Other stuff

I really want to finish the Marine Corps Marathon narrative while it’s still fresh, but I have a friend in from the U.K. and we are working on a screenplay, so I am a little preoccupied. I will try to get it done before the end of the day.


Capitol Hill the Hard Way

One of the things that is remarkable about following roughly half the pack of a marathon through a water point is that there is a carpet of empty water cups on the ground. Somehow they have found a vendor for these cups that makes a waxed-paper cup that isn’t slippery when it is wet and accreted into a kind of pavement. I slurp up my 3/4 of a cup of water, an additional 3/4 cup of Ultima, make the Ultima face (bleccchy) and then drop both cups. We would then walk another ten or so steps and resume our tired jog.

Then, I notice that there are office buildings stretching up about six stories on the next block. This is the sign that my nemesis is near: Capitol Hill. Many, many presidents have come to hate Capitol Hill, but how many of them have had to run up it after already running 14 miles? Lo, I think that I hate it even more than they.

This year we started to churn our way up the hill with plenty of optimism. I really wanted to run all the way up the bastard this year, even though I was less prepared this year than last… I thought that if I just dug deep enough, maybe… But somewhere about halfway up, I gave out and had to walk. Oh, the agony of admitting defeat.

We were all walking, after I signalled that I didn’t think that I could run the whole way to the top, and this guy on a bike pulled even with us on the course, and he had very LOUD speakers blasting Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.” He was just easing along playing music for the racers. As he started to pull away, I thought, “I really want to hear the rest of that song.” So, mutterring to myself, I resumed the uphill-run/shuffle. My legs felt like poles at that point, and I was so far past pain in my chest that it wasn’t really even worth considering, but I got all the way there.

You may be looking up or down Capitol Hill one day and you may ask yourself “Geez, what’s the big deal? It’s not that big.” After 15 miles, somehow it turns into K2.
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Sweat, blood and Aquaphor.

There’s the whole peeing thing. On the way to running a marathon, if one is smart one has totally overloaded on water and some soft of carbohydrated sports drink, preferably not Gatorade. (all the sugar in sports drinks makes it difficult for you to absorb the electrolytes. Ultima is a good alternative, though it tastes like butt.)

When we got off the train at Arlington National Cemetary, there’s a 3/4 mile walk to the starting line, and there is a line about that long for the Port-a-potties. There are, however, holly bushes that are something like 20 feet tall. I think that they get that tall because once a year they get a potent mix of electrolytes and water splashed on their roots by a thousand runners.

Anyway, there are about 12,000 people that run the Marine Corps Marathon, so the crowd stretches up the hill away from the start and wraps around the top. They fire this goddawful loud howitzer to start the race and then everyone back at the slow part of the pack stands around for ten minutes while the Kenyans that run like deer and everyone at the front takes off. No one officially starts until the little chip that is laced into their shoe crosses the start line anyway.

The first mile is always a breeze- we run past ten thousand well-wishers, and they are clanging cowbells and blowing horns, it’s not like running at all, and we are always careful not to rabbit up to a pace that will cost us later.

I have to say that they first six or so miles are usually just a little jog- we talk and wind around the course. Then we run back across the start line, cross the Potomac and enter into DC. Once across the bridge we ran through Georgetown. Miles six, seven and eight are pleasant as we trot through Georgetown and see places that I always think “I need to come back here and check this out.” (I never have.)
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Soon, soon…

I am going to try and get a little rest before I do the whole “this is what running a marathon is like…” entry.

I can tell you that it’s still pretty hard to walk and that I am probably going to lose a toenail before it’s all over. I got a pretty wicked blister under the middle toe on my right foot.

Whew. I have been eating and eating and eating… Tired…

More soon.


Well, I did it- finished my third marathon and survived. It was about as positive as an experience can be and still be that painful. My legs are thrashed. Going up and down stairs is agonizing. I don’t even have the energy to sit in chairs. I am lying in bed as I type this. (thanks, Powerbook)

Met the fine, upstanding citizen that is Dave Tepper of Interrobang. What a seriously stand-up guy. I’d love to have him for a neighbor.

He dumped some old macs on me that need some love and affection, but I think that they might make great Linux machines after some spare parts lovin’.

SO, you’d think that would be the highlight of my weekend, wouldn’t you? Well, all this is just the background to the real challenge….

After running 26.2 miles with my dad, I crossed the finish line and got down on one knee and asked my lovely and talented girlfriend to be my lovely and talented wife. And she said yes.

Getting back up off of one knee again turned out to be the real challenge. Boy, am I tired…

13 hours in a car? SIGN ME UP!

Today is the day that David Strain and my lovely and talented girlfriend load up in the old ottomobile (it’s German) and head for our nation’s capital so that my pops and I can have out little annual torture ritual. Wish all three of us luck (getting there in a 20 year-old car) and well, my pops and I do this every year, and we’re never fully prepared. Oh, well.

Uh, what?

I think that maybe I have been in Norbizness’ ashtray too much or something…. I know that there was a post on my twin brother’s blog anouncing a fun and interesting multi-blog cross-talk interview ping-fest this weekend. I went to link back to it for the interview below and it’s gone?

I know that I didn’t imagine this…

UPDATE: Duh, I found it.

there’s norbizness like, uh….

OK- Opening shot in the cross-blog-interview-lovefest. In this corner, we have Austin, Texas’ finest, Norbizness.

Since the two of us agree on anything and everything involving politics and sports, I decided to interview him on things of or relating to his hometown, the live music capital of the United States, Austin, Texas.

1. Who has better gingerbread pancakes, Kirby Lane
or the Magnolia?

I’ve never tried them. I preferred the bacon-wrapped
bacon with a side of queso with bacon bits.

2. Are you the Chuy’s cocktail waiter that ratted
out Jenna Bush?

I do know people who work/worked at Chuy’s,
unfortunately they were not working at the time she
loudly, repeatedly asked for their overrated
margaritas. Everyone knows Baby Acapulco’s has the
type of margaritas young Jenna would love, because
they basically mix it up with Everclear– no time to
fuck around with mere tequila.

3. What’s the deal with all those bats under the

Bats? BATS?!? Holy shit, I’m moving to Waco.

4. Are grackles really from another planet or do
they just sound that way to non-Texans?

Yeah, they pretty much sound like me when I was on the
unfiltered Camel kick.

5. Have the yuppies ruined 6th Street yet? If no,
what’s taking them so long?

It’s been a rough few years for yuppie-dom. They tried
to get smoking banned, but that’s about to be
overturned. All of their high-rise condos in downtown
Austin are tanking, the high-tech industry is moving
to Albany, and someone who looks mysteriously like me
keeps firebombing Starbucks and shot bars.

6. Is there hope for SXSW ever recovering from
becoming the industry wank-fest that it became in
the Post-Nirvana/let’s-everybody-get-a-pet-grunge-
band/oh,-this-indie-rock-thing-is-cool era?


7. What’s that in the ashtray?

It’s for my glaucoma.

8. What’s in your pockets?

It’s for my chronic pain from an old rugby injury.

9. Is there a spare tire on your car/truck/vespa,
and if so, is there any air in it?

In the words of my personal hero and undisputed
Messiah, Bill O’Reilly: “I’m evaluating this interview
very closely… Now we’ve spent now, all right, 50
minutes of me defending defamation against me in every
possible way. And if you think that’s fair,
(Patrick), then you need to get in another business.
I’ll tell you that right now. And I’ll tell your
listeners, if you have the courage to put this on the
air, this is basically an unfair interview designed
to try to trap me into saying something that Harper’s
Magazine can use. And you know it. And you should be
ashamed of yourself. And that is the end of this interview.”

Well, what else was I going to do?

I saw this headline on CNN this morning and reminded me of something that happened back when I was married:

“Brain-damaged woman’s husband allows parents’ visit”

I clicked the story only to find out that another Bush family member was meddling in someone else’s life, but for a second, I flashed back six years…