Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 181 - 6 months

In January, I looked forward to getting to 10 days, and then to 31.

In February, I had 50 days, and then 2 months as my targets.

Then 100 days, and then a quarter of the way, then 150 days.

Now, I'm staring at 6 months down, 6 to go. Almost half-way.

[365/2 = 182.5, not 181]

[Yeah, I know. Kinda anal-retentive, but also true.]

I'm trying to remember that guy. The guy who started this streak as a way to wrest control of his life back from, well, himself. But a different version of himself. A version that let the opinions and wishes and whims of other people pull him away from who he really was.

That guy was frustrated with where he was. His financial situation was... not pretty. And he was really angry at a couple people.

Thankfully, that guy was also brave enough to step back and take a look at himself. And, with the help of some very dear friends, he was able to see what was going on.

Through chance, or divine intervention, or a karmic nudge, whichever you care to pin it on, the thought occurred to him that the path back to a life, and a life style, that he'd be happy in, needed to be traveled on foot. And progress needed to be made, steadily, every day.

For about a year.

Six months later, life sure as hell's not perfect. I'm not going to be nominated to be the next Dalai Lama, or anything. In no small part because they don't really vote on that position.

But... I feel no frustration. My finances are sound. I have anger for no one. I'm in a very positive, and this is key, nourishing relationship. And I can see Happy from here.

Oh, and I got a free motorcycle!

Can't wait to see what the next 6 months have for me.

Maybe a boat!

Good running,

Numbers: 4 miles, peppy pace, on the multi-purpose (asphalt) trail.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 180 - Duke's Birthday

What do you get the 10yr old boy who wants everything?

When he's the youngest, you give him some power. Some pull. Some say.

As Cartman would say, Some author-i-tah.

In The Duke's case, that meant he made the call for entertainment (we went swimming) and where we ate (Steak-n-Shake).

And it also meant getting him his very own iPod Touch. This gets him, or at least his hand-held entertainment, out from under the rule of his older brother.

Now, he can play his games, watch his movies, listen to his music.

Whenever. He. Wants.

There aren't many things a 10yr old can be in control of, but I think those are reasonable.

I just hope he doesn't lose the thing.

Good running,

Numbers: Got the run in just under the wire. 10p start and a short 1.4 miles. This time on pavement. Felt decent. Think I'll live.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 179 - Dependence

I don't like having to depend on anything, or anyone. I like to think that I can do just fine, all on my own.

This nagging achilles tightness and the resultant easing back on miles and intensity has made me wonder how much I depend on running.

Sure, I still run every day, but lately, not very far. And that means not for very long.

And that's made for a slightly more cranky version of Doug.

My patience is shorter. My mood is moodier. I'm grumpy.

As much as I hate to admit it, I've become dependent on the endorphins, and the sweat, and the damn good feeling I get from a good, long, hard, run.

This is the price I must pay for cutting corners on stretching and strength training. Knowing that, as you might imagine, doesn't make me feel any better.

I'm pissy and snarky, and I really need a good 7-miler to take the edge off.

I wonder if this is what alcoholics, and people who quit smoking, feel like?

Probably not.

And it doesn't help at all that the motorcycle I won 18 days ago still isn't here. But, today I was "promised" a delivery date. And the date is close enough that I looked around my garage and realized I had no where to put the bike.

My only hope is to move some garage stuff into the shed. But that means cleaning junk out of the shed.

And that means disposing of artifacts from my life that I've moved 3 times, and never touched otherwise, and cleaning up the 17,000 walnut shells left by yet another friendly squirrel.

The GF volunteered to come over and lend a hand.

I told her I didn't "need' her help. I wasn't dependent on her help to get it done.

But man, it sure was nice to have her there to help out.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles on grass and trail... same damn course I've been doing for days.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 178 - Mudathlon Hangover

You know the expression "Here's mud in your eye."?

Tuns out, people who say that aren't exactly wishing you well.

In fact, mud in your eye pretty much hurts.

And it lingers.

If you have, say, a couple tablespoons of mud in your eye, twice, no matter what you do to try to rinse it out, some of it stays in there.

It turns your eyelids into frequently moving bits of wet sandpaper. That's sandpaper ON YOUR EYES.

Eventually, like 24-hours worth of eventually, it gets worked out by some magical eye process invovling tears and probably Brownian motion. Oh, and when you reach up to flick away the eye guck that this process builds up next to your nose, be really careful not to break that tiny little mudball, 'cause it will just go right back into your eye. And that hurts like a mutha!

So my day and evening went, red-eyed as a wake-and-baker.

Next year, I'm wearing goggles.

Oh, and there was the faint smell of mud following me around all day. Post-hose-down, post-shower, I could still smell it. Wrote it off as some sort of sensory echo, like when you wear a hat for a long time and take it off, feels like it's still there.

Nope. After innumerable nose-blowings, at 10:30p I dug out two especially stubborn gobs of mud from my nose. Yep, mud boogers.


This morning, I found out, to my great surprise, that most of my muscles had turned to granite overnight.

I really don't like being reminded that I'm not as young as I feel. Nor that I haven't been to the gym as often as I should. But mostly the old-age one.

Stepping back, though, I'm lucky to be healthy enough to do something that I can regret the next day. And as much as I creaked and moaned today, I was mobile enough to get a (short) run in. And stretch. Lots of stretching.

This week, I need to get to the gym...

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 easy miles of grass and trail.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 177 - Mudathlon

There are things that happen in life that you just don't expect.

And there are unexpected things that you bring on yourself.

I didn't expect to see mud clods in my nose when I got home. I didn't expect to feel the grit in my teeth, still. I didn't expect to see mud from my ears on the Q-tip after my shower. I didn't expect to have quite so much mud in my nether regions.

Hence, the Mudathlon...

What is a Mudathlon? A ridiculously fun, and pointless, run that involves, as you can see from the sign, mud, obstacles, and beer.

Curiosity peeked? Mine was.

Obstacles included mud, obviously, and big-ass spindles, and walls, and a really high drop, and countless logs, and 100 yards up a creek, and paint ball ambush, and a 30 foot high mud slide.

I. Know!

It was even crazier than it sounds.

Here we are in the "before" picture. Tim, my boss, Scott, and me. These things are so much more fun when you share them with friends.

We wore our "Rock Out" shirts, a respectful shout out to our DBTK brethren.

At the start, I couldn't stand still. Nothing like a big fat pile of the unknown in the form of a race course riddled with "obstacles" to crank you up.

Before the start, I took some pix of the mud pit.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking... Why? No answer. It's pointless. Either this looks like fun to you, or it doesn't.

The obstacles weren't that tough, though the 30' mud slide sent me air born and ass-first into a pile of hay.

Eventually, we returned to the mud pit, and the finish line.

Me and Scott slogging to the finish.

It's difficult to explain what it feels like to be covered, head to toe, in sludgy mud. It's heavy. It's wet. It's a little cold. It stings your eyes, and you have nothing clean to wipe it off. It's just plain crazy.

Tim and I, after.

After almost an hour in line to get sprayed off by a fire hose (less pleasant than it sounds), I was clean-ish. I retrieved my camera and went back to the scene of the crime.

Pile of discarded shoes, too muddy to take home.

Couple enjoying the fire-hose shower.

Another couple enjoying the post-race fun...

... which included a fun cover band.

GPS watch, survived, thanks to a Ziploc shield.

My Mudathlon medal, joins my others, unwashed.

As the girl behind me in the hose-off line said, sometimes you gotta say "What the hell."

Big thank you to Tim's daughter Paige for the pictures while we were running.

Good running,

Numbers: 3 miles, in mud, water, mud, over obstacles, through tunnels, more mud, over hay rolls, down a mud slide, over walls, and more mud.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 176 - Pro or Con?

I took the day off from work. There's been too much going on and I just really needed a day to regroup.

Passed my motorcycle written test, which gained me one learner's permit. Missed 3 on the test, which I thought I aced. One question I misread, one I knew the answer but for reasons unknown filled in the "C" circle instead of the "A" circle, and one I flat out got wrong. I could have missed one more, like the one that how drinking doesn't really make me a better rider, and still passed. I don't think the bar is high enough. I'm just sayin'.

Went to the bank, and then, FWUMP, I ran out of energy.

Spent the next 3 hours watching Netflix on the Mac. Dexter. Wierd, and totally addictive.

Eventually found the energy/desire/drive/will to go for a short run. Just a warm-up, as I have a big running day tomorrow.

But it was long enough for my mind to loosen up and stumble upon one of the most obvious tidbits around.

We've all heard it. We've probably all said it. But accepting it is a different story.

Here it is: People are who they are, and there's no amount of hope, discussion, prayer, time, reason, therapy, rehab, screaming, pretending, self-help, or pharmaceuticals that is going to change them.

People change when they want to change. There's no sense wishing that things are different than how they are.

What we can do is look at how these people affect us. Are they a net benefit, or detriment? Pro or con? It's not about whether or not you care for them, or if you want them. It's about whether or not they are helping you on your journey, or holding you back. Is your life better with them? Then keep them in it. If not, let them go. If you can't let them go, like former-spouses, then accept that they are in your life, just as they are,  and don't waste time wishing things were different.

Seems obvious, I know. But I know a dozen intelligent people who are hoping for change that isn't going to come.

We want, so bad, for things to get better, that we are willing to suffer just for the remote possibility that it might be worth it. That's especially true if we've "invested" time into it.

Here's the deal. Find a way to makes things work for you, accept the situation, or move on.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles on grass and trail.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 175 - Life is Chaos

The universe is chaotic. And that's cool.

Most of the day was normal. Meeting. Emails. No information or apparent progress on getting my motorcycle. The usual.

I thought my excitement for the day was finding out, through the magic of Facebook, that my humble little suburb, Carmel, IN, is going to have it's own marathon.

I know!

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

This thing is not only going to be first class, but also starting and finishing literally in my neighborhood. I could throw a baseball to the staring line, and my arm isn't very good.

"I have to do this.", I thought to myself... with a dash of excitement, and a pint of dread.

Regardless, I'd expected/planned for a quiet evening at home, after I'd made my every-4-weeks trip downtown to get my haircut.

What? Yes, I drive downtown every 4th Thursday to get my haircut. After 40+ years of bad haircuts I found a guy, make that genius, who can cut my hair. It's worth the drive.

While I was downtown, I pinged my buddy Marty to see if he was working at his downtown store. If so, I was going to drop in and chat while the traffic died down.

No, he wasn't downtown, he was up north, heading to a cross country race that he was putting on.

"You should run it.", he texts.

I'd planned a nice easy run on grass to kick off my lazy evening. I got it half right.

After a mad dash to spring the dog from daycare, and mad dash home to crate the dog, and a mad dash to retrieve my number, and a literal mad dash to the starting line, which I reached, again literally, as the starter said "Go!", I found myself in a 5K cross-country race.

With a bunch of high-school kids who had spent the week at cross country camp.

At this point I was questioning my choice.

I was dead last for the first 400 meters.

I have never been last.

At the first hill, I picked off a few of the young pups. In fact, at every hill, I passed some of them.

That makes an old guy feel pretty damn good. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, I didn't finish last. I actually ran well considering, you know, I sprinted from the parking lot to the starting line.

After finding some water, I found Marty. "Hey, we're having hotdogs at the store. Stop over."

Of course, I did. Who passes up free hotdogs? Crazy people, that's who. I didn't win anything for the race, but I did leave with a bag of chips.

So I'm hanging around, eating a hotdog, mingling with the high school kids.

Point of information: A group of middle school boys is called a "Punk".

Once the Punk thinned out, Marty declares that we're going out for beers.

Of course, I went.

And here's where it gets freaky...

Guess who was sitting next to me at the table. Go ahead guess.

Seriously... guess....


It was Todd Oliver... the President of the company that is, wait for it... putting on the Carmel Marathon!!!


Freaky, right?

He filled me in on some of the details and let me tell you, this race is going to be kick- wait for it - ass.

And Todd, as well as his partner Aaron, are very cool, and very passionate about bringing a kick-ass event to Carmel.


Just think, if I hadn't sent that text message to Marty, I wouldn't have run that race, I wouldn't have eaten a free hotdog, I wouldn't have a free bag of Lays chips, and I wouldn't have enjoyed the company of my kind of people over two Fat Tires and one surly waitress.

The universe is random and chaotic. Embrace it, go with it, or resist it and suffer, cause it's not gonna stop messing with you if you do.

Good running,

Numbers: 3.1 miles on grass.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 174 - Waiting

Tom Petty knows his stuff. The waiting really is the hardest part.

See, I won this motorcycle.

I bought boots and pants last week.

My helmet, jacket, and gloves arrived yesterday.

I've been read the manual. I've studied for the test.

All I need now is the damn motorcycle.

So I call up the shipping company to see how close it is, secretly hoping that it'd arrive in time to ride this weekend.

Yeah. Not quite.

Nice Customer Service Lady: "Sir, we don't have a record of it being picked-up yet."

Me: "..." (That's stunned silence.)

After some research, I find out that even though I won the bike on June 10th, it wasn't picked up until yesterday, June 22. Which coincidently is exactly when I imagined the bike in Bloomington, or at worst Louisville.

Apparently, the driver was sick. Food poison. Also, apparently, there's only one driver.

Twelve days! I could have pushed it from New Orleans to Carmel, IN in 12 days.

There's a lesson in here somewhere about patience. And tolerance. And maybe trust, trusting that things will work out.

At least my gear is getting put to good use.

The Duke - Born to be Wild

For those of you insanely brilliant and good looking readers with absolutely nothing to do, feel free to follow the progress of my motorcycle's journey on its very own Google Map: Where's My Monster? 

Something tells me this will be an interesting journey. Probably through Anchorage. And Brisbane. I'll update the map whenever I get updates from the shipping company. 

Which apparently come every 13 days. I'm sure they'll improve on that.

Today, the bike is presumably in Fairburn, Georgia, which was once the county seat of Campbell county, until Campbell county went bankrupt in 1931 and was absorbed by Fulton county. Understandably, Fairburn is NOT the county seat of Fulton county.

Slogan: "Where 29 and 14 meet up with 92."

Fairburn is, though, home of the Georgia Renaissance Festival, which I'm sure is a lot of fun, if you're into turkey legs and grog and really bad acting.

Good running,

Numbers: 4.3 miles on the streets in withering heat and humidity.
[Forgot to post numbers first go-round. Thanks Sheryl for the heads-up.]

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 173 - Q&A

Over the last nearly 6 months, I've received a few questions. It's time to pay up:

Q: Dude, do you really run every day? You haven't fudged a day? Even once?

A: I've really run, at least one mile, every day, outside. No fudgin'.

Q: Is your name really Doug?

A: Yes. If I were to make up a name, I would use Javier. Or Roberto. Or Dick Trickle.

Q: How many people read your blog, anyway?

A: Not sure. Google Analytics says 208 unique visitors over the last month. So figuring for bots and people who have taken the wrong exit on the information super-highway, I'd say between 150 and 175, including people from the UK, Canada, Denmark, Japan, Switzerland, Philippines, Finland, Dominican Republic, and one lonely runner each from the Czech Republic, Netherlands, and Sri Lanka. Great runners, the Sri Lankans.

Q: How much do you make on all of those ads?

A: Nothin'. To date, my "income" from the Google Ads is less than $1, and they don't pay until you hit $10. I keep them because I find them entertaining. It's fun to see what ads pop-up and trying to match them to the content of the post. One time I saw an ad for (ahem) feminine products. Luckily I'm very secure with my masculinity, though I did butch up the next few posts.

Q: Aren't you just ripping off "Julie and Julia"?

A: Nope. All I knew about Julie and Julie when I started this adventure was that a former friend read the book and was disappointed that it wasn't more about Julia. Still haven't read the book or seen the movie, though it is in my Netflix queue. Of course at the rate I'm popping that queue, it'll be 2017 before I see it.

Q: What's harder, the running or the blogging?

A: The writing is much harder. But without the running, I'd never be able to write daily. 99% of what I write here springs from my gray matter during that day's run.

Q: Who do you write to? Who's your audience.

A: No matter what you think, it's not you. I write for myself, and to myself... or my future self. I'd like to think that some day when I'm feeling a little lost, I can reread some of these posts and it might help me find my way.

Q: Wait, if you're writing for yourself, why a Q&A post?

A: Next question...

Q: What's been your favorite run so far?

A: Anytime I run with one or more of my kids, it's a great run. My favorite post so far, I think, just off the top of my head, is the first photo-safari from Sarasota. It was a fun run and great fun to retell the story.

Q: Who are Robin and Nora? They post comments more than anybody.

A: Nora is one of the coolest people you could ever know. She s a great writer, my music critic of choice, and a great writer. She's also the unofficial queen of Broadripple and a great bartress. Robin is another of the coolest people you could ever know. She is wise, and funny as hell, and my yoga teacher of choice. She is also a wonderful writer and artist.

Q: Isn't running every day hard on the body?

A: Somedays, yes. But I've felt better after every run than I did before it started. Some days its tough to get started, but it's always worth it.

Q: Those pictures of you... is that really you?

A: No. I hire out. And I'm much better looking than the stand-in.

Q: Are you sponsored by anyone?

A: I wish! My buddy Marty still gives me employee discount at his store, even though I haven't worked an hour there in a couple years. That's as close as I get to a sponsorship.

Q: Shouldn't you plug his store, then?

A: Yes. The Runners Forum is the best running store in America.

Q: What's with the deal with the fountains?

A: It started one night when I was out after a Polkaboy show with my sister and pseudo-sister-in-law. I'd recently broken up with a girl I thought I'd be with forever. I'd just asked a girl out, one that I'd liked for a really long time, and she said "Not right now." What do you do with that? Apparently you get into a fountain.

Q: Isn't it a desperate plea for attention?

A: Maybe, but I prefer to get in fountains when no one else is around, so I doubt it. It's harmless, silly fun. I step in, I step out. With the exception of roughly 2 shoes of water being moved from inside the fountain to outside of it, things are just as they were before. It's a reminder that some of society's lines are arbitrary.

Q: 173 days in... how's it goin'?

A: It's going great! Running is a habit, just a part of my day... just the way it should be.

Q: Don't you have any more questions than that? It's been 6 months.

A: No. Well maybe, but I can't think of any more right now. But if you, or any other of the amazingly intelligent and good looking readers have questions, I hope they ask them in the comment section below. Comments make the blog a lot more fun, for all of us.

Good running,

Numbers: 3.0 miles on the roads.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 172 - Careless

While at the movie theater yesterday, there were a couple commercials that caught my attention.

(Why we have to sit through commercials AND trailers when we've already paid to get in is a rant for another day.)

The first commercial featured one of the "Girls Next Door" girls as the spokesperson for an online movie ticket purchasing site. Ok, when was the last time this girl paid for anything, let alone a movie ticket? When was the last time she was on a computer?And who is taking advice from this woman? And what marketing genius green lighted using her in their spot? Wrong person, wrong demographic, wrong product. What has she done? Taken every third shift sleeping with Hugh Hefner. That's it. That qualifies her to be spokesperson for rubber gloves. Maybe Silkwood Shower Gel.

The other commercial was an anti-drug, anti-alcohol Public Service Announcement. It was about not getting busted, or hungover, and ruining your summer. The tagline was "Have a carefree summer."

"Carefree" was what rattled around in my head on the way to the loo for my ritualistic pre-movie pee. "Carefree". Is that something I'd really want to be?

I care about a lot of things, like my kids, my family, my friends, the GF, my city/state/country, our bitchin' little planet, the state of American Open Wheel racing, my dog, my house, the world economy, and recently motorcycle safety, among other things.

Without care, what would we be? What would our lives be like? I guess we'd all be narcissistic nihilists, just looking out for ourselves, doing what we want, when we want, just because it's what we want.

Nihilists from The Big Lebowsky.
Funny, but not exactly role models.

I'm pretty sure what they were going for was "Worry free". That I can get behind.

I used to be a worrier. I worried about everything. All the time. I worried about my kids. I worried about work. I worried about money. I worried about running, about not running. I worried about natural disasters, famine, poverty, violence, disease.

I worried whether my significant other was happy/sad/bored/overwhelmed/safe/honest/settling/looking. If she was expecting something of me that I wasn't delivering, or needing something from me that I wasn't providing. And for what? I spent more time and energy worrying about the relationship than wondering if it was right for me.

I still care about most of those things up there. But I don't worry about them. There's a difference.

Caring is having an opinion and/or looking for, and/or wishing good for someone or something. Worry is a waste.

Worry is practicing your reaction to bad things that will almost surely never happen, or things that are inevitable. Either way, it's a waste of time and energy. Either take action, or let it go.

If you spend your time worrying, you'll miss out on your life... you know, that thing that actually happens while you're worrying what might happen.

Good running,

Numbers: 2.0 miles on the track before practice.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 171 - Father's Day

I awoke this morning with my kids under my roof, my 3-day funk and 3-day headache both gone, and the smell of scrambled eggs and bacon wafting in from the kitchen.

Ok, there were no eggs. No bacon either. Just a bellowed "Can we have chocolate chip pancakes?"

I was happy to oblige.

My gifts for fathers day? The Duke was way eager for me to open the gifts that were from all three kids but he picked out: Purdue-opoly, origami rockets, and my favorite, a Snicker's multi-pack.

From "The Middle One" I was happy with a safe return from camp. The boy survived two tornado warnings  and 2 thunderstorm warnings... over 5 nights. For those lovely tornado warning, the boys dawned panchos and and walked to and sat in a ravine.  Outside. At night. In the rain.

And he wants to go back.

From the 16 year old girl, I got a snarl. Oh, and she didn't stab me in the neck while I slept in hopes of inheriting my car. So I've got that going for me.

After pancakes, the boys and I went to see Toy Story 3. (The girl was still ever so tired. She could only muster the strength to watch Glee on Hulu. Poor thing.)

Damn you John Lasseter and the insanely talented people at Pixar! How dare you bring me to the brink of manly tears on Father's Day!

Seriously great movie, though. Seriously. I love watching Woody run. Genius! Though Buzz in "Spanish mode" may be even better.

After the movie, the boys and I jumped feet first into the Carmel public pool. Oh, they can call it The Monon Aquatic Center, all they want. It's still a public pool. You can tell by closing your eyes and listening to all of the spanish being spoken. Not judging. Just sayin'. Still, water slides, lazy river, the smell of chlorine. We had a blast.

Back home and some (excellent if I do say so myself) burgers on the grill and a quick trip to DQ were next.

Apparently DQ is the cure for teenage girl angst. She and I watched the IndyCar race on Tivo, and she even paused it to make sure I didn't miss some key pit action. And, when I returned from my short run, she had transformed into a smiling, laughing, talking, enjoyable human.

She had music blaring from the Mac, had The Middle One singing along to "Jesse's Girl" on queue, and after my shower asked,"Hey Dad, want to do some yoga with (The Duke) and I?"

Just like the one perfect shot in a hundred that keeps people playing golf, each 90-minute stretch of daddy-daughter fun keeps her the apple of my eye.

Pixar shorts with The Duke, and the night was over.

But before we close this great Father's Day...

Refreshing beverage, social lubricant, the perfect kindling to save backyard s'mores... Fat Tire, is there anything you can't do?

Good running,

Numbers: 1.7 miles between watching TK win at Iowa and yoga with the kids.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 170 - Time flies like an arrow...

... fruit flies like a banana.

Today has evaporated. Right before my eyes.

Most Saturday's are filled with stuff, scheduled and unscheduled. Going to and fro, hither and yon, this way and that.

This Saturday, we didn't really do anything. We just kinda were.

I love summer.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.8 miles in the hottest part of the day. What was I thinking?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 169 - Runners

I saw a lot of people running today.

By far the biggest collection was at The Duke's track meet. He ran great, and he had fun, despite the melt-your-racing-flats heat.

Earlier, over lunch, I went karting with some co-workers. There I saw the starter guy who was trying to help a driver whose kart was facing the wrong way, run, quickly, out of the way of approaching karts, and another worker running across the lobby, down the stairs, and onto the track, waving his black flag like a light-saber, demanding the offend drivers heed the caution speed limit.

These guys ran. Very short distances. I don't think they enjoyed it. But they did run, nonetheless. Instinctively they broke into "flight" mode. I bet if you asked them if they ran today, they'd laugh "What? Me? Of course not."

I also saw a young boy run this afternoon, chasing his dog, and getting smoked. He's yet to learn that chasing a dog is, to the dog, a game of tag, that the dog always wins. Still, he was running as naturally as any Kenyan. And he, also, hadn't plan to run. He didn't think about it for a second. His dog got loose. He ran after the dog. Instincts kicked in.

The most entertaining runners were the, um... let's say "rotund" couple, chick in front of dude, running down the sidewalk, Meijer bags in each hand, hoping to beat the rain storm to their front door. They had to decide to run. And I'm guessing neither of them run very often. But they ran tonight. No idea if they made it to their door, they were still running when we drove out of sight. I'm going to assume they did. And I'm going to assume they were gasping, and smiling, and laughing, and if not saying, at least thinking, "That was actually kinda fun."

Point is, we are all runners. We were born into a long line of runners, people who ran to hunt, to communicate, to survive. We ran as kids, just as every human has, forever. Every single one of us. And when we need to, or want to, we can still run.

That means that you, yes you, are a runner. You may have just forgotten.

Good running,

Numbers: 2 miles squeezed into a busy day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 168 - Smooth Going

Today's run was sidewalks and roads. By choice.

I know.

I preach, on and on, about the benefits of trails. The challenge of unpredictable footing, roots, uneven surfaces, mud, creeks, all focusing your attention and blocking out the rest of the universe. Being present. Being one with nature. Being an animal.

All true. All good.

But, the ankles and heels have been on the sore and stiff and wobbly side the past few days. A day of flat, smooth, predictable concrete is just what they needed.

And sometimes, when it's us that feels a little wobbly, what we need is an easy, smooth predictable day, with little chance of getting tripped up or outright falling. No adventure. No challenges. Just a day. To catch our breath.

And sometimes, what you really need, is a new pair of riding pants!

Good running,

Numbers: 3.0 miles, after a hefty dinner. Still, felt great.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 167 - Mothership

Today's post is brought to you by Mothership, a most excellent organic wheat beer from the good folks at New Belgium, and the letter F.

For those with young children, this post contains a tiny bit of strong language.

The earth includes assholes. These people are mean. Or stupid. Or stupid and mean. And they are everywhere.

There is no avoiding them. Sometimes, they are permanent. It sucks, but we have to deal with them. But how?

The key is to surround yourself with good people. Not people who dwell in the negative. Not people who feed the anger and perpetuate the stupidity.

Spend time with people who listen when you need to vent, who look for ways to quell the bad, and who try to put you back on the path of truth, and peace, and forgiveness.

These are good people. These are the people who will help you overcome the negativity of the assholes. These are people who care for you.

Cherish these people.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.25 miles on the track, a precautionary easy day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 166 - Power Outage

Yet another thunderstorm, and this one took out the power to my
neighborhood. So, tonight I'm blogging by candlelight, from my phone,
like the pioneers did. So please forgive format funkage.

When the lights went out, the dog dove Into my lap. Good to know that
she sees me as her protector. Next time, though, I'll have to remember
to guard my junkage.

Oop. The lights gave a flicker, but no. Just a death rattle tease.
Dog, back to panic freakage.

It's so quiet in here I can hear the cables burning. When the thunder
iisn't shaking the cottage.

Hey! Power's back! Dog now trying to climb up on my shoulders. Air
back on, and the phone is ringing, thanks to Vonage.

Good runage,

Numbers: 4.0 miles on the monon trailage.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 165 - How to win a motorcycle

Having told the story several times today, I figured I'd type it one last time for those curious and not in my office.

For those who aren't curious, see you tomorrow.

To be honest, I never thought for a second I'd win. I hadn't even intended to enter the drawing.

I'd been in our booth the entire week. The only booth I was interested in visiting was the AvePoint booth. They make products for managing Microsoft SharePoint. But, honestly, I was only interested in the toys they were giving out.

So the last day of the show, I took a couple minutes and trekked down the aisle. On the way I thought that I should have brought some T-shirts to barter with. Turned out, no need - I was still a good 20 feet from the booth when a marketing girl scanned my badge (which records my info so they can market to me, no doubt relentlessly... just like we do) and shoved two raffle tickets into my badge holder.

"I just came to beg for toys for my kids.", I said. "Take three.", they said, not wanting to shlep them home. Always wanting to be helpful, I took three, and went back to work. Score!

Just short of 12:45, the time of the drawing, my boss invited me to go watch him win the bike.

We were at the back of the throng. There had to be 2500-3000 people jammed into the corner of the show floor. We were at the back. I couldn't see the bike, the people, or even the booth.

Time for the drawing. The guy (Tony) called out the first 3 digits "4 (something) (something) ..." and I stopped paying attention. My tickets started with "2". Meh.

Eventually, they decided that Mr. 4****** wasn't there and they counted him out.

New number...


Hey! I'm at least on the right roll. I have two chances in a thousand. This is fun...

"3" Whoa!! I have two chances in a hundred. 2%, only slightly better than 0%, but still... you have my attention.

"3" Holy.    Crap.    I have two chances in ten. 20% chance to win. I never win.   Holy.     Crap.

That moment was the second most bizarre. It went from "Hee-hee look how close I got" cute to "I can't breathe" serious. And it lasted all of 5 seconds.





The blood left my brain. I looked at Tim, my boss, and said, "I won."

Not "I WON!!!"

More like "i won..."

I put the ticket over my head and said, and this makes so sense at all, "Yep."

Not "I have it!" or "Here you go!"

Just "Yep."

Again, we were at the back of the crowd. People close to me turned to look at me. I instantly got very self-conscious.

I started to move forward through the people, and more people turned to look.

After a few seconds, it was as if I were channeling Moses... the sea parted and I had a clear shot to the guy... Tony.

There was a smattering of applause that was polite, with a twinge of "I hate you" and a dash of "I hope you die".

As I got closer, panic set in.

Note: Sometimes, I experience a tad of dyslexia. I have learned to do things like repeat phone numbers just to make sure I haven't transposed any digits.

Hence the panic...

"Oh man... I really hope I read that ticket right." I thought.

The closer I got to Tony, the more time dilated and the more convinced I became that I'd read it wrong, and the more terrified I got that I was in for the most humiliating moment of my life.

When I handed over the ticket, I didn't care about the motorcycle. I just didn't want to be publicly devastated. And disgraced.

I handed my ticket over... Tony examined it carefully.

"Please, PLEASE! be the right number..."

It was. "We have a winner!"

Thank goodness.

The panic subsided. But nothing took its place.

"What do I do?"

"Get on your bike!"

Cameras flashed. People clapped and then dispersed. I was numb.

I had to sign some papers, go to the Ducati dealship, sign some more papers, pay some fees and taxes, buy a helmet and a bitchin' jacket and some gloves, and then, I had to wait for it to sink in.

Still hasn't.

I don't deserve it. I didn't earn it. But tell you what, I'm going to enjoy the hell out of if.

Good running,

*Honeslty, I don't remember if the first 3 digits were 255, or 251, but they were on my ticket.

Numbers: 1.5 tentative miles on the track.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 164 - Chip

There are times when our kids drive us crazy.

And there are times when they makes us proud.

And there are times when they make our day.

Today, my youngest, The Duke, was insistent on getting the camera from his class's field trip to Corydon (Indiana's first capital) developed. There was a picture that he just had to show me.

Quick trip to Target, and some stalling for the pix to be done.

The Duke tore open the envelope and thumbed through the pictures excitedly.

Here it is! Check this out, Dad...

That's my boy...

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles again in grass. Heels are better, but still needing a little TLC.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 163 - Pickle

Pickle is a game. A baseball game.

Two people stand on bases, tossing a ball between themselves. The third tries to steal a base. If they make it, they get a point. If not, they're out and they swap with one of the throwers.

Simple game. My boys love it. Lots of fun.

Until one of the boys is called out when they feel they were safe.

Or a ball ricochets off of a glove and jams a finger.

Or Dad misses a tag and is accused of missing on purpose.

Or the ball goes under the fence and into the neighbor's half-acre of ground cover.

Every game ends with at least one boy stomping off of the yard. Sometimes a glove is thrown.

And 45 minutes later, we're back out there, starting a new game.

And this repeats until it's too dark to see the ball to catch it.

I love summer.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles almost entirely on grass. Heels and ankles stiff and sore from a week of running, walking, and standing.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 162 - New Orleans Nightlife

Woof. 4am came especially early this morning. Travel would be some much easier if you didn't have to get there and back.

It was a hectic, crazy, fun week and I barely had time to eat and sleep, let alone blog. As a result, I'd left some good events and pictures and shout-outs out. So, to give New Orleans its due, at least where the dark hours are concerned, are just a few of the highlights...

Monday: This was the night for Bourbon Street.

Cover band at 544, or maybe it was 445. One of those.
Rocked hard.

Me with co-worker Ryan at Pat O'brien's.
Hurricanes were had.

That was when the trouble started.

Ya see, there's a fountain in the middle or the courtyard at Pat O'Brien's. It's a very crowded court yard.

The fountain, though, has a friggin' flame at the top! I know!!!

Problem was that they really don't want people in the fountain. So much so that they have tall plants anchored with steel rings and hooks ringing the rim.

The other problem was that Ryan really didn't want me to go into the fountain. He acknowledged that such a situation makes him uncomfortable. He was the self-appointed "Voice of Reason" (VOR).

Truthfully, he talked me out of it. It was too risky. Too many people. Just wasn't right.

Voice of Reason.

Then I got in.

That's Kay, my bosses wife, ducking out of the picture. She was instrumental in overcoming VOR's logic attack.

To celebrate we went to Pizazz.

Another cover band. Also rocked.

Ryan took revenge for a miscreant behavior with a vile shot of... something. I think it was mostly pineapple juice and battery acid.

Once we were sure we weren't going to be rendered blind, we moved on to Famous Door.

On the way we were talking about... LOOK OUT!

That was close.

Ok, Famous Door.
Yep, another cover band. Don't really remember them...

... probably because of the test tube shots and the hypodermic jello shots.

But we survived.
Ryan, Kay, Deb, your humble blogger.

Tuesday: Cluter-Funk

Cluster-Funk is our company's band, made up of employees, and hugely popular with the Microsoft IT geek crowd.
Cluster-Funk: Very fun. All keeping their day jobs.

The bass player is our CEO. He REALLY likes the band. He also REALLY likes taking his bass into the crowd.

CEO/Bassist rubbing up against the GF.

It's hard not to have fun at a Cluster-Funk show. Mostly thanks to the open bar. But also because the audience is made up of introverted IT geeks who don't get out much. Seeing some "peers" rock out, and being more or less wasted, loosens those guys up.

Including my boss...

My boss, Tim, and me.

I won't bore you with the literally dozens of very similar pictures of me with other co-workers.

Maybe one more...

Me and Christian, though come to think of it, he's like this most the time.

Seriously, dozens...

The open bar and the heat and the dancing and the long-arm-photo-taking took its toll.

Especially on this guy...

... who reportedly awoke to throw up and then went back to sleep, all without leaving the couch.

Wednesday: Finally found some jazz.


Landry's Seafood House - classic NOLA.

Amazing etouffee, served in a rather blush-inducing fashion...

[I may have moved as many as two shrimp before photo.]

Then, finally, some jazz...

Market Cafe Jazz Band

An open cafe between two busy streets, scattered tables, cheap beer. These guys sounded, well... good. Tired. Maybe a little bored. But it was still better than anything we'd found up to that point. They played "While the Saints..." 3 times in 40 minutes. We didn't care.

Bass players get all the chicks.

We moved on and spotted the polar opposite of The Market Cafe.

White table clothes, $5 cover, expensive beer, and amazing music played by guys in ties. We danced up stairs. Not on an upper level, but literally up a set of stairs. It was fun. I'm sure we looked like dorks. We didn't care.

Thursday: On our own.

The GF and I decided to go our own way for our last night. And it was an absolutely wonderful evening.

First, the Napoleon House.

Doesn't look like the best bar in the world, does it? In fact, it looks closed. Vacant. Until you try the door. And it opens.

Apparently, the building was constructed as a residence for The Napolean when he was in exile. Unfortunately, the plan was foiled by his inconvenient death.

Now, it is an amazing bar. Old as dirt. Classical music. That "Big Easy" vibe, the one you hope to find when you walk into one of these places, but every other place is lacking in one way or another, this place marinates you in it.

And they have hands-down the best summer cocktail in the universe.

The Pimm's Cup

I want to have a drink here every day.

It took a pending hard-to-get reservation to pry me off of the barstool.

Make sure your feet are set if you eat at NOLA.
The food here is in-f'in-credible.

A nice couple sat next to us and I noticed the woman fiddling with a disposable camera. There was the unmistakable ratcheting sound that says "empty".

I leaned over and asked if she'd like me to take their picture. "I'll just email it to you."

Turned out it was their 40th wedding anniversary. Would have been a pity if they didn't have a photo.

"I've heard the first 40 years are the hard part. It's cake from here."

We are food people. We love great food. We savor great food. And when we absolutely can't contain ourselves, we take pictures of great food, I guess so we can drool over them later.

Pork Chop. Hickory smoked duck. Both to die for.
Seriously, this is "last meal" kinda food.

Not pictured: stuffed chicken wings (I know!), Crab cakes on an amazing corn salsa, Best Gumbo EVER!, fantastic Rioja wine, jalapeno corn bread, and a Creme Brulee Trio (3 different kinds... I KNOW!!!).

2.5 hours of feasting on magically delicious food wears you out. We waddled out.

But we rallied and hit some jazz clubs.

The Spotted Cat Music Club

A neighborhood club, no cover, standing room only, lots of locals, some just hanging out outside the door. The music was raw and perfect.

Note: The sets in NOLA clubs are about 40 minutes. Perfect for one drink and then moving to someplace else.

Our next place else was...


Right across the street, also a local's place. About 2.3 jillion beers, all listed on chalk boards hung above the bar. This night, it had a $5 cover for...

These guys were more polished. Soul jazz. And every song in the first set was an original. I could have listened to them all night.

But... we were exhausted. Part of that exhaustion was the looming 4am wake-up, glaring at us, then looking at its watch, tapping its foot.

Our only local cab ride of the trip saved us the long, depressing, "vacation's over" walk, on tired feet.

Summary: I love New Orleans.

And Thursday was one of the best days of my life. Great run, breakfast with the girl, fun (short) day at work, won a Ducati (!!!), and the wonderful evening helped make it so.

But sitting at dinner, taking it all in, and I mean all of it, not just that day, or the trip, but how lucky I am to have the people in my life and the good fortune that has come my way, I couldn't help but shake my head, thinking how far I've come in just 6 months, from a really crappy year.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.2 miles in heavy rain. (Awakened from a micro-nap by thunder. Jumped out for a quick run in pretty heavy rain, just beating the lightening.)