Running straight to the bathroom

An issue many runners have before a race is using the bathroom.

Should I go here or find some bushes? I don't like the smell coming from that thing.

Should I use this thing or find some bushes? I’m not enjoying this smell.

Early in my running career, I used to get very nervous at track meets. I really had to go just before my race, but the output didn’t match the need to go. It became obvious that being nervous had an effect on need to urinate.

Wait - thing is flooding. Maybe I need to launch a rescue operation.

I don’t like those two wet spots. This lot should be declared a Superfund clean up site.

Sometimes the call of nature arises very urgently in the middle of a race. A friend trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon told me she had to go just two miles into the Windermere Marathon in Spokane, so she stopped at a port-a-potty. She missed qualifying for Boston by thirteen seconds.

There’s a YouTube video showing a very famous woman marathoner stopping at the side of the course during a marathon and relieving herself in front of spectators and a running camera. Obviously this was a very embarrassing, yet best option for a dire circumstance.

I’ve never had to stop mid-race to go, but when I was younger, on two occasions I was caught too far from a public restroom while on a winter training run in a residential area. The need to go was so urgent I could not put it off, and I’m not talking No. 1 here.

Knocking on someone’s door would be asking too much, so searching for the best secluded spot was the only option. Yet a typical neighborhood in broad daylight does not have many secluded spots.

In both cases, I solved my issue in a different way. However in one of the cases, “solved” was not a delightful outcome at all. I’ll leave you to ponder what happened.

Petra coming home!

When Petra accepted a job offer from the National Institute of Running Sciences in Washington, DC, I was very upset saying sayonara to her and our plans of living a lifestyle we call intense realism. However, I talked to Petra on the phone yesterday, and she’s moving back to Spokane.

After getting off the phone with Petra, I jumped for joy.

After getting off the phone with Petra, I jumped for joy.

She has already given her notice and put a deposit down on a place here in town. An incident the first month on the job as director of corporate relations led to the change.

Things started so well that Petra was looking forward to a long career at the Institute. However, one day a group of employees held a spur-of-the-moment stairs vs. elevator race in the Institute building, which happens frequently.

But this time, the Institute’s CEO was part of the group, and he challenged the newbie, Petra, to a race covering twelve floors. The CEO is in his mid-40’s, an excellent runner, and Petra figured he would easily outrun her elevator ride.

In a rare circumstance, no one got on or off the elevator, and it picked up speed with each floor. The CEO also ran into a big group of employees who were going down the stairs for lunch. Petra reached the twelfth floor first, and the CEO begrudgingly acknowledged losing. However, he looked quite displeased the rest of the afternoon. Petra figured losing to a subordinate who was also new on the job did not sit well with him.

A few days later, she was moved from her large, corner office with lots of windows to a cramped, interior one with none. The CEO stopped talking to her and didn’t include her in important meetings.

Petra thinks he felt totally emasculated even though she hadn’t done anything but ride an elevator to the twelfth floor. Trying to interact with the CEO was like talking to a brick wall. Petra said, “There was nothing I could do, and I didn’t see the situation changing anytime soon, so I gave my notice.”

Though I felt badly for Petra, I am so glad she’s coming back to Spokane. And she told me she’s glad things turned out this way because she can’t believe she passed up the chance to live the intense realism lifestyle we envisioned.


New men’s marathon WR widens gap

At the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 28th, 30-year-old Dennis Kimetto of Kenya lowered the men’s world record by 26 seconds and became the first person to run under 2:03, finishing in 2:02:57. He covered the course in an average per mile pace of 4:41, an amazing performance.

Dennis Kimmeto. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commoms

Dennis Kimmeto. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commoms

When I heard this news, I slammed my fist on the table. Then I went on a long drive to a remote area and yelled obscenities for half an hour.

I was not angry about Dennis Kimetto breaking the world record. What’s got me seething is the women’s marathon record hasn’t been broken since 2003.

In a post I wrote earlier this year, I expressed my frustration and on-going intense angerness about the lack of a new women’s marathon world record. In the time span since Paula Radcliffe set the current mark of 2:15:25, which admittedly is an excellent time, the men have broken the record six times.

In my post, I chastised women marathoners for spending too much time getting together with friends, shopping, going out for frozen yogurt, and having wine parties.

Obviously my advice has not been heeded, and I am outraged, incensed and infuriated. Whenever someone mentions the word “marathon”, I go ballistic.

My anger management counselor says my anger is mis-directed. No way! He’s wrong!

Women marathoners, this is what I want to see happen so a new record will be set:

  • Make your weekly long run a daily thing.
  • Sleep less, run more.
  • Every marathon you enter, make breaking the world record your goal.

I can’t get over how livid I am about no new record for so long. I am so, so mad right now….I need to vent!venting anger

President Obama, Ruby Redpepper and me

My friend, Ruby Redpepper, has become so well-known that a very wonderful thing happened. President Obama invited her to a presidential retreat at Camp David. He told her he wants to experience the wonders of the animal kingdom with a true expert.

Earlier this year, as some readers may remember, I wrote a post about Ruby Redpepper coming to my house to give advice about releasing indigenous wild animals into my naturally landscaped front yard. Ruby owns AFS (Animal Fulfillment Specialists), and her knowledge about animals is unsurpassed.animal expert1

In August, I wrote a post about traveling to Hawaii for a seminar that Ruby held there. Not long after that, she called and said because of my enthusiasm and dedication to learn about animals, she wanted to hire me as an assistant for the Camp David retreat. I couldn’t believe it. I get to be Ruby’s assistant, and I’ll meet the President.

Ruby and I met up the day before leaving, and she enthralled me with stories of rare lemurs during her recent trip to Madagascar.Ruby amazes Jim

The President sent a plane to pick us up, and I took a photo of Ruby before boarding.tricia at airport

We arrived in Washington, DC, and received an invitation to a dinner for diplomats at the White House. As the President came down the aisle, I got bumped trying to take a photo of Ruby while she stood in line. Ruby Redpepper with Pres. Obama

After shaking hands with the guy below, the President introduced himself to Ruby and me. I commented on his tie, but I was so nervous, it came out, “I like your purple tail.” My face turned as red as a ripe tomato.Pres. Obama

The President smiled and said “Jim, I’m sorry to say I don’t have a purple tail, but maybe Ruby can spot a purple-tailed animal at Camp David.”

The next day we went to Camp David, however, they requested we refrain from taking pictures, which was too bad because we went on a long afternoon hike, and Ruby amazed the President and me with her magical ability to bring about encounters with a variety of animals just by wandering through the woods.

When we finished our hike, Ruby apologized to the President for not finding an animal with a purple tail. The President said, “Perhaps we have one more chance. Jim, do you have a purple tail?”

Before I could answer, Ruby said, “I bet he does. Sometimes I see his ears turn purple.”

Oh, I got upset. I jumped up and down and shouted, “I don’t have purple ears, and I don’t have a purple tail!”

The President said, “We’re just joking, Jim. I’m sure you don’t have a purple tail.”

Ruby gave me a pat on the back and said “There, there, Jim. It’s all right.”  She told me I’d been a great assistant and was giving me a purple ribbon for outstanding effort.

That made me feel really, really special.


Running dealt a losing hand

It’s been six months since I suffered a stress fracture in my foot. After going to the doctor, I thought I’d be ready to go by midsummer at the latest, but I’m still not running.

My foot doesn’t hurt, and I can work and walk just fine. But it’s slightly swollen and when I’ve tried running, the swelling really increases after going only one mile.

So I’m going to wait it out. As I’ve written in a previous post, on three occasions I’ve laid off from running more than a year because of injury. Though some friends have commented that I must be depressed or anxious to get back at it, it’s not really that way.

I keep somewhat active with my job and working in my house and garden. I try to walk as much as possible when doing errands, and I get in a hike almost every weekend.

Last week I did a solo, 4-day road trip in Montana. My first stop was Missoula where I did a 16-mile day hike to the top of Mt. Stuart (7,960′) in the Rattlesnake Wilderness Area just north of town. I like hiking more than running, but it takes a lot more time.Summit of Mt. Stuart

Missoula is the home of the University of Montana. Several times over the years I’ve taken the trail to the M that overlooks the campus.Montana M

I also visited Helena, the state capital. I was wearing a collection of my race medals and ribbons as I toured the capitol building.Montana capitol bldg

I crossed paths with a couple lawmakers who were impressed by my medals. They asked if I could address the assembly of legislators because they needed inspiration to overcome partisan bickering.Jim giving speech

My speech was interrupted a couple times by standing ovation. A few days later I read that in a rare show of cooperation, the legislature passed more bills in one day than they had the entire year.

I also went to the Kalispell Brewing Company in Kalispell and the Great Northern Brewing Company in Whitefish. I talked to employees at both places about the business’s history and operation.Kalispell Brewing Co.

The Great Northern Brewery in Whitefish, Montana

The Great Northern Brewery in Whitefish, Montana

I was in a great mood as I drove from town to town because the scenery is so great. Montana is beautiful!

View from summit


Shoe Goo works and tastes great

Unless you enter races frequently, shoes may be a runner’s biggest expense. Through years of experience, I’ve developed a program of shoe maintenance that will allow your shoes to outlast you.

If you’re a heel striker, the heels wear very quickly, well before the uppers start to wear. My lower back begins to ache if it gets too worn. Here’s what you can do:

You may have heard of Shoe Goo. It can be found at most stores that sell shoes.shoe goo at store copy

Make a masking tape dam so the goo won’t ooze down the side.SONY DSC

The label says something about compounds that require using the product in a well-ventilated area, but I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.

I enjoy shoe-gooing my shoes because every time I do it, I get into a really good mood.SONY DSC

After a time however, I tend to lose focus on shoe care, and somehow I’ve transitioned to dancing to loud music.SONY DSC

Inevitably, after having a great time dancing, for some reason I pass out until the wee hours of the morning.SONY DSC

When I come to, I remember that I need to finish my shoes, however, I find that somehow I’ve become less skilled. Normally I’d get angry about this, but whenever I apply Shoe Goo, I crack up over my silly mistakes. Soon, I’m having fun with it.SONY DSC

At this point, I’ve got the munchies really bad and the Shoe Goo is smelling awfully delicious. But I know that wouldn’t be a good idea, so I rush to the convenience store.SONY DSC

And before hitting the sack, there’ll be little left of this spread.

Saying good-by to Petra

Petra is leaving. Spokane will no longer be her home, and she’ll be very,very far from here.

I'm bummed because of Petra's new job on the East Coast.

I’m bummed because of Petra’s new job on the East Coast.

Last time I wrote about Petra, we were about to enter into a relationship and start a lifestyle I call intense realism, in which we’re a couple, yet are fluffy with others.

But Petra was offered a job at the National Institute of Running Sciences in Washington DC. Besides being a good runner, she has a lot of business acumen. Her job title will be director of corporate relations. It’s an excellent opportunity and excellent pay. Plus, any time of day she and co-workers can have elevator vs. stairs races in the multi-story Institute building.

I’m happy for Petra, yet it’s not welcome news. I cannot walk past the photo of her on my dresser top without getting really sad. I had to lay it down to stay functional.SONY DSC

Petra has a couple weeks before she has to leave, so I’ll still see her, but it won’t be the same.

She tells me she can arrange flying into town almost monthly, but I’m doubtful how successful a long-distance relationship can be.

To occupy my time and get over her after she leaves, I’ve got a project planned that’ll take the entire fall season to complete.

I’m making a hiking shell out of cayenne peppers. I’ve got tons of ‘em in my garden, and I won’t have to buy bear spray anymoreSONY DSC.