Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

And now, a guest blog post from "Doctor X"

Doctor X here, sending Halloween greetings from undisclosed location, because, as I've stated before, if they knew where I was, they'd shut me down.

Doctor X
Nobody can stop the candy train from chugging into the station on our block, though.  Sure those folks with their new SUVs and perfectly manicured lawns can shut off their lights and hide, but we'll stand tall, because as we say "It's the children, stupid."  If it's a crime to unload a $20 bag of candy on smiling children, then you can cuff me and take me away.  The problem is, you don't know who I am, or where I am.  You didn't even think I was real.  You thou simply an alter ego of a character played by Josh Radnor?  Nay, I am the true phantom of the airwaves, and I sail with a horde of candy giving pirates, because in today's society of taking, it's the giving that straddles the fences of legality.

My favorite pirate
Those of you not adhering to traditional authoritarian candy policies, and still out and about after the 8pm Trick or Treating "deadline" can still get your bucket filled here.  We have a bounty of sugary goods still left for those willing to brave the winds and rains.
Extra Booty
Just look for the Professor Chaos pumpkin and come up the stairs in disguise.  The password is "Possimpible."  We'll be waiting for you...

"Everyone knows it's Butters...."

...Doctor X out, and remember X marks the spot....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Detroit Marathon 2012 Recap

I admitted very freely at the front half of the weekend that the race was really starting to get to me psychologically.  J and I headed down to the marathon expo Saturday morning without my wife.  She had way too many photos to edit, because, lately, her photography business is starting to get pretty busy.  So she couldn't burn two days just for me.

Ren Cen w/Marathon logo

We got down to Detroit without any issue, and I found a really nice, close, parallel parking spot for the expo.  We got in and out quick, and would have been out even sooner if J didn't need a RooSport pouch for his passport.  I tell you what, their business blew up big at that expo.

I'm standing in the "Stargate"
We goofed around in Hart Plaza for a bit, taking pictures and looking at the Cobo reconstruction before going over to our friend's place to watch Michigan/Michigan State.  That was so incredibly boring that we all quit watching and went to Motor City Brewing Works to get a personal pizza (I recommend the Mediteranean) and a very large Oktoberfest.  We managed to walk back to his place just in time to see Michigan's kicker, "Beef Supreme," hit the winning field goal for a 12-10 win while he was most likely thinking of "brunette girls."  It was a sad day for the Big Ten and both teams, and a horrible display of futility.  What's worse is being the loser of that kind of debacle.  Oh well, at least nobody from the other side actually thought it was worth rubbing in.

After that we watched "Ninja Assassin" with K-Pop star (and Stephen Colbert rival) Rain, a few episodes of Burn Notice, and it was time to hit the hay.  I had three things working against me getting a good night's sleep, other than the fact we went to sleep at about midnight when we were waking up at 4:30am.  Those were:  strange place, no wife, and sleeping on a floor.  I don't know about you, but I think sleeping on your buddy's floor before a marathon is going on my "Murtaugh List."

I did get some decent sleep, but I was lethargic, a little sore, and not really eager for running the next morning.  We found our way in the morning dark to the corral downtown, and about the time J's corral was going, we parted ways and I dropped back with my (slower) people.

I wish I would have had my camera ready before the Ambassador Bridge, because there were a lot of weird things going on in that first mile, but most importantly, there was a lady dressed up in a fluffy pig costume.  Sorry I missed that photo op.  I'll let the pictures do the rest...

Heading up the Ambassador Bridge 

Sunrise over Windsor 



Circling back near the Ambassador Bridge

Leaf Police 
Hello Big D

Heading into the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel

Gratuitous Tunnel Border Shot (actually stopped to get this one)

Back in the USA

Parade Co. has the Clown for the Turkey Trot Up

Second oldest running Catholic Church in the U.S.  (I've been here before)

Thaddeus Kosciuszko statue on Michigan Ave. heading back into downtown


Fall Colors in Indian Villiage
Entering Belle Isle

Leaving Belle Isle

Now looking at Windsor from Detroit

Heading back into town

Almost Finished

My Support System (Father-In-Law not shown)


Comerica Shot with the sign my wife made for me.

 Outside of the photos, the story is that marathons are really hard.  I know we've trained for this distance, but  we did stop for water and bathroom breaks, and we never did just go out and try to run 26 straight.  That is a completely different animal.  I came in at a 4:53, which means absolutely nothing to me.  The goal was to finish running the whole way, and not stop to walk.  I did that.  J did that.  We hit our goal.  I know I could have been faster had I not taken 126 blurry photos along the way (not all shown, and most don't deserve to be, hell the "good ones" are still bad).

I know this was the major goal of the year, and I thought I would do this and I would be good for life.  I'm not happy.  I know with a good night's sleep in a real bed and leaving a camera behind, I can knock a lot of time off this.  I pulled an oblique in mile 18, and I pretty much tanked all of 21-26.  I'm still incredibly soft.  I get that.  I gained a big chunk of weight after the Crim, again.  I have to stop that.  I kept running, but I didn't keep my caloric vigilance up.  Sad thing is, I guarantee the most likely contributors calorie-wise are liquids.

The other thing I hadn't counted on was how much of the Detroit Marathon was just you and the road.  Sure there were others out there, and spectators, but that second half of the marathon is much deader than the front half.  There's a lot less fanfare on the way to Indian Villiage and on the way back.  I had a lot of time with my thoughts, and they wandered all over the place.  I thought about my family and hoped they had good weather for the charity golf outing in honor of my cousin who recently passed away.  I thought about what my dad would think of my running craziness if he were still here.  I thought a couple times about what would happen if I collapsed dead.  My brain was just running wild to occupy the silence.

The demand on my body got so incredibly overwhelming in those final miles, I could have quit, but I didn't.  I had some wonderful encouragement from people zipping by me.  Some people get discouraged when people do that to them, but I needed to hear those "c'mons" and those "keep going, you can make it."  Seeing my wife, good friend, and father-in-law at 25 was so necessary for my finish.  I'm not kidding.  I could have quit this thing with less than a mile to go.  It hurt that bad, and a quick kiss from my wife was like a resuscitation bringing me back to life to make it that last little bit.

I felt better after that and had a decent push at the end.  Seeing that 26 and that finish line helped a lot.  When I got nearer to the finish, I thought about busting out Gangnam Style the rest of the way, but I just hurt too much for that.  When I did get really near the finish, though, I changed my mind and went for it...and I pulled my right calf just before I crossed the finish, having to hobble-run across.  I kind of felt like a moron.

After crossing, and getting the best medal ever, Bill Laitner from the Detroit Free Press grabbed me for a quick little interview, taking note of my shirt, and how I'm a pretty big dude running a marathon.  That lasted about 2 minutes, he snapped a shot of me, and said it might make it to the online version of the paper...maybe.  Still baffled that I made it to print, with all the other people out there running for important causes, family members, etc., and here's my dumb ass just goofing off with my "National Erectile Dysfunction Awareness" shirt in the paper (see previous post).

After I was done, the muscles started to hurt, the dehydration came in, and the granny smith apple I ate at the end felt like it was trying to escape the confines of my gut.  After finding my wife, her dad, and my friend, I quickly switched into the dry clothes they had for me, and took a seat on the sidewalk trying to get my bearings.  Then we old man walked our way back to the car, took a few camera shots at Comerica, and went to the Woodbridge Pub for some awesome brunch and beers.

So that's it.  First one's out of the way.  Now I know what it takes and what to expect when I do this again, but for now, until the end of the year, I'm ramping things down a bit.  There will be nothing bigger than a 10K until 2013.
Shirt, Medal, Bib

'53 Corvette Medal

Monday, October 22, 2012

Detroit Marathon Teaser

No time to do a full recap today.  I will let you know that I survived and I'm sore.  I'm also in the Detroit Free Press, thanks to Bill Laitner.  I didn't find that out until I made it to work and had to field questions regarding my erectile functions.  Pretty awesome memory just being in the paper alone, but the marathon itself is something I'm not going to forget.  More later...promise.

Now you all know my real name.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Broseph Liebsterman

Shannon over at I Survived & Now I Run nominated me for a Liebster award.  After my first impulse of "What the H is that?" and my second impulse of "Does this have anything to do with that real life senator that looks like senator Palpatine?" my third impulse was that maybe I could actually follow through on one of these bloggy communitish thingamawhosits.

Real Senator or Star Wars Senator?
The idea is to get more followers, and, of course to win, but Rod Roddy hasn't told me what I could win.  I assume that's because he's no longer with us, but Shannon didn't seem to tell me either.  So I'm going to assume that if I win I get taken to a remote location, blindfolded, and have to swing at this pinata that will be full of extra blog followers.  Kind of like that trojan horse thing, except they don't kill you, just read your blog and tell you how you shouldn't be drinking Big Bear Malt Liquor the week before your marathon.  However, I believe it was making the Detroit Tigers win.  So I refuse to stray from the strategy.
Those aren't mine...
Anyway...shall we get on with it.  The Liebster award is not like 'Nam, there are rules, and they are the following:

Okay first off, let's throw up that Brent "fact" board:

1)  I can't stand our political system in all of its corruption, ineptitude, and the lack of control we seem to have over it anymore, yet, 90% of my "leisure" reading seems to be political non-fiction.

2) I almost never read fiction, because I believe that real life is just as interesting or more, and reading about  things that never happened seems like too much of a waste of my time unless I'm really really buying into it.

3) Like my nominator, I also have never been on a plane.  I don't have a lot of fear of the dying or crashing or any of that.  I just don't want to be up there.  Pretty much like being on the roof at work.  It's impossible to fall or ever go through, but, again, I just don't want to be up there.  Also the plane is 1,000 times higher.

4) My first not under-the-table job was a McJob, and I assure you the egg doesn't come in a round loaf like it shows in "Clerks 2"

5) I have weird issues with people I don't know really really well touching me.  I have a huge comfort bubble that has many layers you have to slowly peel over time.  Some of that can be dropped really quickly, but it takes a certain type of person, I suppose.

6) I have always considered myself a cat person, but my wife made us get a dog.  Now I love him, so I'm fairly pet neutral now.

7) I don't like spending money.  That literally goes for everything, even grocery shopping.  Letting go of money and/or having debt for any reason makes me anxious.  The only time I was actually able to not have this bother me was for my wedding/honeymoon.  Though I still refuse to tally the costs of that.

8) I have a huge affinity for old/dead technologies. I still love cassettes.  My original nintendo and my father's atari are still in prime working condition.  I've always had vinyl in my life, even before it became cool again.  Also, I still have refused to upgrade most of my movies from VHS because I have a perfectly good VCR.

9) I'm sure I've seen every movie John Cusack's been in and apparently my man-love for him is so obvious that it was brought up in my best man's speech on my wedding day.  I pretty much love Joan too.

10) I have an embarrassingly large collection of Care Bears for a grown man.  I don't know how this started.  I know as far as collection hobbies goes...I mean..."I shouldn't have had it, but I just couldn't help myself.  Do you think I lack self-discipline?"* (* - See #9)

11) If I could go back in time and see any band live, I'd probably go see Queen, at least that's been my steady answer for the last 5 years.

Questions from Shannon

1) Best thing about your life? My lady, and no I'm not pandering, because I don't think she even reads my blog anymore.

2) Scale, yes or no? I only use the one on the dock at work when I walk by it.  Otherwise I don't really use a scale.  We have one at home, but I mostly use that for weighing the dog and cat.
3) Worst running injury? I haven't really had one directly from running yet, knock on wood.  I've had a nasty trampoline injury, though (see my first post ever)
4) Favorite place to visit on Vacation? Sleeping Bear Dunes.  It's easy to relax there.
5) Favorite thing to do on a rainy day? Probably pop on a record and grab a book, but most of the time when I get stuck inside, I waste all my time cleaning the house because it needs it.
6) Favorite piece of exercise equipment? I don't really have any.  Usually they must end up being clothes racks for people, and I haven't met a piece of equipment I would actually use.  Does the Wii count?
7) Favorite Season? Fall.  Leaves, colors, cool weather, and pumpkins.  That does it for me.
8)  One thing from your bucket list you have done? Finally made it to Fenway Park last year on our honeymoon.  That was a nice checked box for me.
9) Favorite Celebrity? As I said before, I get a lot of guff for my Cusack love, so we'll roll with that.  There's a few others in the competition but we'll go with him based on long-term stability.
10) Favorite holiday and why? Toss up between Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Halloween because I love costumes, and being surprised by what people dress up as.  Now that I'm older, I also like taking a tally of what the kids are going as so I actually know what's the big thing with them these days.  Thanksgiving because I can do a road race, eat food, watch football, eat more food, and then (if my birthday is close enough to that Thursday) I get presents.
11) Favorite food and drink? Not to be a complete male stereotype, but there's nothing better than a pizza and a good cold microbrew.

Blogs I'm nominating (there's one renom in here that Shannon already got, but everyone else had 200+ followers and there was nothing in the rules about duplicating nominations).

1) Thru Thin and Thick
2) The Journey is the Reward (the duplicate)
3) Running Spike (even though his back-up team is the Yanks)

Questions my nominees need to answer (if the want to).  I can't really twist your arm.

1) What kind of animal(s) do you have, and what are their names?
2) Do you have a favorite or "lucky" article of clothing?
3) When you have a night to yourself to go somewhere, where do you hang out?
4) What's the last movie you saw in the theatre?
5) What's your guilty music pleasure? (we all have one)
6) Do you have a personal catchphrase or motto when it comes to life?  If so what is it?  If not, make one
7) What's the one possession (not your family or animals, let's assume they're all safe) you'd grab if your house were going up in flames?
8) Do you run outside in the inclement weather?  Is there a limit where you draw the line and say "nope, not today," and do you switch to indoor exercise of some type?
9) What's the most "jerkface" thing you've seen done during a road race from a fellow runner or even a spectator?
10) If you were going to be turned into an aquatic animal, and there was no way to avoid it, what would you choose to be?  (anything that spends a majority of its time in water is allowed)
11) Have you ever been part of any kind of protest, and what was it for/against?

I look forward to your answers.

Also, I'm guessing this will be the last time you hear from me until the Detroit Marathon (D12) is over.  Wish me luck.  Right now I have to admit I'm honestly very nervous, almost panicky.  I'm just not very calm about it.  In about an hour here, I'm heading down to the expo to get my packet, and then I'll be milling around one of the Detroit bars hoping that Michigan State can pull one more win out against Michigan.  My hopes aren't high, considering I didn't do my normal cursing ritual at the Big House and didn't run the annual Tailgate Challenge (both superstitions I like to keep).  So they're going to have to do it themselves.

Hopefully I'll calm down here.  I should be okay, right?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Who's reaching out to tickle a horsie?...

...everyone knows it's Brencho.

My running P.I.C. worked Friday, and was busy this weekend.  So I'm not going to just go out there and run by myself on a Saturday and actually push out any real mileage right now.  I'm done with this.  This window is closed.  I want to run my stupid marathon, and immediately start training for the Santa Run (which is just eating cookies and milk).  I'm usually done by now.  Last year I stretched out the season with the Brooksie, and this year it's Detroit Marathon 2012 (D12) making me run when I just want to hang out and enjoy the fall.

Still though, it's not time to completely lay back. I have two one big runs this week, and then it's a nice week off before the big boy. This past weekend I managed to force myself up early to go run the Brückeläufe. It was a long shot, game day decision. I told myself the night before I wasn't going to do it. I wasn't registered and I hate paying day-of premiums. I set the alarm pretty much assuming that I would shut it off and just wake up too late, make some huevos rancheros, and watch some Premier League and MSU simultaneously (which I did anyway after the race).

However, the alarm went off.  I got up out of bed, and started walking around.  I told myself that my heel was hurting too much to run, but 5 minutes later I found myself in the shower.  After that I got dressed to run, and headed out the door.  I was running late, and still had to get gas.  I had my last out when someone asked for a jump, but I didn't have time.  Usually I would, but if I did, I was going to be too late to run, and if I helped I knew I would have skipped the race.  Pretty sure they'd be fine.  It's a gas station, someone will help.  I still felt a bit guilty, though.

I felt less guilty when I arrived at the registration table at 7:53 for an 8:00 start.  I signed up really quick, dropped the race shirt at the car, and ran up to the start.  I said hello to a few familiar people (wow...I'm like one of these runner people now, aren't I?) before the national anthem, and we started the race (probably a little late).

The race course of 13 bridges over the 13.1 miles was fantastic.  We ran by a farm with a bridge on it around mile 8, and I had to stop and pet the horses.  I was just out there enjoying the race.  I haven't done that in a while on these longer runs.  I already had my PR last week, and this race was just about enjoying it while holding back enough at a semi-realistic marathon pace.  I was glad to be in that kind of mood for this race, because it gave me a chance to take in the sights.  A lot of it was a backwards version of the Volkslaufe, but the fall colors were beautiful throughout the farmland out there so it felt new.  It also made me care less when I had a huge head wind with a slight manure smell coming straight at my face from about 10.5 to 11.5.  I really couldn't do much more than fight it and laugh at everyone else fighting the wind or being seriously bothered by the smell.  

When all was said and done, I still popped in at a 2:09:05, which is only second to the PR I set the previous weekend.  So I still had a pretty good run, especially for not really pushing it.  I was honestly expecting more time on that clock.

On the way home, I stopped by the Farmer's Market to pick up some breakfast stuff, and i stopped by the Porter's Orchard booth outside to buy the famous apple cider slushie.  The woman said, "You're in shorts, and you want a frozen drink when it's this cold out, you must be crazy."  Instead of bothering to explain myself or the run, I just said "uh-huh" and turned and walked away drinking my slushie.

Medal Close Up

Monday, October 1, 2012

Feeling UnstoppaBrooksie

As usual, my race prep. for the 5th Annual Brooksie Way Half Marathon left much to be desired.  The race itself is fairly early and about a 45 minute drive from me, so it was an early up.  I was up earlier than needed because I thought the 13.1 started at 7:30, but it was 8:05.  I didn't tuck myself in until about 1am, and it's usually at least an hour to get to sleep.  Saturday night it was more like an hour and a half, because I was either still wound up from MSU losing to Ohio State, or because of pre-race excitement.

Either way I didn't get enough sleep when the cell alarm came on at 5am, and it made me wonder for a split second why the hell I set an alarm for Sunday.  Luckily I was just alert enough to remember I had a race, and get ready.  I felt pretty good considering just hours before I had just downed a truckload of Little Caesar's pizza and went to the Double J for two PBR 40s after the Spartan loss.  Hopefully that's the last of the losses to hated teams this year, because the MSU/U of M game is the day before the marathon.  Maybe I'll just not watch.

J got here just as I was finishing up the whole get ready routine, including the new addition of "swaddle the foot and stuff it in a shoe," which you too can play at home.  On the way down he shared his story of parking right in front of a Dodge Ram who pulled horizontally across 3 handicap parking spaces to run into the gas station.  J pulled into the next open parking spot, immediately in front of the truck, so he would be forced to back out like everyone else, just to make a point.  That point being, "Being a lazy prick does not make you special."  He then waited in the gas station until the man got into his truck, visibly upset, and had to back out. Personally, I found this hilarious.  What makes it even better is that I kind of view the Ram as my nemesis vehicle.  Most of the people that have one seem to have no real functional use for it, so it's a complete resource waster.  On top of that, I just seem to have more problems with that make and model than any other vehicle on the road.  Their drivers seem to be universally dickish (even Esquire, which is only written and read by dicks, agrees, so they must be the dicks of even dick island).

Anyway, after many long tangential conversations of laughter, we arrived at Oakland University.  Packet pick-up was really quick that early, and there was literally no waiting.  It was still somewhere in the 40s, temperature-wise, so we went back to the car and sat until 7:15.  Then we sat in the corral just in front of the 10 min pace mark for 15 minutes wondering what was going on and where everyone was.  I didn't find out they actually listed an 8:05 start until today.

This was my first half since The Legend and I wasn't about to sit back and not go for it.  The goal was to do like the Crim, start moderately quick and just try to hold that pace for as long as I could.  I pulled ahead of the 2:10 pacers about a mile in, and when I saw I was pulling up on the 2:00 pacers, I throttled back a bit.  J was pacing for his marathon, so he didn't run away like usual and stayed with me.

Official Pacer Outfits
Eventually, about 2 miles in I actually passed the 2:00 pacers and got some bright idea about getting a 2:00 monkey off my back like one of my fellow bloggers did.  Then the 2:00 pacers passed me back at 6 1/2 and started pulling away at 8, so that was the end of that.  For the record, the 2:00 things is not a barrier I consider beatable or realistic this year, so it's not even a mini-monkey.  I just wanted to see how long I could fight them off.

The second half of the race is a tough non-stop barrage of hills, and the first big one took a big cut out of me.  My legs felt dead, and I was starting to feel sorry I pushed so hard the first half, knowing what was to come for the rest.  I shook off a lot of negative thoughts and tried to keep pushing through that hill as hard as I could.  I think for the first time I actually told myself it would be okay if I had to stop, as long as I ran for as long as I could.  I really slowed down and sputtered up that hill.  I think for that sliver of time, it was probably pushing a 11/12 minute pace.  I was really worried that that was how it was going to be for the rest of the way, which would have just been brutal when I was putting everything I could into it.

You think you're doing good the first half, and then...

Luckily I snapped out of it and even found by the 3rd big hill I was starting to drop back into my running zone.  I was taking well to the hills and actually picking up a few spots again.  Still no sign of the the 2:00 pacers, though.  So I set my heart on not letting the 2:10 ones pass me, or holding them off as much as possible.  At least I'd finish in my usual range, or maybe, just maybe, push somewhere close to my 2:09 PR. Never did find anyone with a beer like last year, though, and I could have used a little hair of the dog.

I still had J with me, and the hills kept coming.  I was feeling pretty good the rest of the race, other than a little bit of a tight hammy that kicked in about mile 11.  With only 2 to go, it wasn't a big deal, though.  I'm sure it was from over-compensating for the heel, even though I didn't feel it that much during the race.  I just kept running, looking for that 12, then the 13, and then the time clock.  When the clock came up, I knew there was still a zero up there as the second number, and as I came into my push, realized it was reading 2:05.  I made a huge push to the finish.

I pulled in crossing at about 2:06:15, knowing I had a PR in the bag.  I got my medal and grabbed a water and an orange slice, and wrapped myself in a nice space blanket.  I met back up with J, who crossed when I did (and who could have went faster, but still set a PR), and immediately started to feel my heel.  Adrenaline is amazing, sometimes.  I didn't feel the thing at all until then, because I was all jacked up on the race juice.

We walked back to the race tent where they scanned our bibs with some fancy phone and it showed your time.  Officially, I was 2:05:15, which was absolutely fantastic and about 10 minutes faster than I had honestly expected.  It was a good run, and I did about all I could out there.

Today everything was sore.  My whole body hurt, especially my stomach muscles (yes, they're in there somewhere), my legs, and my back muscles.  Even my arms are a little testy.  I just feel like I put my whole body into this race, and I haven't felt this tired from a halfer since that first Martian Race.  I'm very content with ending 2011 with a 13.1 PR to go with the 5K and 8K.  I still wish I'd stepped up a bit more for the Crim and grabbed the 10 mile one too, because there won't be another ten.  I still have a shot at a 10K, maybe.  Of course, this year is still all about 26.2, and it may be my next official race.  Not a lot of time left, and I can attest to the fact that the anticipation is killing me.  It feels like Crim #1 all over again.

Post Race Medal Pose
Front (this medal's awesome)


5 Shirt, 5 Medal

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