Friday, February 29, 2008

Rich Human Moments

Showed up for a shift manning the Team in Training booth at the LA Convention Center. Loads of folk walked around with their goodie bags as the city gears up for this Sunday's marathon. Our booth neighbor was Pacifico Beer. Guys were lining up there to get pictures taken with two hot babes in cheer-leading outfits. TNT gave out free chap stick if you signed up for more information. Somehow the Pacifico Beer line was always longer.

Yesterday, an electrician arrived to replace a few light fixtures. He was a colorful old guy and we got to talking. Turned out he'd survived the Nazis in his native Hungary. He and a group of three hundred kids were slated to be shot when the Red Army arrived. The execution was cancelled and the Germans were chased out by the Soviets, who decided to stick around Budapest for the next 45 years. Just before the Communists locked the country down, his family escaped in the middle of the night. He drifted around the world from Germany to Palestine to Canada and, finally, the U.S.

"My father spoke nine languages," he told me. "Now, my mother: she was an idiot. She only spoke eight languages."

He was very proud of his children and grandchildren. His son, when in his 20s, had been placed in charge of a telemarketing office with dozens of employees. Concerned, he went to his electrician father and said: 'I'm just a kid. How can I give orders to people in their 30s and 40s?'

As his father related: 'I said to him, think of our rabbi. He is young and yet he is in authority. That is because he has greater knowledge than others who may be older. Trust those who have promoted you. And remember that your authority does not give you the right to belittle anyone."

"That's very wise," I said.

He shrugged. "You know what my son did? He went to work the next day, called all the older employees into his office, and beat them with a stick."

We had a good laugh.

Plus he replaced my light fixtures.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weary with Moving

All this moving, cleaning, coordinating painters, electricians, termite slayers has worn me down. Much like mile 22 of a marathon, the goal no longer outweighs fatigue and quitting seems not only reasonable but long overdue. Plus I haven't worked in six months and have zero interest in writing anything other than an occasional post right here.

But, like mile 22, on I go.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hot TV Night

So I'm watching television this evening when the set suddenly quits with a wierd pop. There's a high-pitched whine and smoke fills the air. I yank the power strip cord out of the wall and open an outside door to clear the smoke. I'm still enjoying tachycardia. On the bright side, a dead TV is one less item to move.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lost in a Drizzle

Ran from Brentwood to Marina del Rey and back today. That's a 20-mile run — or 22.1 if you miss a turn-off like I did. Weather was chilly and wet, good for running but not for runners with glasses. (I needed tiny wiper blades.) A fair portion of the course was along the Venice Beach boardwalk. My company consisted of other runners, dog-walkers, seagulls, cops and bums. And while the sea was hidden behind a wall of gray, you could hear the surf boom-hiss against the shore.

A note on Westside/beach runners: they generally seem much faster and less friendlier than Rose Bowl runners. I usually smile at runners in passing and get a smile back, but there were a lot of dour faces along San Vicente and the boardwalk. Maybe it's the local parking situation in that there isn't any.

Next week is a most-welcome rest period. My long run will be 12 fine miles. Then back to 16-18-20 two more times. I'll either pr in Eugene or explode. I'm leaning toward the pr. Should I explode, I'll still have to box up and move the pieces.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

TNT '08 Coaching and Training

Four. That's how many miles the team ran today. Positioned at the turn-around point beneath the 210 Freeway, I greeted all as they doubled back after two miles. This was followed by a stretching clinic in which I learned interesting positions that hurt.

As for my last post, a consultation with Coach Kate revealed that I had, in fact, run 20.2 miles and not the aftermentioned 18. That in no way alters any of the thoughts mentioned.

Now back to moving.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thoughts While Running 18 Miles Today

"14 is far enough. I'll train harder next week."

"Half-marathons are more my speed."

"What's the point in this?"

"I'll just aim for a modest pr at Eugene. No need to pick-up the pace."

"Why not extend every walk break another minute or so?"

"If I throw myself over this embankment, I'll probably get hurt and have a good excuse for quitting."

"Not every marathon has to be a pr. I can pr at Pasadena this fall."

"Screw prs. What do I have to prove?"

"My feet are hot."

Saturday, February 09, 2008

TNT Summer Team '08

First practice today for the summer Team in Training. Very exciting for me to be onboard as an assistant coach. I remember standing around on a hot August morning three years ago wondering what the heck I'd gotten myself into. Now I see other people thinking the same darn thing.

Participants ran their 5 kilometer pace assement. I hung out on the last mile and ran with many part of the way. Fascinating to see the reactions: the majority were tired but upbeat, a few curt, one or two sullen. Still, everyone made it and adjourned to a pot luck breakfast.

I have officially declared "moving" to be a form of cross-training. I carry heavy boxes up and down stairs, bend, lunge, squat, and crawl to dismantle various things around the house. Despite my weekly running miles, I'm quite sore come day's end. Perhaps the Olympics will carry "moving" as a trail sport this year.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sick of Stinking Boxes

I dream of them. We're packing up all our junk so painters and carpet cleaners can get in and do their thing. TNT kickoff was Saturday and training begins this week. As assistant coach, I'll be hanging around until the last runner finishes, then squeeze in my own training. Plus there's the matter of writing. I'm behind and need to pump up production on five book chapters, a short story, and a new sit-com pilot. But mostly I need boxes. Stinking boxes.

Saturday, February 02, 2008