Tag Archives: training

I thought I couldn’t dislike my neighbor more…

14 Aug

…I was dead wrong.

Have I talked to you guys about how much I dislike my down the street neighbor?  Wait, yes, I have!  I wrote about how he and I were feuding after he had like a 3 day long rager when I had work and someone, I am not going to say who it was, called the cops on him after that someone repeatedly asked him to turn down the club speakers he had installed in the garage behind his building because said speakers were making the entire bed of the unnamed person who called the cops on him vibrate.  After that happened, down-the-street-neighbor told my landlord that the tenants of my apartment were throwing cigarettes onto his roof (none of us smoke), causing my landlord to lock the roof, thereby effectively ending our not-so-legal roof access.  He also started growling at me when I walked by, making as if he was going to spray me with his hose while watering his flowers, and mimicking me whenever he heard me on the phone or laughing aloud or anything.  This has been going on for the better part of 2 years, if I had to guess.  Oh and by the way, this man is in his 50s.  It is really incredible how some people literally never grow up.

As you have probably assumed, I really, really don’t like this man.  What’s crazy about it is that we used to get along really well back in the day but it’s like once you allegedly do one little thing the whole damn relationship just goes up in flames and you are forced to roll your eyes at least 3 times a week in response to his growling.  Rolling my eyes and feeling thankful that I Am (sort of) An Adult is the only thing that keeps me from pissing in a bottle and then pouring the urine over his carefully tended plants in the dead of night.  Seriously, I have thought about this.  My sisterfriend Marissa and I have talked about it.  Many times.  In detail.  I even have plans carefully sketched out with escape routes and everything.  Anyway, all that is really neither here nor there.  What is, however, both here and there is that today when I got home from training at my new job I noticed a lot of brightly colored things hanging from the bannisters of the stairs leading up to the building. This is never a good sign.  I then rushed to my bedroom and looked out the window, and there it was:  The Big White Tent.  Fuck.  The only time there is a Big White Tent in his backyard is when he is planning on having some sort of incredibly loud family gathering.  Seriously, you guys, I really don’t like when people use shorthand for things on the internet but FML for realz.

Just as a slight aside, I am someone who is good at a few things.  One of the things I am especially good at is my ability to fall asleep once my head hits the pillow in my bed.  I think it’s because I really only use my bed for one thing:  sleeping.  Okay, that is not entirely true.  I also use my bed for some other things but I don’t really want to get into that right now.  Or ever.  On my blog.  With my dad reading.  Dad, pretend like I never said that about the other things.  Just like, go back to the beginning of the paragraph and read up to the point where I said “sleeping” and then jump back down to right here.  HERE DAD!  THIS IS WHERE YOU START READING AGAIN!  As I was saying, I don’t really watch TV in my bed or read in my bed.  I just sleep there.  For me, having a place thats real purpose is to allow me to shut my brain down is incredibly important.  It’s like an oasis.  An oasis full of cats.  Well, two cats.  Plus the third cat that they leave behind on my comforter that doesn’t seem to ever disappear no matter how often I vacuum the damn thing.  Fuck that third shed kitty.  I will suck him up in my vacuum over and over again.  I will win this war, shed kitty!!!  I am having a hard time focusing if you haven’t noticed.  Maybe if I start a new paragraph.

Take two.  So I fall asleep really quickly.  Sometimes I wake back up again but then I pretty much just look at the time, express my displeasure at being awake by emitting one of those terrible clicking noises that I hate when people make but which I make anyway all the time when stupid things happen, and go back to sleep again.  Then I sleep all the way until the morning!  It is so good!  What I am not good at is not sleeping.  Some people are good at it.  There are all these articles out there actually about how people who have insomnia are smarter than the rest of us and maybe that’s true but that’s okay.  I would rather be dumb and well rested, thank you very much.  So the reason I mention this is that I have had one of those weeks where I am really burning the candle at both ends.  This is what happened:

– Went to bed really late on Sunday night.
– Had to get up at 7:45 to be at a training on Monday morning.
– Worked behind the bar Monday night until 4am during which time I had to listen to someone talk about how we are living in a post-racial society.  It made me really mad.  It made me so mad that I snuck to the bar nextdoor and had a demeanor-saving shot of Powers.  This is something I will get to at a later date.
– Had to get up at 7:45 to be at a training on Tuesday morning.
– Went out for drinks on my way home from said training, had a delicious summer-time Manhattan made with rye and dry vermouth which led to me falling asleep at 9:15.  Bliss.
– Had to get up at 7:45 to be at a training on Wednesday morning.
– Got a last minute call to cover a shift Wednesday night and walked through the door to my house at 5:30am.
– Had to get up at 7:45 to be at a training on Thursday morning.

I was really hoping that I would be able to recreate my Tuesday night and go to sleep super early.  I ate some snacks, I drank some water, I watched some bad TV, I did not have a Manhattan, summertime or otherwise, and then it happened.  Drumming.  Live, loud drumming.  The drumming went on and on and then the drumming left and went on a tour of the block during which there was some silence.  Then the drumming came back.  Then there was a quiet ceremony and now there is loud singing.  With more drumming.  Because as I mentioned before dude has MASSIVE MOTHER FUCKING SPEAKERS.  It’s so crazy because this isn’t like, Madison Square Garden or a club or some shit.  It is a small parking lot type situation on an ordinarily quiet block on a Thursday night.  I know that I am sounding like a total old fogey here but like,


This is the problem I have with the world.  People do not give a shit about the other people.  I know the parking lot is his private property but you know what isn’t his private property?  The air through which the incredibly loud noises coming from his huge speakers is currently traveling.  The thing is that everyone in his small parking lot would be able to hear all of the things happening without huge speakers.  He might not even need speakers at all, to be honest.  All he needs are some people who are good at projecting their voices.  I know some of those people.  They are called actors.  Some of them sing.  Some of them even sing traditional Indian songs that are accompanied by lots of drumming.

The other thing about all this is that normally, I love this music.  Like, if I were sitting in my room on not a Thursday after I got 2 hours of sleep when I have to bartend tomorrow and the next day and when I also have house guests coming (I am so excited!!!) I would totally be in my happy place.  This music reminds me of being in India and I love being in India.  I could pretty much be there all the time.  Which would mean I would live there.  Things are hard for me right now.  Don’t judge.  Sometimes I watch Bollywood.  Here is a video:


You need to wait until you see the military guy’s mustache.  Unreal.  Seriously.  You don’t even see that shit in Brooklyn.

Anyway, I lost track and I actually don’t even know where I was going with all this because I am so deliriously tired that I cannot even form a coherent thought.  So, in summation:

1.  My down-the-street-neighbor fucking sucks

2.  I am so tired and frustrated about the fact that this is happening right now that I might actually cry

3.  A tear just rolled down my check

4.  If anyone wants to help me with the urine-on-the-plants plan I am taking applications.  We’ll call it Operation Revenge Wiz.

5.  Everything is loud and I am sad.

Okay, I am going to put in some earplugs now and hope that somehow a miracle happens and my misshapen ear canals don’t force the earplugs out almost immediately rendering the entire approach completely useless.  Wish me luck.

Goodbye, New York Road Runners

23 May

You know what I don’t like?  When people say “I’ve been doing _________ since before it was cool.” It’s like, okay great.  I’m happy for you.  Way to make everyone else feel like an asshole.  That being said, I do get some portion of the sentiment behind it.  And so, obviously and as I am wont to do, I started thinking WAY too deeply about the statement and have decided that it can be interpreted in a few different ways:

Way #1: When I was doing ______ there weren’t as many people doing it, so it wasn’t as crowded/expensive/over policed/over saturated.

Way #2:  Now that everyone is doing ________ I feel sort of like a poser doing it even though I have been doing it forever and that fucking sucks.

Way #3:  Some combination of the aforementioned two ways.

Okay, so, now that we have out of the way, I would not say that I have been running long distances since before it was cool because, really, running still isn’t cool exactly.  And I also haven’t been running for that long and I really think to even almost get away with such a statement you basically have to have started doing whatever thing that you’re complaining about everyone else doing for at least like, 75% of your life. I have only been running for just shy of 50% of my life and also I don’t take myself all that seriously so, you know, statement off limits.  Anyway, all of this being said, something has been happening to running and I do not like it one bit.

One of the things that I have always loved about running is that even though it is an individual sport, there is so much support amongst the running community.  This is part of the reason why that stupid viral Facebook letter to an overweight runner made me so darn angry.  I have just always found that more than anything else, runners want other runners to have good races.  We all know the work that went into training for endurance events and we all know what it feels like to have a bad day.  You know, for your legs to feel like led, to have to shit halfway through, to be sick, or crampy, or have an ill-timed injury.  You never, ever want to see a fellow runner limping through a race, or a training run, unaware of whether or not they will be able to finish or if the nagging pain in their hip, their foot, their quad means a few months off.  And this is not only true amongst us amateur athletes.  The pros in the sport are just as supportive of one another.  Take, for example, the support that Meb Keflezighi got from Ryan Hall and the other US runners at Boston this past year.  And that is only one example of many.  It was the loss of that sort of camaraderie among runners that made this year’s Brooklyn Half Marathon so…upsetting.

I had decided before running this race that it was going to be my last race with New York Road Runners (NYRR).  I’m not going to go into all the problems I have with this organization, especially since I have talked about the intense price increases over the past few years on this blog before.  I just think that in an effort to ride the wave of popularity that running has been experiencing over the last number of years, NYRR has forgotten about all the people who have kept them afloat for decades.  I don’t know, maybe I am just being grouchy but I really think that all the extra bullshit that accompanies a lot of the NYRR races these days really take away from what is so great about running:  it’s simplicity.

I guess it is partially that along with its new found popularity, running has been the latest to fall at the feet of Big Business.  People spend hundreds of dollars on watches that they don’t know how to use; they fall prey to ridiculous trends about appropriate sneakers without doing research into the benefits and possible problems of wearing them; they spend so much money on races just because the bib pick-up involves a “pre-party” AKA some lame music playing in the background and a bunch of companies hawking their wares.

The thing about it, and I suppose this isn’t entirely NYRR’s fault, is that capitalism does not bring out the best in people.  There is no “team” in capitalism.  It is every woman, man and child to her/himself.  Capitalism, to me, is largely what our national obsession with individualism is born from.  The attitude that goes along with people needing to have the newest gadgets, the nicest clothes, the trendiest sneakers is the attitude that leads to the terrible fucking race that I ran in Brooklyn.  Honestly, I have never seen so many people literally push through other people to get ahead.  I have never seen so many people cross in front of waves of runners to get to water stations without verbally letting people know or even checking over their shoulders.  I have never seen so many people leave water stations and drop their uncrushed cup in the middle of the road, a big runner no-no because it rolls around and can trip one of the thousands of people who come behind you.  When you run a race, you always check your surroundings, you always communicate with other runners, and you really always crush your damn cup and throw it off the course.  Sure, running is something that is individual.  You aren’t relying on other people in the same way as you might in a soccer match or a relay.  But you are not doing it alone.  You are running a race along with hundreds, maybe thousands, of other people and you have to respect that the race is not just yours, it is everyone’s.  All the other people running trained hard, paid the price, woke up at 4:30 in the morning and your pushing, your cutting off, and your not crushed cup could really make a difference not only in their time, but in their safety and their enjoyment.

Maybe I was just running around a shitty group of people but it really made me sad.  It made me remember when I ran the New York City Marathon, yes also organized by NYRR, back in 2006.  I was going through the Queensboro Bridge and there was a blind man running near me.  The bridge was dark so it became a little difficult for runners to see other people, especially if you weren’t running near the sides.  Without saying a word, a whole group of runners created a protective circle around this man, making sure that the darkness and other runner’s inability to see as clearly would not impact his race or make him unsafe.  It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and really made me proud of my community.  In that moment, it was like everyone was running the race together and our achievement was entirely dependent on the achievements of those around us.  At the Brooklyn Half this year, it was everyone for themselves.

Maybe part of the reason for this was that in an effort to, I don’t know, make more money, NYRR allowed way too many people to run the Half.  There were over 25,000 people that ran the race this year, meaning that for a lot of us, we were completely jammed up for the first 8 miles.  When you have a race of that size, you simply sacrifice some of the other things:  in my opinion the enjoyment, but certainly the speed.  (And don’t even get me started on the fact that they gave us half-filled dixie cups of water at the end of the race rather than full bottles.)

I just think that what NYRR is helping to usher in is a complete change in the attitude that surrounds running and that is decidedly not cool.  I don’t know.  I run races because it’s fun, it’s nice to have a goal and it helps me place my running squarely within an equally motivated and supportive group of people.  That feeling is gone from NYRR races and so I am bidding them a not-so-fond farewell, taking my $20 stopwatch and keeping my fingers crossed that those pushers, those cut off-ers, and those cup non-crushers don’t follow me.