Monthly Archives: December 2012

Running For Someone Else

Last Saturday, I ran to remember victims and support families of the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown.  What started as a simple text message (from our Ironman coach, Robbie Bruce) to get 26 people to run 26 miles in honor of 26 victims, turned into over 1,000 runners raising 10’s of thousands of dollars.  It was an amazing show of support and unity by the Nashville running community, but many others from around the country and world joined to show support for a community that has been through something we will never understand.

I am truly fortunate to be surrounded by so many positive and active people.  Before I joined the other runners, I captured the energy and compassion of an amazing event with this video:

Nashville for Newtown

It has been a rough week for several reasons, but I finally feel like I’m back in the groove after running “The Nasty” (route 12 of the East Nasty Running Club circuit) last night.  It never ceases to amaze me how that course makes me feel like a better runner the next day (more on that later).  What also never ceases to amaze me, is how awesome the Nashville running community is.

Everyone was shocked, horrified, and touched in different ways by the Newtown shootings.  It truly is unfathomable, and I think the only way to counteract things like this is to pour more love and compassion into the world.  That is exactly what’s happening here.

On Monday our coach for Ironman Wisconsin, Robbie Bruce, put out a feeler idea to see if anyone would be willing to run 26 miles for the 26 victims in Newtown.  The responses trickled in for a few hours, then went viral.

As of this morning there are over 500 runners signed up to either run 26 alone or as part of a relay team.  Each mile will garner a minimum of one dollar for families of the victims in Newtown.

All of the local media has embraced the event and runners, along with several volunteers will flood the streets of Nashville Saturday morning to spread their love and energy to people who need it more than ever.  I’m very proud of the way Nashville responds to people in need and feel blessed to be surrounded by runners, bikers, and triathletes who are always willing to spend their time to do the right thing.


If Running Clubs Were Gangs

Before East Nasty floods the streets on Wednesday runs, Mark Miller stands before us offering sage advice, group events, and a list of great things the running club is doing for local schools and charities.  I’m not sure why, but every time he stands on that hill and “calls for everyone to move closer,” I imagine he is the Guardian Angels’ version of Cyrus from the Warriors.

The Warriors is a 1979 Cult Classic that follows one gang’s (the Warriors) struggle to make it back to Coney Island after being framed for shooting New York’s kingpin or the underworld (Cyrus) at an all-city gang retreat in Central Park.  As you can imagine the Warriors did a lot of running in the movie and it made me wonder what it would be like to have other running clicks trying to take us out as we pound the streets of East Nashville.

“Can you dig it?”

The East Nasty “Warriors,” hit the streets armed with tight lycra, head lamps, and Gu energy packs.  The goal: Talk or run our way to a safe return to 5 Points (Coney Island).

We turned right on Woodland with eyes peeled for the NRC “Boppers” led by Lee “Big Moe” Wilson, Hunter “Boxcar” Lane, and Season “Greenback” Kaminski.  The Boppers roll in purple vests, ties, and fedoras and protect their turf with high speed chases.  They are difficult to miss and even harder to escape.

The Boppers, however, must have been grilling veggie burgers out back because we cruised through Upper 5 Points without incident.  But a new challenge awaited as we descended a short hill on mid-foot onto the turf of the Lipstick Lounge “Lizzies.”

Starr, Sarah, and Roxanna use seduction as their weapon of choice.  They lull you to sleep with flashy smiles, spike your drink, then steal your girlfriend.  Fortunately they were distracted by Karaoke night and we rolled by unnoticed.

We pushed the next hill with intrepid smiles and gazed an eery school building which doubles as the home of a low class outfit known as The Orphans.  Often found lurking in dirty green t-shirts and jeans, the Orphans are more bark than bite.  They have low numbers and offered little opposition to nearly 200 Nasties armed with water bottles and reflective vests.

Glancing at our Garmins, we turned down Eastland then crossed the dangerous 14th Street intersection before hearing the startling sound of clicking beer bottles emanate from a rundown hearse. We turned down our iPods and noticed the disturbing rattle was accompanied by a hipster vocal.

“Nasties . . . come out and play . . . ”

The Bad Kroger “Rogues” were up the their old shenanigans.  Always a spine-chilling sight, the Rogues are a prominent street gang typically too drunk on 40’s to pose a real threat.  We cut a hard left and headed toward safer terrain.

But we were far from home.

This particular route is called “The Church Run” and several gangs were sure to be waiting, including The Southern Cross.

We weaved our way to Fatherland and headed straight into harms way at East Park.  Even though it’s the off season, everyone knows the Baseball Furies are in Winter Training.  Sure enough, less than one block from their natural grass turf, I caught a glimpse of pin striped uniforms and heard the signature sound of baseball cleats clicking on pavement.

Luckily one of the East Nasties is an college baseball umpire and knows how to eject angry ballplayers.  Another scare averted.

After the Furies’ fiasco, there was only one obstacle looming, but it was a big one.

The Shelby Street Turnbull ACs cruise the neighborhoods in a ragged school bus and get their kicks from picking on defenseless runners.

Our only hope was to catch them napping because Shelby is a big ass hill with no escape routes.  We turned our headlamps to dim and made a run for it.  Thankfully, the Turbull’s didn’t see us until it was too late and their bus wouldn’t start.  These guys are a lot of things, but runners isn’t one of them.

On this night, the East Nasty Warriors would prevail.  We told war stories at home base, took off our colors and strolled down the street to the running club Christmas party.


Tonight’s Diet:  Water, Beer and Chili

Marathon Fever and Kosmo Kramer

I weaved through fancy running machines at the Margaret Maddox YMCA with my eye out for flowing silver hair.  It was the coldest night of the season and Jim said he wanted to run 8 miles on the treadmill.  Eight miles, just 3 days after his marathon.2012-12-08_12-07-24_493

He wasn’t hard to spot and I circled around to wake him from the trance.

I said, “Hey.”

He said, “Hey man,” which was followed by an awkward pause while he tried to turn down his iPod.

I poised myself for confrontation.

In my best Kosmo Kramer impersonation, I screamed, “Look at you!”

“What?,” he replied while coasting along at a 9 minute pace.

“You’re snake bit!”

He smiled and said, “What do you mean?”

“Your not even thinking about Ironman!  You’re addicted to marathons!

He was a kid who just got caught sneaking brownies off the top of the fridge.

“You may be right.”

I said, “What would Kevin think of this behavior?!?” (in reference to our fellow Ironman training partner).IMG_5042

Jim said, “He probably wouldn’t care.”

I just shook my head and said I’d see him after my swim.

These running people are crazy, and I’m not sure what it says about me . . . but I get it.  Something about simply putting on shoes and getting after it is really quite scintillating.

Jim didn’t forget about Ironman, but he is totally smitten with the glory of marathons.  And let me tell you, nothing gets a woman’s attention like salt piling up on your forehead while plodding down the road for 26.2 miles!  I mean, it’s kinda the same attention you get from picking your nose, but hey, if it feels good, let it rip.

He didn’t qualify for Boston at Huntsville, so now he is all in on New Orleans, and I wouldn’t bet against him.  This has just become personal and Jim has a reputation to keep.

But, let’s get back to me!

I did, in fact, go for a swim last night.  I lollygagged through 1,500 yards and decided that since I am still into triathlons, I would jump on the spin bike.  I peddled for 20 minutes and talked myself into ending the night with a nice little one-mile treadmill run.  One solid hour of three disciplines and let me tell you, I feel like a million bucks today.

Tonight, it’s back to the road for a 4.5 miler with the East Nasties.  I’m not sure if Jim’s running, but I can assure you I will be seriously contemplating dropping the 1/2 and signing up for the New Orleans full.  After all, I kinda like the idea of qualifying for Boston myself.


In other news, Ironman Wisconsin team member, Daniel, has a special announcement coming out soon.  2012-12-08_09-17-05_747He came over last night for a top secret video project I hope to finish tonight so he can post on his blog.

When Will I Ever Wake Up?

One of my biggest concerns about Ironman Wisconsin training is getting my ass out of bed.  I am “Notorious BIG” for sleeping in.  I would rather workout at 10 pm than than get up at 5 to jump in anything but another bed.  I wonder if Ironman would entertain moving back their start time?

Adding to this pressure is the fact that everyone in the “Fab Five” goes to bed at like 8:00.  Well, maybe not Kevin, but regardless, they like their mornings.

Maybe I need to change my perspective on what I’m waking up for.

Like most kids, I sprung from the sheets on Christmas morning.  I couldn’t wait to see what Grandma T. pulled out of her arsenal.  She was “Notorious BIG” for going ape shit with presents.  Me and my brother would literally have to go to her house and help load the van on Christmas morning.  Her breezeway overflowed with gratitude.

“Hey, Grandma, who is Joey?  Does this present go in the van?”

“Oh, no. Joey is the son of a woman I know through Alter Guild at church.”

“What about Constance?”

“Oh, she’s the third cousin of Bill, who drives trucks for the County.”


“City Manager.”


Yeah, it seemed like she bought presents for everyone our hometown.  Likely the most giving person I’ve ever known.

So, you’re probably saying, “Why didn’t some of your Grandma rub off on you??”

Well, maybe it’s about damn time!

How do I translate Grandma’s legendary giving skills into my morning workout?

For one, drop the ego and make this about something else.  It has to be about a higher calling.  Yeah, like my training team, the Fab Five!

If I’m not there for an early workout, they will surely be sad and feel like something is missing.  I would hate to detract from their workout because I was up late cleaning my kitchen or surfing the net for anything that would distract me from going to sleep.

And I could start each morning with a gift!

As the owner of a video company, Mark would surely find joy in some of the old electronic cords I have lying around the garage.

Ohh… and Daniel would love some of my old clothes to use as crazy costumes for future races.  I have a great shiny red cape that would fit his super hero mold like a glove.

Jim likes trinkets and candles and stuff, which is good news because my junk drawer is loaded with mystery items that would brighten up his day.

Coach Robbie is big time on craft water and I have some serious connections, not to mention several spigots.

And for Kevin, there is at least a week’s worth of “older” beer tucked away in the bottom corners of my fridge.  He’s not picky!

Yeah, I like it.  Let the gift DRIVE ME!  I’m sure Grandma got a much bigger rush out of giving than receiving.  And what’s a guy that has everything like me need with half the stuff that’s cluttering my place?  Simplicity rules and I’m nearly ready for bed.

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