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.)