Janathon Post 5 of 5

Well friends and neighbors, put away the popcorn bowls and turn the lights back up, have a stretch, find your way to the front door, make sure it’s locked, remember to feed the cat, go check the thermostat, wipe the little bit of dirt from the edge of the kitchen sink faucet with a towel, smell the towel, discard it, grab the sponge, smell it, run some water from the tap, set it on the range in a kettle to boil, pour the boiling water on the sponge and the faucet, splashing some onto your hands, curse breathlessly for a moment, grab an ice-cube from the freezer and hold onto it, but have it slip from your slippery, buttered hand, drop to the floor and play chase-the-pig, leaving a trail of water beads across the floor, stand back up sighing, kick the ice-cube under the fridge, grab the top of the range by the corner and lift it and gawp at the crusty bits of food and petrified grease stains splashed upon the delicate wiring and splattered across the galvanized steel heat shield inside the range top, get a utility knife, work on that problem for 3 1/2 hours until it’s perfectly spotless using the sponge before finally throwing the thing away, reconnect the wiring with a  good soldering pen, making sure not to inhale the fumes but inhale the fumes anyway, step outside to clear your dizzy head, close the door to keep the cold air from flooding in, lock yourself out accidentally, realize you forgot to bring your keys, panic, fret a moment about your diabetic mother-in-law and 3 year-old child  inside and helpless without you, debate ringing the doorbell and waking the baby, decide instead to shimmy up onto the roof with a ladder to reach the unlatched master bedroom window, loose your footing, remember falling but not hitting the ground, wake up in the confines of a 1977 Delta 88 automobile trunk with a can of bug spray, a shovel and a plastic tarp to keep you company, everything jounced by the rough dirt road you seem to be bouncing along. Rig the bug spray with a pen jammed into the side of it, the can itself wrapped to the shovel head with the tarp, and when the freak who kidnapped you opens the trunk at the edge of a marsh at the end of an old gas utility road in a protected wilderness area, quickly remove the pen from the can and shove the business end of the shovel into his neck  blinding and choking him while you spring like a cat from the trunk and knock him to the ground, too scared to say anything intelligibly and still dreadfully dizzy from the concussion and the soldering fumes, give him a couple of wacks with the shovel, jump in his car and take off, just go go go go GO, and hit the road, try to turn off that stupid music but it won’t go off and everyone stays out of your way thankfully because you’re swerving all over the road, put about ten miles in between you and the questions and the sheer terror, wiping away the make-up and glitter applied to your chest and neck, consider calling the police, drive the car into a gas station, dig all the cash from the car, from the seats, from the glove box, exit the car, walk to a hotel next door, creep into the open door of the laundry room, steal the aide’s coat, put it on and leave the money in a wad on a sorting table, run ten miles using good form, remembering to use your arms, to run with the entire body as a single unit, keeping the knees up, the arms swinging back, barely kissing the asphalt with your heels, gliding in a bubble of pure adrenaline sweet Mary this feels awesome, and keep running the shoulder until you come to a sign showing you’ve got only five more miles to go, ditch the coat which is way too hot at this point despite the snow on the ground, find that second wind and increase your pace by 30 seconds per mile, spitting and wiping the glitter away, snatching globs of  snow from atop a cluster of boxwood, eat the snow, grab more from the top of a wooden fence as you pass it, use it to wipe away the rest of the glitter, temporary tattoos, fear from your face realizing that you’re free, keep going until you reach your neighborhood, slow to a walk about fifty yards from the house, breathe with heaving gasps, a little overwhelmed with the night’s events, blood from the knot on your forehead still running slightly down your temple and into your eyes, see the car! you abandoned at the gas station parked two houses down, look up at the house, see the figure of a two-headed pig demon in the window with its arm inside the shade of a lamp as it winks out, see the downstairs front door of that house open moments later and realize that thing is your neighbor or something that possibly killed or ate your neighbor, turn towards your house which now seems to be miles away and, in a nightmare slomo daze, walk to your front door on legs that seem to weigh two hundred pounds each, ring the doorbell, bang the door, unaware that your right hand is broken and wrapped in a pile of cotton bandages because of the adrenaline, aware that you can hear the thumping click of the hooves of the creature getting closer – probably a heel-striker, probably ruining its knees and causing pelvic agony – see the upstairs light in your house come on in the hallway, yelp involuntarily from a sense of claustrophobic panic from sensing the distance close between you and the pig demon, turn and confront the –  oh shit it’s just Larry, it is Larry –  and he asks you  – to calm down and begs you to sit down because you appear confused, and he says some other things too quickly for you to comprehend, but you are so relieved you agree yes, you probably should sit down and so you do,  and then the cops come and ask why you jumped out of the ambulance and sprayed aerosol Mercurochrome  in the paramedic’s eyes, the same guy who put the stitches on your head wound and bandaged your hand gnawed by a feral cat while you were lying unconscious and bleeding in the backyard for two hours until your mother-in-law spied you in the backyard after the baby awoke at 3 am and everyone missing your wife – though she’d fled to Laos with a coke-smuggling Delta pilot over Christmas – and you kind of remember an ambulance,  and sitting on the porch with Larry, you reach up with your good hand and you can feel the stitches, now torn from all of your running and freakish escape, and you apologize, and realize it wasn’t glitter on your face because they tell you so, but pieces of glass and dirt from your fall, and you are confused, and you will remain that way, sadly, and your child grows up and your memories of seeing him growing older are interrupted by 20 years in a loud place where the pills made you drool, those memories still are never dulled by the years and, more so, become like beacons in a dark and mysterious world, and you live in the luminous memory of the caring embrace only family can conjure and the way you swaddled and cradled your beautiful little boy, in light of the dwindling scope of your perspective, rarely seeing the end of your hall, to be replaced with never seeing the end of your block when your son turns 18 and takes you home, gives you the meds to stop your seizures, feeds and bathes you, while you while away the days laughing at sitcoms you watch hundreds of times, gazing at the smiling pictures of your son on the wall, wondering how he could have grown a beard being only three, not knowing you were living in his apartment, hadn’t been in your old house since your ex-wife placed you in a nursing home to be retrieved by your loving son,who worked  two jobs to support you while he paid his way through college, but used his determination to become a successful software engineer to give you the kind of comfort he pityingly desired you to have out of guilt of laughing at jokes his mom told about you, even to the day she died of cancer in a palace in Laos, an heiress to a large and ill-gotten empire where you were known as Laughing Gumpla , while you became your son’s ward, his innocent fool sometimes saying miraculously wise things as fools often do,  becoming his pet, his son he could never have having sacrificed all his time to develop his company, but you could never be his lost innocence, his stolen youth, you who fled your own abilities and grace one clumsy night, and everyday he comes home from work and sees you on the couch staring off into space and he says, “Hey Dad” and all you can mutter is, “I can’t believe Janathon is over”.

Yes, shame really, but it was fun while it lasted. I’m in my last stretch before my first 100 mile race, shitting fifteen foot golden spitting cobras from my eyes and feeling like I’m simultaneously being dipped in fire and ice-cold water at the same time. Janathon pushed me. Oh, bother, I gave it all I could. Sure I could have run less or run more, but it’s all over but the taper. I will hit 9 miles tomorrow, 4 on Thursday and bid everyone adieu. I’m off to run a race I’m not supposed to blog about. From verbiage to stoic silence, my runs will never be rising from the shadows of Janathon’s bright glaring sun every day. I’ll be trekking off into the mountains alone, into solitary places I desperately adore and give me a kind of sorrow that I can’t describe. While I’m running or walking or stumbling the second half, I’ll be looking back at all this training and reminding myself that people are truly amazing. Like the other people who ran the Janathon. I’ve never gone more than two weeks straight running. I’ve never run more than 210 miles in a month. There’s a lot of firsts going on here, and Janathon gets to be the holder of a bonanza of firsts for me.

I actually entered training for this race back in October, when I ran a 50K race, then followed that with two marathons and another 50K that month. I took it easy in November, then started ramping up halfway through December when I found out about Janathon. See, I was just looking for an excuse to apply all this energy and needful abuse. In December I ran a 20-miler every weekend, over hills, always on hills, and when I found out about my 100 mile race, I dug in and did a marathon on December 29th and kept running straight through January. So, the total for longest consecutive days running is going to be increased by 3 days.

PBs

  1. Most consecutive running days: 34 days
  2. Most miles run in Sun to Sat week: 84.28 miles
  3. Most miles run in a seven day period: Jan 10-16, 2013 – 91.69 miles
  4. Most miles run in a month: Estimated 314.4, a juicython, the equivalent of 12 marathons.
  5. Coldest run ever  7F: January 23rd. I had a sports drink in a bottle turn into a slushie. It actually froze the bottle shut. I wore three shirts and three layers of pants and felt dandy.
  6. Least amount of supplements and fluids needed to get through a long run. I was able to extend my waterless run to 2 hours, and my 50 K to a handful of almonds, a banana, Tbsp of Heed, two Gus and a salt tab. Suffered for it, but didn’t die.
  7. Most ice beards ever grown, and proudest ice beards ever grown.
Ice Beard, level Milquetoast
Ice Beard, level Milquetoast
IMG-20130123-00768
Frozen solid ski mask, with sweat stalactite growing from solid lump of chin ice. Ice Beard level Associate Yeti
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Frozen Joy – Short run in huge downpour of snow. Ice Beard, level Sadhu
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Ice Beard, level Blue Steel – this run rated a “you’re crazy” comment from a passers-by and there is no higher praise.

I  don’t know why things turn out the way they do, but I do the best I can.

I just wrote that to get the text to fall below that stupid picture because I couldn’t figure out how to get the text to resume further down the page.

It’s like this: Running involves deep regular breathing, like meditation. While you run your body gets a juicy flow of adrenaline and endorphin or whatever you want to call them. You also sweat and pour waste material from your body, a form of purification, your intestines shut down, your brain experience an increase in alpha-theta wave activity as you relax into the run, giving you that “runner’s high”. The concept of meditation, in the form of a ritualized activity involving cardiovascular activity, is old and weird. Call it namaste, a ritualized activity performed with a spiritual focus in mind.  People get into it walking, cutting grass, dancing, cooking or working in a fast-paced environment, anywhere you are engaged in rhythmic motion over a period of time involving elevated respiration, heart rate and energy expenditure. Over time, the body reacts less to achieving this flow state. Overall, your heart rate slows, you become more relaxed  in your day-to-day routine, feel less the discomfort of ranges of temperature into the extremes, and you begin to crave more healthy outlets of energy, more healthy lifestyle choices and routines. Things which boost function, reduce stress and promote longevity are functional advantages to running, which is something humans were designed to do: to run prey into exhaustion, kill or capture it, and return with the prize to a camp of village far away. Cooking could have grown out of a need to preserve meat in order to carry it long distances in a lighter, more resilient form. I’m getting all Born to Run on you, seriously. My feet look more and more like Frodo’s every day. My feet are flat, the toes are spreading, and resemble something more akin to the shape of a duck’s foot than a shoe-shod Caucasoid, 7th generation American. I rarely ever get sick. I don’t take pain medication of any kind. And I sleep like a dead man.

I think running is great. Granted, I did move away from my family and friends three years ago to help care for a loved one, and I needed something to do to fill the void, to meet people. Janathon was a way to touch base with the nameless runners I see out there. Living out in the sticks, I don’t really see anyone running. There are three runners in town, I’ve seen them and considered following them home so I could possibly interest them in adopting me.

When someone beeps at me and waves, I get those feels. When I see someone jogging and I’m out driving, I give them a horn salute. The full moon is just on the wane, the temperature’s really warm. I’ll be sweating like crazy in shorts, maybe no shirt tomorrow. I know I’ll enjoy these last two days of running. I’m taking Friday off. I have a record to smash next week. Thanks, Janathon, for a fun and challenging event!

2 Replies to “Janathon Post 5 of 5”

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