Friday, January 12, 2007

R-E-S-P- [oh, c,mon ... you know the rest]

"Respect" is a very important word in New Jersey. Just look how many times it’s used in The Godfather – which takes place in Sicily, New York, Long Island, Las Vegas, Havana, Miami, LA, Washington DC and Rome [I’m stitching them all together as one, here]. Look at The Sopranos, who actually ARE from Jersey. Goodfellas??? My Blue Heaven???

In NJ respect is currency. It is more valuable than your credit rating; if it starts to rise, it can generate its own wealth. Should it fall, no amount of refinancing can fix it.

This Winter, the Weather has decided to disrespect the Calendar.

Our Thanksgiving TurkeyMan Duathlon was just a warm-up [pun: sorry]. We’ve had Thanksgivings in the 40’s and 50’s before. I even remember driving over to South Street with my buddy Don Krnse with the top down a day or two after Xmas back in the early 80'.

This December's average high temperature for the DelVal Area was about 42° … the average is 36°. The only truly cold day in New Jersey In December was Dec. 8. The high temperature in Trenton that day was 32 degrees. Newark was 31 degrees and Atlantic City topped out at 34 degrees.

Today, it was 72°.

At 6:30 AM it was 55°. I did my morning run in a T-shirt and shorts. It took considerable resolve NOT to cut my grass. I washed my car.

I did NOT take down my Christmas lights. I did however put a Hawaiian shirt and lei on my angel on the lawn … just because.

I had a cigar. On the porch. After dinner.

What is this ... June-uary???

This disrespect is shameful.

If Weather were a carnate being, it could be fatal.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tales of the Pre-Construction

Rebuilding the Monster

I need to rebuild my Monster.
He’s in need of some repair.
His belly’s gotten a little soft.
He’s lost a little hair.
I haven’t used him much lately;
I haven’t had anyone to scare.

Annabelle and I [mostly she] did a lot of work over the Spring and Summer of 2006 to get The Monster back into shape. On the one hand, we were successful. We were able to get "The Beast" to the start and over the finish line on time and without much serious damage to himself or others on two high profile occasions.

As we enter the "pre-season" [because 'real runners' don't have 'off seasons'] I realize a potentially fatal mistake Annie and I made.

We "re-built" an old Monster, sure, that was a pretty amazing feat in itself ... we jolted the corpse, brought him back to life, pretty much put him back the way he was back in 2002.

Unfortunately, the way he was in 2002 ... sucked.

We didn't shoot high enough. We should have aimed for 1996. Or 1986.

If you watch the old Frankenstein sequels [Bride of ..., Son of ..., House of ...] they ALWAYS bring the monster back BEFORE fixing the MAIN problem - the bad brain in there!!!

The bad brain couldn't forget about doing bad things. But no one ever thought about taking a bit of time [there was really no rush, because the monster was usually 'dead', there was no deadline] and fixing the brain FIRST and THEN waking him up.

This Body has always been “right about there” - it remembers how to move at an 8-minute mile or better; how to breathe; how to hydrate; how to kick in the last 400m - it has moments of excellence. It can pop them out at will on the track at Bally's. The strength is there.

The force … The Brain ... can't decide.

He knows one thing ... he tasted success in May; he did not in September.

But the Body felt good ... and when the Body feels good, it doesn't want to feel bad. It will do anything to avoid feeling bad; but will also do anything to continue feeling good.

In the days of the Monster, days coming back to me now, there was a gathering of the tribes every morning. A “roll call” surveying the previous evening’s damage, incurred during my 7x7x7 … 7 miles at a 7 minute pace at 7:00.

Feet: Two, good so far
Ankles: Flex-y
Calves: Good
Knees: Fine
Thighs: Thunder
Hips: No complaints
Back: Stiff, but for good reason
All Critical Systems: GO!!!

The upper body had been relegated to “support system” of the “running machine”, responsible for the care, feeding and maintenance of the “transport vehicle.”

The first duty of the day was making coffee. The rest of the day was structured to get in a successful evening run; the right lunch at the right time, proper hydration throughout the day and a light snack on the train ride home. After the run; dinner, a couple of beers [at most] and some reading or drawing before bed.

There was a purpose, a dedication, then; that’s not back quite yet. The day revolved around the run, the enjoyment and the challenge of the run.

It doesn’t help that my daily routine has been flipped on its head, but at the beginning of my journey as a runner, I was a Pre-Dawn Patroller out for a morning jog with the 40-Something Dads. I began thinking and training as they did; nice easy 3-4 mile runs every morning. I t didn't take long before the Mileage Monster was out ther doing 6-7 miles every day with another 8-12 on the weekend ... and no days off.

So, upon reflection, The Monster began with the brain of a 40-Something Dad ... and I just happen to have one handy!!!