Monday, January 31, 2005

Another manic Monday

6.159:09 mins.Lovers Pt. to Del Monte Beach R/T9:40 ish mins./mi.

The run I ran above was on Saturday. On Sunday, I went to a retirement party for one of my colleagues. This morning, I could not get up to run. I'm not saying that correlation = causation, but a committee of scientists would probably agree that three Carne Asada soft tacos and some mugs of Bud are enough to keep this big guy under the covers for an extra 90 minutes or so.

This afternoon I'm scheduled for a massage. No, you dirty people, not that kind of massage. A theraputic massage, for my leg, which kind of hurts. I'll probably post again after the massage. Maybe I'll run after the massage. I don't know. I'll get plenty of miles in, though. I have to run 16 on Saturday.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Friday Mailbag!!! (And a new Kenny Column.)

First of all, in this week's print edition of The Longest Mile, Kenny explains what keeps him running. Apparently, his first motivation was beating me. Now that I've put that goal woefully out of reach, Kenny restates his goals. Everyone grab a Kleenex®, this one's a real tear-jerker.

Big shout-outs to those who wrote with advice on aches and pains, especially Chelle and Derek.

Now, here's the second-ever dose of Friday Mailbag:

From: Alison Crotty
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2005 6:10 PM
Subject: photos

Hi Jonathon
I have been following your story online from Melbourne (Australia, not Florida) and really, what is this no-shirt thing? What did any of those other people running the event ever do to you?

Very best wishes for Big Sur in April.


Ed: Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

Subject: Carlsbad
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2005 23:09:19 -0800 (PST)
From: John Cerney

Just wanted to congratulate you on your very respectable finish at Carlsbad. I can tell that you are progressing at a good pace and are building confidence for Big Sur.
As for your water-stop issues, may I suggest that you slow down to a brisk walk through them so that you can consume any liquids and give yourself a little breather. There's no shame in shutting down'll likely need a few walk breaks the last 6-8 miles of the marathon. Good luck.
-- A follower in Salinas

Subject: Big Sur
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2005 18:20:43 -0500 (EST)
From: "Brad Vest"

Okay, I am addicted to reading both of your 'columns' in the Big Sur website. This will be my first marathon and I am training as hard as I can. On days I just don't feel like running, I read your column and think, "do I really want to get beat by these guys?!" :)

Today was one of those days. It was 12 degrees, windchill of - 25 with 4 inches of snow on the ground. I sat at my desk, read today's entry about the 1/2 marathon, and got off my butt and went and ran 6 miles outside.

You guys really inspire me and I hope to be able to meet you when I get to Big Sur in April. Keep up the training and the hard work and we'll have a beer together at the finish line!

Take Care,

Brad Vest

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Double Digit Midget

101:54.07My house in Seaside, down La Salle, down Del Monte, Rec trail to Lovers, along Ocean View Blvd., past Golf course, up Pico to my parents house11:24 per mile

John Burke is one of the funniest guys I've had the privelege of being around. You might know him. He's a retired Deputy Sheriff, who has coached basketball the past 10 or so years. Most of his time has been at PG - he's currently the freshman coach - though he did coach the Carmel Girls varsity team a few years ago.

Anyways, Burke is a one-liner machine. Most of them I can't repeat. But one of my favorite Burke lines was "Double Digit Midget." He would yell this out everytime a player was on the verge of scoring in double figures (10 or more points).

Guess what? I'm a double digit midget today. Yep, I finished my first ever 10-mile run. I would love to tell you that it wasn't difficult, that I enjoyed every second of it, that I felt so good at the end I could have gone another two miles.

I can't say any of that. To put it mildly, this was the hardest run of my life. As I sit here typing, my legs hurt worse than the time I was run over by 6 varsity lineman and a blocking sled at the age of 9 (that's for another day).

The first seven miles were beautiful. I was cruising at a good clip, somewhere in the low 10's. But right around mile 8, I began to really feel my legs. They hurt.

I tried to ignore it but nothing seemed to work. My pace slowed tremendously. I made it around PG golf course and was in a constant argument with myself on wether to stop or not. Around mile 9, my right hamstring tightened, the bottom of my left foot began to ache and I was getting really tired. I started walking for about 30 seconds to kind of loosen up my hamstring. Then I started again and the pain was all over me like flies on you-know-what.

The last mile was uphill and I couldn't have been going much faster than a brisk walk. With just over a half of a block, I began repeating the mantra, "You are @#%$ing there, you are @!#^ing there."

Near collapse, I made it into my parents drive way and up the few steps to the front door. I pushed my way in, fell to the ground and begged my smiling father for some water. It was the greatest tasting glass of water in the history of mankind.

My legs still hurt. And I am tired. But, I'm also a double digit midget.

Running wounded

4.xLeft my watch at homeDowntown PG to Irving Ave to David Ave. to Congress Ave Uh Dunnuh

Has it come to pass? What everyone came to predict? Has mile after mile of 230 pounds of pounding pavement broken me down? I'm not sure.

Here's what I know: The last two runs, it's started with a tightness in my hip. Soon, with each step, there's a dull pain starting at the outside of my left hip, radiating into my glute, and seeming to extend down to my left foot. Here's the weird part: it's generally worse on flat ground, and it generally goes away when I speed way up. And it doesn't hurt when I walk.

Am I crazy?

Anyway, at the end of my run, I sped up to an almost sprint. It was so much fun. I felt like I was flying. It was so much fun. For 4 blocks. I wish I could run that fast all the time. That would be great.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Work and Rain, not a good combo

5 miles51:10My house to Burger King and back10 something

Work and Rain is not a good combo.

I have been busy at work. Very busy. AT&T is coming up and I'm in the driver seat this year. Anyways, the rain also makes me nervous. Last time i ran in the rain, I got sick.

So, 10 miles will have to wait till tomorrow. Hopefully. Five felt fine. Got to put in some distance.

Not much else. Kind of bored.

Running is hard.

12.1 mi.2:20:34Home <-> Aquarium <-> PG High School11:37 mins./mi.

Running is hard. Training is not always fun. Sometimes it is a painful chore, done in the wind and the rain, on five hours of sleep.

You find yourself plodding along in the pre-dawn morning, twisting ankles on potholes you can't see, fighting the wind like Mark Walberg in The Perfect Storm, worrying about every little ache and pain and distressing over the preponderace of bad news brought to your ears in the hushed, nasal tones of our friendly NPR announcers while you'd rather be cuddled up in the dark, warm womb of your bed getting the extra three hours of sleep that the Geneva Convention seems to guarantee you.

But the Geneva Convention only applies to prisoners of war. I am a prisoner of the Big Sur marathon.

Today was one of the hard ones. Woke up at 5:30 a.m., went to the loo, got back a slipped back into bed for 10 minutes, gathering the will to stretch on my tights, drink a yogurt shake, strap my dorky flashing LED reflective band to my arm (a must for any member of an AV club or Star Trek away team), and run 12.

Well, it was never good. From the beginning, I felt slow, winded, tired (maybe because I only got 5.5 hours of sleep.) It was too dark to see where I was going. I twisted my ankle on a Pine Ave. pothole. But at least is was a perfect 55 degrees, and it wasn't raining. Yet.

As I cut downhill to the ocean, I felt the first few drops. Soon, I found myself in the middle of monsoon season, with the wind buffeting me this way and that as I wound my way toward Asilomar. That was when my left hip started tightening up.

Stop. Stretch. Go.
Hurts again. Repeat.

I got to Mile 6. I turned around and started on my way back. Hip still tight.

Then, in the rainstorm, I had a brainstorm. Maybe, I thought, my fanny pack, affixed tightly below my gut, was rubbing on my hip or cutting off circulation or something. So I sucked in and hiked the thing up over my belly, letting it ride at navel height. Now, my belly was bisected into upper and lower levels. I had a split-level adbomen!

Like the Israelites after the 10 plagues, my legs were free at last. I picked up my pace a little bit, replaced NPR with some death metal and let the dark lord carry me the rest of the way. It wasn't pleasant, but at least it was done.

When I got back home, I learned, perhaps, my most valuable lesson to date: BodyGlide doesn't work in the rain!

This was taken this morning. Note the discoloration in tender areas.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Speedy and sweaty

6 mi.57:40 mins. breadmill 9:37 mins./mi

I went to the gym after work yesterday. I ran six miles. Fast. Well, fast is relative. But what isn't?

After my run, my shirt was heavy with moisture. I think I sweat three pounds.

In the gym, I was surrounded by other people toiling on treadmills, elliptical trainers, stairclimbers and exercise bikes. I've always wondered if it was possible to generate electricity by putting people on these machines.

If I were the president, I would make this one of my top priorities.

Think about it. I would require everyone to run, bike or stairclimb 90 minutes at state-owned collective gyms called powerhousen. All the machines would be hooked up to generators. At the front of each gym, there would be drummers beating out a cadence so everyone could keep pace. (And maybe big bald men with whips to help motivate stragglers.) Everyone would lose weight. Health care costs would go down. So would reliance on fossil fuels.

I'd also issue everyone matching gray sack-cloth sweatsuits.

All hail the leader!

Helping hands

Thanks to all who wrote in advice for the cramping troubles outlined below.

Here's one of the letters people sent me:

Julia XXXX juliaesther.XXXXX@XXX.xx
Sent :  Monday, January 24, 2005 5:04 PM
To :
Subject :  Partial answers

1) How can cramps like that be prevented?
- You should be drinking AT LEAST two litres of water a day. Are you?
- Eat bananas (excellent source of potassium)

2) What caused it?
- Could have been from dehydration. Could have been from lack of potassium in system.

3) What if something like that happens during a race/during the marathon?

- You can prevent it by hydrating before the race (DAYS before the race) and
drinking at least a cup of water every 30' of running
- stretch it out, walk, keep moving slowly.

4) What happened to the Carmel morning running group? Were they scared off by the pictures from Carlsbad?

- What a rude bunch of people!

5) Is Kenny's resurgence directly related to my downfall?



Now if only someone could help me out with my donut problem.

Monday, January 24, 2005

And One Ring to rule them all

Has anyone noticed that Krispy Kreme donuts are everywhere? I went shopping on Sunday, and, I swear, every story had a little KK display.

I saw them, sitting there in the lights. They were glistening, the dewey sweat of sweetness dripping off thier glazed surfaces. But I was strong. I didn't buy a box. I didn't buy a single donut. I didn't even buy a hole.

I know that every pound I weigh come April will be a pound I have to lug 26.2 miles.

Then, I get into work this morning. Some dang fool brought donuts to work today. Two boxes. Assorted.

From my desk on my side of the newsroom, I felt their pull. I was like Frodo, and the donuts were pulling me to Mordor. I heard the call of the rings. I am but a man. I am weak. I ate two.

Now, I head to the gym. I'll test out my calf, see if I'm injured, and hopefully burn off one of those cursed pastries.

I bet the founder of Krispy Kreme was named Sauron.

I'm Okay, I think.

The alarm of Saturday has faded into the relief of Monday. My calf appears to be fine. Althoughj I haven't run on it yet, (That's for tonight, after work.) there's no bruising, swelling or soreness. Apparently, it was just a cramp.

Now, all I'm left with are questions and the specter of doubt. Since I can't exorcise my demons until I exercise my legs, I'll send the questions out to you, the readers.

1) How can cramps like that be prevented?

2) What caused it?

3) What if something like that happens during a race/during the marathon?

4) What happened to the Carmel morning running group? Were they scared off by the pictures from Carlsbad?

5) Is Kenny's resurgence directly related to my downfall.


Saturday, January 22, 2005

Saturday morning disaster. (Or the hills of Aguajito cramp my style.)

8.5 ish2 hrs. or something Aguajito Rd. to Mark Thomas Dr. to Sylvan Rd. to AguajitoWho cares?

I had planned to run 14 miles today. I had planned to make new friends. Well, you know what Steinbeck said about plans, don't you? They get messed up.

Since my theoretical training partner isn't at the same place in his schedule that I am, I decided to go out and meet a regular Saturday morning run group in Carmel. They run a route from Carmel Beach into Pebble Beach and along the ocean, about 12 miles. I would simply go a mile further before turning around.

"It will be nice to run with people," I thought to myself. "Maybe I can make some new running buddies."

So I woke up at 6:15 a.m. (getting to be a nasty habit, huh?) I choked down a yogurt smoothie. I got in my car. I went to Carmel. I found a small group of runners and introduced myself. (They didn't know who I was. The indignity!) A few minutes before the 7:20 a.m. run was to start, I asked where the bathroom was for a pre-run pit stop.

I was fast. But two minutes later, when I came out of the bathroom, the group was nowhere to be seen. They ran away from me. I didn't know their route. They ditched me. I had flashbacks to the junior high, when my friends ditched me at the mall. I had flashbacks to the day of my birth, when my parents left me at the hospital. (No respect.) I wonder what happened to the runners. Were they scared away by my yellow shorts? Had they seen the pictures from Carlsbad?

So I high-tailed it away from Carmel and went about mapping a new route. I would tackle treacherous Aguajito Rd., a winding, narrow, hilly two-lane strip of blacktop that that belts Monterey's backside, connecting Carmel to Monterey on the east side of Highway 1. I clocked it out on my odometer, and figured I'd run the road (and another) round-trip (8.5 mi. or so) and then run for another hour. That would give me 14, I thought.

For a while, everything was going great. I jogged up from my car to Aguajito's foggy summit and turned off my radio so I could enjoy the sounds of nature, then began the two-mile descent into Monterey. Easy stuff. Up Sylvan, (eat a gel) run back down to Aguajito, and start my way chugging back up the hill that was so kind just an hour before. The first half of the hill went well. Then, my hamstrings and calves started aching a little.

No matter, I thought, this is just prep for Hurricane Pt. Those flatlanders don't have a chance. Then, as I was approaching the steepest part, disaster. A sharp flash of pain in my left calf.

Stop. Stretch. Go again.


Stop. Stretch. Massage. Go again.

More pain.

Repeat stretch. Walk. Run. Pain.

So, I walked the rest of the way up the hill. Then I jogged downhill the final mile to my car. Instead of running for another hour, I got in my car and quit. When I got home, I was gimping.

Ice. Stretch. Rub. Call Dr. Dad.

He says it's probably just a cramp. A few hours later, it still hurts a little, but maybe it will go away. I hope it will. Regardless, my confidence is shaken. I was running really slowly, and I took yesterday off. Since I started training, I haven't had to cut short a run, and now I have.

I've tasted failure, now. I just hope the flavor doesn't linger.

Like I was in a race

9 miles1:35.22My parents house in P.G. (Asilomar) to Lovers along the bike path to my house atop Seaside (La Salle)10:35 per mile

The elusive 10 mile mark will have to wait a few more days. NOT THAT I GIVE A RAT'S YOU-KNOW-WHAT. Easily my best run to date, I was looking for 10 but my wife happened to drive by right at the 9 mile mark and well, a free ride, sounded too good to pass up (my legs felt like four-day old jello by that time). I couldn't believe my pace. When I calculated what I had done (it was a non-stop run by the way) I was mid-10's. What was I thinking? Well, let me tell you, it felt like I was in a race.

Here's the breakdown.

I opted to run the reverse route of what I usually do. I drove to my parent's house and found a route that was exactly on the dot 10 miles. Now driving from Seaside to P.G., I noticed that it was sunny up until you got to where my parents live - which is two blocks from Asilomar Beach. That was a good thing because I knew that I was running into the warmth.

Anyways, it was exactly 3.5 miles to Lovers Point, a route that I took down Pico to Ocean View, around the golf course. I was cruising, in fact, I felt real energized in the fog. When I reached Lovers, I was at 32 minutes, and knew that I was cooking. It was here that things got interesting.

First, I ran into an old friend of mine who I had seen in a over a year. She was running in the opposite direction with her 1-and-half year old daughter in one of those baby jogger thingamajig. We had one of those classic runners moments, where we stopped to talk but kept our legs running in place. The talk was brief, as I was feeling to good to let this momentum slip away.

About a half-a-mile later I heard a loud voice booming in my direction, "Bears Suck." Now anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge Chicago Bears fan. Actually I like all the Chicago teams - especially the Cubs. (The only sport I root for regionally is the Sharks in Hockey). The voice sounded like my good friend Steve but when I turned towards it, I couldn't find him

Pressing on, I blew passed the Aquarium (4.5 mile mark) and right around Edgewater I saw Pacific Grove football coach Buck Roggeman walking with his wife and daughter. Buck is an old friend as well and he yelled out, "Keep it going."
It was good encouragement and I did so as order.

Less than a half-mile later a man in a small group of bikers yelled out, "Go Longest Mile, Go." I have no idea who that was but didn't care. It brought a smile to may face and even though I was starting to get real thirsty (the sun was now in full force) I pushed on. I guess someone really is reading this crap.

Anyways, I pushed on past Fisherman's Wharf and that's where my legs began to weaken on me. Inwardly, I felt O.K. I wasn't tired like on Wednesday's 6 miler. I realized that I was crossing a threshold where I hadn't been too many times before. Plus, I was just getting over a cold and my legs were probably not used to such continued punishment.

By the time I hit the 8-mile mark (Embassy Suites) I began to let doubt creep in. I knew I could make it another mile but the final one is entirely up hill. And I wasn't looking forward to that. I think that is why when my wife pulled up right before the beginning of the hill I opted to take the ride home.

That may be a bit of cop out. I don't care. I feel great. I feel like 10 miles is going down soon and better than anything else I didn't have to walk today. Confidence is at an all-time high. So I will ride this into Monday's 5-miler and push for 10 miles on Wednesday.

Friday, January 21, 2005

I'm not alone, right?

Please join me in a collective YUCK to Segal's photo's. Not that I'm much prettier (and heck, give him credit for not be bashful) but some things you just don't want to see.
Of course, there are some people in this world who have a fetish for such things. So if that's you, I guess this blog site has officially gone X-rated. Enjoy it. I sure didn't.

Large and In Charge: More Pictures from Carlsbad

Here are the official pictures of me from The Carlsbad Half Marathon. Warning: These images may not be suitable for small children.

Making a mountain out of a treadmill

5.057:12 mins.T to the R to the eadmill11:25 ish mins./mi.

The schedule called for five, so, dagnabbit, I did five. But I didn't feel like running it fast. And I was on the treadmill. And I'm beginning to dread the hills of Big Sur, particularly Hurricane Pt., the 550-ft, two-mile extravaganza of suffering at miles 10 - 12 of the Big Sur Marathon.

So what did I do? I raised the incline on the treadmill.

How much did I raise it? I don't know. The treadmill didn't display the degrees of angle.

How many pounds of water did I lose while running? Four. In an hour.

Today is an off-day. Tomorrow doesn't get easier, though. I have to run 14. Eeeek!

I'll post Friday Mailbag later today.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Milking the Carlsbad Half Marathon for all it's worth.

Hey guys. Guess what I wrote my latest Herald running column about. How my faith was shaken by the breakup of Brad and Jen? Wrong. Reflections on the implications of the president's inauguration? Nope. My aspirations to join the Olympic bobsled team? Try again. Okay. Fine. I wrote about the half marathon. Because I apparently haven't done anything worthwhile since Sunday.

So read the story. It might be familiar. You probably know how it ends. But read it anyway. Please. I'm not too proud to beg.

I'll run later, maybe on a treadmill, maybe outside, with the woodchucks. Everyone loves woodchucks. That reminds me of a question...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Carlsbad Half Marathon - In Living Color.

I finally got the digital photos developed from the race. Wait, digital photos don't need developing. So now y'all know I wasn't blowing smoke in my previous post about the race.

Here's the line for the porta-potties. Isn't it long?

Here's me finally reaching the end of the line. Ahhh. Sweet relief.

My lady was so obsessed with snapping a picture of the Kenyan marathon champion that she completely missed my finish. She looked for me in the medical tent afterward, but I managed to sneak into her picture anyway. Don't I have a pretty back? Pity the fools who finished in my wake.

If it's not too cold, its too hot

6.21:16:22My house in Seaside to Lovers Point in PG/td>12:18

I'd just about take warm weather to raining weather any day. But not today. It doesn't help that I've been sick for the past week. And I do not excercise when I am sick.
But maybe I should have. Because I felt it today.
I wanted 8 miles. I got 6.2. I wanted to run in the low 11's. I ran in the low 12's. I wanted to run continuously. I had to stop almost a half dozen times.
But I should be thankful that it was not because of my foot. I just was tired. The longest I went without stopping was 2 miles, and those were the first two. Still, it had been 9 days since I did any running at all. And I don't feel to bad right now. Tired, but not sick or really that sore.

I firmly believe I still have enough time to get ready for April 24th. The key will be not to have anymore big breaks. I'll be back out there Friday. And this time, 8 miles will be the minimum.

The mystery of one flipper

10.1 mi.1:59:32 hrs./mins./sec.Monterey Bay Aquarium <--> Pacific Grove High School11:50 mins./mi.

One of the great things about running near the ocean is getting to see weird, mysterious stuff. There are the great spiny bush p/lants, their orange bristle flowers currently in bloom. I've seen seaweed washed up that looks like giant squid. I've seen couples, making out, oblivious to those of us trying to exercise around them.

But today I saw something that piqued my interest. There, laying on the trail, was one flipper. It wasn't a strange flipper. Standard black rubber. Strap. All there. But I wonder how it got there? Sure, some diver probably left it behind after a dive, but what fun is that? I prefer to think that it was left behind by a covert, 007-style agent, who is currently infiltrating the picturesque town of Pacific Grove. Is he stealing the secrets of the monarch butterfly? Perhaps he works for Disney, and is trying to gather ideas about turn-of-the-century Victorian architecture to steal for their next theme park, Potpourri Land?

Or maybe the owner of the flipper is still out there, in the Bay. On foggy nights, nights like this one, he comes out, to look for his flipper, and seek revenge on the kids who ran him over with their jet skis.

Have I mentioned that sometimes my mind wanders while I run? Speaking of running, I was super slow today. My legs feel dead tired from the race, and I don't want to hurt myself. Then again, I feel like I couldn't have run much faster this morning anyway. Sigh.

I'm still working on posting pictures from Sunday's race. Bear with me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Jon, meet the Cavitron.

3.5ish39 minutes or soAround P.G.11 ish, or somewhere around that, I guess

After running the Carlsbad Half Marathon on Sunday, I took time off Monday to rest my weary loins and have the dentist drill out a cavernous hole in one of my molars.

The dentist used something called a Cavitron (Now with Power Boost!) to sand-blast four years of tartar off my teeth. It was awful. He asked me if I was comfortable. I told him that it wasn't exactly a Caribbean cruise. He gently scolded me, asking me what I expected after a five-year absence from dentisry. After the worst was over he told me that I had to approach dental hygiene like I was approaching my marathon training. (Slow, with a lot of Spandex?)

Anyway, half marathon and dental care behind me, I was ready to hit the road again this morning. I took a casual stroll around PG, testing out a new pair of tights I bought at the race. I didn't track my distance, I didn't plan a route, I didn't care about being fast. My legs were still sore from Sunday, and I was tired most of the run. And that's okay. Afterward, I stretched longer than normal. I hope my body will thank me for it later.

I hope to post photos of Carlsbad later today, including one of my sweaty, hairy, gelatinous back. Yum!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Costanza runs Carlsbad

13.1 mi.2:20:04 hrs./mins.CARLSBAD HALF MARATHON10:41 mins./mi.

Sometimes I don't know what compels me to do what I do. Sometimes I don't know why I behave in bizarre, unfortunate ways. Sometimes I identify with George Costanza, that short, stocky, bald jerk who was Seinfeld's sidekick. So it was Sunday at the Carlsbad Half Marathon, my introduction to the world of road racing, where I went nearly naked, taunted musical acts, broke-up a water handoff, and swore at a Kenyan.

My foibles started early in the morning. I woke up at 4:45 a.m., 15 minutes before my alarm was set. Immediately, I started drinking. First, 24 ounces of water. Then a yogurt shake. Then, another 24 ounces of water. Then a couple of bananas. Then shower, get dressed, and load up the car with girlfriend, sister and sister's friend. We got into the car, then, before leaving the hotel, we got out and had a final bathroom break. We had hoped to leave at 6 a.m./6:15 a.m. at the latest, but ended up leaving the hotel at 6:45.

No problem, right? We jumped into the rental boat, a late model Mercury Grand Marquis, and cruised cop-style down I-5 to the very scenic starting line in a shopping mall parking lot. Already, 50 ounces of water and 16 ounces of yogurt were begging to exit my body. I was about to burst, but there was nowhere to find cover in the mall parking lot. I headed to the city of porta-potties erected near the start. The lines there were longer than Flo Jo's nails. It was an excruciating wait. TIme slowed down as I inched my way toward the potty. Finally, one minute before the race was due to start: sweet relief.

But I was in such a hurry, I didn't empty my whole bladder. I dumped all my sweats on my girlfriend and ran to the starting herd, even as I felt liquid continue to beg me for an exit.

Crossing the starting line, everything seemed good. It was a fresh day, and despite a cold, I felt well-trained and confident. Before the race, my sister said to me and her friend that she was excited, becuase this was the first race she was running with people who she loved. Awwwww.

At three miles or so, I noticed that I had settled into a pace next to a nice couple wearing orange shirts. I asked Mr. Orange Shirt how fast he was going. He said he was running 10 minute miles. Uh-oh. That was a lot faster than I wanted to be going. And my bladder was still in distress. So I pulled off at the next porta potti, barging in on someone doing their business. No matter. I waited my turn and continued running, never to see Mr. Orange Shirt again.

Soon, I settled in again. Bladder emptied, it was time for my first big test: taking fluid from an aid station. I was so excited to run the race, I bought a brand new white shirt to run in, a $20 Adidas jobber with blue stripes and fancy fabric. Soon. the shirt was covered with orange Gatorade. Drinking out of cups while you run is really hard. I'd say about a fifth of the liquid got in me, and the rest got on me. It was an incided that was repeated several times during the race.

Without a thought, my Gatorade covered self had gotten to the halfway point of the race. With the sun at my back and the ocean at my shoulder, I decided to pick it up a little bit.

"I love gravity," I snarkily remarked to a skinny guy next to me as I left him in my wake.

"It will work against you in a few minutes," he said, directing my attention to a hill ahead.

Around mile 10, things started to get difficult. I started to worry that I came out too strong. That I was too confident. I felt my heart rate coming up, I began sucking wind a little and my legs were starting to hurt.

I slowed down. I started to get a little weird. First, I lifted up my shirt a little, displaying my hairy belly to fans, fellow runners and roadside musicians. Then, I started drumming on myself, slapping out beats on my belly. It distracted me from the pain. It attracted strange looks. So be it.

At mile 11, I think I was starting to lose my mind. The music had lifted me up and given me energy at each mile marker thus far. I saw a rock band playing on the side of the course. The lead singer was wearing a green and gold jersey with #4 on it: Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers. My heart filled with hate. For a moment, I considered stopping and mooning him, a la Randy Moss. Instead, I just ran over to the side of the course, and without stopping, screamed Favre Sucks!!! at the top of my lungs. Minnesota, represent.

He looked bewildered. I just ran away to the next rest stop. Mile 12, one mile left to go. I could hardly control where I was running, but the end was in sight. In front of me, a volunteer tried to hand off water to a runner. I broke up their handoff like it was a game of Red Rover, spilling their drink on the floor. I kept on running.

The last mile was curvy, and I tried to go hard. I got into a pack with three other runners, all in their forties, and I whipped off my shirt.

"Where's the goddam finish line?" I wheezed.
"Up around the next bend," said the guy next to me.
"I just want to finish strong," I said.

One bend came and went. No finish.
Then another turn. No finish.
A third. Still couldn't see the mall.

I was out of gas. The pack went on, and I slowed down to a gimpy jog.

Then it happened. I thought I heard motorcycles chasing me. I started to see people gathered. I heard a roar come up in the crowd. They were cheering. Loud. For me. I started to run again. Fast and hard, with long strides, almost jumping around the corner.

The volume of the crowd increased to a stadium roar. I knew I was inspirational, I thought, but I couldn't believe the support. To get myself psyched for the last 200 yards, I screamed a nasty word, that starts with mother and ends with something a little bit uglier.

As my epithet let loose, he came up beside me. I bet he thought I was swearing at him. It could be my imagination, but I think he looked at me for a second, before leaving me behind. So, the crowd was cheering for him. The overall winner. I guess I can handle that. A few seconds later, shirtless and sticky, covered in Gatorade, I crossed the finish line.

I finished, and I pased a lot of skinny people on the way. I came in 2,485th out of 3,725 runners. I wasn't the fastest, but I wasn't the slowest either.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Headin' south

I'm running in the Carlsbad Half Marathon this weekend with my über-athletic sister. She will be in the 8:00 min. pace group. I will be in the 11:00 min. pace group. I hope to finish in under 2 hours, 30 mins. We'll see.

This is my first race, my first athletic competition since this Infamous Badger Herald vs. Daily Cardinal touch football games we had in college. You haven't seen anything until you've seen drunken newspaper geeks face off against each other on the grid-iron on a cool, Madison day. The best part of going to the sidelines: keg stands.

So this is my first athletic competition since high school that won't involve beer or cheese. Wish me luck. And pity the people who finish behind me, for their eyes may never recover from the shock.

Life on the mill.

101:52 hrs.treadmill11:12

Indoors is not a good place to run. Convenient? Yes. Light when it's dark outside? Yes. And treadmills are soft and bouncy, like the trampolines I always heard about in junior high and high school. (I never got to actually jump on the trampolines because they were always at hot girls' houses (with parents who probably bought their kids Zima) and, well, I wasn't invited. Not that my dad would have let me do something so dangerous anyway. Don't you people know that trampolines can lead to back injuries. All that bouncing can't be good for your digestion, you know.)

Parenthetical asides aside, I've discussed this whole gym topic at length in a previous semi-amusing post. So instead of boring you, dear reader, with another long-winded treatise on the gym, I'll just tell you what happened yesterday:

I got to the gym. I got on the only open treadmill in front of the TV. It was broken. I waited patiently for another treadmill. A woman with a Russian accent (I bet her name was Olga.) finished her walk, and got off. I got on the treadmill. I set it for 10 miles. I ran 3.9 miles or so in 45 minutes. The treadmill stopped. I don't know why. It probably had a time limit set in. I finished my run.

I was out of clean running clothes yesterday. So I wore a white cotton undershirt to run. It was warm in the gym. I sweat like Ernest Borgnine eating onions in a sauna. By the end of my run, my white T-shirt was transparent. I looked like the star of a "Girls gone Wild" video. I was the only contestant in my own personal wet T-shirt contest. I was the winner. I am disgusting.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Very superstitious...

My bleach-blonde training partner Kenny has something in common with Stevie Wonder. No silly, Kenny isn't blind. He's superstitious. He does some crazy thing with his sock. Look at him, he's crazy sock guy. Give him some candy. Read all about it in his latest Herald column.

Now onto my favorite subject: me. Since I didn't make it to bed until past midnight last night, (Damn you, Empire Strikes Back) I didn't think it would be wise to wake up at 6 a.m. to run, so I slept in. So, tonight, I will attempt a new personal record of 10 miles on the treadmill, so I can make sure I'm in tip-top shape for the Carlsbad Half Marathon on Sunday. Will I do it? Will the gym smell of my musty aroma? Tune in tomorrow morning to find out.

Back on the rubber road. Next stop, the rubber room.

4 mi.43:24 mins.treadmill10:51 mins./mi.

I ran on the treadmill last night. It made me feel better. I could have run faster, since I only ran 4 miles, but I didn't. I'm trying to get over this cold. Can't you people just give me a break. I'm not Superman. I'm not even Batman. I don't even have a secret identity. I'm just a regular guy. But sometimes, regular guys are called upon to do extraordinary things. Okay. I'll try harder next time. Just for you. You know who you are. You're special. We're all special.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Moon over Monterey

If, lord willing, I finish the marathon in triumph, I know what I'm going to do to celebrate. I'll take my cues from my home team, the Minnesota Vikings, and their star wide receiver the cl(ass)y Randy Moss.

When Randy fake-mooned those cheese-eating Lambeau fans, I was aghast with glee. And I began to imagine my own triumph. I can see it in my head now: On my right, the CrossRoads shopping village. On my left, the peaceful neighborhoods of Carmel. The throngs of fans, the thousands who finished the race earlier than me, and, the middle of it all, my derriere, a sight for all to see. Awesome.

Will the commissioner fune me? Is there a commissioner of marathon running? Maybe I should bring a Sharpie and sign my shoes, too. I'll hand them to my agent. Wait, I don't have an agent.

But seriously, I have a feeling that any bending over I do after the marathon will be related to cramps and nausea, not celebration. Sigh. We can't all be superstars. We can't all be featured on ESPN.

In running-related news, I went to the dentist today, my cold is getting better, and I think I'm going to try to run an easy four miler tonight on the treadmill to prepare to run in San Diego this weekend. I haven't run in three days, and my legs are getting itchy. (I wonder what those red bumps are...)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

What comes around, really comes around

At this very moment, I can only echo my partner's sentiments. I feel lousy. It seems as if this bug is really going around the office. My boss has it, Segal has it, and guess what, I have it too. What can I say, what goes around, really goes around.
I'm in no mood to be creative or funny. Besides, that's Segal's department. So, I will take another day off and see what Wednesday brings.

Another day off. (Or the devil wears merit badges.)

I found this article with advice on running through a cold. After reading it (and falling asleep on my keyboard in the middle), I've decided to take another night off. Becuase of fatigue and a general dizzy feeling (Nyquil, I'm looking in your direction here,) No gym. No outdoors. Just more sleep. And tea. I have to be well rested to go to the dentist tomorrow morning, eh?

I wonder what happens if you go to the dentist with your nose plugged up? Breathing through your mouth can be unpleasant at the dentist, maybe.

I also wonder how much weight I've gained in three days of non-training. I'm a big subscriber to the "feed a cold" treatment strategy. And the reporter next to me brought in Girl Scout Cookie samples to get us hooked so that we buy them from her daughter. I think they have a secret ingredient in them: crack.

I've had an unfortunate tendency to eat those cookies one roll at a time. Who hasn't "done" an entire roll of thin mints fresh from the freezer? Who's felt shame afterwards? Come on, you, in the corner, with the chocolate under your nails. That's right, tubby, fess up. The group feels your pain.

I wonder how the math works? Does one roll of cookies = one roll of flub above my belt.?

Anyway, she's gotten all of us hooked on her do-si-dos and thin mints and other chocolard-peanut butter confections, and soon she'll be by to collect our cash. I wish someone would get this cookie monster off my back. The crumbs are making me itch.

Clogged and confused

I didn't run yesterday, because my toothache/cold turned into a full-blown sneezing fiesta. In the kindness of my heart, I felt it would be unfair to expose the crowd at the gym to my spewing mucous, spreading the wiley beastie bacteria around through the air.

I spent the night in a feverish Nyquil haze, the viscous day-glo green liquid coating my brain, prompting dreams of marathon training combined with war correspondent work in Iraq. Strange, huh? I woke up confused and disoriented, unable to determine if the yogurt smoothie I was drinking for breakfast was past its expiration date. Which number comes first, the month or the day? Are yogurt smoothies supposed to be fizzy?

I hope to run tonight, just an easy few miles on a treadmill, but I'll have to see.


Monday, January 10, 2005

A pain in the mouth

I've had lingering crud for about a week now. Tired, achey, big, black Tony Soprano/Kenneth Cole bags under my eyes. I thought it was a brewing cold, facilitated by my frequent two-hour jaunts in the pouring rain. I thought it was a cold, or recurring mono, or maybe Dengue fever, but maybe I thought wrong.

At the same time as all the symptoms were occuring, I had throbbing pain in my teeth. (Confession: I haven't been to the dentist in, like a decade.) Basically, it felt like the Doozers (those little green dudes from Fraggle Rock) were at work inside my mouth, hammering away at my teeth with their miniature jackhammers. My pop's suggested that my feelings of general crudiness could be a raging bacterial infection underneath my enamel. It appears that there is a party in my mouth, and all single-celled organisms are invited.

So I've called a new dentist and will visit him Wednesday morning, if the theoretical infection doesn't spread to my brain in before that. Oh my gosh. What if it's spread to my brain already? What if these are the ravings of a madman? What does this have to do with training for the marathon?

Anyway. I'll try to run 6 miles on the treadmill tonight, and run them fast. I hope I feel better, soon, because this weekend I'm running a half marathon in SoCal with my sister. That is, if my tooth infection doesn't turn me into a crazy zombie vegetable blob before then.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Rain, rain, go away

3 MILES29:38My house in Seaside along General Jim Moore, down Broadway to Freemont to La Salle back up to my house9:50

Rain can be refreshing. It can also be downright cold. On my last long run, the rain seemed to help revive me. Today it was the opposite.
I had been cooped up all weekend and hadn't run in a few days. The rain has that effect on me. But I knew that today I had to get some mileage in. So, I pushed for time rather than distance.
I can say this: Better to run on a regular basis than not to. I know that's kind of like saying it's better to make 20 dollars an hour than 10, but my point is that taking an extra day off is more damaging than restful.
But I did make the time I was hoping. And the last mile was all up hill. I kind of puckered there towards the top but pushed myself to finish.
I'm back at it tomorrow, even if it rains and even if I just need to put in 5 or so miles.

Secrets and rainbows.

12 mi.2:15:17Downtown PG to Mtry City Hall to Veteran's Park to Mtry High School to Del Monte Center to Fisherman's Wharf to Lovers Point to 17-Mi. Drive to Downtown PG11:16 mins./mi.

One of the best things about running is that it forces you to see things and explore areas that you normally wouldn't. The few people I ran into along the way nodded at me and smiled. We were all in on a secret: going outside can be fun even when it's raining.

Yesterday's run was a perfect example. First of all, if I wasn't training for the marathon, I would have never gone out in the pouring rain. But I did, because the chart said I had to run 12 miles. And I obey the chart like a dog obeys its master.

Running outside in the rain, I saw a Monterey I haven't seen before - a Monterey in full drainage mode. Gutters and ditches were transformed into miniature but raging rivers. I could actually hear water rushing down toward the sea. And everything was an emerald dream.

Running up through Veteran's Park, near the top of the city, gave me a taste of what to expect runnining up Hurricane Point on race day. It seemed like the climb would never end.

Running back down to the wharf, the sun began to peek out from the clouds. Looking out to the ocean, I saw something that made me break into applause even as my legs ached from nine miles of abuse. Across the bay, seeming to originate from the smoke stacks of Moss Landing, was one of the brightest rainbows I'd ever seen. It illuminated the coast line with its, well, rainbow of colors. I could even see purple.

Getting home, I ate two bowls of cereal, overflowing with milk and carb-rich honey (four big blobs). And I wasn't comatose the rest of the day.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Friday mailbag!!!

Since I'm too tired to write anything original, I'm taking this as an opportunity to start a new feature. Here at The Longest Mile, people are occasionally compelled to send us messages of inspiration, persperation, desperation, or just plain ridicule. Every Friday, I'll try to run some of the best.

Here they are:

From: Bob
Date: Friday, December 31, 2004 3:11 pm

Subject:  Marathon

Ken and Jon,
Thanks for the good laugh and making me feel good, its a cold rainy and
snowy day here in Ohio and I needed the mood lift.  You guys can't be
serious about the marathon, it is a joke, maybe the 5k???
I'm was a middle of the pack  runner, started running when I quit
smoking in 1982, when I was 40.  I'm 62 now and have emphasema, but can
still run 12 minute miles.
If your at all serious, you guys better lose about 50 lbs (each), plus
plan on Marathon day being the most pain full day of your life.

Good Luck and Thanks for the smiles.


Ed: Thanks Bob!

From: Stuart

Date: Monday, December 13, 2004 10:57 am
Subject: OK Marathon Men

Well all right MEN.
I can tell you that at 6’0” 235 lbs. I have run – OK jogged – OK jogged/walked 5 – count em FIVE marathons.
You are my tribe men – the tribe who pulls over for a cheeseburger long about mile 13. Not really.
Two Marine Corps (tremendous)
Two Country Music (Nashville – little hilly)
Rock n Roll (San Diego – last June)
Finished the Rock n Roll at about 6:30 – that’s thirty minutes longer than an 81-year old from my town of Charlotte, NC.
The way I look at it – I can stay on my feet more than twice as long as the Kenyans!
It’s about persistence and endurance baby! PERSEVERE!

Charlotte, NC

Ed: See ya at Mickey D's!!!

Date: Thursday, December 30, 2004 5:48 pm

Subject: thanks for the weblog

Hey, you guys inspire me and many others for sure.
The weblog is an absolute blast to read. Thanks for dreaming this thing up and sharing your experiences.
I assure you that you guys will be able to finish the BSIM. This is based on your training weblogs to date. Get in a few more long runs and you'll finish. Keep the training program mostly intact from here on out and you'll surprise yourselves!
Keep positive. Or as an alternative, think of an extremely uncomforable, hypothetical  situation that you could possibly dream worse than plodding away on a rainy, wind-swept training run.
You've picked the perfect marathon to complete.
I'm absolutely obsessed with this race and will be participating in my fourth. A neighbor of mine pushes around 230 lbs and he got me running back in 2000.  He still manages to complete Big Sur every couple of years plus another 'thon here and there.
Come race day, enjoy it.
San Mateo, CA

Hey guys, keep the love and hate flowing. Email me at

Soooooo tired

Maybe I'm getting run down. Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe I'm just a big wuss. But I woke up this morning to cover the the storm of the century, and I didn't want to get out of bed.

I never want to get out of bed anymore. I wonder what's wrong with me. I keep falling asleep at my desk. I fell asleep while I was writing this post. I can't imagine running. All I can imagine are sheep. Sweet, fluffy, soft sheep.

Nighty nite.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


The day after my best run to date I am feeling quite good. As my usual, I am using the RICE method of Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. I cannot possibly describe how positive I feel after my 8-miler. Be sure to check out Segal's column, it is hilarious.

Warning: Too Sexy!

Who said tights are for the ladies? Check out this sexy man in tights. Isn't he sexy? Oh. Too Sexy. I can't handle it anymore. Someone turn down the sexy.

Oh, and I have a new Herald running column online. Apparently, I'm getting a big head over all this stuff. I wonder what might have given me that idea?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

It was Costa Rica all over again

8 MILES89:45My house in Seaside, rec trail to Lovers, up to my parents house by Asilomar11:13 per mile

In the summer of 1997 I spent 5 weeks traveling in Costa Rica.
Today's run reminded me of that.
In Costa Rica during our summer months, it rains quite a bit. But it's not the type of rain that is biting or cold. It's refreshing because it relieves the heat.
In a national park on the Pacific side, I was hiking through some of the rain forest. The trails were steep, the heat was a bit overbearing. This particular hike veered towards the peak of this magnificent cliff. More than 150 feet below, the Pacific Ocean crashed and churned. Making my way towards this peak, I was being hunted by a pack of white-faced monkeys. You know the type - the same monkeys from the TV show "Friends" or from the movie "Outbreak."
Yes they are small monkeys but nasty little creatures. Because of the increased human contact, these white-faced monkeys have become aggressive in the National Parks. They are known to attack humans wearing backpacks because they believe there is food inside. Signs warn visitors not to let small children out of sight.
They also hunt in packs - sometimes as large as 7.
On this particular day, I could hear them screeching and jumping in the tree limbs above. Though not particularly scared, I was a bit anxious to lose the pack. I was, afterall, alone on these trails.
The heat only added to the anxiety. As I made my way up one particular small hill, the monkeys made their move. Out of nowhere, the lead monkey jumped onto the trail in front of me, maybe 7 feet. Three more came up the rear, positioning themselves in a classic attack formation. It almost seemed as if they were trying to funnel me to a broken trail to my right.
As I hastily made my decision to go right, the monkeys made a big mistake. Waiting some 5 yards ahead on this broken trail was two white-faced suckers who had jumped the gun. They had tried to set a trap but failed.
Just as I turned back towards the lead monkey, the rain began to fall.
Bolstered by a sense of empowerment, I charged the lead monkey, flailing my arms about and making as much noise as possible. He hadn't considered this move and quickly jumped back. Not daring to hesitate, I moved even more quickly and blew past him. The pack behind did not follow and with the rain falling I made my way through the rain forest and out of the park.

Today, no monkeys tried to attack. Nevertheless, the rain couldn't have come at a better time. I had blown off Segal and the 6:30 a.m. run. It wasn't really my fault, I just woke up late. He's pissed but he'll get over it. In fact, based on my run today, he should be worried.
I pushed for 8 miles and got it. Moreso, today was a truly special day because I did not stop. Not once. Yes, my right foot, which has been as clockwork as Puxitani Phil on Groundhogs Day, did not go to sleep around mile 3. In fact, it did not go to sleep at all. That had never happened.
It felt good to just keep running. I made it to the five-mile mark with no problem. I got to 6 and couldn't believe how good I felt. The last two were somewhat uphill, and I struggled a bit. Still, I cruised into my parents house at nearly full run. My time was just over 11 minutes. And the rain, well, it refreshed me. I don't know why I had been so afraid of running in the rain. Just like Costa Rica, it did more to bolster my confidence that hinder it.

1. I will not refer to Jon Segal as a fat, overweight, out-of-shape, non-athletic guy. My realization is that he is a machine, much like the TERMINATOR. He continues to defy my expectations. So, much like Reese and Sarah, I am devising a way to take out the TERMINATOR.
2. I will not talk any more about my right foot or achilles heel (unless I suffer a major injury). I realize that these problems may never go completely away but are certainly managable. I'm just sick and tired of using those two ailments as excuses. I will run through them, continue to treat them and be advised by experts. But they will not hinder my training any longer.

Rescue 911

10.11:55:20 hrs.Monterey Bay Aquarium <-> PG High School via Oceanview Blvd.11:25 mins./mi.

There wasn't much that went right with today's 10-miler.

I woke up to darkness at 5:50 a.m., 10 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off. My heart seemed to be beating a little fast and I was sweating a bit. I also had indigestion from eating late the night before.

Oh well. I got up anyway. After all, I had to meet Kenny at 6:30 for our reunion run, the first time we would train together since his recovery from injury. I stretched on my tights, threw a pair of silver shorts over them (for visibility) and headed out into the cold, moist darkness.

I got to our meeting place. No Kenny. Fifteen minutes later. Still no Kenny.

The bleach-blonde girlie-man stood me up.
Maybe he's afraid of the dark.

No matter. The first lights were staring to peek up over the bay, and there were plenty of other joggers on the trail to keep me company. Soon, I was chugging my way toward Asilomar, reminding myself to take it slow because of Tuesday night's speedy 5-miler.

Plodding to Mile 4, up Forest Hill to PG High, I cracked open my Gatorade. Gulp. Gulp. The acid in my stomach made itself known. I heard my cell phone squawking from my fanny pack. Without looking, I turned it off.

Running back, I decided to go a little faster, as the light rain cooled my body. Sure, I was burping up a little oatmeal/Gatorade/acid mixture, but if eating breakfast once is good for you, repeating the meal must be twice as nice.

Two miles left, I felt good, so I pushed it a bit. About 1 mile left, I felt a little twinge in my right hip. I thought it was my fanny pack rubbing against the bone, so I loosened the strap and finished my run like a real he-man (minus the fur-lined briefs, bob haircut and talking cat sidekick).

When I got out of the car back at home, I was surprised. I could hardly walk. It felt like someone stabbed me in the hip. I must have hurt something. So I stretched and iced and stretched some more, then hit the shower.

On my way to work, I finally got around to checking my cell phone. I had a message. Maybe Kenny called me to apologize. Looking at my call log, though, I saw something curious. Under dialed calls, it said this:

Emergency Number
7:10 a.m. Jan. 05

I checked my message. On the phone was a confident but comforting voice.

"Jon. This is Monterey County 911 Emergency Dispatch. Your cellular phone is repeatedly dialing 911. If it is not an emergency, please secure your phone."

This can't be good. Isn't it a crime to carnk-call 911? It isn't even a pre-set on my phone. What are the odds? And I still have indigestion.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Hard and Fast

5 mi.47:17treadmill9:27 mins./mi.

This was my fastest run ever. I wasn't even tired afterward. I felt invincible.

On fitness celebrity

Since I didn't run this morning, I had the opportunity to watch the news as I lollygagged my way toward getting ready for work.

As a frequent TV-watcher (please, dear reader, try to mask your surprise), I have had ample opportunities to observe this man, Fitness Celebrity John Basedow, flexing before a wall of fire, his abs glistening with (hopefully non-flammable) oil, his pecs looking as though they were chiseled from booth-tanned marble by Michelangelo himself, his dessicated head, looking as though it is drained of all moisture, sitting atop it all, with eyes, in a steely stare, hardened from hours, no, aeons, spent in the gym.

His body, grafted from the DnA of Hans AND Franz, says "I am perfection. Come and worship."
But the eyes tell a different story.
"No, you don't want to know what I know," they say. "We have seen too much."

It makes me wonder just how one becomes a fitness celebrity. Are there fitness celebrity fan magazines, underground versions of Us Weekly that peddle paparazzi pictorials of pectoral piccadillioes?

Do fitness celebrities have their own awards?

Imagine the fitties: Where Suzanne Powter, Tony Little, that psycho guy in tights with the pony-tail and headset, Jane Fonda, Mr. Basedow and Billy Blanks, and Jake, of Body by Jake, tumble down the blue mat to an awards show hosted by Richard Simmons, as flashbulbs capture the latest in unitard style?

Maybe someday I can be a fitness celebrity, if I just buy Basedow's tape.

He promises to make fitness simple. Just one half hour a day, he says, will transform us into Greco-Roman gods faster than you can say Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative, without either the cream or the clear. Well, I'm not sure I buy it. I'm calling shenanigans on the fitness celebrities of the world.

I've been to the basement with Billy Blanks. On a cold Minnesota afternoon, I did the Tae-Bo torture. Punching the air for 45 minutes never gave anyone a body like Billy Blanks. And I doubt John Basedow, fitness celebrity or not, got his six-pack abs by watching his videos.

I'll let my DVD player take care of the entertainment and my legs take care of the running, thank you.

See ya on the treadmill tonight.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Glad the Holidays are over

5 miles55:01My house, General Jim Moore to the Burger King and back11 minutes per mile

I love the Holiday because of my daughter and family but loathe them because of everything else.
It felt good to get back out there. I took a few days off. The rain, of course, made it easier to bag it. I was told that if you take more than two days off, you lose half of what you gained on the previous run. Take 3 days off and its like you never ran. Well, I took 5 days off. And it felt like it.
However, I made a good final push. The first 3 miles were actually pretty easy. A few rolling hills but after the turn it is uphill for about a mile. I tired out there. Still, I found myself gliding the last 1.5 miles, and cruised up to my house not too winded.

There is a realization that these past two weeks have hurt my training. I didn't get that many runs in over the holidays and I am certainly paying for it. However, I feel really good today. I feel like a few more runs of this caliber and I can make a big push next week. My goal is to get to double digits (10 miles) by Jan. 12. I've already finished an 8-miler and really think that I can hit 10 miles soon. That would be significant.

Anyways, I'm sure Segal will have something a bit funnier to read. So, ta-ta.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Prospero, eat your heart out

11 mi.2:03:42 hrs.Downtown PG <-> Lovers <-> Asilomar <-> Forest Hill11:15 mins./mi.

Despite the rain, I donned a longsleeve shirt, a vest and my ever-present tights and headed out into the raging tempest to attempt an 11-mile run.

Eleven miles is a long way to run. I can't think of many reasons that anyone would have to run 11 miles in our 21st century world. There are times during the run that you get worried that your legs will never be able to do anything else but run. The thing about running for more than two hours is that you can go through several different waves of pain.

First, it was the tendinitis in my feet. That went away at mile four.

Then, at mile six, there was the weird little twinge in my left Achilles tendon. I don't know what it was. I don't want to know what it was. Al I know is that it went away a minute later.

Then, my hips started to ache. It was a creeky sort of feeling, the kind you get when you look at an arthritic dog or cat. It felt like my hips were hinges that don't have enough oil. Squeak Squeak Squeak. Around Mile 9, my knees started to do a pretty clever imitation of my hips. It was like I was the rusty Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. (Which, by the way, is one of the most terrifying movies ever made.)

But I never got hot, at least. That was thanks to the rain. I spent most of the run cold and wet. But that's okay. Beacause running in the rain makes me feel tough. The people looked down on me from their SUV's as I tossed my rain-soaked hair, drops of dew flying in my wake.

"Look at that large man running in the rain," I can almost hear them say as they pilot their Hummers and Escalades down Oceanview Boulevard. "Isn't he tough? Isn't he dedicated? Isn't he cold?"

"No," says the skeptic from the driver's seat. "He's just crazy."

Maybe I am crazy. But, after I retreated to the warmth of my apartment and peeled off my vest, I was greeted with a sight that made everything worthwhile. There, staining my white shirt, diluted by rain, was an orange watercolor sunburst of blood originating from my left nipple.

It was my red badge. Of what? I'm not quite sure.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Resolutions for healthier living

Happy New Year's everyone.

I didn't get out to run today, but I'll be doing 11 miles tomorrow to make up for it. And I'm making some resolutions to live healthier for the year:

1) When someone brings donuts to the office, I'll only eat one... At least until everyone else has a chance to get one.

2) When I order an extra-value meal from McDonald's, I'll always make sure to get a Diet Coke.

3) Substitute pork for beef. After all, pork's the other white meat.

4) I'll hide the remote, so I'll get exercise walking to the TV to change the channel.

5) Three Words: Crisco, not Lard.

6) Eat with smaller bites. Smaller bites have less food.

7) I'll take the escalator instead of the elevator so I can work my arms.

8) When I go to KFC, I'll get the original recipe, not the extra tasty crispy.

9) I'll add weights to my favorite beer cozy.

10) Drink exclusively lite beer.

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