Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hungry Runner Guy: Long Runs Are Making Me Fat

I love to run. I also love the combination of Pizza and Chocolate. Pizza first, with a chocolate chaser.

Weight is a factor often overlooked when trying for personal record race times.  We all have an ideal racing weight.  I'm at least five pounds over mine. 

Five Pounds. This doesn't sound like much, but the 5 pounds is not dispersed throughout my body. It is always at the same exact spot and gives me a fashionable middle-aged guy baby bump. I carry my 5 pound child, who I have affectionately named Max, for well over 3 hours and 26.2 miles. At the end of the race, I then need to feed us both.

While not even close to my PR zone, I'd still love to run completely gut free. And I have finally figured out why I gain weight.

 Long Runs

Yep, it is because of Long Runs - those runs that are twice as long as your regular ones that last 2-3 hours, from 13 to 22 miles, and shed from 2000 to 3000 calories. Those Damn Long Runs are making me gain weight because I use them for a free ticket to eat anything I want.

Listen to some of my thoughts, and you'll see what I mean.

"Should I eat that brownie?  I'm doing a Long Run next Friday, no problem, enjoy."

"Should I order pizza today? Should I eat that sixth piece? Sure, I'm doing a Long Run tomorrow."

"Should I have mint chocolate chip ice cream afterwards? Of course, I'm doing a Long Run."

"What should I eat for breakfast? I better load up on two pop-tarts, a PBJ, and a banana, I'm doing a Long Run today"

 "I have to fuel during a Long Run. Where's that Kit-kat I hid in the bushes?"

"All studies show that refueling within 15 minutes after a Long Run is crucial to recovery. Give me some chocolate milk. And put it in some cereal. And add a cheeseburger while you are at it."

You see how this works?  
And this is before the Long Run Munchies have even kicked in.

 The Long Run munchies are just like the Marijuana munchies but they last longer. You crave food and aren't satiated. Your body just underwent an onslaught of calorie loss and deprivation on a 3 hour run, and its survival instinct kicks in. It propels you to refuel because every cell is thinking; what was that nonsense? if that's how we're going to be living, running for 3 hours at a time, we need to binge and binge and binge while we can. 

So I eat, all day long after a Long Run. Then I have a cheese and sausage omelet the next morning.  

I've even been known to have a chocolate chunk Chip Ahoy cookie after breakfast, because, damn it, I earned it. I did a Long Run yesterday.

So, in effect, I tap into that 2,500 calorie burning run for the total of about 256,734 calories during the week.

Long Runs are Making Me Fat.   
So I shall run, and grow old, and my baby bump named Max will live on and cross every finish line mili-seconds before me.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

B.L.O.G = Bringing Lots Of Grandiosity

Once in a while I go through a blogging crisis. "It's so narcissistic" my spirit screams. I get over it pretty quick. In fact, these thoughts just further justify my narcissism to continue. It all becomes okay because "at least I feel guilty about it."

Besides, it's a BLOG, which stands for Bringing Lots Of Grandiosity.

Now that that's out of the way, I wanted to share that I'm getting fantastic feedback for my novel,  "On the Lips of Children." Here's the novel on Goodreads, and here it is on Amazon.  

Here's one to share. Below is a review from the book blog: Liz Loves Books:

                                             On the Lips of Children
First of all, if you are faint of heart or have a nervous disposition I would probably not read this novella- although you will be missing out if you don’t. It took me under two hours to complete, that was how enthralled I was. Incidentally, reading this novel AND going to see Elysium at the cinema on the same day is probably not conducive to your health. Elysium has exploding people…this novel has exploding lives….

So, Macon, marathon runner, father, tattoo artist, goes for what should be a simple run, and ends up entangled in a nightmare….his wife, behind him, won’t escape either…

Doesn't sound like much when I give you that little blurb does it? Determinedly though I’m not going to tell you anything else because the true genius of this book is that it's so unexpected.  It is horrifying. Family pitted against family…Mother against Mother….how far would YOU go to protect your children? In a funny kind of way it had a whole Star Wars thing going ….the light  versus the dark side….neither giving up, both determined to come out on top. And characterisation is key – Lyric, oh Lyric, broke my heart…and hey this really is a horror story at heart and yet it has real gut wrenching emotion as well. Don’t see that too often…

This is a powerful story mostly because you really have no idea where its going….Mark Matthews has a very particular turn of phrase and the ability to keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat as you wonder who will ultimately triumph…A real page turning Good v Evil tale of terror. Loved it.

Happy Reading Folks!

$3.99 for Kindle. Paperback is coming soon.

Lupita and her baby

Monday, August 26, 2013

50,000 Stray Dogs Roaming the Streets of Detroit

It’s a place you may have heard of. Especially now with it declaring bankruptcy, Detroit has become the lazy punch line for those who don’t know what they are talking about. The dynamics that lead to its current situation are both beyond this blog post as well as beyond my (or probably anyones) full comprehension. 

But what I am quite certain of is that on a summer night downtown, the tiger game letting out, and the booming of fireworks still echoing in the air and the bars spilling into the street, that the city is alive and electric.  The theater district in Detroit can match anyones.  Wonderful Cultural pockets like Mexican town and  Greektown live amidst the squalor. There are bars with character, museums with history, a youth movement filling up newly renovated lofts and new businesses filling downtown office in record numbers.

What you hear about Detroit may be the truth, but it is the most dangerous of truths: half truths.

Of course there’s incredible blight and areas where it looks like a bomb went off.  The phrase ‘war zone’ is overused to the point of cliché, but it often fits.  Those pictures you see are real.  The grittiness of Detroit made for the settings of both of my first two novels. STRAY takes place in an animal shelter near Detroit and The Jade Rabbit in a runaway shelter on the outskirts of Detroit in an area known as Little Saigon. Both are actual locations where I worked for many years.

And now we hear the news that there are Fifty Thousand  STRAY dogs roaming the streets of Detroit.  50,000. It’s being reported by major news sources everywhere including Bloomberg.

50,000 STRAY dogs?  Can that be right? This is a number I have to question.  This is one of those exaggerations that is so easy for readers to believe since it’s a jigsaw piece that fits so well into a stereotypical puzzle. I can’t prove it’s wrong, but as the Detroit Free Press reports, this number would mean 360 dogs every square mile. Break it down further, that’s 36 dogs every block (consider a block a tenth of a mile).  There’s got be a stray dog on everyone’s lap, at which point, they are no longer STRAYS but have an owner. 

 Dog-fighting certainly occurs in Detroit (STRAY includes a visit to a Detroit dog-fighting den) and as a social worker, I’ve spoken with a mother who feared stray dogs on her street.  I also spent time helping out in Detroit’s Michigan Humane Society and saw a freezer full of stray pet body bags that had been euthanized.

But many dogs and cats were also being adopted and walked out the front door with new, loving families. 

An article like this evokes images of packs of wild dogs roaming the streets like an apocalyptic movie scene.  Imagine Cormac McCarthys’ The Road meets the movie Suburbia. 

A child plays at the Detroit River Walk. Certainly he's at risk from the packs of wild dogs roaming nearby.

There is an organized plan for a count of Stray Dogs to take place in September. If the count somehow confirms this 50,0000 number to be true,  I will be amazed.  I’m betting it’s half that. This is still an incredible number of suffering animals.

But chances are Detroit is not what you think. Run the Detroit marathon and you will see it’s beauty. The ghost of a better city is still roaming the streets but not yet dead. All of us have been strays at one point in our lives, and Detroit is certainly one right now.  But don’t believe what you hear, this town has lots of heart, you just got to poke around and be surgical in your strikes to find some incredibly rich city experiences.

Or perhaps we could believe it is a fact that 50,000 STRAY dogs are roaming the streets of Detroit. Yes, let’s go with the story as truth.

50,000 strays. All of them hungry, feral, and roaming the street. Survival of the fittest means only the vicious survive, and they’ll certainly have to feed off a pedestrian or two each day. They reproduce, as dogs tend to do, with litters of 3-4 pups a piece. That’s 150,000 strays in a few months, 500,000 by Christmas. A million hungry Detroit STRAYS are bound to spread like the killer bees were supposed to from the south and kill and eat everything in their path.  Someone call the DrudgeReport and let them know. The dogs are all very dark and viscous looking, so will certainly get a top story and large photo on their website.

So, when you hear about these things, think twice. Or, in other words:

Ask not for whom the STRAYS roam, they roam for thee.


Visit an Animal Shelter of Detroit- STRAY
Visit a Runaway Shelter of Detroit– THE JADE RABBIT

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why Runners Need A Therapist (and what I would say to mine)

I have worked in the behavioral health setting for many years and in many settings.  I have been both the conductor and consumer in therapy sessions. I am a big believer in therapy. They say the majority of folks in therapy are either the most mentally ill or the most mentally fit. I’ve slept nights in both camps and have friends in both places.

I do hate the phrase “you need therapy” since it’s often said with spitefulness. In fact, I don’t think anybody needs therapy.  We do need support and change and growth and insight. If we can get that by knitting or playing badminton or collecting bobbleheads instead of talk therapy, then that’s fine.
However, with how neurotic runners are, and how much we love to talk about running, we need therapy. Face it, we bore people to death. Our spouses, our co-workers, even other runners. We are in the same group as the fantasy football guy who loves to tell you all about his six teams every Monday morning. (mental yawn, “is he done talking yet?”)

That’s why we need therapy. Neurosis sweats from our pores. The stench of Obsessive-Compulsiveness follows us everywhere. And for that, We Need Therapy. Runner therapy. Not just the mechanics and how to run faster and more efficient and injury free and training plans and all of that, but something that goes beyond coaching (although I’m sure some coaches offer therapy.)  Since running is a physical manifestation of what’s going on inside of us, we need someone who can give their full attention as we discuss how our running life is mixing in with our psyche, our spirit, our minds, and our body. 

For example and with that in mind, here could be:

Things I want to Discuss with my Runner Therapist (and what they might say back)

“I like to think I’m a bad-ass runner, but then I read all about the Leadville 100 and Ironmen events. How do I keep on just pretending these races don’t exist so I can feel like a beast?”

You’ve always been good at Denial. Just keep lying to yourself and go about your little 26.2 milers.

“My average everyday running pace has crept up from 8 minute miles to 9 minute miles, and I fear this is here to stay. It’s like I’m running in wet cement when I want to feel like I’m running down hotel hallways. I swear that’s when I ran the fastest.”

Forward is a pace, drop the Ego. Stop running in hallways.

“I went on some gorgeous vacation runs last week, and now I’m feeling so drab about the lame sidewalks I am stuck running on. It’s been depressing.”

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know

“My knees have been consistently hurting, and I fear that all those who told me running is bad for my knees are going to say, “I told you so.””

Melt down all your race medals into a boiling pot of molten lava and pour it over their heads.

“I’m aging, not recovering fast, and golfing the back nine of life means recovery takes time.”

            And soon someone else will be wiping your ass and your feces will feed the grass and the antelope will eat the grass and I will eat the antelope. It’s all part of the circle of life. 

“Is Cherry juice the new chocolate milk? And does this KT-tape make me look weird? And why do I insist on wearing shorts and black compression socks to family outings even though my dad snickers? And sometimes when I am running I realize a clown is behind me, nipping at my heels, and I turn to see his big red nose and big red hair and I try to scream but I can’t. What does this clown mean? Death? Childhood fears?  And yesterday a car almost hit me and I had so much rage I called a poor old man a ‘stupid fucker’ and I went home and wanted to cry. Why am I so angry? Will the New York Marathon be safe? Does running add something good to my life or take away something bad?  And why do you call it a therapy hour when it’s only 45 minutes anyways?  Does my insurance cover this?”

Time’s Up

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

RUNNING HOME, by Julie Hutchings

"You have all been chosen for a reason."
These were the words the publisher at Books of the Dead Press told me and a group of writers who were signed to a book contract this summer. It felt straight out of a scene of "The Usual Suspects."  I looked around the room for Keyser Söze, but none to be found. Just a bunch of writer dudes, and one writer duddette standing there quietly. I imagined she was like a praying mantis, ready to kill the males when she was through with us.

Her name is Julie Hutchings, and she was chosen for many reasons:

1. An incredible writer website
2. The greatest twitter conversationalist ever @HutchingsJulie
3. A book that has shot up the charts called RUNNING HOME

RUNNING HOME on Amazon  
No, this is not a picture of the author, but as a testimony to the power of the book, it's easy to assume the main character and the author are one in the same.

The novel was on amazon for a day and was the #25 ranked dark fantasy novel before the digital link was dry. It has received tremendous reviews.  
I loved reading this book. Running Home is a cool and uniquely realized vampire world. Read it for that alone. I wanted to know what happens next in the story, and was consistently pulled along, sometimes with a rush, but always with a strong flow. The supernatural is just a backdrop for some great characters. There is emotion and eros and scenes that I still remember.

But beyond the world of vampires, the novel also speaks to the suspicion all of us mortals have that there is more to us than we realize. The story brings forth that little voice who tells us we have things this world just hasn't brought out yet.

Who wouldn't want to live with a couple of vampires for a while, telling us we were meant for something more?

But in Running Home, the stakes get higher, things aren't always as they seem, and unexpected events and guests show up. The plot builds to a crescendo all the way up to the last word. 
I wanted to high-five the author after reading the last line, but of course, the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. If he did, he may just be a writer dudette and has now entered the publishing world with a new vampire novel, ready to first take over Amazon, and then the world.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Breaking Bad Marathon - The Responses

 A few weeks back I wrote a long post on "What if there really was a Breaking Bad marathon?"  (an actual 26.2 mile race). It was so a lot of fun to write, and pretty much the whole reason I went into blogging. Sorry, folks, it's all downhill from here.

I of course tweeted it out and got an ego-building barrage of retweets. I also wrote to Marie (Betsy Brandt) that she beat her sister Skylar in a marathon despite stopping on the course to shoplift. I got this response:

Yesterday  I tweeted that I'd be rooting for Hank (Dean) over Walter White (Bryan) in an actual Breaking Bad Marathon. One of the assistant directors, who is an avid runner,  tweeted back.

I suppose I write all of this to say "hey, I'm extremely cool."  But how neat is it that in social media we can even make these small connections. A retweet or tweet back has become the new autograph. 

As for the last two Breaking Bad episodes, (spoiler alert!) they are full of critical scenes that override any plot.  Hank confronting Walt in his garage was tremendous and the moment we've been waiting for. Marie confronting Skylar may have been just as good. Ironic, I feel that Hank's power is shrinking, or 'shirking' a bit with this information, partly due to embarrassment, while Marie seemed to gain power in this moment. I am hoping that Hank finds his balls again, so to speak, because Walter's have grown now that the cancer is back.

Pinkmans' existential crisis doesn't do as much for me. Yes, he's been waffling since the beginning, but it doesn't fit now. Still, he's about to be grilled by bad ass DEA cope Hank, who thought he could pull out the family card rather than the sly cop card in getting Skylar to speak. He's going to go from Bad cop to Good cop to 'get out of jail free if you speak' cop on Pinkman next episode. Totally Kafkaesque.

As for marathon times, Walter White's time I assume is faster than Hank's, but we all know you need to show up in the right mental state on marathon morning, and Walter is posed for a DNF, and all his training (and cash) maybe for nothing.


Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror IS ALIVE!! $4.99 for Kindle $12.99 for paperback  (buy the paperback, and you can get t...