Friday, August 29, 2008

Randumbery III

I used to run this semi regular feature called "Randumbness" about, as you would guess, various random and dumb things going on. It was a nice page filler. You thought you were getting actual carefully constructed content. Instead, you were getting fluff, filler, time wasters. I'm not saying this to foreshadow this post. I'm just saying the post title is Randumbery and if you can put 2 and 2 together....well, we'll both be pleasantly surprised at your cognitive skills.

Big Brain on Brett

I’m going to reveal to you all an ancient but tightly guarded secret on how to keep forehead sweat from running into your eyes. You might think to yourself, easy, bandanna. Or headband. Or wicking hat (or wickeding hat, if you are from Boston). Nope. Nope. And nope.

Well, maybe they’ll all work for that purpose. I don’t know. I don’t wear anything on my noggin’ whilst running as my brain is constantly flexing and volatile and cannot be contained by an inflexible hat band. Plus, my parietal lobe is frickin’ sweet and should not be covered up. That’d be like putting clothes on Michelangelo’s David (though I think most men would agree he should be at least wearing a thong.)

My family secret for keeping sweat out of eyes, handed down generation by generation, known only to close relatives and anyone who reads Runner’s World or any other running reference periodical? Chapstick. That’s right. Smear some Chapstick on the forehead above the eyebrows and watch the sweat magically disappear before reaching your eyeballs.

Try it out. Honest, I’m not trying to make you look like a douchebag.

I’d Gotta Know What A $5 Milkshake Tastes Like

I was all set to slam this horrible tasting fruit snack I had the other day. On the fly, I picked up a couple X-Treme Fruit Bites snack packets promising no preservatives, no fat, no artificial flavors and an “excellent source of vitamin C”. They were only .39 cents and I’m up for all of those things (or none of those things as the case may be.) I bought one grape and one strawberry flavor as .78 cents is a bit much to take out of the family budget.

Did you ever want to cut off your own tongue or get angry with your esophagus for not initiating the gag reflex? That’s how I felt after the first few bites of the grape flavor bites. I pressed on, basically, in disbelief that it really couldn’t be this awful tasting. I double and triple checked the package to see if it's corporate motto was 'It Makes You Feel Like You Are Dead Inside!' It had to get better didn’t it? Horrible. In the trash it went.

So, I sat here ready to let X-Treme Fruit Bites have it in Randumbery III with this lonely, menacing packet of strawberry bites staring at my from the drawer. I couldn't just throw out the strawberry packet without even trying it. Who's got .39 cents to burn? That's like 10 percent of a gallon of gas. The thought of bullying kids for their lunch money (again) just didn't appeal to me. I figured I’d sample those while I wrote this entry just to remind myself of how irate and ill feeling I got when testing the first packet. But you know what? Strawberry wasn’t too bad. In fact, it was pretty good.

I would rather lick a walrus’s armpit before having the grape bites again but strawberry? Sure.

We’re Gonna Be Like Three Little Fonzies Here

Three summer movie notes of only mild interest:

Best Film Wherein Someone Dies From a Golf Club Beating? Funny Games.
Best Use of Well-Coiffed Cavemen to Completely Distort History? 10,000 B.C.
Funniest Testicles-Rubbed-On-A-Drum-Set Scene? Stepbrothers.

Ringo’s Proud of You And So Am I. It’s Almost Over.

Twenty miles Sunday morning. Roctane GU here I come. Now things are getting serious…

Happy Labor Day.

9 sluggish miles last evening barely worth mentioning. I can't shake the chest congestion. Boo-hoo.

Don't forget to check out Reid's One Mile Virtual Race announcement and get in on the action.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Spooning: A Form of Celebration

For obvious reasons, a lot of time and thought is put into what you need to do to get to the starting line and, ultimately, through the finish line of a marathon: the tempo runs, the long runs, injury prevention, llama avoidance, and hydration planning. It’s enough to consume your mind as you barrel towards the marathon. I’m staring at the heart of my Detroit Marathon training schedule – three 20 milers in the next five weekends – and I haven’t given any thought to What’s Next. What happens after the first (and 497th) person breaks the finish tape and the rest of us mortals come stampeding* through the finishing chute?

As Ben Franklin once said while catching for the Yankees: “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

But when it’s over, it’s party time!

Or, as much “partying” you can muster with shredded calves, throbbing hamstrings, an unexplainable foul odor vaguely reminiscent of rotted skunk disemboweled by a rabid, ill-tempered wolverine with stage 2 halitosis, and enough body salt oozing from your pores to keep a meadow of deer happy for weeks.

So what do you do when it’s over? Did you plan this out in advance?

Mrs. Nitmos and I have a little tradition. She’s says she hates it and will “cut me in my sleep” if it continues. She’s being playful, of course. I know she enjoys it. I love to spoon. Right there on the grass within 100 yards of the finish. I stagger through the finish area, trying not to look ridiculous with my Mylar blanket, past the nutrition tents and out to the public reunite area in full on slicky, icky, salty, sweaty, Gu stained goodness for the BIG post race HUG. And then I collapse to the ground holding Mrs. Nitmos around the waist. We spoon. And besides the medics, who scream “resuscitation” at me, and the police officers, who scream “assault”, it’s really very, very nice. I’m considerate enough – unlike most runners – to share my experience with my non-running spouse.

I hold on and squeeze in spoony embrace for 15, 20, even 30 minutes. We are stuck together like two pieces of Velveeta single slice cheese. Once the salt remnants, sweat funk, and other unexplainable moistures transfer from me to her**, it’s time to get up for a beer. Mrs. Nitmos feels better too. In fact afterwards, she always makes these hilarious “trial separation” comments that make me laugh so hard.

This has been tradition. But this is not what I would like to do in Detroit. I’ve always felt that, post race, it would be fun to sit atop a majestic steed sans clothes wearing only my medal with my long, flowing, Fabio style hair blowing in the breeze. I would gallop through the throngs of adoring fans amidst showers of flower petals and $30 gift certificates to Applebees. Then, my steed would launch skyward to fly me to the land of corporate-run, generic food and appetizers with overly cheery names*** for a final post-race celebration.

This is ridiculous of course. I don’t have nearly enough time to grow my hair to Fabio length.

Instead, I’d be happy just getting a chance to fight Cher. I’ve always wanted to fight Cher and post-marathon seems a great time to do it. What is her deal anyhow? I would totally dominate her without the post-race wearies so, to be fair, I’d only fight her after running 26.2 miles.

Failing all of that, I’ll once again ignore Mrs. Nitmos teasing jests that she’ll-cut-off-each-of-my-21-digits-one-at-a-time-until-I-promise-not-to-post-race-spoon-again and give her a big old hugging spoon where the sweat oozes out like Play Doh barber hair.

Besides, twenty-one digits?

Oh. I get it.

Happy trails.

* And by stampeding, I mean, crawling, staggering, stumbling, or rolling.
** My little Salt Sponge. Sorry to cutesy you out with our pet names.
*** Applebee’s

So what’s in YOUR post–race celebration plans? Marathon or shorter, a race completed is a reason to celebrate. What’s your favorite way to mark the achievement? Or what would you like to do (and don’t steal my galloping steed riding idea)?

Didn't get enough Nitmos? Of course not! Head over to Fitarella's site for more llama bashing and see if you can spot the cleverly concealed hidden addiction I reveal.

Check Frank out. He's at 43 states and counting on his 50 states marathon quest. For some reason, he was wearing a giant Steer head on his shirt for all of his races. Frank, the colors are maroon and white not burnt orange and white. I assume you would like to be part of the Steers LDP?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Making Letters With Your Arms is Fun

Somewhere along the line, I came down with my first illness of any kind* in over two years – a cold – prior to the anniversary party. It was almost as if my body was preemptively rejecting the very notion of having to play the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken Dance and say cheesy things like “alright, let’s get everybody up and dancing.” Sadly, my mind knew I had to be there at my post. The body was offering the out but it was overruled by a misplaced sense of responsibility.

So with mucus descending my nasal passage, I ascended the deejay platform and performed, I must say, remarkably well. The musical transitions were seamless. Considering the vast majority of the crowd was 65+ years old, the dance floor was occupied (until, apparently, 9 PM curfew hit or a coordinated attack of hip dislocations struck). One poor misguided woman requested some Charlie Pride or something they could dance the “two step” too. Having no Charlie Pride or the faintest idea what a “two step” was, I mumbled something about ‘seeing what I could do’ and then proceeded to launch into some Flo Rida and Soulja Boy. Ten minutes later, the woman had left. Problem solved. Don't mess with DJ Nitmos.

As the evening progressed, the tone of the song requests became increasingly bizarre. A nine year old requested Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me” dedicated to her parents. A drunk in-law requested “Me So Horny” dedicated to his mother. I assume there was an inside joke there. I hope.** I was happy to oblige. You want to turn this bus to the insanely bizarre? I’ll do it and hit the accelerator cackling maniacally all the way.

I hit all the old favorites: “Celebration”, “Wild Thing”, “Brick House”, some country tunes, and some oldies for the Blue Hairs in attendance. And then, scanning my list of available songs, what did my wondering eyes stumble across? Why, of course, "Y.M.C.A." by the Village People! How can it be a party, nay, par-tay, without "Y.M.C.A"?

This rocked the joint. Arms going alphabet crazy over the heads. The faint odor of Ben-Gay wafting up to the deejay booth. Oh, what a party we had!

Good food. Good music. Great deejaying. No strokes. No heart attacks. Only one case of the funky cold medinas reported.

Post party, my cold started to subside. It couldn’t stop me so it surrendered. DJ Nitmos was in da howse and rocked it old school.


*Besides my taco experience on the way to the Boston Marathon.
** We were in northern Michigan after all.

Still battling the last vestiges of the cold, I decided to hit my 16 miler Sunday night and just see how far I could go. The good news is that the piss quality beer served at the party didn't seem to interfere with my long run. In fact, it probably helped me drop the 'e beforehand. Thanks Budweiser! Thanks for being more worthwhile going out than coming in!

16.0 miles
1:54:12 time
7:08 pace

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Droppin' the "E"

Wherein I disgust you with a discussion of my bowels before getting to the real reason for this post – presenting you with a new phrase to use in public. Oh, and referencing MC Hammer.

One of the common questions I’m often asked by friends, family, and random strangers is ‘Nitmos, how do you keep such a clean and regular colon?’

It’s funny because I’m not really regular nor – judging my Mrs. Nitmos’s reaction to my laundry – very clean. They must be confused by my generally relaxed, clog-free countenance. It can be intestinally deceptive.

The truth of the matter is I’m full of shit quite a bit. While I complain about Cube Farter here at work, my odorous sounds are legendary around the Nitmos home. I feel it’s my duty being the man of the house. Like Simba rising to replace the slain Mufasa, I have taken up the position of Chief Butt Burper. (And, yes, when my son was born I stood on the roof and held him aloft under his arm pits – amidst shrieks of terror from Mrs. Nitmos, neighbors, and various law enforcement officers - and proclaimed him Junior Butt Burper. He has much to learn.)

While I’m proud of the symphony of dulcet tones I compose for my family, it does lead to a little tension and binding come Race Day. No one likes to carry extra baggage on a run. Especially a 26.2 miler. Even a 5k can turn potentially humiliating – though hilarious – if the colon isn’t cleansed prior to the race.

I’ve wrestled with this one a lot. Ideally, I need to expel prior to the morning of the race. I’ve experienced the 5k Run for the Port-a-Potty in 2003 and it didn’t end pretty. I made it. But just barely. I believe they imploded the unit afterwards. Nothing could be done to save it. Sorry.

I’ve gotten into the habit of dropping acid* the night before the night before a marathon. This way, I can spend the day before the big race touring the city’s restrooms. (In Chicago, I recommend the Borders Books near the old Water Tower on Michigan Ave. for it’s out of the way location, lighting, atmosphere, and abundance of toilet paper) Come race day – viola! – fresh, clean, light and ready to run!

I can think of nothing worse than frittering away valuable seconds, nay, minutes unclogging the pipes at mile 6 while hundreds of marathoners stampede by. You are losing irretrievable time. You have no magazine or newspaper to read. Inevitably, you’ll pinch under the pressure before you get to the roots and find yourself a few miles down the road with, ahem, shifting half cargo.


I’ve read accounts and I don’t envy those of you who have had to stop mid race. So far, I have not had this issue.

In the 48 hours leading into a race, my bowels tend to be the main topic of conversation between Mrs. Nitmos and I (whether she likes it or not). Normally, I let them go about their business in peace and at their own schedule. You need a few extra minutes? Sure, I can let the legs go numb. No Problem.

All deals with my colon are off when a race approaches though. The lower g.i. needs to snap back into shape. My bowel full must become a bowl full. It’s a little something I call Droppin’ the “E”. See? It’s catchy. (Bow-e-l full becomes bowl full minus the ‘e’. Get it? Its been dropped.)

Feel free to use this new term I just invented for you in public. Children can hear (and use it) and no one will slap their mouths or even care. I’m like the MC Hammer of bowel movements with my wacky colloquialisms and all.

Before your next big race, do what you need to in order to Drop the E. Your PR may depend on it.

It might be hard to pass sometimes but, trust me, you’re Too Legit to Quit. And as far as quality race time saving tips, U Can’t Touch This one.

If the pre-race cleansing doesn’t work? Well, then Pray.

That's it. I'm tired.

Happy trails.

* And by acid, I mean Ex Lax.

Congratulations to Ovens2Betsy for her stealth BQ.

Last night:
9.0 miles
1:03:17 time
7:02 pace

=Legs are still sore from Sunday. Somewhere from 16-18 miles for this weekend's LR depending on Saturday night's festivities.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

DJ Nitmos in Da Howse

I know. It doesn’t sound right coming from me. It sounds really weird from my inner voice as well. I’m just not hip enough to pull off that title line.

However, it is an accurate description of what’s going down this weekend. “Da Howse” will be a smallish community center in northern Michigan where a milestone anniversary party is taking place for my in laws. Somehow, I was anointed deejay of this event. Who, in their infinite wisdom, decided to give me a forum to amplify my spur-of-the-moment, ill-considered thoughts to an audience? Tsk, tsk, their problem. Not mine. If I feel like comparing their relationship to the stages of a marathon – including but not limited to the mid race bowel movement – during the meal that’s what they get for giving a fool a microphone.

Actually, I have some experience in this area. Long ago, in a time where DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince were competing with Kid N’ Play for top MC honors, I substitute deejayed on a couple of occasions to fill in for a friend on some “gigs”. I fashioned myself as a white LL Cool J at the time. I was a regular DJ Blumpkin before anyone knew what a blumpkin was.

On those occasions, I had some memorable experiences:

- I invented the dousing of the dance lights (including the cliched spinning disco ball) during The B52’s The Love Shack famous “tin roof…rusted” interlude at a community college dance. Always a crowd pleaser.

- At a redneck wedding reception, I witnessed a bride throw her bouquet into the light fixture and then, as none of the “gentlemen” present would assist with its retrieval, proceed to grab a chair, stand on it wedding dress and all, and wave a broom stick in an attempt to knock it out until my deejay buddy and I offered to do it for her. Afterwards, of course, we slid behind the music stands and laughed hysterically for a half hour.

-At another wedding, we watched in horror as the unpopular bride during the dollar dance was discounted. It’s called a dollar dance, of course, because the price to pay for the dance is $1. The groom had a huge line. The bride? Not so much. So, an announcement was made that it would only be .50 cents to dance with her. No kidding.

So that’s where I’ll be Saturday night. On top of it all, as Mrs. Nitmos can attest, I absolutely HATE wedding reception music (which this will most likely mimic): Achy Breaky Heart, a polka or two, the complete collection of Luther Vandross sprinkled throughout the night. And I’ll be responsible for playing it. I’ll probably issue each song with an apology. ‘I’m sorry, I have to play this next.’ And so on.

To make matters worse, I have a long run the next morning so I won’t be able to hydrate as much as I normally would. Although one shock to the system with “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang may be all I need to send me scrambling for the rum.

It’s time to dig out and iron my slick, thin, keyboard tie. DJ Nitmos is in da howse.

Happy trails.

Stop by and get more expert running tips at Mizfit's place. And remember the rules (spelled out for you at the bottom of this post) on what kind of comments to leave though you can also add "hip deejay" to the list.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Deena Kastor Ruined My Long Run

Here I find myself late Saturday afternoon full of four beers, hamburgers, brats, and various chips, the result of a barbecue, mentally preparing (i.e. farting, burping, yelling at the kids) for the next morning’s planned long run and awaiting the women’s marathon in high definition TV. I figure I’ll find some inspiration watching an Olympic marathon. Enough inspiration to power my slow ass through 17 miles the next day, at least.

After the marathon starts, the wife, kids and I take off for a quick three mile bike ride. This is an exercise in humility for me. My sweet $49 Walmart Huffy currently sits gathering dust in the garage due to a two tire blowout. So, I’m riding my wife’s old bike in the meantime. You can imagine how cool I feel with my knees whacking against my chin with every pedal and my toes rubbing against the front tire on the turns. And don’t think I don’t notice those analyzing looks from my neighbors in the passing cars as they scan my bike and slowly come to the realization that the middle bar is sloping downwards. Bite me. I’m still cool.

We return home when the lead pack is around 10 miles in. Another beer for me. A few more abusive words for the kids. I settle into my easy chair for a second round of marathon watching and orifice gas belching. Or “blatzing” as I’ve now taken to calling it (take that!).

And what do my wondering eyes not perceive? No Deena Kastor!? Where, where could she be? Maybe she’s so far out in front that she passed the lead camera truck on her way to a 1:49 marathon? Maybe she’s lagging behind the lead pack for a second half gold winning negative split?

Then the announcers report that Kastor had to drop out due to a foot injury.


And then a second American dropped out due to a knee injury.

R-A-T P-O-O-P.

Finally, the last American slipped off pace and clearly was not going to threaten for a medal.


The awesome lead Romania’s Constantina Tomescu-Dita had rolled up was impressive to watch unfold. And despite the NBC announcer’s constant insistence that she was going to fade – almost wishing it with every step – she held on to win.

That was all well and good but I had planned to watch Deena win. Or, at least, hang right in there. Where did my inspiration go? What happened to her foot? Why is she acting all mortal now?

So, the next morning, I set out upon my 17 miler in heavy heat and hanging heart. I struggled. Last week’s 15 miler was my best run of the year. I was really looking forward to this Sunday’s 17 miler (the A to Q Express). Instead, after 15 miles, I had to stop and walk a bit. I was dehydrated and tired. The legs were twinging. I even went all look at me and went topless. There was no point to the shirt after 7 miles. My nipples were already easily visible through the sweat saturated top anyhow. And, really, my nipples should be seen by as many people as possible.

17.0 miles
2:00:31 time
7:06 pace

It was the toughest run of the year. It wasn’t the time. It was the dehydration and the reappearance of some early calf cramping signs. And the overwhelming need to stop and walk a bit at a distance I should easily be able to handle. No doubt all of this was due to Kastor. Turns out, she had a broken foot and dropped out at the 5k mark.

More importantly though, she ruined my long run.

It almost makes me want to punch a Panda.

Friday, August 15, 2008


In a recent post, I had linked to this picture in my 5k race and SLB, aka Quadrathon, made the observation that it appeared I was very nearly being “strollered”. I found this funny. And surprising that none of the rest of you took this opportunity to blast me. If you are looking for the same consideration from me when posting your race photos, you’ll be disappointed. I also note that it appears I’ve been head banded by at least two people already according to the same photo.

We’ve all seen these terms before: chicked, duded, etc. I believe it’s loosely defined as:
transforming the noun, of the person or object passing you while running, into a
hilarious or, at least, mildly amusing, verb to emphasize your

I want to give credit where credit may be due. These terms may have been floating around the interwebs for years as far as I know but the first place I encountered “chicked” was at Half Fast. And possibly “duded” also though it seems like I may have run across that first at Frayed Laces. If you invented these terms instead, good for you. And get over yourself.

I’ll give “strollered” to Quadrathon. Though, again, feel free to arm wrestle each of these site owners for proper credit if you’ve been slighted here. Don’t sue me. I don’t take well to being sued. I tend to cry, suck my thumb, and ball up in a corner until it’s all over. I’m more of the “suer”* type than a “suee”.

Consider this an additional list of verbs to use that may help to describe your latest humiliation while running. I didn’t both to spell this out phonetically. If you can’t sound these out on your own, you shouldn’t be here anyway. This is a PG-13 blog (I'm looking at your Chinese "women's" gymnastics team).

I’ve experienced many of these (read, all of these) at some point during my running life.

strollered (v) being passed by someone pushing a brat in a wheeled conveyance.

molassesed (v) moving slower than spilled molasses oozing across a counter.

hot air ballooned (v) being passed by the notoriously imperceptibly floating object that never seems to budge from its position in the sky.

Priused (v) being passed by this motorized Toyota that, based on appearance, lends one to think you really should be able to beat it.

grand mothered (v) being flat out beaten by a woman or man (grand fathered) that attended Woodstock or, at least, remembers when Dick Van Dyke was hilarious.**

Schwinned (v) to pass on foot a cyclist. Here, the embarrassment belongs to the biker.

lawn mowered (v) being eclipsed by the smart ass neighbor cutting his lawn with the push mower.

Fisher Priced (v) being overtaken by a toddler or young child that is no more than 3 years removed from a regular play date with Little People.

funeraled (v) having your run interrupted by a funeral procession that leaves you wondering ‘ just how many people knew this guy anyhow??’ followed by thoughts of ‘is it rude to cut through the procession’ and, finally, leaves you pondering how many cars will be in your own procession one day.

Skechered (v) being passed by a runner wearing completely inappropriate running shoes where you know this person has no idea what they are doing but still managed to overtake you.

prided (v) having your dignity and arrogance continue on ahead without you as you pull off mid race to attend to a calf cramp. (See, in particular, Chicago Marathon ’07 and Boston ’08).

Please add to this list as you see fit. Get your term out there so you can officially take credit and sue the pants off anyone else who tries to steal it.

* Note: Despite how it sounds, this does not say “sewer”.
** At my last 5k, there was a woman who grand mothered ALL of us. At least, based on age graded ranking. She’s 66 years old and finished 136th of 1088 overall with a time of 21:43. However, she scored a whooping 97.3% - World Class level - on the age grade scale and 1st overall!!


The Beer Schlitz

File this away in the General Indifference and Public Apathy folder. Pabst Brewing has announced they are remaking Schlitz beer. Like a tree falling in the forest, will anyone even taste it? Are they trying to set the record for the biggest collective indifferent shoulder shrug in history? Quick, someone contact Shasta and let 'em know it's time to step up their soda production.

Is it just me or should we not name a beer after something that rhymes with “shits”? Although it appears Blatz has gotten away for years with a name that resembles the sound my esophagus makes when it rejects it back into the toilet.

Thanks Schlitz! Can't wait to pass you by in the grocery store again and buy good beer. Here's to you!

Steer Tange forwarded me an Amby Burfoot article from Runner's World. The article, about marathoners competing in the Olympic Games, is interesting in and of itself. However, what makes it truly special is the last line. I smell another law suit. You know, my favorite kind. The kind where I'm the suer.

Fist bumps!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Slow Children

Wherein I continue my practice of haranguing unsuspecting children and exact revenge in a thinly veiled fashion at recent F.M.S. attackers.

Frankly, this is really sad. I saw this sign a couple of miles from my house at an apartment complex. I love to ridicule children as much as the next normal, well-adjusted adult. However, permanently affixing a sign to a post to mock their lack of speed? Even I think that’s a little far out there. Throw partially eaten Taco Bell at them? Sure. Feed their pets b.b.’s wrapped in a dog treat? Absolutely. But signs?

I’ve been by a few times to take a look at these unusually slow children. It’s the typical assortment of nerds, bullies, crybabies and nose pickers crawling about the complex grounds. Nothing particularly half fast about them. If anything, from my perspective, the sign should read “Ugly Children” or “Unable to Make A Free Throw Children”. There’s one particularly pasty faced little half child, half snake like creature I’ve taken to calling Quasisnake.

What does it say about my community that we forcibly quarantine families of small children into one apartment complex due to sluggish speed? Next thing you know, all of the rich folks will be gathered together in gated neighborhoods under lock and key.

I’ll tell you what it says: My town kicks ass!

We don’t tolerate slow children here. Can’t run fast? Here’s directions to your new home where you and all the other slow kids can spend 7 hours on Saturday working your way through a kick ball game.

I’m outraged. Outraged that I didn’t think of this idea myself.

I’ve run through there many times since noticing this sign as, obviously, it’s my new favorite place to deposit snot rockets. Like shooting fish in a barrel, I say. Recently, I took pity and pulled to a stop next to rocket victims Quasisnake and his slack jawed friend, Non Chocolate.*

“So, you kids are incredibly, embarrassingly slow, eh?” I hissed, all proud of myself for executing the non-clunky mid-sentence double adverb.

“Uh, no. What are you talking about, mister?” Said Quasisnake, who I’m sure was thinking but didn’t say, ‘Are you a model or a movie star or a professional body builder or George Clooney? Or all of the above?’

“Duh?” said Non Chocolate looking befuddled.

“No, no. I’m not George Clooney. Common mistake.” I responded to the unasked question. “The sign over there indicates that you children are really, amazingly slow runners.”

I pulled a double, double adverb and stuck the landing!

“Err, duh?” said Non Chocolate again, having a hard time keeping up.

“That’s a sign telling people to slow down because kids are playing, mister. Not that we are slow kids.” Responded Quasisnake, who still clearly didn’t believe he wasn’t talking to George Clooney.

“I’m not slowing down for anyone.” I say. “Why don’t you kids read up on Paavo Nurmi or Ville Ritola and make like a Flying Finn so you’re not stuck in Snail’s Pace Apartments.”

“That’s not the name of the apartments. And who is Paul Neuman and Billy Ricola?” asks Quasisnake.

“Der??” inputs Non Chocolate still lost in a haze of befuddlement.

Then it dawns on me. The sign isn’t describing their speed. In fact, the two hooligans have the general air of recent PR setters. No, no, it's something different than that. They’re not slow runners.

I get it.

They’re dumb.

Happy trails.

* Any similarity between these fictional characters and actual people is entirely purposeful.

Now that that is out of the way. Moving on to a completely unrelated item...Congratulations to Vanilla and Viper, the "V" Boys, for kicking ass and setting new PR's. Stop by and offer them a compliment or a back-handed compliment. They appreciate either one.


Sadist Nancy has her 8 on the 8th race results up. Everyone give a big cheer for Nancy for organizing. Hip, Hip, Hoo...oh, ouch, I pulled my lower masseter muscle. Off to ice it down. Someone finish the cheer for me.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The A to O Express

Normally, I don't wax poetic about one particular training run. Or compare a run to a train. I will do both below. However, I often DO compare my runs to the alphabet, privately, and will do so publicly for the first time here.

If you haven't noticed, a marathon is 26 miles. The alphabet is 26 letters. See? It lines up if you forget about the pesky .22 miles at the end which, after the preceding 26.0, hardly matter anyhow. By then, you're in full stumble stupor and could care less.

Yesterday's long run was the farthest since Boston. The Summer of Speed is rapidly coming to a close as I replace it with the Fall of Speedier Endurance in preparation for the Detroit Marathon. This requires slightly different type of training. I'll have to console myself with just the 2 age group place awards which I have been bathing with regularly since.

This long run was, really, the best of the year. A cool, breezy 70 degrees. I literally felt like a train chugging along as my pace hardly wavered over all 15 miles. I should also point out that my first experience with Gu's new Roctane gel was positive. This product delivers twice the punch of regular Gu with additional vitamin replenishment not found in the original (at twice the price, of course). As first times go, it delivered. I'll see how it works as the miles start creeping towards 20 before fully endorsing.

This run covered the letters A through O.* Still aways to go to get to Z but I was very pleased with the pace. A side effect of the SoS has been, as expected, the relative ease at which a faster pace seems compared to before the interval training this spring. Get busy on some intervals all you speed seeking folks!

15.0 miles
1:43:26 time
6:54 pace

By the way, I was running along all train like listening to my mp3 player when possibly the BEST running song rotated into action. For some reason, I loaded a few Queen songs onto my mp3 awhile back. I'm listening along to "Bicycle Race" with a big goofy smile on my face when "Don't Stop Me Now" comes on. Awesome at its most cheesiest!

"Don't stop me now,
I'm having such a good time,
I'm having a ball

Don't stop me now"...repeat

I heartily endorse loading this song up and having it kick in just at the point you start feeling a little tired.

Happy trails!

* If you need this spelled out for you, that's 15 letters into the alphabet at a 1:1 mile to letter rate.

Actual quotes from my world this weekend:

While watching the opening ceremony parade of nations of the Olympics, my filly asks: "When are the leprechauns coming in?"

While discussing Guitar Hero, I ask my family: "When are they coming out with a Huey Lewis Guitar Hero?"

Mrs. Nitmos responds: "Only when they want the worst selling Guitar Hero ever."


Friday, August 08, 2008

8 on the 8th

I joined Nancy’s virtual race and did 8 miles on the…7th. It still counts. Look it up. Nancy’s been running these virtual races for over a year now. If you haven’t joined, what’s your problem? Maybe you really are the jerk all the rest of us think you are (but don’t tell you.)

This lined up perfectly with the 8 miles I had on my Detroit Marathon training schedule!

The plan: 8 limbo miles.
The pace: The first 5 miles averaging 6:50 with the last 3 around 6:40.
The running goal: Beat 54:00
The non-running goal: Compose a respectable Shakespearean sonnet featuring Carrot Top.

Really, once the legs get in motion, the brain starts unraveling like a ball of yarn rolling off sleeping grandma’s lap. I get no further than ‘I doth look on thee orange top...’ and I’m already thinking of other things. Alas, the sonnet will never finish!

Instead, I’m back to imagining tanks. And things blowing up. Like usual. Pretty soon, I descend to my normal running stupor fantasy: A dinner party featuring Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Bruce Lee, Aquaman, and Robert Goulet. Sharp knives. Shifty eyes. Nasty attitudes. It’s always Goulet that makes the first move. The fool. I dispatch him with a kick to the throat. He staggers back and slowly chokes away in the corner on his own Adam’s apple. What’s he doing at a fight with guys like Bruce Lee and me (resident ninja) anyway?

Aquaman holds his own against Seagal. I tire of their slapfest and drop a net on them. Aquaman flops around on the floor beneath the net. Seagal’s pony tail is caught. They’re immobilized.

Chuck, Bruce, and I are in a bit of a Mexican standoff. The junior varsity has been dispatched. Time for the big boys to tussle. Bruce shrieks and jumps in the air between Chuck and I, legs extended outward, for a double kick to finish us both. It’s risky. And a poor plan. Chuck and I grab each leg and wrench upwards breaking them at the hips. He can now be used as an end table.

As usual, it’s down to Chuck Norris and I. We circle the room growling each with a broken table leg from the overturned dinner table held out. Mine has a nail on the end with a bit of turkey stuck to it. It doesn’t distract Chuck. He’s a pro’s pro.

I lunge going for the impalement. Chuck swings his table leg. I notice – out of the corner of my eye – what appears to be Dick Beardsley jumping through the window with a cutlass clenched between his teeth….

And I’m done. Eight miles in the books.

8.0 miles
53:49 time
6:44 pace

Chuck and I will do battle another day. Another time. Forever.

Thanks to Marathon Mama (recent post) and someone else, sorry couldn’t remember who, that placed a Chuck Norris reference in my comments for the Dinner Party/Chuck Norris thought.
Stop by and visit Runner's Lounge as they interviewed a very, VERY interesting fellow for open mic Friday. And sign up to be a lounger if you haven't done so already. It's fast, free, fun, and formative (think "informative" but this word kind of blew the cool alliteration I had going.) You can link to me in the lounge and we can be creepy internet friends together.
SLASH, the autobiography, is complete! It didn't take nearly as long as Don Quixote. Of course, had Don Quixote mainlined Oxycontin HIS book might have been a bit more interesting. Who's fault is that? For a drug fueled, sex riddled, rock story, it's pretty interesting. If you are not in to those kinds of things, stay away. It's probably best that you don't know how his entire band got crabs anyway. It scores a solid A- for rocker autobiography.
Portnoy's Complaint, by Philip Roth, is also complete! This was way more funny and risque than I thought it would be. In fact, thirty pages in, I remember thinking: If folks ever start banning books again, this has to be near the top of the list. Portnoy! What a messed up perv. It scores a B. You tire of the non-stop stream of neuroses though after awhile.
I'm in the market for the next read.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


The name of my favorite reindeer? No. Prancer’s alright but I’ve always preferred reindeer Carl. Carl didn’t make it on Santa’s sled team though due to some, er, indiscretions in Elfette’s Lounge. Santa holds grudges.*

No, “prancer” refers to my running style. Not by choice, mind you. Mrs. Nitmos casually noted at my first 5k this year that she can always tell when I’m approaching from a distance because of my “unique” running style. I believe it was described as a “high knee kick, bouncy style”. Sounds like a regular show pony to me the way I must be prancing down the street. Or a Rockette. One of the two.

Being secure and open to constructive criticism, I immediately poked fun at her choice of footwear and sulked behind a tree for 45 minutes. She kept saying she could still see me but I turned sideways and made myself skinnier. There’s just no way she could have seen me. Especially since she tried to peer around the tree but I shuffled around the circumference keeping it between her and I at all times. You wouldn't know I'm a 19 year adult veteran.

A month or so since, I’ve had time to cool down and critically examine my running form. Perhaps I am doing a bit more vertical motion than necessary. (Which is weird because I’m legendary for my “horizontal mambo” ba da dum.) I remember, when training for the Bayshore Marathon in 2007 and a BQ attempt, I really focused on cutting out any extraneous motions – energy wasters – that would not be helping me propel down the road. I knew I was really close to the BQ line and, like twisting a wash cloth for that last drop of water, tried to maximize my efficiency through my running form. Every second would count.

Vertical motion? No good. Focus all energy towards horizontal, forward motion. No unnecessary up and down movements, or prancing. I don’t know what the Running Gods say about this but what do they know anyway? It’s not like they won 1,000 Boston Marathons or something. Anyone can win one or two.

At some point, I had a fairly smooth, efficient form going that has fallen by the wayside. Suddenly, I’m bopping all over the road again like a deranged Tigger.

I seem to be saying, ‘This race is too easy for me. After I prance around a bit, I’m going to moonwalk to the finish.’

I’ve been tossing this revelation around in my head for a while and applying a Less Vertical approach to my runs. Maybe I can regain that efficient form. After all, besides the horizontal mambo, I am also known for late marathon calf cramping which is not nearly as impressive (but will allow me the opening to insert a couple lame cow jokes in this post very soon.)

Basically, I’m going to milk this idea for the next few weeks. Someone else (Mrs. Nitmos) gives me an idea and I take it and apply it successfully retaining all the credit for myself. Because that’s how I prance. Could this be the source of my marathon calf cramping? Mrs. Nitmos might have inadvertently discovered my White Whale.

I think the udderly final straw was my race photo from my last 5k. I couldn’t “borrow” it and place it here so you can click this link to see it. That’s me in the middle** – white shirt, blue shorts, number 1088 (‘088’ shown). Notice how neither of my feet are touching the ground. I’m literally hovering in mid air. I know the 800 intervals I’ve been doing have helped but hovering? Didn’t expect that. Everyone else in the photo has a foot on the ground. Shouldn’t I? I believe this is called “Mid Prance”. Maybe this is why I’ve been unable to step on the back of anyone’s shoes.

Anyhow, this will be the focus as I prepare for the upcoming Detroit Marathon. I want to turn this Prancer back to a Dasher so I can get post race Blizten and head home for Cupid.

Happy trails.

* And likes to throw the word “defile” around in his depositions. He’s not all jolly, apparently.
** In case you are wondering, I totally smoked all of those people.


Here’s the finishing photo from the same 5k race. Am I:

-preparing to stop Garmin? – or-
-squashing a spider I found on my wrist?

Here’s my colt (here and here) who won his ½ mile kids’ race. He doesn’t seem to be prancing at all.

Housekeeping Notes:

I have removed the Word Snob Score game temporarily from the sidebar. It has grown tiresome.

5.0 miles
34:16 time
6:51 time

Boo for the reverse limbo. Humidity sucks.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Fist Bump Vacation

One of my more endearing qualities is the ability to find that one phrase, habit, or action that really annoys Mrs. Nitmos and/or the kids and repeat it ad nauseam until I’m threatened with physical violence…or, at least, a weeks worth of eating “ham steaks”. Shudder. As long as it makes me laugh, I can completely ignore the increasingly angry looks I receive in return.

To illustrate: Whenever someone requires a clean up to their mopish top, they might say “I’m going to get a hair cut.” To which, I respond, “Why don’t you get them all cut? Same price.” See? Hilarious. Now, imagine that you’ve heard that “joke” at least 108 times over the years. See? Even more hilarious.

Welcome to Fist Bump Vacation.

I’m not sure where this idea hatched. At some point, I started demanding fist bumps from Mrs. Nitmos for every trivial event. We just passed through the yellow light before it turned? Fist bump. Gas went down 2 cents? Fist bump. Is that a blue jay? Fist bump.

Now anyone that knows me knows I’m very anti-high five so this is probably pretty confusing that I’d be demanding fist bumps so frequently. I haven’t been a fist bump guy before but once you start, you know what, you just can’t stop. And Mrs. Nitmos is not overly receptive to receiving fist bump requests so our execution appeared a bit disjointed. Several times I needed to demand the fist bump before I’d get one. And this was always preceded by an Eye Roll. An eye roll fist bump is just not the same, you know?

We were watching previews before a movie and the trailer for Beverly Hills Chihuahuas came on. This is movie magic! And certainly worthy of a fist bump (especially considering the morning’s bowl of Lucky Charms got one.)

Fist bump!


Mrs. Nitmos left me hanging on that one. Seems shes got something against Chihuahuas from 90210.

Here’s a run down of the weeks highlights in lazy, non-paragraphy bullet points:

- We attended a performance of the touring version of Wicked at Michigan State University’s Wharton center. I was lured there by the promise of a Gallagher show that, sadly, never materialized.

- We spent most of the week in Traverse City boating, tubing, sunning, sanding, running, and movieing.

- Mrs. Nitmos suffered severe sun burns that nearly required a trip to the Ready Care. We were on our way but I wanted to stop for a donut and, you know, one thing led to another and by the time I awoke from my post-donut nap, she seemed to be...fine (i.e. "sleeping").

- The 4th annual Traverse City Film Festival was taking place. This event is best described in two words: strange bedfellows. The creator and manager of it is uber liberal Michael Moore (who lives in the area) but the city – and that entire region of Michigan – is overwhelmingly conservative. So, you have all of these arch conservative businessmen, politicians, and townsfolk working arm in arm with Michael Moore to make this festival successful (and increasingly popular!) Funny to watch it unfold. Funny in a weird way.

- We attended a festival film that was so disturbing and controversial that I counted no less than 7 people storming out of the theatre. One man let his feelings be known by shouting obscenities at the screen on his way out. He must not have noticed the 2 dimensional image of the actors. They couldn’t hear his rant. Idiot.

- We wandered down to do a bit of celebrity stalking as well. Alas, Madonna had already entered the theatre a few minutes before we arrived. No word on whether she wore her cone bra to the event. I’ll assume she did.

- With Mrs. Nitmos on her bike and me on my Asics, we took the T.A.R.T. trail out for a few runs during the week. Very, very nice.

I am tanned. Still toned. Sore from multiple Smashminton matches. And loaded with snarkiness. Once “work” decides they don’t need me to “catch up”, I’ll let it all spill forth onto these pages.

Oh, and did I mention the waitress that complained she couldn’t bring our food to the table due to her rheumatoid arthritis? Or find anyone else to help her?

That was awesome.

Fist bump!

Saturday's LR:

13.0 miles
7:00 pace/mile

It seems someone has taken to calling me an idiot while I was away. If I wasn't such an idiot, I'd be appalled and seeking retribution. Instead, know that I spent more than one night at a $1 per pint pub whittling away the hours this past week. You?