Monday, October 29, 2007

Another Asskicking Weekend

Another weekend has come and gone, but it was once again a fun-filled two days. I watched most of the Sox game on Saturday, a first for me. Yesterday I caught most of the Pats game, a first this year. Last night I even watched some regular television programming over at the COW abode. But let's look at the weekend in detail...

I'm Ruuuuuuning in the Rain

Saturday I let myself sleep until almost 11 in the AM. I had been running myself ragged and decided to treat myself to a really great night's sleep. I even put my new flannel sheets on the bed for eggstra comfort.

When I awoke, I found that during the night the temperature outside had risen from somewhere in the mid-30s to nearly 70. I went downstairs, turned off the heat, opened some windows and breathed in the sweet autumn air. You know that smell when it's raining on freshly fallen leaves. Mmm mmmm bitch.

I took my time with breakfast, read a magazine for a bit, then headed out for a short, easy run. I knew that Sunday morning was The Brock Trot, a 10K complete with all the hill trimmings so I planned on a nice easy couple of miles to keep the legs loose. Well, the warm autumn rain combined with the nice dirt roads turned a couple of miles into too many miles. Come morning this will have turned into a big mistake.

How to Guarantee Failure

Ladies, if you're looking to pick up a guy at a bar (or get picked up, I guess) the recipe is pretty simple. Walk up, sit down next to your top choice, smile, introduce yourself, receive compliments and free drinks, done. Any of those steps can probably be skipped and your success rate will probably be pretty good. However, screw up too many and you're S.O.L. Well, Saturday night I met a bar-fly who was so wack I'm guessing she woke up under a park bench the next morning.

First of all, I was out with JC and HECOW, enjoying the baseball game and a few orders of chicken wings. In saunters a young-ish chick who wasn't completely unappealing. She sat down right next us, ordered two shots (with $10 of her last $12). Not bad, I thought at first, but it went straight downhill from there. Her first mistake was opening her mouth.

As soon as she started talking her chances of getting anything other than an extra napkin out of us were shot. For one thing, I was the only single guy in the group, and for another she had the mouth of an ashtray, figuratively and literally. With each white trash syllable that came spewing from her ash hole, you could hear the cartons of Marb Reds and speed rack whiskey that had ravaged her body. Then, if you made the mistake of directing your eyes in her direction you were greeted with a "set" of teeth that pointed every which way but vertical.

I'll spare you the details of the ensuing "conversations" and instead provide you with the laundry list of things she said to dis-impressed me:

  • "My fiancĂ©e ..."
  • "Oh, did they cut you off?" - The only reason she could think of that I might turn down a free shot.
  • "Oh, so you're on parole too?" - Too? Also, the next logical reason for turning down a shot.
  • "I quit drinking for about 2 years, but for some reason I fell off the wagon." - Clearly, and you might want to grab that wall before you fall off your feet.
  • When her friend went to smoke a cigarette with her boyfriend she screamed "Did they just leave? I only have $2." It was true, she showed me the two crumpled bills.
  • "She's the reason I got kicked out of my fucking hotel!" - Hmm, a local girl lives in a hotel. Top choice.
  • "My son..." - Nothing against single moms, but if you have a kid, no place to live and you're in a bar with your last $12, you're screwed up.
  • After hearing a comment made by a Yankee fan and walking straight into the edge of a divider wall: "If I was drinking like I used to, that guy would have his throat slit by now."

It wasn't all bad, she did touch my leg.

Brizock Trizot

Between running too many miles and staying up too late the night before, I was not in prime shape for the race Sunday morning. I managed to drag my sorry ass out of bed, have some breakfast and drive over to Lenox. It was a balmy 41 degrees, and I haven't had a chance to really acclimate to the cooler weather yet. This would be a test.

I checked in, got my race shirt, my bag of goodies and a cup of coffee and headed back to the car to change into my race costume. Last year I ran in my strong arm sailor shirt thinking the rest of my crew would be in costume. They were not. This year I thought others may have taken my cue and dressed up. They did not. No biggie, I don't mind the attention.

The starting line is about 3/4 of a mile from where the festivities are held, so I had a short run to warm up. It was there that I realized I may have overdone it the day before. I had more creaks than a horror flick staircase and some would never work themselves out. I stretched and ran another few blocks to at least get the blood pumping.

After the speeches and National Anthem we were off. The trick to races is to find an attractive girl who is slightly faster than you. You then stay behind her as long as possible, improving your time while enjoying the scenery. This technique proved very useful as I passed the first and second miles well before I expected, following three lovely ladies. Eventually I lost all three of my escorts, but at that point I was in the zone.

Fast forward to the last 0.2 of the 6.2 mile race. The course comes up a hill and around a bend before you hit the 6-mile marker. Just then the finish line appears before you, complete with clock. As I got closer I picked up the pace, then noticed I had exactly 5 seconds to cross the line if I wanted to hit my target time. The crowd was literally cheering "Go Muscle Man" as I approached the finish, and as my pace quickened to a full sprint they only got louder. I crossed the finish line a second off my goal (it would be exactly my goal time once they adjusted for my chip time instead of the gun time) to a cheering crowd, something I have never before experienced. It was AWESOME!

The lady at the finish who takes the chip off your shoe was having trouble with my safety pins, and I very nearly threw up on her. After pushing with everything I had, then instantly stopping, my body was shaking and ready to revolt and this woman was going to feel the wrath of that revolt if she didn't hurry. Just in the nick of time she got the chip off and I was able to walk it off, eat a bagel and grab a water. Close call.

New 10K personal record (PR) for yours truly: 42:30 (6:50 min/mile).

Eat at Joe's

You know that Normal Rockwell painting, "The Runaway"? As I learned yesterday, that was set in Joe's Diner, a small eatery in Lee, MA. As we sat there having breakfast after the race, I noticed the photos on the wall and put two and two together. They had a copy of the painting, a photograph of the kid and the cop, and another of them 30 or so years later. Pretty neat.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Bike and The Route

It's been a few days since I hollered at y'all, and judging by the waning hits to my blog I can tell you guys are getting restless. So, here's another treat for your reading pleasure.

This picture is just a teaser of what's to come. It's a shot along my favorite running route in the whole world. As you start off what I've named "The Richmond Route" you are treated to these trees lining the side of the road. Further off to the side is a hay field that offers a visual treat I can't even begin to describe with words or over-exposed photographs.

Like My Dad Used to Say

When I was a kid, my dad had a few lessons he tried to teach to my sister and me. One was that it's not "Me and Joey went to the store", it's "Joey and I went to the store". He would correct us every time, and after a few decades of repeated verbal abuse conditioning I have adopted the "So-and-so and I..." format.

Editor's note: The opening sentence is grammatically correct, check that shit out yourself if you don't believe me. Ending the sentence with 'me' is right. Yahurrrd.

The other lesson my father instilled in his children was not to slurp your cereal. The reason he always gave for this was that if I continued slurping my cereal, I'd never get a girlfriend. Not wanting to be a socially outcast unattached adult, I curbed that one right away. As it turns out, I find that guys who slurp cereal, chew with their mouths open and/or talk with their mouths full end up finding girls who do the same. Who knew?

In retrospect, I think my dad may have had another reason for teaching us not to slurp our cereal. That reason, my friends, is that it might one day kill us.

Thursday morning I was enjoying a bowl of Barbara's Shredded Wheat cereal with dried cranberries on top. Damn, what a tasty, nutritious breakfast. At the end of the bowl, I was drinking down the last remaining milk when I spotted one last cranberry. With a slurp, I directed said cranberry into my mouth, but something didn't feel quite right. When I went to chew the cranberry, it was nowhere to be found; I must have inhaled it.

I've spent the next few days waiting nervously for signs of respiratory infection and/or death. Either my superhuman lungs took care of that morsel for me or I didn't actually inhale it, because I feel fine. In fact, I've set some personal records on some of my favorite running routes since the cranberry incident. Read on, players.

It's Not About the Bike

Saturday was a blah, dreary day o'er here in Newe Englande. There were times when it looked like the weather might turn nice and I took advantage of those times to get off my duff and be productive, but the rest of the time I hung out on the couch reading "It's Not About the Bike", by Lance Armstrong.

Let me tell you, this book gets the Old Coot Seal of Approval. Even if you're not into bicycling I think you'll find this book to be a worthwhile read. In it he talks about his battle against cancer, his battle to rejoin the world of elite cycling, and how his life changed as a result of all of it. The guy is absolutely remarkable. I'm not afraid to tell you it had me choked up a few times.

Or, maybe that was the cranberry.

I Blame the Bike

My ass is killing me, and it's the bike's fault. I headed out the front door, or technically the garage door, yesterday morning around 10:00 in the AM. After about an hour and a half of riding, we arrived in Williamstown where we sipped Double Shot Schultzy's (two shots of espresso in a 16 oz. coffee) in the sunshine and watched the pretty Williams College coeds parading around in their college coed warm weather attire. There was also a fisherman carrying a gutted fish.

After coffee, we headed east along Rte 2 into North Adams, swung a south onto Rte 8 and headed for the Rail Trail. We rode the Rail Trail for a little while, but it was so crowded we eventually abandoned it for the road.

All told, the ride took just a hair over (or under, I can't remember) 5.5 hrs. That of course includes the hour we sat drinking coffee and the combined hour of me waiting for the others to catch up. I can't help it if I'm that fast on the bike. I'm a finely tuned athlete, what can I say?

According to my bike-ride-o-meter, we covered roughly 55 miles in 3.5 hrs of saddle time. As you might guess, saddle time is bicycling speak for time in the saddle. That of course is more bicycling speak for time with your ass on the seat, riding down the road. That averages to 16 mph which is a decent speed, but if you add in the hour I stood at intersections waiting, it ends up being something like 12 mph.

Just in Case You Care

During one of those brief moments of perfect weather on Saturday, I headed out to Richmond to run my all-time favorite route. I had just run it last Sunday in a time of 1:03:xx, a very respectable time, and have been thinking that there's no reason I can't do it under an hour. My goal was to be able to do that by the end of the season, whenever that might be.

As I started getting dressed to run I decided that I was just going to bust my ass and beat that hour goal this time. No more effing around, just whip some ass and do it to it.

To put it into perspective, it's about 7.6 miles of rolling hills on dirt roads out in Richmond, MA. Some of the views are so awe inspiring it's hard to keep a good pace, but today I had work to do. The killer is that the last few miles are just up and down hills, with no real rest between.

I knew if I could hit the last turn in under 56:00 I would be home free. The last half mile is slightly downhill and has a cinematic feel to it, with the farms on either side of the maple-lined dirt road (refer to the very first picture, but heading the other direction). You'd swear there's a camera following you, which makes it easy to give it your best.

End result? Oh, I cruised to a victory in 58:01 (40 seconds per mile off last week's pace); placaTAN! With that under my belt, the new goal is to finish under 50:00.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I've Got the Trots

Ha ha, gotcha. You saw that headline and couldn't help but to read about what you thought was something nasty. Instead, you've been duped...

Bizack on Trizack

Yesterday, I had the trots. I trotted around the local HS track during Tuesday Night Track Club, hosted by and primarily attended by, yours truly. I'm working on a few race goals that I won't mention here because either: A) Frankly, my dears, you don't give a damn, B) You might give a damn but my goals are embarrassingly slow, or C) You would be so jealous of my speedy goals (in addition to your growing jealousy of my killer good looks and fabulous lifestyle) that you'll drive by my house and bust a few warning caps through my picture window's ass. Whichever the case, I don't like the outcome.

Since you asked, Tuesday Night Track Club reached an all-time high record attendance last night of two people. There's nothing formal at all about it, and in fact the term 'club' is really misleading. It's not so much a club as much as it is me trying to get people to come run at the track with me because I'm afraid of the high school riff-raff that might be loitering about, trying to rob my fine, fine ass. Of course, all they'd get is a lesbian-mobile and maybe a bottle of Gatorade if they're lucky, but they don't know that.

I've Got the Trots

Next on my agenda of Trot-related bloggetry are the two upcoming Trots I'm signed/signing up for. The first, The Brock Trot is next weekend down in Lenox, MA. It's a 10K fund raiser for The Brock Wilkerson Memorial Cancer Research Fund. Seriously, the application says to "Make checks payable to The Brock Wilkerson Memorial Cancer Research Fund". Try to fit all that shit on a check. Christ!

Oops, now when someone Googles that race they'll find my public complaint.

Last year I ran that race in a sailor costume, complete with embellished arms. Originally, the plan was for everyone from my running crew to show up in costume, but apparently they didn't take that as seriously as I did, and I was the lone costume wearer. Whatever, I smoked them fools anyway!

This year I'll be wearing the same costume and pushing for a PR in the 10K distance. Since I've only run one other 10K, that should be easy.

The next Trot I'm signed up for is the 112th Annual Turkey Trot in B-lo. My sister used to run it with me, but she's since moved far, far away and doesn't want to make the drive. I've tried to get my mom to walk it with me, but she's not interested. Instead, I'm gonna line up at the front and show some people how it's done. Ya hurrrrd!

Folgers Whitening

As I sipped the second half of my second cup of coffee this morning, a co-worker and fellow Cheap Ass Coffee Club member, LB asked if the coffee tasted funny to me. I thought it was a rhetorical question, because it always tastes funny to me. We drink crap, hence the name Cheap Ass Coffee Club.

Well, LB did some investigating and found that there was a noticeable aroma of chlorine emanating from the water jugs we fill for the coffee makers. Either someone "cleaned" the jugs or they've added a little too much chlorine to the water supply. Either way, my teeth are whiter for having drank it. Also, I feel like crap.

I told my lead at work that if I'm not in tomorrow it's because I'm dead. He told me that was fine, as long as I made up the time on Sunday.

Well Cooterinos I hope that satisfied your craving for quality bloggetization. I've got to get in a run, have dinner, hang the laundry and get my act in order for work tomorrow. Dang.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's Off to Work We Go

Happy Saturday Cooterinos. I've said it before, but I'll say it again - I fear that summer is over. Today I was slated to help build the playground at one of our local community schools. When I left the house at 6:45 this morning, it was 38 degrees (Fahrenheit) and my oatmeal was fogging up the windows. I know, I know, I shouldn't eat oatmeal while I'm driving but I was in a hurry.

It's Time to Play

When I showed up at the school this morning it was immediately evident that the company running the playground installation knew what they were doing. There was a detailed volunteer sheet, a breakfast spread to kill for, warmup activities and inspirational speeches.

I was assigned to the fitness track which basically consisted of loading wheelbarrows with a gravel-like mixture and spreading it around a track. We spent about four hours shoveling stones with an efficiency you could never repeat. Without instruction some people grabbed the wheelbarrows, others grabbed rakes and the rest of us grabbed shovels. The system kept moving perfectly until the stone was gone.

Once that was done I headed out front to help with the playground. This was a professional kit complete with a crew of installers. We volunteers stood around like morons until someone said something like "Grab a shovel and make dig a hole there." or "Grab those posts and lets get this slide set up." It wasn't as efficient as the track, but it was not the same basic manual labor.

After lunch, I didn't really do anything. I looked around at what had been done and it was astonishing. A new track, check. New playground, check. Classrooms and hallways painted, check. Former playground equipment rehabilitated, check. Railings and fences painted, check. Landscaping refreshed, check.

Last but not least was something I didn't even realize was an issue. The area where we installed the track was a perfect grassy field, but because of the overgrown bushes and the ghettofied neighborhood they didn't let the kids play out there. The school was afraid of who might be lurking in the bushes, so the field has gone unused for years... until now. With the bushes and trees trimmed back it's now safe for the kids to go out and play. The teachers were very excited about that.

What's best is that company organizing the playground installation doesn't do this as their business, but something they do to give back to the community. I couldn't get a clear answer (probably because I didn't ask people who would know) on the number of playgrounds they do each year, but it's at least one.

What's even better than the best was the little boy who came up to me and said "Thank you for making our playground better". He and his sister had been hanging around watching us work, and they were so excited about it. It was all they could do to stay behind the fence while we worked. I'll be sure to pass that along to the planning committee.

Well, there's more to tell you, but my back is sore and I'm wiped out. Maybe I shouldn't have gone for that hour and a half trail run after working all morning/early afternoon.

Oh, the mayor stopped by and shook my hand.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Silver Rule and The Silver Lining

It's a Thursday night and I'm sitting here at home, warm and cozy with a thunderstorm a-brewing outside. My Thursday Night Run was cool and rainy, and we had to leave the woods about halfway in favor of more stable footing. There's a nice dirt road that brought us most of the way back, so it's not a terrible tradeoff. I was getting a little cranky by the end because I was cold, wet and hungry. But I've got other things to tell you, so come on in and grab a seat.

The Silver Rule

I got to thinking today that while I live my life by The Golden Rule most of the time, I wouldn't mind a few tweaks. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is fine and dandy when you're trying to win points in the Karmic department, but sometimes it wouldn't hurt for Karma to give a little back. Allow me to explain...

I recently signed up to help build a playground and fitness track at a nearby elementary school. A friend of mine is coordinating the whole thing as part of her company's public service program, and needs volunteers. I'm a nice guy (my e-mail signature reads "Awesome, almost to a fault"), so I told her I'd donate my Saturday, finely tuned skills, jovial character and killer good looks to the cause. Most people stop at just donating their time, but I like to go above and beyond.

Anyway, I got to thinking that I do a lot of time donating when it comes down to it. It seems to me that there should be a Silver Rule that reads something like "Do unto others as they'll probably do unto you." I added the 'probably' clause so it feels somewhat less self-serving when you help others just to have them help you.

Under my Silver Rule, you would still be helping out of the kindness of your heart, but others would probably help you out. I've got a shitload of things around the house that could use, if nothing else, someone else to coordinate everything. I'm not afraid of manual labor, I just don't like all the extra crap that goes along with getting the job up and going. Plus a whole bunch of free labor would be sweet too.

Patent Pending, Old Coot Productions...

Here's my idea: Get a few people together who are handy in a variety of different ways. Someone who needs help doing something would come up to us and say "Yo, I need some help building a shed", and whoever is skilled in estimating jobs would give them a quote. This person would be billed in hours for their job, and would have to help others for that number of hours. In return, they would receive the help they need. Sounds like a killer idea to me.

Of course, my crew and I would have to be bankrolled somehow, so maybe there would be a membership fee or some sort of payment scale for our assistance. It would undoubtedly be cheaper than hiring help, and you'd get to work on all sorts of different projects while earning enough hours to have your job done for you.

... Patent Pending, Old Coot Productions

Damn it's Rainy

I can't help but notice that it's rainy as hell out. For once I don't have rap music blasting out of the hi-fi, and I can really hear it coming down. In fact, while I was running down the dirt road tonight I took a really large chunk of rain to the chest. Thank God it hit me on the right side, because there's no doubt in my mind it would have stopped my heart in its tracks if it had landed on the left side of my chest.

I know I can't complain about the rain because we had something like 4-5 weeks of unseasonably warm and unseasonably dry weather. However, I just heard it raining in my fireplace, and I'm sure my garage is slowly filling up with water. Plus, I have some little tiny grasses trying to grow and I don't want them drowning (or washing away). My garden turned lawn is starting to green up and I'd like it to get a good foothold before we start having frosts. It needs sunshine if it's going to grow up big and strong.

But the silver lining is that there's thunder and lightning so it's not all bad. Oooh, there's a good one.

I guess that's all I got for tonight. I'll holler at y'all later. Peace in the Northeast.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Just a Quickie

It's getting late, so I'm just gonna bless y'all with a quick recap of my fantastic day.

Clean, Clean, Clean

When I got home today my #1 goal was to clean the bottom panel of the oven manually, reassemble the oven and kick it off in self-clean mode. After that I was supposed to clean up all of the dishes that have been piling up since I hogged the whole sink with oven panels.

While the dishwasher and oven ran their course, I planned on doing my weekly grocery shopping, after which I would eat dinner, run the vacuum and then hit the sack.

Well, I did get so far as to clean the oven, empty and fill the dishwasher and get to the grocery store. When I got home from the grocery store I thought to myself "Hmmm, I remember punching in a hundred produce codes, yet I have no produce." Yup, I left a bag at the store. Off I headed back to the store to get my shit. Sonofabitch.

On the way, the cop who was last sighted pulling over a UPS truck pulled out behind me. Super, not only did I have to drive all the way back to the store but I had to do it at the speed limit. Thankfully though, when I walked into the store the kid manning the self-checkout flashed a "You're a dumbass" smile and handed me my goods. I wasn't crazy, there was produce.

Back at the ranch I put the dishes away, whipped up some dinner, scarfed it down and here I am.

Not very exciting.

Pulled Over in the Rain?

I mentioned earlier that I was followed by the cop who had last been seen pulling over a UPS truck. I found this funny for two reasons, first of which was since when do UPS trucks go anywhere near the speed limit? The second was that it was POURING out, and the cop was out there in the downpour handing over a citation. The poor bastard must have been really hurting to write some tickets, which is why when he pulled out behind me I made damn sure I stayed below the limit. The rain gave me an excuse to be going so slowly, and if going BACK to the store wasn't enough of a kick in the neck, a ticket would have been the follow-up kick to the balls.

Cooterinos, that's all I have for you. It's late and I need to get some beauty rest. I'll holler at y'all later.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Back By Popular Demand

I guess I was being a little selfish lately and hording all the good news to myself. Well, not much for news but the weather has been so fantastic that I've had no choice but to be out doing what I do best, playing. There's no sense in trying to play catch-up, so I'm just going to give you a wrapup of this weekend's activities.

Thursday Night Run Hero

Because I'm so dedicated to my job, I arrived at the Thursday Night Run 19 minutes late. That's 9 minutes after the expiration of the 10 minute rule, so I was going to have to haul ass if I wanted to catch up.

Throwing caution to the wind, I got out of the car and hit the ground running. The way I figgered it, I could catch the slow group somewhere between miles 4 and 5 if I ran at top speed. Besides the motivation of trying to catch up, I was also motivated by the fact that the sun was setting and it was getting dark.

I never did catch the group while they were running, but I finished a few minutes behind them. As it turned out, only the fast guys and gals were there, so there was no chance I was going to catch them. We bullshat for a few minutes in the parking lot, which is where I learned about the Monroe Dunbar Brook Trail Race this weekend. I did it last year and it was horrible; I'll go into details in a minute.

Moral of the story, I finished the run in last year's record time of 41:55, a time I would not have thought to be achievable had I not beat it two weeks ago.

Friday, Not a Rest Day

This was our off Friday, and for some reason it was half a day for the local student body. A friend of mine is the coach for one of the high school Girls' XC team, and asked me to join them on a run around the road in the state forest.

The road, known informally as The Berry Pond Loop takes you from the Ranger's station up to the top of the mountain and back down again. It's a three mile thigh burning run up to the top where you are first repaid with a gorgeous view of the mountainside, then with the loop's namesake pond.

The bus was waiting for the girls at the pond, but a few of us ran it back down to the bottom (some of me further down than others). What parts of my legs the run to the top didn't burn up, the run back down finished off. My thighs were on fire about half a mile into the descent, and I was making deals with the devil by the time I reached the bottom. The girls (and coach) who braved the descent hopped into the bus leaving me to run the 2 miles back to my car.

Back at the Lesbaru, I walked around the parking lot to cool down. Before I could get away a ranger pulled up in his ranger-mobile. He rolled down his window and started off with "You a runner?". Running shoes, shorts, heart rate monitor, thick coat of sweat glistening off my chiseled body... what gave it away? He asked where I had been running and I emphasized that I was with the high school xc team in case he was going to make me pay to park.

Sure enough he's a big runner and he told me I should look into a trail race up in Monroe this weekend. "Dude, I'm already going. I've already bagged the Century I was supposed to ride with some dudes from work." What a small world, two days in a row someone told me about a small, obscure trail race up near the MA / VT border.

After that, I headed home to hook up my bike for a quick cruise out to the Rail Trail and back. A nice 30-miler to help cool down my gams. Ahhhhh, this extra month of summer has not gone to waste.

With the cooldown ride out of my way, I picked up a few groceries to make an Orange Cheesecake with (gluten-free) Faux-reo crust. It came out fantastic, but the creme filling from the faux-reos leaked out of the pan all over the bottom of my oven. When I tried to let the Clean setting take care of it, I ended up with a house full of smoke. I wanted to choke a bitch as I tried to open windows, find enough fans to clear the house, shut the damn smoke detectors up, and so on. It was a hassle.

Saturday - Old Coot's Sabbath

I slept in late, had oatmeal for breakfast, read a magazine and otherwise chilled the eff out. I-deal.

For dinner, I would make the trip out to Asa's Acres in Windsor. J&BC once again put on a tasty spread complete with pork (whodathunk it?). I can only think of one time I ate up there and didn't have a swine product or two, and it was only because there were lobsters (or lobberts as they were called that night).

Our gullets full of swine, green beans and scalloped potatoes (thrice filled with swine and potatoes) we moved onto the orange cheesecake. Damn that was tasty. An evening of rotten language (who knew Rastafarians used foul language?), Dominoes, booze (no, not me), coffee (yeah, that was me), booze-coffee (again, not me) and ball busting was to follow. Morning Coot knew he would have to get up around 6:30 to be out in Monroe for the race, but Night Coot didn't give a shit. He was riding the Mexican Train!

Sunday. Not the Coot's Sabbath.

Sunday morning I hopped in the Lesbaru, met up with a guy who was going to follow me out to the race and headed up into the great Northern Wilderness of MA. Let me preface this race report by saying that we had gone almost a month without rain, which makes for a nice and dry course. I even hoped that the rivers we have to cross would have receded enough that I might not have to get soaked all the way up my legs. Then, it poured all night and effed that up completely.

Sunday morning had Perfect 10 written all over it. As we got closer and closer to the State Forest, the weather got nicer and nicer and the scenic views followed suit. A quick sign-up (I hooked up a race sweatshirt for $8, cha-ching) and I was ready for my warmup. We ran maybe 3/4 of a mile along the course and it was nothing but rocks covered in wet leaves, all on a narrow path with a steep ravine on the side. This would be interesting.

So the race started and I made sure to get close to the front. After the first mile you climb 650 feet in the next 1/2 mile. Running at this point is futile, it's actually slower than walking. Then, after you complete this horrible climb up a rocky ledge, you get to run up another 1,000 feet over the course of then next few miles. It's probably more since you go up some, down some, up some, down some, etc. but I'm just ballparking it for you.

I managed alright on my quest for the top, losing only a handful of places to what proved to be some of the race's top runners. I spent the next 5 or 6 miles by myself trying to keep moving as fast as I could without completely throwing personal safety to the curb. I had a few close calls with slips and twisted ankles, but nothing serious.

When I hit the last 1/3 of the race, I found myself leap-frogging with some guy. I'd lead for a while, then he'd take the lead, then I'd get it back, and so on. I decided that the next time I got an appreciable lead I was going to turn up the burners a little and wear him down. The best part was that as I passed him my watch beeped. He asked what that was for, and I told him he didn't want to know. I have it beep at mile intervals, but in a race sometimes it's best not to know how far you have to go. He pressed me again so I told him it beeped to let me know I had passed someone in my age group. He was 50-something so it was clear we were not in the same age group, but he was dumbfounded.

By the end of the race, my feet felt like mush. Not only had I been twisting my ankles for 10.5 miles, but I had also run through two icy streams. When I hit the home stretch I pulled out all the stops and booked it for the finish line. The last hundred yards or so goes through an unnaturally perfect double row of trees. They have these huge pine trees in two perfect lines, and the needles make for a very welcome, soft running surface. I almost killed a couple of volunteers as I tore across the finish line. Apparently nobody else finished quite so strong.

Once my heart rate came down to a more moderate level I loaded up with a few drinks, a bowl of chili and a meatball grinder. A few cookies, a cuppla Diet Cokes and I would be ready for the road. Besides, I had to get home for a bike ride!

The ride was fairly uneventful, so I won't bore you with the details. Oh wait, there was one incident of note...

Incident of Note

Picture this: we were on the Rail Trail, about halfway back to the cars as visions of promised ice cream danced in my head, and about a gallon of Powerade, Diet Coke and water danced in my bladder. Finally I couldn't take it any longer and I pulled off to take a whiz. I sent the rest of the group on ahead, I'd just be a second.

That's when this wackjob comes sauntering up to me, asking about my bike. Using the same tone someone might use when saying "You got a purdy mouth" he told me I have a sweet bike. He proceeded to talk ad nauseum about everything he knew about bikes, which apparently was a lot because he told me he has 6 of them. The one he was riding today cost 700 bucks but when he broke the frame they sent him a free replacement because that's their policy but it was the wrong color.

"Oh yeah? Well I have to take a piss, so fuck off" I thought to myself. He kept asking how much it cost, if I didn't mind him asking, which I did. I responded only vaguely with "A few week's pay". "Ain't even got a kick stand on it!" he pointed out, as if to imply I got ripped off.

At this point there was no way I was taking more than one step away from my bike, even to whiz in the woods. And if this guy had any ideas about absconding with it he would be taking those ideas to the grave. I didn't like the cut of his jib and I was pretty sure I could take his chain smoking, bike not knowing ass if it came down to it. I kept one eye on that skeevebag while I took care of business.

After I caught my group I was telling my harrowing story when I asked what it was about me that attracted creepy bike path dudes. Just then the creepiest of all creepy bike path dudes rode by in the other direction. Years ago this guy (35 years my senior) rode alongside me for about 7 miles while I was running, and by the end had told me he was allowed to have extra-marital relationships and then basically invited me up to his buddy's camp in NH. No thanks, creepazoid.

So there you have it. I got lots of play time in this weekend and almost had to whoop some old chainsmoking, heebie-jeebie giving, hint not taking ass.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

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"Something inside of me just said 'Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him.' and I just took off." -Pre