Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chicken & Gravy

The way I move keys you can call me the piano mang - Jay Z

Last night I watched Natalee Holloway on Lifetime Movie Network. It was the story we all know, but told from the perspective of her mother. I'm a follower of this story, as well as Chandra Levy, Laci Peterson and Jon Benet. Anytime a pretty white person dies it is a sad day.

I have also come off the ledge a bit after Boston, so thanks for all of your concern. I only have a few cut marks on my arms, and the doctor says with some Shea's Cocoa Butter there shouldn't be any scars.

I had pretty much already forgotten about the race until yesterday, when I received my finisher's time card in the mail. Thanks for the reminder, BAA.

But onto bigger and better things, namely me + my bike + roads. That's right, triathlon season is upon us and it's finally a sport I seem to do much better in (unless the race is over 2h8m). I've spent the past few years building a little nest egg on the bike, and somehow live off the fat throughout the year. I've ridden my bike exactly 21 times this year. That's pretty sad. But I have 1157 miles, which isn't tremendously less than where I was this time last year.

The main differences are that I have only made one trip out to Frederick, compared with 4 last year. I also haven't been attending my Thursday Night Ride. Most of this was due to Boston, and bad weather, but even now I think it will be difficult for me to get up to Owings Mills on Thursdays this summer. It's about 20 miles from my house, which would mean even if I don't head all the way back to the shop, I'm still looking at 70 miles of riding on a Thursday. Not that I can't do it, I just wouldn't do it each week.

Anyway I'll worry about that later, I can ride hard on my own, I just like the socialization.

Back to this past weekend. I wound up taking 3 days completely off last week to let my body recover a little from the marathon. Hopped in the pool once, and ran about 2.5 miles on Sunday just to get home from where I was. The main objective of the weekend was to ride, and ride we did.

Saturday morning I was rolling up Fleet St by 7:15 to meet OJ and Benda at Meadowbrook. Their plan was to do the PA78 ride we have from TriSpeed, which makes it pretty close to 100 from Meadowbrook. Add the 18 miles for me to and from Meadowbrook and you've got a long day in the saddle. My previous longest rides are 106 mile efforts. I felt pretty decent in the morning, but knew it was going to be a long day.

Away we went from Mt. Washington, up to Timonium and then instead of stopping at the store to start their 9am ride, we just went on our way. There were a couple of parts early that Benda and OJ were picking it up, which I told them was fine - I just wasn't going to have the legs to do it. Finally we got up to Hampstead, and then onto Lineboro Rd. We stopped for water at Leone Springs, one of the highlights of the ride. Then it was back to the grind. We rolled into our next stop, Glen Rock PA, and were averaging 18.7 for the ride at mile 65. That's pretty decent.

From there, the ride gets a little challenging again. You pick up York Rd just north of the state line, and it's very hilly. Overall, you're descending into Hunt Valley, but some of the inclines are rough, and there's not a spot of shade. The worst is the climb up past Hereford HS. As I pedaled up that section I noticed the temperature read 91. Yikes.

I finally made it back to Timonium, and it was decision time. Ride uphill for a couple miles so I could benefit by going downhill for a while, or have a relatively flat ride but through more traffic. I opted for the hills. I made a stop just after 100 at Falls Road Running, and then made my way home. 115 miles, quite a long day. I was pleased that I didn't completely crash and burn, but I don't think I could have gone much quicker - my HR would have spiked and cause me to crumble. I did a great job with nutrition today, which was a highlight and undoubtedly helped me not feel like death the next day.

Sunday morning I headed down to watch a bunch of the team run at the Port to Fort 6k, where we went 1-2 on both the men's and women's side. We had a lot of successes today at various races, which was awesome because even at the early hour it was really warm. I ran home and prepared for my ride. OJ and I were meeting at 1:30 at Old Court Rd to ride to Frederick. It was HOT.

And windy - we had to ride into a pretty stiff headwind all the way out to Frederick. There was no shade and it's a primarily uphill ride, so what little downhills there were didn't offer any relief. It felt like a furnace. My feet were on fire. I was riding okay, but not great. My legs weren't cramping, nor did they feel like they would, but I just couldn't generate much power. I think we held 17.2 for the near 70 mile ride. At 5:15 we went past one thermometer that read 100. It could have been that hot.

After a spicy chicken sandwich and some french fries from Wendy's, we were on the road. OJ dropped me off in Fed Hill to attend Claire's bbq, and then I had to ride the 4 miles back home. Bleh.

Still, a 185 mile weekend is good at this time of year for me. The only casualty is my left knee is a little sore, which feels like it's been overused just a little. I should be good. I'm happy the efforts didn't kill me, so now with a little bit of riding under me I can get out for some harder efforts this coming weekend, ahead of racing season.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Things Could Always Be Worse

But I doubt it.

2009 has been a pretty shitty year for me, I just feel like I can't catch a break. I haven't felt good about any of my races since Columbia of last year, and it seems like in the races over 2 hours I'm getting crushed, which I don't get. I'm no stranger to extended efforts, but obviously I'm missing something.

When a bunch of my posse here all decided to do Boston, I was psyched. I thought it would be an amazing experience to get to run this storied race with all my friends, and after my terrible NYC race I was highly motivated to have a better showing at the world's greatest marathon. I ran more miles, did more long runs, even did a few workouts. The timing of the spring marathon is weird to me, as I tend to do very little in the winter and wait til spring to ramp up for tri season. I also tend to do more 10k-10mi races this time of year. While I would say that in general my preparation was better than it was leading up to last November, it was by no means tremendously structured.

Trying to not be all Debbie Downer, allow me to present things that were positives:

1) The success of others. According to Melissa, Ryan Hall was in 9th place when she saw him, and he rallied to finish 3rd. It was no London, but that's an amazing finish and promising for the future. Same goes for Kara Goucher, who is a beast and raced the shit out of Boston, only to fall back just at the end to finish 3rd. I love her.

Not to be outdone, some of my friends did great. PRs abound for Ben (2:32:35, 71st overall!), Zero (2:55, 7min PR), Collin, Spence, technically Arjun, Mary Bertram and my boy Eric (2:39:53). It softens the blow of a bad day for one or a couple when others can find success. The conditions were not terrible, but certainly not great. A strong headwind prevailed for the entire length of the course - one of the nuisances of a point-to-point, directional race.

2) Dick Hoyt and his son, Rick. If you don't know who these two are, you should be ashamed of yourself and Google them right now. Rick, now 46 years old, was born with severe cerebral palsey. Dick, his father, decided to start doing races with Rick, who is confined to a wheelchair. 30 years and a few heart attacks later, the pair are approaching their 1000th event. Along the way they have done every race from the 5k to the marathon, to the Ironman World Championships at Kona. Besides notching some 2:4x marathons, while pushing his son in a wheelchair, Dick pretty much does the unthinkable in the triathlon. Rick sits in a raft while Dick straps on a harness and pulls him through the swim. They then mount their bike, which fully outfitted weights 365 pounds. I get upset that my bike weighs nearly 16, plus my 165, and I've been known to empty water bottles to lighten the load going up baby hills. Then they go for a marathon run while Dick's arms do not move - they are stuck in an awkward position pushing the wheelchair.

And he never complains, because the joy on his son's face is immeasurable. He didn't set out to be an inspiration, but over the years he has become one, and to me he represents that old school Boston guy that never thought the Red Sox would win and played hockey with Bobby Orr without helmets. He's an ordinary guy who accomplishes something extraordinarily selfless for his son, and is probably the greatest unnatural athlete in the world. Needless to say, I can hardly watch the NBC Ironman coverage when they show him without tearing up, and when I passed him a few miles into the race on Monday (he starts early, his speed isn't what it once was), it was pretty emotional for me. Whenever I'm having a bad day I try to keep it in perspective.

3) I will continue to fail until I succeed. Seriously, my days aren't bad - they are colossel hatchet wounds. Things go so far beyond bad, it's inexplicable. Most people wouldn't come back for more, but I do. Nobody can empathize with this unless you've been there, so don't try. I don't need to hear about some 10k that you went out too hard in. This is not the same.

Some things I don't appreciate hearing:

1) Every race is a learning experience. Yeah, maybe after the first time a race goes bad. After 4 times, it's no longer a learning experience.

2) Great job! No, it wasn't a great job. I did terrible. You ain't got to lie, Craaaiig, just tell me how I did. If I did shitty and you don't know what to say, there's no need for words. Or you can just say sorry, bro.

3) At least you finished. What? Was there every any other option? I'm a winner, quitting is never an option in any race for me. If I'm not finishing, it's because I'm being taken out on a stretcher. This is probably a dangerous ideology, but whatever. Yeah, it really sucks to be that guy walking along the race course. It is physically painful and pretty embarrassing. But nothing is more painful or embarrassing than having a DNF next to your name.

The Actual Race

I've only raced one other marathon, so I only have that miserable experience to draw from, but it didn't stop me from making comparisons.

1) I like the NYC course better than Boston, and believe 100% that it is more difficult. To be fair, I like New York as a place better, but I'm not letting that bias interfere. The experience of running up and over the Verezzano Bridge is amazing, and how they can shut down New York for the better part of a day is really amazing. You get to run through more cool neighborhoods and see more "culture". I recall a section of Brooklyn being pretty loud, and of course 1st Ave and then Harlem. Then in Central Park it's great - if you aren't dead.

Boston was kind of a boring course, definitely the first half was kind of quiet, except for mile 7 and then, of course, Wellesley. There is no better reception than that of hordes of screaming chicks. The sound was deafening, and at this point I was probably in the top 400 people so there weren't many around - and it was mostly dudes. I've never been more excited to be anywhere in my life. It was everything I expected and more. The Boston College kids were really drunk, and the experience of the Newton hills and then 4-5 miles to go is great. The cheers are earsplittingly loud and it's great.

2) The race organization is top notch at both, but NYC gets the nod due to the accommodations they make for all runners. The expo is huge. The pre-race staging area is huge, and they have a million different languages being spoken for the international competitors. I suppose in fairness, NYC is a bigger international draw than Boston. There are a lot of people outside the US who don't really give a crap about the allure of Boston, but Boston also hates outsiders of any kind so I guess that's about right. On the course New York had more stops with gels. Boston only had one. The one thing I liked better about Boston was that following the race you only had to walk 1 mile as opposed to 2 at NY. Boston's pre-race staging area was weird. Very small, and pretty ho-hum. I suppose you shouldn't have a lot going on, but it was still surprising. And the start is very narrow. Granted my corral placed me pretty far back, but I was amazed at the number of people scattered across the road for the first 4ish miles of the race.

3) Logistically both are somewhat frustrating, but that's to be expected in a big city race. The hometown help was in my favor for NY, since I didn't have to stay in a hotel or ride a bus anywhere. Ben's NY experience was exactly that. All of our Boston experiences were that way, but I was pleased with the timing of it all, and they did have some happy volunteers (albeit they were Red Sox fans).

How Did My Race Go?

At first glance, the shitty time of 3:21 looks abysmal, and it is. But it was actually a better race than New York, if you can believe it. I was so psyched for this race; I felt my preparation was great and felt good on race morning. I had been feeling dead for the past few weeks but was feeling lively on race morning. Zero and I jogged to the start, outfitted in our sweet throwaway pants (wish I had pics) and my homemade armwarmers/gloves. I was able to go to the bathroom before the start, which was a huge plus. I didn't feel hungry like I did at the start of NY, and it felt "warm", at least while we were standing there. I gave a special shoutout to my boys Kris and Barf, who were not able to be there and I know they wanted to be and would have if they could have. Their absence made things a lot less fun.

The race started and it took me 2:30 to cross the start line. I wasn't concerned about it, and looked forward to the opportunity to go out a bit slower. There were so many people crowded onto the road and each of them was going frustratingly slow. I expected to see 7:00 or worse for the first mile, but was surprised when it read 6:40. That's about how fast I went out at NY, but obviously that was up the VNB while this was downhill. I began to weave in and out of traffic and popped miles of 5:59, 6:05, and 5:58 before finally telling myself to slow down. They are pretty easily miles and I was feeling better than I did at Cherry Blossom just two weeks ago so I thought I was doing fine.

The next couple of miles were 6:10, 6:09, 6:11, 6:13, 6:15, 6:14, 6:15 and then a 6:12 Wellesley mile, followed by a 6:15 to come through the half in 1:21:22. I felt okay at this point, but the pain was starting to seep in. I was right on what I had been hoping to come through at to run my goal of 2:45, but I knew the second half was going to prove tough. I felt if I could continue at 6:15 until mile 17, then limit my losses from 17-22 to 6:45s, and then drop back down to 6:30 or better, I would run in the 2:45 range.

Unfortunately my body had something else in store. Mile 14 was 6:17, but mile 15 was tougher - 6:30. I remember going up a little bridge at this point and the wind was really strong. I had been running for a while with this one guy, and we were briding the gaps to other groups. I wish I had just stayed with a group for a while instead of running through them, but such is racing. What I did appreciate was there were more people at this stage in the race than at most of the points for me at NY (before I blew up). Mile 16 was then 6:34, and then mile 17 was a bit of a bigger slowdown - 7:01.

The downhills were really tough on me. The difference between this meltdown and NY: at NY I was in trouble early because of the pace's effect on my aerobic system. Boston I was in trouble because my legs seized up. I suppose the positive to take away from this is that I'm aerobically sound. When I slowed down at NY I was in all sorts of trouble - breathing hard, complete body failure. At no point in the Boston race did I even feel tired.

Here's where the fun splits come: 8:15 (I stopped to take a dump just past the mile marker, so I'm actually pretty psyched that this mile was even that fast), 8:11, 8:00 to come through 20 in 2:11:31. If you think of running a 45min 10k, I would have pulled out a respectable time. But the misery continued...9:05, 8:43, 10:23, 11:43. There was a lot of walking. It got worse as it went, because I realized that a decent time was out of the question. I gave up the ghost and would walk as needed just to try and minimize the cramping. I couldn't take the crowd at this point, I was not in the mood for them. I stopped for a few minutes at 24 to talk to Matt Adami.

My last 2.2 miles were 14:59 and 14:49. The takeaways are that I made it a few more miles before the wheels fell off, but my finish was way worse. I don't know if I'll ever get this race right but I'll keep trying til I do. It's frustrating because I see everyone else having good races and can't figure out why I'm stuck in scrubville, but I take the D-Wade approach: knock me down 7 times I'll get up 8.

After the race I felt way worse than I did after NY, leg-wise. Aerobically, like I said, I was never at a point where I was breathing hard or couldn't speak. Thanks to Ben and Zero for helping me get my warm clothes on. We then had to drive the long trip back to Baltimore, in the middle of a torrential storm. It seemed hauntingly fitting for me and Arjun, considering our predicaments. I also got sunburned, which sucks.

Arjun and I are brothers of the same mission for misery. He and I had nearly identical races through 15 miles, with the exception of his first mile being 30sec faster than mine. He was at 1:20:57 at the half, so right on 25 seconds ahead of me. He managed to hold on a little better than I did, finishing in 2:57. It was 10 minutes faster than his miserable race at Baltimore 2007, but he was obviously not pleased. It's funny, we both said we could have run under 2:50 and, given what we did run, would have been great - but neither of us would have been pleased with it anyway.

We are racers, and we race the race. This can lead to greatness, or it can lead to supreme failure. As I say, I'll take failure 25 times if it means I am great just once. We both went in and had goals and did what we had to do to get them. I'm tired of hearing that I go out too fast. Shit, if anything I don't go out fast enough. My problem isn't that - everyone else I know went out faster than they came back, my problem is what's happening internally that's shutting my shit down HARD. Don't have much time to figure out what to do to fix it, but I have to do something.

What makes things tough, too, is the number of people calling, texting and emailing you congratulations when clearly they know you did shitty. I appreciate all the support but I shouldn't have to keep hearing "at least you finished". It's getting old. I had a conversation with my dad today and he obviously knows nothing about the sport, training or most of what I do, but the principles are the same. Basically saying go back to your core, the things that make you successful.

Now the negative me says that means stick to what you're good at, and clearly I'm not good at longer races. I'm also not very good at shorter ones, so that would leave me out of racing. But really it just means to rediscover how you got to where you are. I know I'm better at racing when my training has better balanced. I actually don't think I rode or swam enough this spring. In anticipation of this race I focused more on running. I think this left me tired and depleted, and I need to get back to my old style of training.

I also need something to lift the spirits. We all go through rough patches, but things rarely look up. The prospect of not having a job, a car and now a home are a little much, and all I was looking for was a race I could be proud of at Boston. This didn't happen, and now I'm in a tizzy because I have three weeks til the first tri of the season and am horribly unfit on my bike and in the water. Can I turn it around? Can I get my life back on course? Or is it time to move on?

Apologies for the long post, I am hoping nobody read down this far because that would have taken as long as it did for me to run my last two miles.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


My shoes smell like popcorn.

After being on my feet ALL day, way more than I would have liked, I am finally back in the hotel. Zero and I are watching CSI: Miami right now, which is a sweet way to end the night. All told, it's been a busy couple of days. I had a wedding to attend on Friday night in NJ, which ended around 2:00am with me eating a Frostee from Wendy's. Saturday we had a few hour drive to Boston, and everyone split up to do their own thing. Ben, Spence and I headed to the North End for dinner.

I hate Boston.

I had to get that out of the way. I won't complain publicly on here, but it's just not my type of city. Buildings are pretty neat, I like the public park space and the history, but I'm not psyched on much else here.

Anyway today we were up reasonably early and headed into town. Did the expo, ran into a few friends working at some booths, and then went for a run. By the time that was done, I had to head to an Under Armour focus group/meeting thing. Props to Brennan for helping me find out where it was. I was expecting maybe 30 minutes. No, definitely 2 hours. Now I didn't have time to go back to the hotel before dinner, so I was just standing more at the expo and waited for Ben to arrive.

We got to the restaurant precisely at 6 for our reservation and good thing - North End was NUTS. As expected, of course. We ate and were in and out pretty quickly.

I had planned most of this trip very well, but neglected to pick up some throwaway clothes for race morning. It's supposed to be pretty chilly in the morning. Some consider it perfect marathon weather, but I'd always rather it be a little warm than a little cold. Zero was in the same situation so we found a TJ Maxx that was open til 8 and were successful in picking up some sweet gear.

Now it's time to hit the sack and get ready for a ridiculously early wakeup for a not-so-early race start time.

As Ben and I were chatting today, about adventures, as we often do, he told me a quote - I forget what it was exactly - but basically it said it can't be considered an adventure unless there's a little bit of insanity. I agree, and the marathon is definitely an adventure.

So peace be the journey to all my friends doing the race tomorrow, and just remember: this is definitely not Denny's.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Triangle

There are a few things in my life that I take great pride in being a fan of. Vanilla Coke. Pizza. Natalee Holloway. The Bermuda Triangle. The ability to watch shitty movies over and over again. One of these movies is a certain little made-for-TV flick by the name of The Triangle. It stars Dan Cortese, Luke Perry and Olivia D'abo, daughter of former Bond girl, Maryam D'abo (I may have flipped their first names, forgetting who is the elder).

The movie arrives on TV every so often, either on TBS or SciFi. I usually find out about its presence on the guide when I look up TRIathlon. Inevitably, it's on at some hour reserved for infomercials and sex chat lines (what??), therefore I set the DVR to record. It's a story of 3 friends who go on a fishing trip to the Bermuda Triangle, only to find out that Luke Perry tricked them. He's broke and is hoping to find a ship that vanished decades prior that would hold invaluable treasure.

As luck would have it, they get caught out in an eerie jaundiced fog and poof! - there's the ship. Since their radio equipment is fried, they board the ship in hopes of finding a working radio. While aboard, some weird shit starts happening, ultimately leading in the death of one of the friends, and then Luke Perry goes crazy and has to be put down also. Dan and Olivia make their way out and are able to get back on their tiny little boat. Then the ship starts moving toward them - very hastily - and they have to abandon. Everything goes down in a sea of flames, and the two find safety on a little raft. Eventually they're found, and apparently it's 7 years after their boat was reported missing. Great little movie. But don't take my word for it (Reading Rainbow).

The point is, in a very roundabout way, that Luke Perry, made famous for his role as Dylan on 90210, is cashed out and desperate and is willing to risk it all for that one glorious treasure. While I certainly don't feel cashed out and/or desperate, I am always willing to risk it all for glory. Last week I was starting to get a little nervous about my form. I felt like garbage and was worried that I had overshot the whole thing. I took Saturday off completely, which was my first day without training since November 30. 132 days of running, riding and swimming had taken its toll, and it was about time I had a break. I ran an easy 8 on Sunday, and then last night my legs felt much better.

Today I did my first, and probably last, track workout for a while. Ben had 4x1200 w/2:00 recovery on tap. I was hoping to start at 4:00 and work down to 3:50. The first one was 4:00, the second was 4:00. I didn't feel completely taxed, but I felt uncoordinated and awkward. The third I had to work to hit 4:00, and I slipped a little on the 2nd lap of the 4th and finished at 4:01. Wow, did not expect that. But hey, it could have been a lot worse, I feel like last week I would have struggled to run 85s.

All in all I'm feeling much more positive going into this weekend and starting to actually get excited. I'm less concerned going into this race than I was for NYC, which is good. I'm going to stoke the fire a little by finally watching Paris-Roubaix, the Hell of the North - probably the most difficult classic in cycling.

In other news, I found out recently that Kris and I, despite having no other television habits in common, both watch NBC's "Chuck." And in other OTHER news, I wrote a really sweet finale episode for the show, since it'll probably be canceled at the end of this season. I'll save that for another post. HOLY CRAP, Paris Roubaix is in crystal clear HD on VS. This is awesome. I've never seen anything like it. I just wish they could have put the 2003 TdF in HD.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I am a runner. As a runner, I run. I do not run for a cause. I do not do races in which raising money for a cause is part of the program. I would not join a Team In Training or other group which focuses on this aspect. It's not that I don't think it's worthwhile, but that's for a certain type of runner, and that's not me.

I like training and competing for me and only me. Call it selfish, I don't care. I make contributions to charities and will always lend a hand when I can.

But when you (not you, but "you") call me out because you think you're better than me, I have a serious problem with that and will no longer support your cause.

Back On My Feet is an organization that started in Philadelphia in the last few years. The backstory, in my biased opinion: a white girl decides that running around the mean streets of Philadelphia in the pre-dawn darkness by herself is a great idea. She then starts chatting with homeless guys and invites them to come run with her. The group was then formed in order to help those down and out "get back on their feet" by helping reincorporate them into society. Decent enough idea, not exactly sure how running accomplishes that but far be it from me to exclude anyone from the running community.

The news media starts to sweat this chick's nuts. A cute white girl helping poor, unfortunate homeless people - truly a feel good story. Unless she had been running by them and they murdered her. But that didn't happen.

Now the group comes to Baltimore, and a few months ago Arjun, Brennan, Dave Berdan and I attended their happy hour to kick off their efforts. It was a bunch of preppy looking white people, who looked like they were getting ready to be interviewed for grad school. And that's pretty much what it was. People who needed to feel better about themselves or boost their resumes for med school or grad school. One girl we met immediately spewed her resume on us, and was really annoying.

The premise of the group is that they meet early in the morning for approximately 1-2 miles of running, and I guess up in Philly some of the dudes got into half marathon shape. Pretty awesome. But I knew that, based on some of my other running commitments, I wouldn't be able to solidly say I could be there every time they run - and that somewhat defeats the purpose.

Another thing I noticed is that I didn't recognize any of the people at this happy hour. I have lived in Baltimore for almost 4 years and have been at or part of most every running event that has occurred (unless it was sponosred by Charm Shitty). I am terrible with names but good at remembering faces, and I had never seen any of these people. Brings the point of doing-it-for-the-resume back around.

I figured I would just leave it at that. I wouldn't do the group, but would promote it wherever I could. Until this week.

One of its members emailed Susan from FHR, one of the three of us who is in charge, and basically asked for our group's help. Keep in mind this was an unsolicited email. Susan did not reach out to him. He was asking for our help, to change our run or add runs in the morning, and also asked if we could help by bringing the homeless people into our jobs and introducing them to contacts, etc. Like fuck that shit, someone take ME into your job and introduce me, right?

Anyway, Susan forwards to me and James, and asks our opinion. I said to respond with a simple message, inviting them to come speak briefly at our group and certainly if anyone within the Fed Hill Run group wanted to do it, they could get more information on their own. It would not be something I would force upon the group.

She writes back to the guy, and probably could have worded it slightly differently, but she was stressing the importance of keeping it brief - citing that everyone in our group is coming to run and dressed to run, and since it's not warm lately and everyone has ADD to begin, it would have to be kept under a minute.

What the guy did in response was a bitch move, something a homo rapper would do - he copies in his "boss" (Anne Mahlum, the woman that started the group) and calls us out. HARD.

"Susan, I don't think this is a good fit, as it sounds like your group is pretty focused on running and doesn't really do charitable type efforts. If any individuals are interested, you can have them contact me or Anne Mahlum, who founded and runs the organization, for more information. When Cathy Strodel made the introduction, I mistakenly assumed your group had charitable inclinations. Sorry for any hassle."

FUCK YOU, first of all.

You don't think this is a good fit? Well you solicited us, not the other way around. We never said it was.

We're focused on running? No shit, we're a running group. And fuck you for thinking you're better than us. We do "charitable type efforts," just not your stupid shitty one.

Nobody is going to want more information because neither Susan, James nor myself will ever mention your group's name again.

This guy is enemy #1 on my list right now for being such a douchebag. I have been involved in many good things involving running and Baltimore in my time here, who the fuck do you think you are coming off talking to me and my group like that? Fed Hill Runners, which has met on Mondays at 6:30pm for nearly 5 years without ever missing a week, is a Baltimore running staple. We even invited people from YOUR group to introduce themselves at a meeting in January.

The difference is that BOMF is a group of social fucktards that wants to feel better about themselves by pretending to help others, even though the satisfaction really comes in feeling better about themselves. They show up to run with homeless people, then when the homeless people go back to being cold and hungry, they scurry off to their jobs and warm apartments.

Fed Hill Runners is a running group that runs. Where we can we promote worthy causes. If I let every person or group that emails me each week come talk to the group, I would lose credibility within the group and also deviate from my core business, which is running. I don't care if it makes me sound callous, that's just the truth.

So while I will not go on a rampage and badmouth this organization which I'm sure has helped one or two people, despite having what seems to be an army of med school rejects at its disposal, I will never again promote this. It was a stupid fucking idea in the first place and the girl is lucky she didn't end up dead in a gutter.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Sometimes I think about writing down some other stuff besides training, and then I forget/fall asleep on the couch while watching shitty movies on USA (tonight is Skeleton Key, starring Kate Hudson). Before I forget, I'm going to type some words.

Here's how an SMS interchange went with me and my little sister tonight:

RM: I just finished watching the worst season of Real World ever.
MM: Oh no! It's over?
RM: Yes tonight was the finale. Gay. Hope next season is better.
MM: Prob won't be, but we'll still prob watch it anyway.
RM: Yes. Yes we will. Because we're McGraths

I then tried to remember how many seasons of The Real World I've watched since I've lived in Maryland. I may be forgetting one or two, but I can remember Denver, Key West, San Diego, Los Angeles, Sydney and now Brooklyn. Each one is worse than the next, and this was the worst. I don't want to see boring people. I want to see sluts and fights and people hooking up. "America wants to see how Tron's livinnnn for the citaaaay."

I also like reading funny stories from the news. In fact, it's the only type of news I care for. Like the story about UCSD sending out an email to all 29,000 kids it did NOT accept for matriculation, informing them (mistakenly) of their acceptance. Ha. Ha.

And then I just logged on to the Baltimore Sun and found this article about a pornographic film being screened at UMD.

At first I thought maybe it would be some wartime porno where the nudity was heartwrenching. But NO, it's real hardcore porn. In fact, it's a movie I've been wanting to see ever since we heard about the original, Pirates. I had heard about this movie that had the largest budget of a porno of all time at $1 million. I saw posters for it in the windows of an adult video store in Philadelphia during the marathon. Bryan, Emily and I watched the trailer. It looked awesome. Great CGI, reasonably plausible storyline.

THEN they one-up themselves and make a sequel. Normally I'm not into sequels, but this has all the trappings of a great movie franchise. Oh, and it just topped the original's budget. At $10 million, it has become the highest ever budgeted hardcore porno.

I just wish the movie wasn't playing at midnight. If I didn't have to race on Sunday morning at 7:40, I'd totally go. $4 to see the movie is well worth it. But who am I kidding, I should see Pirates before I see the sequel. Or read the book, cause I hear the book is better.

And now for a little bit about my run tonight. Wednesday Night Run has seen a gradual decline in attendance for a few weeks. Most of this is because Ben and Arjun gave themselves an extra day for a few workouts (moving them from Tues to Weds) and same with Brennan, who is also now done for the season. Barf is out of shape, but trying to get back, MGP moved to Charles Village and some others have just disappeared. As I arrived at the Square at 5:59 tonight, I gave my usual minute past the church bell and then rolled. I was running pretty slow and even got stopped at Boston St, desperately looking back to see if anyone would come. I was hoping to see Ben, but alas, I did not.

I then decided, this being my 15th straight day of running (which I rarely do), that a little tempo run was in order. Not only do I need to start making my legs move quicker than they've been running, but I'm kind of tired of running this same run all the time. I picked up my pace to what I figured was about 6min/mile for approximately 4 miles til I reached the Taint.

I stopped and stretched, wondering if Barf might be making an appearance, and just as I was about to roll out, there he was. We ran pretty easy for the 1.75ish miles up Baltimore/Lombard to the Park, where we parted ways. I wanted to run the next 2.25ish miles hard again, through the Park, up to the Square and then continue uphill back to the crib. I figured it would be about 8 minutes to the Square and then I could drop under 6 for the mile home.

I had not been feeling well for most of the run, just out of synch, but as I began my next little tempo session I felt much better. I made it to the Square in 7:10 and turned the corner to run the mostly uphill mile home. I anticipated somewhere in the realm of 5:40, and was completely surprised as I passed the 3/4 mark in 3:55. The last quarter I was trying to get after it, and knocked out a 73 to finish in 5:08. I'm willing to say the mile could be marginally short, but by no more than a couple of seconds, and I've always counted the uphill nature of it to counteract those few seconds. Basically the effort was that of a 5:08.

I was pleasantly surprised, as it's the fastest I've ever finished any of my runs from the house, and I feel like it's got to be a good sign for the next couple of weeks.

I'm going to try and post a few more non-sequitur, non-running related things over the next few days, because they're funny, but here's one Alex sent me earlier. Just zoom in and enjoy. Particularly Ben and Kris, you'll appreciate it most. Note: the typos are obviously because I did not make the thing.