Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 90 - Three Months

Hey gang.

See that image over there? No, other there ----->

That's a screen shot from my running log. Days in gray are run days.

All gray, baby...

Three months in, and feeling groovy.

So groovy, in fact, that I'm taking the short cut on the ol' blog today tonight. Rather than blah blah blah-ing the evening away waxing all poetic about what I've learned about myself and the lessons I've learned and the critters I've evicted, I'm going to sit on the couch with the girlfriend and enjoy a goblet of vino.

We'll toast 90 days of running, 90 days of adventure, and 89 blog posts considerably more thought-out than this one.

Good running,

Numbers: 3.2 miles in sun and 80F. Summer, sans bugs. Dig it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 89 - How I'd do the Final Four

For those who don't follow college basketball, I'm with ya. Most of the time.

This year the Final Four is in Indianapolis.

Oh, and Butler is playing.

That's a huge deal around here. Butler's never been to the Final Four, they're smallish and scrappy and they play great defense. They're the kind of team basketball people in Indiana think about, at night, in the dark, alone.

I've been to the Final Four, final game. Went the last time it was in Indy. It was dead. No atmosphere. No excitement, aside from the small student sections.

I can tell you that of the 70,000 fans that will pack Lucas Oil Stadium, damn few will care who wins. The place will be packed with people who are there to be seen, to text/Facebook/Twitter "I'm at the Final Four! LOL!!", to buy a T-shirt.

The big suck is that there are a lot of Butler students who can't go to the game. There are only so many student tickets.

That's a shame.

"Things that'll never happen in a million years even though they are great ideas for $1000, Alex."

Here's how I'd do it.

Go ahead and fill Lucas Oil Stadium with the hoity and the toity. Put the game on the big screens. Sell lots of beer and T-shirts. Many of those folks won't know the difference.

Give the game back to the students.

Move the actual final game, in which Butler will surely be playing, to Hinkle Fieldhouse, one of the greatest basketball venues on the planet. Let in students from the two schools, players, cheerleaders, parents of players, coaches wives, TV folks, print reporters (both of them), John Wooden, and that's it.

I guarantee the fieldhouse would be insane. The players would feed off of the fans. The fans would feed off of the players. It would be incredible.

Never happen. Instead, you'll have sales guys who expensed 2 tickets for a couple grand each, buying beers for their latest or next big customer, showing up just before tip-off, checking their Blackberries throughout the game, and leaving early to beat the traffic.

Huh? Right, running blog...

The tide has turned in the Squirrel War. Apparently they sent a scout to look for "Scratchy".

Now he's with his buddy in the woods. Of course, they out number me now. Didn't think of that.

Good running,

Numbers: 2.1 miles on soggy grass. Beautiful day to be nursing a tender achilles.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 88 - Squirrel

My intention today was to write about my group run at lunch. The usual crew, but Monday's hold the promise of stories of weekend misadventures or house projects gone awry.

Unfortunately, this run... all of it... was dominated by topics that I can't type in mixed company. How we got from a simple conversation about handling a natural urge that hits every runner sooner or later, to discussing what has to be one of the most disgusting videos of all time (which thankfully I haven't seen), I don't understand. And I was there. Trust me, you don't want to know. It was one of my fastest runs of the year, mostly because I wanted it to end as quickly as possible.

Instead, we're going to talk about squirrels. Specifically, my squirrels.

I don't own the squirrels. They aren't pets. They do live on my property. And we are at war.

I should mention that I live in an established (old) neighborhood with lots of trees. I love the trees. They keep my house remarkably cool in the summer. I tolerate the leaves in the fall. In the winter, I cross my cold fingers that a limb won't succumb to the weight of the snow and ice and amputate my family room.

Trees, and wooded areas in general, mean animals. Mammals. Rodent mammals. It's the price we pay.

It started the first week I moved into my house. The former owners had a squirrel feeder nailed to a tree. One of these classy numbers.
Look! He's sittin' in the little chair! Isn't that precious?!? Uhg.

I thought for a few minutes about lowering it, turning it into a dog feeder. The budding Buddhist in me won out and I chucked it.

A few days later, walnuts began falling. Falling really close to where I was in the yard. Nowhere else. Just around me. I took these as warning shots.

The next Christmas I retrieved my (fake) Christmas tree from the shed. Unpacking it for assembly I noticed a wad of shredded newspaper and leaves and twigs. One of the little buggers had made the tree its winter villa.

Ever tried to wash a fake Christmas tree?

Last fall I heard the unmistakable sound of walnuts rolling. The sound was coming from the roof. I wish. It was the ceiling. Somehow the furry terrorist had made his way into the house.

After a few days of scouting, I found the hole he'd made for himself hidden cleverly between the gutters and the shingles. Out of sight unless you were on a ladder, looking for such a hole.

Here's what we call a "learning opportunity." If you find yourself harboring a squirrel against your will, and should you find a hole through which the furry little squatter makes his entry, you might want to make sure the squirrel is outside - this is important - outside the house when you repair the hole.

In most cases, the varmint will die. My critter must have stashed enough walnuts to get him through the winter.  He seemed to be having a wonderful winter vacation in my attic.

He even tried to make friends. One afternoon the boys were upstairs playing in their room. To their surprise, and that word is a woeful understatement, they found a walnut on the oldest boy's pillow. A gift. Or maybe a threat.

Traumatic as this was for the boys, this was a valuable piece of intelligence. The squirrel liked the boy's room.

Traps were set. Humane traps. I'm not cruel. I had a small trap left over from the chipmunk war of '08. I added to the arsenal a larger trap, just in case this was a big squirrel.

Weeks of bait testing and cage placement almost paid off. Yesterday the small trap was sprung, but I'd neglected to put the locks in place. The slippery game had escaped half a second after he was trapped.

This morning, it was my turn.

He got greedy. He got caught.

Still in bed, I heard the trap spring shut. Then the clawing and chewing at the cage. Sounds of victory.

I call him "Scratchy"

Retrieving the cage, the invader went spastic. The clawing and chewing and pacing were frantic.

When I placed the cage in the trunk, he went silent. Can't blame him I guess. If you trap me and put me in a trunk, I'd shut-up, too.

I released the prisoner to the woods by my office - a good 9 miles, a several heavily trafficked roads, from my attic.

After watching him scurry off to the woods, I realized that these are the same woods that I run in.

I hope he doesn't hold a grudge. And own power tools. Otherwise, one day out on a trail run I might find myself in a big trap, baited with a plate of french fries.

Good running,

Numbers: 4.3 miles, good pace. Bad topics of conversation. Reminded me why I run alone most days.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 87 - Movie Theater Advice

I've got some unsolicited advice for my local movie theater:

1) On a rainy, cold, gross Sunday afternoon, you might want to open a couple extra ticket windows.

When the boys and I walked up to the door, the automated ticket ATM jobber was out of ticket printing paper. 

The line for human-distributed tickets was insane. It wrapped completely through the turnstile maze and into the overflow area, and our movie started 5 minutes ago.

I scanned the parent's near the front of the line. They all were dead in the eyes, all hope drained. One mouthed to me, with fear in his eyes "Run... run while you can... tell others what you've seen here...", then he looked up at the security camera, and quickly cast his eyes back to the ground before mumbling "Four please for Alice in Wonderland, one adult, 3 children."

I did find one ticket machine that was working, and it had 4 people in line. Have you ever seen a line behind a movie ticket machine? Me either. Why this one? Because the user interface on this thing is- I don't like to use this word, but in this case I have to - the UI is retarded. I watched one guy swipe his credit card 5 times on the wrong screen. I walked up to him and as politely as I could suggested he hit the "Pay Now" button, then swipe. The next person in line? She did the same thing!!! Ok, maybe it's the people in Westfield, but if they're going to put a machine out there, they need to plan for the  IQ challenged.

2) On a rainy, cold, gross Sunday afternoon, you might want to open up more than a couple registers at the snack bar.

The short trip to the theater consisted of exactly one conversation: How many snacks we could get and whether they had to be shared.

The lobby was packed with people waiting in line for popcorn and other overpriced crap.

Even the 9yr old asked "Can we skip getting candy?"

We did.

3) On a rainy, cold, gross Sunday afternoon, you might want to double up your concessions staff.

It's fairly common knowledge that the theaters make their money on concessions.

Watching the teen-folk saunter around behind the counter is maddening. Every time they key in an order into the order-keying-contraption, it's like it's the first time they've seen the thing. Every time they fill a soda with ice, or fill it with soda, or put a lid on it, the look on their face is what you'd expect to see on a 2nd grader asked to do differential calculus. Opening a bag for popcorn? Like cracking a safe.

I'm too cynical to think that the theater-powers-that-be would embrace efficiency. That would take some sort of thought. Something like "Hey, if I had some bright, motivated, efficient kids, who try to find ways to make things move faster, and pay them a few extra bucks, my lines would be shorter and I wouldn't frighten away my profits."

I'd be happy, and shocked, if they'd simply put two kids at each station. One can ring the order, get the money, and top off the drinks while the other starts the drinks and gets the other stuff. If you really got moving, you might be able to handle two orders at a time! Imagine...

4) On a rainy, cold, gross Sunday afternoon, you might want to open one of those bonus concession stands you have down the hall toward the theater.

Let's say these teens make $10/hr. If my kids and I make it to the counter, we'll easily cover the wages for 2 kids for 2 hours. By ourselves.

Make buying concessions easy, fast, painless.

5) On the next rainy, cold, gross Sunday afternoon, take a look at your theater, and then drive to one of the big AMCs, the ones with the gorgeous all digital screens, and plentiful restrooms, and short lines, and a half-dozen ticket-jobbers that work, and ask yourself where you'd take your kids.


Maybe I should have run earlier in the day.

Good running,

Numbers: 2.3 - Got my run in around 6:30p Started in the rain. Been raining all day, so no surprise. Felt myself craning my neck really bad. Weird.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 86 - Earth Hour

Freezing, actually below freezing outside this morning. My poor son is out in this meat-locker we call central Indiana, going door-to-door for Scouting for Food. He's a good scout. If he knocks on your door, drop in an extra can of spaghetti sauce.

Today at 8:30p your local time, you can join jillions around the world celebrating Earth Hour. "How does one celebrate Earth Hour, Doug?" Good question imaginary reader. We celebrate Earth Hour by turning off lights, TVs, computers, radios, anything that runs on electricity, from 8:30p-9:30p.

Around the world, many businesses and popular landmarks go dark for an hour to help raise awareness of the need to address climate change and to become aware of the energy we use. These included The Eiffel Tower, The Empire State Building, Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, The Pyramids of Giza, Big Ben, Trevi Fountain, Sears Willis Tower in Chicago, and even the strip in Las Vegas. Sounds like a perfect plot element for "Ocean's 14".

Last year, my kids and I shut the house down, lit some candles, and played Uno.

They hated it.

Longest hour, ever.

But they still talk about it. I guess torture is one way to raise awareness.

[Note: at the time I was typing this, the official Earth Hour website was not responding. These folks are hard core. You might need to go to Wikipedia, which either doesn't observe Earth Hour quite as strictly, or has a couple dozen interns on exercise bikes hooked up to generators.]

Good Running,

Numbers: 1.6 miles, slow, to the trail loop and back. Not much more that a warm-up.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 85 - 60 Minutes

After bragging about being able to fit all of my running gear into a small track bag, this morning it was 28F. And only 32F when I ran at lunch. Still, I managed to squeeze my cold weather gear into the same track bag. It looked like a plump blueberry just on the verge of breaking it's skin.

Defying the low temp, the sun made for a glorious run.

Looking up into a cloudless blue sky, set my mind to contemplation mode. And what I contemplated was time.

Specifically an hour.

On occasion, we are handed the gift of an hour. A meeting is canceled, or a friend bails on lunch, or you finish up whatever you were doing sooner than planned.

My question is what to do with that hour.

I know what I do when I get an hour. I veg. I plop down and see what my busy little TiVo has queued up for me. Occasionally I multi-task by petting the dog.

At what point, though, does relaxing become wasting time?

But then, if I'm always doing what I should be doing, what's the point of it all?

The answer, I imagine, is some boring Life-Coachy "balance" approach that mixes responsibility and sensibility with play and rest.

But honestly, I'm not looking for an answer. The key for me is that I'm asking the question. And lots of questions like this one.

I'm more aware of my time, my life, myself, than I've ever been before.

My point, I guess, is that taking just a few minutes for myself each day for a run has given me the opportunity to step away from "the world" and spend a little time in the real one, the one that I inhabit and move through each day. And it's pretty amazing how those few minutes in the real world change my perspective on "the world".

Unrelated note... got a voice mail from my doc. He said that the results of the heart scan were "Good" and that the 13.67 score was "inconsequential." Uh, doc... Instead of a Reuben and onion strings, I had salmon for dinner at the pub last night. Salmon! That's pretty darn "consequential"!

Good running,

Numbers: 2.5 miles on wonderfully muddy trails.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 84 - Hold the Fries

Maybe it's just me, but I could have a zit the size and deep red color of an heirloom tomato on my forehead and not have the slightest clue.

Until someone says, "Dude, uh, you've got a bit of a zit there."

Then, it's like you can feel it... pulsing... moving a little... even growing.

Two seconds earlier you were oblivious, and now it's like you've grown another limb.

That's what my heart feels like today.

I had the "Come on in! You won't believe our prices!! We've gone CRAZY!!!" heart scan today.

I was expecting a zero. Or a 100. Or whatever number is next to "Why the hell are you even in here" in the How-to-Interpret-your-Calcium-Score table.

Instead, I got a 13.67.

13.67 > 0.0. That much I know. I was a math major.

Reading further, a score of 1-100 is "Minimal to mild plaque burden. Likely mild or minimal coronary stenosis."

Holy. Fudging. Shoot.*

I don't want ANY coronary ANYTHING, mild, minimal, or otherwise!

Ever since the nice nurse handed me the paper with black lines on either side of  three sections of a drawing of a Left Anterior Descending artery, I can feel my very favorite Left Anterior Descending artery.

You're not supposed to feel your heart. Ok, during a break-up, or after the loss of a loved one, your chest feels like a black hole. But this is different. This is physical.

I don't like being aware of my heart.

My heart should be like an ice maker, or the sewer system, or GE... always there, toiling away, doing good work while you go about your life.

My cholesterol is under control, but hasn't always been. HDL and Triglycerides are good. My LDL (the evil half of the cholesterol twins) is a skosh high. That's the french fries. And Ruebens. And the Frisco Melts. And eating pulled pork for breakfast.

So, it's diet.

Apparently exercise isn't enough.

Stupid plaque.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.3 miles. To elevate my mood, I went karting over lunch. While the sun was out. Came out to rain, which hasn't stopped. It's 6:00pm. So I ran in a steady rain, with an unrelenting chilly breeze. Made me hungry for a warm plate of fries.

*Very nearly what I was thinking.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 83 - Spring

Sure, the warm air, occasional sunshine, bird chirping, budding trees, and sprouting flowers are nice.

What I really like about spring is the amount of gear I can shed.

Here is the gear I carted around for Day 32:

Look at all of that crap. Layers and gloves and hats and jackets and that huge bag to carry it all.

Here's my gear for today:
Shorts, shirt, "shoes", and a bag to carry it all in. (Not pictured, the GPS watch on my wrist).

Running is a super-light-weight activity. You can do it anywhere, at any time of day, and this is all you need. No racquet, no ball, no court, no helmet, no tires. You might bring along a water bottle, but that's it.

Simple. Simple is good. I'm just sayin'...

But spring isn't all daisies and butterflies. Warm weather and sunshine (not pictured today) also bring out the lunch commuter. For some reason, nice weather makes people want to get out of the office (good) and climb into their car (kinda defeats the purpose).

All of these cars zipping around to find some calories to shovel in are none of my business, except where we cross paths.

If you're one of us, running out with these beasts, be careful, be patient, and respect the damage that a 3000 pound hunk of steel piloted by a cell-phone-jabbering, Slurpee-slurping, radio-tuning, mascara-primping, french-fry-munching, OMG-LOL-texting  human can do to your bod. Give them a wide berth.

If you're one of the drivers, please keep an eye out for us. We're not hard to spot. Just look for the ghost white legs sticking out from under the circa 1987 shorts.

Good running,

Numbers: 4.2 miles with Bill and newbie Zack.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 82 - Rare Sighting

Rumors of a rare sighting of the amphibious short-shorted neon-jacketed trail loper have been confirmed.

Forecast for the day was mostly sunny with a high of 61F. That meant shorts. Yep, shorts. So put blinders on your small children.

One little recognized bit of fallout from this Daylight Savings scheme is that when the forecasted high temp for the day is 61F, at 11:45a, it can still be, oh let's say... 41F. Even with the sunshine, that's a little nippy on the nether regions when all you have in your bag is a pair of short-shorts.

Luckily I still had a jacket crammed into the corner of one of the compartments. At least half of me would be warmish.

Jacket + short-shorts = good look!

Time-shifted-work-trip + Long-weekend-trip = 739 emails waiting for me this morning.

So, the run had to be short. Opted for the familiar pond loop, since the water was finally down below ark-building stage. Even so, the piddly-run-off was ankle deep. No matter, I pounced in and scampered across.

If you haven't run through ankle deep water lately, you're missing out. It's invigorating. It's liberating. It's childish and fun. Next time you see a stream, don't think, just run through it. You'll dry, and so will your shoes. And the next time you put them on, when they may be still just a bit damp, or have a dab of dried mud on them, just try not to smile.

Now go out and find that stream... I need to get back to my email.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles on pavement, sidewalk, grass, mud, dirt, gravel, and shallow creek bed. Legs felt springy and alive!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 81- Goodbye, Nashville.

Because we were, you know, in Nashville, and we didn't want to waste a minute.

So last night, still fueled up on the 7500 calorie breakfast, and not able to even contemplate more food, it was back for more live music.

A quick stop back at the Bluebird to exchange a T-shirt turned into a wonderful evening of "writer's night", where the staff of the Bluebird, all talented musicians and singers and songwriters who are trying to break in, get up and play some of their own stuff. The music was funny and soulful and Sal's "Heroes" had even the toughest cowboy in the place reaching for a napkin to dab his eyes.

Writer's Night at the Bluebird Cafe

When the Bluebird closed up, we went back to Broadway. The Stage was crowded, especially for midnight on a Sunday. The Chris Weaver Band had the 20-something girls dancing and screaming and stepping on our feet. What I really liked was that they were playing as hard as if they were playing a stadium show.

Chris Weaver Band at The Stage

Next, a surprisingly brief trip to the Trailer Park. It wasn't The Trailer Park's best night. Two empty beer pong tables greeted us at the door, followed by 4 drunk guys in trucker caps slouching as if it were a sport. On stage was one poor dude. I'm sure he's fabulous, but nobody can play to an empty room and not look, well, I don't like to use this word, but... pathetic. It could only get worse for him if there were just two people standing in front of him, looking at him, hoping he can pull it together. So we moved on, back to Legends.

Legends Corner was an interesting experience. The regular Friday and Sunday band, Dusty Hundley, the most country band we'd seen all weekend, was playing. Having made a side trip to Tulsa OK and back for a show Saturday night, they were exhausted. They were punchy. They were drunk. And on the rare occasion they played, they were incredible. The fiddle player was mesmerizing. The lead singer, again, when he was singing and not talking, killed.

Having closed Legends two nights in a row, it was time for some sleep.

[Fade to black.]

[Alarm clock sounds.]

This morning it was chilly beans in Nashville. Didn't have the guts to look up the actual temp, but I'm guessing 40F. Checkout time looming, I headed to nearby Centennial Park.

The first thing I noticed about the park was the pedestrian entrances, spaced maybe 30 yards apart.

These entrances, openings in the stone wall at the front of the park, open directly onto the lawn from the sidewalk. I like that the park had purely pedestrian access, and not to a sidewalk, but to real grass. Most parks today you can't get to by sidewalk, and the only entrance is meant for cars.

The centerpiece of the park is the only full-scale replica of the Parthenon. Sounds tacky. It's not.

I did my version of the Chariots of Fire scene by taking a lap around the inner walkway, inside the innermost series of columns.

At the entrance to the Parthenon is a statue of one John W. Thomas striking a much more friendly pose than that Sam Davis from yesterday.

Welcome! Please, let me help you up here. The view is magnificent!

In the park, there's also a plane.

And a train.

And the recreation of the bow of what I'm assuming was some war ship.

The park was great, but time was running out. So I hoofed it home on legs that had come to life thanks to the soft turf.

Before leaving town, we had one more stop.

Noshville Deli

The first thing you notice at Noshville Deli, at least at lunch time, is the bowl of pickles, the size of a baby's arm, on the table.
The pickles are intimidating.

I am a big fan of Corned Beef Hash and Reuben sandwiches. I was torn. I went with the sandwich. I chose wisely. Best Reuben I've ever had. And that's covering a lot of Reubens, friends.

Heading home from Nashville, I had lots of thoughts swirling around in my sleep deprived noggin.

Nashville is not a fountain kind of town.

The only real fountains I saw were at the capital and they were empty, and thus don't count.
I know.

Every person I ran across was not just polite, and friendly, but seemed happy.

The live music was amazing. I'm going through withdrawal this evening.

The food? To die for. Literally, it'll kill you. Tastes so good it'll break your heart. And if that doesn't do you in, the cholesterol will render your heart useless. Either way, it'll get you.

I'll never forget the kids/patients at the Children's Hospital smiling and singing and dancing, with IVs still attached, to the wonderful music, and the talented Nashville musicians, and the fantastic teachers from The Music Playhouse. And for every kid who could come down to watch the show, a few dozen more were watching from their rooms on closed circuit TV. That was the real reason for the trip to Nashville. It was fun and moving and made me insanely proud of my girlfriend.

I'll also remember running the streets of Nashville. Being on the pavement, in the open air, and even in  the rain, makes a city more real. It's such an intimate experience. The sights and the sounds and the smells aren't filtered by tempered glass, and sound proof doors, and air filtering systems.

I can close my eyes right now and I'm back on Broadway, climbing the hill, almost effortlessly, eager to get back to continue our adventure, but not for the run to end.

As I found my stride today, gliding through the park, I thought to myself, I wish everyone could experience their world this way.

Good running,

Numbers: 3.0 miles on pavement and grass

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 80 - Dinner with Gary and Tom, and a Breakfast from heaven

Last night I was baptized into the world of live music of Nashville.

First stop was the Bluebird Cafe, a rather unimpressive looking shop in a strip mall out a few miles from where you'd think everything cool would be. This 100 seat club, restaurant, joint is always packed, reserved out weeks in advance, and has a standby line every night long enough to half fill the place by itself.

On stage for the night was the song writer Gary Burr, who I'd never heard of, with his keyboard player Randy Hart. But Gary's a pretty big deal, especially in the alien world of country music. He played a couple dozen of his own songs, and I gotta say, he was great. He sang well, he was funny and self-deprecating, and his songs were great. And he brought friends. Fellow song writer Victoria Shaw, got up, along with her daughter Ruby, who stole the show (almost), got up and sang a couple (apparent) hits she co-wrote with Gary. Then Georgia Middleman got up and sang a couple, one of which is a new single about to be released by Keith Urban. And then a new girl country group, Stealing Angels, did a couple.

It had the feeling of being in a friends living room. The type of friend who'd pick up his guitar and casually belt out a song that you'd never heard before but had your foot tapping and a smile on your face. And he had other friends who would also blow you away and make you wish you'd picked up guitar in high school instead of percussion.

As Gary and Randy played on, Georgia got up and walked over to the front door to great a friend. "That dude looks like Tommy Shaw" I thought to myself.

She walked the friend and his wife back to her table, right past us. "That's Tommy Shaw!"

Tommy Shaw... from Styx... in Gary's living room... I mean in the Bluebird... with us... hanging out, listening to Gary and Randy just like the rest of us.

Too cool.

Then it got cooler... Gary called Tommy up to play backup guitar on a song. Tommy was a little reluctant. Then Gary jokingly needled him "Come on. It's just a blues in G."

Tommy was smooth, and cool, and genuinely enjoying himself. He said "I've been in Nashville for a week and it's like being backstage, everywhere you go."

And then it got better.

Tommy sang High Enough and killed.

And then it got better.

Tommy played Renegade. By "played" I mean tore the place down. It was incredible. He started playing it straight, and then Gary came in with some harmonies and second guitar and before you knew it, Renegade took on a soulful bluesy personality. Totally impromptu. Totally improvised. Totally cool. I love that song, and this was the best rendition. Ever.

Then Tommy sat back down, went back to his drink with his friends, and listened to more of Gary and Randy.

When it was all over, as we headed out the door with Bluebird T-shirts under our arms, we were giddy.

Even though we'd been up since 6:00a, we were flying high. So, we headed to 5th and Broadway where the live music is everywhere, sans cover charge, and fantastic fun.

We closed down Legends with a band (never got the name) who played a little bit of everything (Guns n' Roses, Keith Urban, Beatles, Daughtry, James L Dean, and lots lots more). They rocked and they had the place in the palm of their hands.

Getting back around 3:00a, I was pretty wiped. But I was doing better than the college kid across the hall.

And unlike this dude, I got up this morning for an invigorating run. In the rain. And chill.

[That's right friendly reader... today's special is a double-post... tales of last night plus a photo safari! I know!]

It was a very gray, rainy day. And it was a little windy to boot. Windy enough to set my high-cut short shorts to flapping.

Undaunted, I made off for the state capital.

Standing in the capital's front yard, in a perpetually off-putting stance, is Sam Davis.

What are you looking at?

At the spot of highest honor, at the front of the capital overlooking the city is Edward Carnack.

Edward Carnack

And little wonder. Mr. Carnack had a gift. We was able to divine the answer to a question, without seeing the question. The question was sealed in an envelope. He'd hold it to his forehead, and ... huh?


Oh. I'm sure he had some good tricks, too.

Andrew Jackson, 7th President, showing off.

As I rounded the corner from Andy J., I saw an odd looking monument. The name on it was James Knox Polk. "That's weird," I thought, "he has the same first name, middle initial, and last name as President James K Polk."

Burial site of James K Polk, 11th President of the United States
I'm a doofus.

Also buried here is Mrs. Polk, Sarah, Jim's wife.

Sarah Polk's blurb

"Asleep with Jesus." Uh... That's either creepy, or really inappropriate.

Not far from the capital is a reconstruction of Fort Nashborough.

Fort Nashborough - pretty cool. Smells like wood.

This is a new one, for me, at least...

Is it filled with donuts?

You'd think Batman's secret lair would be a little more subtle.

The Cumberland River with bridge, barge, and red curly thing.

This is where the Tennessee Titans lose to the Colts when they are playing a home game.

Humping back, mostly uphill, I paused just short of 5th and Broadway where the live music clubs are side-by-side, and for now, quiet.

Except for Tootsie's.

Tootsie's had live music when I ran by at 11:30a on Sunday morning. And it was packed.

Made it back to the hotel for a stretch and a shower.

I was starving.

We decided to head out to a landmark.

The Loveless Cafe is insanely popular. We had an hour wait. Luckily there were shops scattered around to browse in. Owned by the same family. Doesn't seem like there's a lot of incentive to shorten that wait.

The wait, totally worth it. The food was in- wait for it -credible.

Two eggs over easy. Oh, and a huge pile of the best pulled-pork I've ever had the pleasure of inhaling.
(Not pictured - stack of 3 plate size buttermilk pancakes, also best ever, also inhaled.)

You want to know why the South lost the war? Pork for breakfast. After this meal, had I been on the Gray team, I'd have gladly surrendered my allegiance to the confederacy for a nap.

Good Running,

Numbers 4.3 miles in rain. Felt great!