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I finally did it.

I ran a marathon.

PhillyMedal2017.jpg

Apparently, I am officially insane.

Yesterday, I ran my first marathon in Philadelphia.  For those of you who may not be runners, that is 26.2 miles.  That happens to be just about 16.2 miles too much if you ask me.

RockyStatueRun

I ran faster than this statue!

Some people question  my sanity when I run everyday, in any kind of weather–rain, sleet, snow, sub zero wind chills, etc.  After mile 18, I was questioning my own sanity.

At the half way point, I felt more tired than I usually did after a half-marathon.  I have run two half marathons a year for the past four years.

By mile 18, I was thinking I might not be able to finish.  I have never hit a wall before.  I have hit a few cars, a tree, a light post . . . but never a wall.  For the shorter races, I almost never stop to get a drink.  I can run 13 miles without water.  I’m like a damned camel without the humps.

But everything I’ve read about running a marathon stresses the importance of fueling and hydration.  So at about mile 6, I started regularly hitting the gatorade/water stops.  And this usually meant at least a stop, if not a walking pace, because I am not one of those people who can run and drink at the same time–not without wearing most of the gatorade and choking.  I can barely type and chew gum at the same time.

After mile 18, it became noticeably harder to restart running and regain the previous pace after stopping for gatorade.  I started skipping water stations just so I wouldn’t have to restart again.

tinderdate2017M

What do you mean no RUM????

Around mile 20 there was a group offering cups of beer.  I am all over that.  I would have come to a complete stop for a beer at this point.  Had they had some bar stools there, I might not have finished the race.

I started grabbing half bananas and oranges that people offered along the route.  I kept looking for donuts or Reese’s Cups, but apparently those items are frowned upon by the racing establishment.

The route of the marathon travels up along the river, does a U-turn in Manayunk, and then heads back down the river to the finish line near the Art Museum.

The U-turn brought me back to the group serving beer,  Hallelujah!  One of my prayers was answered!  I paused to gulp down a second cup.   I was praying an awful lot after mile 20.  A mile later I was regretting not taking a six pack to go.

And then an interesting thing happened.

cutebutt2017M

Not that.  But rather, I found after mile 22 it was starting to get a little easier.  I still felt like crap.  Every muscle in my legs hurt.  But I actually felt a little better overall, and I slowly realized that I just might be able to do this after all.  It had to be the beer!

I crossed the finish line after 4 hours, ten minutes and 54 seconds (a 9:34 pace.)  After the race, I slowly–painfully–made my way back to the hotel.  Just stepping up a curb was a painful ordeal.  When I got back to the hotel room, I accidentally dropped one of my gloves on the floor.  I bent over to pick it up . . .

Who lowered this floor???!!!

OMG.  Running had shortened my arms!  I couldn’t reach the glove.  My back was stiff, my glutes were in pain, and my hamstrings acted like they had looked upon the head of Medusa and turned to stone.  I did manage to pick up the glove, but resolved that anything else I dropped would have to be left behind.

After a long shower, I could hardly put my socks on.

Why do we runners do this to ourselves?

I’m going to stick with the insanity defense for now.

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You might be a redneck in Pennsylvania if . . . .

You go to the bathroom and see . . .

Gunshow

Gun Show Advertisement

Fishing

Beer Advertisement

Your beer advertisement also has a handy fishing season schedule, since those two things (drinkin’ and fishin’) go together like peanut butter and jelly.  And last (but certainly NOT LEAST!) your:

Dispenser

Condom Dispenser

You got your guns, beer and sex.  It’s like a farmersonly commercial.  What more could you need?

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Yesterday I went to a fundraising event called Pints for Pets with one of our surgical scrub techs and her husband.  The basic concept is that you buy a ticket to get in.  Proceeds go to the Central PA Humane Society.  Once you get into the event, craft brewers from various breweries offer samples of their beers for free.  Well, not free, since you had to pay to get in, but there is no additional charge.  They give you a little beer glass and you can sample as many and as often as you like.

Pints for Pets?  I don't think that's how this works.  I don't think that's how any of this works!

Pints for Pets? I don’t think that’s how this works. I don’t think that’s how any of this works!

I get beer.  Homeless pets get money.  Win-win situation.

The event was held at the Blair County Ball Park (home of the Altoona Curve baseball team.)  In order to get in, you have to show ID.  At 50, it’s not often I get carded anymore.  They actually swiped my license through some machine just as if it was a credit card.  I am now on the grid.  By the time I’m drunk, I’ll probably have my own drone or satellite.

So in we go to sample the beers!

We head to a table featuring beers from the Pittsburgh Brewing Company.  They had an IC Light Mango which looked interesting.  I’m not a dark, bitter beer type person.  I like ales and IPAs.  Give me a good apricot wheat and I am happy.  I like Blue Moon (with an orange!)  I like Samuel Adams Summer Ale.

The mango was good.  I was off to a good start.  It was a little sweet, but I would prefer that to bitter.

There was a beer made with grapefruit which was a little sour to my liking.

There was a chocolate stout, which in theory sounds good–it has chocolate!–but trust me on this one, it’s no Godiva Liquor or Hershey’s syrup if you know what I mean.  It actually had a mild coffee flavor–I love coffee!—but I couldn’t see myself drinking a whole case of this stuff.  My little four ounce glass was more than enough.

There was a strawberry craft beer.  It tasted like a strawberry pastry–my friend’s analysis, not mine but I concur.  It wasn’t necessarily bad, but of all the fruits they add to beer–lemon, lime, blueberry, apricot, raspberry, mango, etc–strawberry is one that just doesn’t seem to add something good to the beer.  That’s my opinion.  Taste it if you want to.  You’ll dump the rest.  Trust me.

Likewise, there was a banana flavored beer.  Whoever thought that would be a good idea should be shot.  Or made to drink it.  Either way, they are in for some pain.

I tried a wonderful pineapple infused lager.  It was like Hawaii in a glass.

But then we came to the coup de grâce:  Sweet Baby Jesus beer.   Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter.  OMG.  Chocolate and peanut butter were created to be together.  They are two of my favorite food groups.  And when you put them together, it is Heaven!  The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup may be the most perfect food ever created.

Unfortunately, in a porter . . . words cannot begin to describe this.  Tar comes to mind.  Is tar bitter? The peanut butter flavor is totally lost in there, eclipsed by a bitter porter or an overzealous chocolate bar.  But maybe that is how this concoction got it’s name.  After you manage to swallow a mouthful, all you can say is, Sweet baby Jesus, give me something else!

But there were a lot of good craft beers.  Dogfish Head.  Apricot, or as they call it, Aprihop!  Hop.  Hop.  Hop.

Leinenkugel makes a grapefruit shandy!  With a name like Leinenkugel’s it has to be good.  And shandy makes it sound like you are already drunk!  Maybe I am.  It’s hard to keep track of how many mouthfuls we’ve had.

There were a lot of beers.  And such a tiny little glass.

Ooh look.  There’s another beer.  Some brewery.  Somewhere.

That one was is bad.  Don’t try that one.

Oooh.  That one isn’t too bad.  I can’t remember what it is or where it came from, but I know where it went.

By the end of the afternoon–three hours–they all start to taste the same, except for the bad ones which taste even worse.

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of some beers first class,
That started in this baseball park,
With just a tiny glass.

The doc was a mighty drinking man,
The scrub tech brave and sure.
Five passengers set out that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The craft beers started getting sour,
The bitter beers were tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The good beers would be lost, the good beers would be lost.

The glass was filled on the deck of this uncharted baseball field
With an eye doctor
A scrub tech too,
The millionaire and his wife,
The movie star
The professor and Mary Ann,
Here on Pints for Pets Isle.

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From my archives . . .  a column I wrote in 2000 on another site that was actually plagiarized later by someone else.  It was either good or they were desperate.  Probably the latter.  But in the final analysis, I present it now because I am just too lazy to write a new one!

It's Beer! AND . . . it's green!

Not being Irish (I have never rooted for Notre Dame,) I simply cannot fathom the holiday tradition behind St. Patrick’s Day.  In an effort to become a more rounded individual, I ate several cream-filled doughnuts this morning—but I still don’t know anymore about this tradition than before I started.  So, I decided to do some research into St. Patrick’s Day, shamrocks, Ireland (did you know this was a country,) and green beer.  Normally, such research would be antithetical to the mission of my works, but I was on a sugar-high and feeling no pain (aside from a little gas and bloating.)  And besides . . . there’s beer!

ST. PATRICK—The patron saint of Ireland, who is rumored to have used the Shamrock as a symbol of the Trinity (wine, women and song.)  According to the legend, he drank a lot of green beer before having this revelation.  Also, there is the debatable issue as to whether St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland or not.  I tend to think one would need a few pints of green beer before embarking on such a task (I hate snakes, myself, and I surely wouldn’t chase them unless I were sufficiently liquored,) but there is a point at which too much green beer may cause the snakes to appear.  The world may never know the real answer, but if it drinks enough green beer, it won’t care.

COLLEEN—An Irish girl.  When you’re drunk, it’s easier to remember one name, than a bunch of individual names, so all young girls are called “Colleen.”  If it is an older woman, with gray hair and wrinkles—or just an ugly girl of any age—then she is called a “Collie.”  If she’s a little green, then she’s a “Collard.” If she’s really fat, then you call her a “Colossal.”  If it’s not funny, then you call it my “column.”

BLARNEY STONE—a legendary rock that is rumored to impart dirt on the lips of anyone who kisses it.  It follows in the kissing tradition of many peoples.  The Italian’s kiss the Godfather’s Ring, the British kiss the Queen’s derriere, Kamikaze’s kiss their asses good-bye, and West Virginian’s kiss their sisters.

POTATO FAMINE—this was a dark era in Irish history when all the potatoes were used to ferment alcohol leaving none for consumption as McFries.  After the hangovers wore off, they were able to go out and plant more potatoes.

O’LEARY—a word to denote skepticism, as in “I am just a wee bit o’leary about kissing that rock—you don’t know who has kissed it before you.”

SHAMROCK—literally a rock that is a sham, but for the sake of argument here, it is the symbol of a country known as Ireland.  The ontogenic phylogeny of this lucky herb traces back to the Club (one of the four traditional suits and an effective way to protect your car.)  The color was changed from black to green by St. Patrick and Chlorophyll (the Mother Superior) to distinguish it from the lesser, English-variety of Club described by Hoyle.  (I just ate another doughnut.  Perhaps I shouldn’t be chasing them down with Irish coffee.)

 

Mascot or movie monster . . you decide!

The LEPRECHAUN—this is a frightening, mythical creature that attacks humans in low-budget horror films.  Personally, I found the movie character less frightening than the Mike Myers (aka Wayne of Austin Powers’ World) impression of the leprechaun—he is far more frightening than the original character.  The Leprechaun is also the mascot of a small college in North or South Dakota–somewhere out there, over the rainbow, with a gold-painted dome and a once-great football team (once-great back in a time when there were no other football teams around.)

LUCK O’ the IRISH—let’s see, leprechaun’s running around killing people, potato famines, Ted Kennedy, and all the colleens running around kissing Blarney Stone (second cousin to, and not as cute as, Barney Rubble)—if it weren’t for bad luck, they’d have no luck at all . . .

KISS ME, I’M IRISH (or KISS ME, I’M WEARING GREEN)—buttons worn by people who actually think someone else would want to put their lips on the lips that have met the Blarney Stone.  Maybe if you wipe off the moss and apply some lip-gloss, we can talk.

ERIN GO BRAUGH—the Irish version of the Wonder bra.  It’ll support you longer than your husband can hold his beer.  It’s available in pastel green, only.  But, let’s just be honest here.  I’ve seen Erin, and she really doesn’t have anything to “braugh” about, now, does she?  Erin’s more a “collie” than a “colleen” and she should spend her time cutting some holes in a paper bag, if you know what I mean.  For crying out loud, there are Irish potatoes with better looking eyes.

CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE—a traditional Irish meal that can only be consumed after great quantities of green beer have been quaffed.  Here in America, we call it Maized beef and we are amaized that anyone eats it.  I was unsuccessful in my research as to exactly how the beef is corned.  Is it corn-fed, or is the corn used to prepare the beef in other ways?  Is it still on the ear, or is it kernelled first?  I suspect we don’t really want to know.  It’s hard to make fun of this dish, but not as hard as trying to keep it down.

WHEN IRISH EYES ARE SMILIN’—the keg has just been tapped.

CEAD MILE FAILTE—an old Irish saying that means 100,000 welcomes as in when you walk into an Irish bar and there seem to be at least 100,000 drunken Irishmen sitting at the bar.  (Or it just sounds like there are that many sitting at the bar, or littered on the floor beneath the barstools.)  Imagine the welcomes if you offer to buy the next round.

SHILLELAGH—a strong Irish whiskey best known for its side effects: Shillelagh, she’ll lay me.  Of course, if she’ll lay Lee, she’ll probably do it with anybody, and you can probably save yourself the cost of the drink.

GREEN BEER—a varietal of lager with a full body, a frothy head, and the ability to turn your urine green.  It doesn’t get any better than this.  Down a few pints of this, and you could take that bag off Erin’s head and kiss the Blarney stone.  (Don’t forget in your drunken state, to pick the moss out of your teeth.)

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