving lots of technical trail/hill running on a single track path through the woods.
  •           No blood (for me anyways).
  •           No puke.
  •           One beer.
  •           We started at 7:30 am and finished around 6:30 pm. 
  •           We were not the fastest team….by far.
  •           Our vehicle smelled like dysentery anus by the end.

Dances with Dirt has been around for a number of years.  It takes place in the appropriately named Hell, Michigan.  If you live where I do, you know about it.  If you don’t live where I do, you should learn about it.  There’s a 100k team relay as well as 50 mile and 50k ultra trail runs.  But this isn’t running on flat surfaces or even pleasantly packed dirt trails.  It’s log jumping, trail twisting, knee buckling, hill climbing, hill descending, mud bog traversing, river crossing fun.  It’s stupidity for the stupid.  My shoes are caked in cow shit.

I was invited to join an existing team and that’s about the only way to get in on the team relay.  If you want to do the 100k, you can’t simply form a team and sign-up.  If you ran the previous year, you get auto-entry for the next year.  And, guess what?  No one gives up their entry.  So there are never any open spots (well, maybe not never – but it’s hard to come by, for sure.)  I was asked to join each of the last two years but declined.  I wasn’t going to decline again when the call came this year.

 Despite my first and third legs involving over 600+ feet of ascents and descents within each foresty leg, the toughest had to be Bad Out of Hell and its seemingly “easy” 2.55 miles.  Maybe because of the distance I was fooled into thinking I’d sprint right through it.  Instead, I was switching back and forth and up and down tightly packed trails.  There were long stretches where I couldn’t see anyone else.  But then I’d discover someone was only a few feet in front of me.  You can’t lift your eyes off the trail or risk a horrendous face plant so you just kinda come up the back of someone as they enter your peripheral vision.  This was severe technical trail running at its finest.  I finished slightly humbled which, if you know me, is a hard thing to do.

With the concentration required to maintain balance, I quickly decided during my first leg to distract myself by counting the runners passed along the trail.  Passing is not an easy proposition since the trail is single track and the sides are often scooped from the beaten down path and covered in brush, poison ivy, rocks, mud, or all of the above.  A few kind souls stepped off to allow me to pass.  Others stayed the course so I was forced to jump in the brush and bound past. 

My leg totals for passed runners was:
Potto = 65
Bad Out of Hell = 22
Vertigo = 46

I was not passed.  Some huffy puffy runner was coming up my ass during the final mile of Vertigo but I managed to hold him off.  With the completion of my last leg, our next team member held a beer aloft as a prize.  Mmmmmm, despite it being a Labatt’s Blue Light, it tasted pretty darn good at that point.  But I believe I could have even savored a Blatz after all that hard work.

A great event and, if I’m invited, it’ll be hard to say no to next year.  I ended up taking the longest 7.1 mile leg for our ankle injured runner, which was his final leg originally, so I completed the day with 15.5 miles (roughly) instead of the 12.5 I had been planning.  Drained.  Exhausted.  But not defeated.

A great group of guys, a great day, a smelly vehicle but this was not much of a “rest” week for NYC training.    I'll call it...quality "hill work" for those NY concrete jungle bridges.

If you have a chance, I suggest you enter a nice trail relay.  The harder the better.  (Yeah, I know, twss.)

Now, I sit back and wait for the poison ivy to start itching.

Happy trails.  (Yes, they were.)

An announcement of an exciting new venue for entertainment coming soon.  Stay tuned!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dirt Dancin'

Well looky here, the calendar on my wall tells me it is Dances with Dirt eve.  That’s the second biggest day of the year besides NYC Marathon eve!  I’m supposed to run a 100k tomorrow.*  Am I prepared?  As Sarah Palin would say, you betcha!

At least, I prepared to run the distance for which I’ve been assigned.  I’m not sure I’m prepared for the “trail” aspect of this trail run.  I run on perfectly maintained sidewalks.  Sure, every now and then that sidewalk has a crack or an edge that was pushed up an inch or two due to an ornery tree root and I have to hop over it.  Every now and then I have to dodge a pine cone or a pile of dog shit that people inexplicably let their dog do IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIDEWALK but that’s about all I normally have to contend with.  Does this make me “trail ready”?  You betcha! (wink)

What could go wrong?  The one and only time I did a trail run was back in 2007 and it was a ten miler.  At least, the race claims it was a ten miler but I’m pretty sure I ran around 20-25 miles based on how my calves and ankles felt afterwards.  At some point in that race, I recall briefly considering dropping out and finding a hole to burrow in to just live off the land like a Ramboesque hobo.  It was that bad. 

But five years is just long enough for me to forget about all of that.  So, tomorrow, I look forward to piling into a van with four other sweaty men (in college, this was called “experimenting” – now it just seems unnatural) and rolling around the fields of central lower Michigan like a traveling testament to uncleanliness.  I look forward to the dirt and the rocks and the mud and the water “features” and the body odor and the beer (yes, the beer) and the smell of death by a thousand sweat pores.  Can one die due to over stimulation of the nasal glands?  I'll soon find out.  Considering there is not typically a lot of nasal related deaths at a Renaissance Festival, I figure that I should be alright.

Oh, and did I mention I’m highly allergic to poison ivy?  Mmmm, look forward to that gooood itchin’ next week!  I just hope I keep my body intact as I’m in peak mileage training for New York.  Feets don’t fail me now.

Happy trails.  Literally this time.  HAPPY TRAILS.

*As part of a relay team but why tell you that in the text?  It sounds way more impressive to let people believe that I’m doing the entire 100k by myself when, really, it’s a team of five and I only have about 12-13 miles.

New York Marathon training is ongoing!  Twenty miles last weekend at around 7:20 pace.  Dances with Dirt this weekend counts as a step back week.  Then, 21 miles next weekend.
Hey, you haven’t heard about my kids and soccer in awhile.  My colt’s junior varsity team is 6-2-2 and have conceded only 2 goals in the last 7 games.  He is a defender.  That is his score sheet.

The filly continues to roll.  As team Striker, she has now knocked in 12 goals in the last 5 games – three tourney games and two regular season games – and she is off to a 2-0 start in league play (including a victory over one of the best club teams in the state!)  This was a goal:

As was this:

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

I Broke Two Hours in the Marathon!

To the best of my recollection, I once ran a marathon in just under two hours!   I believe it was something like one hour and fifty-something.  High “ones”, anyhow.  At least, that’s what I told my relatives at a recent family gathering.  They were incredibly impressed.  Even more so when I explained that I was suffering from severe adolescent acne at the time.

But then a friend of mine reminded me that it was closer to three hours – more than three hours in fact, but who’s counting? – and that no one has ever beaten two hours in the marathon.  He might be right.  It was several years ago and who can remember personal marathon times?  Heck, name me one single runner that can rattle off a PR marathon time right off the top of their head?  It’s obscure knowledge that no one really memorizes, let’s be honest.

That’s why I don’t really understand the hubbub over congressman Paul Ryan’s, the budget numbers guy,  recent slip up that he had run a sub three hour marathon time only to find out that, in fact, it was over four hours.  I once told a prospective employer that I had a GPA over 4.0 (when it was actually just under 3.0) and they never batted an eye.  And why should they?  4 - 3 = 1 and 1 is the least amount you can be on the whole numbers scale besides zero.  One is adjacent to zero.  And adjacent to zero (ATZ) is de facto zero in my book.  Inconsequential, really. 

If people are going to run around and fact check all our self posted PR times, then I’ll need to do some serious blogger editing.  Not much…maybe adding back a 1 to the tens place of my listed 5k and half marathon times…maybe a 1 to the hour column of my marathon PR.  But nothing more than a small, one digit bump to one of those places.  Just a minor ATZ adjustment.  Inconsequential, really.

So whether I tell you I ran a sub-two hour marathon or sub-three hour marathon (or sub-four hour marathon, which is only a mere two ATZ’s removed from ‘true zero’), what’s the difference?  The point is, I’m incredibly fast if a bit imperfect at math.  Don’t judge Mr. Ryan and I if we don’t get our numbers exactly right.  Focus on the awesome finish times instead!  Being terrific at math is not a requirement to run a marathon.  It just helps with the self reported finish time.  Let’s leave the ‘perfectly reported race times’ to the Nerdilators with their abacuses and protractors.  Beer!  Beer!   Beer!  

Don’t be a numbers nerd.

So, let me tell you about this wonderful 117 mile* long run I completed this Sunday along the gorgeous Leelanau Trail…

Happy trails.

* +1 ATZ, hundreds place, implied

UPDATE:  Thanks to Lindsay for providing the hilarious link that follows.  According to the new Paul Ryan Time Calculator, my current marathon PR of 3:12:19 converts (ATZ) to a much more pleasing 2:19:24.  I am now only 15:46 away from setting a new world marathon record!!

Calculate your new PR time and enjoy!  (For those with a limited sense of humor, (a) why are you here? and (b) here's a different link to enjoy.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Can't Wait to Finish Second Again

Since when did this turn into a family soccer blog?  Maybe because I’ve been running and writing about running for five plus years now and I’m looking for new source material.  Anyway, as usual, I’ll loosely connect this post to running so stick with it….if you care at all about puppies and orphans.

Soccer season is in full bloom around these parts.  My colt hasn’t even started high school yet – first day is next week – but he’s already played four junior varsity games, committed a fairly flagrant – but uncalled – tripping penalty in the box, and been knocked to the ground with a two-handed shove WWE-style by a frustrated forward.  There’s been a severe verbal altercation between warring school tribes in the stands enough to bring security over.  And a rousing victory with a goal scored with one second on the clock!  The season is off and rolling.

And he hasn’t even begun to play with his eyes open yet…

Meanwhile, my cantankerous filly started her season with tournament play.  And a new position.  To take advantage of her speed and aggressiveness, she’s been moved from center midfielder to striker.  Since her favorite Team USA players are AbbyWambach and Alex Morgan, both strikers, this fits nicely. 

After a lethargic 4-0 loss in game 1, the team destroyed the tourney’s hometown club 11-1.  Proving once again (are you listening Mrs. Nitmos?) that size DOESN'T matter, here's an image captured of our team competing - and destroying - the slow, lumbering Jolly Green Giants: 
Her head wouldn't fit in the frame.
Then they took down a previously undefeated squad 2-1 to march their way into the finals for a rematch with the team they lost to in game 1.

She was up for the rematch.  Ninety degree heat be damned…

It was a battle.  She was literally physically tackled twice as she continually split the defense with her speed and the opposing team was left to trip and grab to prevent a run at the goal.  A 1-0 lead evaporated to a 1-1 tie.  Outside of a 3 minute rest break in the first half (30 minute halves), the filly never left the field and repeatedly pounded away at the opposing teams D but just could not break through with a goal.  The opposing goalie made a jumping two handed save to stop her 15 yard blast with about 8 minutes remaining. A game saver, as it turned out. 

The perpetual in game scowl….

A regulation tie led to a ten minute overtime. In 90 degree heat.

The teams remained tied.  Unbelievably, the ref blew the whistle to end overtime as my filly stood alone with the ball at her feet 20 feet from the goal.  No breakaway continuation, ref??  Seriously??  Onto a shootout.

Which was lost 3-2.  The team has finished runner-up in three consecutive tournaments.

I’ve won a few race day age group awards in my time.  Whether it’s 1st or 5th, I have no problems celebrating the award, caressing it, being slightly unnatural with it, lording it over everyone’s head and just generally being obnoxious.  This, truly, is the Nitmos Way you all know and love.  But, for my filly, anything less than first never seems to be good enough.

She grumbled and pouted for half the drive home.  And then, from the backseat, we heard her exhale and sarcastically mutter, “I can’t wait to finish second again in the next tournament.”

Suddenly, my age group 2nd place coffee mug doesn’t seem so cool anymore.

Happy trails.
Filly’s totals = 7 goals (of team’s 14) in four games, two crossbars, and one accusation from an opposing player’s mom of “choking her daughter”.  Good times, good times.  
17 miles on deck this Sunday along the Leelanau Trail.  Nice!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

NYC Marathon Train is Busy Training

So, have you all been behaving since I’ve been gone over the last MONTH?  Yes, I haven’t posted in five weeks.  Missed me?  The Olympics have come and gone since then.  Quick recap #1:  Bolt is still fast.   Phelps can still swim.   American women are still pretty good at soccer (much to the inspiration of my filly.)  Also, Ian has posted three times (?!?) since my last post (though it appears he has returned to the safety of his group home now.)

When I last left you, I mentioned that I take so much vacation because I earn so much vacation.  I was pretty snarky about it, in fact.  Rest assured, I don’t earn that much vacation.  My employer would probably say I don’t "earn" any vacation but they are contractually bound to provide the days that they do, God bless ‘em (and state laws).  The fact is that I got caught up in the summer lazies where writing a blog post just seemed like too. much. work. 

But I have been running.  Oh, I’m always running.   Who needs a blog for motivation and accountability?  Probably the same recreational amateur runners that are hiring other recreational amateur runners as coaches, I guess.  Nope, I run and that never changes no matter how much I post.

I haven’t raced all year.  Wow, unbelievable.  That streak will be ending soon.  The Dances with Dirt 100k team relay is a month away.  Then, the BIG EVENT FOR 2102: the New York City Marathon

Training for a marathon is like boarding a train.  It pulls from the station slowly but then it gathers steam and starts barreling down the tracks uncontrollably.  Just hang on and hope it doesn’t flip you off over a ravine Tony Scott style*.  Days go by, mileage increases, toe nails blacken, gauntness appears in the bathroom mirror….and it ain’t gonna stop until the train reaches its destination on November 4th in Central Park.

It has taken me awhile to get my body back in shape this season.  I’m just now starting to see the times and distances I expect.  Maybe it’s because I’m 41?  Maybe it’s because of the unnatural heat this summer?  Maybe it’s because I need a coach?  Maybe it’s because I downloaded this Vampire Weekend album to my iPod on a whim and then listened as it systemically destroyed a run with its odd syncopated beats?  Weird shit.  I didn’t know if I was listening to calypso-disco or goth-necrophilia.  Ever want to rip the ear buds out of your ear out of frustration while cranking some mile repeats?**  I returned to the safety of some Social Distortion at the very next break.

The long run train is in the 14-15 mile range now.  After a step back long run this weekend, we’ll move along to a nice 17 miler along the Leelanau Traverse City-to-Suttons-Bay trail over Labor Day.  I love this run.  It winds through the country up along the West Traverse Bay peninsula near Madonna’s Dad’s wine farm.  His grapes are fresh and unspoiled.  I like to touch them so they are touched for the very first time.  And when I say “grapes” this is not a euphemism I actually mean grapes.  If I was talking about Madonna's Dad's euphemistic grapes, I would probably have used 'raisins' instead.  Somehow, her Dad failed to cash in on the obvious marketing crossover of cone-shaped wine bottles.  Missed opportunity?  I think so.  Tsk tsk.

Meanwhile, when I’m not hanging onto the NYC train, I’m resting aching muscles along the edge of a soccer pitch somewhere in middle mitten Michigan.***

Quick recap #2:  I’m training for a marathon.  I’m watching copious amounts of youth soccer.  I’m ragging on amateur running coaches.  Heck, I might even end this post with a cliché “Happy Trails”.

Yup, the more things change around here the more they stay the same.

Happy trails.

*Too soon?
**Do they make black eye liner that won’t run under heavy sweating?  Or moisture wicking black combat boots?
***The colt is on his high school soccer team now.  Yes, I have a high school aged kid.  How did that happen?  Incidentally, they won their first game of the season a few days ago by scoring a goal with ONE SECOND remaining on the clock.  We, the parents, felt like we should riot or, at least, burn something in the bleachers but no one had a lighter.  Another missed opportunity...