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Mile 309.1: 13.1 Things I Would Tell Pre-Half-Marathon Me

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“We won! We won! WE WON! WE WON!”
–“Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down),” Hamilton

Miles since last time: 167 (+ 13.1!)
Total miles: 309.1

I DID A FRIGGING HALF-MARATHON YESTERDAY!

Whoa, sorry. I didn’t mean to shout at you.

BUT I DID MY FIRST HALF-MARATHON.

OKC Memorial Marathon 2016 start line

Can you see me? I’m waaaaaaaaaaaaay at the back. Source

I’m not going to lie–I was a bit worried during the week or so before that it wouldn’t happen. The long runs leading up to it kept getting more and more difficult. The Oklahoma City Memorial Run is kind of a big deal, and I was pretty convinced I was going to die.

I’m happy to report that I didn’t. So, now I go back to not knowing where, when, or how it’s going to happen–what a beautiful feeling!

It turns out you have a lot of time to think as you race (or, in my case, heartily jog and intermittently walk) through the neighborhoods of Oklahoma City, and as I did, I considered what I would’ve told myself twenty-one weeks ago, before I started training.

Here’s what I came up with.

1) Put your Twitter handle on your bib, dummy.
No one cares what your first name is. Self-promote, dammit!

2) Get fitted for shoes NOW.
Sure, Shoe Carnival is going to have a BOGO half-off sale right when you start training. Don’t do it. Those Nikes will do terrible things to your toes, heel, and possibly your sanity and will to live. See a professional early. And then, when you do finally go to OK Runner in Norman, you’re pretty sure that the guy who fits you for shoes turns out to be the male marathon winner. NBD. It’s just probably the closest you’ll ever get to winning a marathon.

2016 Half Marathon Course Map

2016 Half Marathon Course Map

3) NEVER skip a water station.
Sometimes, they’re far apart. You’re going to pass the first one thinking it’s too early and you don’t need hydration yet. You will regret that thought as soon as the last person holding out a wax paper cup is behind you.

4) Get ready to have your ego stroked a bit.
People basically cheer for you the whole time. Even thought they don’t know you, they are so enthusiastic about the race that they happily sit, clap, shout words of encouragement, high-five, and wave signs as they watch you hobble by. Remember the Hall of Gratuitous Praise from Sabrina the Teenage Witch? Yeah, it’s kinda like that. Plus, no fewer than five people will even be dressed as chickens, so get ready for that sight.

5) Fight the urge to stop and correct misspelled signs.
Looking at you, “Unstopable” guy. Your heart is in the right place, and I appreciate that. Also, I didn’t think to bring a pen.

6) Don’t stress about missing the turn-off for the half.
You’re going to spend a good chunk of the beginning of the run worried that you will miss the split between the half- and full-marathon courses, causing you to accidentally end up on the wrong path, leading you to fall into Lake Hefner out of sheer exhaustion because you were not prepared to accidentally do a full marathon, which ends up making you part of a balanced breakfast for the giant squid monster that somehow survives down there undetected. (There’s a lot of time for your mind to wander, okay?) However, there are spray-painted arrows on the road and at least four people with bullhorns who announce the correct directions for everyone. You’ll be fine. I mean, there may come a day when that giant squid monster gets you, but April 24, 2016, is not that day.

Race results

6,585th place, baby!

7) You’ll start to get a weird cramp in your right bicep and into your shoulder for no reason.
Yeah, I don’t know what to tell you about that. Maybe you should have practiced your arm swing. It seems there’s a wrong way to do it.

8) Running into the wind is a bee-yatch.
The lighter breezes are nice and will keep you from overheating, but there are stretches where you’ll think, “Wait–why is this air solid?”

9) The Hamilton soundtrack, Foo Fighters, Neon Trees, boy bands, and various other dance/pop hits will help you get through.
For a Broadway musical, Hamilton is surprisingly good for running. However, try not to shout, “VOTE FOR BURR!” along the course, or, you know, while Senator Lankford is speaking.

10) No GI distress!
I know you’re worried, but let me tell you that your intestines are the real champs of the day.

11) After you finish, don’t go directly to get your finisher shirt.
Cool down first, because going from jogging/walking for a long time to standing around in a line in the middle of a huge crowd of people is apparently a bad idea. You don’t need the vomit anxiety.

OKC Memorial Marathon Finish Line

HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIIIIIIIIIIDE

12) There will be burgers at the finish line.
They’ll smell amazing and wonderful, but thought of actually eating a burger will make you a little nauseous. Stick with the banana and bagel. And the chocolate milk, of course. Never deny yourself chocolate milk.

13) You’ll finish.
Yes, you’ll have to walk sometimes. A lot of people will pass you, but you will still cross the finish line, and in slightly less time than you predicted. Honestly, aside from the full-body muscle soreness and right heel/arch pain, you make it out pretty scot-free. You are even mobile enough to go to a David Cross performance afterward. Fair warning, though–the show is upstairs, so good luck with that.

13.1) There’s no–
That’s approximately one-tenth of the sentence I would have written. Fill in the blanks yourself.

So, who’s doing it with me next year???

OKC Memorial Marathon merchandise

Finisher swag!

Mile 1333: The Lighter Side

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“Leaves me with the feeling that I feel the most,
Feel it come to life when I see your ghost.”
–Foo Fighters, “All My Life”

Miles Last Week: 59
Total Miles: 1333

Today, I bring you a tale of immense will power. (Well, maybe not immense, but whatever.)

Last night following the OU game, my parents, my sister, and I went to dinner at Cheddar’s. According to my food diary, I had about 1,700 calories left for the day. I always try to finish the day with a thousand calories left, but it seemed impossible to do that after a dinner out–especially at a restaurant known for its chicken tenders. Which are delicious, by the way.

I came this close to just saying, “Screw it. As long as I end the day in the black, I’m good.” Plus, I kind of wanted the chicken tenders.

Then I opened my menu and was greeted by this sight:

The Light Menu at Cheddar's Source

The Light Menu at Cheddar’s
Source

A light menu in which all of the choices are fewer than 575 calories? It would have been stupid of me to turn that down. So, I ordered the Garlic Parmesan Sirloin Steak at a whopping 440 calories and enjoyed every bit of the six-ounce piece of beef with garlic parmesan cheese crust over caramelized onions. It also came with a wedge salad with light ranch dressing, which I cut up with my steak knife because I have no clue how you’re supposed to eat a wedge salad and that seemed like a good idea.

I’m happy to report that it all worked out. The steak was delicious, and I very gladly ended the day with four digits left in the MyFitnessPal food diary.

And then I ruined it all tonight by having Mazzio’s Pepperollies (at 452 calories each–yikes!) for dinner.

Hey, I’m not perfect.

So, I’m Back.

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“Now and then I think of when we were together.”
–Gotye, “Somebody That I Used to Know” 

Yes, I’ve failed miserably at keeping up with this over the last few months.  I’m just going to gloss over that, though. Sure, I could give you excuses about school, work, and television-watching, but the good news is that I’m back.

In keeping with the news-y theme, I have a few things to say about a few recent, random (clickable) headlines.

The OKC Thunder in the NBA Finals.

  • Summary:  Everyone’s talking about it much more intelligently than I can.  Thunder vs. Heat.  I absolutely support the Thunder, but I’m not exactly the most ardent sports fan.  So, while everyone is talking about stats and throwing around various basketball terms, my mind goes somewhere else.
  • My Reaction:  Thunder fans obviously need an official handshake or non-crude Thunder Up hand gesture.  I’ll get to work on that.

This may or may not be Bush’s head on a spike in the season one finale of Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones and Bush’s severed head.

  • Summary:  HBO recently apologized for a few things said on the DVD commentary for the amazing and spectacular Game of Thrones.  Even though no one would probably ever have noticed if it hadn’t been pointed out, a commentator said that one of the heads on a row of stakes very closely resembled George Bush.  I suppose the Game of Thrones effects department just had an unusual surplus of Bush heads lying around.  I mean–let’s be honest–who doesn’t?
  • My Reaction:  Use my head!  I would be honored to be represented in decapitated form next to Ned Stark.  And while we’re at it, can I also be white walker?  I feel like you are going to need a lot in the near future.  Also, please call your friends at The Walking Dead, because I still need to be a zombie on their show.

Karl Marx-terCard.

  • Summary:  A German bank is now offering a MasterCard featuring the face of socialism: Karl Marx.  Also, they are looking for a tagline for the real-life paradox of communism-meets-capitalism in plastic form.
  • My Reaction:  ‘Capitalism–not at all priceless.’  ‘Shoppers of the world, unite!’  ‘All cards are equal, but some cards are more equal than others.’  I feel like I could do this all day.

Rep. Lisa Brown and her vagina.

  • Summary:  Michigan representative Lisa Brown was reportedly banned from speaking after referring to her vagina during a debate on the House floor.  Apparently, her use of a medically correct term offended the chairman’s sense of decorum, so he chose to shut her up.  He also banned Representative Barb Byrum after she spoke out of turn, even though she repeatedly asked to be recognized.  Both (Democratic) women were speaking against the state’s new anti-abortion bill.  Hmmm. That seems a little coincidental.
  • My Reaction:  I have a great many things to say about this.  For now, I’ll just say VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VVVVVAAAAAGGGGGIIIIINNNNNAAAAA!!!!!  (Gotta love free speech.)

Wow, it feels so good to be caught up.  Stay tuned for happy, exciting news actually regarding me!  And go ahead and set aside five dollars or so, to be used next month.  Details forthcoming.

It’s nice to be back.

My Nephew is Going to Kill Me

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“Ferb, I know what we’re gonna do today.”
–Phineas,
Phineas and Ferb

If my seven-year-old nephew, Corbin, knew what I did Friday afternoon, he would probably use his superb playground ninja assassin skills to punish me for going without him.  You see, he would probably be jealous that I was busy being in the same room as Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, the co-creator of Disney’s animated series Phineas and Ferb.

MO-OM! Phineas and Ferb are making a title sequence!

Of course, then I would tell Corbin that Marsh was giving a lecture, and then he would probably get over it pretty quickly.  Actually, I don’t think I have to worry too much about being on the wrong end of his black belt.

“Wait, aren’t you a little old to be a frequent viewer and super-fan of a kid’s cartoon?” you may ask.

Why, yes.  Yes I am.  (And if you watched it, too, you would totally get that reference.)

The fact is, I owe my desire to see Mr. Marsh’s appearance to my nephew.  Over two years ago, while my sister was in the hospital recuperating from the birth of my second nephew, I babysat Corbin for a few days.  I recall that it was a bit cold out, so we were trying to decide what to do.  When he suggested that we watch one of his favorite shows, I agreed but groaned internally, absolutely sure that I was in for half an hour of boredom.

Hanging out under a tree, but not for long.

Then he turned on Phineas and Ferb.  I was surprised how much I immediately liked it.  The jokes were funny, the characters were sweetly charming, and the storylines were hugely entertaining.

Ferb, Phineas, Isabella, Buford, and Baljeet

The premise is simple, yet complicated at the same time.  Phineas and Ferb are step-brothers on summer vacation.  They spend their days of freedom building insanely intricate contraptions so that they and their friends can do insanely fun things.  Their older sister, Candace, tries to bust them to no avail when she’s not drooling over her crush, Jeremy.  Meanwhile, their pet platypus, Perry, is actually a secret agent who frequently slips away to thwart the antics of the “evil” Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz, whose goal in life is to build an “-inator” that will finally give him dominion over the entire tri-state area.

Perry the Platypus puts on a fedora to become...Agent P!

I unashamedly admit that Phineas and Ferb has quickly become one of my favorite animated shows ever.  Marsh and his co-creator Dan Povenmire have developed an enterprise that is truly for all ages.  Phineas and Ferb doesn’t talk down to kids, and it doesn’t have to make jokes that go completely over their heads to get adults laughing, too.  The show is also educational.  Personally, I have learned about reverse engineering and aglets (those plastic things on the end of your shoelaces)–and those are just the topics that come to mind right now.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz definitely has a love/hate thing for Agent P.

Phineas and Ferb is clever, funny, creative, energetic, smart, engaging, and incredibly enjoyable.  Basically, it’s everything I’d want to be as a writer.

If you’ll allow me to digress for a moment, I’ve had a weird Twilight Zone-ish moment kind of related to Phineas and Ferb.  Sometimes, words and phrases will pop into my head and I’ll think, Hey, that would be a good name for a band.  Before I’d even heard of the show, I decided that “The Flying Fishmongers” was a viable moniker for a future group.  I mean, do the musically gifted fishmongers fly, or do they monger flying fish?  It could be one of the great mysteries of the universe.

Is it just me or does Swampy Marsh resemble Major Monogram, whom he also voices on the show? Just me? Oh, okay.

Months later and after that fateful afternoon of babysitting, I started to catch Phineas and Ferb once in a while on television.  One afternoon, I saw a rerun in which the boys decide to help Ferb’s Grandpa Reginald complete a motorcycle stunt.  What do you imagine the name of his motorcycle group was?  Strangely enough, they were “The Flying Fishmongers.”

I still haven’t quite decided how to feel about that moment.  On one hand, I feel weirdly connected to the show because of it.  On the other, I don’t know how it’s even possible that I thought of the same group of words that the creative team on a nationally beloved show did.  Maybe something happened in the world to make everyone think of “The Flying Fishmongers” and I didn’t realize that I was really on some giant mental bandwagon.  Another mystery of the universe.

Phineas and Ferb are gonna do it all!

Digression over.

When I found out that Jeff “Swampy” Marsh was coming to OU, I thought that attending his lecture would be an excellent way to spend the afternoon.  I was right.  He’s just as funny in person as you would hope.  He spent over an hour talking about how he and Povenmire pitched the show to every network and the impact of the show, as well as the processes of storyboarding, creating an episode, and writing the music (which is just as clever and catchy as the show).  He even gave us a little insight into an upcoming storyline, which I’m not at liberty to discuss.

Party-inator!

Marsh also screened a video of the actual Phineas and Ferb pitch that they gave to Disney.  Music and voiceover by Povenmire gave life to the detailed storyboards of the pilot episode, “Rollercoaster.”  I could see why Disney eventually picked it up (though Marsh said that it took a while for the company to do so), and I completely admire how the duo was able to maintain their original vision through all the business sludge of a big company like Disney.  It gives me hope for creative people everywhere.

If you aren’t on the Phineas and Ferb train, you need to be.  Below is the full episode of “Rollercoaster”–try not to be too jealous that I got to see it all storyboarded out and in the company of one of the creators.  I got this on YouTube, so I’m pretty sure it’s not illegal.  If the FBI bursts through my door, though, I’ll use my best Doofenshmirtz voice and curse a platypus or something.

I’m Not Usually This Philosophical

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Write what you know.

Well, who the hell decided that?

Here’s what the mantra is really saying:  Write what you are moderately familiar with and comfortable laying claim to.

After all, if you only write what you know, everything becomes an autobiography.  Or a textbook.

I have no delusions about my life.  I know that it’s not interesting enough to warrant an autobiography, textbook, or even a tri-fold pamphlet.  Nothing against other blogs.  Some people do lead compelling lives; I just don’t.  Does that mean I can’t write?  Unacceptable.

So, I’m taking it upon myself to change age-old monikers.  Here’s what the saying should be:

Write what you think.  Write what you feel.  Write what you want.

That’s exactly what I intend to do.