Yuck 1: I woke up yesterday morning convinced I had pink eye. My left eye was slightly matted shut, both eyes were watery, and my eyes looked like I had just left a Dead concert. Long story short: no pink eye, just a really bad head cold. Didn't know that could show up with pink eyes, but that's why I'm a teacher and not a doctor. He threw some drops my way and I had the rest of the day off.
Yuck 2: Because of said head cold, I debated going outside this morning for a run. 30 degrees just didn't sound great, but I had to get a run in lest I get behind in training. The solution? Our treadmill. Not only that, but since my eyes were still killing me, I had to run with my glasses on. I haven't had them adjusted since Clinton was in office, so that should tell you how old they are. That, and the fact that I sweat like a stuck pig when I run downstairs on my treadmill, meant my glasses stayed on me for about .5 miles. The remainder of the time, I had to count the handy LED pseudo-track display that indicated when I completed 1/4 mile. Yeah.
Yuck 3: It was kind of nice having the treadmill as an option. Read that last sentence again. Not my first option, but an option. I feel so....dirty.
I can't run the length of 6 parking stalls without getting gassed. Let me explain, it was a beautiful, crisp autumn morning and friends and family gathered for yet another tailgate*. A few of my buddies decided that they wanted to play a little football in the parking lot. 2 Hand Touch below the waist. The end zones were clearly defined: Toyota Sienna to Dodge 4x4.
Of course, I started out as receiver. My mantra in any type of football game is: "RazZ Needs His Touches". Apparently, our "star" all-time quarterback, did not realize this. I threw everything I had at my defender. A little shake and bake down the sidelines. A few curl routes. Nothing. Not even a look. AND I WAS OPEN!!! I was starting to feel like T.O. without the popcorn. Of course, it didn't help that our quarterback was 12 years old. He probably couldn't even see me. Plus he was running an ineffective "just get out there and get open" offense. Much like Colorado's. Not only that, but I was getting winded. The hell? How does this happen? I can run 13 miles, but I can't run 3 consecutive post patterns without putting my hands on my knees?
I demoted our QB and promptly tossed 2 touchdown passes on our next 2 possessions. Think the 12 year old got a look?
Here are RazZ's stats:
Completions - 2
Attempts - 2
TPS (total parking stalls) - 7
TD - 2
Int - 0
Rec. TPS. - 0
TD - 0
Number of times completely wide open - 1 gagillion
I chalked the whole experience up as cross-training.
*Tailgate Menu - potato casserole, cinnamon rugelach (pastry), sausage, french toast, coffee, orange juice, tomato juice additives for said coffee, OJ and tomato juice.
I open up my RSS feeder this morning and, right at the top of the page, is my name as a title to someone else's page! Great, now I'm a term for writer's block.
We're experiencing some serious blockage, fellow runners/readers. The best way to get through it? Bran and coffee. That, or just keep writing. You would think that with my impending race, my PR this past weekend, and me just being overall funny, I'd have a veritable cornucopia of topics. Alas, that is not the case. And I've searched everywhere, too.
I could write about my running/training program. Let's see...I ran twice this week and one was a treadmill run. Hmmm, not much there. I kind of took a self-imposed break this week, but I won't miss my long run this weekend. Do you hear me??? I WILL NOT MISS THE LONG RUN!
Other blogs? Nah. If you're that interested, feel free to peruse my blogroll stage left. Here's a tease: "On the next Running Off at the Mind: Running Gorillas and a contest to win a unique bottle opener."
Politics? I'm not one to get political here, but I was desperate for an idea. Here it is in a nutshell: Joe the Plumber vs. Higher Taxes. Is that what it really boils down to? Remember when candidates had their own ideas? Rock the friggin' vote.
Religion? Hell no.
SSTIFY? Remember that? Nah, neither do I. Since the Powers That Be think that YouTube is the root of all evil here at school, I'm relegated to doing this:
On a warm summers evenin on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with the gambler; we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin out the window at the darkness
til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.
He said, son, Ive made a life out of readin peoples faces,
And knowin what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.
So if you dont mind my sayin, I can see youre out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey Ill give you some advice.
So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression.
Said, if youre gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.
You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when youre sittin at the table.
Therell be time enough for countin when the dealins done
Football picks? The Huskers look like they have their mojo back, so I'm going to make a prediction and a wager later on next month.
TIART? I almost dove in on that one, but I got distracted by shiny things yesterday. Long story short: Unless you're a wrestler or boxer, men don't worry about weight/dieting, they worry about "nutrition". It's a guy thing.
I'm stuck. It's as if I ate some literary cheese and now I'm blocked. Fear not, maybe the analogies and pithy observations will come sooner than later. Until then, have a great weekend.
Here are my goals for running the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n Roll Arizona Marathon, or "PFCRNRAM" for short.
Get to the finish line injury free. No more skipping long runs. No more trying to make up for lost time because you missed a long run so you thought you could pick up where you left off and, because of that, getting PF or re-aggravating your IT band. Not that I have any experience doing that. Umm....
Have fun. I'm going to be in Phoenix in January. Oddly enough that's better than Omaha in January. Really. It is. No lie.
Finish vertical. I'm not going to go as far as "finish with a smile on my face" because, really, I'm not delusional.
Punch Vanilla for Nitmos. At least one goal should be fun and attainable.
We get into Des Moines and immediately chow down on some great pre-race grub compliments of MomDoodle. I had a homemade, grilled white pizza and some penne alfredo with chicken. Y-U-M!
5:30am - If there's one thing I've learned about races, it's to keep my routine the same as any morning when I run. Get up, get dressed, throw down an energy bar, grab a small coffee, and get down to the race. I did just that with the help of my dad who generously volunteered his Sunday morning to get up early and drive me downtown. That way, I didn't have to deal with parking.
6:30am - Since I didn't make it to the race expo, I immediately tried to locate the tent where I could pick up my race packet. Vendors/groups were still setting up, so I asked someone on the Team Prevention area where I could pick up packets.
Girl: "I don't think you can. I think you had to pick them up at the expo."
Me: "Well, where's the tent where I can ask someone."
Girl: "Um, over there." (points to the left)
After going left and then allllll the way back to the right, we find the official race tent. My heart rate is way up and any lingering sleepiness has now evaporated.
Me: "Hey, I wasn't able to make it to the expo, can I still pick up my packet."
Volunteer: "Well, normally I shouldn't. You should've picked it up Friday or Saturday."
Me: "Well, I live out of town and no one told me that I had to pick it up at the expo."
Volunteer: "Ok, but normally I shouldn't.....blah blah blah"
After that, things were pretty much the same as any race morning. DadDoodle was somewhat intrigued with all of the crap that you get in the race bag. "Gatorade Gum, kids love it, athletes demand it." Maybe that's why I don't consider myself an athlete. Never once have I demanded Gatorade Gum.
7:30am - I had a LOT of nervous energy and, after wandering around waiting to get in line, I had the good fortune to run into Tom and Amy from Runner's Lounge! That was exceptionally cool! Upon reflection, we should've gotten a picture somehow. D'oh! I met another Lounger, Bowulf, whose actual name is Kent. I always feel weird introducing myself as RazZDoodle, but RazZDoodle isn't above slipping into 3rd person once in awhile.
7:59am - This is just a training run. This is just a training run. This is just a training run.
8am - And we're off!
Miles 1-3 - I keep looking at my watch and, if this is just a training run, I'm at least 1:30/mile faster than I should be. OK, during the "meat" of the race (miles 6-10), I'll dial it down a bit.
Miles 4-8 - Still averaging about 1:00/mile faster than I had intended. Now I'm playing with the house's money. Maybe there's a PR in there. There are water stations about every 2 miles and everything feels good. We embark on a heeeuge park. When I look up to get the big picture, I realize I have a LOT more to run. No problem, I've done this before.
Mile 8 - Hellooooo Mr. IT Band! So glad you could make a cameo appearance. How long has it been? Since May? Thanks for showing up! I'm still running way over my training run pace, so I decide to dial it down because of our Very Special Guest Star.
Mile 8-10 - I thought my family was supposed to be around here. The IT band is stiff, but not painful where I'm altering my stellar racing form.
Mile 9.85 - There they are! Big orange sign which I neglect to read. I give Team RazZDoodle a big high five and the pain in my IT Band goes away. Talk about a much-needed shot of adrenaline!
Miles 10-12.5 - Gummi Bears and Jolly Ranchers, oh my! mmmmmm....
Mile 12.5 - Uttered by a girl running next to me: "Where the f**k is the finish line??!!!"
Miles 12.6-13.1 - The Finish Line is in my crosshairs. Do I still have something in the tank? I kick as hard as I can reciting my mantra as I do it. I finish and I'm proud of myself because I left it all out there.
A PR, but 5 seconds???????? Are you kidding me??? Walk through 3 water stations and slow down to high five the kids.
The moral: don't have kids. :)
Other notes/observations from the race:
Race volunteers amaze me. I don't think I could sit there for hours on end handing out water, telling people to get out of the way, cheering on people I don't know, etc. They truly make or break a good race! And this was a good race.
I felt good after the race. Encouraged that I still had it at the end of the race. At the end of my other half marathon, I was gassed. I can build on this for Phoenix. The IT band, could be a problem, but I think I ran this race a little too fast and too much.
I think Phoenix is going to be more mental than anything else. I mean, I realize that it'll be a physical struggle, but I have to run my own race. I noticed that I hate - HATE - being passed. Be smart and finish.
I didn't run this race, my entire family ran this race. My mom made the kick-ass pre-race meal, my dad drove me down bright and early, my wife got up and got the kids going, my daughter made the sign, and my son gave me a high five. I couldn't have done it without any of them. It made the day infinitely more enjoyable! Thanks to all of them and all of you guys out there with your encouragement.
1. Last year there were 5,400 registered runners. This year organizers expect 7,000. And without me it would be 6,999. Happy to tip the scales for ya, DM!
2. First-place male and female finishers receive $3,000 each. Not applicable
3. First-place Iowa male and female finishers receive $500 each. Not a resident, so...again...not applicable.
4. The marathon record time is 2:22:57, a tie held by Simon Sawe and David Chepkwony of Kenya. Are they both from Kenya?
5. Iowa's own Robyn Friedman holds the female record at 2:42:19. REALLY not applicable.
6. The Des Moines Marathon is a qualifier course for the Boston Marathon. Not applicable...yet.
7. Elite athletes wear the lowest number bibs and take off first. Is that why my number always has a comma?
8. Look for Ashely Tousley, 25, the elite runner we profiled in July, to try to beat her Boston Marathon time of three hours, 32 seconds.
Oh, I'll look for Ashley. I'll look for her real good.*
9. Wendy Terris, 39, who won among women in 2002, 2003 and 2005, races again.
10. At least five Kenyans will run: Many like Paul Rugut have personal bests that would beat the Des Moines record.
Are there any races in Kenya? I mean, you never hear of the Nairobi Marathon, do you? Oh, wait. Never mind.
11. If you chicken out, there are no refunds for any races, but you can switch to the half. So...essentially....I chickened out. Thanks. Thanks for the ego boost, DM Register.
12. Miles three and four along Grand Avenue are the hilliest. Always good to get those out of the way early, right? RIGHT????
13. More than 100 portable toilets will be placed along the course, none more than two miles apart. So, after my 3 bran muffins and 2 venti bolds from Starbucks, that'll come in handy.
14. You can sign up at desmoinesmarathon.com to receive text alerts showing an athlete's progress along the route. Great. So friends and family can taunt me from a distance. Let's see: sleep in, read the paper, or wait for text messages from RazZDoodle?
15. Sponsors are providing 9,000 bottles of water.
Let's see: 7000 runners, 9000 bottles of water. Carry the 2....4 bottles each! No? Damn public schooling!
16. The Des Moines Marathon is one of Runners World's Greenteam green races for its efforts to recycle cardboard, plastic bottles and more.
I'll think about that as I roll along on 2 pieces of non-biodegradable rubber strapped to my feet.
17. Technically you are not allowed to wear headphones during the race, but no one will tackle you if you do.
Wouldn't it be cool though if they did? Is Randy Macho Man Savage really that busy? That'd be something I'd pay to see!
18. Fleur Drive will be closed between Ingersoll Avenue and George Flagg Parkway from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on race day. Viva la Fleur! Viva la Fleur!
19. More than 1,000 volunteers will help out at the event. BIG round of applause to the volunteers!!!!!!!! **
20. The first Des Moines Marathon was in 2002. A vital factoid that'll get me through miles 10 and 11. You're really stretching here, DM Register. Someone at the paper said, "Crap! We only have 25.2 things! We only need one more thing."
21. According to a Runners World's calculation, a 150-pound person running nine-minute miles would burn 2,976 calories during a marathon. I'm 164 lbs. and I'm running half that and I run 9:30 miles. Carry the 3....4500 calories! No? Damn!
22. The five-person Marathon Relay Challenge features four runners who run five miles each and a fifth runner who runs the last 6.2 miles.
Holy crap! You can relay this bad boy?
23. The Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield Fitness Expo will be held Friday and Saturday at the Polk County Convention Complex. Hopefully, it can handle an obnoxious Nebraska fan right after the Huskers dominate the 'Clones.
24. A pasta dinner 6 p.m. Saturday at the Expo features Dane Rauschenberg, who ran 52 marathons in 52 weekends in 2006. Pass. MomADoodle is making a pre-race meal. A MomADoodle meal always trumps a pasta dinner.
25. Third-year students from Des Moines University will provide post-race physical therapy. Sweet! I hear the 3rd years are much better than the 2nd years.
26. The Michelob ULTRA Village will have live music, prize giveaways and of course, beer, until 3 p.m. at the finish.
I may need a beer before the finish.
26.2 The post-race party is at el Bait Shop, 4-8 p.m., featuring a free taco bar for athletes.
I like to finish up 13.1 miles with a good taco from el Bait Shop. Especially with una Corona, Dos Equis o Pacifico.
*this now ends the creepy portion of the post.
**no snarkiness. Thanks again for putting up with us volunteers!
OK, I'm past my pity party. Thanks for indulging me.
Parent/Teacher conferences have descended upon us. It's that time of year again when parents, teachers and students all get in a room and discuss one of two things:
How great your kid is doing and how that is a direct reflection on you and your parenting skills.
How lazy your kid is and how that is a direct reflection on my teaching skills.
Let's recap yesterday evening's events, shall we?
6 parents came to see me in the span of 4 hours. 6.
The last parents informed me that I'm the reason that their little cherub is not being accepted by top-flight colleges. Never mind the fact that she's a lazy pile.
Now that I'm over myself, I'm finding some motivation in my next race. Earlier, I posted about the P.F. Chang's Arizona Rock n Roll Marathon or, RazZ's Next Marathon for short. Last week, I was about 50/50. Now, we've moved it up to about 90/10 in favor of the marathon. As DadADoodle would always tell us, "Make a list of the pros and cons." As a tribute to him, I present to you the pros and cons of me running this race. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY TIME I WILL DISCUSS THIS. It's been noted on more than a few blogs that I have marathon commitment issues (yes, Xenia. I'm looking in your direction). I realize that this may be a rehash, but I'm going to recap anyhow.
PRO: My ultimate goal of running a marathon will be achieved. I was gunning for it after the Lincoln Half and it's still in my sights
CON: It's 26.2 miles. Of all of the race reports I've read (and I've read a lot), not one has reported the following: "I felt great after the race. I had a lot left in the tank. My legs feel awesome!" A little intimidating.
PRO: It's in Phoenix. It's flat. Some have mentioned that there are hills. Hills are relative and I don't seem to recall many hills during my stint in the Valley of the Sun.
PRO: My sister lives in Phoenix and will be running her first HM. Free place to stay! Oh yeah, and I'll see her reach a big accomplishment, blah blah blah. This is about me. Just kiddin' sis!
CON: 11 more weeks of training. Alarm going off at 4:30am during the week. Early Saturday or Sunday mornings. Ugh.
CON: My wife and kids won't be able to see me finish my first marathon.
They bitch and moan when they have no effin' right to bitch and moan.
There's drama every freakin' day of their life.
They can't do anything themselves.
They're exceptionally lazy and, if you call them on it, you're "yelling at them". Believe me, you'll know when I'm yelling at you.
I wish I didn't have to deal with declining enrollment in my classes
I wish I didn't have to sacrifice higher standards in order to keep kids in my class.
I wish my administrators would concentrate on learning rather than test scores and AP enrollment.
I wish I could just have a job where I could just shoot video and edit. No students, no parents, no administrators.
I wish I had the time to produce a documentary on the plight of local diners trying to survive in a world of chain restaurants.
I wish I could turn this whole blogging thing into a career of some sort.
I wish I could get more comments per entry.
I wonder if it's even worth it.
I need a break from running, blogging, reading about running, etc.
I get into "running funks".
I wish that everything made sense and I could get back into some sort of rhythm.
You need to keep things in perspective.
Sometimes you just have bad runs.
*side note - a HEEEEUUUUGE congratulations out to all of those who ran their races this weekend! Through nerves, self-doubt, pain, etc., you all persevered. I'm proud, excited, and-yes- jealous of all of you. I'd list all of those people here, but I'd genuinely feel awful if I left someone out.
Xenia tagged me so now I have something to write about!
6 random things about me:
I've never eaten a funnel cake. How's that for random?? Why is it when I mention this to students, friends, co-workers, they just freak out? Apparently, its' a big deal that I've never eaten fried dough with powdered sugar.
In a previous life, I was a radio "on-air personality" (a.k.a. - DJ). I started with the overnight shift and worked my way up. Funny thing is is that the overnight shift allowed me to play some great music and I met a LOT of interesting regular callers. Especially the guy on Ex. I quit when I got started in TV.
I used to smoke. I hate to admit it, but I did. I mean, after all of the mountains of evidence, I still did it. "Only" about a pack and a half a week, but still. The ironic thing is is that our entire family harped on MomADoodle to quit for years. How hypocritical am I? I'm proud to say that I haven't had a smoke - nor wanted one - for about 8 years now and MomADoodle has been smoke-free for about 3 years. Yeah mom! I'm 1000 times more proud of her than I am myself!
About 11 years ago, I was sitting at a hockey game here in Omaha when I said, "Screw it, I'm moving to Phoenix." And that's what I did. I packed up all of my stuff, quit my TV job and moved southwest. No job lined up, only knew one person down there, but I still moved. I picked up a gig working the front desk at a 4 star, 5 diamond resort down there. The job sucked, but I made some great friends.
I pride myself on my spelling, except for the word "restaurant". That one always trips me up.
I always have to wear a watch. I drives me nuts if I don't.
There ya go. I hate tagging other people and force them to do my bidding, but those people know who should be tagged. You know who you are. Do it. All the cool kids are.
I thought I was fairly accepting of change. I really did. And then somehow my running routine got tweaked. I still run at the same time and on the same routes, but there are others out there that are cramping my style.
Exhibit A: I routinely walk about 1 1/2 blocks to get the blood flowing and then I stop at a corner and stretch. So I'm stretching out and, all of a sudden, this guy comes out of his house to take out the garbage cans....at 4:45am! I'm "technically" on his property and I have a feeling that, if he sees me, he'll freak out. Not because I'm on the corner of his lot, but because there's some strange guy in black just standing there. I adeptly move to my "starting line" and stretch out there. Weird.
Exhibit B: This morning, I'm walking to my corner and a Jeep going the other way slows down and turns into a driveway. The driver quickly beeps the horn. After the driveway incident, I'm a little apprehensive, but I don't see the driver get out of the car. I turn my iPod off just in case. So I'm stretching for awhile and I turn around and there are 2 ladies, in black (leggings, shirt, hat, gloves, etc) and they're about 2 feet from me. Normally, my ninja training would kick in but instead, I freaked out. They apologized and, after my heart resumed beating, I wondered why they didn't announce their presence before I turned around or just gone to the other side of the street. Then, on my route, there were 6 runners, 2 of them being the Ladies in Black. 6. At 5:15am. That's just too damn crowded for me. Turns out that I like my RazZDoodle time.
It's kinda hard to post to a running blog when you don't run, but it's never stopped me before. Notes and observations from the weekend:
Friday night, the RazZDoodles went out to eat! A real, live sit-down restaurant! It was a belated birthday dinner with my parents and sister who came in from Phoenix. We went to one of my favorite chinese/japanese places and we had a tremendous amount of sushi. We even got it served on a boat! Why am I telling you this? Well, copious amounts of sushi and 3 heee-uge Sapporos do not make for a good pre-long run meal. I could feel the rice expanding before drifting off that night.
6am Saturday morning arrived and I had every intention of heading out for a long run. Then 7am arrived. Then 7:45am. And the kids were still sleeping. I opted for sleep. Saturday was going to be a very long day due to the fact that my Beloved Huskers were playing a night game.
DaughterDoodle scored her first soccer goal! And I missed it.....by about 5 minutes. I was very bummed. I had told her that I would be there for the first half of the game and then daddy needed to go down to Lincoln. To see the Huskers play Missouri. A potential landmark win if they play their best game yet. And they didn't. Not even close. And I missed my daughter's goal. Grrrrrrrrr.......
My Beloved Huskers + the Missouri Tigers = an embarrassment. The Tigers a very good team. Very good. Scary good. The Huskers are a bad team. Hopefully, not as bad as last year, but this will be a slow rise back to the top of the Big 12.
I'm getting *jacked* about the Des Moines Half. More for meeting some fellow bloggers but also running some place entirely new. I've thought a about a PR, but I'm not sure. My last long run was about :25 above the pace I'd need. Usually, during races I run faster than my weekend long run, so we'll see.
For some reason, I'm not commenting much on y'alls blogs. Don't know why. I'm reading them, they're all entertaining, I just have nothing to say. I have a feeling that I'm coming down with some more blogger's blockage. Uh oh.
And yet....I've been told to clean up my room. Apparently, my running obsession has gotten to the point that it has invaded a small corner in our living room. And, according to some people in our house - I shan't name names *cough!* WifeADoodle! *cough! cough*- it's starting to look like the floor room of our local running store. I said, "I wish!" and got a glare, so I had to explain myself.
The 3 pair of shoes? "I rotate 2 pairs. That way, I don't wear one out too quickly. The other pair is just in case the first 2 get eaten by a puma."
The shirt? "You don't want me running shirtless. Trust me."
The socks? "Would you rather I lay out the socks down here the night before or rummage through our room at 4:30 in the morning?"
Your watch-thingy? "It's called a Garmin. Get it right, woman."
Stocking hat? Gloves? Tights*? "Hey, the weather here could change in an instant. I have to be ready for anything. RazZDoodle** has to be comfy."
So there's method to my madness. My compromise? I put away my "in case of puma attack" shoes. The rest of it stays and our non-runner guests will have to deal.
*Yeah, that's right, I wear tights. It's 5 in the morning, I'm pretty safe I'm not going to be seen by many.
**RazZDoodle like the 3rd person thing. RazZDoodle will have to do that more often.