Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Food Goes in Here

Tomorrow, we celebrate Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving America! For non-Americans and native Americans, have a great Thursday! My gift to you is to present my Detroit Lions humiliating themselves before a national television audience once again. If you think you received this gift before, you’re right. It just keeps on giving…since the 1950’s!

A turkey?  A bunch of rebel fighters attacking the Death Star?  'A' for effort; 'F' for execution, kid.
I’ve been ravenously hungry lately. You’d almost think I ran a marathon. Wait, let me rephrase that: I think I almost ran a marathon.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year. It signals the point at which I throw away 11 months of vigilance over my financial budget and spend like a Michael Jackson in a creepy mannequin store.

It brings me closer to my family. Yes, closer to the people I purposely moved away from.

It brings lots of drinking which, in turn, lowers inhibitions which, in another turn, allows us all to tell each other what we really think. You know that old saying, ‘What starts with the pop of a wine cork, ends with a splash of “Shut the hell up, motherfucker!”’

And the eating? Oh, the humanity! It’s elastic-waisted wind pants season, my friends. It comes in with a turkey and leaves six weeks later amidst the confetti and empty bottles with a serving of shame and despair. The only good thing about all of this eating? The pooping. Sometimes twice a day! You can imagine all of the reading I get done too.

But we are runners and so we can run our calories away. Want that extra scoop of mashed potatoes? Run an extra mile. Want another piece of your Aunt’s pecan pie? Eat up, your shoes are right over there. Add two miles, please. There’s another old saying: “You can take what you want but you run what you eat.” It goes something like that…

In case you’ve forgotten, food goes here:

1990's goatee!  (Not me)
If you are “cat people”, for some reason, food goes here:

And if you are dog people:

Afterwards, of course, run forest run!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. For my money, I have the Lions winning tomorrow.*

We plan to celebrate a “traditional” Thanksgiving this year. Along with the turkey and squash and corn, half of us are going to get smallpox and the other half will steal our cars while we writhe around in agony.

Now, let's get our uvula massage on!

Happy gobbles.

* In Lions fan lexicon, a “win” is described as losing by less than 2 touchdowns.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Randumbery Bats Eyes at New York, Still

You come here for the snark; you stay for the soccer updates; you click away unfulfilled. Such is life on Feet Meet Street. Now you know how Mrs. Nitmos feels.

Randumbery lives! Do I need to explain this segment still after five years?? On with the shooooowwww…..

Kummerpecking Like a Motherspecker

Have you worked kummerspeck into a conversation yet? Ten points for Gryffindor if you have. I don’t need to ‘work’ kummerspecking into anything. I’ve literally been eating my grief bacon for a week now since the cancellation of the NYC Marathon. I’ve been kummerspecking the hell out of our leftover Halloween candy reservoir. And, to be honest, who’s kidding who about this “leftover candy” bin? I purposely bought way too much candy to give away full well knowing that there would be some left over. When events transpired that threatened to call my favorite candy into action Halloween night, I took control of the Front Door Sweet Dispersal Interface and reportioned our, ahem, rather generous contributions to a more modest size. Voila! My favorite candy saved just for me and my self-pity.

Is that a dickish move? I don’t care. If you want my fun-size Heath bars and giant fecal-reminiscent Tootsie Roll turds, you better not be the 17th Power Ranger I’ve seen. Or the 22nd Cinderella. Is that a magic wand or did you glue some glitter on star shaped cardboard and tape it to a pencil? #cheapskateheresabutterscotchdrop

One Bite of the Apple is Not Enough

Running a HUGE marathon is more about the event itself rather than the purity of running for running’s sake. My best race times have been at smaller races. I’ve enjoyed the sport more at those smaller events also. However, there is a tangible and invigorating energy surrounding these BIG ROCK STAR SUPER GALACTIC events that is missing at the small localized races. Though financially and logistically they are often a nightmare to deal with, I still like to experience them on occasion to take a dip in full on runner porn. Plus, let’s face it, the New York Marathon is a big “get”. Boston was a fun experience but New York was the one I was really looking forward to.

Did you know I didn’t get to run it? Did you drop out of the sky and start reading at this paragraph as that would be the only explanation?

After doing a few “laps” around Central Park that fateful Sunday, I can definitely say I’m still hungry for more. In fact, I think that only stoked my appetite. Before, I wanted to do New York. Now, I believe I NEED to do it. And I will….pending word from NYRR about how they are handling this year’s entrants. Next time, my bite of the Big Apple won’t have a worm in it.

FU Sandy.  I ran anyhow!
There can’t possibly be another inconvenient hurricane next year, can there Al?  I want to race down those streets like the winds of a....nevermind.

Oh, yeah, and rebuild Staten Island! Preferably with a heated indoor lounge able to house approximately 47,000 people once a year (or twice, pending natural disasters.)


This lady used her time NOT running New York to give the running community a good name. What a terrific ambassador(s) for the sport! Me? Too busy hobnobbing with huge international celebs here, here, here and here to be bothered.  Big gold star for her; picture with The Fonz for me.  Who won?

Mercury Up, Nipples Out

What has two nipples and ran shirtless the other day? You can’t see but my nipples are bending playfully back towards my areola as if to say “THIS GUY”. That’s right, 65 degrees in Michigan, in November! Oh yeah, I popped my top. It might be months before I get another chance. I was so excited that if Joe Francis and his Girls Gone Wild motor home been around, I might have giggled playfully, signed a release form, and stepped aboard in exchange for a t-shirt.

Soccer! Me, This Time

What has two aching hamstrings and doesn’t know its age? My spasmic hamstrings, bending like angry electrical arches, are saying “THIS GUY!” Is there anything more futile than running to near exhaustion, to a 6-6 tie in an over-30 co-ed league, against opponents of which half do not have functioning ACL’s and are forced to wear a knee brace?

It turns out, I’m much better telling my kids how to play rather than doing it myself. Speaking of which…

Soccer! The Colt and Filly, for the Final Time…This Season

Since I know you care and haven’t clicked away unfulfilled yet, here’s the final soccer update for the year. The colt’s J.V. team finished 10-2-3 allowing only 8 goals against this season to go with 10 shutouts - his stat sheet as a defender.

The filly’s team finished 5-3. As striker, she converted 16 goals in 8 games on the year (and about 6 other crossbars, ggrrrrr) and took home the team MVP trophy for her club team at the end of season banquet. The filly feels she can do better next year!?! Why do I think she’ll be complaining of sore hamstrings as a 41 year adult in a co-ed league one day? Circle of life!

That’s all...until January when it begins again. And again. And again…

Randumbery out.

Happy Seacresting.

Running isn't as popular as the NFL.  Who knew?

Thursday, November 08, 2012

NYC Marathon: The Race That Wasn't

Wherein I recap not running a marathon. In other words, a weekend like almost every other…almost.

You may have heard of the New York City Marathon. It’s a pretty big race. You may also have heard of Hurricane Sandy. It was a pretty big storm. I know you heard that they crossed paths last week.

I was all set to run this race. I’m not going to kid you….my whole year was aimed at this event almost to the exclusion of running any other races. I wasn’t in hyper-Rocky training mode or anything. I just spent time planning this race out and, frankly, barely looked at the race schedule of anything else going on. You know my kids’ soccer schedule. Who has the time? This was to be THE event of this year. And as Events go, it’s a big one with a capital E.

Then Sandy ripped through Staten Island and New Jersey. Then Sandy stopped being the name of America’s sweetheart from the 1970’s, in Grease, and became a life altering Bitch from Hell. San-dee!! (/surprisedTravoltavoice)

I’m not going to demonize, moralize or generalize about the events that transpired next. I’ll leave that to the arm-chair bloggers, couch-side psychoanalysts and knee-bending moralists. I’ll tell you what I saw and what I felt, however.

Mrs. Nitmos and I, filled with uncertainty and with mixed emotions, traveled to New York last Friday morning. We expected long lines for a cab and stand still traffic. Instead, we boarded a cab quicker than ever before and raced into midtown in record time. We expected tattered store front signs, broken windows, garbage –strewn streets, and store closings. We found none of that. Midtown was bustling with activity just as it was 2 ½ years ago when we last visited. Outside of the dangling crane, as seen on TV, two blocks from our hotel, you wouldn’t have known that a hurricane had just ripped through there. In many places there was a large amount of garbage bags piled on the curb waiting for the delayed garbage trucks.

The most painful damage was primarily in Staten Island it would seem.

Visually, in midtown, everything was basically normal. Times Square was gaudy and bright as usual. Business folks were racing about; tourists carrying arms full of bags around. However, the impression from Sandy was visible on the faces of the people. The cabbie expressed concern on a couple of occasions that he had enough gas for one more day of work and that would be it. The front desk clerk did not have power back at home. Lower Manhattan was still in the dark when we arrived. The folks that live and work there had greater concerns on their mind than greeting and serving guests and tourists (and runners). But the cabbie needed the money and was going to drive until his last drop of gas ran out. The restaurant staff wanted the tips because, on top of a hurricane, a reduction in pay was not what was needed.

And here’s where the strong emotions come in from runners, non-runners, media, Staten Island residents and everyone else that watched this play out on TV.

What to do about the New York Marathon?

I like how some members of the media (and fellow bloggers) think the answer is so very easy. For them, I’m envious. I always see complexity where others see simplicity. My decision-making thought processes take many twists, turns, lefts, rights, loops, and triple salchows before arriving at a final destination. Oh, to be a speed skater instead! Despite how I play on this blog, I often see a path to lemonade where others stop at the lemons. What to do about the New York Marathon??? Cancel it, the cry started early and persistently. Bloomberg and the NYRR resisted. CANCEL IT! The media outrage grew. Bloomberg and the NYRR resisted. For sure, canceling it was the easiest and simplest short-term solution.

I know that I felt extremely awkward about the whole thing. Mrs. Nitmos and I determined that we would donate in any way called upon: financially, physically, or otherwise. (And we did as many other runners did as well.) We knew, as we’ve known about the running community for a very long time, that runners tend to be an abnormally giving and generous group. Runners would loathe to think that they weren’t contributing to a greater good. Runners would not selfishly TAKE from a battered city without GIVING more back. I know I just generalized when I said I wouldn’t but, screw it, this is my blog.

All along on Friday we had side conversations with other marathoners. We overheard conversations on the plane, hotel, and restaurants and at the expo. Obviously, Sandy, the marathon and the future was on everyone’s mind. I did not hear one selfish comment. Like us, most runners understood right off that this was an extremely strange situation and would roll with whatever decisions had to be made. However, I heard countless stories of runners getting involved to help with the relief effort. For some, a plan was in place to take the bus or ferry to Staten Island race morning and, instead of running, peel off to do relief work for the Staten Island residents. Extra large tips, on top of general relief donations, were being handed out to workers who needed it to support their families. In short, lemonade was being made all over the city in various small ways.

There’s always a straw that breaks the back, a tipping point, a lasting indelible image that becomes irreversible to the course of events. For the marathon, it was the sight of the pasta dinner tent in Central Park and the three LARGE generators to power it (while lower Manhattan was still in the dark and Staten Island was still digging out). Like everyone, I was pretty outraged by that. How on earth did anyone think the pasta dinner should go on? I realize I’m drawing a moral line when I said I wouldn’t but, screw it, it’s my blog. A marathon is a pretty extraneous event to begin with. But it does bring money and, with it, aid and relief long-term. It does bring a volunteer group of gaunt-looking aid workers if the city had only set something organized up. Believe me, there were hundreds – thousands – of runners ready to donate time and money. EVERYONE understood that the marathon might be a bare bones operation to conserve anything that could be conserved. It would/could STILL work out to a net positive for the city.

But a pasta dinner? Even extraneous as far as extraneous things go.

Boom. CANCEL IT!!!! Everyone screamed – nay – demanded. The tipping point had occurred and cancel it Bloomberg and the NYRR did. It was hard to blame them.

I wasn’t even that upset about it because (a) I knew there were more important things going on and (b) it was obvious at that point that it was the only – and simplest – solution.

So, the race was not run. On Sunday, what would have been race day, I joined thousands of runners in Central Park as the marathoners ran “unofficial” marathons that day on the old NY marathon course (self-contained within Central Park) hoping to still collect money for charities that were counting on them (an unconsidered side effect of cancelling the race.) Would this have been an option to shrink the number of needed resources? Were other options considered (i.e. NOT starting on Staten Island) before turning away an estimated $340 million dollars that the race brings in and that, especially now, residents (wage earners) desperately need?

I don’t know the answer to it. I don’t know what was “right” in general versus what is best for the city in the short and long term. I don’t know what is right in “reality” versus “what looks good or bad on TV”. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.

I do know that New Yorkers, metaphorically, can take a punch. They've proven it many times in the recent past. The city bends like rubber but bounces back.  Myself - and the other marathoners - had shown up determined to reinforce the rubber to allow the city to snap back quicker not be the enemy jabbing them in the belly./endmixedmetaphors

Mrs. Nitmos and I were invited over to sit and chat with another marathoning couple at a restaurant Sunday night (we were both wearing our race shirts and were easily identifiable to each other). They were an older couple from Washington state and, as it turns out, were marathon race directors back home. They didn’t know what the right thing to do was either. The husband felt it should’ve gone on; his wife felt it should have been cancelled. Like me, they were constantly evaluating the positives versus the negatives and, by the way, NONE were “because I just want to have fun and run a race”. To continue the analogy, our minds were busy finding ingredients for the lemonade.*  

Or were we merely assuaging our feelings of guilt?

I’m home now and I still don’t know what the right answer is. For those of you who do, congratulations. Mrs. Nitmos and I certainly “used some resources” while there. We also left some resources behind on our way out. Lots of “resources”. From talking to hotel, restaurant, retail, and transportation staff, their weary, worried faces explained to us that, though they were still recovering from Sandy, they were more worried about the rough weeks ahead facing a reduction of cash needed to support their families. Sandy is gone; bills need to be paid tomorrow.

Is the New York Marathon so unnecessary that it could be summarily dismissed as a lemon in a time of need? Perhaps. Could it have been a net benefit to the city and region as many runners were determined that it could? Perhaps.

Or perhaps not. I don’t know. My thoughts are currently doing an axel jump. I’ll let you know when I land it and complete the routine if there’s any lemonade to be had.

Happy trails.

* It’s more than just water and lemons right? Right???

For those of you who followed me on Twitter, you’re welcome. (And those that didn’t, WTF?) I hope you enjoyed your tour of 1970’s celebrity. Just bummed that I couldn’t get Sandy Duncan's picture (assuming she’s still alive). Sandy….ugh!!!! (fist shaking)

Also, though I didn’t get to use my svelte cut and rippling abs across five Burroughs, I do start my own indoor soccer season on Friday! Think I got some pent up aggression to blast out? Yup. Beware Over-30 co-ed opponents, Nitmos is coming with sharpened spikes.

To recap my race goals for you scoring at home: I accomplished goals A, 7, and X!