I get drunk, yell obscenities at friend running half marathon, regret volume of my voice, saddened I did not also race, sign up for more races

A special congratulations to roommate Nick, above, who with my negative reinforcement skills, ran his race seven minutes faster than he expected. Here, he takes an ice bath after the race. He is not a very happy man.

I am really upset I didn’t run in the Kansas Half Marathon this last weekend. My reason for not running was I didn’t think I was in peak condition. If I’m going to race, I’m going to race—I’m going to push the people ahead of me to the brink, cut corners tight, sprint the finish, and puke after the finish line (my calling card).

I need to man up and just run for fun.

Despite my hour and forty-five minutes of sleep the night before, and the fact that I was drinking up to and including two hours before the race, as I watched all my friends running and gloriously finishing, I felt jealousy melt through me. I was seething in disgust for my decision. I exercised my frustration by yelling at everyone to “KICK IT IN!!”

Before I blabber on, congratulations to all my peeps. Nick, Clayton, Jonathan, Faith, Melissa, Kit, Sarah, and even congratulations Guy Nelson, who on a whim signed up to run the 5K, his first. He finished moderately, to boot.

So, not running in this race was a horrible decision. “Oh I’m not in my best shape yet! (tiny violin)”

STFU and GTFO you idiot!

Point taken, Self.

Horrible decisions seem to either have a domino affect, help dig the hole deeper, or compound. However you cliche it, I decided to make more bad decisions and sign up to run way more races. And by races I mean long-ass races. Sweet, let’s torture myself for fun.

But, as all my Dog Days friends would have me know, these races are the ultimate test of self-worth, mental and physical capacity, and a celebration of the human experience.

I’ll quit being so dramatic now. Regardless of fitness, I’ll sign up for races and baby them if all my friends are doing it, because it’ll be fun like always. I’ll run more marathons and crazy races, because I have two functioning legs and determination, and I shouldn’t waste them. And I will definitely continue to negatively reinforce my friends, because they don’t need all that “You’re doing great!”/”Keep it up!” talk to make them think they’re freaking Prefontaine. “NICK! Don’t embarrass us! Speed the f*ck up!”

He was doing fine, but it definitely helped him. The people around him laughed, and wasted energy doing so. For the next minute he had more oxygen pumping through his blood and muscles, and more determination to make me eat my words. I was joking obviously. I was also still drunk :/ I was also yelling, loudly. My bad.

Red Dog (looking at the giant bubble thing people can get in and walk around on the  field with): Did anyone drink last night? I dare you to get in that ball.

Eric: Red Dog, I was drinking until 4:45 a.m. (It was 9:30 a.m. at this point).

Red Dog: (Good chuckle)

Eric: (Burp)

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Cat-called in five seconds

KU is a great training ground for any runner, given its varying terrain, beautiful landscapes, and gorgeous residents.

About a week or so ago I was on a run-of-the-mill five mile trot that looped me through KU’s campus, which is one of the top three most beautiful places I’ve ever seen during the spring. The weekend before I ran in extreme heat and was poorly hydrated. I nearly collapsed mid-run, and even tried to flag down a motorist to drag my sorry ass to the hospital. I felt a blackout coming on and gave a weak wave and coughed out, “Hey!”

They either didn’t see me, or remember their mother telling them to not pick up hitch hikers, and drove off. I plopped against a tree in the shade and slowly felt my barrings come back to me. I eventually walked home and took a 10 minute cold-water shower and chugged Gatorade.

So here I am on KU’s campus, temporarily parked in front of JRP. The memory of the Grim Reaper fresh in my mind, I pit-stopped for a water break. I was also overheating like an em-effer. It’s mid-April, and I’m sucking down heat and humidity like I was sitting in front of a Vick’s Vaporizer. I drank my water and decided for the first time this season I was shedding the shirt and running topless.

Mid-summer, I barely want to wear shirts when I go to the bars or grocery shopping. I hate feeling hot, so I ditch shirts quicker than if I was working the pole. But it’s mid-April, and I haven’t warmed up to that comfort level.

Or rather, I have warmed up to that comfort level, but I’m not sure the rest of the world has yet. There just aren’t a lot of shirtless runners this time of the year. By being the only shirtless runner, I up the chances 20-fold I’m going to have an…altercation… with someone in a car. But it’s hot as hell and I’m scared of blacking out again.

I’m standing in the shade of JRP. Look left. Look right. No cars or people. This is a good place to shed the shirt, tuck it in to my shorts by my hip, and roll out. Let’s do this.

Bam. Shirt off. White chest out in all it’s unshaved glory. I inhale my pre-acceleration breath…

“WOOOO!! OW OW!!”

“God damn it.”

An SUV of guys, nonetheless, cat-call me within five seconds of my shirt being off. I am the meat hanging in the butcher’s window for straight frat boys to holler at apparently, because this happens to me “a shitload.”

"Im sorry, what do you think about my running attire?... Ah yes, I am the one with ridiculous taste, Mr. Truck."

(I’m sure many male runners can attest to this. I’m not claiming this to be an issue I deal with because I’m some Calvin Klein model or something) I’m not presuming their motivation, but I’ve been cat-called dozens of times in the last three years. Seventy-five percent of the time it’s dudes. Of that 75 percent, half are frat boys “hollering” at me, and the other time it’s guys in camo trucks calling me a “faggot.” They must not have dictionaries next to the rifle in the window, because I don’t think they realize they are misusing that word. Not to mention they obviously have no taste in civility or humanity.

The frat boy is a more curious case. Either they think the shirtless runner is full of himself and want to mock him (in my defense, I’m full of myself, but was also disgustingly [temperature] hot), or they really think cat-calling me has the appearance of hilarity to the rest of their friends in the car, but also gives them an excuse to check out another guy in a neutral setting, thus satisfying their bi or homosexual curiosities. Whatever, a-holes. Either way, I would kick the ish out of you in any race and I would steal your girlfriend if she was in the car with you.

I can’t speak for women, but I only assume it’s worse for you. Dealing with cat-calls unfortunately is a part of training outdoors. But I must say, it thickens your skin.

However, every once in a while it’s a really pretty girl who says, “Nice butt” out her window with a smile. Put me back on the meat hook for display, because I want you to circle back around so I can get your number.

Triathlons are so last year

I told you I would update this with relevancy, not with frequency. But whatever.

I’m here with exciting news–to no one but myself: I have new motivation–The San Francisco Marathon on July 31. It’ll be my first.

I get to cross the Golden Gate Bridge twice. I also get to wake up at 3 a.m. most likely. Sall good.

I’ve talked…often… about the benefits of tri training. And I maintain it is one of the best ways to get in shape. But as I sat at a roulette table at the Paris Hotel and Casino pouring days (weeks?) worth of my salary into the state of Nevada’s recession recovery fund, it hit me. “I don’t want to do triathlons anymore.”

Maybe it was the deepening depression and bong-shaped fruity drinks, but I lost all enthusiasm for triathlons, at least for this year. As I saw my last $15 dollars added to the stack of thousands at my table, I rolled my eyes and walked away to watch NCAA March Madness with my brother Ryan, who lives in Los Angeles.

We’ve discussed two “awesome brother things” fervently: getting the same tattoo and competing in a race together. We’ve come close to the tattoo twice, but time or fear stopped us. The race is just a matter of scheduling.

Slouched in a smoke-hazed bar, from the back of my buzzed mind and through my scratchy throat I garbled out: “Ryan, want to run in the San Francisco Marathon with me?”

Ryan: “YES!”

Eric: “Serious?”

Ryan: “Definitely.”

Eric: “Really?”

Ryan: “Yes, I said.”

Eric: “Eff yeah!”

It was on.

And it has been on. I’m on an 18-week training schedule, and I’ve kept to it. Hal Higdon has an amazing schedule with every workout carefully and thoughtfully prescribed. Ugliest site ever, but very informational. With as lazy as I can get with my schedule, it’s perfect for me. I finished Week 1, and I’m full-steam ahead.

I’m refreshed! I have new energy. I do not know how well I’ll do, and that uncertainty is exciting. I know the Boston Marathon qualifying time is 3:10. And given my previous race paces, I might be able to hit that. I might need more than 18 weeks, however. Who cares! The journey, man. It’s all about the journey.

I picked San Francisco at the urging of my high school journalism teacher Kit Harris. He ran it with his wife last year and swears it was the time of his life. She didn’t come back pregnant, so it couldn’t have been that great of a time. But if Mr. Harris says something is great, I trust him.

This also gives me an opportunity to tell my little brother what to do. He is an athlete, but not an experienced runner. Luckily, he listens and his determination level is something between Batman stopping the Joker and a lion chasing a mongoose.

New goals and adventures are instant cures for ruts. If you’re in one, find something new to try.

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