Monday, December 29, 2008

Santa Had A Catheter

You have to understand that, in our house, Mrs. Nitmos and I will go to any depths to keep the Christmas spirit alive for the colt and filly. While my colt has no use for mall Santas at this point, my filly still looks at them with wide eyed wonder and reverence. And despite the fact that this year's mall Santa seemed to have a visible arm shake possibly due to early stage Parkinson's, my filly dutifully sat there and explained how she wanted a specific kind of Barbie doll - helpfully NOT the one we had already bought her - and never noticed the difficulty Santa had in reaching, clutching and transporting a candy cane from his basket to her hand. If she had noticed, she would have wondered how Santa could possibly hold sled reins in his hand or press his finger to his nose to shoot up a chimney. In fact, I'm pretty sure this Santa would have failed a field sobriety test if one was given on the spot in front of the throngs of excited children. I'm not saying he was drunk. I am saying that balance and basic hand-eye coordination skills were sorely lacking in this particular Claus.

In the days leading to Christmas, my filly literally has a hundred and one questions about Santa. She's trying to seal up all the holes in her understanding of this particular tradition. Meanwhile, Mrs. Nitmos and I are doing our best to keep the details as vague as possible.

"How does Santa get into our house when we don't have a chimney?"

"Oh, he has his ways." (Yeah, right, like we can afford a house with a fireplace. Just be happy we have enough rolled up paper to feed our oil barrel drum. Now put your finger tipless gloves back on!)

"Where are Santa's reindeer when he's at the mall?"

"Oh, probably on the roof."

"Can we see them?"

"No, we can't go on the roof."

"Why not?"

"Just cuz."

"Don't you want to see his reindeer?"

"Not really."

"Why not? Do you hate his reindeer?"

"So, who wants twenty dollars!"

And on and on the questions go at all hours of the day and sprung on us without warning. Usually we can brush the questions off with one vague answer after another. Or simple bribes.

We made the HUGE mistake of putting small trees in each of the kids' rooms. And Christmas morning, they find one small gift under that tree that they are allowed to open prior to the big score downstairs with the entire family. Now, my filly is obsessed with stories about how she saw Santa in her room...and he was staring at her. And staring. She tells the story so convincingly too. It creeps me right out. Somehow, we've turned Santa into a night stalker.

By Christmas eve, we are exhausted with explanations of Santa's every mysterious action. My filly launched into another barrage of endless how does questions.

"How does Santa pee when he's out so long delivering toys?"

My wife and I looked at each other with weary eyes from the front seat of the car and said simultaneously:

"Santa has a catheter."

Happy reindeer tracks.

Snow melt and 60 degrees! And windy. Very windy. 40 mph. And painful. My legs aren't used to running on even surfaces.

6.5 miles
46:51 time
7:13 pace

Hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year! I am STILL on vacation and therefore not reading any blogs. I'll catch up with you all later.

Friday, December 26, 2008

#1 Running Nirvana Is...

Wherein I recount my running highlights for the year…as if any of you care.

Well, I hope Santa was nice to all of you because I’m not going to be. With all of the holiday cheer, the fake smile plastered to my face has led to migraines and a lot of pent up hostility. It’s so hard to be cantankerous during Christmas what with all the over excited kids and general feelings of goodwill in the air. I’ve learned over the years that my tiny voice spewing bitterness and loathing is no match for the Little Drummer Boy ba rump ba bum bumming in peoples’ ears.

Speaking of Little Drummer Boys, my son received the parent hating gift of Guitar Hero World Tour from Santa. That’s the one with the drum set. That’s the one with the drum sticks that make that incessant tap tap tap through the house all hours of the day. And he’s not playing Christmas tunes. I believe it’s Slipknot. Slipknot as interpreted by a ten year old amateur drummer striking plastic “drums” with no volume control.

F*&% Santa.

Calgon, take me away! *

Alright, I’m going to put this list out of its misery so we can all go about our lives. I’m declaring right now that there will be NO year end running highlight list in 2009. You’re welcome. The much anticipated numero uno is…

#1 The Boylston Left

How could it not be?

The final turn in the Boston Marathon is the legendary left turn onto Boylston St. and an approximately four block run through screaming throngs of an adoring, Nitmos loving crowd to the finish. It’s the culmination of the entire Boston Marathon. For many, it’s the crowning moment of their entire running career.

I plan to run Boston again (next time in 2010!). Perhaps several times if I’m so lucky…and employed.

Despite the race going pretty sucky for me (note: do NOT eat at California Tortilla in the DC airport), there is an undeniable magical feeling when approaching that corner and realizing what lies ahead.

I did not know it at the time but Mrs. Nitmos was standing on that very corner. I’m pretty sure she had pom pons and was directing an impromptu Boylston St. Choir rendition of:

Bricka bracka firecracker
Sis Boom Bah
Rah! Rah! Rah!

At least, I think that’s what happened. But I also remember being handed a cup of Gatorade by a seven foot tall squirrel wearing a Kaiser helmet and a monocle and hissing “You vill not vinish dis race” at the previous aid station. So, who can tell what really happened?

I’m looking forward to my next Boylston left as an exclamation point at the end of a well run race. But the first, was still pretty damn exciting. I almost completely forgot about the profanity I had been spewing to myself the previous few miles.

Or the guy in the pink tutu. Or the beating I took by the Beardsley Monster. He beat me like a drum.

Ba rump ba bum bum

Happy trails.

* And by “Calgon” I mean, “Cruzan Rum.”

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays...Seriously

I know you are expecting me to be your lump of coal in your holiday stocking but I’m not going to do it. I already covered coal in my last post. I think that imagery is probably still fresh (and steaming) in many of your minds.

Instead, I’m going to actually wish you all a heartfelt Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! For those that celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas! For those that celebrate other things, Merry (Your Holiday)mas!

It’s been a wonderful year here at Feet Meet Street. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. I hope you’ve enjoyed the anger, sarcasm, snarkiness and downright meanness you find here. Every now and then, I like to throw you all a bone and suppress the nasty for a little friendly post about puppy dogs and butterflies. I’m like the running equivalent of a Reverse Incredible Hulk. But, instead, my rage is the predominant characteristic and kindness comes bursting through on sporadic occasions until I wake up in a field with tattered purple running shorts.

Don’t worry, I will be posting again between now and New Year’s as I’m sure you are all eager for my #1 Running Nirvana…moment. I can tell by the steadily decreasing comments in the series that you are all on the edge of your seat.

There will be changes to FMS next year. I haven’t finalized what form they may take quite yet. I’m trying to gauge the level of contempt I have for all of you. I might really expand the range of this blog to open up new readership for me to ridicule. Really, there’s no sense in maintaining a blog unless you can use it as a forum to bash others over the head. At least, that’s what I always say. Or, I might decide to post less frequently. In which case, my family will need to bear the brunt of my unventilated hostility. And the fewer posts will probably mean I go off the rails The Cannibal Run style more frequently when I do.

Whichever way I go, you’ll be near the last to know.

So, here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I’ve laughed and, occasionally, plotted revenge at all of your increasingly childish comments. No matter how contemptuously you mock me, you won’t metaphorically sodomize my holiday spirit.

And if any of you thought that “sodomy” doesn’t belong in a heart felt Happy Holidays post, once again, you’re wrong. If there is anything I hope you learned through the year by visiting FMS, it’s that two seemingly unrelated things can appear unexpectedly and triumphantly in the same sentence without warning.

I’ve enjoyed specifically deriding a few of you in my posts during the year. Those that weren’t called out directly by name, rest assured, I was thinking terrible things about you. The more you comment, the greater chance you’ll appear in an upcoming post about what you can do with/where you can stick a used Christmas tree.

Thanks everyone for making 2008 the best year yet on Feet Meet Street!

Now, what can I cover in 2009???

Happy trails.

I hate snow.

5.0 miles
36:10 time
7:14 pace
7 frost bit fingers

Thursday, December 18, 2008

#2 Running Nirvana Is...

Wherein I recount my running highlights for the year…as if any of you care.

Whose idea was this countdown anyway? This is getting tedious to come up with FIVE highlights. I don’t think I have five highlights in my entire life. I have one wife and two kids. That’s three (or two if you stack the kids to make one adult human). I did win a first place trophy in a 3 v. 3 basketball tourney once (but it was in Canada so I’m not sure it really counts. That’s like winning a curling trophy…in the U.S.) I should have just linked to each of these incidences that I’m posting about as they were already covered before. But, since I refuse to follow the First Rule of Holes, I’m going to continue digging.

#2 Chugga Chugga Choo Choo

When you are a baby, people sneakily feed you vegetables by simulating a train with a spoon approaching your mouth tunnel. It works. And is hilarious. I’d laugh so hard I’d giggle and giggle in that cute little baby way until I squirted out a little orangish brown surprise for mommy in my pants.

When I am an old dried up prune, my kids will return the favor and deliver my meds on a spoon with a chugga chugga choo choo open wiiiide while I giggle and leave a little Metamucil byproduct in my adult diaper. Though I doubt they’ll be able to pinch my ankles up in the air with one hand when it’s changin’ time like I could do with them. And I have no intentions on making it easy for them. In fact, I’ll train myself to make each bowel movement a Movement in Two Acts if you get my meaning.

In between these life stages, I find the train noises are still occurring. There might be some sort of psychiatric mumbo jumbo at work here but, I found, I concentrate pretty well on maintaining speed as I tire if I imagine myself a train rolling down the tracks. My breathing takes the form of coal delivery to the engine. Feed the engine. Roll the wheels. Off we go.

Usually, a training run doesn’t qualify for a highlight. But this is my list so you can just shut up about it if that is what you were thinking. This was a great training run. One of those once-in-a-Meat-Loaf-album kind of runs. I ran fast. I ran easy. Rarely did a murderous thought cross my frontal lobe. Thomas the Tank Engine was the wind beneath my wings.

I knocked out these 15 miles at a 6:54 pace and I really felt like I could go further at the same pace. It was a real confidence booster. I toyed with the idea of extending to 17 miles but my inner Sir Topham Hatt called me into the station.

I remember thinking that there was no way any of my other long runs would go as smoothly and, sure enough, they didn’t. I caught the tiger by the tail…the bull by the horns…the train in the station…that day. If there was ever a good time to light fire to myself and call it a running career, that was the time.

But I didn’t.

Instead I went inside and emptied my used coal deposits with a big ole relieved smile on my face and a kerplunk in the bowl.

Toot toot (grunt grunt).

Happy tracks.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

#3 Running Nirvana Is...

Wherein I recount my running highlights for the year…as if any of you care.

At the risk of being branded a Flaccid Bag Full of Cry (again), my countdown continues with another sappy entry. Despite all of the animal and reader abuse (one and the same?) you get in these parts, maybe I’m really more of a softy? Hmmm, I’ll consider this tonight as I pull the legs off spiders and burn frogs alive while tied to crucifix bound popsicle sticks between rousing games of Thumbbug.* I’m not heartless but someone has to torture these creatures and none of you seem to be pulling your share. I don’t like to go all political but, in the creature world, I’m known as Gitmos Nitmos.

#3 Bridges of Wayne County

Early on in the Detroit Marathon, I had a feeling this was going to be a good race. The first 2 miles were both under seven minutes even though I felt like I was holding back a little - a good early sign that this was not one of those ‘not so fresh’ race feelings. Then comes the Ambassador Bridge to Canada. First, you run under it before running up it. The ascent looks daunting but it’s still early in the race and I’m bounding with energy.

The race begins in the dark but by the time your reach the bridge, the first rays of sun light are peeking over the horizon. The city is illuminated. Detroit, with all of its well known social flaws and aesthetic deformities, looks stunning in the distance. You don’t even need to squint hard to focus out the hookers and crackheads. The burned out cars and buildings are indistinguishable in the overwhelming totality of the skyline. It’s still dark enough where you can view the cityscape with big wide eyes and not see the seedy underbelly which, typically, makes you pray for an instantaneous rapture.

This is one of my all time favorite running moments: Looking left off the Ambassador Bridge with Detroit in the distance. The GM Renaissance Center is the focal point. Considering the recent auto bailout talk, if Simon and Garfunkel ran this race, I’m pretty sure they’d have an album image for their Bridge Over Troubled Water song. Literally. We were running on a Bridge Over A Troubled City.

I knew we’d eventually return from Canada and pop out onto the streets of Detroit. There’d be no more time for misty eyed sentimentalism lest I desired a used hypodermic needle stuck to the bottom of my foot (again).**

But, for those fleeting moments on the bridge, I had a feeling that is so rarely expressed in Detroit: I was happy to be there. I was glad to view Detroit under the glow of a morning sun. And, assuming my family wasn’t carjacked after leaving them an hour before, I was grateful for the chance to run this marathon on that day.

There’s a lesson here I think. Any thing, any person, any object looks better when silhouetted against a morning sun. A pile of poo may look like a delicious plate of cookies. Vanilla looks less Joseph Merrick-y. Hell, even a llama may appear to be the lovable - albeit cancerous - Joe Camel. I’d even be willing to admit that, with a morning sun rising behind him, Dana Carvey may look like David Schwimmer.***

The Bridge of Wayne County. I loved our brief affair. I did not see Meryl Streep but, after cresting the middle, I did tongue kiss a bum who looked an awful lot like Clint Eastwood.

Happy trails.

* Game ingredients = a 30 second timer, a hard table top, a bucket of ladybugs and an active thumb.
** The first time was during the expo when I reached out to press the elevator button and somehow had a needle stuck to my finger. I couldn’t believe it so I rubbed my eyes in sheer disbelief…only to then jab the needle into the fleshy part under my eyeball.
*** Though that may be more of a lateral silhouetted move.


Podcast #6 in the Runner's Lounge series is now available. Once again this features Amy, Vanilla, RazZ, and myself. I haven't heard this one myself yet so I'm just as curious as all of you as to how it turned out. Again, remember, you will learn nothing from this podcast that you can apply to your running. Enter at your own risk.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Abominable Nitmos

When I was in elementary school, in the days immediately preceding parachute pants and Thriller, I started a club or, as we liked to call it, a “gang”. We had visions of dominating the elementary school cafeteria and playground and extorting kids for lunch money and twenty sided D & D dice. I chose the rather unfortunate name of The Latrines for our gang.* Our first real test of strength came at the foot of a snow plow created ice mountain one fateful recess. At the top stood school bullies Kenny B. and Art H.** We charged the mountain on a number of occasions but, sadly, the power of the Latrines was broken that day amidst an avalanche of hurled snow balls. Our dreams lying in a crumbled heap at the foot of Mt. Snow Plow.

This Saturday, I found myself in northern Michigan at my parents place for an early Christmas with the family. While back home we have little snow left from a weekend thaw, there were huge piles at the base of my folks’ driveway. After a futile attempt at snowboarding this 12 foot tall beast of a mound, my desire to tumble down a hill in comedic fashion disappeared by the third near dislocation of my shoulder.

Enter flashback to elementary school. Here was a battle I could win!

A snow fight ensued. Me, the lone Latrine, versus an assemblage of lightweight children ages 4, 5, 9, 10, and 13. I stood on that mountain, Mt. Snow Plow II, covered in snow from the repeated rolls down the hill in my failed snowboarding experiment. Tiny snow balls clung to my polar fleece like dingleberries to a hairy man’s ass. I was the Abominable Nitmos growling and flinging cannon balls at fragile, but menacing, children just a few years removed from their cranial soft spots. I was surrounded but stood bravely on that mountain repelling attacks from all sides.

Here’s a free tip: Don’t get into a snow ball fight with kids. Though you may try to aim for their bodies and avoid their heads, the little snot lickers do not return the favor. They pretty much throw packed snow balls, ice balls, icicles, shovels, whatever they can find directly at your forehead.

I took more than one shot to the noggin that left me slightly dazed and looking for a school book depository.*** The 4 and 5 year olds really just wanted to sled so I graciously allowed them to climb up the side of the mountain with sled dragging behind them. They needed assistance cresting the summit so I helpfully grabbed them under each arm pit and pulled them to the top taking care to hold them between me and my attackers for a moment as a torrent of snow fire dotted across their abdomens in a thump frump whack of muffled snow suit collateral damage while their mothers looked on in horror from the dining room window.

I like to think that I won that snow fight. I redeemed the honor of my school gang. No non-sledding child reached the top of Mt. Snow Plow II during my watch! Sure, I took a few blows to the face that left me with a partially swollen right temple and a bruise on my left cheek, but I was the victor. I was so inspired that I briefly entertained the idea of phoning Kenny and Art and challenging them to a rematch.

Back inside, the losers gathered around the fireplace drinking cocoa and eating cookies, one beagle short of a Norman Rockwell Christmas scene, while I sat hunched over on a chair rubbing my aching shoulder and examining my swollen temple with a puddle of melting ice dingleberries growing on the floor beneath me.

I exorcised the demons of my elementary school defeat this weekend through a snow ball cannonade upon my innocent nephews and nieces. They could not know the years of frustrated history which propelled each ball of hurt. All in all, I feel pretty good about it. A good lesson for them. Let them carry the sting of defeat for years to come.

I’m sore, bruised, and swollen but…

As the mist of snow fire withdraws, The Abominable Nitmos still owns Mt. Snow Plow II.

Take that Kenny and Art.

Happy trails.

* Hey, M*A*S*H was big back then. Don’t judge.
** Names may be changed to protect…me.
*** Too soon?


Special thanks to Tom and Amy from Runner's Lounge for the Starbucks gift card. Also, thanks to the few of you who nominated me a couple of weeks ago. I would like to say that, while drinking my overpriced - but free to me - coffee, I would be thinking of you and silently appreciating the trouble you took to nominate me. However, if truth be told, I'll more likely be thinking of all of you jerks that didn't nominate me and thereby robbed me of an even greater prize package. There's plenty of coffee I can drink with this card so rest assured each of you will be cursed at some point between a sip. That's how I roll. Next time, don't be a jerk.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

#4 Running Nirvana Is...

Wherein I recount my running highlights for the if any of you care.

There are few things that I regret with this blog. I’ll pretty much talk any subject, with any degree of detail (including secretion levels and content), for any length of time. In fact, that’s one of my more endearing qualities: the ability to continually bring up uncomfortable and/or annoying topics long after the interest in those topics has faded. As Mrs. Nitmos can attest, I’ll squeeze the same joke, twisting and turning it, until every last drop of joke juice leaks out. In other words, I’m the Dana Carvey of repetitive joke telling.*

For example, I thought it would be amusing to march – marching band style, shoulder-to-shoulder and in step - from our living room up the stairs to bed one evening. I thought this would be a nice bonding moment. Plus, with me as the sexytime Drum Major, who knows where it would have led (cue “wah, chi, chi, wah-wah” music). I tried to get her to stand in place so we could get our steps together. She was having none of it. At this point, most folks would let it drop right?

Most folks ain’t me. I’m now working on roughly 17 days in a row of trying to get Mrs. Nitmos to march with me. Now she’s dismissively – and derisively – ignoring me. If I could just get her to do it once, I could then move on to the rented band uniforms I have hidden in our closet. The rental bill is adding up.

Becausethis one time, at band camp…

#4 Ass Fruit

What does this have to do with magical 2008 running moment #4? As usual, very little. Except that this particular race spawned a joke that I had a hard time shaking out of my own head. Though I loved the imagery, I regret mixing a discussion of fruit – which I eat regularly – with a discussion about propellants from my anus.

Of course, I’m talking about the 5k race I ran in July for which I was striving to break 19 minutes. Back then, I was pretty sure fruit would shoot from my anus if I accomplished the goal. I did, in fact, accomplish the goal and there was fruit on the ground behind me but I don’t have independent confirmation as to its source.

Over the next few months, fruit consumption became an arduous task. Just where did this fruit come from? Did some marathoner in California have a similar goal and now this delicious looking apple I’m about to sink my teeth into is the, ahem, fruit of his PR?

That was one particular post that came back to bite me in the ole apple shooter.

The second thing I remember about this 5k, besides setting a PR at this distance by 1:06, is the internal debate I had around the 2nd mile marker. There’s always that point in a race where you either decide to go for broke or ease off a bit. In the Detroit Marathon in October, I opted to ease off a bit at the finish. However, at this particular 5k, I decided to pour it on and push myself to the puke threshold. In hindsight, I regret neither of these decisions.

Some races get ripped from you due to a physical breakdown. Some races go so well you never need to ask yourself the question. Some races want you to “pay” before “you run on my goddamned course” and “drink my water and eat my food”.

But, in some cases, you are confronted with THE question: What are you willing to pay for that PR?

It’s fight or flight time.

I remember that moment vividly in my 5k. I decided to run harder that day either until I finished or collapsed in a heaping pile of finely tuned, granite carved man flesh along the road.

No matter how you answer it though, it is always a memorable moment.

With or without the fruit shooting from your ass.

Happy trails.

* I know nobody cares about Dana Carvey anymore but, seriously, how long was he going to do George Bush Sr. and Jimmy Stewart impersonations. Years 1-3 were kinda amusing. Years 4-12 got pretty pathetic and embarrassing. Now, just his physical presence on TV– without even opening his mouth – initiates a punching mechanism within me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nitmos, The Calf-Cramped Runner

Here’s more holiday cheer I hope you all choke on. My apologies to Robert May.

You know Bowerman, and Rodgers, and
Kelly, and Kastor,
Higdon, and Galloway, and
Radcliffe and Shorter
But do you recall
The most adequate runner of all?

Nitmos, the calf-cramped runner
Had a very decent pace
And if you ever saw him
You would say he’s running a good race

All of the other runners
Would laugh and call him names
They never let poor Nitmos
Join in any cramp free games

Then one muggy marathon eve
Beardsley came to say:
“Nitmos with your calf so tight
Won’t you pace my race next light

Then all the runners loved him
At the start of the race gun blast
Nitmos the calf-cramped runner
Your muscle knots are in the past!

Santa Beardsley (more PhotoShop magic for you all, Merry Christmas!)

Remember it’s holiday cheer week on Feet Meet Street. I’m still detoxing from my Britney level breakdown last week. I’ve taken 2 double espresso Gu packets each morning and cut back on the household chores (what’s less than none?)

Here I try to bring a little levity - some much needed sunshine - to this blog and what do I get? My last happy/joy post generated a number of comments asking why I didn’t physically assault Pluto. What is wrong with you people? He’s a lovable Disney character for chrissakes. And, yes, even I have a soft spot for a smiling, over sized dog. See if I share my sensitive side with you folks again.

Plus, a number of comments seemed to indicate that they expect my Running Nirvana is…countdown to descend into some sort of kitten stomping, llama raping, jail yard level pragian shankfest. I’ll have you know I had every intention of creating a thoughtful, soul searching list. More happy, happy/joy, joy. Since I hate to disappoint, now I’m spending my days searching for words that rhyme with diarrhea and vomit. Your fault, not mine.

And, yes Vanilla, there is a Disney llama character but I did not see him at the races. Lucky for him. I had my llama raping Asics on that day.

I have no excuse for the Fox News article link in the last post that a few of you have pointed out to me. It was sent to me. I used it. I have lashed myself. I will only consider sources from the Bigfoot Gazette and above going forward.

Happy trails.

Monday, December 08, 2008

#5 Running Nirvana Is...

Wherein I recount my running highlights for the year…as if any of you care.

I promised a happy, happy, joy, joy post after last weeks descent into near Poeian madness. Here it is.

Did you enjoy that cheerfulness? Great, now back to the cannibals.

Just kidding. Last weeks post was not meant to be taken seriously. Someone in their Louisiana half marathon must have read that post before the race and developed their strategy from it. Good God.

As a year end special, I’ve decided to self indulgently countdown and highlight my favorite moments while running in the past year. These are individual moments when I just felt great and happy to be alive and running. I’m sure anyone looking at me at that point in time would have described me as having a 'shit eating grin' (which is a welcome relief from the normal response I get of ‘look at that cocky asshole’.) Sure, I could have just linked to them as I already covered each of these in previous posts but that wouldn’t take up much room and then I’d still have to come up with other things for you all to waste your day reading. No, like all good highlight shows, this is a chance for the host to take the day off but still pretend that a lot of thought went into this.

#5 Pluto

The Goofy Challenge kicked off the year for me. It took place the second weekend of January 2008. The half marathon was on Saturday morning; the full marathon on Sunday. Everything about the half marathon went exactly as planned. I maintained surprising discipline keeping my pace in check. My biggest weakness as a runner – besides finicky calf muscles, of course – is the complete inability to control my pace. Every run, training or otherwise, turns into a PR chase at some point. However, with full fear of the next day’s marathon, I was able to keep a relaxed comfortable pace for the half marathon and coast to the finish with energy stores only partially depleted.

The next morning brought the full marathon. And though it would short circuit around mile 20 with some severe calf cramps (followed by hamstring cramps…followed by shin cramps…followed by eyelid cramps…followed by elbow cramps and so on) I did reach one of those points of true happiness and satisfaction along the way.

The course leaves the Magic Kingdom past mile 10 and travels down a few lonely, lush tropical roads accompanied only by the slapping of feet and the heavy breathes from the other voyagers. There’s six miles to go to the Animal Kingdom and civilization. I expected this to be a tough spot as I cross the half marathon mark for the second day in a row.

In Magic Kingdom heading into the castle.

Sure enough, it was. Just past the half marathon mark, I started to feel worn down. There was nothing to look at. All the excitement of the race seemed far behind and far ahead.

Then, I rounded a bend and there was Pluto waving at everyone. He’s just standing along the road near mile 16 slapping high fives along with a small team of Disney workers enthusiastically cheering everyone on.

I’m not one of those furry lover’s or anything (though Daisy Duck does look oddly appealing) but the sight of Pluto and his big goofy shit eating grin came at just the right time. I matched his grin with a big shit eater of my own. I felt refreshed. Life was grand. You’d never expect a felon wearing a dog costume to create that much excitement. It was a much needed energy boost and carried me for the next few miles.

In Animal Kingdom just after Pluto Nirvana.

And though the before/after pictures above find me with pretty much the same expression, believe me, I’m shit eating on the inside.

Happy trails.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Cannibal Run

I was sitting around last evening trying to come up with a topic for today’s post. Basically, as you’ve no doubt noticed by now, my posts are floating further and further away from sanity into the surreal. I’ve become unhinged. I have no race on my calendar upon which to fixate my thoughts. Idle minds are the devil’s plaything. Or is it hands? Either way, neither are doing anything particularly of note lately. My next planned race is still 5 months away!

So, what do I talk about? Then it hits me. Cannibalism, of course.

Perhaps inspired by Dean Karnazes - or other ultra marathoner’s – adventures, I’ve had this idea in mind about a sort of runner’s version of The Cannonball Run. You may remember these movies from the early 80’s starring Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise, two hilariously mismatched partners in the mold of Abbott & Costello. One, tall, suave, and handsome, and the other, short, round, and inept. Comedic partners. They were Corey Haim-Corey Feldman before they existed. They were Owen Wilson-Ben Stiller before they met their parents.

The Cannonball Run was a car race from one end of the country to the other departing and arriving at a specific location. In between, no rules. You could take any route. You could lie, cheat, and sabotage. As long as you got to the end point first, you win.

I’d love to see some version of that play out in the grand ole U.S.A (or grand ole C.A.N.A.D.A. as the case may be.) Except, of course, while running. There’s no time limit. You are allowed, maybe, a support team to travel in a van to carry your camping gear, nutrition supplies, change of clothes, and beer. Perhaps you can work as a team and someone from the team would have to be running at all times. You can sleep outside or stay at a hotel. Really, it’s your choice. But, you have to run every step of the way from point A to B taking a route of your choosing.

But this is just a foot version of The Cannonball Run right? What makes it different or unique? Where's "the hook"?

Using simple word association, my mind traveled from cannonball to cannibal. That’s it! You can eat your competitors. Sure, you could give them a regular Kerrigan knee whack on the way by but where’s the fun…the thrill…in that? No, contact with another competitor is not allowed unless you are going to consume them. Now the game seems much more interesting, doesn’t it?

As the old saying goes ‘the party hasn’t started until someone’s been cooked over a barbeque pit and eaten’. The race would take on a more lively – sinister – tone. You sure you want to stop and rest for awhile? You might think twice when you remember that “Crazy” Joe Smith was behind you and he was wearing a bib. And it wasn’t a race bib.

I don’t know, maybe I’ve been sniffing to much powdered Gatorade lately. I have to admit that the thought of a cannibal run seems a little out there even by my standards. If you don’t like the human consumption aspect, we can drop that and go with just the regular, bland multiple day foot race ala The Cannonball Run. There’s something weird about cannibals anyway.

Just as I was about to birth this landmark post upon the world, I thought I better do a quick google on “cannibal run” (and ensure my firing from my job once the scan of web sites visited on my office PC is reviewed.) Certainly, other folks must have come up with this innovative race idea before me. Sure enough, there already exists a Cannibal Run. It’s in Colorado. Or, as I call it, “cannibal country”. Crap, my race title has already been stolen. But it's only a 5k/10k and no one gets eaten. WTF!? Still, I’ll have to go with my clunkier alternative title The Fava Beans and Chianti 3800K.

I don’t know what Dom DeLuise ate during The Cannonball Run. There certainly couldn’t have been many fruits and veggies on that plate. He was eating something though. I’m not casting aspersions…I’m just sayin’…did anyone ever see Abe Vigoda again?

Happy trails.

I need a race on the calendar. Quickly. Usually, I start descending into winter induced, house bound, claustrophobic madness in February. The fact that it is occurring now – over 2 weeks before the official start of winter, is not a good sign for any of us. Strap in, folks, it’s going to be a long, bumpy ride.

Thus ends my one week journey into dementia. It was a short trip. Next week, I'll attempt to turn the tide and keep things on F.M.S. quite a bit rosier. In the spirit of the holidays, all posts next week will be bursting will energy and positivism and holiday joy. I’ll leave the murkier fare of intra-family mating, snorting Gatorade, and human consumption behind. Those probably weren’t to your tastes anyways, right? (Can I get a rim shot, please?) Besides, crazed Gatorade sniffing inbred cannibals never meant “Christmas” to me anyway.


Cold air asthma choking 5 miles. God bless Old Man Winter.

5.0 miles
35:41 time
7:08 pace

We'll do a hearty 7 this weekend.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Snorting Hydration

I think it’s terrific that Gatorade and some of the other energy drink companies have come up with a new hydration method. “Drinking” is sooo 2007. Have you seen these packets of powdered Gatorade concentrate? Wonderful.

It’s been a long time since I did some rails off a hooker’s chest. Of course, back then that wasn’t Gatorade and it ultimately cost me a high level position in the State Department.* Since then, I’ve backed off and snorted nothing more than crushed up aspirin mixed with sprinkled Tabasco and used a coffee table to prop up the inhalant rather than a prostitute. Overall, a much safer choice. I’m gainfully employed. And I don’t have nose herpes.

Now comes powdered Gatorade and the marriage of two of my favorite activities: snorting things and running.

Using my well practiced skills, I’ve chopped, divided and formed several rails of powdered Gatorade on the kitchen counter before every long run. It’s easy really. A razor blade. A rolled up fiddy. Sniff. Sniff. Sniff. Rub nose vigorously. There, I’m ready for my long run Mr. DeMille. What a quick and cool way to prepare for your hydration needs. Besides “drinking” has negative connotations these days. It suggests alcoholism. And who wants to look like an alcoholic standing around swigging from a paper bag covered 40 ouncer of Gatorade at the start line of your next race?

No, best to go with snorting.

The only thing I’m having trouble figuring out is how to incorporate this into my marathons. The races themselves, ever slow to evolve, are still handing out cups of liquid water and Gatorade at each aid station. Sheesh, might as well hang a sign that proclaims “We support drinking in all of its forms. Liquor up, kids!”

I think I can convince Mrs. Nitmos to hang in the starting corrals of my next race where she’ll need to go topless as I snort my pre-race lines off her chest. It might be a tad awkward for her and the other runners but old habits die hard. Plus, it’s the big day. Is it too much to ask my lovely bride of 13 years to expose herself among potentially 30,000 runners so I can get adequately hydrated? She’s my support team and these kinds of things are expected.** Besides, as I always say, “electrolyte replenishment isn’t fulfilling unless it’s snorted through a rolled up bill from my wife’s bosom.”

The aid stations get a little trickier. You’d need scoopers and choppers to get the lines set up and moving. It’d be ridiculous to suggest that part of our race fees go to buying up the local prostitutes to man the stations wouldn’t it? Right?? So, the table top will probably have to do.

There’d be no cups littering the grounds. No spilled and wasted drinks thrown to the side. Basically, doing our part to save the environment. I’m quite sure the number of plastic race cup refuse makes up a larger part of our landfills than our used up hookers.

Some may be thinking hey, I can bring a spoon, lighter and rubber hose. I can cook the Gatorade and main line it for immediate impact. This is a pretty good idea except for two things: so far Gatorade is only being sold in an eight ball sized quantity and hasn’t reached main line level purity and we really don’t want to be promoting heroin usage. Again, negative societal connotations to “shooting up”. Think of the children. Plus, arranging all of this at every aid station is a real time killer. Who has time to sit back and listen to the Allman Brothers for a few minutes after "hydrating" mid race?

I think the snorting makes a lot more sense. We can finish our races hydrated and green and not promoting alcoholism or needle work. Basically, Gatorade has solved our hydration needs, climate crisis, and revitalized the prostitution industry all in one neat little powdered package. Bravo!

At the finish line, you’ll still get your race medal, mylar blanket, maybe do a line of powdered banana off a loved one.

It’s all good. Except maybe the increased chance of nose herpes.

Happy trails.

* Though – to be fair – they only discovered my habit when a local WalMart found me sleeping nude in a plastic swimming pool in their garden department one morning. Thanks channel 9!
** As is being the investigator and arbitrator of whether that was a fart or a shart.


In my last post, I regrettably discussed inbreds. I wish I hadn't. But now that the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, isn't it weird how Thomas Haden Church, from Wings and Spiderman 3 fame, looks eerily like the two inbreds in the photo from my last post?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Help Wanted: Inbred Jokes

Wherein I make my long awaited return to the Don Quixote style “wherein” subtitle and then proceed to ridicule deserving others all the while inflating my own ego.

How was your Thanksgiving? Good. Mine? Wonderful. Now that the niceties are out of the way, let’s get down to business.


I’m looking for a few good inbred jokes. Why? The answer should be obvious. I’ll be podcasting with Vanilla over at Half-Fast again soon and I want to develop a deeper understanding of what makes him tick. And then ridicule that. And, no, the picture above is not RazZ and Vanilla (pending verification after their joint appearance at the Phoenix Rock and Roll marathon.)*

No doubt you’ve laughed yourself silly over the crazy antics from podcast #3 and are eager for more. I don’t blame you. Also, you’re probably thinking that everyone, except me of course, sounded weird live (on tape) and in person (in podcast). I thought the same too. I think my full collection of teeth changed the tone of my voice compared to the others. But, if truth be told, I must admit that I did sound a wee bit different than I thought I would. My inner dialogue sounds sexy, erudite, and chocked full of both insightful and witty world analysis. My outer dialogue? Well, the podcast revealed I’m quite a bit different than that. Instead, I sound way, waaay smart.** Professorial, really. Smart. As. Shit. I’m a regular Salvador Dali of wordsmithing with all the oddly juxtapositioned non sequiturs hanging over branches and descriptions of crude farm animals in a patchwork of disjointed images as if put together by a ransom seeker.

Damn, that was terrific self confirmation. My ego is so huge already I can barely walk through the aisles at work anymore. I called ahead and had them sand off any rough edges on the hall corners. I’d hate to round the bend and POP! ego juice all over everyone.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, inbreds. They are hilarious aren’t they? When I think inbred, I always think of that giant dude from The Goonies. They never said he was an inbred but you know…you just know.

We’ll be taping soon (unless my inbred joke directed at RazZ above just ended my involvement) and we need some good questions. For obvious reasons, I need an inbred joke or two to help define Vanilla’s personality for all of you. Consider this your call to arms. Leave me some good ones in the comments. I suspect a fair number of you are also inbreds – not making a judgment here – and would really have a personal and insightful story to tell.

I guess I should request some other topics as well. Forty five minutes on inbreds, no matter how fitting and hilarious, seems like an awfully long time. So, please provide some questions or topics you would like to see Vanilla, Amy, RazZ, myself, and whoever else joins discuss on the next podcast. The rules, however few, are as follows:

1) Don’t expect a serious answer to your question.
2) At your own peril, follow our advice.
3) Any references to “Potsy” from Happy Days or “Urkel” from Family Matters go right to the top of the list.
4) Specific questions on bowel movements, including but not limited to taste and texture, will only be answered if all other questions have been covered.
5) Any respondents open themselves up for swift and merciless criticism during the podcast with absolutely no recourse.

Yes, I fished you in with a promise of a serious inbred discussion but now you feel used don’t you? You’ve been Nitmosed. We need questions. Lots of them. And good ones.

And I promise to fight like hell to get Dueling Banjos played in the background whenever Vanilla speaks.

Happy trails.

* I didn’t think it was appropriate to include Amy in an “inbred” discussion since, as far as I know, she’s never taken a potshot at me. Though I reserve the right to go back and amend this post if different facts come to light.
** And quite a bit sexier than I could have imagined.

Post note: My apologies to the state of West Virginia.


6.5 more miles of cold air asthma running. Someone must have shoved a bunch of cotton down my lungs. What a time killer! Ugh. Is winter over yet?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving, Vertically

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to take the time to thank everyone individually for the generous encouragement and support you’ve provided me over the years through this blog. But then it dawned on me that you’ve provided neither encouragement nor support. In fact, you’ve all been more like an anchor that I’ve had to drag through the internet sand. Ridicule. Torment. Accusations. You’re all a piece of work. I don’t like to participate in childish name calling but, if they say that a 1,000 turkeys with a 1,000 typewriters would eventually write a masterpiece, it’s not so much to ask one turkey with one keyboard to comment something readable and half way entertaining.

In case you missed that, I called you a turkey.

So now that the holiday greetings are out of the way, on with the show. I’m sure there’s some sort of technical literary term for the device I’m about to use. I wouldn’t know and I’m not going to Google it either. I’m sure one of you Brainiac Bobs or Smart Sallys will have an answer for me though. Basically, I like to celebrate all of my holidays by writing nonsensical lists to the first letter of the holiday greeting. It’s tedious but my therapist tells me it helps mollify my crippling seasonal depression.

To the bolded, vertical greeting HAPPY THANKSGIVING, I have listed things I am thankful for and happy to have in my life. These came naturally. In no way whatsoever did I forcibly rephrase anything to make it line up with a particular letter.

Here’s one turkey with one keyboard’s list:

Holograms. Awesome.
Asswipe Johnson (pronounced ‘os-wee-pay’) from the old SNL sketch.
Pancreas, “the underrated organ”
Yearnings for life left to live, challenges to face and conquer, and butter

Toilet plungers
Health ockey fights
Angry Albinos
Ninjas, obviously
Kicking ass and taking names Nitmos style (or, b.a.u.)
Garmin, pbtn
Indigestion and its natural side effects (i.e. farts)
Videos of babies laughing (not really but sounds better than “vicious animal attacks”)
Indecent exposure charges/difficulty to prosecute
Ninjas, again, obviously
Gang Nitmos including the Mrs., colt and filly (and our little dog Bella, too)

As you stuff your face tomorrow, some of you should keep in mind that you’ll have to run that much more in the days ahead to work off the holiday gluttony. Not me. I have no race to run. Instead, I’m going to eat. Eat some more. Eat a little more. Probably gag out some mashed potatoes and cole slaw discreetly into a napkin. Wait 10 minutes and then eat some more. After a few trips around the dessert table, I’ll waddle over to the couch to watch the Lions lose their annual Thanksgiving day game while I try to push some escaping M&M’s off my chin and back into my mouth before my head falls back asleep over the back of the couch. The little buggers always keep falling out with each chew of my food encrusted jowls..

Before long, fast asleep with chocolate spittle running out of the corners of my mouth, my body calls in reinforcement enzymes to process the food through my system. At some point, I’ll be awakened by the combo belch/fart that snaps my head back from back of the couch into a dazed, lip licking consciousness. Dogs will bark from the sudden noise. My eyes will wander back to the dessert table as I take a quick internal analysis to determine, like a game of food Tetris, if I have enough room now to work in that Apple pie wedge.

Yes, it will be a wonderful Thanksgiving. It may start vertically but it’ll end horizontally in a triptophanic bugaloo.

I hope you enjoy yours. I apologize for the “turkey” crack. This isn’t the time or place for that. I’ll call you all that AFTER Thanksgiving. I have class.

You’re welcome.

Have a great Turkey day!

Note: Episode 3 of the Runner's Lounge LoungeCast is now up and available. Prepare to be audibly tickled by me. There are some others on here I think as well (maybe RazZ, Vanilla, and Amy to be exact.)

Go here (or see the moderator RazZ's announcement here) and download the podcast. I promise you'll derive no motivation, barely laugh, and wonder why you wasted 45 minutes. 100% guaranteed!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Nipple Principle

At the risk of (again) drawing creepy internet traffic to this site*, I now provide you with The Nipple Principle.

This may apply more to men than women. I wouldn’t dare to speak on this topic for the females. I’ll leave it to one of the ladies, or Vanilla, to address it on your behalf. Way back** when I was just a little, burgeoning, running Nitmos, I experienced chafing and red rose blossoms on my shirt. Bloody nipples. The rite of passage for a wet-behind-the-ears distance runner.

I had my moisture wicking shirt. I thought I was safe. I was naïve and innocent. My mileage increased. The top layer of my fleshy protuberances scraped off unknowingly. The first time, I didn’t bleed out. Only the sting of the shower alerted me that my nerve endings were dangling from the exposed nipples like wiring from a new home construction’s wall sockets. Oh, God, that hurts. I’d cave my man-lion-beast chest inward to avoid the trickle of water.

Maybe this shirt is still a little rough, I thought. After a few more washes, it should be fine.

But it wasn’t fine. The next time, 10-12 miles into a run, red splotches appeared on my chest like a pastie clad exotic dancer. I wasn’t shaking these ta-ta’s though. My nipples were bleeding. And I’ve had a long standing rule that “nipples” and “bleed” never appear in the same thought or sentence. The rule was violated.*** I had a 5 alarm, full blown case of Bloody Nipples.

By the time I raced home, I was looking at a 3 inch diameter. This was going to be ugly. Off went the shirt. A quick inspection followed. Nope. No skin. Just glistening red, dripping blood stumps. It was as if someone had scalped my nip tops and taken them back to their village as a war souvenir. This was not right. I didn’t know much about nipple injuries. Did I need a mammogram now? Is this what a “maxi pad” is for?

Sometimes it’s cool to walk around with a huge scab or a new scar. It’s a war story that you can tell your friends and family about. I doubt any of my co-workers would be impressed in this case though. Besides, in order for them to see it anyway, I’d have to cut a few holes into my dress shirt and walk around with my nipples poking out on either side of my tie. It would be a conversation starter though.

“Hey, Nitmos, have a good weekend? And why are your nipples showing?”
“Oh, they are just a little sore and need some air. You see, I was running….(
insert impressive running war story)….”

After several occurrences, I decided that I better get serious about nipple care and protection. So I bought some anti-chafing lube. It’s weird to put speed stick on your nipples. Welcome to the dark side of running, I guess. I taped a podcast recently (for Runner’s Lounge with him, her, and him) and a question came up as to when you knew you were officially a runner? I think I said ‘when I bought a Garmin’. I’d like to amend that answer to when I bought my first stick of anti-chafe lube. A proud, proud moment.

Before every marathon, I still apply the lube to several unmentionable areas including the nipples. Mainly, just out of habit now. However, I don’t use it on my training long runs anymore. In fact, I’ve noticed that after the first several times that they chafed, bled, and healed over they’ve built up a sorta resistance to it. I can go 20+ miles on my training runs without a chafing incident. They’ve hardened and/or become immune to chafing.

So, I call this The Nipple Principle. At first, your nipples may chafe and bleed on your long runs. Let them. Over time, they’ll callous up like a lumberjacks hands. This is a good thing. You’ll never bleed again. If you continue to treat them delicately, they’ll continue to bleed when the lube eventually wears off.

The Nipple Principle: The more you run long distances, the less your nipples bleed.

And you don’t want to have to swipe your finger through one of those community Vaseline boards folks hold in the air at a marathon. Shudder. Community nipple lube?

Now that I’ve discussed my nipples this morning, I look forward to the return of the eastern European site traffic. Hi folks, welcome back to F.M.S! Please stop google searching on ‘fruit in anus’ because it’s only taking you to this post about my race goals and nothing more. Sorry for the inconvenience. There are no pictures.

Happy trails.

* This post seemed to be inordinately popular…until I removed the nipple photo a few months ago. Suddenly, my site traffic from eastern Europe dried up.
** Roughly 9 years ago.
*** The only rule left for me now is “penis” and “blender accident” appearing in the same sentence.


More cold air asthmatic running. Did I mention how I love the cold!?

6.5 miles
46:48 time
7:12 pace

...and the rest of the day spent trying to catch my breath...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Out Like A Lion, In Like A Snowman

I’m pressing on with my no plan training schedule. I don’t know what I’m training for right now exactly but still I’m hitting my 3 runs per week. I guess I’m training to stay “in shape”. Or maybe I’m holding out hope that my mixed martial arts (MMA) career is just blossoming. I can shadow box with the best of ‘em. There can’t be much difference between punching an imaginary assailant and brawling with a real psychotic behemoth that still comes at you when his shattered femur is jutting through the skin like a piece of snapped driftwood, right?

In my imagination though, I’m a real lion.

So I suited up last evening in my long sleeve wicking shirt, wicking zip up vest, wind jacket, hat, gloves, shorts and wind pants for a nice run in 30 degrees and snow fluttering sky.

Five miles. Maybe some 800’s around the high school track (if it isn’t covered in ice).

As soon as I left my house, the wind picked up sending the light snow shooting sideways into my face. I could see the faces from the passing cars looking at me with that this guy is nuts look. That’s okay, for every look, I was sprouting another hair on my awesome man-beast-lionesque chest. Keep the deriding looks coming, I’ll be Sasquatch by the time I return.

The track was only lightly covered in snow so, what the hell, I’ll do some 800’s. Around and around I go into a stifling wind whenever I turn north. The snow has turned to a sleet mix. I can’t even open my eyes until I round the next bend. For every half lap, I’m the Ray Charles of running.

I did learn one thing that should be fairly obvious but, since I’m a little dense, wasn’t to me. I normally run clockwise on the track with my Garmin on my left wrist (i.e. outside of body from the center of the track). Common knowledge has it that each lap of the track is ¼ mile. My Garmin consistently registers ¼ miles while I’m still roughly 50 feet from the mark. I was thinking my high school track was not standard. You can see where this is going right? Last night, I ran counter clockwise so my Garmin was on the inside edge. Guess what? The ¼ mile markers lined up perfectly with one lap. Go figure. Don’t wear Garmin on the outer wrist especially if, like me, your arms flop around like a spastic. Apparently, I’m geometrically challenged that way.

Sorry for that tangent, let me get back to my story arc. After completing the circumference of the track for several laps, I marshaled on home through a driving blizzard of snow. My eyes crusted shut like a medication neglecting, pink eye sufferer.*

The snow was coming down hard. Visibility was low. The faces from the car windows shifted from condemning annoyance to sheer surprise. My running gear and knit hat covered in snow.

Arriving home, I checked the mirror and I looked like a well proportioned, though oddly bewitching, snowman. I believe the car people were surprised to see Frosty out for a jog.

I didn’t become lifeless when I removed the hat but I did visually confirm three new chest hair sprouts under all of the layers. A run like that brings out the lion in me. My brock lesnarian heart now melting the ice and sleet.

I’m ready to take those MMA pansies on. I would so kick their asses. Ever punch anyone with your Garmin? Just how big is the radius of an MMA ring anyway?

5.0 miles
34:56 time
6:59 pace

Happy trails.

*No? Was that metaphor a bit of a stretch?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Break Now, or Forever Hold Your Peace

These next few weeks hold a recipe for weirdness for me. I’m not tied to a training plan. It’s getting cold, wet, and slippery out. Not only will I be fighting the current state of my bodily fitness but I’ll also be battling vengeful Mother Nature in my quest to maximize speed.

Here’s where the weird comes in.

Without an actual scheduled race, nay marathon, looming, my concern for my overall well being has gone completely out the window. For perspective, last year at this time, I was busily preparing for the Goofy Challenge (half marathon Saturday/full marathon Sunday). I was hitting long runs…back to back medium/long runs...and weekly runs in the dark of night. I ran across ice covered roads and sidewalks. Though I was officially “in training”, my primary concern during these runs was not to bust an ankle in a snow covered pothole. Or lose my footing on a patch of ice shattering my pelvis in so many Humpty Dumpty pieces. There was a lot of time and money tied up in those races. By God, even if I couldn’t run them as fast as I wanted, I was going to run them. “Crutching” a race sounded completely unappealing.

Fast forward to last evening, off I go as the sun disappears on the horizon and I’m left to discern between a patch of ice or a shadow from a tree. Could be either. I guess we’ll find out as soon as I plant one foot in the middle and….no, no I’m good. And repeat this every 25 steps or so. Did I decrease my speed? No. Was I concerned that I might jam my foot into a shadowy pothole and invert my knee in a hilariously cartoony fashion? Not really.

There’s no race on the schedule. One would think a general concern for my overall health and safety would still encourage a sense of caution. Apparently, now that I‘m obsessed with running, ALL things are tied to my next training plan and race. Even the threat of sudden, severe injury.

I ran only 3 1/3 miles last evening but, upon arriving back home, I distinctly remember thinking ‘whew, I didn’t break an ankle. Dodged a bullet there.' Absolutely no concern during the run. Caution thrown to the wind. Besides independent mobility, what is there to lose?

Now, I’m not going around licking door knobs clean at daycares or picking food out of my teeth* with a dollar bill I just got as change from Burger King, the bill that was used as payment from the car in front of me with the “My Parents Just Went To Romania and All I Got Was A Scorching Case of Tuberculosis” bumper sticker.** That would be stoopid (heavy Midwestern drawl, please).

No, I guess my attitude is that if something is going to happen, it better happen now. Break now or forever hold your peace. I’ll be married to another training plan soon enough.

Then, broken bones and malaria will matter to me again one day as that might impact my training. Until then, flock to me ye microscopic mites and tibia fissures for I stand with welcoming arms extended. Do your best. I do not have a care in the world.

At least, for the next 6 weeks.

Happy trails.

* I use a library card from 1988 to pick my teeth. True story. Never been washed either.
** I did have some trouble breathing later after the run but I think it was a bit of cold weather asthma rather than tuberculosis.


Best wishes to Kristina, Marci, JoyRun, and Ted at the Philly marathon!! And anyone else I forgot.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Lost My Long Run At The Casino

I don’t know how but I left the casino Saturday night with fewer Andrew Jackson adorned bills in my pocket and missing my long run. However, my mortgage, car payment and wedding ring are still with me so, at least, all was not lost.

Mrs. Nitmos and I escaped to the cooler confines of northern Michigan this weekend with some friends * to enjoy time away from the kids, a warm, swirling hot tub, lots of drink, and gambling. Basically, all of the things we tell the kids NOT to do when they are within earshot.** Oh, the simple joys of eating a meal without drinks being spilled, forks clattering to the ground, looking at colored doodles on the kids menu, and escorting a bladder-challenged child to the restroom while your salmon cools at the table. Heaven, really.

My right ass muscle is refusing to relax ever since the Detroit Marathon four weeks ago. It’s not preventing me from running. It’s just sore enough where I spend the first mile of each run silently threatening it with a foam roller if it doesn’t get back on board soon. I’m hoping the heat and percolating bubbles from the hotel hot tub have done it some good. If not, then certainly the copious amount of rum consumed on the trip must have done something for it.

Saturday night, in a smoke filled, loud, and obnoxiously lighted casino, I tested my luck. My daughter’s medical bills from her seizure several weeks ago have just started to roll in. I did what any sane, pragmatic father in charge of a family budget would do. I tried to parlay the money from my meager paycheck into a fortune! I can win, I can win! I have a “system.”

An hour later, we emerged from the casino defeated. It didn’t take long to spit us out the door with our pockets turned inside out and our pride stripped off of us like Peter Pan’s shadow and tossed into a pile somewhere in a dark backroom. Let me tell you, friends, the casino has the odds in their favor. I did not know that. The billboards and glittery lights make it seem like they are just anxious to give their money away. Who knew? It’s almost as if the odds are stacked against you before you even walk in there. Hmmpf. Surprising.

We coasted back home Sunday on fumes. We managed to scrape just enough cash from the children’s wallets to buy a few necessities: a few gallons of gas and a six pack of beer for later.

I had every intention of hitting my Sunday long run. Penniless and no doubt still circulating the booze from the previous evening in my bloodstream, a nice long run in the cold, wet snowy weather still sounded good. Besides, the kids’ complaints about their “stolen” birthday money were getting real tiresome. It’s not like they didn’t get a ride home in the car too. And I already promised them the refund fee from the bottles of beer to split. What more do they want?

It was then that I noticed the desire for the long run was simply not there. It was gone. I had lost it at the casino. I must have wagered it that time when I had a 15 but needed to flip a 6 or less and busted with an 8. The casino has my long run. Along with my pride and money. It’s probably propped up in the same dark backroom next to someone else’s long cycle ride and another’s pool laps.

Maybe I’ll return with a future pay check and try to win it back.

Once I realized the long run was gone, I thought the best thing to do was to sow seeds of doubt now about the kids’ future college plans. I sat them down and explained to my colt and filly how money floats in and out of Daddy’s life and that you can never count on him having it when you most need it. I might need to pay bills. I might need to register for a race (and, of course, buy new running shoes.) I might try to compound their college fund in one evening of alcohol-soaked decisions made before the turn of a card. And they need to understand that sometimes Daddy will win. Sometime he’ll lose. In fact, usually, he’ll lose.

But he’ll lose more than your college fund. He’ll lose his long run too.

And this is just as fair for you as it is for him.

Happy trails.

* I have some. Really. Well, okay, they might really be more of Mrs. Nitmos’ friends that tolerate me hanging around, I guess.
** Except murder. We didn’t do that. Unless you mean the way we killed the liquor. We killed that real good.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cap'n Crunch?

<~~~~ What a tool.

Seriously, does anyone believe this guy has done one crunch his entire life? Maybe Cap’n Carb or Cap’n Clogged Artery is a bit more appropriate. I’m more of a Crunchberry man myself. It’s healthier because it contains “berries”. Just like Starburst comes in “fruit flavors”.

I hate to put out another post about myself. But, by perceived popular demand, I’m going to.

One of the things that helps us runners, so the experts tell us, is a strong core. For those Puritans that like to avoid four letter words, the “c---“ is the midsection, the abs and hips primarily. But the core is not a dirty word. It’s not even dusty. It helps runners maintain a proper running form and stabilizes the torso and legs to maximize your stride.

I do lots of sit ups and crunches along with my interminable stretchy banding to support my core. In fact, many a TV show is watched with me folding back and forth on my living room floor. My dog thinks it is play time and helpfully places her knotted rope on my chest while I crunch away. Every throw buys me about 6 more crunches before it comes back. And if I don’t throw it right away, she starts biting at it again perilously close to my nipple.

I like to think that this core work has had some effect. I rarely feel sloppy with my running form anymore. As I tire, I can still maintain posture. It doesn’t cost me valuable seconds. Or, what I call “sloppy seconds”. So I’m a big believer in core strengthening exercises.

What I am not, however, is a patient exerciser. The “long, slow distance run” many runners favor is not something I’m familiar with. I train at faster speeds mainly because I’m inpatient by nature. The same thing happens when I crunch. I crunch every night except Friday where I crunch a few beers instead (rim shot, please?) Of course, I don’t do just 50 good, solid, slow crunches. You know, the kind the “experts” recommend. Nooooo. I do a few hundred hyper fast crunches that, most likely, have very little effect due to improper technique. But the big number sounds good. One thing I’ve always known, it’s not about how you use the crunch but how big it is (amount, that is.)

Does anyone else work on their core? Does it help? And do you prefer Cap’n Crunch or Crunchberries?

I’m assuming our mustachioed Cap’n Crunch must have been promoted from Sargent Sit Up at some point in his career. But, while I live and breathe, with that portly figure he’ll never become Admiral Ab.

Happy trails.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Somewhere Between Heaven and Snickers

I have a problem. A monkey on my back.

I sent the kids out on Halloween night to beg for sweets with the full knowledge that I would be eating ½ of the contents of their bags. They were tired and dispirited but I pressed them to knock on that one last door as that might hold the elusive full size candy bar. They were asked to go to the far, lonely house with the police tape and chalk outline because I sensed a King Size Snickers.

And now I can’t stop eating junk food.

Like good communists, we stripped their individual bags from them and dumped them into a family community bowl that sits on the kitchen counter. They no longer own their own candy. The house owns it and disperses it as it sees fit (i.e. they get what Mrs. Nitmos and I don’t want.)

While I have been busy engaging in Deadly Sins sloth and gluttony, a third sin has been carried into my brain on a wave of androgens and estrogens.* Lust.

I heart that candy bowl. I pick through it like a hobo at a Bennigan’s dumpster anxiously searching for a half eaten Monte Cristo. I get depressed when I’m at work and it’s a home all alone. If it had ears, I’d make it a mix tape loaded with Pat Benatar, Hall and Oates and some Air Supply.

What does any of this have to do with running? Well, of course, we know that nutrition is said to shape our bodies and fuel our runs. If true, then I’m four planks wide like a Kit Kat (maybe 2 planks for the mini-size, at least) and can run like a Baby Ruth. Despite my general chocolaty squareness (ChocolateNitmos Squarepants), I haven’t really noticed a problem with my speed. Or weight. Normally, my race day fighting weight is around 158 lbs. I stepped on the scale this Sunday expecting a 163 or so and found…159. I also managed a pretty normal pre-Halloween style run of:

6.30 miles
44:34 time
7:05 pace

Maybe all of this nutrition mumbo jumbo is just that. Mumbo jumbo. Lies spread by the vegetable and toothpaste lobbies. Maybe sugar and sweets can fuel my runs. Maybe it is good for my teeth.

I’ve kept the vegetables locked away in the refrigerator lately. The carrots and apples in the frig part (gen. pop). The frozen vegetables in the freezer (solitaire). I’m still eating bananas. Banana Laffy Taffy, that is. The kids don’t seem to like this flavor so I find the little yellow packages dotted through out the candy bowl. Silly kids. Don’t they know they need their potassium? Plus, you can extract little pockets of taffy from between your teeth at unexpected times for the rest of the day.

My dinners have consisted of a hunk of beef (unwrapped full size Snickers) and a side of mixed vegetables (if you squint real hard the Skittles do the trick). My after dinner dessert involves downing SweetTarts ‘til I get the sugar sweats and I mop my forehead.

The only down side seems to be that the sugar molecules are locking arms and putting up resistance in my colon. It’s a regular sit in protest going on. Lech “Milky Way” Walesa and Cesar “Starburst” Chavez are holding my lower g.i. hostage. While the candy bowl has been socialized, my colon appears to be unionized.

Despite the scale, I’ve noticed a few new aerodynamic ripples on my abdomen** for Mrs. Nitmos to enjoy. All of this talk of smooth lines and sleek, rounded curves and tapered lines to maximize wind flow, speed and efficiency. More mumbo jumbo? Is this just another lie from the aerodynamic lobby? After all, 17th century sailors seemed to do just fine with big, lumbering ships with puffed out sails. Maybe, instead of a six pack, I should strive for a ballooned out blimp belly?

Lust. It’s got me rethinking everything I thought I knew these days. Bless Mrs. Nitmos for tolerating my time of introspection. Bless her nougaty goodness and marshmallow crème heart.

Happy chocolate trails.

* We all have estrogen. Look it up.
** And though I can’t confirm it, I suspect there might be a couple new matching dimples on my ass as well.

Friday, November 07, 2008


In music, syncopation includes a variety of rhythms which are in some way
unexpected in that they deviate from the strict succession of regularly spaced
strong and weak beats in a meter (pulse). These include a stress on a normally
unstressed beat or a rest where one would normally be stressed. "If a part of
the measure that is usually unstressed is accented, the rhythm is considered to
be syncopated."

Since I know this term, did I just out myself from the band geek closet?

Really, I was very, very cool. I was the one band geek that was immensely popular. Honest. My imaginary friends and collection of unfortunately located pimples were a testament to this coolness. You might say that I was one of the pioneering RBF’s before there was blogs…or internet…or household computers. The RBF’s existed in my head. And I was their king.

This entry isn’t about band or my childhood syncopated pimple pattern. I believe we’ve covered engorged pores here ad nauseum. Today, it’s about running. Syncopated running. As always happens after a marathon, I devolve into a slothful, gluttonous orgy of rest and sugary food. When I finally get back out on the road, it takes some time to get back into the smooth, steady rhythm of running. My steps are awkward. My mile splits are erratic. Basically, I’m out of sync (i.e. syncopated).

Now, I’ll take syncopation over constipation any day. But, really, there was no reason to bring up constipation here other than a cheap, loose rhyme. Since I’ve covered zits and poop now, let’s see if I can work in boogers and vomit at some point and really not act my age. Just because I’m officially closer to applying for my AARP card than being in high school does not mean Adult Onset Maturity has set in.

Do you ever feel out of step with your normal stride? Something’s not right. I still have a lingering hamstring pain from the marathon. I’m sure I’m carrying around an extra 5 lbs worth of bite size Snickers and Three Musketeers pilfered from the kids’ Halloween bags. Maybe this is knocking me off stride just a bit. My training mile splits are about the same but it’s taking a lot more huffing and puffing to knock out that 3 miler than it did just a few weeks ago. Perhaps, post marathon 3 miles = pre-marathon peak training 16 miles? Is that normal runner’s math?

For kicks and giggles, I did 2x800 at the local track last night. Both 800’s were at 2:46. Okay, I’ll take that. But it sure would have been nice not to feel like puking all over lane 8 and wiping my chin spittle with the High School Track Records banner hanging precariously within arms reach.

I’m sure things will be back to normal after a few more runs or so. I won’t be that goofy, syncopated, red faced, air hogging runner that children are pointing and laughing at from passing cars. I’ll shed the syncopation for the smooth, steady pace of a metronome. Children will once again look upon me in wonder and amazement. ‘Mommy, mommy, look at the expected, rhythmic, non-syncopated beat of that majestic runner’s pace’. I can hear the awe in the little booger eaters voices already.

I haven’t decided on a theme for this fall/winter. I had my Summer of Speed. The Fall of Fast seems redundant. The Winter of Whiz could be mistaken for things other than speed. Maybe this will be the Season of No Theme.

Without being tied to a training plan, the next two months will find me attempting to build speed again at a distance of 10 miles and under. I consider this my base building time. Shorten the distances. Maximize the speed. When another marathon approaches, I’ll just need to build from the base of 10 miles. Prepare yourself for a steady diet of 800 split times and limbo runs again in future posts.

First, however, I need to conquer the syncopation. Like a true, strict Carmelite monk, I find the best way to knock myself back into rhythm is through a form of running self-flagellation. I’ll hit some 800’s. Hard. Every lap around the track is a whip strike to the back. I will pay for my sinful two week exile from training.

Before long, I’ll be back in rhythm.

And, probably, pretty pissed at llama’s again.

Happy trails.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Who's Laughing Now?

From Yahoo! News, Thursday, Nov. 6th:

PRESCOTT, Ariz. – Authorities in Arizona say a jogger attacked by a rabid fox ran a mile with the animal's jaws clamped on her arm and then drove herself to a hospital. The Yavapai County sheriff's office said the woman told deputies she was on a trail near Prescott on Monday when the fox attacked and bit her foot.

She said she grabbed the fox by the neck when it went for her leg but it bit her arm.

The woman wanted the animal tested for rabies so she ran a mile to her car with the fox still biting her arm, then pried it off and tossed it in her trunk and drove to the Prescott hospital.

The sheriff's office says the fox later bit an animal control officer. He and the woman are both receiving rabies vaccinations.

At first glance, this story about an Arizona jogger, ahem, runner who arrived at an emergency room with a fox firmly clenched to her arm seems mildly humorous but, ultimately, dismissive. Poor schmuck (schmuckette? Is there a gender difference in this word?) Sucks to be you!

However, we need to remember two important things here.

First, "Michael Scott's Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure" from NBC’s show The Office somehow doesn’t seem so funny now, does it? Rabies is a very real concern for us runners. And now with an actual documented instance, I hope you’ll all join me in condemning those who laugh and joke about this dreadful disease and our threat to it. After all, it might be YOU that comes back from your next run with a rabid porcupine attached to your pelvic bone.

Second, the story makes no mention of the woman’s time for her mile with the fox attached to her arm. I’m pretty sure this would be one of the quickest miles I would have ever run if put in her situation. I’m willing to bet this is a world record for the Rabid Fox One Mile run. And most likely, the record will stand for some time.

The truly sad part of this tale is that the animal control officer, when provided with perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity to challenge the woman’s world record, opted for the DNF. Booooooo. Way to suck it up, animal control officer. It’s not like you couldn’t be treated after you ran a mile with the fox attached to you. The rabies ain’t going away. Show some heart…some drive to succeed!

Anyway, congratulations to Arizona Woman on her rabid fox one mile PR! (I assume it’s a PR anyhow.)

So, about that election the other night. I guess I shouldn’t have started my campaign the morning of the election. By nature, I’m a procrastinator. I feel like things usually resolve themselves if I ignore them and those that don’t are probably such big jobs that I never would have gotten them completed on time anyhow. That’s how I’ve soared to such mediocre career heights! Share the secret. I’m sure this is the governing style most of you desired as well. I was flattered by the many comments indicating a desire to vote for me.

Which is why you haven’t seen me on your TV conceding just yet. There are still votes to be counted. Hanging chads to be unhung, local officials to be intimidated, recounts to be demanded. And everyone knows the write-in votes take longer to process. I’m sure most of you have pretty sloppy handwriting and spelling, ugh, I can only imagine. This could take awhile. I wrote me in. So, by my count, I’m roughly 64 million votes behind. But there is a large bloc of heavy pro-Nitmos votes coming in from Canada as I understand it. And the heavy Nitmos chartreuse counties along the Wyoming/Mississippi border haven’t been counted yet. There’s still a chance here.

The nerve of Obama and the networks to go ahead and call this thing and basically take the voice of the Nitmos Nation away before they’ve been heard is very, very rude. I was going to put on my navy pants, light blue blazer (I don’t have a matching jacket for the pants unfortunately), and my stove pipe Lincoln hat I still own from my 6th grade play and hold an indignant, accusatory press conference but, you know, that’s a lot of work and can wait ‘til later…

Happy trails.