Saturday, December 27, 2008


“You are hardcore and do not even realize yet. Running in thunderstorms and icy rain = hardcore. I guess to me it describes when someone pushes themselves or challenges themselves. It is a quality that I admire in people … a lot.”

I'm not hardcore about anything, to my knowledge. I’m not that driven; not that passionate about anything [except my family, of course] ... But that's not really something you see in yourself, is it? I mean, some may see my running routine as "hardcore" but to me, it's just what I do.

Some may see the 7 bikes in my garage or find me out riding the woods at night as "hardcore," but again ...

I don’t look at the bad weather that I train in as a challenge. It’s nature. It’s always going to be there. Sometimes it’s an inconvenience; it happens – this is South Jersey.

I've said it before; I'll say it again. "When acid rain freezes, you get acid snow"

Or, in SJ, you get acid slush with rocks and sand and gravel and shoes and needles and underwear and all sorts of other shit in it. When it dries out, the slush is gone, but all that other crap is still out there, usually migrating onto the part of the road I'm using.

I've surfed in hurricanes, ridden horses in canyons during hailstorms ... precipitation? It's just water.

I don’t see at it as a challenge or something I need to push myself through. If I had cancer or MS or diabetes or addiction … That is a real a challenge! The people I know who work and train through those diseases are truly hardcore; because failure, at that level, can be devastating; physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I think I'm "mildcore" ... I run and ride and skate to maintain balance and a nice even keel.

I come from a surfing background, so I have a little different perspective.

You can't always count on the waves being there when you want them to be. You can't plan to catch 5 good ones and 3 bad ones in any set time. You can't trust the weather at all!!!

But you can plan to be on the beach at 5AM, watch the sunrise over the ocean and make the best of it. Or, you can jog down the street with no one nearby except the contractors going to the work-site; meeting other strangers like you along the way.

When your day begins like that, what can go wrong?

Dishwasher goes out? Car needs brakes? Kid gets lunch detention for throwing a pencil?

Deal with it as you must ... but remember your morning. It can even you out; help maintain your balance.

Maybe "Zen-Core" would be a better word?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lucky Streak

I haven’t posted anything about beer lately; mostly because I haven’t been drinking much, and what I have hasn’t been anything special … Well, there was that one bottle of Oaked Arrogant Bastard … Anyway …

Aside from baseball pitchers and hockey goalies, runners are some of the most superstitious athletes going. Have a good race, or even a good weekday run, and every item worn and every procedure followed becomes ritual – until the time it goes wrong, then, never again!

I’m guilty of this, I know. I have my little seashell that accompanies me every mile. I have my sharky sox for special events. I always go to 4:30 Mass on race night. I have the same pre-race dinner [“Chicken What-the-Hell” a breadless chicken parm] I have my apple, banana and Wawa coffee.

If something works we go with it until it doesn’t work anymore.

Dan the Man was invited to an open house at the new
Philadelphia Brewing Company, in September. Among the swag he brought home was a pint glass with a Kenzinger logo on it. Actually, he got two. I found the extra one on my desk the next day, along with a Philadelphia Brewing Co. sticker [for my skateboard, no doubt] and a matchbook [no idea, on that one … I don’t smoke cigars anymore].

A couple days later, I christened it [with Victory HopDevil] while watching the first game of the World Series. I figured the Philadelphia + Victory tag team would help to break the Philly title jinx, or at least put a hurt on it.

Phillies 4, Rays 3

Game Two. Regular Flying Fish pint glass + Hop Devil

Rays 4, Phillies 2

Games 3, 4 and 5?

Kenzinger pint + Victory.

What did Chase Utley say? “World Fucking Champions!!!”

The Kenzinger pint was undefeated. Four-and-Oh. Would its power continue beyond baseball?

Election night: Kenzinger + DFH = President Elect Barak Obama. [5-0, although that one was a slam dunk, I’m sure]

A key test came up that Sunday night: Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Football Giants. This would be tough. The Giants were Super Bowl Champions; the Eagles were awful. They almost won, but even the Kenzinger juju couldn’t save them.


Since then, “The Cup” has pulled Andy Reid’s head out his ass and propelled the Eagles to a Thanksgiving Day victory over the Cardinals, a grudge-match smackdown of the Giants, and a shellacking or the Browns to post and 8-1 record.

How long will the magic last? Well, there are only two more weeks left in football season. If the Eagles and “The Cup” win out, that puts them in the playoffs.

We’ll see. You can go to the well once too often and the cup doesn’t always run over.

Beauty Shot Beauty Shot

From the website:

This is a real drinkin' beer! - a golden session ale that boasts both a European birthright and a thirst-quenching Philadelphia sensibility. Kenzinger is refreshingly crisp and smooth, with a spirited flavor that grabs the attention of taste buds everywhere. Get some!

Available today - bottle and draught ~4.5% abv

It’s light, in color and strength. Almost summery. In fact it would make an excellent Lawnmower beer with its touch of cloudiness and little yeasty bits floating around the bottom. It has a slight sour apple favor to it, with a touch of honey.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Breaking the Holiday Blues

I hadn't planned on running this morning. On my way home from work, after picking Mariel up from school, I noticed that 3 critical intersections on my running route[s] were beyond flooded.

I had only run three days in the past week, and I'm not in a "training cycle" anyway, so taking another day off wouldn't kill me.

As I said a couple of days ago, I am really in the Christmas Spirit early this year. I got the tree up and lit already and the outside decorations are coming together. But, with the gloomy weather lingering around, I could feel Depression start to wrap her cold grey arms around my shoulders. She leaned in and began with her lies, in icy whispers.

"This is so unlike you, Rand. You know it's just a waste of time. In a month all your good deeds will be forgotten. Just give up now. Save yourself the trouble."

I had to shake her off.

So what if the usual roads were wet ... there's nothing in the rules that says I couldn't just find some high ground and run there for a while right?

I ran up the mile long hill to the high school. Mindlessly and playfully, I just ran around the parking area for 20 minutes, wandering and meandering from lot to lot [I even did some sprints, trying to hit the parking stripes on my strides]. I was not quite soaked through when I descended the hill and headed home.

As I heated my soup for breakfast, a Guns n Roses tune came into my head, clearly dedicated to that dark spirit
from whose grasp I had slipped away in the drizzle.

"Back Off Bitch"