Thursday, September 21, 2006

There Must Be Some Way Out of Here 

All along, I'd thought of the marathon as I'd been taught - a 30-mile race. And I broke that up into three ten-mile races, believing that anyone with fitness could finish 10, anyone with solid training could handle 20, and anyone with dedication, intelligence, or plain talent, could race 30. I was entirely confident that I could go 20 without issue. I was tentatively optimistic I could gut out 30 by the time October rolled around.

That was all before this past Sunday's tune-up run in which I hit the wall at 12 miles, staggered for two more, got some water, and staggered four more until I had to drop under a tree near my house to keep from losing consciousness.

I remember reading an article, recently, in which a Marquette runner described Midwest runners as the toughest around because they deal with all types of weather, with little notice. He made a nice case, if you like pats on the back. But to me, playing with the hand dealt does not make one tough. I certainly didn't feel tough, sitting under that tree with my head between my knees.

It took until today for my body to recover from the strain, but mentally, it's going to be a challenge to race. There's just no reason, none whatsoever, that I should have tired at that point in the run -- all things excluded. It wasn't THAT hot, I wasn't pushing THAT hard, the layout wasn't THAT challenging, and I my diet wasn't to blame. I'd run 14 with no problem just two weeks prior.

All I really have at this point is a short taper. I wanted it this way because the original summer training didn't work out. I never got on a childcare schedule that would allow me to work out weekly. So I was stuck with just doing long runs, nothing hard after July; this should really limit me. So I'm pinning everything on a miraculous taper (and maybe some cool, dry conditions) right now.

It's what I get for running on Satan's team.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dropping Your Anger 

You came to the line, and I gave you the company business.

It had been a while, so I tried to spice it up a bit. Little bit of flourish for you.

Then you played dumb, got lippy, raised your voice, and surprised both of us by feigning modesty.

I thanked fate that you came in on the un-taped line and hung up on you.

"I thank the sun despite all it's done."

Monday, September 04, 2006

I've Got a Fever 

Right now, I'm just sitting by the phone. See, I can't wait until the Brewers season ticket sales guy calls my this off-season. Because . . . what's he gonna say?

After all the years of losing, last year, they go .500. Even-Steven. And all the expectations were for a wild-card-contending team. Even after a so-so start and an iffy post-All Star break, just a couple weeks ago the Brew Crew was only about five games off of the wild card spot (not to mention just six and a half off the division lead).

Then my dependable boys went and shat the bed by losing 10 straight. And I don't know why I'm writing in the past tense because the losing streak is still going on. I called it too, I sensed a collapse. It was in the late-season schedule, the style of play, the half-assed managing. So we can confidently kiss this season goodnight, and I'll spend my last two games at the park looking for the nacho guy and trying to find the nearest two-fisted slobber who gets booted out of the game.

But I can't wait for that phone call from the sales guy. I bet he blames it all on injuries. Which is a load of crap because every team faces injuries. Bottom line is the Brewer's have average starting pitching, very weak middle relief, average closing pitching, sub-average batting, and average defense. What's worse about this team is they never really go for it. If they get a one-run lead, they play as if they've got it all in the bag. They never double-steal. Hell, they never steal. If second is wide open, the opposing catcher is on his knees, and we need a runner on two, they'll hold the guy on base. It's like watching one of those fake wrestling matches, except in this one, the scary guy hits HIMSELF over the head with the folding chair.

Mind you, I've got a list of complaints for when the Brewers guy calls. And I'm not accepting this "injury plague" BS as an excuse. For the complete failure this season is, I want answers about MANY things:

1. Why are Leinies beers $6.75? For Christ's sake, who do you think you're kidding?
2. $7.00 for parking? How high is it going to go? When I'm 60, is it going to be $20 to park?
3. Watching a game is like being in the middle of The Running Man (choose the book or movie). There's so much crap going on around you (promotional BS), that they've actually made it difficult to focus on the game. Of course, it's no help that the team's no good . . .
4. Have you idiots realized that half the crowd leaves after the sausage race in the sixth inning? For Christ's sake, move it to the eighth so you get a little more crowd support for a close game.
5. Why is the roof closed 60% of the time? I thought the roof was only there for potentially delayed games (rain). Now if a light breeze threatens Milwaukee county, you people are shutting the hatches.
6. This is Milwaukee -- and you can't offer fried onions for the brats? Come on. How do you face yourselves in the mirror each morning?
7. Can you stop it already with that idiotic promotion with the Palermo's pizza? The one in which the kid on the field holds the big pizza and has to catch the tiny pepperonis that the mascot throws from the nose-bleeds? The kids can't even see the fucking things as they come down! This is a shameful waste of everyone's time. I have yet to watch it and not be embarrassed for everyone there.

So, there you have it. Another season as a Milwaukee Brewers fan. Can you feel the fever?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Death Through Habitual Living 

My senior year of high school cross country was a major disappointment. I trained poorly for the season, and lost track of my priorities. I remember there being a few races in which I was nervous to race -- and not just the regular set of nerves. I was aware that I didn't have enough miles, so I worried about that third mile of the race. This put kind of a shrill tone to the year.

My co-captain and I tried to do everything by the book. We scripted each race the night before we ran it. We saw completely eye-to-eye on how to run the team. It just wasn't enough.

On one Friday before a meet, I decided we would do a trail run across the bluff of Lake Michigan, from Big Bay park to Klode, and then back to school by the streets. There used to be a little-known trail that could take people all the way; it's since become overgrown and lost. So we ran our run, and it was the typical Friday run. Everyone enjoyed that particular route. It was short, but scenic and challenging.

We finished the run, and after asking us where we went, our coached chewed us out for it. The trail had some dangerous footing, and he didn't like the idea of losing runners to broken ankles the day before the meet. He was right about this point; I'll never deny him that. But I pushed back at his objection, just because the team needed a fun run at the time -- a run that didn't feel like work. Just "right-foot-left-foot" for the pure enjoyment of it. To me the benefit of reinvigorating the team's spirit with a good run outweighed the potential danger.

My co-captain -- as good a guy as you'll ever run across -- eventually shut me up. I had no desire to go at it with my coach, who I would have gladly run for for another 10 years. I just wanted my point made. But my co-captain cut it all off before tempers could flair. As we walked down the stairs to the locker room, he said to me, "I know what you wanted. Don't worry about coach. You were in the right place."

That's really all I could have asked for. It's a lonely sport when you get to the third mile and everyone is separated. There are very few winners in cross country, but it wasn't the failure that got to me. If I was going to fail, I wanted it on my terms, the right way -- and I wanted people to understand why.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?