Money Trail Leads to Me

When I started I Must Run Everywhere, I made a lucrative arrangement with a local store, Runners Soul. I offered to promote the store by frequently wearing one of their caps.

I wore the cap as often as possible.

I truly felt like a big shot walking into the bank to deposit my monthly $5 check. How many people do you know get paid to wear a certain brand of clothing? None, I bet.

Several months later, the store told me sales had taken a dive since our arrangement. They asked me to stop wearing the cap. Those guys at Runners Soul are funny.

It wasn’t long before they called again. Sales were still plummeting, and some of my blog photos were not putting the store in a good light. They forwarded a couple examples.

Got so tired had to finish run on hands and knees.
If you cross paths with Godzilla, doing this will prevent being squished.

They offered me $500 to stop wearing the cap. I couldn’t tell if they were serious, but when I walked into the bank to deposit that check, I felt very proud increasing my value from $5 to $500.

A few months later they said my slow race times and poor finishes were causing business to dry up. They pleaded and begged me to stop wearing the cap, offering $2,500 to put it away for good.

I can’t lie – when I walked into the bank to deposit that $2,500 check, I wasn’t just a big shot, I was an intensely, huge big shot.

Unfortunately, I kept forgetting to not wear my Runners Soul cap. Some photos I used may not have made them happy.

It wasn’t much longer until I saw this article in the news.

Whoops. My bad. Sorry, Runners Soul.

Win With a Wig

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but last year I resolved to not enter races in 2018.

A year ago I often did not feel well when running, and I’d become slow. Why enter a race when you’re slow?

But toward the end of the year, I entered a couple races. In this photo, I’m at top left, wearing a wig I’ve used many times that I bought in the late ’70’s for skits at the summer camp I worked at.

The races raised money for groups in which acquaintances are involved and were costume-themed, so I didn’t race. I merely participated.

I wore a wig for both races, and I cannot stress how important and necessary it is to own wigs, especially if you are a man in your early-60’s. It’s a wonderful feeling to toss your head to the side or use your hand like a comb to get your long, beautiful locks out of your face.

I broke my resolution last month when asked to run on a team for the USATF National Club Cross Country Championship that was held in Spokane. For this race, I opted not to wear a wig.

I started feeling better in the autumn, and my running improved to the point I was confident I’d be a benefit for the team and not astound others with a super slow pace.

Unbeknownst to me, most competitors in this race are elite runners. The winner of the men’s open race was Ben Blankenship, who made the final of the 2016 Olympic 1500 meters.

I was in the race for men 60 and over, also elite runners for their age. The winner – a guy same age as me, ran the 8K (5-mile) course at a 5:49 per mile pace. This is not too far off the pace I ran in road races in my 20’s.

Myself and teammate Don Driscoll giving the course a look-over. Temps in the mid-20’s. (-4 C)

Don and I again in mid-race.

Here’s another example of the quality competition – a guy a little ahead of me had a bib for the 70-74 age group. In the last mile I pulled even. With a strong finish, I beat him by 4 seconds. My pace was 7:26 per mile. The guy I just managed to beat was 74-years-old.

Despite finishing 71st out of 128 runners and beating only two runners my age or younger, the experience made me confident I can do well in local races since I’m at the lower end of my age group. I plan to enter lots of races, dominate my age group and win some intense medal ware. Then I’ll move on to my ultimate goal – winning the hand of a woman.

After amassing a trove of race medals, I’ll wear them in pubic and upon sight, women will be entranced by the glimmering display and enter a state of idolization. From a field of alluring candidates, I’ll choose one to be my new partner.

Runners who squish cats

As I’ve done before, there’s no theme to this post. I’m just writing a bunch of facts. They’ve been certified as such, so please do not email me claiming they’re meaningless trivia.

I bought a pair of Skechers running shoes for the first time. They have memory-foam inserts which are very, very comfortable.

Now that I’ve indulged in such a luxury, I might be a step away from the kind of luxuries people do when they get old. I’m thinking of dumping the 2-person tent I use when I go camping for a 36-foot RV. And the front porch steps may soon be covered with a ramp that I’ll be riding up and down in my motorized wheelchair.

When I have things to do, I like to bike instead of drive, even when grocery shopping. This may seem mean, but I like to make my cat Gloopy lay on the sidewalk so I can run over and squish her as I leave.

Sometimes I ride with my arms folded, no hands on the handlebars. Once, a pair of very young kids saw me, and I overheard them expressing astonishment at the guy riding with no hands.

I did a one-day road trip in rural Idaho recently with two of my former college roommates. At one stop we happened to be next to a cattle guard. I’ve been wanting to do a short video for this blog in which I fall through the bars because I’m so thin. So I got my camera and asked my former roommate to film me.

It didn’t turn out quite the way I hoped. I need to set it up better.

Finally, I’ve been having some problems with my refrigerator. Like anyone else, I thought the solution was hiring a repairman who would tear into it and install a new part. Then I realized I’m like the person who thinks surgery is the answer for every medical problem.

Like alternative medical treatment for people, there are alternative repairs for appliances. I used electro-shock rebalancing (quickly unplugging and plugging-in repeatedly), conversational healing (compliments and affirmations), and touch therapy (hugging).

My fridge was soon healed and hummed like the day I bought it.

Trash your goals. Here are your new ones.

If you made goals for running in 2018, toss them. If you’re failing miserably or on pace, it doesn’t matter. I have better ones for you.

Nearly all runners fail to make their goals running-based, which means using the letters that compose the word running. Since that’s 7 letters, that means 7 goals. They’re listed below, and I want you to start working on them immediately.

1. Roar 2. Unglued 3. Never again 4. Numbers 5. Incredible 6. Never mind 7. Geeky

1 Roar – If you win a race, your age-group or run a good time, celebrate your success by really letting loose.

2 Unglued – If you fall during a race or run, and your running buddies keep going, putting their finish times ahead of your well-being, you’re justified becoming unglued. After your hospital stay, when your eyes land on those running shoes that flashed past as you lay on the ground bleeding, lay into them.

3 Numbers Don’t Lie – When it’s obvious you forgot to stop your GPS unit and continued to rack up miles after your run, your inflated total is the official total.

4 No Way – Your answer when asked to do the relay leg that’s the longest, all uphill, passes through grizzly habitat, and was where last year’s runner was last seen.

5 Incredible – All you need to say when someone asks how you did in a race.

6 Never Mind – Do you need 3 running goals that start with N? No you don’t, so never mind.

7 Geeky – We’re all worried about looking cool when we dress to run. Undo the padlock and let your geekiness stumble out.

Quiz show host accused of burglary

Sprint McDowell is suspected of burglary.

Sprint McDowell hosts Race to Win, an online quiz show for runners.

I carried Sprint’s online game show once in the blog post, Running lingo quiz, and he treated me very rudely in another post, I agree to an interview, and I get grilled. However, time heals and Sprint deserves my support. I did an online interview with Sprint from his Los Angeles studio yesterday. Screen shots are added.

Jim: Sprint, what happened?

Sprint: Management is making things up to get rid of me. They said I stole lunches from the employee break room. I’m very angry.

Jim: Did you steal them?

Sprint: No. I just took a few bites and put them back.

Jim: That’s shabby, Sprint, but it’s certainly not burglary, and it’s not grounds for termination.

Sprint: I’ll say! Management asked last month if I’d consider retiring. I said no way. Now this burglary accusation comes up.

Jim: I also hear they think you’re over the hill.

Sprint: You hit the head of a nail, Jim.

Jim: The phrase is usually put, you hit the nail on the head.

Sprint: Whatever. Management says I make bloopers like that all the time, but they’re wrong. Race to Win is the No 1 quiz show for runners because I’m the greatest host ever.

Jim: Sprint, did you recently message racy photos of yourself to a woman?

Sprint: What? I’m shocked and disgusted! Such an abominable claim has zero merit. In no shapes, forms or waves would I ever do that.

Jim: The phrase goes, in no way, shape or form.

Sprint: I have a phrase for you, Jim – down with gutter mouths! Your accusation sickens me. You have really gone too far this time.

Jim: Isn’t her name Catherine, and she lives in The Philippines?

Sprint: My God! How did you find out?

Jim: This is so sad, Sprint. Why would you do something like that?

Sprint: I was…you know…trying to entice her.

Jim: How’d that work out?

Sprint: She blocked me.

Jim: Okay, Sprint, let’s move on. I want to post a photo of the new host. I’m told it’s a done deal. She’s a talented, engaging personality who’ll make fans rave. And I know her. She and I are both Flying Irish runners here in Spokane. Her name is Becky Alcala.

Sprint: Jim, who’s side are you on?

Jim: Not yours, Sprint. This change should have happened long ago. Becky will raise Race to Win out of the fog and into the stratosphere. I salute her.

Sprint: Waaaaaaaa….waaaaaaaaa.


My front yard a federally protected wilderness area?

Being in my front yard is an experience of solitude and beauty that brings a profound appreciation of nature, though my neighbors’ lawn-moving lessens the experience.

Several years ago I eliminated the lawn and put in indigenous plants to mimic an Eastern Washington landscape. I made trails so that running in my yard would be like running in the country which I explained in the post Let’s go for a run in my yard.


Because I stick to trails when I run, I’m not able to fully explore my front yard wilderness. Recently I did an all-day, off-trail hike to do just that. I was very excited as I started out.

I discovered some wildflowers I hadn’t noticed before.

I thoroughly explored my wilderness and thanks to a good map, avoided getting lost.

It occurred to me that since my front yard is roadless and so wild, I should have it declared a federally protected wilderness area.

There’s a famous place in Montana called the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. If my wilderness is able to get federal designation, I’d like it to be called the Jim Johnson Wilderness Area. And as the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area is often called simply, The Bob, I’d like my area to be known as The Jim.

So after my day-long hike and the prospect of a designated wilderness area at my doorstep, I went to bed a tired, but very happy man.



Personal running journal gets publicized

Last week, a running journal was left behind at our running club’s post-run get-together.

I started leafing through it and found a few interesting entries. I’m sure it’s okay to share as long as no one tells the owner about it.

Thanks to me, if you keep a running journal, you know not to leave it unattended.


Leg needs repair

I got myself injured while running more than two weeks ago. Using the two photos below, you can win a very large cash award bonus by correctly guessing what my injury is.


If you guessed calf muscle tear, you win! Simply download the app Cash for Me and then tap on the envelope in the below photo. A slot will form on your screen, and your very large cash award bonus will be dispensed.

I’ve become prone to calf muscle tears the past several years. It’s happened a few times and it always in the cold or cool season. I’ve learned from experience that I can’t return to running until I’ve taken at least three weeks off.

To promote healing, a few times every day I stand on the edge of a step and lower and raise my heel thirty times.

However, not being able to run has disrupted my daily routine and left a big void in my life. I spend a lot of time staring forlornly out the window.

I’m so bored, I nap two or three times a day.

When I’m able to muster enough energy, I get a piece of wood from my woodpile and make toothpicks. My next project is to use my maul to smash rocks over and over until I have sand to spread on my icy sidewalks.

But come evening, my cat Gloopy and I enjoy some solid bonding time watching Nature on PBS.



I meet Petra II

I recently ran a 10K race on a rainy day that left me chilled to the bone. I stopped at Thomas Hammer Coffee in Fairwood for a hot drink.

I was soaked at the finish, then I caught more raindrops during the half hour awards ceremony.

I was soaked at the finish, then had to wait around for the half-hour awards ceremony.

A woman seated alone near the counter raised her head when I walked in. She looked like Petra, and though I didn’t think Petra’s beauty could be improved, this woman looked like an enhanced version.

As I looked at her, and she at me for much longer than a pair of strangers should, she showed no expression as this mutual evaluation was going on, nor any discomfort about the prolonged eye contact.

I like these situations because an interaction is more likely. Rarely does anything come of it, but it’s almost always a pleasant encounter.

After ordering my drink, I positioned myself to talk to her, but to my surprise, she spoke first.

“Where did you go swimming?”

I had to work hard to not burst into laughter. I was still completely soaked, and I may have been dripping all over the floor.

“I was in a 10K race, and I run so hard I sweat the rest of the day.”

She gave me a fake ‘eeew’ look.

“My name is Jim Johnson.”

She shook my hand and smiled. “I’m Petra II.”

She had to have noticed my bewildered expression. I’ve written about my pursuit of Petra in many previous blog posts, but in the end, it didn’t work out, and we went our separate ways. To meet someone with that name who so resembled her is mind-boggling.

“Petra Two?” I asked. “That’s your real name?”

“Yes, using Roman numerals. My parents lost their first-born as a toddler, who was named Petra. My parents so loved the name, but they couldn’t legally re-use it. So I was named Petra II.”

My order was up, and though I was going to take out, I wandered back to Petra II. “Is this your favorite coffee shop?” I asked.

“Yes. I come so often, I’ve been appointed table monitor. You may sit here.” She pushed out a chair with her foot.

I sat across from her and as we talked, I was so enchanted by her beauty, her voice, and mannerisms. She is so nearly the original Petra’s twin that I thought maybe she was. But Petra does not have a sister, and though it occurred to me that maybe this was Petra, she would’ve behaved differently. I finally concluded this was a new Petra who was even more fascinating and alluring than the original.

“What was your last name again, Jim?”


My mocha was a little short of chocolate, so I excused myself and took my cup to the counter. While waiting, I saw Petra II pick up her phone. It occurred to me she might search for my Facebook page.

I’d guess she’s in her mid-30’s, and I didn’t want her to think I’m too old. I grabbed my phone, quickly went to my Facebook photo albums and tapped the first photo I came to of a younger me.

My new profile pic below was taken when I was a college student living in Pullman, WA.jim-at-wsu

I returned to the table and told Petra II that I often come to this place on late Sunday afternoons. She said she’s almost always a morning coffee drinker.

This is where I met Petra II. Thomas Hammer on Hastings.

This is where I met Petra II – Thomas Hammer Coffee on Hastings.

She was still tapping on her phone and then she looked at me, looked back at her phone, and did it again.

“Jim, I just went to your Facebook page, and you look much younger in your profile pic.”

“I just ran a hard race, and I’m drained and tired. With a shower and a little rest, I’ll look like my old self.”

“When was this picture taken?” she asked.

“Oh…a couple months ago.”

“It looks like a really old photo.”

“I used one of those filters on it. I like the rustic, dated look.”

She stared at her phone for several seconds. “This poster in the background – isn’t that Jaclyn Smith? Wasn’t she in that 70’s TV show Charlie’s Angels?”

“Boy, you are knowledgeable…ahhh…I’m not sure who that is.”

She turned her phone off, dropped it in her purse and pulled out her keys. She had a smile the whole time, but I couldn’t tell if it was favorable to me or not.

“I need to get going.” She got up, put her hand out, and we shook. “It was nice to meet you, Jim.” With that, she was out the door and gone.

I lingered at the table, replaying our conversation in my head. What a pleasant, pleasant woman she is. Yet I was troubled. I shouldn’t have changed my profile pic. I probably blew any chance I had.

I tossed my cup into the trash and walked to the car. When I got home, I took a long, hot shower, and it felt really good.

As I pulled stuff from the fridge to make myself a delicious meal, my phone dinged.

I’d left it in the bedroom, so I fetched it, and what a surprise. It was a Facebook friend request from Petra II. And with it a message which contained nothing except her phone number.




Rules and decrees bring success to Manito Running Club

Spokane’s top running club by far is the Manito Running Club. Many members regularly win races or their age-groups. They are also leaders recognized in the running community for their effectiveness and dedication.

This culture of excellence has been fostered by a strict regulatory environment in which layers and layers of rules and decrees have created an atmosphere in which members thrive.

Many policies and requirements that govern the smallest of details in behavior, dress, hygiene and more makes for a cohesive, tight-knit group that is focused on discipline and attention to detail. This creates a winning attitude.

The group appointed a talented individual, Mike Tonkyn, to the position of violations administrator. As head of the Violations Department, his team doles out punishment and enforces the hundreds of regulations. In the below photo, Mike is delivering a stern glare to a member who used a napkin in a non-complying manner.The violations administrator (1)

Members are required to attend frequent seminars to learn the latest MRC policies and dictates. In the below photo, which I explained about in a previous post, members are learning to run in the latest, club-approved formation.SONY DSC

Even parking your car is monitored by the watchful eyes of MRC enforcement personnel. Though Manito Park is public space, parking spots are assigned for our Saturday morning runs, and there is zero tolerance for parking in the wrong spot.

In the photo below, I’ve just pulled out of my assigned spot, and I’m heading home with the satisfaction and fulfillment of being part of a system that brings order, structure, and a big brother warmth to my life.Jim-driving (1)

Recently, myself and fellow club member Lensa Etana were singled out for a near 100% adherence to club rules and policies. It was a truly wonderful moment, and we were very, very happy.Jim and Lensa (1)

Unfortunately, shortly after this, Lensa committed a major violation, and her membership in MRC is in doubt.