Oct 30, 2011

Interview with Pigtails - Halloween Answers

Thank you to the crew that submitted Halloween questions for Pigtails!  We slapped together a video response today, complete with a Barbie microphone, haphazard visit to an apple-gourd farm, windy woods and more. 

Hope you have a good week! 



Oct 29, 2011

Marathon Pacing and Cheek Leakage Thwarted

Pacers are usually worried about keeping the beat and helping their group finish the marathon on goal time. 

on schedule at 15 miles, 11 to go

I was more concerned about cheek leakage* out the back of my 5" shorts.  And there was a decent chance of B.B. (Ball Blowout), spillage from the loincloth as crude as a British Petroleum accident.  Eyeballs would scab on contact.  Oh well, I had a job to do, tuck 'n go. 

*Note - Cheek leakage refers to buttocks protruding out the bottom of some seriously short shorts, not pooping my pants.  Just wanted to clarify since some readers had questions.  Carry on. 

An eGuitar ripped 115 decibels of National Anthem.  Ears bled and adrenaline boiled.  Joe Mini-Riggs and Yelena Russian Concussion lined up next to me.  And there was Kramer, Martin, Tony and Adrian.  Up ahead was Riggs on deck to pace the 1:23 half and Scroggins behind ready to lead the 1:50 halfers.  It was a veritable SCRC Rage Taco mob at the start.  Wasn't sure what the heck Tony was doing here, he'd just run a hot Chicago marathon the prior weekend.

Difficult to tell how many were in my 3:05 group, I think a dozen.  It was too loud to talk, we'd shake out the pack after the gun.  Hoped at least 5 runners would maintain 7-minutes-per-mile and finish beside for a Boston qualifier. 

swinging a 48" stick for 26.2 miles, aiming at a 3:05 finish @7 minute pace @8:00 am, drinking 3 GUs and 12 Dixies of carbs, 1 blue-box stop  #NumbersOverload

Bang, go time!  

Feels slow the first couple miles, but irreparable damage if we don't conserve.  A speed that seems anemic from the gate requires more and more horsepower to maintain past 18 miles.  The pacer's job is to restrain the group early on, then nudge the throttle beyond 20 miles, overriding fatigue's temptation to slow.

Mile three, we chugged a mile up Grand Ave.  A lean female in pink top and black spandex gooses the gas and pulls ahead.  Yelena's ready to spank the Spanx gal.  I look over at her and quietly quip: "Stay with me through mile 8 and the hills".  Then she could tap out and gain on Lycra lady if she felt solid.  Ignore, Yelena locked crosshairs and lit the Scud missile.  I shrugged and yelled "GO YELENA, CLUSH HER!"

South of Grand now and a contentious five miles of hills.  I didn't say much, 3:05 is solid and most of the runners know what they're doing by now.  Cujo was off his leash and lunged close to our calves near Pat's house on 42nd.  And a massive black bear/labradoodle mix foamed behind fence at the corner.  Must've been an Ohio exotic animal escaped and hungry to munch on bony legs.

Old guy apologizing for the hills on Foster Loop, lonely tuba lobbing out sad notes like an old shuffling elephant.  Turning a 7:20 per mile up the hills, 6:40 down, our splits balanced out.  I barked at the group to take their first GU pack 45 minutes in.

A grinning Mike R. herded us along Tonawanda towards the Salisbury House.  Needed to power-tinkle, a blue stink-box waited ahead.  This is the same kybo I'd attempted to use a few weeks prior when Joe and I were doing a 20 mile recon' run.  It was occupied by a construction worker last time, so I made an emergency drop and left stink-chili in the woods.  Wiped with crispy oak tree leaves.  Lucky today, the toilet was vacant, I handed off the pace sign for a 30 second leak.  Greg watched me trying to catch the group at the corner of 'Wanda and Grand, he yelled "What the heck you doing back there Tank, quit playing around and catch them!"

Ryan and Aaron marshalling the corner of Polk and Harwood as they do each year.  Kip clicking pictures on the roundabout, trying to convince us we look fresh.  The Mayor hawking Gatorade near mile 9, our group still 10 strong. 

Waved at Jenny on Kingman a couple times, disappointed her shin splints sidelined her marathon.  She didn't belch this time.  High-fived Werner on the opposite side of the road as he returned from the Drake loop, deep breathing a 2:46 'thon.  Curls and Pigtails snapping photos (my 9-year-old captured most of the pics in this post) on Polk, daughter holding a GO DADDY!! sign.  I blew her a kiss and spat lime Gatorade.  Up ahead we watched Kramer and his friend return for another stink closet visit. 

The brand spankin' new GPS watch died at mile 13.  A wrist laptop triangulating satellites, it spits out real-time pace, distance and other dorky data useful for staying on task.  Good thing I had the Ironman chrono' strapped on for backup, we weren't flying completely blind.  Went ahead and gave Scheels an earful when returning the faulty watch the next day.

Bike support-crew was great, one rolled up near the old Science Center and asked if we needed water, GU, ice or a towel.  I thanked him and requested a hot plate of Chicken Parmesan.  No dice.

Cautioned my 3:05 compadres not to go Kenyan on the mile downhill drop to 17.  Conserve for the Big Bertha ring of death at Water Works Park (1,500 acres, largest urban park in the U.S.).  I've paced this marathon 3 times, and without fail, the group always dissolves about now.  This year was no exception.  Our troop was down to 8 entering Bertha, attrition, quad fail, then there were four.  Joe was still on my heels, he looked okay.  Could see Yelena up ahead, The Bear had mounted and she was struggling. 

Joe's hanging there in red on the giant ring of death, windy desolation decimated the group #ThenThereWere4

Came up on Yelena in the 20's around Gray's Lake, we lost Joe and another runner by the end of the footbridge over the lake.  One remained, Brent, learned he's a 5th year student at Iowa State training to be an architect.  Mile 23, I told him to go up ahead if he felt good.  He shook his head, mumbled "no way" and stayed beside.

Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, a little over a mile to go!  Brent asked me about predicted finishing time, I told him probably a low 3:04.  He smiled real big.

We made a final pass coming home.   

backwards hat Brent hung tough and was the lone 3:05 group finisher, caught Colonel Red Shoes 20 feet from the finish  #LateKill

Crossed the line a few seconds faster than goal time, congratulated Brent and gave him the pace sign to remember the race (plus I'm pretty sick of the bloody thing after holding it for 26 miles).  Hung around and talked with a few finishers, then went to town on the 2-block long smorgasbord, eager to replenish 3,000 calories.  Pulled pork, ice-cream, yogurt, oranges, Domino's pizza, granola and drinks.  I was yelling over the fence at Pigtails and chucking BBQ sliders at her, "Eat up honey, this is lunch!"

A guy was walking around the chute asking if anyone wanted to donate their finisher medal to a local children's hospital.  Got enough of these at home, so I handed it over.  

Another one down, no cheek leakage.


Oct 26, 2011

Interview with Pigtails - Halloween

Way back when we did our first interview with Pigtails, video hadn't been invented yet so the mic' did the job.  And the questions mostly honed on Bieber fever.  

Note to readers:  We're Amish-like when it comes to pop culture.  Pigtails barely knows who Bieber is, so you'll mostly see blank stares if you go there with questions.

She's hitting hard on Halloween, but we're game for any topic.  Leave a comment with your questions for pumpkin shirt, she'll respond via vlog soon.  

Have fun Trick or Treating!


Oct 25, 2011

(almost) Wordless Wednesday - Crack Kills

My cousin-in-law (if there is such a thing) posted this update and photo to Facebook yesterday:

"Lady putting her bratty kids in the car as we were leaving Coop's first dental appointment."


That is all.


Oct 22, 2011

A Morning Run

I haven't gotten the new running blog fired up yet, so you'll have to put up with a few jog posts on B&P every now and then.

This morning's 12 miler reminded me why I love this sport.  Flip the poetry lever, let's run:

Puffing condensation smoke as the sun wakes
Ten legs wheeling atop a carpet of Autumn crunch
Banter-laced laughs as deer forage
Not a single soul, a town sleeps, the morning is ours

Years of fitness swallow the miles
A shotgun fires three rounds in the distance 

We talk races, food, our kids and trout
Riggs' expecting soon
Ryan's wife set a half 'thon PR last week
Tony suggests we slowdown

I ask who farted

Exit the paved trail and dig into singletrack
Tree roots poke and fan through dirt like varicose veins
A pissed squirrel cusses, a lone river rower laps beside 
The trail turns to seed, wading through shin-deep shrubs
We train along a ribbon of prairie grass matted down like bedhead

Ryan's hip aches
Riggs gooses the throttle
The woods are drained of chlorophyll

My ankles bleed needles as cockleburr bushes inject
Weeds dripping morning-dew wrap, choke and soak the Asics
Steam rises from Tony's back as we wrangle twelve hundred calories into motion

Absorbing Trinity's creation
Manufacturing endorphins
Panting beside my buddies

This is why I run


Oct 19, 2011

Love of a Lifetime

I'm not usually one to link to news articles on my blog.  Doing so is as exciting as a dad reviewing Dora products or a mom blogging on meatloaf.  But I came upon a story that's too good to pass up, I must share it. 

God says in Genesis it's not good for man to be alone.  So He created a helpmeet.  Married for 72 years, true love, read it and weep.  Hoping one day I can experience that kind of love.

"It was really strange, they were holding hands, and dad stopped breathing but I couldn't figure out what was going on because the heart monitor was still going," said Dennis Yeager. "But we were like, he isn't breathing. How does he still have a heart beat? The nurse checked and said that's because they were holding hands and it's going through them. Her heart was beating through him and picking it up."


Oct 15, 2011

Hallmark by Pigtails or What a 9-Year-Old Thinks is Ludicrous

Running friend Kip scooped up a heap of Silly Bandz at the Chicago Marathon expo last week and shipped them to Pigtails.

She asked: "What's Kip's favorite color, and doesn't he have a mustache?"  The color question cracked me up, Kip's nearly 50.  I said:  "I bet he likes green and blue, and yes he has a 'stache."

She pulled out the Crayola's, rolled her tongue and chewed it while color-scrawlin' a card.  Ten minutes later, she ran it over to me, her hand muffling a laugh.

"Daddy, do you notice anything funny about the card?"

I squinted and didn't see anything odd, other than Kipe resembling an orange-faced Oompa Loompa with hairy lip.

She finally blew and giggled "I WROTE HIS WORDS IN GIRL COLORS AND SIGNED MY NAME IN BOY COLORS.  AHH HAAHAAA!!!"  This was completely ludicrous in her mind.

Kip rolled when I explained the colors to him.


Oct 12, 2011

Bubble Gum on my Beard: Single Parents and Self Esteem

Cari from Bubble Gum On My Shoe is back for another guest post!  Her first installment plunged us into the early days of single parenting.   

Today's topic is single parent self esteem.  Take a gander at Cari's post below, then head over to her blog to get my take on the subject.

Take it away, Cari:

Single Parenting & Self Esteem: What I know and why it’s enough 
Stories of divorce are rarely comforting or cheery or re-told without painful memories and wounds that are still fresh.  I would be a liar if I said I hadn’t been there.  Deep in despair, distraught, and singing my, why, why, why’s.  But I’m not there anymore, and that’s the difference.  I’m okay.  Actually, I’m great!  If you’re looking for the recipe, I am sorry; each person must find their own way.  
But my, “hey I’m okay” singledom doesn’t come without pressure, heavy stares and judgment from those around me.  Seems like it’s every one’s business to figure out just WHY I am still single.   And why I don’t date, and why am I not putting myself out there, and why am I not on Match.com for Pete’s sake!  All that pressure sure makes it seems like my top priority should be finding a man!  Instead of people asking me about my dating life, I’d rather them ask about my kids, how I’m getting through the day to day, how’s my heart, am I happy.   
When the opportunity to date presents itself, I go for it.  But I have no desire to seek out a relationship right now.  Just because I don’t have the desire to “put myself back out there” doesn’t mean I don’t want that.  I desperately want a partner in my life.  I get lonely; I get overwhelmed; I miss it.  That being said I won’t let that consume me.  All consuming emptiness breeds bitterness and bitterness breeds despair.  Don’t despair single parents.  Despair is often a slippery slope down the hill of regret.  Despair makes you snatch up the man or woman that seems good enough, but why settle for that, when you might get great?
There is someone out there for me.  There is someone out there for you.  God is waiting for the most perfect opportunity in your life to give you that.  Oftentimes when we want something so much, we are willing to overlook too much.  I’m looking for Mr. Right, not Mr. Right-Now.  I’m not looking for a father figure for my kids; I’m not looking for someone to fill the void my ex left.  I have to be comfortable with me, I have to love me, and I have to be okay with being alone and know that I will still have a great and fulfilling life.  I do have a great and fulfilling life.
Just a small rant about Jerry McGuire’s, “you complete me”:  the man in your life should not complete you.  You are complete, as flawed and scatterbrained and unorganized as you may or may not be you are enough, even in sweatpants and ponytails.  I fear so many single parents look for someone to help carry the emotional burden of expectation they put upon themselves.  They almost become dependent upon their significant other to be happy.  You are enough.  Let someone into your life who knows that, recognizes that, lifts you up and supports you.
You are enough.
Thanks for letting me invade your blog, Beard!

Oct 9, 2011

Follower Freebie - $50 Draw

I'm tardy on the Follower Freebie $50 drawing.  Was stalling out for Apple to trim fat on the iPod Touch for vloggin' duties.  Patience pays off, it dropped by $30.  Filming retro style, action:

Congratulations to Cari!  It wasn't rigged, I promise.  


Oct 6, 2011

Triberr and Bones and Stuff

They say content's king in the blogging world.  Wield the pen with precision and wit, and bam, readers will run to you foaming and begging for another post.  

Bull honkey.

Triberr is king.

If you write, you're already familiar with Triberr and will agree with me. 
If you don't blog, then you probably think I made a typo.

Triberr is a reach multiplier, allowing bloggers of similar interests to pool into a tribe.  Each tribe is yoked to Twitter, and the horsepower builds as your post is spread to Twitter followers of members of the tribe.  In a nutshell, it sends the right blogs to the right readers.  New people will read your stuff. 

Before Triberr, Beard and Pigtails hit count was limper than Grampy without his Blue Pill.  Maybe 50 clicks a day.  On August 4, a B&P post went live in the Social Dads tribe for the first time on Triberr.  The hit count jumped to 300: 

Christina, over at Solitary Mama wrote an excellent piece on the power of Triberr.  Head over to get the scoop.  She has a mustache.

I also recently joined a friendly tribe named Side Effects of Single Parenting.  Our fearless leader, Chief Cari, sponsored a Twitter chat Friday night so members of the tribe could meet each other.  The #SingleParentsTalking chat picked up steam and had a good contingent by the end of the night.  Another is scheduled 10/7/11 at 9:00 pm central.  Cari, Christina and Beard tell you how to join the chat. 

Won't you come chew the cud with us? 


Oct 1, 2011

Single Parents, Get Your Geek On

What are you passionate about?

What makes your heart patter and pastes a grin you can't wipe off?

For me, it's running.  

I geek it.  
Dig it.  
Heart it.  

I fear many single moms and dads feel they can't pursue their passion due to the heavy workload that comes with not having a spouse.  

That's how I felt when first becoming a single dad at 27.  I was fist deep in diaper poo and doubt, afraid I wouldn't have time to run. 

The thought of not being able to do something that meant so much was painful.  Would Phelps be bummed if he couldn't pound laps in the pool? 

Single mom or dad, please try and carve out some time to pursue your passion.  It won't be easy.  It'll probably involve finagling your schedule and enlisting the help of friends, family, sitters, locking junior in a cage and a miracle.  But do it.  

We gotta get out there and live, figuring out creative ways to weave around the circumstances that are holding us back.

I'm thankful for an employer and boss who allow me a flexible schedule so I can sweat most of my workouts over lunch.  And people like my friend, Curls, who watches Pigtails on Saturday mornings so I can trot out longer marathon training runs.
Pigtails and Curls
Props to the Serious Coin Running Club (SCRC), who (or whom??) I run with each day.  They have been the one constant in my life when all else seems to be ever-changing or crumbling.

Six of us from the SCRC competed in a college cross country 8K this weekend.  Racing against larger teams that had up to 20 runners, we brought the heat and held our own against the young'uns.

Ryan, Brian, Greg, Andrew, Beard/Tank and Martin

Waiting for the gun, I hadn't run one of these off-road bloodbaths since high school


Brian and Martin tightening the screws on a coupla Drake runners

Burned like hell and I loved every minute of it

Single parents, get out there and get your geek on!