Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Flip Side of Discipline

This week I still have the hurt toe, so I am forcing myself to not run. It is very difficult. I (and toddler and child, obviously, since I would have to get up if they didn't) slept in until almost 10 Tuesday and Wednesday. This may sound good, but it is NOT the way to start a succesful, routine (one and the same) day with a toddler and a child. I really, really want to get back out in the mornings to kick start my days. If all continues to heal I will try it out Monday, June 2. I am very tempted to try it tomorrow but don't want to risk further aggravating it.

Strangely enough, with very little aerobic physical activity AND with giving in to temptation last night with a big plate of cheddar cheese melted over (low fat, Target brand) triscuits during TNG, I acheived my lowest number at a weigh in since the beginning of the program, 210. Weird. It would seem, if I am learning anything from this, that I am learning that weight is not a very successful measurement of physical fitness for me.

Monday, May 26, 2008

On The DL

Disabled List, that is. Didn't run this morning. Didn't do yoga. Did the weigh in and was up a couple pounds after not exercising since Thursday afternoon. Now going to go brush my teeth after big meal at 5 p.m. or so and not eat for rest of day. This resembles a twitter more than a blog, I think, but so be it.

Toe still hurts, so am wearing heavy steel toed sneakers most of my waking hours for protection and immobilization. But toe is healing. Intending to resume running one week from today. The Medica nurseline guy was exactly right. Swelling and pain went down, bruising became increasingly livid. At one point last night there was a purple streak all across my toes. Talk to you next Monday, when we return to the more familiar action-packed format.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

This Could Lead To Excellence...

...Or Serious Injury
-They Might Be Giants, "Spiraling Shape", Factory Showroom, 1996

(Expletives!!) I had just gotten used to the Monday-Wednesday-Friday 7 a.m. run. I've made eight in a row and not missed one! I thought I would play some racquetball today, Thursday. My foot slid hard into the left wall, my big toe is swollen and painful, and I can not even walk normally. (Expletives! Expletives!)

I hate having medical problems more than anything else I have so far encountered. Well, I might rather have medical problems that computer problems, actually. I mostly hate being forced into a diminished capacity for child care, music, and (expletive-ing) walking!! Bride just got braces and can't really eat and now I can't walk. What a pair. EXPLETIVE!!

On the plus side, Medica had an excellent nurse line service with a real person who was very thorough and an excellent communicator. He said if it had been broken or fractured I couldn't have continued to play on it, which I did for about five dumb, dumb, regrettable minutes. He didn't recommend seeeking out further medical attention and told me roughly what to expect - swelling will go down, bruise will become livid, should continue to return to normal.

Also interesting - The TMBG quote I used to title the post is found remarkably often in blogs as an epigram. (I forgot which song it was from and goodsearched the phrase (for Feline Rescue Inc., St, Paul, Minnesota, incidentally).)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Just When I Needed It Most

Man, it was really hard to get up this morning. I was up much of the night listening to and trying to respond to toddler crying. I didn't actually make it out of bed before bride at any point I don't think, so didn't provide any useful help.

And when I was asleep I was having this dream I have sometimes of trying to visit New York City but getting stuck living in this semi-offshore tower that is mostly black steel girders with no definite walls. I could step any minute into a hole or off the edge and fall dozens of stories into the bay - rocks and waves. There are some vendors of food and clothes, but they're all sort of junky and seem unauthorized in a dangerous way. I can't get anywhere near any part of the city that you'd actually see on tv or in a movie or read about in a book. I can't even get to the ground floor. Somehow I just get hung up in this squatter society for an indefinite period of time. New York City frightens and confuses me.

So I had to get up and go run through this malaise. I had nothing happening in the automatic iPod, so I tried the blues stuff from Friday and it was all I had, so it had to work, I guess. I finished the run and the sprint was strong at the end so it was okay. This was the first day where I honestly didn't want to do it and I just did it because it's the program. Oh, and I weighed what is easily the median (that is, most frequently occurring for those of you who were merely annoyed by statistics class) weight for the program so far, 212. Yawn. I am so not going to run the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon in under four hours. But I do feel better today than I would have without the run, so that's good.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Automatic iPod Part II

So this morning I started the run with the Bob Dylan song Highway 51 in my mind. (Not Highway 61 Revisited, rather the folk song from his eponymous first album.) Then Elvis' Big Boss Man got in there and Jimmy Reed's "What's Wrong With You" or whatever that song is called. Soon I had a great big shuffle beat going and it was a blues based run. Since I was out in nature and literally didn't see another person on the path the entire time, I sang out loud.

Oh, baby! Honey what's wrong with you?
Whoa, baby! Honey what's wrong with you?
Oh you don't treat me darlin'
Like you used to do

Got me workin' bossman
Workin' around the clock
Want a little drink of water
But you won't let Meffis stop,
Big Boss Man
Oh, can't you hear me when I call
Well you ain't so big
You know you just tall, that's all

Highway 51
Runs right by my baby's door
Highway 51
Runs right by my baby's door
'f I don't get the gal I'm lovin'
I ain't gonna walk down Highway 51 no more!

And so on like this mixing up the songs and characters. It was an extremely upbeat run and I've felt great all day.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Mind: The Automatic iPod

I don't run with any external music, but this song was going through my head this week:

Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo, Jens Lenkman

Well worth the $.99 if you are an iTunes user.

Staying the (Other) Course

Just to mix it up this week I tried a different path that's more nature, less automobile exhaust. Eh. It's a little more alone-with-my-thoughts than the road path. I'm so used to being in fight-or-flight and watching for cars that I felt a bit unnerved by the silence, but will probably keep at it as it is probably a good stress buster. Hey, check that out! How many sentences do you see with five words in a row with exactly two letters?

Weight seemed to level off at 212 this week and Chazz suggested weekly rather than daily weigh ins. That's possible.

Snapshot: Last night we went to a favorite restaurant. Here's what I would usually eat there: 1) The majority of the family supreme nachos. 2) A bloody mary. 3) A spicy bean burger with massive-cut fries, both with spicy barbecue sauce. 4) Whatever anyone else didn't finish. On the program which will lead to me successfully not running the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon in under four hours, I still ate #1. BUT I only drank water and I had a Caesar salad with no meat and left the leftovers for our takeaway carton. I still "skyrocketed" up to 214 this morning, but like Chazz said, that is within normal random fluctuations. And I FELT so much better than when I overeat. Aah. I even played a little bit of basketball at the park immediately after this meal and didn't feel like I was dragging around a second basketball under my shirt. Sweet.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Another Good Run

Got up this morning and ran the sustainable course. Serving breakfast to toddler by 7:45. Mornings are feeling really great now and I feel better all day as a result. I was at 211 this morning after the run, so that's good. During my run I saw a woman in a parking space in a parking lot in her car with the windows closed and the car running. Then this happened in my imagination:

I walked over and tapped on the window and she just shook her head without looking up. I tapped again and she rolled the window down a crack and said, "What?" in a weary voice. I explained to her using metaphors, very moving imagery, and personal anecdotes that it was a sunny, beautiful day and she had a lot to live for. Also that the people who commit suicide are always the wrong people - the good people. Tears began rolling down her cheeks as she saw that I was right. She opened all the windows in her car and put it into gear. As I began to jog away she yelled, "Wait! How can I ever repay you! I don't even know your name!"

I grinned back over my shoulder and said, "Just call me angel of the morning, baby."

I think this daydream is indicative of my mental state this week. Good stuff.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Weighed in at 212 this morning. I didn't eat after six or so last night. The early evening brushing my teeth is working out. Is that the most ridiculous, unnecessary, self-involved sentence that has ever been posted on the internet? Feeling good. I actually feel eager to run tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to it. Crazy.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I Did It Again!

Up and out the door by 7 a.m. this morning, ran the course I think I can sustain. I feel a lot less tired this week, but I feel very, very sleepy. Which is better than tired because then I actually sleep well. Also I invented a fun, indoor game for Child called "Try to keep Daddy awake while he lies on the couch resting his eyes."

At the weigh-in just now I weighed a baffling 215! So three days of exercise and not eating after 8 p.m. and I've...gained a pound. WTF? Oh, maybe it was the entire pizza I had for lunch and dinner yesterday. Remember how I didn't eat it the night before? It worked itself out. A good decision would have been to have left two or three slices for Bride when she got home. Now I'll know. Ha ha ha. As if that were how life works.

Anyway, while running, I thought of another reason I am not going to run the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon in less than four hours. When I ran it in 1996 I did not know the area very well, which is an understatement. While they did have mile markers, they did not have much of an effect on my mind. However, now that I have become exponentially more familiar with the layout of the metro area, I imagine having self-challenging thoughts along these lines:

"Dear Lord, I've already run from the Metrodome to Lake Calhoun! Isn't that enough? Now I'm expected to run down to Harriet, then somehow get to the 94 bridge? And then run another eight miles through St. Paul to the Capitol Building!! Lord, not a chance!" At which time I peel off and drive home. (But without getting lost, as I would have had I left the course at any time in 1996.) Contrast this with my thoughts in 1996:

"Ooh, the Metrodome! I've seen that on TV! Hey, this is a nice lake! Wow, there sure are a lot of lakes! And here's a beautiful path along a river. Gee, I wonder what river this is! Is that a donut shop? Mmm. Smells good! Look at all these beautiful homes! And skyscrapers! And people cheering for me! Golly, this is the most beautiful urban marathon in the world! (phrase now trademark of Medtronic TCM). Oh, gosh, I'm done! I think I'll collapse in pain on the lawn of our state capitol building. Aaaah. Perfect! I'm 24!"

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Forget it!

So last night Bride ordered two large pizzas and we watched Curb Your Enthusiasm together after the kids were asleep. I flossed and brushed my teeth beforehand so that I would not be tempted, or at least so I would be tempted less, by the pizza. I didn't have my usual five-to-six-slices-of-pizza-I-didn't-need-at-nine-o'clock, plus I went running, remember? (Remember also yesterday morning after that run when I weighed in at 214?) So what was my weight this morning after this radical change in exercise and diet habits? 214. What the frick? I am SO not going to run the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon in under four hours.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I Did It!

This morning I got up at 6:45, stretched, and ran approximately 2.8 miles. Sweet. I weighed in at 214 and put the first dot on the graph. I'm eating well, I had more patience with child and toddler, I feel better than I did yesterday. Gosh, you'd think I was going to...No. No, I'm not going to run the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon in under four hours. But I did put a book about how to do so on reserve at the library. Just for research.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I Am Not Going To Run The 2009 Twin Cities Marathon In Under Four Hours

Hello and welcome to the brand new blog from Memphis Evans called "I Am Not Going To Run The 2009 Twin Cities Marathon In Under Four Hours". What is it about? Well. It's exactly what I said. I am not going to run the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon in under four hours. There is simply no chance of this happening. What is it they say?

"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

Well, what if you HAVE a plan, but your plan IS to fail? Where does that leave you? Or what about the following far more open-to-interpretation quote?

"She says there's no success like failure/and that failure's no success at all."

(Bob Dylan, "She Belongs To Me")

Yes, my plan is that I will fail to run the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon in under four hours. There is no chance of that happening, so put it out of your mind and I will do the same. In the meantime, I am going to try to exercise and become more healthy. Why?

I am aging. I know, for a long time it didn't seem, at least to me, like I was, but now it most certainly does. My hairline is receding. My hair is graying. I sometimes (okay often) have to stop and think of the exact word I know I want to use. I take pride in my large vocabulary, inherited from my father, who used what we kids called "large language" with me from an early age, and I want to maintain it. Also, my voice is changing. When I sing sometimes the range seems smaller and pitch less reliable. Compared to my old recordings it sounds, frankly, somewhat old and fat.

Speaking of which, my weight is higher than it has ever been. I'm a big guy, about 6'2", maybe 6'3", and sometimes when people would ask how tall I was I would say I was 6 foot 4, 220 pounds as a joke to see whether anyone would call me on it. Well guess what. It's not a joke anymore. I have actually seen the evil, red, digital 220 staring back at me on the scale. My bones ache. My back aches. When I DO run I feel like there's a lead weight strapped to my stomach. Hell, when I play MINIATURE GOLF I chafe my elbows on my gut, for god's sake.

I look at pictures of myself from 2002 and I look young, thin, vibrant. I look at pictures of myself from 2008 and I look old, double-chinned, overweight, and exhausted.

So blah, blah, blah. It happens to everybody, or at least most people, and like my dad always says about aging, "It's better than the alternative!" True. But so that's where I'm at.

"What are you going to do about it? That's what I'd like to know!"

(Paul Simon, "Gumboots")

Well, what I'm going to do about it is four things.

One. I'm going to write this blog, probably around once a week. It's not a new idea. In fact, it's an idea that a very close friend of mine has had radical, life altering, highly inspiring success with in the last couple years. Visit when you're done here. His story is amazing. You could consider this, if I'm successful, a "cover" blog in the same way that when I sing "Suspcious Minds" it is a "cover" song. Like Chazz, I welcome your comments, encouragement, and stories of your own. (I will not, however, post anonymous comments. They always strike me as lazy.)

Two. I'm going to weigh myself every day, or close to it. And I made a graph of weight over time that I've hung on my bedroom wall. It's not elegant, but it's right above the scale. I can't miss it on my way out to go running.

Three. I'm going to go running and/or do yoga. I won't say I'll do it every day because I won't. I think I'll set an initial goal of three times a week. Yeah, that sounds good.

Four. I'm going to try to make good decisions about food. I LOVE eating chips, popcorn, bacon, bratwurst, etc. Especially while I watch tv. Every day I face food decisions and I usually go to the dark side. If chips are served with a sandwich I HATE leaving them on the plate. I feel like they will be sad chips and "go to waste" if I just throw them out. Perhaps I will put a gold star on the wall graph if I make good decisions about food or something.

So that's it. That's where we're at. Let's see where we go. And remember: I'm not going to run the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon in under four hours. There is just absolutely no way, so just leave it alone!

What's that? Yes, it's true, I finished the 1996 Twin Cities Marathon. I have the official "finishers only" t-shirt and the medal is around here somewhere. But I was only 24 years old! My metabolism was, I now realize, jaw droppingly fast or high or however the very, very easy end of that continuum is described. I probably weighed about 160 and didn't even own a scale. I could eat Chinese Buffet four times a week, and often tacked on one or two entire frozen pizzas at night while watching two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation on a tv that was not only not High-Def, but was actually not In Color! It was that long ago.

Yes, I was behind the times. I mean, there WERE color televisions, I just didn't have one. Didn't even HAVE the black and white one, just borrowed it for a few years. And anyway, even then, with the race horsey/greyhound metabolism, the 24 year old body, and all the time in the world to train, I still finished just barely under FIVE hours and I was crying in pain when I finished. So let's be clear. I think I will be able to get healthier, maybe even get below 200 pounds, maybe live longer so I maximize my time on earth with my family, but I'll say this one more time:

There is no way I will finish the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon in under four hours.