Friday, October 15, 2010

The Great Pumpkin & Messing Up Sex With Running

My apologies for being so tardy in keeping up on the blog. Since I last blogged, running has happened. Lots and lots of running ... some of it including a half-marathon with my wife's cousin (therefore, MY counsin). First time in this marathon training that I've taken a step in tandem rather than solo.

We are well in to October now, so I hereby declare the official start of the Halloween season. That's right, I've made it a season at my house starting on October 1st and ending on the Feast of All Hallows (that's Halloween for my non-Catholic readers). The best part of this "Great Pumpkin" season is, of course, the Charlie Brown movie itself.

A couple of things about The Great Pumpkin have me very confused. Who the hell gives a kid rocks on Halloween? That is seriously f**ked up! So some depressed, bald-headed kid has cut too many holes in his ghost costume, and it's o.k. to throw some granite in the kid's bag? Did the whole neighborhood have a pre-Halloween meeting just so they could f**k with poor ole Charlie Brown by giving him rocks? Yes. Of course they did. They all conspired to give that nice boy rocks in lieu of candy. If it wasn't bad enough that the kid is in 4th grade and still won't grow hair, he also gets a neighborhood beat down on the second best kid holiday in the whole kid year.

Why pick on Charlie Brown? I can think of at least one other Peanuts character that could use some granitic candy. For instance, how about Marcy? Where does she get off calling Peppermint Patty "Sir"? Thanks to Marcy, I was confused about Peppermint Patty's gender for years. I still am if I want to be entirely honest.

To this day, I can't tell if Charles Schulz was way ahead of the gay rights curve with this whole Peppermint Patty thing or if he just liked to confuse kids. Given the near-human beagle masquerading as a WWI flying ace; the advent of a "Great Pumpkin" that can somehow fly, dispense candy and judge the souls of children based upon the totally unrelated and morally neutral "sincerity" of their pumpkin patches; the depiction of adults that say "wah, wah, wha wha" instead of talking; and the aforementioned trick or treating abuse of Charlie Brown, I think Schulz was all about confusing the kids.

Folks, confused kids grow up into confused adults. As adults, we learn that the combination of things you really enjoy can end up being woefully wrong. A quick example, whiskey and gun play.

Now for the Question & Answer part of the blog to help demonstrate this principle:

Q: Are many women super sexy?

A: Oh, yeah. Ummmm ... women.

Q: Can this female sexiness be increased exponentially by the addition of black leather stiletto heels?

A: Stupid question ... the answer is, of course, "Yes!"

Q: Is there anything wrong with mixing women, stiletto heels and running?

A: Yes!!! It is an abomination much the same as France, Snookie, or perhaps Scrappy Doo, are each an abomination.

Just look at the picture! This poor lady has launched a stiletto heel about 15 feet over her addled head. Think of the road rash on her thighs and face. Damn it! It's just wrong. If a guy did this to this poor woman, all society would encourage and condone all sorts of torture as his recompense. But, what the hell do you do with a woman who has brought this on herself just for the glory of ... oh, I don't know ... winning a $25 dollar WalMart gift certificate? Is there some kind of mid-point between heaven and hell for such people?

We should not ... No! We must not confuse sex and running! It just leads to disappointing results and unintended consequences. Come on, America! Fix this so that it doesn't happen again!

Let's briefly run through some highlights on the playlist for this Saturday's 12 mile run from Palo Cedro to Caldwell Park in Redding. Notables are:

Lithium by Evanescence: There's just something about a girl dressed up like Lilly Munster singing with that awesome voice that Lilly ... I mean Amy Lee ... has. Perfect for the Halloween season, and I do find that operatic/Munster thing Amy Lee does kind of sexy.

Screaming In The Night by Krokus: This get's my "I'm a douchebag award". I distinctly recall getting drunk with my wife's cousin at the home of some female friends of ours and singing this song to them about five times in a row.

Me (in slurred voice): Eric, rewind that again! That was awesome!

Eric (in slurred voice): Yeah!

Together in Awesome Singing Voice: Screaming in the night, fighting for my life, I'd die for you...

(Rewind and repeat at least five times). Oh, the horror ...

Have a Happy Halloween and eat lots of candy. Steal from the kids if you have to, but eat lots of candy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Official Bieber Fever Blog

It has been 11 days since my last entry into the Marathon Blog. Since that time, nothing has happened. Really ... I have very little to write about. So, I'll put in some stuff about running and rant about a couple of things. That should get the ole creative juices flowing.

First, the running bit. I ran an 8 miler at 8:00/mile pace in Palo Cedro last Saturday. If you did not know this, Palo Cedro is the home of such world-renowned events as "The Honey Bee Festival" and landmarks such as "Citizen's Utilities" and "Holiday Market". Weeds and scrubby oaks grow nicely during 110 degree July days in Palo Cedro. Palo Cedro kind of sucks in many ways, but it is home of a sort. I really do love the place and the memories it conjures up.

Speaking of memories, I was present when Ray Hursey cracked this sign at North Cow Creek School with a bat and split it in half. I guess he was pissed because he was not one of the "Best Students in Shasta County"? Well, I was, and it didn't do much for me. I didn't even get the satisfaction of whacking a sign with an aluminum bat. Anyway, I've waited some 30 or so years to rat him out, so here it is. Ray, you are officially outed ... fear not ... the statute of limitations has run.

During that run, I thought a lot about people and places in Palo Cedro, and it did distract me from my usual musings on theology, jiu jitsu, and people who have irked me recently. On that last subject, the guy that had me irked on this run was the crazy fundamentalist preacher with a congregation of a whopping 50 people who plans on burning a Koran. Hint to everyone - these types go away if they are ignored ... says the guy cluttering up his blog with the same damn thing.

Then my ire turned to a group in Britain who plan to burn an American flag in protest of the crazy fundamentalist preacher guy. Listen, Britain, U.K., England or whatever the hell you are calling yourselves nowadays, we've kicked your ass in two wars and we've only recently (since 1814 or so) decided we can tolerate you despite your toothy looking royalty and obvious lack of dentistry. Hands off of Old Glory!!!

Note: I do know the difference between Britain, UK & England. Just having fun you lovers of geography! And also, notice my argument against generalization by use of another generalization. Do not think I have not made note of my own hypocrisy.

Anyway, does it make sense to burn the symbol of our entire country because one crazy decides to burn a Koran? That's kind of like slapping a nearby puppy just because your spouse made you mad. No matter how therapeutic a baby canine beat down might be, it just shouldn't be done. Maybe try a cat instead? They are bit more challenging because they are quick and, even if you do hit them, they can give a sh*t.

Moving on ... I had the third leg of the Whiskeytown Relay on Sunday. I was fully expecting God to strike me down for skipping church, but instead I ran at 7:00/mile pace. I'm thinking there is some kind of trick He's playing on me. Oh wait, that trick was that 4 miler at Lema Ranch when I almost died! Maybe God is paying it forward for me. I dare not guess.

Has anyone ever noticed this kid?

Well, he now lives at my house. My boy, the Pseudo-Bieber, has exactly the same hair-do. He denies it though. Our conversation this morning went something like.

Abusive Father: Hey, Bieber, you're late for school.

Pseudo-Bieber: Dad, it's not a Bieber hair cut. I comb my hair forward but to the opposite side.

Father Who Thinks This Move Is Motivated By Girls: Ummm ... yeah ...

I dropped the Pseudo-Bieber off at school this morning. One of his female classmates immediately noticed him, pointed at him and laughed. I'm guessing she just got an up close and personal experience of Bieber Fever.

This Saturday's long run is a 9 miler. Ipod playlist tracks of note are:

Wasted Sunsets by Deep Purple: Admitted ... I spent many hours as a teen rewinding this song in my car after an extended round of Redding's favorite past time - drinking keg beer out of plastic glasses in remote locations overgrown with Manzanita and containing the debris dumped from the pickup beds of Redding's finest citizens. Ah good times ... I was a bad kid, really, but I never got caught.

You Got Lucky by Tom Petty: Remember the lyrics? "You got lucky babe, when I found you." I hereby dedicate this song to some girl who looks like my wife but is not. Inside joke right at ya, Stacy!

The Trees by Rush: A song about maple trees complaining to oaks that they are being crowded out of the sunlight by said oaks. The trees argue so much that by the end of the song they are all "kept equal, by hatchet, ax, and saw." Moral to the story? None, really. I construe this warning to apply only to trees, and Canadian trees specifically.

Have a great week, everyone. May you never be subjected to Bieber fever in your own home.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Naked Greeks & Pink Floyd

Greetings to everyone! I'll start with a synopsis of last Saturday's long run of 4 miles. If you recall, last week was a taper week. Supposedly, it meant rest, more time with the kids, warm comforting romantic thoughts of getting away with the wife and the like. Instead, it meant that I did way too much work-related worrying, not enough jiu jitsu, not enough drinking and not enough running. So, was I excited to run my 4 miles? Yes!

Then it sucked. Oh boy, did it suck.

I now have a loathing of Lema Ranch which no amount of Maker's Mark can erase. It was 66 degrees when I left my comfortable abode in Shingletown and, by the time I finished running Lema's asphalt paths around weed patches and assorted murky lakes, it was 93 degrees. When such extremes occur I typically rely on some music to set me straight. Well, that Pina Colada song didn't do the trick ... it just pissed me off. How dare that guy sing about Pina Colada's when I'm needing a drink and trying to avoid stumbling into a patch of star thistle. You know, these frickin stupid weeds:

That concludes my rundown (pun intended) of last Saturday's debacle. Needless to say, I finished this run only to be late in picking up my wife from Sun Oaks. Did I mention the gastrointestinal issue I had on my run? Imagine that potty stop ... well, don't actually. My reward? A disapproving look. At least she didn't hit me.

I ran five miles on Monday, and it was much, much better. During that run, I was thinking about how good it will be to run a marathon again. I'll get a medal, the universal esteem and respect of my children and wife (yeah, right), and I'll probably even finish it strong.

One thing that occurred to me in my confident state during that run was that the first marathon didn't turn out so good for a certain Greek named Phiddipides. If you've ever wondered why a marathon is precisely 26.2 miles it is because that is the distance that poor Phiddipides had to run from the Plain of Marathon to Athens. Phiddipides ran to Athens to provide the good news of a victory against the Persian invader at Marathon.

Ah, Athens ... the same people that made Socrates drink poison and die just because he asked too many annoying questions and had bad breath. Seems like the Athenians could deserve some late news ... or at least inaccurate news like the Record Searchlight provides. Back to the story ...

Phiddipides ran his ass off in his sandals all the way to Athens and blurted out his good news only to die immediately thereafter. Yes ... like certain 4 milers, marathons can kill. I've often wondered why Phiddipides ran himself to death to give good news. Seems like good news could wait a bit. Why not stop at a couple of taverns on the way to Athens? You could ogle a couple of greek girls, brag about how you killed at least 20 of the invading Persians and drink some brew.

Phiddipides: Hey baby, bet you five drachma you can't guess what I've got under my toga?

Disgusted Greek Girl: Shaved legs?

Phiddipides: Nah, come on baby you know that's for those tour de france guys ... guess again.

You could while away the whole day playing that game in a tavern. Trust me, I've tried it. Seems like the bad news like "The Persians are coming to kill us all!" should induce a bit of haste. But no, Phiddipides foolishly sprints forward to die to bring tidings of great joy (Christmas reference intended).

Take a look at this classic painting of Phiddipides delivering the good news to Athens:

A couple of questions 'cause I'm confused:

1) What the hell happened to Phidippides' clothes? Why are the Athenians clothed? Is this some kind of Greek messenger thing? In modern day Greek messaging, is nudity required if you send a fax but you must be clothed to receive the same fax?

2) Why aren't the people happier? You'd think they'd show a bit more joy in getting to avoid that whole unpleasant killing and rape thing that the Persians liked to bestow upon the Greeks.

3) If not happy, they look surprised. Is that because Phidippides feels it necessary to demonstrate naked yoga moves while giving out the good news?

4) Is Phidippides about to get groped by that chick that is reaching for him? I think, Yes. Is that guy in the brown toga on the left leaning back so he can get a better look at Phidipides' ass? Once again ... it looks that way.

As all of this relates to me, I'm not sure if I should be thinking about getting naked prior to finishing my marathon at the Sundial Bridge? If I go all-Phidippides, will some lady try to grab my bum? In Redding, no, its straight to jail. In Chico, my chances are fair. In San Francisco, I'm a lock for a bit of tushy grabbing.

I think I need a palate cleanser. Kids, avert your eyes, because this picture has each of the Pink Floyd albums painted on the naked backside of an attractive woman.

Men, can you sense that disturbing image of Phiddipides leaving your mind? Good. Glad I could be of help and my favorite is the one painted black with the Dark Side of the Moon album cover painted on. Second place goes to the girl on her left. You are clever if you have noticed my brunette theme. Doesn't that feel nice to be called clever in a blog?

This week's long run is a 7.5 miler. I will be lacing up my shoes to a pretty good playlist. Notable mentions are:

Mother by Danzig: Kind of a weird vibe I get from Danzig. The lead singer is one hugely muscled dude emoting all over the place about his mama. I don't know whether to respect him or slap him. Generally, heavy metal conjures images of guys with greasy and/or heavily hair sprayed locks with about as much muscle as is necessary to lift a joint or perhaps (on good days) a light beer.

1973 by James Blunt: James, in 1973 I was 5 years old. Even I didn't dance in night clubs with beautiful models at age 5. You certainly did not because you were not yet born. What gives?

Here's hoping that all of you enjoy your weekend. Tomorrow is September 11, 2010, so spend some time in prayer. While at it, pray for me on my run. If the ghost of the 4 miler returns for this 7.5 miler it will probably end up in me doing some naked yoga a la Phiddipides ... and that can't be pretty.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

On How Runner's Save the Rest of You

On the strange weather front. I went from running in 90 degree weather to taking last Saturday's long run of 7.5 miles four days later in the cold and rain. It was 50 degrees when I launched in Shingletown for a trail run.

The run went fine, and, as promised, I did wolf down thirteen beers at the barbecue which followed. And, yes, I know it sounds juvenile to count the beers you've consumed, but I'm in training, so I do what I want. This also explains why I ran my last marathon at 192 lbs. I'm at 202 lbs now, so I've got some beer drinking ... I mean ... training to do.

The point was made to me that the excessive beer drinking cannot count as carbo-loading because it occurred post-run. I can't refute such logic, so I'll use my attorney-wits (the California State Bar provides these as a "reward" for enduring their hellishly foolish bar exam). I therefore fall back on my counter-argument that I meant that the carbs were intended to replenish those used during the run. That extra beer (the 13th) was for the effort it took to spank a naughty kid and tie my shoes immediately before the run. That was exhausting.

Also, Dad, you may send the "watch out for becoming an alcoholic" warning by text.

On a serious note, the song highlight of this run was Billy Joel's "Goodnight Saigon". Kids, Billy Joel is a middle-aged singer popular in the 70's and early 80's. He's most noted for having super-buggy eyes and marrying a super-model (Christie Brinkley). I guess his lusty stare must have finally spooked her because she dumped him several years ago. Anyway, the song is about Marines in the Vietnam War. That led me to thinking about the people I left behind when I left CBC Port Hueneme. Here's the emblem for the Fighting Seabees:

I was a JAG at CBC Port Hueneme and not a Seabee, so I can't claim the "We Build, We Fight!" motto. I suppose the JAG motto would be "You Fight, We Prosecute". It is also true that the "fighting Seabee" didn't intimidate many of the Japanese soldiers during the Pacific Campaign of WWII. However, I've got to admit that a bee holding a machine gun is more interesting than the "Rising Sun" the Japanese carried into battle. Come on, Japan! Couldn't you put a Samurai on your battle flag - or maybe a picture of a shot of Sake. Here's Japan's boring flag:

Anyway, I digress.

I do want to inform the public of the many benefits runners provide to you. For one, you may have heard about the wildfire started by a golfer who caused a spark when he hit a rock with his club. Well, runners don't start wildfires.

Runner #1: Hey, lets go, we've got 7 miles to cover before we go to the barbecue and get drunk!

Runner #2: Be right with you, just going to kindle a fire before we get started.

Runners also habitually look along the side of the road as they jog. This means that we discover dead bodies and the like - a worthy public service. It is also well known that there is a worldwide quota on the wearing of track suits. Put another way, if Al Davis and all the runners in the world don't wear the track suits, it means some of you will have to. As for the skimpy running shorts we wear, they are super-sexy and the envy of all the people I train with at Team Quest. Just ask them, and they will tell you how they highlight my muscled thighs and sculpted calves. Just ask ...

Lastly, what better way to demonstrate your public service as a runner than to solve the world's food shortage crisis by being so damn skinny (myself excluded). This formerly beautiful girl did her part for you as part of her marathon training:

And, to show that it isn't just the women doing their part, the men participate too:

The downside is that runners, as a rule, tend to distract drivers with their strange appearance (see the picture of the shameless guy above). I imagine this leads to traffic accidents, accidental choking by children in the back seats of cars and the like. In high school we had a girl who would bawl like a baby during her mile event at the track meets. Dammit, Heather, if it bothers you so much take up bowling! WTF, who the hell said you could cry! What do you really expect from a runner? Don't tell me you think the guy in the picture above isn't going to cry like a baby when he's done running.

Moving on ... this Saturday's run is a wussy run. Low on the mileage (4 to be exact) because this is a taper week. Two weeks, I increase mileage and on the third week, I tool it down. Marathon training in a nutshell folks.

Because the run is so short, my Ipod playlist is rather short. The only song of note is "The Pina Colada Song" ... you know "Do you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain..." What a bunch of cheesy sh*t, and Rupert Holmes should be shot for being so damn pathetic that he had to write a song that with each verse screams out "I'm not a man!"

So, on this week where almost everything sucked, I'm hoping that "The Pina Colada" song will remind me that not all is bad. Mr. Holmes turned in his man card after he wrote that song. Mine is still comfortably in that tiny girly little pocket they make for the skimpy running shorts.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cross-Training - Who Loves You, Jiu Jitsu? I Do!!!

As noted, today is a "rest day". That doesn't mean you rest. It means you cross-train! Bluntly put ... if you don't cross-train, you suck. If you want to "not suck" and cross-train, pick something that you love. If you don't love your cross-training, you won't do it. For me, that love is brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Today was good cross-training. I learned something new and revisited a couple of old friends. I refer to technique and not people. I'm the old one at Team Quest. Days like this make me want to just lay on the mats all day, hang out with my brothers and sisters at Team Quest and soak it in. Yeah, I'd grapple too.

However ... as in all relationships, some days are a bit darker. Some days you can be distracted and go through the motions despite your good intentions. The point is the love of the thing got you there, and the rest takes care of itself. You've cross-trained!

So, those of you familiar with the symbol of the yin and yang will know that it represents balance. See below:

Both black and white are separate but together they are complementary and are harmonius. Jiu-jitsu is "familia" - just sounds more fun to say "familia" rather than "family". Back to my point. Jiu-jitsu is communal and, by its very nature, cannot be enjoyed alone. You can't grapple with yourself! Maybe emotionally, spiritually or philosophically, but not physically. That requirement for community makes it unique amongst martial arts. And so, I cross-train with my Familia at Team Quest. It's o.k. to feel jealous if you are not a part of this Familia.

Feel the jealousy yet? Now read on...

In contrast, I train to run the Redding Marathon on January 16, 2011. I make exceptions, but I prefer to run alone. Being completely and utterly alone suits me despite the fact that my wife has forced me to father seven children.

*** You know where to send the hate mail! ***

A fringe benefit of the loneliness of the long distance runner (notice the Iron Maiden song reference) is that you naturally tune out everything around you. It's all heart and mind. The ability to "tune out" is also a parental coping and marriage saving skill. Can you tune out an obnoxious child or perhaps an angry spouse? I can! Thank you running.

The solitary nature of running and the communal nature of jiu-jitsu are complementary. Spending time with one increases the desire for the other. Kind of like when you are sitting on the couch switching off between Dorritos and ice cream or switching between girlfriends. Get it? Harmony! That is cross-training in a nutshell.

Now, on to tomorrow's 7.5 mile run. At about 9:30 in the a.m., I'm going to put on some Nikes and put my foot on the neck of that run. I'll let it up off of my "mat" when I'm damn good and ready, and I won't be tired. I'm going to follow it with about 12 beers at the annual football barbecue. Yep, bang it there folks - 12 beers! Granted they will likely be wussy beers as follows:

But, who's is the last man standing ... well ... I am!

Getting back to the run, I've planned a playlist for this run on my Ipod. I need an hour of music, so I have to choose wisely. Some highlights to this playlist along with commentary are:

1. Road to Madness by Queensryche. 9:41 of sometimes ambient and sometimes kick you in the gut heavy-metal. This is a real band. Compare, for example, Bon Jovi. Mr. Bon Jovi ... you are on my Ipod just because I'm too cheap to delete you, but you damn sure won't make a playlist.

2. Rhythm of Love by The Scorpions. Awesome song. Guaranteed that when it comes on, I'm gonna think about my wife. The Scorpions were the soundtrack to our first kiss. I'm also gonna think about the bastard that broke into my car that same night and stole my Scorpions cassette. If I find you, you !*&!, I'm gonna hurt you.

PS: The District Attorney may consider this Exhibit A to the prosecution that will surely result. My defense? Jackass should have taken the Bon Jovi, and we wouldn't have had a problem, would we?

3. Today My World Slipped Away by George Strait - If you don't like George Strait or if you aren't willing to like him soon, you aren't American, and I don't know you. Nuff said.

4. Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Beddingfield - Don't judge me!

Post-run update to follow early next week. Perhaps you are wondering what the training nexus is for the beer drinking? It's called carbo-loading ...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Getting Started

This blog is going to focus on my efforts to run the 2011 Redding Marathon. Of course, it will also mention jiu jitsu, Team Quest, my wife, various personal details of my friends etc. They won't be reading it anyway, so I get to fire away.

So, why the hell am I writing this? The answer is pretty simple ... if you are going to run a marathon you need encouragement. If you are like me (God forbid), you'll look on the internet to try to find someone with enough hubris to think that other people actually care how he/she trained for that particular little gem of a marathon you have in mind and how the marathon experience was.

I'm currently doing this exact thing (reading blogs) because I'd like to run the Disneyworld Marathon sometime in the future. The reality is that I know that my kids will suck every spare dime out of me, and I'll never make it to Disneyworld until I'm too damn old to run a marathon. Katy Perry will also be too old for me to meet her as Snow White during my 26.2 miles of Disney fun. She'll probably be too old to impress by then. She'd make a good one right now, right? I'll be too old to remember this particular fantasy anyway and time won't be doing me any favors either. All too depressing. Here's Snow White right now!!!

As for blogging, I'm starting a bit early. I'm just doing base mileage, and that roadwork is simply to build a foundation prior to starting Higdon's Novice II marathon training program. I was going to wait until I actually launched on the program, but that would require me to wait two weeks. Frankly, I need something to do on those lunch hours when I'm not sneaking off to Team Quest to get my arm wrenched and my neck choked.

Today's treat was a 4 miler at pace along the ACID canal to the Turtle Pond just on the other side of the Sundial Bridge. If you aren't familiar with the Turtle Pond, its that little pool of sludge, green with algae. You'll find a couple of forelorn turtles on a couple of logs in that sesspool sticking their little turtle necks as high out of the muck as they are able. Oh, to be a turtle in that pond. Redding turtles look like this but not as happy.

During the run, an unexpected treat was dialed up by my Ipod. Judas Priest's "Victim of Changes" came on in full glory. For those of you who don't know, the song is about a guy who gets a beautiful girl. She then promptly proceeds to get fat, old and ugly. Thus, the singer is the "victim of changes". Rob Halford (the lead singer) obviously solved this thorny problem of the ne'er do well, trickster woman, by deciding that he preferred his same sex. Not so fast, Rob, guys get fat too. Honestly, was anybody really surprised when Rob came out of the closet. See the picture and mouth the word "No".

Anyhow, a great song and, for the sake of my relationship with my wife and all of my female friends, I do not agree with the sentiment in this song. No ... actually, I do. Please send hate mail to my home address and not to my work address.

Anyway, what do you expect from a band named Judas Priest? I only mention it to describe how this song caused me to think "deep thoughts" on an otherwise, sh*t nasty Redding 400 degree day. Curse you Redding!!!

Well, enough for now. Tomorrow is a rest day which means I'll be at Team Quest allowing some other "friend" to stack me until my heels are behind my neck. I do intend to post my expectations for Saturday's long run, so stay tuned.