Saturday, May 30, 2015

Keep on feeling.

Last year the New Yorker wrote a piece on Under Armour, an upstart player arriving late to an already saturated sporting goods market. Like most successful businesses, they have been able to create a need where none previously existed. In this case they made big, athletic men feel like they had to wear extremely tight, stretchy fabric - what previously would have been seen as dancewear.

Without intending to, I have developed a brand loyalty. Every piece I wear is UA, except the handkerchief on my head. Shirt, shorts, socks and now even the shoes. Recently I saw a short I wanted on eBay, but it was a compression shirt. I guess I knew in theory what one of those was like but I was not prepared for what I actually received.

The thing is like a man-bra, or a torso girdle. I have very little to work with in the chest and abdomen, and yet this silly shirt pushes everything into place, it's hilarious. I won't be mistaken for Steve Rogers but at least I look less like Stan Lee.

Temperature: 75°
Distance: 3.36 miles
Avg Pace: 7.44
Climate: overcast and sweaty

The pain in my right thigh remains. Semimembranosus? Semitendenosus? It starts around the quadratus femoris, but it runs a bit down the leg. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, but always present when I run.

Perhaps some compression pants.

Weight: 156.5 lbs.
From goal: -3.5

What's On Daddy's iPhone?
One Life Stand - Hot Chip

Friday, May 29, 2015

Watch me work.

Never been so in the mood for the Talking Heads. Is that not strange?

We sprint toward the finish line - of the school year, and also an impending production. Little time for sleep or exercise. Hiring complete, planning farewell parties, baking dishes for in-school cultural events, rehearsing Timon of Athens in the out-of-doors. So busy for such a short week.

By morning, we run.

Temperature: 73°
Distance: 3.41 miles
Avg Pace: 7.54
Climate: steamy!

First time I trained for a marathon, it was through summer into fall, the second winter into spring. Second time was easier, but in hindsight it had to be. I wasn't starting from absolute zero. I am looking forward to the hot runs, and how I deal with them. Today I felt weak, no doubt because I have had one yogurt today and that's it.

Time for second breakfast. That is a good thing about my new eating habits. I eat one good thing, and am entitled, actually required to eat another good thing.

Having said that after I had my blood drawn Wednesday I stopped in at Eat At Joe's and had two eggs, hash browns, sausage and toast.

The toast was whole wheat.

Weight: 157 lbs.
From goal: -3.0

What's On Daddy's iPhone?
The Good Thing - Talking Heads
Incinerate - Sonic Youth

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New test.

Tonight we fast. Tomorrow we have blood drawn. Next week - Thursday - my doctor will give me the news. In three months I have shed twenty pounds. Actually, I did that in two months, but I have kept it off so far.

No idea what we will find. I hope I can maintain this diet, this behavior, for as long as possible. I had two beers on Friday - which was one beer too many, but hey, Cavs game - and that was it for Memorial Day weekend.

Temperature: 70°
Distance: 0.85 miles
Avg Pace: 8.55
Climate: light rain

Exhausting day, demoralizing day. Surprising amount of aggression and unhappy surprises directed my way. My wife encouraged me to take a brief jog after rehearsal, to clear my head, take in oxygen, make my blood flow. I really didn't want to.

Now I am dizzy, and drowsy. But I am happy for the action.

Monday, May 25, 2015

To see your shoes and your spirits rise.

Yesterday I prepared to run ... and realized I hadn't eaten anything, and I felt that. I neither felt like eating anything at that moment - I was ready to go - nor did I want to feel weak and hungry during the run. Fortunately, we got a tub of dried apple yesterday, which was perfect. Not only was it dry enough not to get stick in my hand, but I could put one in my mouth and keep it in the corner of my jaw - first mouthed to be last swallowed.

Temperature: 75°
Distance: 3.38 miles
Avg Pace: 7.50
Climate: ideal (but humid)

The wife has made me promise to incorporate upper body exercise. I am developing saggy old man torso.

Weight: 156.5 lbs.
From goal: -3.5

What's On Daddy's iPhone?
Friday I'm In Love! - The Cure

The boy often asked why I have no games on my phone, and I said I do not need to spend a lot of time playing games on my phone. Better not have them.

Then I downloaded Quiz Up (I know, so 2014) and to prove myself right I have been unable to stop playing the Shakespeare topic for three days.

ROUND ONE: Which play is quoted in this blog post?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

You can be slow or fast but you must get to the line.

A gift from my wife.
Today's prompt was "Have you ever accomplished a big goal?" Why, yes, I have. I even wrote a play about it. Feeling nothing else to say about that I turned my focus toward other goals for other people, which eventually turned back to my own current writing malaise and just what exactly I am supposed to do about that.

Observation: When I read my fingers get cold, but writing warms them up.

When I was young, perhaps my son's age, I was surrounded by my brother's friends. He was seven years older than I, and so his colleagues, either seniors in high school or already in college, appeared worldly and impressive to me. One or two I truly admired, and sought to emulate. They were creative types, if already bitterly cynical (it was the late 70s) several writers and even artists.

My attempts at creation were copies, because that is where you start. But these were not kind mentors but immature young men with their own neuroses and so rather than receiving encouragement I was traditionally mocked, and sometimes briefly and curtly. I do not need to share any direct quotes (oh though, yes, I remember those) but will state only that the worst sin I could have committed was to be unoriginal.

I was ten, or eleven years old.

I cringe from those times I have created something unoriginal. The fact that Guerrilla Theater Co. was a wholesale lift of concepts originally created by The Neo-Futurists was something I was never comfortable with. Trying to reach outside of myself to imagine a story I could tell that doesn't relate directly to me or my life is challenging because there isn't a walk of life I take interest in which has not already been covered by someone else.

Recently I have taken great satisfaction in adapting work, because it is obvious what it is supposed to be. Rosalynde & The Falcon explodes the idea of appropriation as absolutely everything in it is from somewhere else, but remains somehow entirely original, and that was immensely satisfying.

Training for a marathon is - yes, no, really, yes, it is - an act of creation, as I build, day after day towards an event which is like a performance. Training is rehearsing, as practicing any sport is a rehearsal for an improvised final event. But even though thousands are doing the same thing, my training is mine, my moment in my head to figure things out and accomplish them as best I can to create this moment.

It's even collaborative, as people throw in their suggestions - positive, helpful suggestions, which you may take or leave, with thanks - to help you accomplish your final goal.

We are in the final two weeks of rehearsal for The Life of Timon of Athens which opens Friday, June 5. I am no longer the highly insecure or neurotic director I used to be, this is a game, putting together pieces, and it is very collaborative, as people make suggestions and I take them or leave them - with thanks - adding choreography and music to create a singular, coherent performance out of a truly bizarre script.

You should see it. It's very original.

Temperature: 73°
Distance: 3.4 miles
Avg Pace: 7.46
Climate: bright, clear, humid, awesome.

The girl has written a poem for school, with "originality" I could not have dared when I were her age. It is scary and beautiful - the poem, and that she could accomplish that.

Weight: 157 lbs.
From Goal: -3.0

What's On Daddy's iPhone?
World In Motion - New Order

New Order radio on Spotify. Deep cuts this poser never heard before.

I wish every day was like Sunday.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

You don't know which way to go.

Always something to complain about, for many it has been to cold. So what, you were lamenting a lack of real spring the week before. It's the Midwest everyone settle down. It's going to blaze from here on out.

Temperature: 68°
Distance: 6.15 miles
Avg Pace: 7.49
Climate: Perfect weather. Not a perfect world.

Saw my wife out our front window this morning, taking her run. That was hot.

Weight: 157 lbs.
Goal: -3.0

This week I must schedule the next blood test. It is a test I have been cramming for, and now I appear to be losing steam. Yesterday was carb heavy (because I have become under my ideal weight) and I have been reaching more for yogurt than vegetables when the urge strikes me to eat something. Yogurt is good, as it goes, but it contains a lot of sugars and it's not the priceless energy food I have been happily living on since March.

What's On Daddy's iPhone?
Night By Night - Chromeo

Planning to recycle the old running shoes - ALL the old running shoes. Found a place in Willoughby Hills, is there anywhere closer?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Time to win.

This may be part of a costume. I hope it will be.
What do you do when you have poorly planned a rehearsal which you decide to cancel and then return home, early, feeling slightly adrift and depressed, and there's no one there?

That's right.

Temperature: 59°
Distance: 3.38 miles
Avg Pace: 7.39
Climate: nice and cool

National Running Day is June 3. You're welcome.

Weight: 156 lbs.
From Goal: -4.0

Okay, that's not right. Somebody take me to the Greek Festival.

What's On Daddy's iPhone?
Music from Valley Girl 
The Fanatic * - Felony

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Unsteady footsteps.

... the more they stay the same.
Every other day, at the very least. Waking each morning like there is a pillow over my head, I used to think that was due to having an alcoholic beverage the night before but (with one notable recent exception) my days have been entirely devoid of drink. It's just exhaustion. Wake to work to rehearsal to cleaning house before hopefully getting to bed before eleven - but that part never happens.

The kids have twelve more days of school. You'd think things would ease up at that point, but I have been at this too long, sometimes it actually gets harder then.

Temperature: 61°
Distance: 2.91 miles
Avg Pace: 8.00
Climate: cool and humid

Fast, brisk run. Cool but also humid, a lot of sweat. Looking forward to training, rehearsal period means a lot of sitting, eating the wrong things - in moderation, but wrong in moderation is still wrong.

Weight: 159.5 lbs.
From Goal: -0.5

What's On Daddy's iPhone?
Teardrop * - Massive Attack
Mine - Everything But the Girl
Dressed In Black * - Sia

There will come a time to debrief on Mad Men. My one great takeaway is that I always hoped the closing image, whatever it would be, would comment upon the very first image from the first episode. The opening scene of Mad Men is a smoke-filled bar in 1960, crowded almost entirely with self-satisfied white men.

The closing image, well. It is at the top of this post.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

My fingers keep on clicking to the beating of my heart.

Today's prompt concerns the possibility of change. Transformation has been announced as the theme for CPT's annual benefit. This weekend I attended an educational workshop surrounding a production of The Tempest performed for and with kids on the spectrum. Tonight is the series finale of Mad Men, a program many have expressed frustration with for its characters inability to change.

What is change? Who ever really changes? Have I ever changed, or aren't I the same person I was when I was ten?

Oh, and the boy turns ten tomorrow. Plus ça change.

The house outside reflects the house inside, the grass has grown as high as the laundry. There are great plans afoot, for all, for this summer, yet I am so weary today I cannot make sense of what needs to happen, and how, or for God's sake when.

Temperature: 81°
Distance: 4.06 miles
Avg Pace: 8.05
Climate: hot, bright & humid

Hot run! Might have brought a water bottle, took a big long water break in Cain Park. Can't imagine running a marathon today, my heartfelt congratulations to all who ran the west side race!

Weight: 159 lbs.
From Goal: -1.0

What's On Daddy's iPhone?
Numb * - Portishead
Jungle Drum - Emilíana Torrini

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Temperature: 66°
Distance: 2 miles
Climate: light rain

Friday, May 15, 2015

I'll only run and hide.

This morning's writing prompt - Would you die for someone? If so, who? - seems particularly horrid and naïve, this morning in particular.

What does it mean, to die for someone? To take their place, to die instead of them at some calamitous point in personal history? Then sure, whatever, no real risk in suggesting I would do so, or even could, because you can't. What is the point of this mental exercise other than to make one feel like a great, self-sacrificing person. I would die for my children, good for me. Who wouldn't?

Expanding on that thought, however, fills me with dread. It is a limitation as a writer, I do not choose to live in those places. There's no reward from it, because I can obsessively roll horrible thoughts in my head, and come to a place of complete inertia.

Yesterday I did confront a fear. It's not often you can say that. It was very challenging, it almost made me cry, and yet I persevered and for a change, I was rewarded. Good for me, good for everyone involved. I passed. I almost felt mature.

Temperature: 55°
Distance: 3.36 miles
Avg Pace: 7.47
Climate: cool and humid

My pace for the final block was about 5.45. I do not wish to have a heart attack, but it feels really good to fly like that. Feeling the way I do today, I am not worried, at least not about that.

I will revisit my doctor in three weeks, for a reevaluation of my blood sugar and other levels.

One month from today I begin marathon training. Looking forward to that.

Weight: 158 lbs.
From Goal: -2.0

Spotify gives me ads for big box hardware stores and the Cleveland Clinic. This is what I get for recording my age and gender.  And yes, I am still working with Spotify.

What's On Daddy's iPhone?
Who Can It Be Now? - Men At Work

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Muscles flexing.

Yeah, we're watching this.
Very fast run. The past two days have been very long, with late nights. Mornings have been slow and feeling low. One day without a run seems to have made quite a difference, nothing was slowing me down. Well, except for Sarah calling to ask for medical information for the kids, but that's important, too.

Temperature: 48°
Distance: 3.46 miles
Avg Pace: 8.43*
Climate: cool, overcast, ideal

* This would have been under eight minutes, except for the interruption.

Weight: 159.5 lbs.
From Goal: -0.5

Tired of logging my alcohol units. I have stopped having beer after work, or wine with dinner, or a cocktail to watch TV. I drink when there is a party, or a special occasion. I have entered that realm, I don't need to make note of it. There are two or three drinks per week, that's fine.

In the attempt to graze well, I have been leaning on dried fruit, which apart from the gas it creates, has a lot of sugar. I need to remember to choose fresh vegetables, that was something I had been doing for a few weeks. With Timon rehearsals, I have not been able to secure fresh produce for the house as often as usual, and you should see the pile of laundry.

What's On Daddy's iPhone?
Rock Lobster * - The B-52's

Monday, May 11, 2015

I don't even want to die just yet.

Actually did stretches this morning. I am not limber.

Pre-dawn run, still hot outside. Here we are, in summer.

Science has determined that the year I graduated from high school - 1986 - was the most homogenous year in the history of recorded music (or at least, from 1960-2010.) However, that does not explain how the song Weird Science can compel me to sprint for an additional half-mile, mostly uphill.

And no, I will not let the boy ever watch that movie. I would show him porn before I let him watch Weird Science.

Temperature: 71°
Distance: 3.85 miles
Avg Pace: 8.19
Climate: muggy

Weight: 158.5 lbs.
From Goal: -1.5

Sunday Alcohol Units: -0-

What's on Daddy's iPone?
Invisible Sun - The Police

Oh my God. Pete Campbell is going to die in a plane crash.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

I tried to run.

After party.
Two days, back to back, without a run. How long has it been since that happened? On Saturday I chaperoned my daughter's middle school orchestra to Cedar Point, which was great fun and a beautiful day for it if you discount the seasonal downpour which hit us around dinnertime.

I have rarely been so happy to be warm in bed. This morning I rose early (for a Sunday) but I have been stiff and a little shaky.

Two nights away from Timon rehearsal feel like forever. On Friday we attended the opening night of Fairfield at the Cleveland Play House, last night the girl joined me on our way home from the day hitting the grocery store for some Mother's Day supplies.
"When Z started 6th grade, she found out she would be going to Cedar Point at the end of the year. When O was in a wheelchair in January, I promised him he could take friends to Sky Zone once he was totally healed. Both those things are happening today, and I am feeling at once happy and a little freaked out by time passing. The future keeps arriving and arriving and arriving, and my house is still a wreck." - the wife, via Facebook
These things are true. And our house is a wreck. But our home is well-organized and clean.

Temperature: 73°
Distance: 3.38 miles
Avg Pace: 8.08
Climate: overcast and humid

When I began work as an actor-teacher in 2001, I dropped a significant amount of weight. Being on my feet all day, in motion, and no long within arms-reach of things to stuff into my mouth, I went from perhaps 170 lbs. to 155 lbs.

Two strange things happened within a year. One, I developed meralgia paresthetica, which I still cope with from time to time. But I also noticed a strange discomfort whenever I wash dishes. There is one small area in the aponeurosis of my abdominal external oblique muscle, on the right side, just below the rib cage. The same spot, always on the right, only when I wash dishes. It is uncomfortable, not debilitating. And only when I am thin.

My massage therapist says it is my liver. She says I have been holding a lot of aggression and that my liver is hard and needs to be softened. I do not think this makes any sense, because I withhold aggression when I am overweight and I do not get this pain, and washing dishes does not make me angry.

Weight: 158 lbs.
From Goal: -2.0
Toe spacers. Not just for running anymore!

Thursday Alcohol Units: -0-
Friday Alcohol Units: 2.0
Saturday Alcohol Units: -0-
End-of-Week Total: 2.0

What's On Daddy's iPhone?
Beat Crazy * - Joe Jackson
I Saw The Light - Todd Rundgren
Goodbye, Girl * - Squeeze

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Taking different roads.

Good morning, deer. One deer, by itself, in the pre-dawn, on someone's lawn. I got pretty close, it kept its distance, and then I remembered to look around to see if another were coming at me. You rarely see them alone.

Nope. Just one deer. And no skunks.

Temperature: 52°
Distance: 3.36 miles
Avg Pace: 8.28
Climate: cool, but muggy

The morning, I-just-woke-up run doesn't feel slower, but apparently it is. We hit snooze a couple times so I dashed right out. I really need to take more time to stretch or this pain is not going away.

I mean, I could stop running for a couple days, but I think that would drive me mad.

Weight: 159 lbs.
From Goal: -1.0
Tuesday Alcohol Units: -0-
Wednesday Alcohol Units: -0-

What's On Daddy's iPhone?
Love Will Tear Us Apart (demo) * - Joy Division 

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

The wind in my heart.

Early morning run, first dropping off the car for some EPA-related work, then running home. Our mechanic is very conveniently located.

Temperature: 55°
Distance: 2.77 miles
Avg Pace: 8.28
Climate: cool but humid

Early morning run, right out of bed. A little stiff, took it easy. Hamstring still an issue. My right toe is bending (again) so I am using new spacers, which helps. This is also an explanation for why that foot was falling asleep last week.

As I begin to run first thing, I must remember to take time. Time to warm up, to drink several glasses of water. To be awake, alive. But not necessarily alert.

Weight: 158.5 lbs.
From Goal: -1.5
Monday Alcohol Units: -0-

What to eat, what not to eat? Yesterday I had a proper breakfast, lunch and dinner. But I came home from rehearsal and I was hungry. Not just, oh I want a bedtime snack, but like I was missing something. I made a nighttime breakfast - Grape Nuts, yogurt, banana, dried fruit. Not the same as a bag of Doritos. 

What's on Daddy's iPhone?
Listening Wind - Talking Heads 

Monday, May 04, 2015

I ran to your heart to be near.

 What is making Pengo unhappy today?
  1. doubt
  2. fear of failure
  3. racism
  4. "misrepresentation of fact"
  5. euphemisms
  6. bad parenting
  7. violence
  8. responsibility
  9. Mad Men
  10. lack of focus
  11. cat hair & dust
  12. cancer
Temperature: 68°
Distance: 2.85 miles
Avg Pace: 7.59
Climate: humid and beautiful

As the day becomes the night, Cleveland winter turns directly to summer.

Rehearsals began last night, and I am depressed I will have little time to engage the girl in running. She is an independent soul, she can take this upon herself. I will text her this afternoon for encouragement.

Cat's In The Cradle (2015).

Weight: 160 lbs.
From Goal: -0-

Eating two slices of pizza without gaining a pound is not something to be proud of.

Sunday Alcohol Units: -0-

What's on Daddy's iPhone? 
Pictures of You * - The Cure

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Life's the same, except for my shoes.

She strives.
This blog exists to document each time I run. I have posted a new blog entry every single time I have taken a run since January 2006. There is not a single time I have gone out for any kind of running exercise that I have not made note of it here. That is why I keep this blog, that it its reason for existence.

In the past, I ran, and I might run a couple of days in a row but eventually think, I do not feel like running to day, or oh I ran yesterday, and the days would add up and I would notice I had not taken a run in a long time, that I was stiff, out of shape, that I had gained weight, that I did not feel well.

By keeping this record, there is no mystery. I know when, where, for how long. For over nine years. It is the longest consistent record of my life I have ever kept.

Sometimes these blog entries feel fatuous, and if I thought too much about what I was putting into them, I would probably stop altogether. There are natural catastrophes and public unrest and here I am, whining about my back or how well my diet is going. But there it is, this blog is a record of myself, and I keep it for myself.

I used to post each run entry on my general Facebook page, but I don't do that anymore because sometimes what I have written is kvetchy and it is not necessary to draw undue attention to that and besides most people don't bother checking what the post actually says and just make stupid jokes about the entry headers, which are generally lyrics I heard while running and not meant to be of any significance.

Temperature: 73
Distance: 4.45 miles
Avg Pace: 7.52
Climate: Hot, man. But beautiful.

Weight: 160 lbs.
From Goal: -0-

Girl and I went out for a run, but she can suffer from side stitches, and when she does she falls into a deep funk. No need to contact me to provide advice for side stitches, I know what those are and that isn't the problem. The problem is when events like today occurs and she won't listen but moans on about how she's never going to be a runner. When she gets like this, she is a wall, and no amount of gentle persuasion can make her breathe deeply, perform mild stretches, or even believe there will be a tomorrow.

Friday Alcohol Units: 1.5
Saturday Alcohol Units: -0-
End-of-Week Total: 4.5

Enjoyable relaxing night Friday night, Kelly and Josh have moved into their new house and we went out to celebrate with hot dogs and ice cream. Tried hard to enjoy eating bad food but also not to eat too much bad food. You can consume your weight in tater tots without even noticing it.

Yesterday, all salads, whole grain pasta and popcorn.

Friday, May 01, 2015

This boy is in motion.

Course Map for the 2015 Rite Aid "West Side Suburbs of Cleveland Only Marathon"
They should just call it the Gold Coast Run, visitors from around the country will have the opportunity to see hipsters for the first half of the marathon, and then they get to see where all our professional athletes live.

Temperature: 45°
Distance: 4.12 miles
Avg Pace: 7.44
Climate: gorgeous

Twenty-runs in April? Well, that's a record.

What's on Daddy's iPod?
Happy Day - Talking Heads

Weight: 159.5 lbs.
From Goal: -0.5

Dipping below my goal weight, yesterday was a day for celebration and cutting loose ... having breakfast, lunch, and dinner - rather than a dull impersonation of one of them - and for eating the leftovers on the drive home.

Thursday Alcohol Units: 3.0

What if alcohol were only consumed for a special occasion? The actor-teachers wished to throw Lisa to a surprise 50th birthday dinner, and it was my job to get her there. The timing was a little off so Ali and I diverted her into Parnell's for one drink before heading to the Chocolate Bar up the street.

One pint = 2 unit. Not sure what was in the gooey, chocolate and pretzel encrusted concoction I felt compelled to order (when in Rome, etc.) but I doubt it had more than one shot of anything.

Lisa was really surprised. Great job, everyone!