Friday, April 15, 2016

May I Borrow Your Penis? I Need To Pee!

There was a time in my life that when someone asked where I was from, and I responded with "Tennessee!" with way more enthusiasm than ever necessary. Then we would talk about Dolly Parton, and the Great Smoky Mountains, and Nashville, and GraceLand (why do people assume if you live in TN you've been to GraceLand?), and all kinds of wonderfully weird things.

It seems with each passing year, when I say I'm from "Tennessee!", I get questions - like

"What the hell is wrong with your state?" 

Indeed, I wonder the same thing.

Here's the latest: Some schmuck has proposed a law that LEGALLY assigns bathroom privileges at public schools and universities. If you were born as a male, then you must legally use the men's bathroom, and vice-versa.



This is the most laughable fallacy to this bill. With stories like, "you send your little girl to the restroom by herself, and she comes back telling you some man touched her privates in the bathroom" and then there's of many dumbass memes circling around The FaceBook.

Oh for fucks sake y'all. Calm down. I love that this guy is an obvious democrat with his Vote D shirt. He's also a flasher, notice his pants are only around his calves. Long trench coat. And a camera! He's the total creep-package. The irony is this - the woman and child....totally asexual. Take off the hair, and they could absolutely be males...or transgender

1) READ. THE. BILL. It's for public schools and universities. Not governing the toilets at the Texas Roadhouse.

2) THERE ARE NO CURRENT LAWS PREVENTING A MAN IN A WOMAN'S RESTROOM ANYWAY. So this could happen. Today. Has it? You know what there are laws against????? Attacking someone. Period. Anywhere. Anytime. Filming people in a bathroom. Illegal. Flashing someone. Illegal. Fondling someone without their permission. Illegal. If a predator is going to attack a woman or child in a restroom....I guarantee he already has without a law giving him 'permission' to be in that bathroom.  (Sounds a bit similar to the argument of don't pass stricter gun laws because the criminals will get guns anyway it only hurts law abiding citizens......but I'm just going to throw that rotten fish smelling irony on the table and walk away from it.)

And REALLY? Helpless women with children? I love it when MEN use this argument. Holy ever seen a woman go all MamaBear on someone! We are not helpless or defenseless. We are our own special brand of crazy wrapped up in fun-bags.

3) HAVE THESE POLITICIANS EVER BEEN ON UT'S CAMPUS? On Friday night? Game night? A random Tuesday?

Holy whiz people. I've seen drunk college friends girls drop their panties and squat over any open drain or sink when needed. We don't seem to arrest them for that....but let them go in the men's bathroom!? Well....that's just immoral!!!

And really, if this were for ALL restrooms, and it was made into'd better have the police just follow me around....for realz....

I was born with a bladder the size of a walnut.
A premature walnut.
No. A chestnut.
Maybe a peanut. 
More like a pine nut.

From the time I could use a toilet, it became my mission in life to not pass by one without experiencing the pleasure of relieving myself in it. Like a dog marking it's territory.

Although my satisfaction must have waned a bit. As I have gone from "oh I need to pee" to "OOOoohhh dammit. I just pissed my pants." However, I still find myself skidding into a McDonalds or Starbucks (my Preferred Places of Piss) on two wheels trying to get out of the truck, into the restroom and my pants at least half way down without having urine running down my leg.

And you know what tends to happen....FREQUENTLY. There's.A.Line. There's a freaking line for the one or two possible toilets in the women's restroom. And whoever is in there must be reading War & Peace because they are taking FOREVER.

Seriously ladies....what the hell do you all do in there? Why is there always a line?

I am an efficient pisser.


I have no desire to linger in my half-squat-don't-touch-anything stance any longer than necessary. WHAT ARE YOU ALL DOING?

And while there's a line waiting desperately to use the "women's" bathroom, men are just strolling in and out of the "men's" bathroom without a care in the world. Whistling. Strutting. Showing off their free access. Free access to bladder freedom. Assholes.

Fuck. That. I'm. Going. In.

 I have pissed in men's restrooms all over this country. You want privacy? Shut the door! Lock the door! Shut the stall door! I don't care what your pissing privileged private parts look like. I don't care if you're shy. I JUST WANT TO PISS!!!

So there. I'm a law breaker. Take me to jail. Because I will not go quietly in the night. I will piss when I need to piss and if that means breaking the law and going in the men's be it.

The alternative is on the sidewalk......which by the NOT illegal in TN as long as you 'attempt' to conceal it.

So there. I'm just going to start squatting on the ferns outside of Starbucks while waiting for my iced coffee! Howdoyalikethat!? I encourage all Transgender people to take part in this protest.

If we want to pass bathroom legislation, let's start with these:

No public shitting. NO ONE should have to endure sounds, smells or sights of your late night burrito explosion.

You MUST wipe the seat AFTER you pee. My hubs was under the mistaken impression that the "Women's" bathroom would be cleaner and nicer. I hate to break it to y'all, but women are the nastier of the species. We have been trained to ignore pee and poo. We LOOK into diapers for shit, literally. We will stick our hands down into a toddler's diaper just to see if they've pissed!  We hold a baby's butt up to our noses to see if it needs to be changed!! WHY would you think we give two shits about a public restroom that WE don't have to clean??? (If we had to clean it - that's a different story. But if someone else is wiping it up....phhhhhsssttttt...)  

And ladies, we can bitch all we want to about a "man's aim." Have you put a target below you lately while you're in a half-squat-with-one-hand-on-the-wall-the-other-hand-clutching-your-purse-and-your-pants-with-your-cell-phone-in-your-teeth? (That's a secret gymnastics move only taught to the girls in P.E. class.) Our groupings are really just a horrible cluster of misses.

You'll wipe the seat before you commence to your acrobatics, but won't touch your OWN piss??

I've seriously been in barn bathrooms nicer than most Women's restrooms. I will typically cull 40% of the vacant stalls in any given Women's restroom. - know I ain't lying. - 

1 Minute Rule. If your stall time exceeds 1 minute, you will be forcibly ejected from the stall. Like a naked man from a cannon.

So in this uproar over proper use of the shitters....we've forgotten what's really important here. Some kids. Some adults. They're Sporks. They don't quite fit into our neat little defined categories of spoons and forks. If you force people to chose one side or the is a Spork to choose?

Gotta run...

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Before everyone I know starts to have a cow, literally and figuratively….or before the people I don’t know that happen to be reading this start cheering like they’ve convinced another sole to join their cult….hold up, back up and listen.

Let me start for those that don’t know me – I do this because in the remote chance that the internet works it’s wonderful/horrible magic of making the weirdest things popular, and who really gives two farts what I think – I know what I’m talking about when it comes to cows, farmers, farming and milk in general. Really I do. I grew up on a dairy. Big deal – so did a bunch of other people that think farming is some romantic way of life. I went to college and earned three degrees….a BS in Animal Science; a BS in Agricultural Extension & Education; and a MS in Dairy Science. I emphasize “earned” because it was a lot of work (with a lot of “play” thrown in). I spent nearly 8 years of my career working at a University as a Dairy Extension Specialist (i.e., educator to dairy producers, 4-H kids, college kids, consumers, legislators; a consultant/problem solver for dairy producers; investigator of research; translator of research; a non-biased source of information for anyone interested in dairy; an advocate of dairy producers; an advocate of the dairy industry; a liaison between producers and consumers; etc.). I spent 4 years working for a small international company using technology and data to investigate and solve milk quality issues on farms. Now, I work for a large international company that sells milking equipment and aftermarket solutions to dairy producers. I have worked with farmers that own 5 cows, and farmers that own 10,000 cows; from Florida to Canada to California to Texas and everywhere in between. I have worked with organic farms, ‘conventional’ farms, what some would call ‘factory farms’, family owned farms, corporate owned farms. I have worked on farms that were the poster child for animal care and consumer mindedness. I’ve worked on some shitholes. I have no problem telling producers what I think is wrong (even if THEY are the problem), and I have no problem telling consumers when they are wrong. I drink cow milk – conventional and organic at times. I drink almond milk. I’ve tried soy milk, and I don’t care for it. I haven’t tried coconut milk. I am a runner. I lift weights. I do yoga. I am a type II diabetic. I am not obese. I have an extreme interest in my health, and am actively involved in my diet and exercise and want to live a healthy life…duh…this is my “running blog”. SOOO….do you believe me now? Think I have enough pizzazz to speak the truth? Or at least enough for you to listen to me? If not…just stop now and don’t bother commenting if you are only going to scream your opinion at me. I don’t have time for that…..I’m writing this because a wonderful family member whom I love dearly has asked me for my opinion. She truly wants what is best for herself, her husband and mostly her 3 beautiful daughters…and yours. I want to calm her fears. Because who wouldn’t be scared silent when someone says – hey, there is pus in your milk!?

One last thing – anything I say here does not reflect the opinion of my employer. I say this b/c this is MY opinion based on MY past experiences and MY education and MY expertise. My opinion has the potential to tick off consumers and dairy producers alike, simply because opinions are like…a certain necessary anatomy that we all sit on….and well, they all stink at some point.

Now, back to pus. There is this claim out there that there are “135 million Pus cells in milk”. Is that true?

Truth be told….there’s more like 378 million in your gallon of milk!  


If you’re a consumer – your eyes are the size of silver dollars and your mouth is wide open. If you are a dairy producer – your head just spun around three times, didn’t it?

Let’s talk pus for a moment…such a lovely dinner topic. Are eating yogurt right now? I am…really...I am.

What’s this “pus?” This claim is based on what we in the dairy industry call the cow’s Somatic Cell Count. We use this number to determine when/if a cow has/or has had a mastitis infection (i.e., an infection in her udder….her teats…where the milk comes from….her boobies for crying out loud…talk to any woman that has had a baby and nursed…she knows what this is). The number is expressed as a concentration. There are legal restrictions on this number. There are also market restrictions based upon this number. The higher the number, it’s likely, the worse the infection. The higher the number, the more negative impact on current and future production for that cow. The higher the number, the more likely a farmer will use an antibiotic to treat the cow. The higher the herd average, the more infections a herd has, and the more likelihood of antibiotics being used. The higher the number, the more negative impact on consumer taste tests and yields on manufactured products (like cheese, etc.).


Not really. Really! Not really.

Let’s talk science and biology for a moment. So what is a somatic cell? In the most basic terms, it is a white blood cell (WBC). One of the functions of a WBC is to kill invasive microbes. We are all familiar with that “pus” from an infection. We know what it looks like, smells like, etc. So why would we want that in our milk?? Stop it. Just stop going there for a minute.

One of the other most basic, crucial functions of a white blood cell is to be a sentry. It is their job to patrol their area and detect whether the cells they come into contact with are “good” or “bad”. If they come into contact with “bad” cells or invasive cells, they raise the alarm and cause an immune response – or call in reinforcements – or whatever you want to call it. If an invasive microbe is in the mammary system, you WANT there to be an immune response. You WANT millions and billions and gazillions of WBCs to flood the mammary system to kill the invaders! If this happens, then guess what – that cow’s immune system is healthy and functioning properly. If this does not happen or if the cow cannot beat the invasion on her own, then the farmer must use an antimicrobial to treat the infection – we’ll save whether it should be organic or non-organic for another discussion.

So, what’s an acceptable number? The legally defined number for the sale of raw milk that is being transported across state lines to a processing plant (for making bottled milk, cheese, whatever) is 750,000 somatic cells/ml of milk. The number that the EU uses is 400,000 cells/ml. The marketing forces in the dairy industry in the US (i.e., the large export market) have forced nearly all of our milk plants to use a 400,000 cells/ml limit despite the higher legal limit. Some individual milk processing companies have even tighter market standards, like 250,000 cells/ml. They offer bonuses to individual farms with low herd somatic cell counts, and penalties for those with higher counts.

Those numbers still sound high!? Is that what you’re thinking? You know it is.

Through DECADES of scientifically sound, verified and repeatable research, we as an industry have determined that there is a lower limit of somatic cells at which we can say definitively that a cow is infection free. There is a range of numbers that we say the chances of a cow having an infection are very low. There is a number at which we can determine a cow either has a current infection, or is recovering from an infection. These numbers are universal across all dairies, of all sizes, of all housing systems, of all feeding systems, of all creeds, religions, races and breeds. So what I’m saying is this….

If you think that organic, raw, “lightly pasteurized”, local, family owned, “small”, Amish or otherwise blessed cows have less “pus” than conventionally managed, freestall housed, factory farmed, corporately owned cows….you would be wrong.

So what are these magic numbers?

At less than 100,000 somatic cells per ml, a cow is infection free. From 100,000 to 200,000, she is most likely infection free. The chances of her having an infection are so small that they are not detectable. From 200,000 and above, she either has a current infection or is recovering from an infection. In some cases, depending on the invading bacteria, a cow’s somatic cell count can go from 100,000 to 8 million within 12 hours. Or it may only rise to 500,000. It always takes longer to get a somatic cell count to go back down than it does to go up! Why is that? Because another important role of WBCs is to clean the house after the bacteria-frat party. The high presence of these cells continues after the invaders have been killed (either by other WBCs or through antimicrobials) to get rid of dead bacteria cells, dead mammary cells, damaged milk components, etc. This can take weeks, when the active infection only lasted for 2-5 days.

So here’s some more facts for you:
  • (Without going into a lot of math detail about geometric non-weighted means vs milk-weighted geometric somatic cell count means): Data from 46.5% of all milk produced in the US in 2011…. the average somatic cell count was 259,000 cells/ml
  • In 2012, there were approximately 58,000 dairy farms in the US.
  • There are only approximately 780 dairy farms in the US that have more than 2000 cows.
  • Those 780 dairy farms with more than 2000 cows produced approximately 34% of the total US milk in 2012.
  • There are approximately 950 operations with 1000-1999 cows, which accounted for 16% of the total US milk in 2012.

(Feel free to verify these numbers with the National Ag Stats Service).

So, in short, that means that half of the milk in this country is being produced by about 1700 farms of the 58,000 farms still in business, and these 1700 farms have more than 1000 cows each.

So now you’re thinking that the BIG, SCARY, FACTORY FARMS ARE FULL OF COWS THAT HAVE HIGH SOMATIC CELL COUNTS AND TONS OF PUS WHICH IS HALF OF OUR MILK SUPPLY!!!??? Right? You know that’s what you’re thinking.

Again, you’d be wrong. Here’s a pretty table for you to look at with real data and statistics…

(It was taken from this article:

Yes, this is an industry publication, but the data set is one of the most complete and well respected sources in the entire industry. This article focuses on Western dairies – because let’s face it, the average herd size out west is bigger than other states.)

The data indicates that larger farms tend to have lower somatic cell counts! Lower somatic cell counts means lower rates of mastitis infections. Say it ain’t so!? Yes. It is so. So, stop blaming large farms for your bad lot in life.

Back to my bazillion “pus” cells in milk. Where did I get that number from?

Since 100,000 somatic cells (or white blood cells) per ml is considered an uninfected cow (remember if a cow has 0 somatic cells per ml of milk…she’s a dead cow), we’re going to use that number.

There are 3785.41 ml per 1 gallon of milk.

(3785 ml/gal) x (100,000 SC/ml) = 378,500,000 somatic cells (WBCs) per gallon of milk.

Let’s go with 200,000 SC/ml, because that’s close to our national herd’s average somatic cell count, and what we in the industry practically consider “mastitis free”….

(3785 ml/gal) x (200,000 SC/ml) = 757,000,000 somatic cells (WBCs) per gallon of milk

So, when you hear that there are millions of “pus” cells in your milk. Be glad for it. You know that those white blood cells are from a healthy cow!

If you have a real question or concern, I will entertain it. But realize I have a day job and some of this info is technical and scientific and I have to look it up because I’m not an encyclopedia. However, I will analyze it and decide if it’s real science or junk science….or just 98% bullshit with sprinkles of truth on top. Sprinkles will get your attention and make things look yummy, but you still don’t want a piece of that pie. Trust me.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Honor Boston

To a Runner, running shoes are sacred. Runners will typically honor their shoes in one of two ways.

1) They wear them EVERYWHERE. Never knowing when the urge or opportunity to run will happen.

2) They ONLY wear them to run in. They do not waste valuable, precious available mileage by wearing them to the supermarket, or Lowe's, or Walmart or anywhere that running is not involved.

I'm a #2. I very, very rarely wear my kicks anywhere but running. Maybe during the break-in process, but not likely other time.

I'm presenting at a conference today and tomorrow. This typically involves me being dressed wisely for the occasion - slacks, sweater, dress shoes.

But today is different. Today, I felt compelled to wear something different.

I wear these in memory of Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, and the graduate student from China whose name hasn't been released yet.

I wear these to honor those that were physically injured, those that are emotionally and psychologically scarred.

I wear these to lift up those that will never be able to run again.

I wear these in defiance.

I am a runner. I know pain, but it does not deter me.

I am a runner. I have overcome my fears, and they will not slow me.

I am a runner. I refuse to be terrorized, and you will not stop me.

I read this poem by Mark Remy of Runner's World, published 15 days ago. And if you are a runner, you get it.

I was angry, so I went for a run. And things got better.

I was confused, so I went for a run. And things got better.

I was exhausted, so I went for a run. And things got better.

I was lost, unsure, empty, afraid. Certain that whatever was left of my sanity had snapped, had come untethered and floated away, to a place so high and remote that I would never see it again, and that even if I did, I wouldn't recognize it.

So I went for a run. And things got better.

I felt like things could not possibly get worse, so I went for a run. And things got better.

(Another time, I felt like things could not get much better. I went for a run. Things got much better.)

After enough miles, over enough runs and enough years, I realized: No matter what, no matter when, or where, or why, I can find my shoes and go for a run and things will get better.

And that realization? Just knowing that?

It made things better.

So put on some running shoes. Be it 0.2 miles or 26.2 miles. Just. Run. 

It will get better.

Boston Marathon. I honor you.

Gotta run... 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I hate you. I love you. We need a break.

I hate you.

Uh…what was that?

You heard me. I hate you.

What the hell? You love me!

No. I hate you.

What did I do to piss you off?

You lied to me.

Wait…I what?

You LIED to me!

Please explain.

You said if I started running, that I would lose weight.

Ahhhh…no. I didn’t say that. You assumed that.

Oh come on! You don’t see fat runners out there…so you IMPLIED it.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret….you can run all you want, but if you eat like a horse…you’re going to look like a horse. I just help your body be more efficient at it! May I remind you that you are about 40 lbs +/- lighter now than when you first started running?

Yeah. But you had NOTHING to do with that! That didn’t start happening until I started controlling my diet. Oh…

“Oh…” is right. I gave you the discipline to see things through. If you can get up at 4 a.m. and pound out a mile or 8 miles, you can walk away from a KitKat.

Dammit. You said if I ran more I’d get better….get faster…

And you haven’t?


You really think that?


Have you reflected on your race times since you started running? In case you have forgotten, your official 5K times have dropped from 37:29 (HotterNHell August 2010) to 32:58 (KTC Expo May 2011) to 32:38 (Man Run August 2011). Your 10K times have gone from 1:19:01 (Strawberry Plains February 2010) to 1:08:39 (Carter Mill July 2011) to 1:08:04 (Carter Mill July 2012). AND your Half Marathon times have dropped from 3:13:40 (Covenant Health March 2010) to 2:28:06 (Kickin’ Asphalt November 2011) to 2:26:13 (Conquer the Mountain November 2012). So what the hell do you mean that you haven’t gotten “Better” or “Faster”? Seems to me that yes, in fact, you have. Maybe the results aren’t fast enough for you…but you are improving. And are you really trying to get better and faster?

What do you mean by that?? I’ve been running for over 3 years now!? Of course I’m trying to be a better and faster runner! Don’t YOU remember all of those miles?

Yes. I remember every one. Do YOU remember all of those speed sessions that you didn’t do? Or those tempo runs that YOU didn’t push yourself on? All of those runs where you were on autopilot?

But all of those miles!! All of those “training plans” I followed!!

Yes. There were a lot of miles. And ALL of those miles have helped you.  They have helped you in more ways that getting “better and faster.”

What do you mean?

Have you noticed you are a little calmer, a little more patient now?

Well. Yes.

Have you noticed that you can handle stressful situations better now that before you were a runner?

Yes. There is that.

Have you noticed that you are a better person, a better wife, a better employee that you were before you were a runner?


I know you are a bit pissed about your last half marathon. I know you wanted to come in with a faster time. And I know you doubt that ‘official’ time considering the lack of ‘official-ness’ of that race, and the fact that your Garmin showed the course was a bit short. So yes, your real time was likely the same as your previous time and/or a few seconds slower. And I know you want to blame someone…blame me. But do you remember the weeks leading up to that race?

What do you mean?

Remember that long run you did about 2 weeks prior to the race…that 14 miler?

Who can forget that?

Remember that your plan had you “tapering” off on your mileage…but you instead decided “I’ve got this” and basically stopped running for two weeks prior to that race?

I was so tired by then.

Remember those “Hill Repeats” on your plan that you didn’t do?

Yeah. I hate hills.

Remember that race was called “Conquer the Mountain?” What the hell did you expect? That you would be running DOWN the mountain???

But most of it was pretty flat!?

Yes…but there was that 2 mile ascent in the middle…UP. THE. MOUNTAIN. And don’t forget the 1.5 miles DOWN!

But the end was SOOOOOO HAAAARRRDDD!!! I was literally yelling at myself OUTLOUD “Don’t you quit! Don’t you give up! Don’t STOP!” I know that everyone around me thought I was nuts!

Who cares? Did you quit? Did you give up? Did you stop?

No. I pushed it harder than I ever thought imaginable. My legs hurt SO badly, but I never stopped.

So….what’s the problem then? Seems to me you conquered not only that mountain, but you conquered one of the hardest things ever for runners…Your will. Your determination. Your desire to beat down that little voice that is screaming STOP at the top of her lungs. You conquered it!! You should be PROUD of that!!

I am.

And let’s be honest with each other here. You haven’t been “Racing” a whole lot. You’ve been running with bouts of racing. If you want to be better at racing…you need to race more. You need to conquer that part of you that’s holding you back. You need to clear your Saturday schedule this year and sign up for 5Ks and 10Ks and run them balls out!

Yes. I know. But I think I need a break.

Whaaaaa????? You can’t!? You wouldn’t!? You can’t leave me!? What will you do without me!?

I’m working on increasing my strength training. And it’s really hard to train for endurance races like half marathons and focus on gaining muscle all at the same time. And I really think that increasing my strength will improve my running even more.

Possibly. Likely.

So after the Covenant Health Half this year, I’m going to back off on running and work on lifting.

But you’ll miss me.

Yes, I will. But I’m not leaving you totally. I’m just backing off and not going to worry about getting a 4-10 mile run in on the weekends. I’m planning on adding in some sprinting and intervals instead of mile after mile after mile.

Will you come back to me?

Yes. Of course. Hopefully better than ever. I’m planning on attacking some 5Ks and 10Ks this year and not worry about running another half. I may or may not pick one in the late fall. If I do, that will be 3 for 2013. I’ve never done more than 1 per year because the training cycle is pretty long, and I’ll have 2 completed before spring racing really starts this year!

Ok. I’m sad. I don’t want you to go.

I know. I don’t want to either. But I feel like I need to. I think this is best for now. I’m afraid if I don’t get a break from endurance running that I’m going to hate it. I’m going to hate you.

I thought you already hated me. That’s what you said earlier.

I don’t hate you. I need you. I was just mad. I’m sorry.

I’ll be here when you get done. That’s the nice thing about me. I’m always here. I’m always ready. I am dependable. Just put your shoes on and get out the door.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Slaying a Mountain Goat


Is that what you've been wondering? It's been over 3 months since my last blog post. What's up with that?

Well, I could give you the excuses of "I've been busy." "This house is taking up a bunch of time." "I just don't have time." But the true reason is likely this....

I've been mad. At running.

The one thing this blog kind-of centers around....I've been pissed at.

We need to go back a last post was the night before the Conquer the Mountain Half Marathon in Franklin, NC. Oh...OOOOHHHH.... So, was it bad? Did I DNF? Yes and no...for both. I DidNotFall if that's what you're thinking.

You know there was some let me give you a race report first....Then I'll eventually tell you why I was pissed at running.

The night before the race, which let me remind you was named "Conquer the Mountain", I was trying to decide if I was going to just 'run it' or to 'race it.' And let's be honest...the only person I would be racing was myself. (And of course Megan because I so wanted to kick her butt.)

The morning of the race, my nerves hit the stratosphere! I woke up at 6a.m.; ate a bagel; debated my wardrobe choices; pace about; stretched; ate more bagel and drank more water; and pretty much had a nervous breakdown in the hotel room. I finally convinced myself to lay down and relax.

And I kid you not, the very freaking second I drift off into relaxation and a bit of a nap, the freaking fire alarm goes off. What the hell is it with me and hotel fire alarms before a big race???

After going downstairs and sitting in the lobby with everyone else in their pajamas (which is the only time adults are allowed to wear PJs in public!), Megan finally picks me up and we head off to the start line....

Let me stop right there....there was no "start line." It was a bunch of people huddled about and one guy says "3,2,1, Go."

...Back to the start. I finally made my decision and shared it with Megan. I felt that if I didn't get a personal record on this course that I'd be disappointed, but I'd be even more disappointed if I didn't try to get that personal best. So...there it was...I'm racing. Megan said 'no problem' because she's a sweetheart and tried to make me feel like I was going to leave her in my dust. But when the guy said GO, she was OFF!

Here's the start of the race. That pink jacket is Megan. That blue jacket is me. I don't think our strategy was to get in last place, and see how many people we can pass. It was more like, 50 people were standing in a huddle and one guy said GO and shot off a gun. For some reason, everyone else started running and we were like "Oh, we'd better GO!"

I won't bore you with too many race details (yet)....except....

1) Much to Megan's disappointment, I didn't get to whip out the Mace and go all ninja on killer dogs. My guess is that there were so many runners ahead of us, that their bellies were full by the time we passed!
2) NEVER sign up for a race that has anything about "hills" or "mountains" in the title!
3) Do not trust small town, inaugural races to have tons of timing chips that were not made in the 1970's. Seriously....we were wearing ANKLE BRACELET TIMING CHIPS! We looked like a group of escaped parolees.

Or to have race bibs that have the name of the town on them.....

Which is about 100 miles from Franklin...

OR....something special at the finish line....

My "official" race time was 2:26:13!

That means I shaved a hair under 2 minutes off my best time!! (And a few minutes faster than Megan!! SCORE!!!)

So why am I not so excited about that? Why am I at a loss for words? Why can't I come to grips with that kind of accomplishment?

When you run 13.1 miles, and you are not a true 'marathoner' that runs 13.1 miles like every weekend, you are tired. You are a bit delirious. You have no idea what you are doing, except looking for a banana and a place to lay down.

When I crossed the finish line, some guy stopped me and was taking off my House Arrest Bracelet. Then some other guy handed me something...I didn't know what, I assumed my  medal...I just wanted a banana.

Normally, after a half marathon, someone hands you a finisher's medal. That's what I was expecting.

I am a hardware-whore. I expect a medal after running anything over 10 miles. I EXPECT a medal after running a half marathon. I EXPECT a medal after Conquering a Freaking MOUNTAIN!!!

Wanna know what we got???? Look closely and you might figure it out!

Do you see it? Can you see it? Where's the medal?

I see it. But surely not. They surely didn't give you......

 A. Sticker. ???

Oh....yes. They did.

A F-ING STICKER!!!!!! And not just any old sticker....a special, "unique" finisher's sticker. Apparently a Bumper Sticker!!! Because after having visions in my head of what a "unique" finisher's medal would look like for a race called "Conquer the Mountain", a Bumper Sticker

How in the name of everything holy, am I supposed to display a Bumper Sticker with my other finisher's medals? Oh, I'm supposed to put it on my truck that has 130,000 miles on it that will die within the next couple of years so that some grease monkey at the junk yard can steal it and say "I conquered a mountain!" ????

A. Sticker.

Maybe I should have re-read the race info on Facebook:

"Long Sleeve T-shirts will be given away to the first 100 registered racers & a limited edition half marathon sticker (so you can tell individuals, "Boom! I did a half marathon!) Please email your t-shirt size to:"

Yes. It said I'd get a sticker. But I thought that meant in the Goodie Bag!!! (Which did contain men's deodorant.) That description also said....Boom! What the hell was I suppose to think? With a cool logo like this....

One would expect a freaking medal that looked like that!!!

To "conquer" also means: To beat, beat up, better, blank, blast, bulldoze, clobber,  cream, deck, drub, exceed, excel, flax, floor, get the better of, knock off, lambaste, let have it, lick, master, outclass, outdo, outshine, outstrip, overcome, prevail, put away, shoot down, shut down, surpass, take care of, take down, tan, thrash, top, total, transcend, trash, triumph, triumph over, trounce, wallop, waste, wax, whip, whomp, whop, wipe out, wipe the floor with, wipe, zap

And if you do all of these, my friend....will get.... a sticker.

If you want a medal...then you'll just have to get creative!

For my rack of medals so that when I'm 95, I'll see it and remember I Conquered a Mountain!

Despite the fire alarm, the House Arrest ankle bracelets, the recycled race bibs, the men's deodorant, the bumper sticker....the stupid-funny part about the whole small-town-inaugural half marathon is that this guy won it...

I shit you not. An exchange student from Kenya.

So there's the funny part about Conquering a Mountain....tune in later for why I got pissed at another 3 months or so....

Gotta run...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

To Race?...Or Not To Race? That is the Question!

Today's Miles....1174 miles via Delta and Ford....

What's your ultimate dream? That ONE THING that you want to do in life? That thing that is always in the back of your are terrified of it, but want it so badly. You know that in order to make that dream come true, you will have to sacrifice. Sacrifice physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, socially...and in many more indescribable ways. I have one of those dreams. I'm scared to even share it with you because it will either put me on the path to make it happen, or it will die.

My dream is to run a Marathon. Not just 'participate' in a marathon...but balls-out RUN it. To get there is going to take years. I haven't even participated yet! I don't know that I'm up for the physical strain. The emotional strain. The marital strain. But there, I've said it.  Cat's out of the bag and crapped on it.

To do this, I'm going to have to run...A LOT. Think about what you do every Saturday. Then replace it with running for 2 hours (or more), and being so tired afterwards that nothing else will likely be accomplished that day. That's sacrifice. That's dedication. That's craziness!

I admire EVERYONE that has ever completed a marathon....or is completing the journey to run their first! I know how much I put into a half marathon...and am contemplating doubling that? Am I NUTS? Yes...most runners are.

I can't imagine what it would be like to put in all of that training. To have put in the miles. To have made the sacrifices and look at the news unfolding in New York. The place where your dream is supposed to come true. To wonder if, after everything, it was just wasted? Has your dream ended before it even started? What a disappointment. I'd be in tears....especially in the midst of tapering. I'd have a taper tantrum of epic proportions.

In case you've been under a rock or on Mars, New York City and New Jersey (and many other places) have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy....or Frankenstorm....or FrankenSandy....or the More Perfect Storm.....or whatever you want to name it.

It wasn't a category 4 or 5 storm. It wasn't as fierce as maybe Katrina was. But holy crap it was HUGE. And it hit THE most densely populated place ON THE PLANET. I've seen scenes on the news reminiscent of Katrina, of tornado ravaged towns. Devastation. Desperation. Anger. Sadness. A reality so unreal that people can't believe it. Have no way to understand it. Have not yet accepted it. The wounds are still being cut. And salt water is being poured on it.

This is unreal.

People are still without power. Big deal? When you live on the 17th floor and you're 70 years old...probably a big deal. When the temperatures at night are getting to the freezing mark and you have no heat....probably a big deal.

There are gas shortages. Big deal? Guess what police cars run on? Fire trucks? Ambulances? People that deliver meals to the 70 year old on the 17th floor? Probably a big deal.

	As temperatures begin to drop, people wait in line to fill containers with gas at a Shell gasoline filling station Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in Keyport, N.J. In parts of New York and New Jersey, drivers lined up Thursday for hours at gas stations that were struggling to stay supplied. The power outages and flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy have forced many gas stations to close and disrupted the flow of fuel from refineries to those stations that are open.  (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
From the NY Daily News. Can you imagine waiting for gas for 4+hrs to be told "Sorry we're out!"

There are houses still under water.

There are people still missing.

There are bodies being found.

And yet, in the midst of this chaos, this carnage....Mayor Bloomberg knew how to "boost the moral" of the city....Let the NYC Marathon go on as scheduled this Sunday morning!

Big deal? Very BIG freaking deal!

The NYC hosts 45,000+ runners. Those runners have to be bused to the start line on Staten Island. Let me repeat that...they have to be BUSED to STATEN ISLAND.

From the NY Daily News. New Yorkers waiting up to 3 hours for a bus

A woman stands alone in water in front of destroyed homes on Cedar Grove Avenue in a neighborhood where many houses were heavily damaged or completely destroyed by storm surge flooding from Hurricane Sandy on the south side of the Staten Island section of New York City, November 1, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar
From Reuters. I'm sure this lady won't mind if the start line goes up near her house and 40,000 people go running by.

Staten Island is still under water, without power and running out of food/water with little relief in sight it seems. Think of the 1000's of gallons of water/gatorade offered to the runners during the race. The 1000s of blankets used to cover up the runners at the end of the race. The bananas and snacks offered after the race.

But no worries, the Mayor says NO resources will be taken away from the relief effort to host this event.

That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Yes, the cops/EMTs/firefighters were already scheduled to be on duty (overtime) for the race....guess what....they've been "on duty" since last Sunday. The buses are privately contracted and not city buses....but still run on diesel and could move stranded residents around instead. The blankets have been bought & paid for....while people sit in their homes with the temperatures dropping near freezing. I'm sure the bottles of water were purchased weeks ago and have been sitting in storage....while some residents are going thirsty. The bananas and food were already paid for and being delivered...while some residents are hungry. Does this make sense to you?

You may not be a school bully and steal little Billy's lunch, but you sure as hell don't mind flaunting your sandwich in front of his face in the cafeteria.

A runner runs past some of the generators that will be used for the NYC Marathon. (Reuters)
From Yahoo Sports: Two generators with a third 'back-up' to power up the media tent are enough power 400 homes.

Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC officials have done EVERYONE a disservice. They told the 45,000+ runners that the "Show will go on!" They needed to have that marathon. To "boost moral". To "unite the city" as it has always done. To give people "something to cheer about." We NEED you to live out your dream!

What's a runner, a dreamer to do? Well, the Mayor says it's going to be okay - so let's go to NYC! You may never have another chance to live out that dream! If you don't, all of your sacrifices are wasted. Your dreams gone.

So now, the city has about 40,000 more people that 'are not using rescue & relief resources' in NYC. Those runners have been very uneasy making the decision to go. Getting there and seeing the devastation and realizing that having this race is rude, uncaring and despicable. But what's one to do once you've spent thousands of non-refundable dollars?

Well, Bloomberg says - Just eat that. The race has NOW been canceled. It was canceled on Friday afternoon. AFTER most of the runners made their way to the devastated city. The race should have been canceled. It needed to be canceled. But what a class one asshat to wait until everyone is there!

For the runners: I am sorry. I'm sorry you've trained so hard. You've sacrificed a lot. You've suffered a lot. But please keep it in perspective of what is going on around you. I hope that NYC officials figure out how to make all of those resources that 'did not take away from rescue/relief efforts' to actually aid the rescue and relief efforts.

As for me....I'm running tomorrow. Megan & I are signed up for the Conquer the Mountain 1/2 Marathon in Franklin NC. Megan's at home with pee on her leg peas icing her shin, while I'm in the hotel getting jittery. I wasn't nervous until a bit ago. Megan's very nervous, and rightfully so. She's a bit nutty, that one (or brave - I haven't decided yet). She hasn't 'trained' for this. Meaning: she hasn't been running regularly for the last 2-3 months....while I've been training for 2-3 months. She wants to run it for "fun." (13.1 miles for FUN? Told you she's nutty.) I'm trying to I going to race or not? I'll 'run' it. But do I want to Race it?

I think about my time last year, and how I blew my personal record out of the water by knocking nearly 40 minutes off of my time. Boy!! I'd love to do that again!! I don't think I can improve it like that, but I think I can beat my best time. But it would be nice to run "with" Megan....of course, I think she wants me to run with her because I will be carrying the pepper spray and neither of us wants to be eaten by that big, viscous dog!

So...To Race or Not To Race? That is the question.

For the NYC will not be racing this weekend.

Will I? Guess we'll find out tomorrow...

Gotta run...