Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Full Nipple Erectus

I don’t know why I live in Michigan. I don’t like the cold. I hate winter. “Rust” is not my favorite color. The Lions stink (see: Thanksgiving, any year). I drive cars, sure, but I could care less what manufacturer’s logo is emblazoned on it. I don’t wear mittens; I’m a glove man. And, though I respect the rich history of Motown Records, I never listened to its artists. I don’t hunt (for anything but the elusive spotted PR - which can be found in any state). And did I mention there is a historically bad economy going on here?

In short, Michigan blows like Kid Rock’s next attempt at country music.

I’ve done my fair share of complaining about the weather. It’s a time-honored Michigan tradition…especially this time of year. I use the 30 seconds that I step outside to put my Garmin on the front porch to acquire a satellite signal to determine what I should wear on the impending run. You just never know at any time what it’s going to be like.

Full nipple erectus probably means two shirts and wind pants. Partial nipple erectus means a long sleeve shirt, hat, gloves but with shorts. An unexpectedly warm breeze and sun probably means it’ll turn cloudy with strong frozen blasts of wind sometime around mile two. Mother Nature likes to tease.

This is the time of year when I expect a 10-15 second drop in pace for every run. Between the long pants and the crippling asthmatic wheeze brought on by the 30 degree (or below) weather, the first casualty of war winter is innocence pace.

On Sunday, I managed to step out for a quick 6 miler feeling fresh as a recently powdered and diapered baby’s bottom. It was in the high-30’s and cloudy with only a little chilly breeze. As I headed out, I thought with satisfaction that this was a great morning for a run. I felt wonderful. It was cool but pleasant. My stride was loose and relaxed. That feeling lasted for a whole 60 seconds.

As I approached the ¼ mile mark, the two internal balloons inside my chest cavity began to shrivel to the size of my patience for Rich Rodriguez. I started sucking in deep breaths to try to keep the burners firing. I didn’t feel fresh like a newly diapered baby anymore. I felt like a baby that had eaten too much squash and made a little leaky present around one of the improperly fitted elastic legbands. With nearly 6 miles to go, this was going to suck…as in cold air suck…as in feel like you are slowly suffocating every step of the way suck.

As I finished up and peeled the cold, sweaty clothes into a pile on the carpeted floor for the laundry fairy* to magically wash, a simple truth dawned on me like it must have to the general public when they realized that Carlos Mencia is not funny: I love to run. This trumps the weather conditions. I’ve gone out in near 100 degree temperatures. I’ve run in 5 degree temperatures with a negative wind chill and everything else in between. It doesn’t matter what the weather is doing because, for me, it just affects what I wear.

I’ll still be out there either way. I shouldn’t even waste my breathe complaining. I will complain - you should know me by now - but I shouldn’t bother.

Michigan’s constantly changing climate presents some challenges but it really doesn’t override the bottom line: I’m going to run.

So, maybe Michigan isn’t so bad after all. The Great Lakes are pretty neat. It is nice to hold up the backside of your hand and point to the spot about half way between your middle knuckle and wrist as your home for those unfamiliar with the state’s geography.** Fall is beautiful. Summers are moderate. The Red Wings are terrific each year. No one wears sweater vests. And Kid Rock and Eminem just released new albums.

And, most importantly, we are not Ohio. Now that would be a reason to complain.

Happy trails.

*Mrs. Nitmos?
**How many of you just pointed to your hand? Be honest.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Age Degraded

In four short months, I’ll turn 40. Sometimes getting older is a beautiful thing. Here’s three ways in which I benefit:

First: In races I will be considered a “master”. A master? Little ole me? I’d blush but technically that’s a downgrade as I’ve been referring to myself as Pope Awesome the First for ten years now. I think Master falls below Pope Awesome but just above Da Bomb on the Nitmos Scale of Superiority. But being a member of this exclusive “masters” club does have some privileges. For one, we usually have our own winner separate from the overall race winner (though sometimes it is one and the same person).

In other words, while you schmo’s are out there freezing your skinned nips off watching the race champ get his prize, we Masters will be sitting in a heated bungalow, enjoying the muscle relaxing massage techniques of a Swedish immigrant, beneath velvet blankets, listening to a hippie strum his guitar with soothing strokes while wearing our personally fitted nipple warmers, as the Master champ is coronated.

At least, that’s what I think happens. I guess I’ll find out for sure in four months.

Another benefit, of course, is the age graded time adjustments. You’ve probably seen them attached to some of your race results. Supposedly age-graded results:

1) Adjust your performance to what it theoretically would have been during your
prime running years (your 20's and a portion of your 30's depending on the race

2) Judge your performance, using an achievement percentile,
without bias for gender or the aging process (in other words, you are measured
against a specific standard for your age and sex). These percentiles can
be interpreted as follows:

· Over 90% --- World Class
· Over 80% --- National Class
· Over 70% --- Regional Class
· Over 60% --- Local Class

3) Compare your performances for a specific race distance at various ages
to determine which was your "best race".

For me, this always meant that the old dude I torched in the final mile would end up getting the last laugh as the age-graded adjustment leapfrogged him above me in the final standings. I hated that and I’d always regret not taking him out – permanently – on the way by so that it wouldn’t happen. I didn’t mind it – or notice it – when my own age-graded score moved me above others…that seemed only right. But moving me down?? Not fair.

Now, I’ll be able to stroll across the finish line a few minutes after my jack-rabbit twenty-five your friends with a triumphant smile and watch their sad little crestfallen faces as, later that day, I move above them in the age-graded results table (or, as I call them, the "only results that matter"). Boo-yeah! Suck on that, youthies!

Second: Another huge benefit of joining the Masters club is that I’ll finally be able to invest in those creepy way-too-short, old man side split running shorts. You know the kind…they ride up high on the side exposing the hip bone and pale, sunless skin (as well as the sun tan line about 5 inches south). They are really…unsavory. They scare kids and pets. I believe they are considered a sex crime in about 19 states currently. I want them. I’ve been waiting to get them until I became a Master. Now, off to expose my bleached white hips and cultivate the matching tuft of grayish chest hair billowing out the top of my singlet like rotting cauliflower.

Third: Qualifying times! Case in point: I just posted that I was going to get into the lottery for the New York Marathon. A few of you wise soles, er, wisely, pointed out to me that NY does have an automatic entry qualifying standard to bypass the lottery roulette. For a 39 year guy like me, I’d have to run a sub 1:23. Sorry, I’m too old and slow to meet that requirement any time soon. I just did a sub 1:28 a few months ago and that seemed like a lot of work.

However, for a 40 year old, I only have to break 1:30. Suddenly, I’m plenty fast enough to gain auto entry. Look at that, in four short months, I go from hopelessly slow to Pope Awesome fast. Boo-yeah! Suck on that, youthies! So, I really just have to keep training steady – don’t even need to get any faster - and I’m in like Flynn.*

Screw the lottery. I’ll just turn 40 instead! New York, here I come.

So you young whippersnappers can have your “overall” champs and your flexible joints and your thigh length shorts and long life spans. I’ve got my ticket in hand for the Masters club and all the aroma of Flexall, tales of lost dreams, and side split shorts and pasty thighs as far as the (non-cataracted) eye can see. Oh, and arthritis, don’t forget about that.

Happy trails.

*It’s a historical phrase only us Masters would get.


Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! (Happy Thursday to everyone else!)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Randumbery X: May I Be Chosen By The Claw

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.

I haven’t done a Randumbery in awhile. Mainly, I didn’t receive many (re: any) emails clamoring for its return since I last did one in April. But I don’t do what you like around here; I do what I like. So here goes the usual assortment of haphazard, ill-considered topics presented to you in Pro/Con format (also in HD, depending on your monitor).

The Claw

Ever notice how good I am with photo editing? I look just like Woody in a scene from Toy Story. It’s seamless. You wouldn’t know that my work computer only has MS Paint and that I have roughly 4 minutes to complete the task. It doesn’t show.

I hope to be chosen by the NYRR “random” selection claw process for the 2011 NY Marathon.

Pro: If I’m selected, rest assured that I’ll gloat, prance around with my successful application and point & mock those not chosen.

Con: If I’m not selected, rest assured that I’ll humbly resubmit for the next year and I’ll thank you not to laugh.

The Beautiful Game

Mrs. Nitmos and I are considering signing up for a co-ed indoor soccer team to be played in a safe environment and amongst friends. We haven't played in years but how hard can it be right? Besides, it's good winter cross-training.

Con: It costs $85 per person per 8 games. That’s $170 for 8 games of 'America frowned-upon' European sporting action. We’d have to decide which child won’t go to college after all.

Pro: It’d be a one-time only deal as, once the others got a face full of my elbows and latent adolescent hostility manifesting in the form of spikes to the ACL and threats against an opponent’s “real” father (if they even know who that is, of course, and, for that matter, does your mother?), it’d be doubtful that we’d be asked back.

Torn ACL’s in t-minus 17 days…


Does anyone else refer to their home as a "lair" when speaking in public places? I highly recommend it just for the priceless looks you get from wary strangers.

Con: Your kids are humiliated and embarrassed to be seen with you.

Pro: Your kids are humiliated and embarrassed to be seen with you.

Hope everyone has a terrific weekend. Run long, run hard – that’s what I said – to make room for the turkey feast. That’s called being pro-active!

Happy trails.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Boston Ain't 'All That'

Trust me, the last thing I intended to do was add yet another unsolicited opinion about the Boston Marathon into the deep blue muddy murk of the interwebs. But the very volume of opinions compels me to…throw another one on the pile. You know, for posterity. Won’t someone think of the children?

From someone who has run Boston, let me let you in on a little secret (assuming you haven’t already run it yourself): Boston ain’t all that and a bag of potato chips. Beardsley’s lips to your ears.*

Now, before I hear the outcry, let me be very clear: It’s a perfectly nice race in a perfectly nice city with a perfectly interesting course and perfectly terrific crowd support as well as being perfectly well-organized and I had a perfectly good time experiencing it. But it’s not, like, PERFECT, you know?

I’ve held a BQ for the past four possible Boston Marathons but only exercised the option once in 2008. I’ve made no secret on this blog of the desire to return but, if you paid attention, it wasn’t because BOSTON IS THE BEST RACE EVER AND I WILL DIE IF I DON’T DO IT AGAIN. No, I’d merely like to ‘correct the record’ and exonerate my poor race time by posting a better one. In short, when someone asks if I’ve run Boston, I say yes but then cringe for the inevitable ‘what was your time?’ follow-up. See? Nothing intrinsic about the race or the city itself, I’m being purely selfish. Altruism, thy name is not Nitmos.

I get why most runners want to run Boston. It’s the Top Dog. It has the rigid qualifying standards. It has the history. Prestige, prestige, prestige. I had Boston fever and I don’t blame you one bit for a burning desire to BQ so you can go too. I’m not trying to convince you otherwise.

My thoughts on the Boston Marathon came into focus a month ago – the weekend before registration, ironically, where I had every intention of registering first thing Monday morning – while down in Detroit for a marathon team relay with some friends and Mrs. Nitmos. We were discussing running and marathons as a group and one of my friends asked me straight up, if I only had one marathon left that I could run, which would it be. The question caught me off guard. I simply never thought about it like that before. I mumbled something positive about every marathon I’ve ever run while trying to come up with an answer. One marathon to pick? I couldn’t answer because I’ve only run 8 at 6 different locations (2x Chicago, 2x Bayshore, Flying Pig/Cincinnati, Disney, Detroit, and Boston). Not much first-hand experience from which to choose. I think I ultimately settled on Chicago just because I love the city and it was the home of my first and third (and most memorable) marathons.

But the name I didn’t say surprised me. It surprised my friend too who followed up with, “Not Boston?”

I was stunned for a moment. And then the clouds parted and a light shone down on me…maybe it was one of those cartoon light bulbs coming on over my head or maybe Beardsley was sending me an illuminating lightning bolt from atop Mt. Runmore. No, not Boston! Huh, go figure, I guess I never defined what that race meant to me before.

Boston is like the popular girl in school. She’s the prom queen, the head cheerleader, and the class president all rolled into one right down to the Marilyn Monroesque beauty mark on the cheek. From a distance, it’s perfection personified. All the guys want to get with her. But maybe, one day, you do get with her. It was nice, terrific, everything you thought. You are laying there satisfied with ruffled hair and a filter less Pall Mall hanging out of your mouth looking down at Prom Queen Boston’s head on your shoulder. You know what? That "beauty mark" looks more like a flat-out mole. And is that a hair sticking out? Does she shampoo with VO5 because that hair smells like floor cleaner sprayed with Strawberry Essence? Well, it was nice…but I gotta go. And on the way out the door, you are thinking about that cute little band geek flutist named New York that shared your love of bridges during a long discussion on the bus the other day.

The point is…Boston is certainly something to strive for but don’t beat yourself up - or the race up - for not being able to register if you couldn’t get in this year. You might be missing out on the race medal and the prestige of running in an exclusive club but you are not missing out on some orgasmic race route and some unrepeatable race experience. At least, I don’t feel that way and I think most people believe my opinion is the only one that matters, right? I’ve had better crowd experiences in Chicago. I’ve had more smiles in Disney. While the turn onto Boylston St. is certainly one of my favorite race memories, the view off the bridge to Canada overlooking Detroit is, surprisingly, equally as memorable. But, admittedly, I’m not very emotional. I don’t spill tears when crossing finish lines. Those are reserved solely for the birth of children and stepping on nails.

So, enough already, with the blog posts (like this one) complaining about Boston’s charity runners and/or justifying their registration process. Blah blah blaggity blah popular girl blah Boston blah blah. I know, it’s easy for me to say, I’ve already had her. But, since I have, I can tell you that Boston is a perfectly good race…but with a hair hanging out of the mole just like many other less hyped races. In fact, the marathon right in your hometown may be just as memorable in the long run (double entendre intended) though you may not get as many high-fives from your friends when completing it.

So, if you could only run one marathon for the rest of your life, which would YOU choose?

Now, I’m off to go ask out New York. She might turn me down once…maybe twice…but I’m pretty sure she won’t say no three times.

Happy trails.

*Beardsley never said this (as far as I know). Remember: Snark makes up 80% of this blog.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To Sticker or Not To Sticker

I see the little white oval 13.1 or 26.2 (or even 70.3 and 140.6 for the tri guys) stickers on the back of cars all the time. It normally provides me just the hook I need to express some road rage. You know, something like “You can run a marathon but you just can’t seem to get through that traffic light can you asshole?!” Or, “Maybe you should spend less time running and more time learning how to drive!” I’m pleasant to be around. I like butterflies and double dip Neapolitan ice cream.

The irony, of course, is that I’m an avid runner but, when I see those stickers and I’m in a bout of head-throbbin’, artery-bustin’ road rage, the stickers provide the perfect outlet.

Besides that, they are perfectly innocent and unassuming and I don’t mind them. Look here’s one now:

It’s nice to be proud and, maybe, just a bit braggadocio about the accomplishment. There’s nothing wrong with that. Heck, it’s much better than seeing all those tobacco-stained stickers proclaiming that someone can ‘have their gun when they pry it off their cold, dead fingers!’ Or Calvin and/or Hobbes peeing on a corporate logo. (Did the cartoonist really license his product so it could be seen shooting urine onto Ford symbols all across America??)

While stuck behind a particularly vexing 26.2 stickered SUV the other day, I was thinking about what distance we seem to consider important enough to advertise on a car sticker. I’ve seen many 26.2’s and a few 13.1’s. Rarely I encounter a tri guys 70.3 or 140.6. You know what I’ve never seen? Has anyone ever had a 5k or 10k sticker?? I’m not kidding. For some – especially beginning runners – this is a daunting distance. A car sticker is a symbol recognizing your own individual achievement. Do they just not make 5k stickers? Or do folks think it’s just not impressive enough to display on the back of a car? For that matter, what is the appropriate distance to proclaim to the world through a sticky adhesive?

If you are just starting out, can you put one of these on your Volvo?

Maybe you’ve made it onto the street and want to shout to your community how far you’ve gone now:

Now you’re cookin’!

But why confine it just to running. Wouldn’t this be a top seller?

I live in a college town. I bet I could clean up with this:

And, let’s face it, this one is probably all to true for a lot of folks:

Fortunately, I don’t have any need for this sticker. But for some of you males out there, I’m sure you could use it:

For now, I’m stickerless. I don’ t have a 26.2 sticker. In fact, I don’t have any stickers…mainly because I eventually sell my used vehicles and I don’t want to have to scrape a sticker off the window to prep it. But, also, it’d be a little embarrassing to have this sticker on it when someone came to take it for a test drive:

How ‘bout you? Do you sport a running sticker? And have you noticed me in the rear view mirror using it as a weapon against you just prior to the middle finger?

Happy trails.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Hooker Layaway Plan

Note: My female readers may prefer to read "hooker" as "gigolo" in the following passages. One small way in which F.M.S. fights to end sexism.

Sometimes I feel hungry but I don’t know what I want to eat.* I’ll open the fridge and take a peek. Too many fruits and vegetables and it just doesn’t feel like a fruity/vegetable type of moment. So I’ll wander over to the pantry: crackers, cookies, and chips. No, no, and no. I’ll walk back into the living room, stare at the TV for a moment, and then walk back to the fridge and try again. Same shit. Go figure. The magical grocery fairy hadn’t come yet.** I might do this lap three or four times in a row. I just can’t make up my mind. There are plenty of choices; I just don’t want to commit to one.

This type of indecision is causing me problems with race planning. Some of you may have noticed that races – particularly half marathons and up – are selling outs months, even years, in advance. The Boston Marathon 2011 sold out in eight hours! Other races are opening registration a year in advance…and selling out within two weeks (or less). We are in the midst of the Second Great Running Boom. Race directors must feel like movie producers releasing another Twilight sequel (i.e. we don’t even have to try anymore. They’ll come anyway.)

And I can’t decide what to eat within the next ten minutes. How am I supposed to commit to a race eleven months away?

But that’s exactly what we have to do now. If you aren’t already scheduling your 2011 races, it might already be too late. Most of the spring half and full marathons are already filling up. Some fall 2011 marathons are open for registration.

There are a lot of tempting races out there but I have no idea what I might feel like at this time next year. It’s like picking out a hooker and placing her on a layaway installment plan. A year from now, you may not want that same hooker. But you’re stuck with her now. You made the commitment. You’ve paid the fee. In ten short months, what fun you’ll have! Unless, a few months from now, you prefer that hooker over there…

As an aside, I realize that the preceding paragraph may have sounded extremely sexist.*** However, you should know that I attended a small liberal arts college for two years and was one of only two men of 30 students in a History of American Women course. I’m pretty sure the other guy was just trying to get laid. I was there so that I could learn to drop some Elizabeth Cady Stanton on your asses! Suffragettes, yo!

So even though I can’t decide between a plate of nacho chips & salsa or a midget-sized Kit Kat bar, and I can’t decide if that uncomfortable lower abdomen pressure is a fart or a shit, hell, I can’t even choose between Team Edward or Team Jacob, I need to pick out my 2011 races?!

Oh, Elizabeth, why am I being put through such suffrage? Didn’t we stand shoulder-to-shoulder against such hostility so I wouldn’t have to pick out my hooker now?

That being said…here are the likely candidates. Peanut gallery, feel free to chime in if you have any strong feelings about any of these potential races. Right now, I’m just perusing the red light district doing a little window shopping. Before long, I’ll need to see the Madam.

Spring Ladies

Martian Half Marathon (April/Dearborn, MI)
Country Music Marathon (April/Nashville, TN)
Cleveland Half or Full Marathon (May/Ohio)
Bayshore Half Marathon (May/Traverse City, MI)

Fall Ladies

Chicago Marathon (October/Illinois)
Grand Rapids Marathon (October/ Michigan)
New York City Marathon (November/New York – at least, join the lottery)
Indianapolis Monumental Marathon (November/ Indiana)

There are also a few other gnarly looking hookers races I’m considering. They look questionable but….might be okay. Any other suggestions in the greater Midwest area would be appreciated.

The rest of you, start picking out your dates now! You don’t want to be left on the sideline or, worse, out with some eHarmony leftover. Elizabeth and I didn’t fight for that, yo!

And you can save your sympathetic comments towards Mrs. Nitmos. I am a keeper and she is lucky to have me.

Now, did that grocery fairy stop by yet

Happy trails.

*Not purple jelly beans. I covered that already.
**Mrs. Nitmos
***If it did, then my plan worked!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Purple Jelly Beans

I have a bowl of delicious jelly beans. I like jelly beans. They make me feel happy when I eat them. Not heroin in the eye balls happy but, you know, regular average-dude-with-too-much-credit-debt-working-a-dead-end-job happy. That is to say, sullen punctuated by brief periods of complacency. I blindly rummage through the bowl and enjoy an orange one or black one. Hell, even the pinks are okay. I’m secure enough to admit it. I won’t be composing lengthy sonnets or holding boom boxes up outside the jelly bean manufacturer’s door any time soon but I’d consider sending an inexpensive Thank You card or, at the very least, include an homage to them at the top of a blog post.

The point is I really like jelly beans. Except the purple ones. What the fuck is up with those? Seriously, talk about ruining a perfectly good assortment of jellied candy. What exactly is that flavor? Chalk? The hardened physical manifestation of the ennui of disappointed runners?

But that’s what you get with a mixed bowl: Mixed results.

And, finally, three confusing paragraphs in, we get to the point of today’s post: A review of my much ballyhooed 2010 Year of the Ass Kicker. You’ll recall that 2010 was going to be the pinnacle of my running career. I planned to stand on a mountain of defeated PR’s and pound my chest skyward in an open blasphemous, triumphant challenge to whatever spiritual being to which you subscribe. If I graphed my running speed, this would be the year at the top of the ascending line immediately before the sharp downward turn (see: economy, 2001). Starting in 2011, I planned to – get this – run FOR FUN. Crazy, I know. Maybe I had injected some of that heroin in the eyeballs when I wrote that post.

As with all things connected to F.M.S., the pomp and bluster with which it was presented did not meet the reality. In short, my 2010 Y.A.K. plans deflated like air rushing from a balloon with one of those comedic squeaky noises and ending with a flatulence-resembling rumble. Or, cue sad trombone, whatever your preferred sound effect.

The 2010 Y.A.K. had some successes...but more purple jelly beans than expected.

In summary, I had vowed to:

-Refine my training by adding a day of running each week and organizing my speed work. (Partial credit: I ran a bit more sporadically but did get some structure in my speed work.)
-Set a new marathon PR. Run more miles during training. (Partial credit: Missed my PR by 38 seconds due to poor pacing in the last 10 miles. Did run more miles though.)
-Break 18 minutes in the 5k. (No credit: Training indicated it was possible but...PURPLE BEANS!)
-Sign up for an ultra marathon. (Nope.)
-Race more. (Nope.)
-Sign up for a team relay. (Credit!)
-Don’t give in to easy excuses to miss a run. (Credit! Barely missed any scheduled runs this year so far.)
-Approach the puke threshold frequently. (Credit! This summer, I was on the edge frequently.)

My half-marathon PR and generally successful interval training were delicious orange and red jelly beans. I ran more miles this year (already!) than any previous year (mmmm, black beans.) I enjoyed Life on the Puke Threshold. But I paced too conservatively in the second half of the marathon and ended with a mouthful of purple. And those 5k’? More purple beans. More ennui.

It seems that my running this year can be summed up by continuing the tiresome analogy: In training, I enjoyed the varied jelly delights with lip smacking joy. In races, I mostly consumed purple.

If you are thinking that this sounds awfully like a year in review – in early November – you’re right. I probably won’t race again before the end of the year. My jelly beans are in the barn. And, more importantly, I beat everyone else’s yearly review before it became cliché. First! Stay tuned for my 2011 goals post which will undoubtedly be better than yours. Or, at the very least, FIRST!

Now, off to see how the purple jelly beans feel when injected directly into the eye balls. They didn’t feel too good when kicking me in the nuts.

Happy trails.

Friday, November 05, 2010


Let me fill you in on a little secret I recently learned: that “s” in Asics? It doesn’t stand for “soccer”.

I love my Asics. I’ve been running in them for years now. I think I started with the GT2090’s (was that a shoe…or just my Swiss cheese memory?) placed on my foot by a running specialty store clerk. A celestial light beamed down. Doves flew up around me in a sweeping arc. My feet were saved! I’m sure I paid too much money for them because I bought them from…a running specialty store. Since then, of course, I’ve found a source for buying the 2100 series shoes at half price (as long as you don’t mind wearing last year’s model – and you don’t get the doves and light) which is to say not from a running specialty store.

Like most, I follow the usual rules of Running Shoe Life Cycle: 1. Run for 400 or so miles. 2. Transition them to every day walking shoes. 3. Place them in a retirement home (lawn mowing shoes) and finally 4. Garbage (dog shit caked to the bottom.) This usually works quite nicely…unless you deviate from the norm.

My deviation came in the form of a request to fill-in on a friend’s co-ed soccer team. By the time I was done, my recently transitioned (stage 2 life cycle) Asics 2140’s looked like this:

I’m pretty sure that hole wasn’t there before I ass kicked all over an indoor soccer arena. The shoes have a nice breathable mesh but I don’t recall the gaping, exposed ventilation system on the outer edge. Someone’s ass must have a hunk of Asics mesh stuck up in there. Sure, it’s somewhat nice to have my little toe flopped out of the shoe like it’s lying on a sundeck while the other four toes hibernate inside. The four larger toes have long been jealous of the runt. But it does make me look like a refugee.

I guess it was worth it. We won 14-5. I scored a goal with a few assists. I scared the bejeebus out of a 55 year old woman with two knee braces by charging at her as she fumbled around with the ball at her feet, shouting “Run through the ball. RUN THROUGH THE BALL!!”, before spinning her to the ground as I hustled away with the ball the other direction.

I’m not going to go out and buy shoes to just to walk around in - that would be silly – so what do I do now? Do I make an early transition for my current running shoes (which still have 100 miles or so in them)? Do I keep on wearing them until the second toe pops out on the sun deck? Do I move the shoes into stage 3 life cycle a bit early and just walk around in sandals like I’m a Hippie?

Maybe I’ll keep them around for awhile. I may need to play soccer again. I remember leaving the field thinking that there was more ass to kick out there that I left unkicked. Until I noticed the new hole, I thought some of the opposing players were calling me an “Asshole” during the post-game handshake and I was quite pissed. But then I looked down, spotted my little toe peeking out, and realized that they must have been saying “Asicshole”. I smiled and waved, “Yes, you’re right, my Asics have a hole. Thank you.” To which, they indicated that they saw only one hole by extending one finger in the air. Helpful.

Perhaps there’s a stage 2.5 in the Running Shoe Life Cycle?

That would be the one in which 39 year olds run around in overused running shoes intimidating the Just For Fun co-ed leaguers with way too much aggression.

I can already see the new marketing campaign: Asics! Not for soccer…but they can still kick some ass! Be a real Asicshole today!

Happy trails.

I should provide an update on my filly’s travel soccer team of which, you’ll recall, I’m their Lombardi-esque coach. We did not win the league title. We finished 4-2-2 with the champ going 6-1-1. We beat and tied the champ in head-to-head action so the rest of the league didn’t hold up their end to help us out. Where was their A game when playing the eventual champs? My filly? Eight goals in 8 games. Plus, she assisted the other area travel team in three of their games and put in 3 more goals in 3 games. She does not wear Asics.

Spring, yes spring, the title will be ours!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Runners Are Better Than Charlie Sheen Because...

Runners and Charlie Sheen: Two things that go together like Henry Rollins and subtlety. Who’s to say which is better? One may tear themselves apart slowly, step by step, over 26 miles; another does it over 26 years. Opinions are like bad sitcoms; we all have one. Here’s mine.

Runners are better than Charlie Sheen because…

  1. Rarely do you get STD’s from the community race day Gatorade volunteers.

  2. Running can be a verb with positive connotations. The other can also be a verb but with less positivity . (i.e. “I took so many drugs that I rented a prostitute, trashed my hotel room, and capped the evening off with an embarrassing mug shot. In other words, I was really Sheened last night.”)

  3. If you don’t like the woman race once you’ve started, you can just hire register for a new one. (Wait, maybe that’s how running is the same as Charlie Sheen.)

  4. The only “crack” involved is the one you lube to prevent chafing.

  5. You can still set a race PR. Charlie is resigned to his lifetime 1986 PR for Platoon.

  6. Cramps may shut down your morning race. They take Charlie out for an entire week. (Or, at the very least, make him open up the Rolodex.)

  7. When you snot rocket, it doesn’t land on the back of someone’s head.

  8. Lindsay Lohan can still pull it off even with a cigarette in hand. Take that, Chuck!
  9. Your heart and lungs strengthen and expand. Liver bloating = extremely rare.

  10. When you run, you may be a role model. When you’re Charlie Sheen, you’re not.

  11. BONUS: Running enhances your body’s natural curves and streamlines your physique. Without two surgically implanted cantaloupes on your chest, Charlie’s not interested in you.

Happy trails.


I’m whiling away the days with a steady stream of 8 mile and under runs with a few intervals thrown in to keep fresh. It’s off season maintenance mode around these parts. Last night: 5 miles at 6:58 pace.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Where Did Devil's Night Go?

I hope you all had a Happy Halloween. Mine was sufficiently merry. Mrs. Nitmos and I are currently enjoying the 40% house tax on the kids’ trick-or-treat candy. The country may be a democracy but this household is crazy dictatorial with a ludicrous flat tax on Halloween goods. It would have been nice to get a few more Snickers but - bad economy and all - I understand.

Before the pirates and witches and Clintons came calling, I managed a nice five mile run through my neighborhood and another nearby. It was late Sunday morning and, as I ambled along the leaf-strewn sidewalks, I noticed something strange. Rather, I did not see something I was expecting. Where were the trees covered in toilet paper? Where were the smashed pumpkins in the middle of the road? And where oh-where were the baseball batted mail boxes and egged cars?

As the leaves crunched underfoot and the future ghouls laughed and played in their yard, I became strangely aware that petty vandalism, tears, and smashed fruit no longer play a part in the holiday.

What is wrong with these kids today?

Devil’s Night was always a much anticipated tradition when I was a kid. We liked it more than Halloween. It was our one chance in a year to get even with the neighbors we truly hated. My brothers and I would put on our navy or black colored clothing and run around the neighborhood soaping car windows so thick that they were no longer transparent, egging the house of the kid who dug up our dead cat (true story), and launching high-arching toilet paper missiles that draped over the highest branches of the neighborhood oak trees. We’d hide in ditches when the patrol car came through and try to elude the parents with flashlights (or run like hell if you were caught in their beam of light – this was some of the earliest fartleking I remember doing.) We didn’t break pumpkins or swing for the fences against the plastic mail boxes but we sure enjoyed the handiwork of those that did. We knew to put our pumpkins inside the garage on Devil’s Night. Some didn’t get the memo.

In the morning, we’d walk around the neighborhood and enjoy our – and others – devilment: Annoyed parents scraping hardened egg off their car, kids crying over their broken pumpkins, cracked windows being taped together, and one or two police reports being given with angry gesturing points in our direction.

I guess since Detroit has decided not to burn the city to the ground any longer*, the rest of the country has taken its lead.

I finished my run without sight of one act of traditional Devil’s Night tomfoolery. It seems that Halloween is a one day, stand alone event now. Instead of misdemeanor crimes and tears of sadness, it’s all about costumes, candy, and fun. How sad. Where is the counter balance to this night of joy?

For me, Halloween is about drinking too much, verbally abusing the opposing sports team on TV, and sending the kids to see mommy for their basic survival needs. And someone disconnect that goddamn doorbell!! In other words, it’s a holiday like any other.

Oh, Devil’s Night, how I miss you.

Happy trails.

*Really, what is left to burn? Torching the same burned out warehouse again is just extremely cliché