Greeting other runners

When you see a runner approaching as you’re putting in mileage, what options are there for acknowledging him or her? Or, should you even acknowledge?

This is a trivial issue which really doesn’t need addressing, however, my runners blogging license mandates that I cover this or lose my web presence.

A runner focusing on a fast pace or who has that look that they don’t want to be bothered obviously should not be greeted.

For all others, there are several greeting styles available. I’ve come up with a list of scenarios and the appropriate greeting. Please feel free to add your own twist.

A friendly nod is often the best greeting.

Jim nodding

If you’re running in a rural area where cowboy values hold true, a tip of the hat and a friendly “Howdy” will earn you points.

Jim tipping hat

If you cross paths with that runner who sprinted madly past you at the very end of last week’s 5K race and knocked you out of an age-group award, this is appropriate.

Jim sneer

Some runners out there are just so friendly, smiley, and nice that you absolutely have to reciprocate.

Jim waving

If you happen to run through a neighborhood where gangs rule the streets, random finger positioning like below will show that you’re one of them.

Jim gangsign

If you happen to cross paths with a very beautiful woman, don’t be shy or subdued. Show her how you feel.

Jim happy

Petra needed for home visit

It’s been three months since I suffered a stress fracture in my foot. I’m still waiting for it to completely heal, but when it does, to celebrate, I’d like Petra to join me on my first run.

I wrote in an earlier post about how Petra and I negotiated having a relationship that I described as intense realism, which means being a couple and being fluffy with others.

This blend of wandering and staying put can be an exciting lifestyle, but it’ll only work if the couple has a great love for one another, a recognition that wandering reduces the possibility of a relationship becoming stale, and a priority for each other which exceeds that for the fluffees.

However, instead of intense realism, my daily routine remains the same. Besides my job, a lot of my time consists of:

Working in my garden. It takes up about 2/3 of my backyard.

Working in my garden. It takes up about two-thirds of my backyard.

Going to a coffeeshop to work on the next I Must Run Everywhere post.

Going to a coffeeshop to work on the next I Must Run Everywhere post.

Making my daily dinner - salad with ingredients from my garden. Harvesting, chopping and freezing produce  for winter use also takes much time.

Making my daily dinner – salad with ingredients from my garden, and harvesting, chopping and freezing produce for winter use.

This is okay because I rather enjoy my daily life, however, intense realism would be more fulfilling, and I need to get on the stick.

After Petra and I discussed what kind of relationship we’d like, she wanted a little more time being unattached as her breakup with Byron left a bad taste in her mouth.

It’s been a few months now, and Petra has commented a couple of times lately about getting started, yet inertia has a grip on me. I’ve decided it’s time to act.

I know that bachelor pads are infamous for their clutter and filth, and even though I keep a neat place, I really want to impress Petra. So, I’ve been knocking myself out raising the cleanliness level from good to outstanding.

I scrubbed the oven for hours and hours. Another ribbon for my outstanding performance.

I scrubbed for hours, and the oven sparkles. An outstanding performance that deserves a medal.

I used a toothbrush to scrub the floor and clean the bathroom. Then I absent-mindedly brushed my teeth with it.

I used a toothbrush to scrub the floor and clean the toilet. Then I absent-mindedly brushed my teeth with it.

How's this for multi-tasking. I'm dusting a tabletop and the floor at the same time.

How’s this for multi-tasking. I’m dusting a tabletop and the floor at the same time.

Petra, I know you read this blog. I invite you to come over. Start me up, and I’ll start you up.

Left side or right side? Your choice. Sheets have the scent of a mountain meadow bursting with wildflowers.

Left side or right side? You get to choose. You’ll notice the aroma of a mountain meadow bursting with wildflowers with notes of tangy citrus and a hint of pine.

Victory is mine in controversial race finish

In mid-June, I attended a wedding on the shore of Priest Lake in North Idaho. The dearly betrothed, Jill Heuer Gilson and Eric Cameron, are active in the same running clubs as myself, which is how the couple got to know one another.jill and eric

I rented a rustic cabin for the weekend to take in the splendid scenery, wedding-related fun, and a 4-mile run/race for invitees on the morning of the wedding.

The wedding was attended by a contingent of fellow running club members, several of whom assisted in preparations. I was asked to set up chairs on the beach for attendees. I enthusiastically agreed, but decided to first explore a lakeside trail.

I spent much time chasing squirrels and putting wildflowers in my hair.jim flower2

When I returned, I still had ten minutes before the wedding started to set up the chairs. However someone had stolen my task and done it.

I was very angry and felt justified venting my rage by throwing large rocks into the water during the ceremony.

It was a beautiful setting. Too bad rocks tossed into the water disrupted the ceremony.

It was a beautiful setting. Now I feel a little bad about disrupting the ceremony.

A few months earlier, I looked forward to the wedding morning 4-mile race, but shortly after I RSVP’ed, I suffered a stress fracture that has not fully healed, and I was unable to run.

 Nick Freese and Eric Cameron, the top two finishers, with Jill.

Nick Freese and Eric Cameron, the top two male finishers of the 4-mile race, pose with Jill.

Amazingly, the night before the race, I had an athletivision. This is a term for a dream in which you win a competition that you were prevented from entering.  Neuroscientists believe events depicted in an athletivision are highly accurate.

Yet when I informed Nick, the winner, and Eric, the 2nd place finisher, that they were being bumped down a place, and I was the true winner because of my athletivision, they failed to take my legitimate claim seriously.

Nick Freese:  Whatever, Jim

Nick Freese: “Whatever, Jim”

Eric Cameron: "Jim, I had to set up the chairs for my own wedding."

Eric Cameron: “Jim, I had to set up the chairs for my own wedding.”

Despite my rightful claim, I was not awarded first place. I rectified this grave injustice after returning home. As I’ve done before after an outstanding performance, I arranged a ceremony and awarded myself a first place race winnerIt was a touching moment that I’ll never forget.

Runner vs. driver altercations

Yesterday I was talking with fellow members of the running group I belong to and no one has almost gotten into a fistfight while running as I have.

One winter day I was running down a sidewalk and a car intentionally swerved into deep slush and threw a wall of it onto me. I flipped him off, a response I’ve long ago given up. The driver pulled over and got out of his car.

As I approached, he yelled obscenities and threatened me. I ran past, ignoring him, and he swung his coat at me. The zipper hit my face and really stung. I continued on as he yelled more obscenities. He jumped into his car, intent on getting me.

Because I am not a fighter, I turned at the next intersection, picked up the pace, and cut through the yard of an unfenced house to the rear. I watched him drive past, fruitlessly searching for me.

This incident happened when I was in my late teens, an age when you’re more susceptible to aggressive behavior. However, another incident happened just a couple years ago.

It was dark, and I was running down a residential street, staying well to the right. As I approached an intersection, a car turning left cut the corner at a very high speed. I had to stop abruptly to avoid being hit. I stared, trying to let the driver know I was nearly struck by his reckless driving. He did not take it well.

He came to a stop perhaps 50 or 60 feet away, jumped out, and aggressively stepped toward me. He cussed and yelled and dared me to come take him on. I stood there for several seconds without saying a word, listening to his taunts. The obvious solution was to just turn and resume my run, which I did.

I’ve been the recipient of several other unfriendly actions. I’ve had things thrown at me a time or two that were off-target, and people have yelled at me for no apparent reason than to harass me.

The mildest and most common behavior I experience is a phrase from a well known movie. As a car passes, someone yells out, “Run, Forest, run!”

Must I run everywhere?

The goal of this blog, as I explain in the About page, is to transform society into one huge running group that gets around by foot and makes cars obsolete, except for a few that we’ll need for ambulances and pizza delivery.SONY DSC

Of course, I dabble in satire, so it’s really not a goal. However, at one time I did my best to make it a personal goal.

For several years, I lived just over a half-mile from the school I taught at. I commuted by walking and often went the entire workweek without driving a car. When I went for a run after getting home, I incorporated errands like returning videos, going to the post office, or purchasing small items at the nearby store. As long as I didn’t have to carry anything bulky or run enough distance that I’d be dripping with sweat once inside, I was happy getting things done this way.

But then I moved, and my workplace was a six-mile run away. Thus I began a seven-year stretch of running home nearly every working day after taking the bus to work.

There are some logistical problems with running home from work, like how do you get your clothes home? What if the pleasant afternoon forecast goes the opposite direction? Do you need a coat for every day of the week?

By skipping my Friday run and taking the bus, I was able to bring my clothes home. Some Fridays my wife at the time dropped me off on the way to her job and I fetched my clothes, packed up the day before, and put them in the car. As far as weather, I kept an extra layer at work in case conditions deteriorated. Just once in seven years, when an event known locally as Ice Storm brought down power lines and trees did I not run home because of weather. And yes, a coat for every day of the work week was necessary.

It was a pleasure combining my commute and run. I used to procrastinate doing my run after walking home because I wanted to veg out. But when you have to run to get home, a mindset develops that cuts out procrastination. Unfortunately, my current job requires lots of driving to many different sites. But I will not become the author of the blog, I Must Drive Everywhere.

Earphone Issues

I’ve been a member of a very large running group for several years. A few times I’ve caught up to someone and initiated a conversation and was ignored because I didn’t see their earphones.

Though many runners like listening to music when they run, I’ve never gotten into it. I like music when driving a car, and I often seat-dance which makes my drive more enjoyable. But running with earphones would be bad because out of habit I might break into run-dancing which would look very especially utterly ridiculous.

Also, I haven’t made the leap from headphones to earphones. If I tried to wear the pair I have, they’d bounce right off. And I can’t upgrade because I’m locked into a service contract when I purchased the below headphones in 1998 that still has twelve years to go. Sounds unreasonably long, but the price was very highly attractive for a headset that combined phone, radio, streaming music and screenless TV that is now considered outdated technology. (I never figured out how the screenless TV function works.)earphones

When I was in 7th grade, a kid called me Dumbo because of my oversized ears that stuck out. I don’t want a repeat of this. Wearing earphones could cause my ears to spread wider. This giganticism could cause my ears to gain the power to suck in anything put in them. I’d hate to walk around with a piece of cord or the corner of an iPod still sticking out after my ears sucked in the rest.

Quiz about running for high-level thinkers

Everyone has heard the term dumbed down. Rarely do you hear smarted up. This describes the quiz below. Even thought it’s only five questions, you have got to be really, really smart to do well. If you are brave enough to give it a try, keep a pillow close by to smack against the wall as you’ll likely experience quiz-failure frustration.

1) What is a fartlek workout?

A) A run with many obstacles that runners have to leap or crawl over.

B) A workout that happens in a dream that can take the place of your real workout the next day.

C) A term with no meaning that was originated for laughs in 1978 by a Mid-west high school cross-country team.

D) A Swedish word meaning “speed play” in which a fast pace is run at intervals during a distance run.

E) An intense speed workout in which javelin throwers, after being induced into a psychotic trance by the team hypnotist, take turns chasing the distance runners with javelin in hand.



2) Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia won the 2012 Olympic women’s 10,000 meters in 30:20.76. What is her pace per mile?

A) Four minutes, fifty-three seconds.

B) Too complex to calculate.

C) Can be calculated, but scientists are still working on it.

D) Just under eight megaticks.

E) Time is just a set of numerals and really isn’t important.



3) In 1976, American Frank Shorter attempted to repeat his 1972 Olympic marathon gold performance. He finished 2nd to a relative unknown, East German Waldemar Cierpinski, pictured above. What issue do many consider a factor that allowed Cierpinski to unfairly win?

A) Thanks to East German technology, Cierpinski wasn’t a real runner, but a hologram.

B) At a secluded mid-race location, Cierpinski jumped in the race, taking over for twin brother Guenther.

C) Cierpinski was part of the East German program that produced championship athletes with performance enhancing drugs.

D) Inattentive finish judges mistakenly believed Cierpinski finished ahead of Shorter.

E) Your place isn’t so important. Just finishing makes everyone a winner.

4) In the 1984 Olympic women’s 3000 meters, a mid-race incident involving favorites and race leaders Zola Budd of Great Brittan and Mary Decker-Slaney of the US allowed Romanian Maricica Puica to eventually take the lead and win. What happened?

A) When Zola Budd realized she’d lost her good luck bracelet, Mary Decker-Slaney insisted they both stop and look for it.

B) Both competitors got so wrapped up discussing training techniques that they fell far behind the pack.

C) A playful Decker-Slaney tapped Budd on the shoulder while passing and said, “You’re it”. To avoid being tagged by the highly competitive Budd, Decker-Slaney was forced to take refuge in a trackside port-a-potty.

D) Budd and Decker-Slaney decided a stack of hurdles sitting next to the track was a hazard. Together, they pushed the stack to the center of the infield.

E) Budd brushed Decker-Slaney, causing her to fall and not return to the race. Zola Budd intentionally slowed and finished 7th to avoid being labeled a villain.

5) Eating lots of sauerkraut has long been a basic training strategy for German runners. How is sauerkraut made?

A) Sauerkraut is not made. It grows on bushes in the mountains.

B) Sauerkraut is a by-product of oil refining.

C) Sauerkraut tastes best on Tuesdays.

D) Sauerkraut is mysterious.

E) Sauerkraut.

 Answers: 1) D  2) A  3) C  4) E  5) E

5 right – Plato, Einstein, Da Vinci, and (insert your name here).

4 right – Contact any Ivy League school. A four-year academic scholarship is yours.

3 right – Mentioning this score to Alex Trebek will get you on Jeopardy.

2 right – Consider yourself hired if you mention this score on any job application.

1 right – Mensa still considers you one of them.

0 right – Please enroll in my affordable on-line course, Ordinary to Genius in 30 Days.

Blogging drawbacks

It’s been nearly 15 months since the first post on I Must Run Everywhere. Since I’m part of the running community in Spokane, it had a good start and readership increased rapidly. Writing posts that involved fellow members of the running clubs I belong to helped keep interest high. However, one important factor prevents me from building a readership that would allow income-producing advertising which I’ll explain in a moment.

I go to a coffee shop to write posts. I always get the words down on paper before typing them in.

I go to a coffee shop to write posts. I always get the words down on paper first.

Many times I’ve received compliments about my humor. “Where do these ideas come from?” is a phrase I sometimes hear. When the ideas come, and sometimes it takes a while to happen, I often laugh and laugh and laugh. Sometimes I read old posts, and I laugh some more. I really enjoy this humor that comes to me, and that’s exactly how it is. I am not the originator of my blog post ideas. Even this one, which doesn’t have much humor, I was directed to write.

Thought presentation is how I describe this process. Thoughts are presented in a way that allows me to perceive they are from outside myself. I didn’t have this experience until about 12 or 13 years ago. Now it is constant. Not just blog ideas, but everyday thoughts come this way and continually let me know that something operates me. And, everything else as well.

And the factor holding back I Must Run Everywhere: Myself. WordPress has been a great platform for a blog, but I use the basic, free version. I do not upgrade because the basic version is simple and easy to use, though many features like how long people stay at my site, how they found it and who they are is unavailable to me.

As well, I have a fulltime job and working at making I Must Run Everywhere income-producing would consume much of my free time. Even if I didn’t have a job, I would not enjoy spending lots of time in front of a screen. Technical and software issues would also trip me up.

The only way I could make my blog a financial success is if I had a partner. Someone technically savvy and with an artistic touch.

So I continue to do my once per week posts because it’s fun, and I get a kick out of making people smile.


Running outfit fashion

I think it’s common knowledge that guys keep clothes that women would have thrown out long ago. I am one of those guys. I’m also one of those guys who’ll wear an outfit because it’s in my closet even if it was purchased in another era.

Too, I’ll sometimes wear an outfit that’s not really designed for the activity I want to do. For instance, take a look at the below photo.Sweatshirt

The stylish sweat top is well-worn causal wear that I turned into running apparel and my running tights are long johns. In addition, the hem of my old running shorts are frayed. Though this was taken when I was about nineteen years old, dressing for function rather than fashion is still in my genes.

Below is a pair of shorts I bought in the late 90′s for swimming. I wore them for cycling as well. As short running trunks became not-so-stylish, I re-purposed them for running and use them a lot, even today.Jims adidas shorts

I’m not much of a shopper and having items on hand that are still wearable leaves me in a wardrobe rut. However, after getting divorced, I’ve slowly gotten better. I even bought a new pair of running trunks just last year.

Young women wearing very short jean shorts are reappearing now that the weather here in the Northwest is warming up. I’m miffed that it’s fashionably incorrect for men to do the same. When I was in my teens and early-twenties, it was common for guys to wear cut-off jeans.jean shorts from Langstons


I’ve decided to try bringing this down-to-earth fashion sense back. I’ve created a running outfit using an old pair of jeans I cut off, and staying true to my roots, a worn shirt normally used for home maintenance projects.jim shortsIf you happen to see me running in this resurrected fashion tradition, give your seal of approval with a honk and a thumbs-up.

Women’s marathoning makes me furious

I’m becoming very agitated about women’s marathoning. There are many admirable runners out there, but there’s one area that sorely needs attention.SONY DSC

When the top women runners went past me as I watched the Bloomsday 12K on May 4th, I was reminded how body features are shaped by heavy distance training. Some top elite runners have physical characteristics that differentiate them from runners who put in just as many miles. This makes me even more angry when I think of women’s marathoning.

Besides body characteristics that differentiate them from other runners, elite women are using their finely tuned bodies to run times that aren’t much slower than men.

Take a look at how much women have lowered the marathon world record compared to men in the last fifty years.

*                       50 years ago                                             Today

Men         Abebe Bikila/Ethiopia  2:12:12                Wilson Kipsang/Kenya 2:03:23

Women   Mildred Sampson/NZ  3:19:33                 Paula Radcliffe/UK 2:15:25

As you can see, women have improved a lot more than men, though, admittedly, fifty years ago women’s marathon participation was not nearly at the level of men.

This leads to what I’m so very sorely upset about. Paula Radcliffe set the women’s record in 2003. The men’s record was set less than a year ago, and has been broken five times since Paula Radcliffe set her mark.

Why no new record in more than eleven years? I’ll tell you why. Woman marathoners are saying pish-posh to the idea of extra training to break the record. This lolly-gagging and dilly-dallying needs to stop. From now on, no more wine parties, and no more grouping up with your peeps and having chatfests. Forget shopping, and going out for your oh-so-precious frozen yogurt. This whole issue has been bothering me for quite a while. I’m irked the moment I wake up in the morning. I am so extremely very intensely angry right now that I can’t even focus on writing. I need to smack my pillow against the wall.Mad Jim

Now I feel a little better. I’m glad my anger management counselor has good tips on how to vent.