Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Word of the Now: Determination


noun \di-ˌtər-mə-ˈnā-shən\ : a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult


I was driving home from the gym the other day.  It was around 5:45am (yes, I work out in the very early a.m. - don't judge me - all the hottest senior citizens work out in the a.m.).  My route home takes me by our town park.  As I drove by I saw an empty wheelchair placed beside a station wagon.  Before I had a chance to be confused I noticed, farther up the parking lot, a man slowly, steadily rolling in his race wheelchair.  He woke, like the rest of us morning junkies, to get his training in.

Strike that.  Not like us.  Not at all.

As I drove away I started thinking about what he did: He woke and got in his wheelchair to roll to his car, to get out of his wheelchair, get into his car and pull his wheelchair into his car before driving to the park to pull his wheelchair out of his car and get into it to roll himself to the back of his car and pull his race wheelchair out, get out of his regular wheelchair and get into his race wheelchair to train.  All that, just to train.  He has to then do everything in reverse to get home and start the rest of his day.  All of that every time he needs to get his time in to be better than the day before.  Every time to maintain his fitness.  Every time to not be stuck motionless in a chair his whole life.

I'm sure when he woke that morning to go about his normal routine he never meant to be inspirational.  He only wanted to get his training in.  Often times it is the actions of ordinary people that strike us as extraordinary.  It was his determination that struck me, with all he had to do, all we take for granted, to get where he wanted to be.  It also got me thinking that determination isn't about how far you can go but, after a setback or after you've fallen, how much farther you're willing to go.

That's determination.

So how determined are you?  How determined are you to break your daily cycle of sitting at breakfast, sitting in your car, sitting at your desk, sitting at lunch, sitting in your car again, sitting at dinner, sitting, sitting, sitting, instead of moving, shakin', and creating the version of you that you want?

Does your bag of excuses weigh more than a wheelchair? 

How determined are you to get where you want to be?

Feeling decidedly determined,

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Rants and Raves: Ralph Waldo Emerson 10 Mile Trail Race - Concord, NH

Where it was: Ralph Waldo Emerson Trail Race in Concord, NH

What it is:  Acidotic Racing puts on several trail races a season.  This was the first acidotic race Age Aggressively ran and, like meth*, it was addictive the moment we started.

*To all you kiddies out there, meth is bad.  This was only used as a comparison and by no means was it suppose to convey support or encouragement of meth use.  You can't do much on meth except die.  If you die you won't be able to experience the joys of life, like trail racing with other likeminded crazies.  Crack**, of course, is a different thing altogether.

**Yes, crack is also bad!
Feeling Super!
Who was racing:  Your dear Illustrious, McWhiskey (reverting back to his maiden name), and the newly named GPS (to be explained later), along with several other people, men and women alike, old and young, who enjoy the thrill of the trail, the pace of the pursuit, the freezing cold of the rain.

Why we do it:  We as a people have grown tired of running on the roads.  Let's face it, roads eat you up.  Like marriage, roads are unforgiving and pound away at your energy, your body, and your soul, leaving you an empty shell, a remnant of the strong person you use to be.  Okay, not really, only marriage does that.  Roads just hurt my delicate feet and are boring as f***.  Trails, however, offer up constant changes in scenery, of direction, of challenge.  Trails, simply put, are more fun, and who wouldn't call the chance of sprained ankles, broken bones, falling over roots to fall face first into boulders fun?


  1. It was cold and rainy.  I know this isn't the race organizer's fault but this is the only rant I can come up with because the race was fun.  So, it was cold and rainy which, as I think about it, wasn't that bad because the weather was perfect once we started running.  Dammit... so this isn't a rant.
  2. Ok, how's this:  Due to the weather I was forced to sit in a cramped car with two annoying teammates instead of warming up for a trail run... nope, that doesn't work either because it became more team bonding.  Dammit... this isn't a rant either
    Pre-race warm up, Aggressive-style!
  3. I am rantless... which is a rant!
Who knew runners were so happy?
  1. Let's get down to brass tacks for a moment.  I have no idea what that means: brass tacks.  I can only assume it should go with "uphill both ways in the snow," but I can't be sure.  Sounds old.  Anyway, brass tacks: the price of the race alone should make you want to run it.  For under $30 you get (a) an awesome trail run (b) a tech race shirt (c) free food supplied by local vendors (d) proceeds of the race went to support local charities and (e) dude, seriously, it was under $30 dollars.
  2. Trail racers are a different breed of runner.  Road racers have this long, sinewy form and grace about them - they're like the gazelles of the running world, effortlessly gliding above the pavement as they float to their 4 minute mile finish.  Trail racers are like gazelles whose legs were exposed to gamma radiation.  I've never seen quads this size on runners and that was just the women.  After watching them run, which was ever so briefly as they tore into the brush, I could only imagine there was far less gliding, much more grinding everything in their path to a fine powder from their quadrasaurs.  Maybe this should have been a rant due to the fact that I don't have quadrasaurs, or quads of any time, not even a gazelles.  Yes, I have quad envy.
  3.  Everything from the course direction to the pictures were due to club volunteers.  Other event organizers should take note of how acidotic racing does their races because for one price you got everything, even free pictures.  The pics were not your cheapo iphone pics either, they were high quality stuff - and free.  Did I mention that?  Free.
  4. "I have no idea where I'm going" - GPS
  5. Ok, storytime: Nice Pipes (seen to your right) signed up for the 10 miler with us.  She was all set to run the 10.  She started with the other 10 milers.  She followed the course with the other 10 milers... and completed the 5K, which was also being run the same day.  Somewhere along her run she took a left when she should have went right.  Not to be deterred from her original goal, Pipes set out once more to complete the 10 miler and once again, and no one knows how, she took a wrong turn and completed the last two miles of the 10 miler.  On the down side, she never ran the 10 miler.  On the upside, she came in first place for the unplanned 5 miler!  For your efforts, your commitment to the race, and to yourself, we hereby award you the new blog name: GPS!


Do it.  Register for races organized by acidotic races.  Have fun.  Leave the road.  Hit the trails.  If you had a barrel full of monkeys you would put it down to run these courses - it's that much fun!  WARNING:  Please pay attention to the arrows and directional flags.  They are everywhere and it's practically impossible to get lost... where'd Amie go?

Losing teammates since mile 1
- Illustrious

19 Todd Spencer

01:24:29 00:08:27
44 Michael Hillis

01:45:50 00:10:35

 Shockingly, GPS is nowhere in the results.  They must have lost her info :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Don't Be a Douche: Gym Etiquette

And now another episode of...

This week we'll discuss Gym Etiquette.  Can you say "Gym Etiquette" boys and girls?  I knew you could.

  1. Not My Job:  Dude, great job pushing around that weight!  What do you have on the sled because that's a lot of plates!  What is that, around 540 lbs?  And your bench press, looks like you were repping over 300lbs, before you hit the sled!  You are totally massive.  Truly, a Beast!  I am humbled by your hulk-like strength and awed by the sheer power that is you.  You know what would be even more inspiring?  Using that Herculean strength to strip the frickin' weights from the bar when you're done and put them away.  We understand that you take your workouts seriously.  It's why you're here at the gym every day without fail.  Great job, you!  Guess what?  We do, too, and we don't need to clean up after some douche who doesn't unrack his weights when he (not to be sexist) or she's done.  Unless you want every bar in the place covered in 10 lb plates (which would be incredibly annoying for someone like you who hasn't had to touch such a dainty weight in your testosterone-fueled life), put your damn weights away.  No one around you gives a shit how much weight you can move.  Seriously.  No one.  Not even that hot chick you're trying to impress.  We do give a shit how much weight you can put away when you're done.  Don't be a douche.  Clean up after yourself.
  2. Hey, That's Mine: Love how you're supersetting between three machines.  What are you doing?  Chest, back, and squats?  You, sir, are awesome with your dedication, perseverance, and overall stamina and strength.  While you're off being incredible on another machine I'm just going to step in here and, what's that?  You're still using this?  Um, ok, sure, no problem, I'll go use the other... huh?  You're using this, too?  Is there a machine or dumbbell or system you're not using today?  I didn't know this was your personal gym.  Let me check the front and, nope, not Douche's Gym.  Either do something really amazing during your workout which will make it entertaining for me to watch, like smashing your scrotum between a set of 45s, or stop hogging all the weights.  We all came here for the same reason: to workout.  Not to watch you workout.  Don't be a douche.  Learn to share.
  3. Just One Sec: Excuse me, you good here or are you still using the bench?  I'm asking because you're sitting here (choose one) staring off into space / talking on your cell phone / having vapid thoughts of how incredibly muscular you are, but you're not actually lifting.  What's that?  Oh, you're holding up one finger to me, indicating that I should wait a moment because you're not done with it?  Really?  How long is your break between sets?  Appears to be about 5-10 minutes.  We like to call that a "cool down."  Either let me work in or you move on.  I'm sure it's possible that you are thinking about your plans for world peace / talking to the president of the Anti-Douche League of America / admiring your bulging finger muscles, but would you please do it over there, away from the stuff the rest of us want to use?  I have one finger for you, too.  Don't be a douche.  This is a weight bench, not a park bench.
Etiquette is very important.  Always remember your pleases and thank yous, get your elbows off the table, and, most of all, stop being a douche.

Feeling summer clean
- Illustrious

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Rants and Raves: Jinglebell Half Marathon - Atkinson, NH 2013

Where it was:  Atkinson Country Club, Atkinson, NH

What it is:  LOCO Races first annual half marathon in Atkinson, NH,  and a great way to end the year... if you like running and you like doing it for 13 miles.

Who was racing:  Nice Pipes, the Countess, and Hugh Jameson were in attendance for this race.  Introductions are in order for Aggressive newcomer EPO and his cherry-popping first half marathon (more about EPO in a later article).  The race had about 1000 runners of all shapes, sizes, skill levels, speeds, and costumes.  Oh, yes.  Costumes!  I felt so at home although they were wearing Christmas-themed attire, elves, reindeer, Santa, etc, while I was in cape and tights; but if I consider myself a present, then it fits.  Unwrap me and Merry Christmas to the present that keeps on giving.

Hugh Jameson, EPO, Illustrious
Countess Ovum, Nice Pipes
Looking good, Team!
Why we do it:  Honestly, I'm still trying to figure this one out.  So far I've come up with "Runners are stupid."  Seriously.  If you're a runner, don't whine, I'm one, too; but there is no good reason to run 13 miles in this weather.  None.  It's cold out.  A saw a witch's tit.  That's how cold it was.  Why did we do it?  We signed up for it when it was 80 out.  There's New England optimism for ya!

  1. It's cold in December.  Admittedly, it was colder on race day than it has been for a long time (9 degrees at the start, a balmy 12 degrees when we finished), but as a general rule December = winter and in New England winter = cold.  When it's cold people have to pee more often, at least I have to pee more often.  This could possibly point to a urinary problem, some might say incontinence, but whatever it may be, we need places to pee.  The race organizer's recommendation was to find a private place if you needed to heed nature's call, but that's not always easy to find when you're running through neighborhoods.  Relieving yourself behind little Tommy's swing set is apparently 1) illegal, 2) in poor taste, and 3) hilarious because I know little Tommy and he's a brat.  Here's a better idea.  There are these things called "potties" that people put into containers to make them "portable."  These portable potties can be put anywhere, literally anywhere that they will fit, say, along a race course, for example.  These "porta-potties" would then be used by "people" who have to "pee like a race horse."  
  2. Not that I like being reminded how slow I am on the course, but I do like pace clocks.  Unless you're a seasoned runner, you might not have any idea what your pace feels like.  I know people who can feel a 6 minute pace, a 5 minute pace - they know it without checking.  They can feel it in their feet, their legs, their inner Jedi, but they can't tell me what that feeling is.  I assume it feels like warm butter. All I usually feel is lethargy; but pace clocks spare me having to feel anything.  I get told how to feel by the happy little digits clicking away along the route.  We don't need them every mile but maybe every 4th mile, just to give us a heads up how we're doing: Mile 4: "Looking good"  Mile 8: "You've looked better"  Mile 12: "Dude, do you even run?"
  3. The photography company they hired to capture the event took great pictures and were very friendly along the course.  This is not a rant on the professionals who were doing what they were hired to do.  With that said, $15 for an unedited hi-res downloadable image?  $15?!!  $5 maybe, but not $15.  I've never been robbed on a highway before but this might be what it's like, if I bought one of these.  I get that the company has to make a profit.  I get that the prices are set and if I don't like those prices, don't shop there (which I didn't).  Admittedly, they do have a nice deal, all your pics for $53, which if you have a bunch is a good money saver; but, still, make'em $5 for untouched downloadables and racers would snatch them up.  Back in the day with film and dark rooms, etc, etc, I could understand why it would cost a certain amount, but point-click-download doesn't take the same amount of work. Or do what other events do, tie in a price to the race fee and let racers have x number of pics included with the race.  $15!  I can get two cows and a chicken for $15 in New Hampshire.
  1. Thank you volunteers!  You guys made everything from getting our race bibs before the race to getting our medals finishing the race incredibly easy.  Event organizers can put together the course, get the supplies, book the venue, but it's always the volunteers that make a race memorable.  You guys were polite and helpful at check-in, incredibly supportive and upbeat at all the water stops, and never stopped cheering on the runners until the last one came across that finish line.
  2. Running 13 miles may or may not be your cup o' tea but if you have to run, do it over country roads.  We went by scenic pastures and beautiful neighborhoods.  Most of the roads were empty of traffic except for the runners.  To be honest, I wasn't thrilled about all the hills.  They weren't steep but they were long and constant and everywhere and I was tired and my tampon needed changing and I'm whiny because I hate hills; but the hills were nice due to those pastures and stuff.
  3. I say it every review but I think it has to be said, especially since the weather was as cold as it was: spectators!  We ran.  We got warm(-ish).  You spectators put up with single digit temps just to root for your racer!  You guys were out there along the course for no other reason but to support your loved ones and everyone else that passed along the way.  With all the hooting and the hollering, the "go <insert racer name here>", and the kryptonite jokes due to my lack of super speed, no racer felt alone on race day.  Maybe you kept warm from the warmth in your hearts.  Can I get a collective "awwwwwwww shucks"?
Overall:  As far as half marathons go this is a good one if you live in southern NH.  Races close to home are key to not losing a day for a race and getting home to find your spouse angry over the statement, "I'll be home right after the race" and you get home at midnight stinking of cheap vodka and cheaper women (that would be a great race - sign up for the Cheap Vodka and Cheaper Women 10K).  Price was right and having it at the Atkinson Country Club was a bonus because they have a bar that welcomes stinky, sweaty post-race runners.  Post-race bar time = good!  The course was well-marked and well-staffed so there was no way of getting lost.  Will we do it again?  Probably, because it's cheap, it's convenient, and the course beat me into submission and I want a re-match.  I'll be back!!

Get down!  Get to the Choppa!! 
- Illustrious

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Prisoners of the Beast

Hail, Aggressives!  Sometimes after a race I have moments of creativity that quickly leave me... I wrote this a week after the Spartan Beast in September because at times I felt a little trapped while on the mountain.  I wanted to finish this piece before posting but haven't made the attempt.  Maybe putting it out there will encourage me to continue it.  Anyway, a little different than what I usually do and I promise I will get back to my normally schedule programming of sarcasm, self-abasement, and self-gratification for your viewing pleasure.



"Hills.  That's all I remember...  Are the hills," he said in hushed tones.  "There were so many hills...," he whispered as he blankly stared at me, through me.  I wasn't sure if he was making a declaration of certainty or trying to convince himself that, from whatever he just experienced or from where ever he just traveled, there were so many hills.

He hugged his knees to his chest and sat in silence, gently rocking back and forth, as he worked up the courage to continue.  Dried mud and blood flaked off him as he swayed in his spot, the only evidence of the ordeal he went through, leaving a layer of coagulated earthen detritus around him, letting pieces of his journey crumble away and fall to the floor.

I didn't want to push him, to rush him, to scare him into further silence, but I needed to know if the rumors were true.  I had already spoken to others with tales of what was behind the fog but nothing they said ever rang true to me.  The others fed us lies upon lies, hoping we would buy into their fantasies of glory, their tales of heroism, and for what?  So we would sleep better at night filled with false hope and unrealistic expectations?   It was empty words to hide their fear of what lay ahead, for what lay beyond what they could see; but not this one.  His fear and resistance to speak openly was reason enough to believe him and I needed proof that it could be done.  I needed to know for my own sake that there was a way out and if he found it, really found a way out, then there was hope for the rest of them still out there, for the rest of us who could go at any moment.  I needed to know that, if I was captured, there was a chance to escape the Beast. 

I offered him water and food.  By his appearance alone he was famished, and he took to my offering with such haste that I would be surprised if he tasted any of it; but it seemed to have the affect I wanted.  It gave him comfort, something I could only assume he hadn't had for some time, and put him at ease.  Maybe now he could trust to tell me his story.  I desperately needed to know.

Without looking up from where he sat huddled on the floor, he started again as he absently picked at his mud-caked feet.  At first I had difficulty hearing him, he spoke so quietly, but as he continued his words began to grow in strength, like the telling of them alone bolstered the strength in the telling.  He still refused to look directly at me and I didn't want to interrupt his courage, so I sat silently next to him and stared down at the floor, now littered with little clumps of grass and dirt.

"They grouped us together," he chuckled, "more like corralled us together, herded us... about 200 strong men and women, roped in, bound together by bonds of fear and anger and imprisonment.  They spoke to us of honor and courage and commitment, all the while forcing us closer to the gates that lead out into the fog, out into the forest, into the wild and beyond.  Out to where It lay waiting for us.

"They preached about how privileged we were to be among the chosen, how our lives would be forever changed for the better, how we would find freedom in our collective journey... freedom... they had been releasing group upon group before us and not a single one had returned victorious.  None had been set free.  It was laughable, they, those protected few beyond the barriers that held us in, speaking of freedom when we were consumed with escape.  What did they know of the value of freedom when none had ever had it stripped from them without cause, without reason?

"I don't know what else they said because it was irrelevant.  We turned to each other, held each other, spoke words of true encouragement, of true support and strength, to each other.  We wished each other luck.  What else did we have?

"Then the gates opened," he paused here to gather his thoughts or maybe to say a silent prayer for those he has not seen since the gates were spread wide.  I'd never know.  "And we ran," I could see his heart race, as blood flushed his face, as he remembered the beginning.  "Ran into whatever lay in wait for us.  Ran together... but we knew in our hearts that we ran alone.  We knew that at any moment what lay beyond could separate us, pull us apart, and leave us to fend for ourselves.

"We ran, but not easily.  Our wardens, our keepers, whatever they are, had laid trap after trap for us, impeding our way forward.  Walls burst from the ground without warning.  A few of the less fortunate came to a sudden halt, unsure of what to do; but me and several others clambered over, under, and through the barricades, determined to deny them their sadistic pleasure in seeing us fail.  Maybe those who stopped were the lucky ones, because after those barricades were the hills.  The God-damned hills...

"Looking back, I would gladly scale those walls over and over then climb those hills.  They were breaking everyone, they almost broke me, but too much was at stake, too much was counting on me breaking free."


That's it for now, Aggressives. Thanks for indulging me.  You may return to your exciting, amazing lives!  
- Illustrious