Thursday, July 19, 2012

2 x Chicago Intervals

My week of Chicago intervals is over.  We did '2 x Chicago' at a comfortably hard pace.  The first interval was accomplished fairly easily without the kids.  Fortunately, I took a camera during my laps.  Here’s some sights, sounds and smells from the first interval….mostly sights…
  • Did you know that every boat moored in Chicago must say ‘Chicago’ on it? (click to prostate enlargen any photo)

  • Mrs. Nitmos and I took a nice morning run down the beautifully endless lakefront path.

  • Then watched the sunset from the deep blue Lake Michigan.

  • Then took photos of each other like complete tourist jackasses.  But isn’t she lovely?

The first interval lasted two days and boy are my arms legs tired.  Believe me, I hydrated and hydrated well.  In fact, it seemed like I was hydrating from the time I got up until the time I went to sleep.  There are certainly a lot of “hydration stations” located throughout the city.  Goose Island, the local crafted beer?  Blech.  Pitooie.  Try again.

We stayed at a music themed hotel and slept below the creepiest photo I’ve ever seen in my life.  The man in the picture was especially disapproving of everything that went on in that room.  In fact, he was downright seething at some of the things to which he bore witness.  If I didn’t already know Mrs. Nitmos’ dad, I would have thought it was he. 

Can you identify this rocker?  There’s an obvious answer but, if you look closer, it may not be who you think it is.  I’m not going to mention my guess because it my taint yours.  Sorry for the camera phone quality photo.  Help us out here, who is this?  And where is he so that he can be properly arrested?  Those eyes are either pre-murder, pre-rape, or pre-arson eyes.

During our rest lap in Traverse City, we went for a awkward family photo at Old Mission point.

Then the filly kicked butt (3rd girl, about 8th overall) at a one mile Fun Run led by some construction guy from Extreme Home Makeover.

The second Chicago interval involved the kids….and soccer, of course.

  • Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver White Caps.  Fire win 1-0 (what other score did you expect?)

  • What would a professional soccer match be without a fire in the stands?  Or an attempt at self immolation two sections away?

  • And karate chop kicks to the face?

That’s our 2 x Chicago week.  Now, back to work…for two WHOLE weeks before my next week off.  Why do I take so much vacation?  Because I earn so much vacation. 

Happy Chicago.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Randumbery Hates Mascots

After two product posts, I figured I should at least let you ease into the weekend with a lame Randumbery.   This is a real half-ass one too.  I’m on vacation next week! 

You’ve all probably seen this by now:

That’s Mahiedine Makhissi-Benabbad, French Olympian, and the 3000 meter steeplechase champion winning then assaulting a 14 year old girl in mascot outfit that looks like a pack of paper towels.  What’s my reaction to this?

Awesome!  There simply needs to be more assaults and violence in running competitions.  It’d really spice things up.  I’d like to see what Ryan “Razor Elbows” Hall could do to Meb the Calf Mangler over the course of 26.2 miles besides, you know, the running.  Seriously, did we care anything about the European Championship 3000 meter steeplechase until Benabbad started knocking over teenage girls dressed as paper towels?  What we owe the man is a "Thank You".  Thanks for bringing the sport into the spotlight!

And who likes a mascot anyway?*  They are as useless as a cheerleader.  We have a local green guy, Sparty, that annoys everyone around here.  Until the age of ten, my kids thought he was a felon and were slightly afraid of him, thanks to a few well placed comments whispered into their tender little brains from yours truly.  I’d love to see Benabbad meet up with him after a race.

Chi-Town Yo-Yo

It’s vacation week for the Nitmos clan.  And when we vacation, we do it right!  That means, lots of time in the car and driving back and forth to Chicago every weekend!  What could be better?  That’s how you all vacation, right?

We start out in northern Michigan.  Then, a trip to the Windy City after, followed by a return to Up North, Michigan for lakes and boats, followed by a return to Chicago again next weekend for a Chicago Fire** game.  The second Chicago excursion was a late booking as the kids’ soccer club arranged a play date with the team.  There will be tailgating, on field scrimmages and ball boy assistance.  By game time, I should be all lit up and ready for a full scale European-style  BRAWL!!  I’m going to find the nearest mascot…

Speaking of soccer, both of the kids re-made their premier teams for the coming season.  I know you were concerned and all.  You can look forward to another year’s worth of photos!  By the way, soccer season actually begins again in t-minus 10 days…..

What Training Plan?

It just dawned on me that I’m about 17 weeks away from the NYC Marathon.  I don’t have a training plan written and you know what?  I’m not going to write one.  Like most of my running these days, I’m going to just go with feel on this one.  I haven’t written any plan down in over two years and things have worked out.  What could possibly go wrong?

Although I keep forgetting about the Dances with Dirt trail run in September.  Someone better tell me my leg assignments soon.   I’m highly allergic to poison ivy and I hear there is lots of it on the trail.  I’m sure it will work out…what could possibly go wrong?

Here’s to hoping there’s a giant green three leaf mascot named "Ivy" at the finish.  I’d love to go all Benabbad over its ass.

If you’ve run more than five marathons, do you still write out a training plan??

Happy trails. 

While FMS does not officially endorse mascot abuse, for legal reasons, it is unofficially encouraged and monetarily rewarded in the most hypothetical, legal way possible.
**I know, it’s the MLS but that’s the best we got around here.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Ridin' the Wave

What better way to celebrate America week than to post about another retail consumer product?  This one with a Japanese name!
Like many across the blogscape, I was also sent a free pair of Mizuno shoes.  I’ve never run in Mizuno and, frankly, have never even tried a pair on.  I have a hard time even pronouncing the name of the shoe company which is why I’ve shied away from them in the past.  I don’t want to look like a fool when someone says, “Hey, what brand of shoes are those?”  I have to go into a lame Snoop Dogg impersonation and say, “It’s the Miz-izzle, my schmizzle”, and hope I don’t get smacked in the mouth.  It’s the same reason I won’t eat ‘hors d’oevres’ either.  I end up calling someone a whore before I can figure out the last part of the word.

But Mizuno sent me free shoes so I’m talking about them and now you’re reading about them.  It’s all a part of their rather expansive Mezamashii Run Project that has them giving away thousands of free shoes.  If you think I had to go to the web site and double or triple check how to spell “Mezamashii”, you would be wrong.  I checked four times.  It’s a Japanese word and it means brilliant” or “eye opening”.  In exchange for the free shoes, I expected to have to paint a fence or wax a car or, at the very least, catch a fly with some chopsticks.  Yes, my world view of Japanese culture was informed largely from The Karate Kid (along with a sprinkle of Michael Keaton’s Gung-Ho…oh, and who can forget “The Donger needs food!”) 

I started my running hobby in Adidas Response until I wised up and realized I was the only guy at a race wearing Adidas.  That’s as embarrassing as wearing cargo shorts to a 10k (and we all know who did that.)  Eventually, I switched to Asics and have been running in the GT series for about 8 years now.  I’ve liked them well enough which is why I’ve never really checked into another brand or style.  But free is free and I’m nothing if not a product hors d’oevres.

They even let me select my own style.  Of course, I selected the gaudiest pair of red shoes I could find.  Maybe part of me wants to be Dorothy with the little red ruby shoes?  That would go a long way towards explaining all of the ridiculing I took in high school.  I chose one of their more recognizable products, the Wave Riders.  I figure, if those aren’t any good, what’s the point of looking any further?
Mizuno Wave Rider 15th Anniversary edition

They sat in the box for nearly two weeks before I was brave enough to try them out.  I’m a nervous Nitmos that way.  Change doesn’t come easy for me.  I still have The Bangles on my iPod.  Then, I took them out and walked around for a bit.  My knees didn’t buckle.  My hamstring didn’t tear.  So, I took them out for a 6 mile run.  They felt different.  They aren’t my Asics.  They had less of a platform, round feeling in the toe box.  It’s more pointed with more of the cushioning seeming to fall at the mid foot.  My first mile was a bit strange.  I felt like I was walking like an Egyptian.

But after I got over the ‘It’s just different’ feeling of having another shoe on my foot, I settled in for a comfortable run.  The shoes fit well.  They felt smooth carrying me down the sidewalks.  I think I have pretty decent running form – mainly a mid foot striker but with a touch of under pronation – and the design of the shoe seemed to match my tendencies.  They are a tad lighter than my Asics but also a bit stiffer.  If you are running straight, as most runners do, they are perfectly flexible and fine.  I noticed on turns, however, that I can almost feel the twist of the shoe fighting back against me.  After their running life cycle is complete, I’m not sure I’d be able to transition these shoes to my every day/play soccer in the yard shoes due to this lack of sideways flexibility.

However, as running shoes, I was surprisingly impressed.  In fact, my Asics are basically worn through and need to be replaced but I’ve been in no hurry to do so since the Mizuno Wave Rider 15’s are filling in quite nicely.

It even has me considering actually spending my own money on a pair which, ultimately, was probably part of their devilish plan.  The evaluation continues…

And here’s the part that you are probably MOST interested in:  You can get a free pair too!  MaybeGo here to apply for an invite to be part of the Mezamashii Run Project and the recipient of a free pair of Miz-izzles.  You can be a product hors d’oevres too!

Nitmos-san say, Konnichiwa bitches and

幸福の小道 (Happy trails)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Run Into a Cherry Summer

This is one of those "fine folks" posts so buckle up.*

You don't need me to tell you that we are in the midst of summer.  You might have noticed the sweat pools under your arms, back, and cankles.  I slept on my back last night and awoke to the sounds of hootin' and hollerin', pistol fires, and barely audible rock music.  My natural body lice** had set up a swimming pool in my belly button to cool off and were having a great time.  I let them be and went back to sleep.  Heck, even completely naturally occurring body lice - that we ALL have - need a little relief from the heat sometimes.

Starting smooth segue in 3-2-1...What better way to run in summer than with a new Garmin and some cherries, right?

Brownwood Acres, near my ancestral hometown, sent me a care package of cherry related products.  Many of them are in the picture below (not the Garmin or the woman, however.)

In exchange for these free goods, they would love me to tell you about their Run Into Summer giveaway where you could WIN a Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS or a year's supply of CherryFlex (which promotes healthy joints) or weekly winners of various cherry related products or a gentle massage from the woman in the photo (assumed).   They'd like me to tell you about this giveaway but I'm not going to do it because it only lowers my chances to win.

Did I mention that I love cherries?  Want to see me tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue?  Email me.

Let me take you back a bit...Little Nitmos, a precocious but devilishly handsome tot with the sexiest bowl cut east of Lake Michigan, was raised in the self-proclaimed cherry capital of the world.  My fondest cherry-related childhood memory is..watching our only cherry tree get cut down by city workers because we didn't spray it and it posed a threat to the other cherry trees in the region.  That was a sad day.  I ate my potentially disease-riddled last few cherries between tears and seed spits all the while barely jostling a hair along my ruler-straight hairline -  1/2 inch above my uni brow.

I'm sure there are other little Nitmii - thousands perhaps -  in the region right now eating their cherries and running and eating more cherries and promoting more healthy joints and eating still more cherries and promoting their fabulous bowl cuts.  We They would like you to join us them.

Enter the contest.  Eat more cherries and cherry-related products.  Possibly win a Garmin or awesome cherry stuff or a gentle massage (assumed).  Experience the benefit of this superpower fruit.  Benefit my homeland.  Let the young cherry Nitmii prosper and multiply until critical mass is reached....

Well *ahem* never mind all that.  A "product review" isn't really the place for willy nilly talk of world domination.

This is all about the cherries.  Git some.  We'll worry about "other matters" another time.  Believe me, everything is just fine, folks.


Happy trails.

* For you FMS newbies, "fine folks" is a derogatory description around these parts.  I simply cannot read a product review on some one's blog where that person hasn't referred to the donating company as "fine folks".    As in "The fine folks of Company X sent me...".  Ugh.  FMS maintains a strict anti-Fine Folks policy.
** We all have it.  Right?
And you're welcome for not making you "Like" me or them on Facebook, or Twit this or that, or send chain emails to 5000 friends.  If you want to enter, enter.  No business of mine.  See?  Entering a giveaway CAN be pretty easy.