Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wow....I know that creep!!

I haven't told many stories here of my 2nd stint in college after a short period in Georgia and in the Virgin Islands.  I don't really have time to tell the full story today, but I saw something on the national news today that is truly disturbing.  When I arrived at West Texas A&M I was the very first scholarship runner since the school had crashed and burned due to a scandal where the president or dean or whatever embezzled millions of dollars.  The school shut down all athletics for a while, went from NCAA Div1 down to Div2, and slowly rebuilt. 

I was brought in with the hopes from my coach, the late Eric Lathrop, that I'd accomplish two things.  First that I'd be a mature presence and help coach the "summer training program" since the coach isn't legally allowed to monitor off season workouts.  I did this by basically by buying a house and having my teammates move in with me and then waking everyone up at 6am to run everyday.  The folks who didn't live with me we'd run to their house and collect them along with some local Kenyan professional runners.  

The second reason I was brought in, which goes with the news story today, was that my earlier college results would help assist the team in getting financial booster donations.  Coach took me to all the local races and we talked about how the new team was going to return the school back to nationals, etc.  Many of the additional things we did was go to dinner with local millionaires to drum up money.   On many occasions that took me to the home of Stanley Marsh.

Marsh was famous around Amarillo for the "Cadillac Ranch".  He also was a well known philanthropist who would put street signs, painted over with weird art, in peoples yards and pay them a monthly fee for using their space.  He picked poor areas of town in the hopes of beautifying them as well as giving much needed income to those homeowners.  Stan was a really weird fellow and often when trying to describe is eccentricity to others 2 stories come to mind.  Knowing Stan the way I did, having stayed in his home and spent days working around his property makes today's news quite disturbing.  It's like the warning signs were all there all the time and I saw them and dismissed them.

The first story that shows just how odd this guy is started just after a really tiring speed session.  Stan and his wife would often come to the end of the road, along with Terry Funk (former WWE wrestler) and his wife and they'd set out glasses of tea and talk to us in between each repeat then cheer us on as we started the next.  After practice they'd invite us all (clad in our shorty shorts and often shirtless) back to their house to jump in the pool.  On one occasion Stan (who was about as flamboyant as hell....but he was married so we never figured he was either closet or just a bit weird)  brought out a box filled with all kinds of spay paint.   He told us to pick a color, any color, and go around painting rocks in his yard.  He said we could all come to his house anytime, grab the box and spray rocks until our hearts content and that he'd pay us $7.50 an hour.  He said this in such a flamboyant and suggestive way it struck us all as odd.  That day we all had about an hours worth of fun running around in our shorty shorts painting rocks while him and his wife oohed and aaaahed at just how imaginative we were...WEIRD!!

The second weird Stan story is that one day he came flying into coaches office all excited telling us that we must, we just MUST! go to his house to help him celebrate.  No time to change we needed to go NOW!!  Being a huge financial supporter of the team coach often did whatever Stan asked so off we went.  We all jumped in the car (about 5 of us who happened to be there) and headed over to Stan's where his wife was proudly waiting for us in the front yard with a big bottle of champagne.  We all get 2 glasses (because to truly celebrate he said you can never have an empty hand) and he led us into his kitchen.  There standing in the kitchen was this huge camel.  He regaled us with some story of how he made an awesome business deal with some Arabian and one of the gifts he received in exchange was this lovely camel.  He was very proud of it.  He had no place else to put it so for a month that camel lived in his yard all day, and occasionally came into the kitchen at night.  WEIRD!!!

Although I always thought Stan acted a bit faggoty, and although I thought he was the most eccentric and weird old rich fellow imaginable....I NEVER got the impression he was a pedophile.  This mornings news was quite disturbing...  I go over all the meetings I ever had with Stan and nothing ever gave me the creeps or had me thinking he was capable of this.  Just Stan as a whole was weird.  Looking back now it sort of makes sense though, the hanging around dudes in shorty shorts, the invitations to come help around his place, etc.  It's horrible and on one hand I can't believe it....and on the other it really seems like I should have seen it.'s the news report I found.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dmitry's Visit

Dmitry is in town from Boston for work.  He's staying over in Gaithersburg which is about the farthest place for me to get to because of the river and lack of bridges.  So he's like 15 miles from me but I have to travel about 40 to get to him and the traffic after work crossing those bridges is horrible...but...I haven't seen him in a coule years so I braved the traffic.

He got dropped off at the Georgetown Pike/495 exit and I picked him up and we drove downtown to run.  I took him on a running monuments tour.  We started at the Lincoln Memorial and ran along the reflecting pool, checked out the WW2 memorial, then turned left and headed down and around the White house.  We finished that loop back at the Washington Monument and then continued on down the mall.  We checked out the pit where they're building the African American history museum, ran the mall passing the American history museum, Natural history museum, etc.  Then we did a big loop around the Capital building. 

Dmitry is a citizen now and wanted a photo in front of his new capital but they have it all blocked off building the stands for the inauguration so we ran around back by the visitors center and got this one.  Not as nice as the front but it'll have to do.

We then came back, peered into the windows at the botanical gardens, looked at the Native American museum, being an engineer and child of the cold war he was fascinated by the Air & Space museum and we looked in all those windows and he told me about how much as a child in the Soviet Union he'd studied and dreamed of becoming an astronaut. 

Next we ran passed all the Art Museums, the Castle, turned left passed the Holocaust museum and ran through the MLK memorial over to the Jefferson Memorial and then back to where we started.  7 miles total.

After that we drove to Gaithersburg and had dinner.  We had a good time talking about how old we are and how we both felt 24 until we were 35 and then all the sudden the wheels started coming off.  He's been trying to make a comeback to race Masters (40+) but with 2 kids now (his wife gave birth in their house on the living room floor with the paramedics last week.....) he just can't seem to get it going again.  He ran a good mile in 4:18 recently and then followed it up with a lousy 17:30 5k.  He can't know what to expect out of his body one day to the next and wakes up aching all the time.

We've both talked about how we wasted our athletic talents from 30-35 but at least I raced bicycles...he was super lazy.  Now we're wishing for those years back. 

His and Lyuda's coach, Sergei Nikolaivich Katashov just had a new baby.  Sergei had married one of his athletes when I was there the first time and they had a son.  Sveta is 40 now so they weren't expecting a second 12 years after their first.   Dmitry's mother has really bad heart disease and refuses to go to the doctors so she gets tired and dizzy easy.  He's really worried about her.  His sister and his nephew Pavlik are doing great.  Our friend Vladimir Golias, who ran in the Olympics in 88 and 92 and was living with us in Kansas City went to visit Penza and got caught with some problem with his paperwork and is stuck there.  His wife, who now lives in Oregon is trying to get his status worked out.  She got a work visa but Vladimir never updated his status from being on a student visa over to his wifes work visa or something like that.  They have a newborn so he's missing out on that.

Next we reminisced about our time, 12-15yrs ago when we were running machines.  We talked about wishing we could do it all again.  Spend 8months of our lives chasing a dream.  We remembered how we really had no stress, no responsibilities, how we'd even forget what day it was, etc.  We marveled at how much a trip like that now, living at a health spa for months in the mountains with all the massages and food and all would cost.  All sorts of funny memories were pulled from our memories.  Like me stealing a horse and riding through town and into the fountain.  How Dmitry tied the bed sheets together and snuck out of the dorms to go buy beer.  Me escaping from the Russian hospital.  Good times!!

We talked about going back to some of those places again but then our conversation drifted to kids, wives, hoped for trips to Moab mountain biking, the Grand Canyon running, etc... and we both realized those times will probably never be repeated.  Only new and different ones created.

 It sure was nice to see him again.  He's here again tonight and then heads home.  He's coming back in a few weeks and will stay the weekend.  He's really excited to go to the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space museum out by the airport so we planned that for the Saturday he's here.  I'm excited to show him some of my running spots along the Potomac and a bit more of the city.  It all makes me remember a time when everybody I loved lived within a few miles of me.  I miss having Tom, Dmitry, and everyone nearby. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Tried a week of running at the silly 180 cadence.  It feels fine for around 6:20 pace (which oddly enough is my marathon pace right now).  Anything slower it feels silly.  Still not convinced you need that cadence unless you're running fast.  Sure, maybe it's great practice for getting your hips ready for when you do run fast....but then....why not just run fast to prepare yourself to run fast.  Frustrated I guess.

I had a good week and then on my 6th day of running my knees hurt.  Maybe too much?  Not sure because I only totaled 28miles that week and I had been doing 35.  I went to physical therapy and came home to run and they felt worse.  Grrrrrr!!!!!

Got word yesterday that Mr. Anderson's systems have begun shutting down.  He's in hospice and it looks like the lights will go out any day now.  I got the call just as I was drifting off to sleep.  The first thing I thought of as I got off the phone was a bit odd, but I guess my whole life is a bit odd.  I laid there thinking about how sometimes he'd suddenly burst into song.  He'd go from quietly working on something or reading, to top of his lungs singing.  I remember breaking into a cold sweat, my movements frozen expecting a beating only to recognize one of the dozen or so songs he'd sing.  Then I thought how my entire existence with him had been like that.  A constant uneasiness.  Holding my breath waiting, trying to decode his every move to sense if his next action would be anger or something else.  I still remember every one of those silly songs he used to sing.  Thinking of them made me cry until I fell asleep.

I'm going to go ride my bike today.  I'm off work early and it's not all that cold.  I can't run and I need to do something.  I'll see what kind of things there are out there to be viewed from 2 wheels.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Turning the corner?

I had a down week last week and it was frustrating.  I had my "orthotics" pretty dialed in so I decided to permanently affix them into my shoes.  Taping them didn't work all that well and I ended up making them thicker on accident and had a bit of a setback.  I've reworked them and they seem ok now but I missed 4 days of training.

Out of frustration I hit the trails yesterday and ran 10 miles pretty hard.  I did the difficult run/CCT loop.  I normally hit the road by route 7 in around 33:30 my record was 31:26.  yesterday I went through at 29:12 but I pretty much exploded a mile later and really crawled to the finish in 1:08:12  pretty fast still for the trails.

I went back to that physical therapist and got some good treatments on my knees.  He's having me quit yoga and stretching my quads.  Stretching the hamstrings and lower back is ok.  He thinks I'm irritating the tendon stretching the quads.  He gave me some icing strategies, some new exercises, and instead of stretching I'm supposed to use the foam roller like crazy.  I'm also supposed to stop the seated leg extensions.  Instead I'm supposed to do really slow single legs squats with my other leg sticking out at different angles.

After my treatment we decided we'd get back to work on my form.  Now that I'm in pretty solid shape we figured we'd try again.  Last time there were just too many variables.  Trying to figure out shoes, orthotics, form, turnover, and get in shape all at once was frustrating the crap out of me.  He had me run 180 strides per minute.  It felt weird for a bit but I did 4 miles with him recording my form and having me try different things. My right arm/shoulder needs some work so he gave me this green band thing and some exercises to start doing.  Probably due to broken collarbone as a kid.  Mostly everything else was due to pigeon toe compensation but nothing that seemed counterproductive.

One things for sure.  A few weeks of consistent short slow runs everyday has my fitness up.   It doesn't feel like I'm doing much but the consistency is showing promise.  I need to quit with the long runs because my form falls apart, I bounce, and my knees pay the price.  I'll keep with the 180 cadence until it feels more natural.  Then I can slow it slightly to do slower runs and add miles.

Friday, November 2, 2012


  I was pretty darned sore after that treadmill effort on Monday.  Running a 20min first 3 miles and then a 16:30 didn't feel all that bad....but oooof  I sufferend on Wednesday.

Tuesday I ran 5 miles on the W&OD at 6:53 pace.  My left hip was really tight and hurting and my right calf was a little sore.  Wednesday I felt like I could barely walk.  Each time I got up from my desk at work my calf was really tight.  My hip wasn't as bad Wednesday, but that calf was horrible.

 I decided to take the day off and went to Yoga instead.  I went to Down Dog in Herndon because they offer a 1 week free trial membership.  Free sounded good so off I went in my green leisure suit.  My halloween costume was a big hit there.   I hadn't been to yoga in a long while and it didn't take long to remember exactly why I like it......holy hell the chicks!!  I met a nice girl named Kelly and set my magic carpet down right behind her.  NICE!!!   During the class I also fell in love with my teacher.  whoa!!

Thursday I did my 5 mile lunchtime run and felt horrible.  I normally do the loop anywhere from 36min - 38:30 and yesterday I ran 40:10.  Everything was tired.  That yoga was tough.  Last night I went to yoga again and Kelly met me there.  She's a cutie.  Got the same instructor, damn....married.  Last night was a killer.  I was so sore from Wednesday night that I was barely making it through the class.  Wednesday I was really working all the poses and trying really hard.  Thursday I was just hanging in there.  Even found myself doing nothing occasionally when nobody was looking.  I was TIRED!!

Today I ran the 5 mile loop again nice and easy and I still felt really horrible and heavy but my time was 36:50, so right in line with always.  My back and shoulders are just really tired from yoga.  probably my hips and things are really fatigued too and I just don't feel it.  I'll see how I feel tomorrow.  I'll either do an hour run or I'll stick to my 5's.  I'll be right on 30 miles I think for the week.  Not many miles but I can tell the consistancy is really helping.

3 minute explanation of why you should all go to Yoga.