Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Phantom of the 800s

The few of you that follow me on Twitter received an undetailed 140 character (or less) description of an unfortunate event at the track yesterday whilst doing some 800 meter intervals. Except, on my tweet, I didn’t use the word ‘whilst’. This is a problem I intend to correct on all future tweets whilst there is breath in my body.

The thing we all know about 800 intervals is that they can be grueling. As each one completes, you are that much closer to being done whilst also knowing that the next one will be more difficult to maintain pace than the previous. Your breathing will be more labored; your perceived effort will be higher. Real fuck with your mind shit. Do I really want to do these 800’s? Instead of six, how about five? Instead of 2:50 pace, how about 3:00 pace? Mentally, I start looking for an escape hatch to make things easier. In a way, I go through the five stages of grief during one 800 session:
  1. Denial – I’m not going to work this hard today
  2. Anger – WHY DO I HAVE TO DO THIS?
  3. Bargaining – Okay, I’ll do them but maybe only 4 intervals rather than 8.
  4. Depression – This sucks. Why does Beardsley hate me?
  5. Acceptance – Alright, I’m here. Might as well get it over with.
To distract all of these swirling emotions within, I ratchet up the ole iPod with some raucous RAWK music. Real ear bleeding stuff to get the heart pumping, legs churning, and mind fucked. I’m not a huge metalhead but I do dabble in a few headbangers to facilitate some speed work. I even had a playlist designed at one time for just such workouts. That playlist got deleted at some point during one of the never ending iTunes updates and has not been recreated. Since then, I tend to select an album or artist that I know can provide some adrenaline and hope that the record label required “power ballad” doesn’t pop up at some point.

That’s usually how I do things.

Yesterday, I decided to hit Shuffle and tempt the fate of the music overlords. Now, I know you are thinking ‘Nitmos, you are super cool and thus all of the music on your iPod would be Super Cool Approved also so what could go wrong?’ Thank you for thinking that and, largely, you are correct. However, it should be noted (as seen on my profile page), that I do hold a soft spot for garish show tunes. If you are surprised by this, you shouldn’t be. I recently used the word “garish” in a sentence. /deadgiveaway

It started out alright. My first few intervals had a nice smattering of 30 Seconds to Mars and Rage Against the Machine. I was off to a hot start. I knew I was cranking along when Linkin Park kicked in not once but back-to-back selections!! The home stretch was near.

But then some elongated silence. Did my iPod turn off? Battery drain? Seconds go by and…nothing.

Wait…not nothing. I hear something. What is that?

Nighttime sharpens
Heightens each sensation
Darkness stirs and
Wakes imagination

It started slowly, quietly and then built to a, well, sloooow show tune pace. Not something bouncy and Pirates of Penzancey. Nope, “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera instead. I’ve got 2000 songs on that iPod and THAT’S what is selected?!? Can a runner at least get some Joey Fatone up in here?

Now I’m as entangled in the torrid love triangle between Christine, Raoul and the Phantom as any normal red-blooded American. But in the middle of some 800 intervals, I care more about my own tortured soul rather than some damn fool with a half mask. But you can’t stop and change tunes in the middle of an 800 right? That’s got to be against some kind of runner code.

So, powered by the Original Cast Recording of the Phantom of the Opera, I completed my intervals. Somehow. I’m living testament that it can be done though it does not come with a recommendation.

And then Johnny Cash came on.

Clearly, I really have got to go over my iPod selections. At the very least, the lesson I learned the hard way for all of you is not to hit Shuffle whilst doing speed work. Too many things can go wrong. Anne Frank may be a Phan (or would have been, one assumes) but this runner is not. At least, not in this context.

In summary: Show tunes rule…but not during speed work.

Happy trails.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Immaculate Confection

I don’t know how it got in there – divine providence I’m guessing – but it’s there and letting me know it every step of every mile of every run.  I’m FAT right now.  Like, grossly obese stuff.  I must be a good 4-5 pounds (!!) over my normal race weight.  Look away if I repulse you.  Don’t laugh as I parade my collection of the Midwest’s finest wind pants before you each day.  Yep, I’m a wind pants guy now.  Fatties like me do what we must.  I pulled the string through them and everything.  I’m not even buying the good quality Adidas wind pants.  Instead, bulk Walmart models because what the hell.

The thing is I don’t know how it got in there.  Sure, I always put on a few pounds over the winter months – I’ve referred to it many times before as my Cheeto Layer – but I know where that fat layer came from.  See Cheeto, eat Cheeto.  See rum, drink rum.  See leftover fry wedged between the garbage can and floor baseboard, eat leftover fry wedged between the garbage can and floor baseboard.  Simple fat calorie economics.

But I don’t know where this first trimester bulge came from.

Once February rolls around, I start watching what I eat a bit more.  The holidays are over.  There’s no ready made excuse.  Speedo season approaches.  I can’t let a bulge get in the way of my bulge ifyouknowwhatImean.  Nothing takes away from the sensual delights of a male in a Speedo more than cottage cheese thighs and a donelop.*  As in “my belly just donelopped over my waist”.

I’ve been eating more fruits and vegetables.  I’ve been drinking plenty of beer but I’ve cut out (most) of the rum consumption.  Cheetos?  Not a single baked cheesy delight has passed these lips since the New Year.  No, either my system is automatically transposing the mixed vegetables into a bag of Skittles – just out of confusion due to the similar color spectrum – or something else is going on.

I think something else is going on you guys.

I’ve been blessed.  It’s an Immaculate Confection bouncing around my belly.  Except this one isn’t going to make it to the third trimester.  My recent spate of 800’s at the local track will see to that.  I don’t know that I want to go against the will of God and the gift of a tasty baked good but there are Earthly races to run.  So, my belly is on the shrink.  It’s demaculating.  I will not be birthing a sugary delight onto the world to save us from the South Beach diet.  Was Mary a distance runner?  I doubt it or things would never have gotten that far.**

I’m back in shorts; the weekly mileage is going up; the body is reshaping.  Sure, my winter Michigan Pale is still in full bloom.  Eggshell white mocks my whiteness.  But the sun will return around the time the belly leaves.  All of this according to prophecy.

Immaculate Confection or not.

Happy Nitmos 4:10.

* Well, maybe gnarly pubic hair jutted from underneath like roots and branches from the Fangorn forest.
** Come to Feet Meet Street for the sarcasm, stay for the blasphemy.

Thanks for asking, yes we have chipped away at the 49 soccer games this Spring. There are only 27 left to go!  The colt completed 6 shutouts in 8 games of his last indoor session as Left Defender of the Goal.  The filly connected on 18 goals in leading her team to a 6-1-1 record in her last indoor session.  She’s on a 4 game hat trick (or better) stretch.  Now, outside! In the rain!  State Cup games!  Junior State Cup games!  Premier games!  See you on the pitch!  I can’t stop talking in exclamation points!  Seriously!  Help! This is ridiculous! !  !