Thursday, February 28, 2013

Runner Advice: 49 Reasons to Raise Lazy Kids

This is the first installment of my popular one segment series, “Runner Advice”. Enjoy. It probably won’t return.

I’ve been trying to fill out my yearly race dance card lately. It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s like Kristen Stewart trying to find time to brood; there’s never enough time to brood. The will is there: I’d like to run races. The health is there: I’m strong like bull. The finances are there: I have a credit card. So what’s the hold up?

Kids. Yup, those guys. Again. Sheesh, I provided the ingredients; Mrs. Nitmos baked ‘em in the oven; Life was created! You’d think that would be enough of our involvement for them. Nope. They require a couple decades worth of constant “attention”, “food”,” water”, “medicine”, “love”, and “guidance”. What the hell did we invent TVs for? I think there’s a word for this: ungrateful.

I’ve been thinking about a spring half marathon and a fall marathon with some summer 5 and 10k’s thrown in. I might as well keep thinking about it because the reality of making it happen is proving difficult. We just received the kids’ spring soccer schedules. Two kids, two sets of indoor games, outdoor regular season games and additional bonus State Cup games. If you include my soccer games, we have 49 games on the schedule over the next 13 weekends. That doesn’t include practice time, of course.

You know that May race I was thinking about? Not happening. There are a few races I’ve always wanted to do the first weekend of June. And I’ll continue to still want to do them because that particular weekend is the final weekend of soccer games for the season. Oh, but there’s a nice half marathon the second weekend of June…which is soccer tryouts for the following season. Not happening.

I should have been one of those dads that hides behind a newspaper and only grunts in the direction of the kids when he wants another beer. What happen to those dads? What happened to the good ole days? A little neglect and deep emotional scarring never hurt a kid before.

For those of you with kids already, you know what I’m talking about. They are little Time Thieves. They are like an engrossing reality show. They get you all wrapped up in their little dramas and then you realize two hours have gone by and your kid didn’t get the rose.

For those of you without kids, let me be the first to suggest: Don't have them.  Or, at the very least, raise lazy kids. Television is a wonderful babysitter, friend, confidante, therapist, and educator. It can do a much better job in those areas than you could ever do. Think you know a lot?  The History Channel knows more.  Think you can unravel their traumatic emotional issues?  Not better than Dr. Phil, you can't.  Think you know better than TELEVISION?  Don't be arrogant.  Also, you’d be surprised at how much more running you can get done when you plop the kid right down in front of the TV with a bowl of chips. This is a fact: The lazier your child; the better your chance of PRing. Heck, I set all of my PRs when I could put the kids in a child swing, set it on Slow, and head out the door for a long run as they gently rocked back and forth and drifted off to sleep. Every five miles, you come back around to make sure there are no fires, dump some Cheerios on the tray, grab a swig of Gatorade and Gu and head back out the door. My motto was: Unless they are blue in the face, keep training for the race!

But that doesn’t work anymore. Ever try to get a 15 year old to cooperate while you attempt to stuff him into a swing? (Not to mention that the tray won't latch.)  And he sure as shit won’t eat dry Cheerios anymore. The language – and strength – of a 15 year old these days!

We should never have encouraged them to be active. Forty-nine games?!?! I suppose I could do laps around the field while they play but that would cut into my valuable Yelling at the Ref time. (I find that most referees need a parents help in order to correctly whistle an offsides. This is a theory I’m attempting to prove.) You reap what you sow and I sowed the seeds of future running obstacles way back when I rolled that soccer ball out onto the grass and encouraged my new little walker to kick the ball. It was a pathetic kick – barely went an inch – but he was delighted despite my disapproving scowl. He (and then, she) continued to kick the ball over the years and now I don’t have a free weekend to run a goddamn race.

My time would have been better spent teaching them how to work the remote control. Soccer’s more fun to watch then to play anyhow, right?

Kristen Stewart’s not the only one brooding these days. Just how many kids does she have anyway? 

Happy trails.

Last weekend, my filly contributed 4 goals and an assist in stirring 3-2 and 3-0 wins. It was fun to watch even though I estimate that it cost me approximately 20 seconds off my next 5k time. /Reaped

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dtoilet Paper Unrolled

Considering I don’t promote this blog any longer or run around trying to stoke my comment bonfire, receiving 24 comments on my last post is quite an unexpected windfall. What created this outpouring? I’ve had recent posts about Lance Armstrong, deer antler spray, the New York City Marathon, my own off season battle with the candy bowl…some real deep, introspective shit laid out for you all on my blog buffet. Nope, you didn’t give a sniff about any of that. You metaphorically sneezed on my blog buffet sneeze guard and walked away.

No, your comments came ROLLING in due to a postscript I hastily tagged at the end of my last post. About toilet paper and how it should unroll. Wiperz, pleeze!?! That’s what gets your interest? Believe me, I underestimate all of you but this even seems below that deeply underestimated level.

Well, I give the people what they want. You want a toilet paper discussion. I’m a giver that way.

Left or Right?
I pulled your results into a spreadsheet and analyzed the comments based on spelling, grammar, and clarity. I then pie charted, bar graphed (both vertically and horizontally), and power pointed the results. I was going to do a picture graph but that just seemed unsavory somehow.

The results?

24 total respondents
15 correctly chose Left (over the top)
5 incorrectly chose Right (from below)
4 seemed confused by the simple choice between two things and fell into an Other category

That means 75% that chose, chose Left. And they are correct. I mean, who wants to grab toilet paper from below all up against the wall like that? If I’m in a public stall, you think I want my fingers scraping up against the wall, with “stuff” potentially collecting under my exposed fingernails from a thousand poopers before me? Maybe if I was a filthy animal like, say, a llama. Hell, maybe they could get the toilet paper to spit at you too. Would that make your Below Rollers happy? Have some class. Don’t invite me over unless you correct this social faux pas or I’ll use one of your hand towels instead and fold it over and rehang it on the rack, out of spite.

My favorite “Other” response was from Danielle in Iowa in Ireland:
I know it is supposed to be the left, but I just put it on however and deal with the consequences.
I like to know that there are still rebels out there, man. You are the Abbie Hoffman of toilet paper. Be free but….beware of your hand towels, just sayin’.

Mrs. Nitmos and I have settled into an uneasy peace about this issue, truth be told. There might be a small chance that I’ve waaaay over thought this particular piece of household engineering.

But the results rather decisively speak for themselves. Using some transitive logic to other areas of the homestead, if I am correct about the positioning of the toilet paper, then I am also correct about a few others: Dirty clothes do, in fact, only need to fall within two feet of the hamper; Dirty plates do not require rinsing before going into the dishwasher; Why lift the seat to urinate?; Milk will not “go stale” when left on the counter for hours at a time; Farmer’s blows indoors are actually a good idea; Farting in bed is both expected and welcomed.

We’ve settled quite a few matters with that post which makes it very successful. Thanks to you all for clearing things up, transitively speaking.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming about running, life, feelings, and important social issues. You know, those things you don’t care about.

First, I need to grab a clump of toilet paper (from over the top), as if I was displaying an egg to the world on a tiny fingers pedestal, and swab out my cranium from this whole discussion.

Happy wiping.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sans Treadmill

I feel like I think I’m just cool enough to get away with saying “sans” a lot. I know you are all snorting and snarkily declaring that I am “sans cool.” But I am sans a fuck about what you all think.

We are in the middle of another snow dump today but prior to that I had managed to get three consecutive runs off the treadmill and back out on the cold, hard ground in the past week. Whenever I’ve spent too much time on the mill (which, prior to this winter, was rarely), I usually hit the ground going way too fast because it just feels too damn good. Sans proper pacing, I end up limbo running what was meant to be an easy pace, maintenance run. Yesterday’s five miler culminated in a last mile of 6:11. Considering I had started around a 7:15 pace and had planned an even tempo run, you can see I was sans discipline.

Screw it. It’s so nice to be back on the road in (relatively) firm footing where a forward tilt actually means something other than that I might hit the front of a treadmill, slide backwards into the wall, and miss the end of Cougar Town in an unconscious haze while the whirring belt scrapes uninterruptedly across my drooling cheek...

As nice as it was to be back on the road, as Beardsley gives, he also takes away. My beloved stretchy bands – that I just waxed poetic about in the last post – snapped in my hands Wednesday night. When stretchy bands fail – and they always eventually fail – they can’t just tear unassumingly. No, they got to make a BIG production out of it. Always during butterfly curls…when your fists are up near your throat like JFK after the first shot…SNAP! punch yourself in the nose and the detached end whiplashes out and strikes your dog in the hind quarters where she lets out a yelp and scampers across the room into a table, knocking over orange pop onto the carpet.

So now I am sans stretchy bands. Dusting iron is becoming even more imperative.

Tonight is soccer night. We’ll see how that speedy last mile feels on the hamstring when I slide across synthetic turf in a few hours. I’d hate to be sans hamstring.

This weekend’s long run may or may not be on the mill. We’ll see how the snow plows do their job and Mother Beardsley conspires to make things difficult. If I have to go back on the mill, I’ll do it like I always do: Sans balls.

Happy trails.

Why don’t you all settle a little dispute around the Nitmos home? I have very strong feeling on this matter. It is a source of conflict between Mrs. Nitmos and I. It usually involves one of us turning the roll around to “fix” the proper direction of the roll dispensary. Tell me in the comments which photo below – left or right – is the proper way to put on your toilet paper. I don’t want to overemphasize but…you may be responsible for the happiness of our marriage based on your response.  There's a correct way and then there's a way animals do it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dusting Iron

In order to make one’s pecs dance spastically to the awe and delight of others, it’s necessary to have pecs. In order to have pecs, it’s necessary to have a gym membership, home work out equipment, a good plastic surgeon or a 1985 Camaro, muscle shirt, mustache, and gold chain. Lacking a Camaro and unable to grow a passable mustache and definitely not rich enough to afford implants, my options are dwindling.

We had a gym membership for a few years but I cancelled that as soon as my locker room fascination with the Laws of Gravity sagged and wrinkled. Fortunately, I own some home workout equipment of my own. See? My weight bench is right over there…underneath the suitcases and laundry. It’s held up the suitcases for two years now without fail. It’s doing a good job.

Now, I’m not a muscle headed no necker. That’s not real conducive to strong running. You probably want to aim your body type more for a gazelle than a rhino, as runner. The first Kenyan I see that can beat a twelve year old girl in an arm wrestling competition will be…the first Kenyan I see that can do that, I guess. Sorry, I couldn’t quite land that comparison.

But I’m not running to win marathons or shorter races. I’m an amateur, recreational runner. See how I don’t have a running coach but DO have a full time job? That identifies me as an amateur. I also play soccer every Friday night (those of you on Twitter already know this…repeatedly! Look for the next tweet around 5:30pm this coming Friday!) Let me let you in on a little secret, get real close: I also don’t have a soccer coach for that. Why? BECAUSE I’M AN AMATEUR, RECREATIONAL PLAYER!

As an amateur, I’m thinking I might want a bit more muscle to go with my running. It won’t help me finish 236th in an 800 person race. Maybe I finish 254th instead. But those newly pumped pecs will bounce every step of the way. My race photos might look better. Less gauntish. I’ll need more body glide for my protruding nipples. I’ll definitely need to go on a shopping spree to Tank Tops R Us. Do they make Rogaine for upper lips? This is all a small price to pay. Heck, I might even have to check the XL box instead of the L box on race registrations. We are talking a millimeters difference there.

I used to pump iron all of the time. For ten years, I’d dutifully pull my weight bench out 1-2 times weekly and run through 10-12 little exercises, ogle myself in the mirror for a few hours, then complain to Mrs. Nitmos about how my mustache would never properly fill in and whether or not I should consider a tight perm. Toothpicks? Chewed constantly!

Then two things happened nearly simultaneously: we remodeled our basement and I discovered stretchy bands. The remodel moved the weight bench into the laundry room where I promised to still pull it out every week for a good workout. Like a Grandma checked into a senior home “just for a visit”, it has never left.

And those of you who have read F.M.S. for a while know that I’m an acolyte at the Altar of Stretchy Bands. Those things are awesome: portable, effective little bands of stretchy fitness. I love pulling, elongating, snapping and stretching on that rubber.* I love it so much; I’d probably make a great balloon animal creating clown (or a male Dominatrix). Resistance bands are great for keeping your muscles toned, loose and stringy. Also, you can knock off some DVR'd Billy On the Street episodes while stretching them right in the middle of your living room.

But they don’t build bulk. Nitmos needs some mass. Bikini season is right around the corner here in Michigan. I believe it’s a Thursday this year. Most of you have Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter as your seasons. Not us. Here’s how our seasons break down:

Michigan Calendar of Seasons
October-mid November = Pre-Winter
Mid-November-Mid December = Winter
Mid-December – Early March = Deep Winter
Rest of March = Winter
April = Post-Winter
May – Early July = Spring
July 11th = SUMMER (Bikini Season)!!!
July 12th- September = Pre-Fall
September to Early October = Fall

If I want to be ready for bikini season/day, I better get that weight bench out and dust it off. The suitcases will have to sit on the floor for a while. Summer’s going to be a great day this year! With all of the extra weight I’m about to pack on, I probably won’t run as fast but I’ll look better not doing it. Dusting iron comes before pumping iron. Pumping iron comes before mustache. Mustache comes before tank tops and gold chains. Tank tops and spandex tights come before race photos.  It’s the Circle of Douchebag Life! Pink pajamas penguins at the bottom, pink pajamas penguins at the bottom....

If you have a used Camaro for sale, I might be in the market soon. I pay extra for flame decals on the side.

Happy pumping.

*Keep your filthy thoughts to yourself.

There's a new race on the sidebar calendar for 2013.  Okay, it's a relay race.  The Dances with Dirt 100k relay is on again.  Teammates assemble!  I still need to find me some solo races....I'm currently circling a few...decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nitmos and the Amazing Monochrome Compression Shorts

I love a good Broadway musical: the music, the dancing, the costumes, the colors and pageantry. Lovely. I also love my ball sack. This is more about the latter.

There’s a lot to love about my compression shorts too. There’s a lot for you to love about me in my compression shorts, in fact. I look chiseled. I look bulgy in a good way. It appears this baby even got a little back! And that’s saying something as normally my ass is concave. In jeans, it looks like a Rottweiler had grabbed ahold and taken off a good chunk of the better parts leaving just a sunken in pair of ass-less jeans and the outlines of a pelvis bone in its place. If Sir Mix-A-Lot tried to walk on my bubble, he’d fall into a cave.

I run in compression shorts all of the time now. That wasn’t always the case. In my early days as a runner, I wore boxer shorts and even tighty whiteys. Then there was the misguided jock strap year that no one wants to relive.* All of these appendage restraint experiments came to an end one sunny spring day when I simultaneously chipped a tooth and dented my ankle with one innocent leap over a pothole. Enough. This Django needed to be chained.

The first time I tried on a pair of compression shorts, I fell in love. With myself. All over again. I took one look in the mirror and I believe I even said out loud, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about.” I’m not sure but there even may have been an, “Oh, snap!” mixed in as well. Bulgy? Check. Ass? Yes! Django? Defined. Compressed? Completely. Forget about the slight muffin top, I was in love. With myself. All over again. When security finally removed me from the dressing room, I paid and wore them home.

I wear my compression shorts everywhere now. There’s really not a good place to not wear them. Sure, both the parents and teachers at a Parent-Teacher conference may look at you cock-eyed** when you walk in compressed and ready for business. But everyone appreciates everything being held into place. Am I the only one that wants to see corsets come back into fashion? Psh, pleeze.

Hang out at a mall food court in your compression shorts long enough and you’ll see what kind of looks you get! So many admirers…from afar. You can clutch your children and hurry off to, what I assume is, the nearest athletic store and thank me later.

And lets not even talk about the magical properties of compression shorts when on the run. No swaying. No tooth chipping. Mudbutt. Problem. Solved. If you have a little accident mid race, don’t worry about. It ain’t going anywhere. You can take care of it later, homey, finish that race! That’s why my compression shorts are black and gray in the appropriate spots. Race gravy is treated at the finish line.

Every now and then, a non-compressed fellow runner suggests that I really should wear shorts over the compression shorts.  I remind him/her that (a) they are called compression "shorts" not compression "underwear" and (b) you don't wear a t-shirt over a life vest.  Psh, pleeze.

Mrs. Nitmos heads off to spinning or yoga in her compression tights and I’m a big fan. Why doesn’t she wear them to work? *shrugs* Beats me.

I can not lie. I think everyone should wear compression shorts as regular wear. They sure do tighter things up a bit around the soft edges whether you’re rolling around in a Honda or playin’ workout tapes by Fonda.

If I see you wearing your compression shorts at the grocery store, we can exchange a knowing smile and head nod. Be compressed, be proud.  Don't worry if you are a bit hirsute and, from the rear, it looks like you shit a wig.  We are on the right side of history, my friends. Unless you ride more to the left….either way, everyone will know.

Happy compressing.

*The Year of Groin Burn
**Pun intended

Friday, February 01, 2013

Will We Put Anything Up Our Nose?

So now Ray Lewis has to answer questions about putting deer antler velvet spray up his nose to promote healing from a torn right triceps. And, possibly, improve performance (as it is a growth hormone as well.) Problem is…the substance is banned by the NFL. Is it a big deal? I don’t know. I don’t really care, I guess. There are technicians in lab coats and bureaucrats in suits that’ll decipher test results and make a verdict or, in this case, issue a punishment.

I’m more interested in how this stuff comes about.

Who the hell looked at a deer and decided to snort their antlers? Seriously. It’s such a random thing to do. I admit to being more than casually interested in a libidinous bull or a particularly fluffy lamb hindquarters but that seems only natural. I never once looked at a deer and wondered how it’s antlers would be if inhaled.

Oh, yeah, can't wait to inhale you, baby.
It seems folks will do almost anything to get a physical edge in athletics. If that involves injecting drugs or hormones, snorting deer, or rubbing turtle shells on the groin*, someone somewhere will do it. What’s the old saying? If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’, (eh, Alabama?)

Maybe they’ll come out with Deer Velvet Gu one day. For now, I’ll stick with my finger, my nose hair trimmer, model glue, and the odd occasion I have some cocaine, mixed with a hooker’s ass sweat, as the only things going up my nose.

For you injured marathoners, time to get out the bow and let the healing begin! No judging from me.

Happy snorting.

* No proven results so far but I’m still in early testing.

Please to join me over at Bottle Fed Parents for another exciting tale. This time, I discuss a torture device that every kid wants but every parent hates.