Friday, June 29, 2012

America can't say no.

Been nursing a cold. Kinda sucks. Our second night I had a terrible sore throat in the middle of the night, and have been dealing with it ever since. It is terrible at night, which made me think the extreme air-conditioning of the house might have something to do with it, it never feels as bad during the day.

But yesterday I started feeling woozy, my ears are stuffed ... I didn't get very much sleep Wednesday night, knowing I was going to rise so early to take the boy out and never really caught up on rest.  Today is that day, the last full day before departure, the "Sunday afternoon" of vacation where you know it's almost over. The kids are spending more, longer hours in the sand and water (away from Phineas, Ferb and Bridgit Mendler) while I sit on the porch, nursing exhaustion, editing scripts, chatting with whoever is about, and drinking beer.

But I will run once more. A grand experiment in barefoot running. Trying something new on vacation, when the weather is great, the surroundings so attractive, that's easy. Will I get a pair of Vibrams when I get home? Uh, maybe. I think so. Am I going to become one of those crazy barefoot runner people? Uh ... mmmaybe.

Temperature: 91° (But it doesn't feel like it.)
Distance: 2 miles

Some people like to drink a cool, fruity rum beverage and sit on the porch to watch the sunset. I like to dash into the wind for one last barefoot run. Lucky for me, this time returning the wind was at my back.

My lungs have not felt so free, my head so clear, in a couple days. It will pass shortly enough, but it was well worth it.

Super Bon Bon Genius Playlist
Never Said - Liz Phair
Down In The Park - Foo Fighters
Wild Wild Life/Love - Building On Fire - Talking Heads
Spin the Bottle - Juliana Hatfield Three
4 Out of 5 - Soul Coughing
Sixteen Military Wives - The Decemberists

It's been a great week. One of the things I have enjoyed about coming here these past two years is that the journey marks the beginning of summer, and not its end. Already making plans to make the Bay Days 5 Mile Run on July 4. But will I be wearing shoes ..?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I must learn to swim all over again.

Ultramarathon runner Jenn Shelton is very pretty.
That is all.

There have been times in days past when I have done sit-ups or what have you - "crunches" okay, sure ...  not to improve the appearance of my abdomen, sister please, I would never go around with my shirt off, no. Just to pull in my belly, to wear those jeans or slacks once upon a time which make me look emaciated and hip. There is no six-pack to be gained here. That will not happen.

Tightening of the abdominal muscles occurs naturally, gradually, for me, through the act of running, and that's it. When I cease running, the muscles go slack. Sometimes worse, I return to inner-tube land.

Not me.

To this boy, the sexiest part of the male anatomy is the inguinal ligament. Maybe it goes without saying that a washboard stomach is attractive on a man or a woman, but it is this line (see above) which defines the hip to the groin which, to me, is most pleasing to observe. It appears only in women who are extremely muscular and lean, which is to say, it is not commonplace, nor is it necessarily attractive. In dudes, however, you better have that going on.

At home, the bathroom mirror, is perpendicular to the shower, so it is not something I notice after a shower.  Here is it is the first thing you see when drawing across the shower curtain. And I found yesterday that I had redevloped my inguinal ligament in three days of barefoot running.

Temperature: 76°
Distance: 4 miles. I'm back.

Going to be a hot one today. Took the boy fishing at 4 AM this morning, caught a few pinfish and snapped the line just before we had to turn it in at six. Then we had breakfast on the pier at sunrise. Not a bad way to start the day.

Couldn't settle for two miles, had to push onto four. No regrets, blisters still tender, but not affecting my stride. Normally, when I get winded, my body will assume the form on an apostrophe, head down, looking at the ground, to continue running heel-to-toe.

Running barefoot I cannot look down in that way, and just think about it makes me straighten up, taking in the view, creating shorter steps, breathing deeper, feeling refreshed.

Super Bon Bon Genius Playlist
Blame - Soul Coughing
Love Rollercoaster - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Cuts You Up - Peter Murphy
(Nothing But) Flowers - Talking Heads
Kiss Off (177 bpm) - Violent Femmes
I Know What Boys Like - The Waitresses
Come Undone (Come Undub) - Duran Duran
Pain Lies on the Riverside - Live
Down To This - Soul Coughing
The One Thing - INXS
In Between Days - The Cure

Finished the book. Complete report due tomorrow. I understand unfortunate events related to the book have occurred during the embarrassingly long time it took me to read it, which I have avoided investigating until I was through.

I did find it interesting that all the male athletes are described as bizarre, kindly, spiritual outcasts who found their true-calling through the noble pursuit of ultrarunning, while the two main female protagonists are described as a zaftig naturalist and a ready-to-go party girl.

Obamacare upheld.
I got a Bloody Mary.
Today, life is good.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's a matter of instinct, it's a matter of conditioning. It's a matter of fact.

Beautiful, right? MIL took this.
I haven't been up at dawn since we got here.

"Recreation has its reasons."

Began the snake-eating-its-own-tail part of Born To Run where the author references the work of Dr. David Carrier and his theories about evolution and how humankind became the an animal that it is - we are - in order to run. Our physiology can only be explained as the demi-urge to become long-distance running animals. Not to outpace, but to outlast.

I read this somewhere before, years ago, in the book Running After Antelope by Scott Carrier, who is (wait for it) brother to Dr. David Carrier. So many pet theories about running with which I have bored my friends and family were either inspired by or stolen wholesale from that book. And now I find them nested within this one.

Five years ago, Edward McClelland famously wrote in Salon that Oprah Winfrey single-handedly ruined the marathon, which is to say, she ruined it for him. The sport had gone from a beautiful endurance test for elite athletes to something anyone might try, pathetically stumbling across the finish line after five or six hours and then proudly slapping a 26.2 oval sticker on the back of an SUV.

Born To Run, like Carrier's book before it, suggests that the teeming marathon is in fact a celebration of what makes us essentially human.

Temperature: 67°
Weather: Gorgeous, cloudless, breezy and beautiful
Distance: 2 miles. Could have gone longer. Don't want to be an idiot.

Yesterday I got out of bed, my feet like two swollen, painful sacks of pain. Today, not so much.

Super Bon Bon Genius Playlist
Brian Wilson - Barenaked Ladies
St. Louise Is Listening - Soul Coughing
One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces - Ben Folds Five
Kiss Them For Me - Siouxsie and the Banshees
We Care a Lot - Faith No More

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Walk lightly.

I did not imagine four miles was overdoing it, but that is what happened. Mammoth blisters on both of my big toes -- and three adjacent toes (that's five out of ten, for those of you scoring at home.) In addition, the balls of my feet feel like someone took a blackjack to them, and the back of my shins ache (not shin splints, those are in front.) 

I was hobbling around yesterday like an old man, though that did not prevent me from walking half a mile up the beach to take the boy fishing.

Oh, and my hips ache.

Complicating matters, some of our fellow houseguests brought a bag of fat, spicy, Slim Jim-like snacks which I sampled throughout the day yesterday and now I have some nasty, cramping diarrhea. Also, I have a sore throat, which I can only attribute to all the air conditioning.

I'm not complaining, mind, this is a great vacation. But I am a mess. Welcome to Day Two.

Distance: 2 miles
Temperature: 69°

That was majestic. Yesterday, at roughly the same time of day, people were already out in numbers. It was sunny and hot. Last night it stormed (so they tell me, I heard not a thing) bringing the temperature down and keeping everyone inside. For most of them, like us, today also is probably their "second day" and perhaps sleeping in was on their agenda as well. But not for me.

My toes were ripped up because of the sand, of course. But if you looked at my footprint yesterday, you would see how deeply I was digging into that sand with my toes. Today the sand was packed and I hit it with the middle of my foot, feeling my foot roll over the surface of the surface.

Super Bon Bon Genius Playlist
Soft Serve - Soul Coughing
Sugar On My Tongue - Talking Heads
I'm The Man Who Loves You - Wilco
Radio Song - R.E.M. ft. KRS-One
Slippery People - Talking Heads
Hang Me Up To Dry (182 bpm) - Cold War Kids

During racing season, the kids overheard stories on the news about horse doping, and they wanted to know what that meant. I told them people give pain relievers to the horses so they can't feel pain, and run faster -- and that's why they get injured, they can't listen to the signals their legs are giving to them.

Running shoes do that. By absorbing impact in the feet, we do not notice the damage being done to the rest of the leg, the knee, the hip. I am becoming a hippie barefoot running convert.

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's a habit-forming need for more and more.

Patio Playground, Topsail Beach, NC
Relax, damn you.

Currently, I am about halfway through Born To Run (I have bad reading habits) a tale of insanity, ultramarathoners, drug cartels, barefoot running, and a lot of alcohol.
We are now on vacation at Topsail Beach. At the last minute I decided to actually bring running gear. Since the CLE I have been in running-hibernation, and it is time to break out. My belly is getting soft and my muscles slack.
However, reading this book I am loathe to put on shoes. Instead I am going to try a week of barefoot beach running and see what kind of damage that might inflict. The book is chock full of wonder showered on runners who have discovered the pain-free joy of barefoot running. 
Since the CLE, I still feel residual pain from the foot injury (as yet undiagnosed) which the wife thought a stress fracture and I thought some kind of pulled tendon.
Topsail Four Mile

Distance: About 4 miles. Really, who cares.
Temperature: 76º 
I begin by hitting the ball of the foot. This is an involuntary reaction to the assumption that hitting the arch or rolling heel to toe will be jarring, or expose the foot to unknown pain from foreign objects. After only a few strides I adjust, hitting the beach midfoot, feeling the impact. And they are correct. My alignment corrects itself, and I feel relaxed.
Running next to the surf is uncomfortable. Though the sand is firm, spalshing in the waves is not helpful.  Further up the sand is looser, and harder to run in.  Further up, the sand is firm, and gives a little, which is nice, but my right knee begins to hurt -- I am running on a slanted surface, slanted towards the ocean. I decide I must run on the beach.
I keep my eyes on the beach, which is a shame, because I would like to take in the surroundings, but I learn how to do that, too. I learn that running over tiny shells does not actually hurt.
Super Bon Bon Genius Playlist
Games Without Frontiers - Peter Gabriel
I’m Afraid of Americans (160 bpm) - David Bowie
Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
Murder By Numbers - The Police
One World (Not Three) (168 bpm) - The Police
Connection - Elastica
White Girl - Soul Coughing
I Got You - Split Enz
It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) - R.E.M.
So Far I Have Not Found The Science - Soul Coughing
Everyday I Write the Book - Elvis Costelo & The Attractions

It was a glorious run. For my efforts I have created two mammoth blisters, one on the pad of each large toe. Looking forward to how that plays out tomorrow.
First beer -- 10:30 AM.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

I sing the body electric.

It's National Running Day!

Exercise 'no help for depression' research suggests

Branwen Jeffreys,BBC News Health Correspondent
I have not read this article, and I will not read this article, because I do not need to read anything which refutes what I know to be true. Wait ... does that make me religious?

Distance: 2 miles
Temperature: 67º

Showtunes Playlist
Bye Bye Love from "All That Jazz"
Seasons of Love from "Rent
Totally Fucked from "Spring Awakening"
I Sing the Body Electric from "Fame" (1980)

Montag reads a book.
Scene from "Fahrenheit 451" performed by David Hansen & Christine Castro
Great Lakes Theater "Fahrenheit 451" Residency
Cleveland Public Library Louis Stokes Wing, February 2003
Thank you, Ray, for all the great ideas.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Tattoo your name across my heart.

What did not happen ...

Whereas I had developed a bunion during my 2006 training, it became no worse during this year's training. In fact, I have straightened my toe considerably and it appears and feels no worse for wear.

My knees did not trouble me during this Cleveland marathon. Neither did my left foot, which has been healing nicely during the past weeks, even before the race.

I developed no blisters whatsoever during this marathon. None. The skin of my feet looked and felt as it had prior to the race. My right sock was irritating me through much of the run, and I assumed there would be damaged to the skin -- especially after one volunteer shot a hose directly at my feet, soaking my shoes.

Also, I suffered absolutely no chafing. None. Unlike last time. Eaugglahhh.

That Monday I went to work as normal, with only minor soreness standing and sitting. Taking the stairs was moderately challenging for exactly one day, by Tuesday I was already moving swiftly up and down stairs without thinking about it.

Look at that photograph. That's just moments before the finish line. I am working hard, I am breathing hard. But I am also smiling. I am happy. I crossed the finish line, and unlike in 2006, I not only did not pass out, I did not get dizzy, my calves did not freeze up.

I ran a marathon in under four hours -- at the age of 43. I completed a major life goal. It was very challenging. But I was prepared. And for a brief, shining moment, I was delirious and proud. Two weeks later, it still feels good.

However, I did bruise three toenails. But they still appear to be attached to my toes.

Distance: 2 miles
Temperature: 75º

Never Let Me Down (Split Mix) - Depeche Mode
Why Me (Extended Mix) - Planet P Project
Sweet Dreams - Beyoncé

Figured out the last moment from Henry VIII. I really like running.