Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Feed Me Seymour, Feed Me!

My last workout with Adam the Terminator was Friday morning. We jogged just a little to test out the right hamstring and it was so far so good. He instructed me to keep icing it up until the race and said I should be fine.

I was still nervous about it, but I felt like I needed to jog. It’s going on two weeks without running. Over that time, I’ve been caught with trying to cut back my eating since I haven’t been working up the sweat I usually do.

I still made it to the TREC, walked a couple of miles and did weights, but it was nothing like the sweat I would work up while jogging. As I contemplate daily what to eat as I prepare for the race, I constantly hear two distinct voices in my head (and it’s not a medical condition. I think.)

One was Master Yoda, reminding this young Jedi of portion control: “Control. You must learn control.”

The other voice was the Mean Green Mother from Outer Space, the Levi Stubb’s singing plant from the Little Shop of Horrors, reminding me that I’ve worked hard and I should have no guilty feelings at all.

“Feed me, Seymour. Feed me,” that voice tells me every chance it gets.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like the song “Junk Food Junkie,” where at work, I’m able to manage through my banana or McDonald’s oatmeal for breakfast, a nice homemade salad at lunch, only give into my weakness for dinner, thinking I’m about to run a 5K, I’m going to need this to just survive. The song’s chorus said it all:

“In the daytime I’m Mr. Natural, just as healthy as I can be.
But at night I’m a Junk Food Junkie. Good Lord, have pity on me.”

(NOTE: About now, you’re probably wondering “where does he come up with this stuff?” Trust me, you don’t want to go to that dark, cold corner of my mind.)

So I struggle with my addiction, day by day as I walk through the South Campus Courts-D conference room to find someone had devilishly place treats (cookies, donuts and just about everything in between) within smelling distance of my office. How cleverly Sue Honey and Cheryl Erwin would leave their candy jars on their desk unprotected as I walked by. If I didn’t know better, I would think they pulled those out from under their desk only when thought I would come strolling along.

It’s sinister I tell you. I would be blindly hypnotized as my left hand would reach for the Hershey Kisses while the right hand would grab my left hand and pull me away. I’ve had some interesting wrestling matches with myself over the past few days. Luckily no one has seen me or campus police would have been called and one of those Purdue police bulletins would have made out on me.

It would read:

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University police are investigating an incident where a man was seen wrestling with himself inside South Campus Court, Building D.

On Oct. 25, a larger than average man was seen on the fighting with himself in the hallway, his right hand holding his left with scores of small candy bars scattered about the floor. A terrified worker hiding under a desk in her office could hear the man scream “Feed me Seymour, feed me,” and then she would hear him scream again “Control, you must learn control.”

“I don’t know what’s going on, but we don’t have a Seymour that works here,” said the worker, who declined to be identified for fear of reprisal.

Police estimated damage to the candy bars and the hall way to be $12.75.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Purdue Police Department at 765-494-8221 or its anonymous tipline at 765-496-3784. The WeTip anonymous hotline, which is used by all Greater Lafayette law enforcement agencies, also is available at 1-800-78CRIME (1-800-782-7463).

Yeah, I would be done – my mugshot on Channel 18 with the prep walk through the Tippecanoe County Courthouse. Maybe I can break free from sheriff’s deputies once outside and race toward the Wabash Heritage Trail.

Do you think any of those deputies ever ran a 5K?

A Needed Pick Me Up

It’s almost here.

And the closer it (the Turkey Trot) gets, the more I wonder “what was I thinking?” Yes, I’ve been working out since September, with all the ups and downs, bumps and bruises of your typical middle aged person trying to get in shape for a 5K run, but still I wonder. All my luck, it’s probably snow Thursday, or get tackled by the Occupy D.C. protesters who thinks I’ve been eating a little too good to be one of them.

My wonderful Washington D.C. lobbyist daughter is truly wonderful. Probably sensing I needed a little cheering up, she invited me up to Chicago last Saturday (Nov. 12) while she was in town helping her best friend Erika celebrate her birthday. Ashley’s job has an office in Chicago where she works periodically.

Obviously after not running for more than a week now, I’m getting a little antsy about the race and hoping this darn hamstring will finally heal. After years of giving her pep talks before some of her biggest races, she was more than happy to return the favor this Saturday night on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

We stopped at Ghirardelli’s (she loves chocolate) while waiting for Erika to finish shopping. A good glimpse at my daughter’s personality could be summed up at Ghirardelli’s cashier line. We both decided to get hot chocolate, right? I walked up, ordered a regular hot chocolate, paid for the drink and walked away.

Then as I tapped my finger on the bar waiting, Ashley asked for a menu, discussed with the cashier the different types of hot chocolate drinks, considered getting it with cream or not, before deciding just to get a regular hot chocolate after all. This attention to detail has served her incredible well her entire life, despite driving me absolutely batty at times. She’s so her mother’s daughter and my pride and joy.

Ashley and Erika have been best friends since their freshman year in high school. Ashley attended Toledo Christian and Erika attended their rival Emmanuel Baptist. They both played basketball and in that first game between the two schools, they spent the bulk of the contest trying to beat each other's brains in. They met later at a summer minority law program at the University of Toledo and been two peas in a pod ever since.

After Erika joined us, we went out to Francesca’s and after a snafu in the reservation was cleared up by Ashley and Erika (that poor greeter at the door may never be the same) we were seated. We talked about (we’ll I listened and Ashley and Erika talked) about little bit of everything from the Thanksgiving race, family and lives in Washington, D.C. and Columbus. We also shared a lot of laughs – and good tonic for me at the time.

Then Ashley reminded me of her superiority by saying: “Wow, the race is almost here. I guess I need to get out and run a little.”

Mind you I’ve been working on this since September. I’m so jealous.

It was getting really late, close to midnight, and I still had to drive back to Lafayette. While we talked a little about strategic race strategy over pasta, sliced chicken breast (cooked to perfection) and tomato sauce, it was an enjoyable evening and made me feel a little better about the race and the upcoming weekend.

Here goes nothing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Now that was out of the blue

Life can take you in different directions in a flash and in quite unexpected ways. At times, it will come completely out of left field and you just have to adjust the best you can and roll with it.
That happened to me twice in the span of three days regarding Thanksgiving. I think something sinister is about.
Sure it seems coincidental enough. When I started working out in September for the Turkey Trot, the last thing I expect was a hamstring injury that would bug me until now. Working out with Adam the Terminator Monday evening, there it was again. As the sun started settling along the trees in light rain near the TREC the pain returned. It had been just fine but I hurt it Saturday running before I took off for Ohio.
I iced it Sunday and thought everything was better but it was hurting enough Monday to force the Terminator and I back to the TREC in a slow walk. After telling him not running the Turkey Trot was not an option, he suggested that I take the rest of the week off and I should even consider not running again until the race itself.
What? Nothing? Nada? Zippo?
“You should be happy that I’m telling you not to run,” the Terminator said with a laugh that almost sounded like Arnold. “You’ve got the mileage in. You’ve already done a 5K so you know you can do the distance. You’ll be fine.”
Little did he know, over the weekend, I got the worse news of Thanksgiving. Saturday night, my brother Greg from Texas called me out of the blue. Greg is a computer techie for Marathon Oil near Houston. He and his twin brother Gordon, two of the best brothers anyone could ever have, just had a birthday, but more on that later. Greg is one of the best persons and fathers that I know. What I do for my wonderful Washington D.C. lobbyist daughter pales to the father he is. He and his wife Wayna raised a niece Nikki who grew up to be a wonderful young woman.
Nikki is now married and living in Laurel, Md. Do you know what they did? Sinister, I tell ya. Greg announced that his family will be flying to Laurel for Thanksgiving and now he will come out and SEE THE TURKEY TROT!
Noooo! I wasn’t supposed to have family from Texas involved. I was partly doing this race for the sadistical enjoyment of Ashley, her boyfriend and a bunch of people who don’t know me. I don’t need this embarrassment spreading around Texas like a wildfire.
Why can’t he just come over to Thanksgiving dinner, eat all the food and steal the last turkey leg? That fate would be much better than him watching me die on the vine in near the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum during the Turkey Trot.
 I could have told him the race was moved to Seattle, Washington from Washington, D.C. Since I’ve blogging about this freaking thing since September, posting it on Facebook and all, I quickly realized it would be impossible to cover my tracks. Besides, Greg was the track star in the family in high school and the fear of him putting on his shorts, entering the race cold to blow me away just for family bragging rights has crossed my mind.
Now the Terminator is telling me no running until the race? Man, I’m desperate here. I gotta do so something.
Any other time, I would have just been happy beating my Dayton Dash time considering the situation. Now with Texas family here, I’ve gotta come up with a plan. Maybe I can stop Thanksgiving from coming? Ok, too much like the Grinch. That idea’s been taken, without too much success if you remember.
So, this evening I’ll start weightlifting and whatever else I can do while trying hard to obey the Terminator’s orders. If I would have listened to him the first time and knocked off in early October I wouldn’t still be dealing with the hammy, but that’s another story for another blog. So Aleve will become my drug of choice and constant companion. I wonder what’s the street value for Aleve on the streets of D.C.? I wonder how many Aleve junkies I’ll find on the corner, trying to lure me down a dark alley with a blue and white bottle. “C’mon man. I got the Aleve that will set you free, man. Don’t you hear Eli Lilly calling your name?”
Oh, what we do for brotherly love.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Hate Myself for Loving Me

I received one of those spam emails this morning, probably sent to thousands of people, but it seemed to speak directly to me. In my struggle to get in halfway decent shape to run this 5K run on Thanksgiving, it seemed to read my every thought.

It went:

“Are you depressed? Do you hate yourself? Do you loathe the freaking ground you walk on?”

I starred at the email for a second after my 5:30 a.m. workout, after I had to drive back home because I forgot my dress shirt in the closet mind you, I thought, “Yes. That’s me. Heck yeah.”

Five o’clock came way too quickly this morning. I sleep with the TV and the two faces I absolutely hate to see when I crack one open are Liz Nichols and Jamie Jackson – the morning crew from WLFI-TV (Channel 18). I wanted to wipe their smug little smiles off their faces this morning because it was the sign that I must pull myself out of bed to head for the TREC.

They seemed to laugh at me, mocked me even, as I stumbled around looking for my new Asics "motion control" running shoes (I'm so impressed with myself. Right.) and my too-big-for-my-butt sweats. They continued to read news copy with glee in the voices as I grabbed lunch and other stuff I should have organized the night before so I can make it to the TREC on time.

But if I truly loved myself, I would have been able to think of a good excuse to stay in bed. I was supposed to run with Adam the Terminator after work on Thursday, but when I got to the TREC, I found out I forgot my shorts. Did I forget or was it a stroke of genius? The Terminator was disappointed but we scheduled workouts for Monday and Thursday afternoons. No forgetting such essentials this morning. Not only did I get out of my place in time, but I was able to blindly get everything in my bag that I needed. How could I?

Everyone seemed happier than me today. What it just because it was Friday, or they knew I felt I HAD to work out today after missing Thursday? They all walked passed me with a gleam in their eyes as I walked over to the mats to stretch.  The all seemed to whisper and grin as I walked to the treadmill like it was the electric chair.

“Fat man walking,” I could hear a guard say. Or was it one of the TREC staff?

See, if I truly loved myself, I would have asked for clemency from the Supreme Court, i.e., my wonderful Washington D.C. lobbyist daughter, on the grounds that 5K runs are prejudicial to old, out-of-shape people. Since I’m about five years away from joining AARP and I’m still technically overweight by Weight Watchers standards, I should qualify. Right? Throw myself on the mercy of the exercise bike.

After my five-minute warm-up, I cursed myself for every second of the next 10 minutes at 5.5 mph.

“Why are you doing this to yourself? You were perfectly happy when you were big and lazy? Where is this workout stuff getting you anyway? Who are you trying to impress? They won’t be impressed anyway.”

So much for cheering myself up. I slowed down the treadmill to catch my breath for five minutes before I went head long again when I did something that only confirmed my depression. First, instead of slowing the treadmill down to 3.5 mph like normal, I only allowed myself to slow it down to 4.0 mph, a quick walk for me. “What am I doing,” I thought. Then, I cut my walk two minutes short before I started again. No explanation. No reason. I just did it.

“Ok, now I really need professional help,” I thought. Maybe Dr. Melfi from “The Sopranos” can give me some of the wise wisdom she use to give to Tony before he went off and whacked another victim for not giving him his share of the take. I told myself I would go five minutes tops for another break. But I went seven minutes.

Now I’m really hurting as I pass the 1.5-mile mark and I told myself take the full five minutes walking this time. You earned it. Love yourself, will ya. I didn’t, but I got closer, going four minutes to before going again. Another seven minutes and I’m really huffing and puffing. After another short walk, I was back at it again and what did I do? I pushed the treadmill up to 6.0 and then 6.5 mph to finish.

If I truly loved myself, I would have walked the rest of the way, going 2.5 mph, asked someone to get me some Gatorade and watched ESPN on the monitor in front of me with ease. But low and behold, I was in front of the TREC television screen with Liz and Jamie again, yucking it up. Oh, won’t they just stop! There are people trying to work here.

I never found out what the rest of that spam email ad stated. Just as well. It’s not easy being or loving me.