Running Partner Wanted

So…okay…here’s the deal; I’m looking for someone to run with. It’s not race related or intense training. Just everyday running for exercise. You, my fine reader, might be just the person.

However, there’s one big issue I must raise first off. If we’re about to head out on a run and you say, “I think I”d rather walk today,” we’re gonna have problems. When it’s time to run, we must run.

There are other requirements, but first, let me make clear that I’ve got an equal opportunity running partner policy. I will not discriminate against any applicant based on gender, race, religion and all those other things except one. If you happen to look like Petra, or are Petra, you’re hired on the spot.

My running partner must be able to run three to eight miles a few times per week. You should run at the same pace as me, but if you pull ahead for a short time, that’s okay. If you get way ahead of me, I get really mad, and I won’t talk to you the rest of the day.

Now, about myself: I’m an excellent running partner. I’ve won many awards for being a nice guy and an unbelievably thoughtful individual. I’m very good at staying on the right side of the street, and I have an uncanny ability to see cars coming.

Also, I’m really friendly. Just look at me smiling. It’s not a fake smile either.Mr smiles

Please take a moment to fill out the below four-question application. Perhaps soon, you and I will be running together through the streets of Spokane.

1)  Do you like running?     A___     B___     C___     D___

2)  Are you a girl or a boy?     Yes___     No___

3)  Do you conversationalize well?     None___     All of the above___

4)  I’m scared of dogs. If one chases us, will you take care of the situation and comfort me afterward?

Distance running camaraderie

A fellow member of the Spokane running club scene told me recently that distance running has a unique camaraderie compared to other sports.

Rich Goggin ran track years ago as a high school student, but he also played football well enough to receive college scholarship offers.

Rich Goggin, a member of several Spokane running clubs.

Rich Goggin, a member of several Spokane running clubs.

He says there isn’t the level of camaraderie among football players like there is among distance runners.

I never played high school football, so I can’t confirm this, but I feel distance runners do have a unique camaraderie. Maybe it’s just the nature of running to feel a comradeship with other runners. Also, perhaps since distance running is less popular and visible compared to the major sports, coaches have less pressure to produce. Could be this lower intensity, combined with the downtime at practices and meets, allows quirkiness and off-beat humor to be expressed more easily.

Though I could give a bunch of examples of camaraderie-building goofiness, I’ll detail just one.

cigsIn high school, the track and field distance team was on a run, and we came across a pack of cigarettes laying in the street. I suggested we pick them up and smoke them in the locker room, because I thought it’d be so funny if coach discovered the distance runners had taken up smoking.

The rest of the track team had finished their workouts and gone home. We knew coach had a meeting and would come back later to lock up, so we lit up and filled the locker room with a thick haze of blue smoke. We dropped the butts on the floor, grinded them out and left them there.

Our coach had a sense of humor, and we had a great rapport with him. However, he didn’t say anything to us the next day. It had me thinking it was such a minor thing, he’d already forgotten about it, so I inquired what he thought about the distance runners’ new habit.

Of course, he didn’t believe we’d taken up smoking, but he complained about having to clean up the locker room.

Redneck running

If you had enough money to get by without working, what lifestyle would you choose? For me, I’d be a redneck and live in the country.Redneck relaxation

Below is an example of my dream home. I’ve discovered such homes are constructed in a way that if I need a refreshing breeze, I don’t have to go outside. As well, the walls are thin enough that I can always hear the chirping songbirds in the nearby woods. I can’t wait to live in such a place.Redn trailer

Another big advantage is parking. I anticipate no problem squeezing in my many rigs.Redn parking

Running along a quiet country road is what runners dream about. I’d get to do it every single day.SONY DSC

A big plus about the redneck lifestyle is the sense of community. Whenever I organize a barbecue, I’m sure I could count on my pal Bubba down the road to bring some extra seating.redneck couch delivery

Drinking beer around a bonfire with my fellow redneck runners would be so fun. Nearly every redneck home comes with plenty of bonfire fuel just outside the door, by the shop.redneck tire stash

Trash cans are an unneeded accessory at get-togethers. When you’re done with your beer, just toss and open another.red neck beer cans

The next morning, cleanup is so easy. Just rake into a pile, and eventually it’ll become a shiny mountain of landscape art.red neck beer can clean up

A really great thing about redneck country living is nature is just outside the door. They have trees and animals, and any time I want, I can go down to the river and appreciate the beauty of nature as I polish off a couple beers.redneck fishing hole

And when I’m not running, I can scout the woods behind my house for varmints to shoot and cook up for mighty fine redneck eating. Oh, do I look forward to my dream lifestyle.Redn walking

I agree to an interview, and I get grilled

Sprint McDowell wants to do a blog post in which he interviews me, and I told him no way. He threatened to do an unauthorized interview. I don’t know how that works, but to make sure I’m accurately portrayed, I agree.

You may remember Sprint from a previous post. He hosts the on-line, real-time, cyber game show Race to Win.SONY DSC

Sprint will be asking his on-line questions from his studio in Los Angeles, and I’ll reply from my home here in Spokane. Screen shots are added as the interview progresses, so let’s get started.

Jim: “Sprint, I want a clean, friendly interview. No twisting of facts or manufactured controversies.”

Sprint: “Listen, I dictate the terms. Those evasive, roundabout, circular replies Interview instructionsthat you’re famous for – forget it.”Interview fright

Jim: “Sure, Sprint. Sorry.”

Sprint: “Why are you so dumb?”

Jim: “I’m not dumb.”

Sprint: “Wrong! Didn’t you post a couple lurid photos of yourself on this blog that revealed way, way too much?

Jim: “I’ve done many posts and photos, so I’ll have to form a committee to look into that.”

Sprint: “I Must Run Everywhere is a one-man operation, Jim. Answer the question!”

Jim: “It is a one-man operation, but I wish I had a collaborator. Sometimes two heads are better than one.”

Sprint: “What did I say about evasive answers?”

Jim: “Something about roundabouts and circular saws?”

Sprint: “I see I’m not going to get anywhere with this, you foolish man. Next, a simple question for a simple mind. Who takes your photos?”

Jim: “Almost always me.”

Sprint: “How can you take photos while being in them?”

Jim: “I use the timer on my camera. Sometimes I have to take a lot of shots, especially on action photos to get a usable one.”Interview chat

Sprint: “Look at me, not at the ceiling, Jim. Who plays Ruby Redpepper, and is the picture below photoshopped?”tricia at airportJim: “My daughter Tricia is Ruby Redpepper. She really did get on that plane. I ask her to be in photos or take photos for blog ideas whenever she visits.”

Sprint: “Does she really own Animal Fulfillment Specialists and hired you to assist her on an outing involving just you two and President Obama?”

Jim: “Maybe….not. Actually she’s program director for the President’s Export Council at the Department of Commerce in DC. That’s what made the photos for that post possible. Take a look at the photo she posted on Facebook a few months ago. I thought her comment, “Creepin’ on the Prez”, was funny.Tricia creepin'

Sprint: ” Enough, Jim. Do not use my interview to boast about your daughter! You are such a braggart.”Interview incredulity

Jim: “Listen to me, Sprint. My daughter is the second-most wonderful, special and incredibly talented person in the entire world.”

Sprint: “I’ve had enough. This interview is over. Wait…your daughter is second in the world? Who’s first? Hold on, don’t answer. Jim, don’t post that photo!”

Jim: Me!wedding race winner

Running adventure turns bloody

When you run in a new place or setting, does the novelty add some spark to your running like it does for me?

We’ve had a stretch of warm, sunny weather in Spokane, so I made plans to drive to a new place where I’d never been.SONY DSC

Driving north from Spokane, you see fewer stores, homes, and farms. It’s not long before the road ends. I parked and after a couple miles of running on a trail, it ended too. I was in uncharted territory.

It doesn’t take that long to reach this area where civilization has yet to be established. It’s a large, unexplored area, and using a map is no help. They all have a big blank area with the phrase, ‘Yet to be explored or mapped.’

It’s neat having unexplored frontier so close to town. There are rumors of undiscovered animal species, and some people say a remnant population of dinosaurs exist. I consider it a bunch of hootenanny.

I hadn’t run long before I started hearing an occasional loud roar in the distance. I was startled by a huge, airplane-size, flying creature that glided across my path just ahead.

A couple times the sound of a large predator attacking prey that viciously fought back echoed through the valley. Hmmm…….maybe there’s more to this area than I thought.

Twice I came to piles of excrement that were as tall as me. The animal that did it must be huge. Then I came to an unsettling scene. It appeared a solitary hiker had been devoured, and parts of limbs lay scattered about.SONY DSC

Disturbing as the scene was, I pushed on because I wanted to get in more mileage.

I came to a clearing and whoa! I startled a large animal feeding on carrion. It looked like a saber-tooth tiger, an extinct animal. It sprinted to me and attacked.

I desperately fought back with all I had, and for some reason, the creature broke off the attack and ran off.

I was unscathed except one of my fingers really hurt. It wasn’t hard to tell why. The creature had bitten it off.

Lucky for me, I found the bloody, missing digit on the ground. I grabbed it and ran at a really fast pace back to my car. I put my finger in a small box I had in the trunk of my car, hoping doctors could reattach it.SONY DSC

Arriving home, I was too stressed-out to attend to my injury. I put my finger in the frig, fixed a bowl of my favorite comfort food, and watched Seinfeld re-runs. SONY DSC

My visit to the hospital will have to wait until tomorrow.

Running group has issues

Last Thursday I checked out this running group I’d heard about. Someone told me it was their first run of the season.

So I get there, and parking’s a hassle. I had to park so far away that I got in major mileage just running from my car to the meeting spot.

Hassle number two – the room is so packed I had to shove, push and throw people aside to get in. It’s a big banquet room, and there are more than 500 people inside.FI7

This is not a running group. It’s aerobic overpopulation.

So, some people get on the stage, and I guess it’s the group’s board and this dude starts talking, and check out the coat he’s wearing. What’s the deal with that? What is our world coming to?FI 4

I do the run, and it’s three miles which is okay, but the post-run party – boy are there issues. Look at the line for beer.FI6 I expect a short wait at most, not an overnight stay. I paid a guy $10 to be a line placeholder and went for some free cake.

It was pretty nice chowing down cake while checking out the tall lovely standing nearby with her hands on her hips.FI 12

My eyes couldn’t get enough, and before I knew it, I’d downed more than a dozen pieces while staring at her.

So here’s another issue – the dude with the crazy coat comes over and gives me the crook eye as if I alone am putting the group’s cake budget into the red.FI5

He hangs around monitoring me, so I decide to check the status of my beer order.

The guy I paid is nowhere to be found. Eventually I find out he got through the line in about two minutes because the servers are really fast, and my beer’s been sitting on a table for over half an hour. This brings me to the next issue.

I take a drink, and it’s warm. How can any respectable business get away with serving warm beer? This running group sucks!

Things eventually got better. I met the DJ, who’s a member of the club, and a pleasant guy to talk to.FI9

He’s the only DJ I know who joins the crowd on the dance floor and grooves to his own music.

In an adjacent room I chatted with this friendly group. I whined and complained about their running club, but they laughed and told me to stop joking around.FI 2

I met a couple attractive women who were attending their first run. With club members like this, I’m very motivated to attend future runs.FI8I think with this group I’ve found my ultimate dream come true – flirting with pretty women while gobbling down free cake.

Finally, I admit that I’m not really a first timer. I’ve been going to Flying Irish runs for several years, and I joke when I say the group sucks. It’s a great social event, and I’ve become friends with a lot of wonderful people. I look forward to Thursday evenings.

And because I’m such a super member, in my own mind, I celebrate by attending runs wearing a cape.FI 11

Top Marathon Countries

What country’s runners have set the most world records in the marathon? The top two have nineteen and eighteen, respectively. The third place country has eight. If you can guess these three countries, you are a true student of marathoning.

I did the two-hour drive to Washington State University in Pullman and got a day pass to the Library of Academic and Scholarly Research. I wanted the most reliable and accurate sources for compiling my list.marathon investigator

I spent several hours conducting research and as I left, I chatted with a librarian and mentioned the work I’d done. She told me I didn’t need to go to a library because that sort of info is easy to get on the internet.

Many times I’ve presented myself awards for outstanding achievement. However, this move was noteworthy for the opposite reason. I could have sat at my home computer to do this. Since I recognize and promote myself when I do something well, I figured it’s only fair that I do the same when I’m not outstanding, so I put on a dunce cap and restricted myself to the corner for one hour.Marathon dunce

Okay, now the results. Nine countries had a runner set a world record once, so for brevity, I list only countries with multiple world record performances.


*             Men                                      Women                              Combined

  • United Kingdom – 12            United States – 12                 United States – 19
  • Japan – 7                              Norway – 6                            United Kingdom – 18
  • United States – 7                  United Kingdom – 6               Japan – 8
  • Ethiopia – 5                           West Germany – 5                Kenya – 7
  • Kenya – 4                              France – 3                             Norway – 6
  • Australia – 3                          Kenya – 3                              Ethiopia – 5
  • Sweden – 2                                  *                                      France – 3

You may wonder why African countries aren’t in the top three since the last six men’s world records have been set by either a Kenyan or Ethiopian runner. This is because their successes have occurred in recent years whereas the U.S. and British runners set many of their records in the early days of marathoning.

If you’d like to check out the details, you can read about the marathon world record progression on Wikipedia by clicking here.