Friday, January 28, 2011

What's The Beef?

They say “you are what you eat.” I know what you are thinking and no, I don’t eat pieces of shit. I’ve never eaten “dumbass” either so you can save your derogatory comments. Remember what your mother said: “If you don’t have anything nice to say….put it on the internet for others to read instead.”

I try to eat somewhat healthy. I say ‘somewhat’ because for every grape I place on my tongue an M&M isn’t far behind. My rum is now mixed with Coke Zero instead of the unhealthy stuff, regular Coke. I’ve cut my Little Debbie snack cake consumption by 95% over the years (though my fudge stripe cookie consumption has gone up about 60% as a result).

The truth is that I do eat a lot more fruits and vegetables since I’ve started running. Mrs. Nitmos and I have cut down on the amount of red meat in our diet by substituting for turkey meat wherever we can (without sacrificing too much taste.) The only time we eat fast food is if we are traveling and simply don’t have two hands at our disposal to hold a Jared approved Subway sandwich and the steering wheel at the same time. Immediately after eating fast food….or caffeinated soda…or pizza for that matter, I start feeling a little ill. Maybe it’s because our diet has changed enough where it is rejecting high sodium, high fatty foods. Or maybe we are just getting older? (I have started to notice that the Top 40 charts these days are loaded with singers/groups I’ve never heard of before. What is a "Nicki Minaj"?)

Our greatest beef-turkey transition success story has been to turkey tacos. Yum. In fact, there is only one place on earth where I’ll eat a taco, other than my home, and it’s a little mom-and-pop joint up in my hometown that serves the freshest tacos on the planet. Crispy shells. Fresh, nicely textured meat. Delicious cheese. That’s how tacos are supposed to be done!

And then there’s Taco Bell, which is #2 on my list of least favorite fast food joints (#1 is KFC for reasons I won’t go into here.) Mrs. Nitmos and I simply will not go in this place. I don’t care what this guy says, it’s disgusting. I’ve been on record for over 15 years now stating that taco meat should not be able to be applied to a shell using a butter knife. What exactly is that meat-like paste? And what the hell is a “chalupa”? Ask any person of Mexican heritage if their grandmother ever made chalupas back in the old country and watch their face crinkle into a sarcastic frown.

Which is why I find the current Taco Bell beef lawsuit kerfuffle hilarious. It encapsulates everything I’ve thought about the place: It’s serving a meat paste that’s nowhere near being real meat.

Now, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. The contention is that Taco Bell’s meat only actually contains about 36% beef. The rest is a list of ingredients that together lock arms to form a FrankenTaco. Rise. Riiiisssse. If anyone finds this shocking, I’d be…shocked. You don’t go to a fast food place expecting fresh, real food right? Hell, if a cow even mooed in the general direction of my McDonald’s hamburger, I’d be pretty happy.

At first glance, you think “lawsuit, yeah, some fatty wants to sue for millions over an ingredient listing technicality because their ass is 17 chalupas wide.” Well, apparently, the group doing the suing isn’t asking for ANY money. (They must not be Americans.) They just want the label to correctly identify the “beef” as “taco meat filling”, which it legally is, instead.

But here’s where it gets even funnier: In order to be classified as “taco meat filling”, the USDA requires a minimum of 40% fresh meat. Taco Bell’s “beef” isn’t even riiiisssiing to that level apparently. They still need to add another scoop of cow taint just to get it up to “meat like paste” standards. Mix, stir, zap with lightning, your order is ready.

New campaign: "Ain't it better with less taint?!"

One fast food company famously challenged the others with their “Where’s the beef?” advertising campaign. Turns out, the question we should have been asking them is “What’s the beef?”

Happy trails.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Die Hardish

I like to think of myself as a DIEHARD when it comes to running. I brave the cold, wind, sleet, rain, and rotting, ditch-strewn animal carcasses. I’ve run in sub-zero temperatures. I’ve gone on a suicidal 95 degree 18 miler. I’ve raced an approaching tornado home.* I’ve taken a huge dump next to the local high school football stadium because I had to and, dammit, that’s what a runner does. In short, the weather (or bowels) doesn’t stop me. I’m like a postal worker, I guess, but less angry and without a firearms permit.

I only missed 2-3 scheduled runs all of last year. I thought that was pretty good so, to celebrate, I’ve gone ahead and missed two this January already!

I’ll run in any weather but, you know what, that looks awfully cold out there. While I was drinking my fresh, hot coffee and gazing out at the quiet majesty of a winter’s morn recently, I saw a squirrel pop out of a hole, scamper over to another hole clenching a sharp stick in its teeth, disappear inside, and emerge a few moments later with the skin of another squirrel that he then wrapped around himself and tied underneath the neck before heading home to his hole discarding the bloody stick on the way. If I could read a squirrels thoughts – and who can’t, really – it seemed to be saying ‘Fuck, it’s cold out’ or ‘Who’s the bitch now, Mr. Nutty?!’ I couldn’t tell for sure.

While in the past I’ve definitely been DIEHARD. I would say, so far this year, I’ve been Die Hardish. After bitching and moaning for a half hour, I usually lace up and still go out. One of the two runs I missed was not because I wanted to but because we had other plans that interfered. As usual, once you actually get out in the cold it’s really not so bad. It’s the ‘getting out’ part that’s the hardest.

I always feel like I sprout a few more chest hairs whenever I return from a particularly frozen run. My voice drops an octave. Hell, my testicles droop a little more (that’s good right?)

For the first time in four years, I’m not running a spring marathon so I've had the luxury to take January a bit easish. I have a half marathon in May . I don’t need to kill myself with winter LONGRUNS. I’ve been content with winter longish runs. Maybe that’s wimpish. I’m sure I’ll hear about it from you January DIEHARDs and I don’t really careish.

I’ve capped my long runs in the 7-8 mile range. Sure, that’s not the same as taking a John McClane leap off an exploding rooftop with nothing but a fire hose to keep you alive (t.w.s.s.). It’s more like riding in a fast moving elevator without handrails. It’s not DIEHARD but Die Hardish?

I’m comfortable with that. Just like I’m comfortable with the fact that one of you is going to call me Steel Magnoliasish in the comments.

Happy trails.

*Contents of this post may be slightly exaggerated.


FYI: My photo editting skills, while not great, are certainly improving, no? The necks almost align in each picture!

Friday, January 21, 2011

I'll Show You Mine; You Show Me Yours

Let’s face it, here in the frigid Midwest this time of year it is hard to come up with blog post topics. Not much exciting going on in the land of the dead. Running is in maintenance mode. The only races around are those that start with “Frozen” or “Snow” or “Igloo” or “Don’t Blame Me You Chose To Live Here”, etc. So I thought I’d go all MTV Cribs on you and show you around my place. Well, specifically, my work space. You know, “where all the magic happens”.

I know you probably thought that my work space is a fantastic giant trampoline in which I repeatedly try to back flip myself onto one of my pet unicorns, based on all of the wonderful, thought-provoking, offbeat topics I’ve provided for you over the years. Close. Instead, as you can see below, it’s a $30 clearance desk from Office Max. The desk has one of those roll out trays for the keyboard that I have to keep jamming back onto the track due to the weight of my apparently humongous wrists pulling it out too far. A roll out tray that cannot sustain the weight of a gaunt runner’s wrist? I see why it was in the clearance section.

You’ll note the requisite Runner’s World calendar. You’ll also note that I’m downstairs in the basement. No trampoline. No unicorns. Just a few spider webs, the clicking of the furnace, me, and a disgruntled llama (not pictured).

What you can’t see is the pile to the left of my desk of chewed fingernails, dried boogers, and lost ambition along with the vapor of Farts Past hovering in the air. The fingernails and boogers are swept up each week with the vacuum. The lost ambition is a bit more clingy.

I have two monitors. Me and my clearance desk are rich that way. You could say that I could multi-task by exploring two of your terrific blog sites at a time. You know, getting more done…reading more posts. You could say that but you’d be wrong. I have much better things to do than put up TWO blogs on a screen at a time. No, the left screen is reserved for my porn* (not pictured). The right screen is where you prattle away about something or other.

You’ll also notice that, behind my larger monitor is an In/Out box (t.w.s.s.) See:

Why do I have an In/Out box when I work from home through a largely paperless company? Basically, it’s a place to put my kids’ pictures when they come bounding down the stairs.

“Dad, look what I made for you.”
“That’s great honey but you can see Daddy’s having his Porn Time. Put it in the Inbox and I’ll review it later.”

It’s been five months. Haven’t gotten to it yet.

And, finally, on my desk you see a coffee cup from a local race. It’s their “prize” for finishing in the top 5 of your age group. It’s a prize in the same way that winning The Bachelor is a prize: You don’t really want to but, since everyone is watching, you feel you have to take it. I have a bunch of these mugs. I’ve donated a few of them to the local homeless shelter. If you walk these streets, you might find a few of Michigan’s capital city’s homeless sleeping on cardboard boxes and drinking their own hobo urine from one of these mugs. It’s the least I could do. Literally. Philanthropy!

Oh, and if I look far over my left shoulder, here’s my lazy dog. She sleeps quietly there six hours a day EXCEPT the moment I call into a teleconference, in which case, she finds something urgent to bark about. Maybe the llama is spitting at her?

She doesn't have a liver condition. She's not really jaundice. My camera battery is failing.

Now that I’ve shown you mine, perhaps you’d like to show me yours? Consider this a gift. You didn’t really know what to post about anyhow, did you? I’ve just given you a topic for free. You’re welcome, internets.

If I see a photo of your blog work space online that I find interesting (based on my own unknown criteria but it wouldn’t hurt to include a midget), perhaps I’ll send you one of those fancy race coffee mugs like you see on my desk. I have others in the kitchen cabinet. Unused. And no, before you ask, hobo piss not included. You’ll have to supply your own.

Now get clicking.

Happy trails.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When She Begins

Have you ever been nearly killed by your running music? I’m not talking about getting run over by a car because you were jamming the Black Eyed Peas too loud when you realized ‘Imma BeCRUSHED BY A CAR!!’ No, I’m talking about your favorite music suddenly becoming animated and actually attacking you.

It happened to me. My all-time favorite running song once jumped off the shelf and attempted to cave in my skull mid-chorus. But that was almost 18 years ago before I was a runner….

(queue flashback wavy lines on your monitor, doo do do doo do do /flashback wavy lines)

In the winter of 1993, I was doing what all college kids were doing: walking around with an air of undeserved superiority, critiquing Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment by mockingly detailing the stooge’s plot holes while vowing to do better myself, wondering how long the University of Michigan basketball’s era of dominance would continue*, and smoking far too many cigarettes. Kurt Cobain was going to be our generations John Lennon unless some crazy nut took a shotgun and blasted him in the head.

Oh, and drinking, can’t forget about that. Not “hydrating” – drinking. Back then, a liver could live forever. Or so we thought. Thanks a lot David Crosby.

A typical afternoon involved completing course work and/or reading in our disgustingly filthy living room, plants hanging above with dead brown leaves pathetically draped over the side because everyone was too lazy to water the damn things, while flicking cigarette ashes into the emptied 40 ounce bottle of Mickey’s Malt Liquor** on the coffee table. When the bottle became half full with butts, it was time to be thrown away. It was thrown away daily.

After an early dinner, a smoky stroll to the corner liquor store set up our evening. Gut wrenchingly bad beer, loud music, and more cigarettes. Annnnd repeat across four years.

There was a lot of music we’d listen to back then but few have stood the test of time and made it onto my current iPod. Hüsker Dü, The Replacements, The Pixies: Great bands but not currently shuffling to the top of my run music. One group still is however. And one song heads the list.

Social Distortion, baby!

“When She Begins” is a kick ass song and my favorite running song. Back in college (remember, we are still in flashback mode), my roommate and I had decided that if we were being pursued by the cops in a manic car chase (for some reason, this seemed plausible at the time), one of us would need to locate this disc, pop it in the car stereo, and crank the volume. If we were going down, it would only be to the soundtrack of Mike Ness’ croaky vocals and thumping punk rockabilly beats. No Thelma and Louise “Ballad of Lucy Jordan” for us.

Fortunately, it never came to that. However, we did blast this song on numerous occasions in our living room over horrible beer, lung-destroying Camels, and lots of sardonic laughter. The over-sized 40 inch tall, 80 pound speakers were balanced on a shelf over the armchair with the best view of the entire room. Despite how sure of ourselves that Dostoevsky fucked up Crime and Punishment, no one bothered to measure the shelf depth (8 inches) against the speaker depth (15 inches) let alone give the smoke choking plants a squirt of water for chrissakes.

I remember “When She Begins” thumping away – each thump gently rocking the giant speaker imperceptibly closer to the shelf edge – as I leaned forward to ash my cancer stick into the Mickey’s bottle. Just at that moment, the song launched its attack. It kamikazed off the shelf as Mike Ness yelled “oh, God, this must be hell”, nearly missing my exposed skull by a matter of a second or two. It smashed into the back of the chair and rolled into my back as I looked with wide-eyed astonishment at my roommates. Had I been still sitting back, ole Nitmos here would have had a dented head and possibly a vertebrae or two shifted out of alignment.

I love that song but it tried to kill me.

Of course, I did what any normal college student would do in that situation. I clenched the cigarette in my teeth, grunted the speaker back into position on the shelf, propped the front up with a notebook so it wouldn’t fall forward again, and restarted the song from the beginning. And what was I saying about Dostoevsky being stupid?

(queue flashback wavy lines on your monitor, doo do do doo do do /flashback wavy lines)

Now as a non-smoking, non-Mickey-drinking, non-plant-water-depriving, Dostoevsky lover, when that song comes on, I always run as fast as I can at that moment in my run. We’ve formed a peaceful truce. There are no speakers hanging over head ready to bounce into my neck…though, come to think of it, I’ve almost run into an intersection a few times...Hmmm.

“…if you start me, start me, start me, you can’t stop me, stop me, stop me…”

Do YOU have a favorite “Go To” running song? And has it tried to murder you?

Happy trails.

*Answer: It was already over. You remember the Fab Five, right? Most people don’t realize that only one of the players took cash but all of their reputations were destroyed.
** Three Mickey 40’s for $5 at the local store. None of us had jobs.

I recommend running to Social D’s The Story of My Life too. Also, It hasn’t attacked me. Yet.

And, yes, I did title another post, that you long time readers may recall, with a twist on a Social Distortion album name. Sue me. It won't be the last time either.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Do You Support Your Local Running Store?

I have one of those little niggling voices in the back of my head that pop up whenever I leave my local running specialty store empty-handed. I browse but usually don’t make a purchase because, as often happens, the specialty store is overpriced compared to other places where I can get the same – or similar - product at a 20-40% cheaper price. The niggling voice sneers, “Nitmos, you should support this store because it sponsors many local races, puts on free events for your kids, and does much to promote the sport you love. If you don’t support it, it will go away as will other things you like you cheap sonofabitch.” I know this to be true because I like boobs, never bought anything at a boob store, and now there are no more boob stores around.

My little niggling voice speaks with the same derisive sarcasm with which I blog. Go figure.

My filly’s soccer team’s parents had bestowed upon me a gift card to this local specialty shop as a gesture of appreciation for volunteering to scream at coach their kids this past fall. They probably felt that I’d get some use out of it. I don’t know what tipped them off that I like to run….perhaps the fact that I wear a race shirt to every practice and game? (Sorry, I have nothing else in my closet except funeral/wedding clothes, neither of which is moisture-wicking.)

After my lunch hour 6 miler yesterday, I headed to the local running shop to hit Day One of their BIG-BLOWOUT, SUPER-EXTRAVAGANZA SEMI-ANNUAL SIDEWALK SALE. It was chaos. Cars parked everywhere. I had to stash my vehicle a ¼ mile away. I might like to run 26 miles but I sure don’t like walking a quarter mile. A half hour later, I heard that same sneering internal voice as I again headed out the door with nothing in hand but my well-ingrained sense of financial responsibility, metaphorically speaking.

I browsed. I elbowed. I price checked. The nice thing about shopping at a running store is that, if things get physically confrontational over a pair of sale-priced compression shorts and a fight breaks out, if you’ve had a hamburger within the last week you’ll probably win the brawl.* Eventually.**

So here I was with a gift card burning a hole in my pocket searching through piles of sale-priced shoes, jackets, shirts, hats, gloves, etc. Things were definitely cheaper than what they normally sell at in this store. But here’s the rub: They were still more expensive than what I could pay for the same item elsewhere. Case in point: My Asics shoes. I need shoes. I would have bought shoes at a SUPER AWESOME, HEAD EXPLODING DEAL price. The tag said they are normally $100 but marked down to $75 for this sale!! Okay….cheaper…but I normally only pay $60 for these same shoes. All they did was reduce the amount of mark-up compared to my ‘go to’ store. They were treating me like an aging prostitute. I was just being screwed less.

Even though I wasn’t even going to have to pay for the shoes thanks to the gift card, I still couldn’t pull the trigger. It felt like wasting a gift card. I didn’t let loose all that rage on impressionable children, twice a week during practice and once on the weekend game, just to get chiseled out of $15!***

I try to buy there when the price difference is within reason. All my Gu comes from their little corner of nutrition. I might buy a pair of shorts…maybe some socks. I run a few of their sponsored races each year. Heck, I even smile and wave when I cross one of their employees on the running trails – something I don’t normally do for the commoners.

So the little niggling voice can shut up.

I support the local running store. I’m with them in spirit. They get first crack at selling me something I need, and I even look at them suggestively when driving by on my way to a cheaper store. In other words, my support ends at a 10% mark-up. Max.

Happy trails.

*Yes, that was a gaunt runner (i.e. “runner chic”) joke.
** Followed by an endurance joke.
***Don’t judge. You know you get your toilet paper from WalMart too.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Preening Glory Seeker Blows Marathon

Despite what you think based on the title, this post isn’t about me. And for my new Eastern European audience that will spike my page hits due to the misleading title, I will break the news right up front: There is no porn within. You are welcome to stay if you want. Hell, go ahead and do a site search on “fruit” and “anus” or “Hello Kitty” and “nipples” and see what you come up with.

While it’s true that I haven’t yet found a mirror that didn’t have an extraordinarily rugged and handsome man staring back at me (wink wink love ya’ Mirror Me), I can say that I never lost a race to satisfy my vainglorious tendencies.*

This guy did.

Oh, Terada! I know you just pulled into first with a bold late race surge. You looked unbeatable! While it’s true that maybe you couldn’t determine where the finish line was because the big white banner didn’t say “FINISH ” but, instead, had a collection of hieroglyphics more appropriate for an Indiana Jones movie. (It doesn’t take that many symbols to say ‘Finish’ does it?) Why, oh why, did you follow the camera truck? The overly verbose white banner, frantically waving cops, and screaming throngs of spectators still weren’t enough to convince you to give up the front row directly behind the TV film crew?

After Terada takes a wrong turn and realizes there is no more Face Time to be had with the slowing camera truck, he quickly corrects course and heads to the finish where, no doubt, he expects to find more cameras. Notice the second place runner in green laughing hysterically at the poor fellow all the way across the finish line.

After finishing, Terada’s support crew quickly wraps him in a towel, smiles playfully for the camera, and proceeds to drag him away to a van where he’ll be beaten within an inch of his life.

The 4th place runner collapses to the ground in humiliation when he realizes that he just got beat by “Right Turn” Terada in the final 200 feet. I’ve seen Shōgun. I know what happens next.

And what is the deal with those guys in the white lab coats standing in the middle of the street where Terada took his wrong turn? Odd place to collect bio samples, fellas. Maybe Terada has a little something to hide? Maybe the support crew hustling him away was not so much of a kidnapping but more of a DNA getaway?

I felt bad for the guy until I realized that this wasn’t a full marathon. He was part of a relay. Who thinks his fellow relayers may want to have a word? I think there’s an opening on the Kokugakuin University relay team anchor leg if someone is interested.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has an impeccable sense of direction and timing?”

Not you Terada.

Happy trails.

*Oh sure, I’ve missed the start of many races because I just couldn’t pull myself away from Mirror Me. And, okay, so it’s also true that I’ve never been in a position to win a race either. But I’m betting that you don’t read footnotes.

I want to thank Eat, Run, Have Fun! blogspot for bestowing something called the “Stylish Blogger Award” on this little site right here. I'm the only one on the entire internet that got this right? I’m not sure Feet Meet Street and “style” belong together but whatev. Thanks!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Suburban Freak-Out

Even though the holidays are well past now, the stress of it all still has its evil, bony fingers wrapped around my chest cavity. Things came to a head today like a 14 year old’s chin pimple.

Besides the normal hustle and bustle of the shopping season, the sticker shock of Christmas expenditures, and the simple fact that the kids are home from school ALL DAY, EVERY DAY for TWO WEEKS arguing, fondling my remote control and leaving small piles of snack residue on every table top space available (all occurring with a Hannah Montana soundtrack behind it), everything - and I mean EVERYTHING – in my house has needed repair.

A brief list:
- The cable went out.
- The local phone service became loaded with static.
- Laptops needed to be set up.
- Laptops needed to network to printer.
- Netbooks needed fancy reconfiguring to play kid games due to screen size/resolution.
- Loft beds needed assembling. Instructions inadequate.
- Dressers needed assembling. Instructions inadequate.
- The stove doesn’t work correctly.
- The garage door froze shut.
- The modem failed.
- The kitchen faucet seal is leaking.
- The light pull cord for the basement laundry room snapped off the chain.
- My son’s desk chair screw is stripped.

The list goes on and on and on. I blacked out at one point and couldn’t recall what exactly I was repairing anymore. When I came to, I had a tire iron and was whacking the side of the washing machine. One or more of these things would happen every single day during winter break. They’d go off like a timed bomb set to the exact moment I would sit down to watch Cougar Town football. I’m no Mr. Handyman. In fact, “fixing things” is right up there on my list of least favorite activities right next to “watching another Godforsaken Twilight movie”. But I’d lug out the toolbox and hammer or screw or drill as necessary before finally freaking out, yelling obscenities, and smacking the broken object repeatedly with a wrench until it started working again. It really is amazing how often that actually works.

The kids are back in school but things haven’t stopped breaking. On my way to drop my filly off at school the other morning, the car door latch was frozen open so the door wouldn’t latch the door shut. I toyed with the idea of having her hold the door closed and driving anyways but the judge’s “one more chance, Mr. Nitmos” warning kept ringing in my head. Better not. Fortunately, we live ½ mile from school so we walked/ran up the road to make it. The latch unfroze later that day.

This morning, I felt the cold, deathly fingers pump again constricting my heart and causing temporary shortness of breath as I turned on my windshield wipers – and ripped half the rubber off one arm that had become frozen to the window.


I took a deep breath, gritted my teeth and tried to look calm and pleasant as my filly, backpack attached, looked at me through the windshield on her way to the car. No sense upsetting the kid even if I did feel like ripping the wiper arm off the car, dousing it with gasoline and burning it in effigy on my driveway.

There was a brief moment in which I considered pointing her to the OTHER door so that we wouldn’t have the whole 'latch fiasco' again this morning. But it wasn’t as cold as the other day and the problem never recurred after that so, what could be the problem right?

“Dad, my door won’t shut.”

"FUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!" I screamed.

Three weeks up pent up stress come out in one basketball sized profanity-laced explosion that bounced around the car, through my filly's ears, and out the partially opened, unlatched back door. SWISS! I freaked out. I super-freaked out. Rick James has nothing on me. I jumped out of my seat, grabbed the outside of the door, and slammed it repeatedly harder and HARDER and HARDER until I thought I’d cave in the side of the car. I’m pretty sure it went up on two wheels at one point. A steady stream of cars with school bound children was parading by my home as this wild man hurled this metal door against the car repeatedly with a crazed look.

You know what? The door finally latched. We drove to school without further incident. I went on with my morning in my nice quiet house with a warm cup of coffee. I’m relieved. I do not feel the hand of death squeezing my lungs. Now, as it is my nature, I’m attempting to reconcile how I can use that explosive anger to decrease my race times. There’s a lesson there somewhere. How can I harness that primal anger? Perhaps a nice freak out every now and then is good for the soul. It's cleansing.

Meanwhile, I’m quite sure my filly will have a few choice words to say today when the orange glue tip doesn’t uncork in art class. She’s an impressionable gal.

I await your call Mr. Principal. Meanwhile, why won’t the garage door go down…..??

Happy trails.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Candy Cane Denouement

Yesterday I ended my self-imposed year-end hiatus from health.

It’s a new year. The holidays are over. Cue the sad trombone. It was time to hang up deadly sins sloth and gluttony and replace them with the more comfortable fitting pride and anger (with a little lust thrown in for good measure – brace yourself Mrs. Nitmos). I wear these well the whole year. My garage is loaded with wine bottles, beer bottles, rum bottles, empty packets of sugar cookies, and the rudimentary beginning of a small – admittedly rustic – meth lab that I never got around to finishing. C’est la vie. Now anger will have to kick around out in the 25 degree temperature for a half hour to get all the seasonal gluttony into a half dozen trash bags.

It’s about time anyhow. I’ve gained 5 pounds. My normal POW level gauntness (or “runner chic”) has given way to a more rounded – some say “healthier” – fuller cheeked pudginess that makes grandmothers swoon with pinching fingers at the ready during strolls through the local mall. I knew I was in trouble when I tried to snort the buttons off the gingerbread man’s belly. I won’t say what I did with the frosted snowman cookies but, suffice to say, it was…unnatural. And I don’t recommend sleeping naked on a pile of Christmas goodies as I did at the height of my gluttonous sloth. (Candy canes should most definitely not go there.)

I did what any runner does to break out of an unhealthy shame/candy cane anal probing cycle: I went for a run. That’s not to say that I didn’t run at all over the last few weeks. I got a steady stream of 5 milers in…just long enough to provide cover for the orgy of sugar and booze that would follow. But this run felt different. This run was the start of the new year…getting back to normal…reversing the downward trend…retracting broken chunks of the hooked peppermint striped curve of a shattered cane, metaphorically speaking. In other words, this was the beginning of something rather than the end.

I don’t know what 2011 has in store for me but I look forward to the ride. Maybe a new half marathon PR? Finally break 18 minutes in the 5k? (That would be really nice.) Perhaps a new marathon PR including the requisite BQ that I’ll opt not to cash in again? Who knows? Whatever happens, I’d like to make running less of a job this year. I’d like to be less this guy:
And more this guy:

What has two thumbs but no hands on the steering wheel?

2010 may have ended with a peppermint stick prison rape but, in 2011, I hold the shank.

It’s a new year…and a new me. My training log is empty but anxious. My race calendar is filling up. Feet Meet Street will (eventually) have a new look, a new vibe, and a new tone. Well, except for the pride, anger, lust, juvenile tomfoolery and random candy canaling. That’ll pretty much be business as usual.

Happy trails.