Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Recycled: The ‘best’ of ‘Mad Dog Unleashed’ 2017

December 26, 2017

• Editor’s note: Since my Bicycle Retailer and Industry News column won’t survive into the New Year, I’ve decided to resurrect a six-pack’s worth of this year’s “Mad Dog Unleashed” screeds between now and then. Read ’em and weep. Or giggle, or roar, whichever you prefer.

Shoes for industry!

1. Sailin’ shoes make a mutt’s little feet bark

Well, the good thing in the first race blows, and right away Hymie commences to notice that his shoes seem full of feet, for there is nothing like a loser in the first race for making a guy notice his feet.“Tight Shoes,” by Damon Runyon

By Patrick O’Grady

Writing a column that’s even marginally about bicycling in January, with the walls closing in like plastered adobe wolves, feels like running in too-small shoes.

I was still stewing over the November election, having bet on an also-ran after picking back-to-back winners, and as Damon Runyon has taught us, there’s nothing like a loser to squeeze a gambler’s shoes.

It didn’t help that my new running shoes actually did seem full of feet, though they were my usual size (9 U.S., 42 Euro). In fact, like the undersized brogans Hymie Minsk and Rupert Salsinger wore in Runyon’s short story “Tight Shoes,” they were pinching my puppies quite some, though I hadn’t even kicked anyone in the pants with them yet.

Not for lack of temptation, mind you. But I was afraid that once I got started I’d never be able to stop. A fella could wear out a couple dozen pairs of kneecaps kicking all the asses that had it coming.

I’d start with the people who design shoes. If you ever find footwear that won’t underwrite your podiatrist’s next ski vacation in the Swiss Alps, buy all you can afford, because you will never see that particular model again. Not in this lifetime.

Then I might move on to the dog, who has deduced from observing me that it’s OK to poop indoors. I occasionally joke that as a freelancer I work from a home “orifice,” but it’s actually starting to smell like one.

And finally, there’s that other mutt, the ugly orange cur who’s crapping all over the Oval Office. Definitely on the bucket list for 2020. But I don’t think a size-42 shoe is going to get within field-goal range of his big butt anytime soon. Not unless that’s the size Vladimir Putin wears.

Old dog, new trick. As it turns out, our veterinarian says our dog has an excuse for his misbehavior. In addition to simply being an old fella, Mister Boo is showing some early signs of senility, kidney disease and control issues.

The orange mutt has a few of these problems as well, especially the latter, though his vet says he’s just fine, with “astonishingly excellent” lab-test results and “extraordinary” physical strength and stamina.

But between you and me, I’ve seen his vet. There’s another mongrel I wouldn’t take to a dogfight even if I thought he had a chance to win.

Meanwhile, back at cycling. … But we were talking about cycling here, and shoes—well, I was, anyway, until you wandered off, looking for something to read.

And as regards cycling, mostly I don’t, not in January, anyway. It’s too cold outdoors, and too dull indoors. (Plus the brown truck keeps coming around, and I ain’t talking UPS here, if you get my drift.)

So when the sun shines I take a quick spin around a short circuit I’ve worked out for evaluating touring bikes, and when it doesn’t I might do a little cyclocross for auld lang syne. But mostly I run. It’s quick, it’s good for you in a real bad for you sort of way, and as Richard Pryor said in “Live In Concert,” you never know when in real life you might have to.

“If somebody pull a knife on you and you can’t pull out nothin’ but a hand with some skin on it, your intelligence ought to tell you to … run!” he said. “And teach your old lady how to run so you don’t have to go back after her ass.”

She’s got legs. I don’t have to teach my old lady to run. Herself doesn’t ride much, even in good weather, but she runs a couple-three days a week year round and has finished a couple half-marathons.

I can’t kick her ass, either, and not just because I can’t catch her. Even trying wouldn’t be prudent. She’s seven years younger than I am, gets up real early, and knows where all the knives are. And if I try to run from her, she’ll catch me.

The other day she dragged me out on a grotesquely cold morning for a run that started way too soon and way too fast and that’s when I noticed that my new shoes seemed to be full of feet for some reason.

And she knows how to use ‘em. Afterward I was stumping around El Rancho Pendejo like Long John Silver, raving about going back to the store that sold me these too-small shoes and applying them to a few tailbones with vigor and malice aforethought.

Herself snorted, and suggested that if I ever joined her at the yoga studio, or even stretched something other than a metaphor now and then, maybe a little jog wouldn’t hobble me with plantar fasciitis, which sounds like the Italian for “Donald Trump’s gardener” but is actually some sort of painful heel injury.

I replied that if she wanted a well-heeled man around the house she should’ve married the orange mutt instead of the green one.

And now for some reason my ass hurts nearly as much as my feet.

• Editor’s note v2.0: This column appeared in the February 2017 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

11 o’clock blues

December 12, 2017

Say ‘ello to my leetle fren’, Espeedie Zapatas.

As I finished yesterday’s run I entered El Rancho Pendejo to wild applause and cheers.

I grinned, threw both hands in the air, and finally bowed before remembering that I’d left KUNM on to deter burglars and some pissant orchestra on “Performance Today” was stealing my thunder.

Well, it wasn’t as though I’d set a PR anyway.

And don’t believe your lyin’ eyes. No matter what that photo shows, I was not running in shorts. Well, I was, but they were under tights, and I was rockin’ two long-sleeved tops plus a tuque and gloves, too. I may be crazy, but I’m not insane. Cold out there! Colder than a ticket-taker’s smile at the Ivar Theatre on Saturday night.

Speaking of emotional weather reports, the forecast remains uncertain in Alabama. Talk about putting the vise grips on our mental health. I’m old enough to remember when we sent short-eyes to jail instead of the Senate.

No turkey, but a trot

November 24, 2017

Black Friday me arse. Here in the Duke City we’re expecting blue skies, a high near 70, and no bloody shopping.

Another Thanksgiving done and dusted. A thousand thank-yous to everyone who continues to pop round to the rumormongery, if only to see whether I’ve croaked and left them a slightly used bicycle or two or three.

Posole verde on the fire.

We kept it light this year. Neither family nor friends were in attendance (we phoned Herself the Elder, my sister, and our former Bibleburg tenant Judy) and thus the kitchen drudgery was nothing out of the ordinary.

I cooked a simple posole verde based on a recipe by Rodrigo Bueno, Herself whipped up a raspberry cobbler, and that was that. No leftover turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy and whatnot for snacking purposes, but the post-feast cleanup was greatly expedited.

Before sitting down to eat we went out for a short and leisurely run, neither of us having legged it around and about for a while. It was a gorgeous November day, with temps in the 60s and nothing but blue sky overhead.

Indeed, it was so pleasant we gave the cats a good airing, too, and they spent the rest of the day snoozing in their respective towers by a window.

Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), keeps an eye peeled for Rooski ratfuckers.

Ordinarily we watch “Home for the Holidays” on Thanksgiving, but this year we opted for a few episodes from season two of “Baskets,” a weird little series starring Zach Galifianakis. It’s not for everyone — especially now, since disgraced weirdo Louis C.K. is one of the co-creators and producers — but it’s definitely … different.

Elsewhere, there’s nothing different about the way special counsel Robert Mueller is pressing his inquiry into the Rooski ratfucking of the 2016 elections.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla favors a sunny spot underneath the yard art.

The Old Wise Heads speculate that Mike Flynn has rolled over and begun chirping canarylike arias, which is generally what happens when the laws have you by the short and curlies and wish to grab hold of someone a little higher up the criminal chain of command.

It’s probably a tad early to give thanks. But may we please have a few indictments neatly wrapped and under the tree by Christmas, Santa baby?

April showers (March edition)

March 28, 2017

‘Twas a fine soft day at El Rancho Pendejo.

Boy, can I pick a day for a birthday ride or what?

Yesterday, three hours of cycling in spring kit; today, 40 minutes of trail running in tights, long-sleeved polypro, rain jacket, tuque and woolen glove liners.

But hey, I’m not complaining. This is the upper Chihuahuan Desert and we’ll take all the aqua fria we can get and then some.

Plus I got to watch the neighbors’ 2-year-old splashing happily in the puddles, and heard the first hummingbird of 2017 while walking The Boo. It’s all good.

 

Chow dog

December 26, 2016
From left, taters, tea, bacon and eggs. Not pictured: English muffins.

From left, taters, tea, bacon and eggs. Not pictured: English muffins.

Christmas Day was one chilly sonofabitch, with a nasty bit of wind, so naturally Herself and I decided to go out for a short run, reasoning that we could do anything, no matter how sucky, for a half hour.

You will recall that I have “run” exactly once since May, while Herself pounds ground a couple days a week and did a half-marathon back in October. So imagine if you will an elderly, portly Irish setter chasing a young border collie over hill and dale.

After such a massive caloric expenditure I felt compelled to prepare a pot of pre-Mexican hominy stew, and this morning topped that off with a mess of pan-fried potatoes, hickory-smoked bacon, eggs over easy, English muffins, coffee and tea.

And now I feel slightly sluggish for some reason. Probably the bonk. I should eat something.

Phys ed

December 23, 2016
Jogging in a winter wonderland.

Jogging in a winter wonderland.

As longtime visitors to the DogS(h)ite know, I will never be smart.

Still, “never” is an awfully long time. Especially now that a study indicates that running “seems to require a greater amount of high-level thinking than most of us might imagine,” or so says Gretchen Reynolds in The New York Times.

The study, published in a neuroscience journal, found that the brains of competitive distance runners “had different connections in areas known to aid in sophisticated cognition than the brains of healthy but sedentary people,” Reynolds recounts, adding: “The discovery suggests that there is more to running than mindlessly placing one foot in front of another.”

Well. Shit. Naturally I laced up the old runners straight away and toddled off for my first jog of the winter.

And … nothing. Bupkis. Still as dumb as a stump.

Still, I’ll probably keep after it. At least running gets you out in the open air. Like crucifixion.

A donkey in rough shape

November 18, 2016
Hal Walter and Spike in 2000, after winning what I believe was their second world pack-burro championship in Fairplay, Colo.

Hal Walter and Spike in 2000, after winning what I believe was their second world pack-burro championship in Fairplay, Colo.

No, I’m not talking about the Democratic Party, though you could say the same about that lot.

I’m talking about Sherman, a neglected donkey adopted by Christopher McDougall, author of “Born to Run.”

McDougall collected Sherman after a Mennonite neighbor discovered the poor critter penned up in a cramped shed. He was, in a word, a mess:

Its fur was crusted with dung, turning its white belly black. In places the fur had torn away, revealing raw skin almost certainly infested with parasites. He was barrel-shaped and bloated from poor feed and his mouth was a mess, with one tooth so rotten it fell right out when touched. Worst of all were his hooves, so monstrously overgrown they looked like swim fins.

McDougall was something of a mess himself not that long ago, a self-described “broken-down ex-athlete battling constant injuries and 50 excess pounds.” Running saved him, and he wondered whether it might do the same for Sherman.

I’d stumbled across a ragtag crew in the Rocky Mountains who kept alive an old miners’ tradition of running alongside donkeys in races as long as 30 miles. Was it possible? Could I bring Sherman back from this calamity so that he and I, side by side, could run an ultramarathon?

I immediately pinged my pal Hal Walter, who has been doing this sort of thing for as long as I’ve known him, and even longer, which is to say for the better part of quite some time.

He replied that yep, he knew about the column, and might even be a part of it down the road, since McDougall interviewed him for the series.

“Might be the only time I’m in the NYT this lifetime, though I did tour the building during a high school journalism field trip,” he added.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the articles in this series. Maybe we’ll learn some way of rescuing that other crippled donk and teaching it how to run.

 

Sixty-two … something

March 28, 2016
The proof is in the pudding ... or, in this case, on the Cateye.

The proof is in the pudding … or, in this case, on the Cateye.

Well, I didn’t manage 62 miles on my birthday. Nor did I ride 62 kilometers.

How’s 62 minutes sound to you?

Yeah, sounds that way to me, too.

But this morning I managed a run that lasted exactly half that time, and I reckon that’s the equivalent of 62 minutes on the bike. So I got that going for me, which is nice.

It wasn’t an entirely unproductive birthday. My burro-racing pal Hal Walter has expressed interest in doing a podcast, so I broke out all the old hardware and software and gave myself a refresher course in Podcasting 101.

Everything still works — though what Apple has done to GarageBand while I was otherwise occupied is matched only by what they’ve done to iMovie — and we may do a short test run tomorrow, if time, Skype and Call Recorder permit.

If we actually manage to slap something together, I’ll give you the 411 on the sumbitch. Expect it to be heavy on the works of Jim Harrison.

Shoes for industry

August 29, 2015
The view to the west from atop Trail 365A.

The view to the west from atop Trail 365A.

Definitely on a down cycle as regards the bicycle. Running is the thing lately.

It’s so bloody simple: Pull on some shorts and a raggedy T, add shoes, and leave. Return when suitably sweaty and enfeebled. What’s not to like? Besides the pain and suffering, that is.

I did break out the old Voodoo Nakisi the other day for a short jaunt along Trail 365 and its various offshoots. I got a long-distance look at the haze from the Washington-state fires. It wasn’t my first — during my trip back to the Duke City from Bibleburg I couldn’t even see the damn’ mountains.

I’ll probably go for another short ride today, because not even I am dim enough to run two days in a row unless something really big and ornery is chasing me. Like, say, Peter Sagan, who got knocked off his bike by a race vehicle today and decided to punch a couple of them. Hulk smash!

 

 

Runnin’ down this dusty road

August 15, 2015
Wheels in the sky keep on turning; I don't know where I'll be tomorrow.

Wheels in the sky keep on turning; I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow.

Every year, at some point, I develop an allergy to the bicycle.

Maybe it’s more of an overuse injury. After months of writing, blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, cartooning, photographing and making videos of bicycles, I pull a mental muscle. I don’t even want to ride the sonsabitches. Game over. Move along, move along, nothing to see, nothing to see.

So I spent much of the past few weeks easing back into running, and it was a pleasant diversion indeed.

Cycling is preferable to motoring in large part because it slows you down, lets you take a closer look at the world as you pass through. Running — OK, in my case, jogging — takes you deeper into slo-mo, gives you a fresh appreciation of the trails you ride.

First step: Lower the expectations. The trails I ordinarily negotiate with verve, grace and panache on two wheels feel entirely different on two feet. I become a stumblebum. Herself punks me on the hills. It’s not one little bit like “Chariots of Fire.”

Since I no longer run year round for cyclo-cross, I have to ease back into the discipline, tentatively, like a Republican faced with a substantive policy question on the campaign trail. First I jog the uphills and walk the flats and downhills; then I start jogging the flats, too; and finally I add the descents.

After a few outings I reach a point at which I can perform an act that looks slightly like running, only much, much slower. To pass the time I imagine myself to be in a Bizarro World “Godzilla” movie in which I am the monster and the lizards scurrying out of my path are the terrified residents of Tokyo.

Eventually, of course, I go back to the bikes. That’s where the money is, and I have to pay attention. Also, bills.

Still, it’s refreshing to drop the pro act and go full-bore amateur for a while. Oh, no — there goes Tokyo! Go go Godzilla!