Archive for June, 2010

An Open Confession

"Father, is shaving squirrels and keeping them in a box in my closet a mortal or venial sin? I mean, I'm gonna do it anyway..."

WEATHER: Sticky to the point of slippery.  Sit-still-and-sweat weather.

MILES: 5.5


WHERE TO: All over.

MOOD: Remorseful


Bless me, O Running God/Gods, for I have sinned.

It has been four days since my last post; six since my last REAL post, and the wrath of the net is upon me.  Yea, it is like chaff upon the ground after harvest; it is like salt upon my face after a shitty, 90-degree race; indeed, yea, it is like those stupid water belts upon novice runners.

And so today I confess my running-related transgressions unto you.

I have been neglecting my physical therapy exercises.  May God have mercy upon my soul.

I have neglected to wear sunscreen during my runs for a period of a duration of several weeks now.  May God have mercy on my soul.

Whilst running in the land of Minnesota last weekend, I saweth women with abdominal muscles which, unlike mine own, did not look like pasty haggis, and lo, I was filled with several of the deadly sins — envy, greed, rage, and indeed lust…but yeah, mostly envy.  May God have mercy on my soul.

In high school track, when I was given even a hair’s breadth of room on the left side of a runner, I passed on the inside.  May God have mercy upon my soul.

In high school track, I also spat to excess as I ran.  I knoweth not why; perhaps a nervous tick, perhaps to get rid of the cotton-mouthy-feeling-of-dread that was given unto me when the announcer shouteth, “FIRST, LAST, and ONLY CALL for the GIRLS’ THREE-THOUSAND-METER RUN!”  But for this reason (and this reason ALONE), I acquired the nickname “Spitter.”  And yea, though I kneweth that “Spitter” had carnal connotations, I did not exactly knoweth the nature of such connotations, and yet I acteth as though I did, and lo, did I use the name “Spitter” to comedic effect.  May God have mercy upon my pathetic soul.

Just before it came to pass that I broke up with my last boyfriend, a boy who indeed did skip my races, during a time when I still hath the privileges of the keys to the door of his dwelling, I did enter said studio apartment in the dead of night, whilst he was out, I knew not where, presumably with a woman of a hipster nature who, yes, perhaps did not have abdominals like a compressed, pasty haggis, and who perhaps looketh friggin’ fabulous in painted-on jeans of two-percent spandex, and who hath also, perhaps, a greater familiarity with the works of Thomas Pynchon and also The Who than I, but who also presumably hath never sweat one drop in her existence and really when you think about it probably had a name like “Caitlin” or “Ashley” or some damn shit, well let me tell you I drank all the alcohol in his home (i.e., about a half cup of Listerine), coated my body in BodyGlide Anti-Chafing formula and slid around on the floor of his goddamn studio apartment humming the Indiana Jones theme song and periodically interjecting in a snide fashion, “Watch THIS race, ass-hat!” and “I’LL show you a FEAR OF COMMITMENT WHEEEEEE” and various other things that didn’t really make sense, in retrospect, and furthermore in retrospect this wasn’t so much punishment for him as a good time for me, and though he did mop the floor really vigorously for like a week, he did also fall during his next uberdramatic “I feel TRAPPED” tirade and bonk his head on his guitar amp, which did, OK, sort of make me giggle, and May God have mercy on my soul, I guess.

I may or may not have forever ruined running gels for a dear fellow runner of mine by comparing the substance inside to a fluid that cannot really be described except by the word “splooge.”  I would ask for mercy, but let’s face it: it wouldn’t really be sincere, now would it.

I wrote this entire rather subpar post without any real idea of where I was going or what to write about at all, and I’m still not sure, to be honest.  But now that I’ve said “splooge,” I’m pretty sure I can’t go anywhere but down.  Because “splooge” always comes at the climax.  Ahahahahahahahaha.


<sniff, awkward shuffling of feet>

I’m going to hell.

Giving Back

Hooray!  We now have a new page, on which you can post your questions and DJ will answer them.  Or laugh at your cluelessness.  But most likely answer them.

Nostalgia Overload

Oh, Caaaaarleton, our alma maaaaaaaaaaater, we haaaail the maize and bluuuuue... (Image from

ON LOCATION! — In Minnesota/Iowa this week!

WEATHER: Big, hot sky.  No clouds.  No shade.  The usual Iowa-in-summer.



WHERE TO: Heaven (which is to say, “Northfield, Minnesota“), then home, which is arguably even better.

MOOD: Nostalgia-until-my-head-explodes.


My dear readers, I apologize for being remiss in posting.  It’s been a week full of travel and incoherentness, and as a result — a week of very little running.  I began writing this post from the library on my college campus, as I took a break from my 5-year college reunion festivities. Rest was a necessity, given the exhaustion I had from partaking in three truly taxing activities:

1) Drinking

2) Giving the “here’s-what-I-do-now-and-what-about-YOU?” speech

3) Raucous laughter.

…the raucous laughter being the result of the cadre of women with whom I associated in college, all of whom miraculously stopped their world-domination plans to come back to school for 4 days.  Hanging-out-time with these women is truly exhausting because of the competitive nature of our conversations, in which we all try to (a) out-loud and (b) out-dirty each other.  As I sat in the library drafting this post, in fact, The Bear began G-chatting me.  She sent the following messages:


grope grope”

<chewbacca noise>”
And while this does not capture the full depth of the filthy discourse in which we ladies generally partake, it at least gives you a measure of the maturity level.
And as it turned out, running became a prominent part of the weekend after all, and not just because of my midday detox jogs through town.  No, I might add that one highlight of the 2010 Carleton College Reunion was the Class of 1985’s Saturday-night dance party getting streaked.  I have absolutely no idea what kind of beautiful, ballsy, uninhibited pervs would do such a thing, but when I find out, I will by all means let you know.
Anyway, the whole thing required a lengthy Sunday-night sleep as well as a lengthy Monday-morning running-and-stomach-discomfort-fest to get out of the system.  And yet I am pretty sure that I am still slightly sore from dancing and laughing so hard, which I think we can agree is the mark of a weekend well-spent.
Today I am back in Iowa, and my jog this morning was full of the hallmarks of an Iowa run: no shade or clouds, for one, and a pervasive hot-ness that is sort of surprising.  Which is generally bad, but it intensifies the also-pervasive smell of soil, which if you don’t understand, you just won’t understand (if you understand…).  But there are new aspect this time around as well…for instance, a nearby road construction project has increased the traffic on my family’s road from 1 car per day (usually ours) to a veritable gridlock of 7 or 8 per day…all of whom drove by me as I shirtlessly tromped down the gravel road.  All also seemed to be filled to the brim with small screaming children, who either gave me the thumbs-up or a laughing fit as they kicked up gravel all over my sweaty body.  Fortunately, as I wiped the sweat-and-dust-paste from my body, I had a few new wind-turbine colonies in the distance to contemplate. 
More disturbingly, however, I was not greeted by a snuffling, hyper pack of swine as I ran up onto the yard.  This is because my father is perpetually fidgeting over the decision of whether or not to continue raising animals.  I’m not sure what he thinks he will do with his time, but my guess is taht he will move a few buildings.  Since all his daughters have left home, the man has taken to rearranging buildings the way that the rest of us rearrange furniture.  Except, of course, massive forklifts, bulldozers, tractor trailers, and cement mixers generally don’t come into play when I’m moving an ottoman.  My dad, on the other hand, gets to hang out with a large group of men and go “BRRRRRMMMMMMM” while they slide a garage from the south side of the house to the southWEST side. 
The point of this story is that every time I come home I get a pretty good idea of where I get my sort of obsessive squirrelliness.  So when Dad asks, “How can you run so much?” I can generally answer “How can you buy 75 pigs on a whim and then move the machine shed 20 feet?”  And he will say, “Ah, touche.”  Or, more realistically, “Aaaagh, don’t be a smartass.” 
Furthermore, Mom eats peanut butter with a spoon (and also a healthy sense of gusto).  Another “where-is-that-from” question solved.
That’s all I got.

Making Good Choices

Uncle Sam. What a fun-hating fascist. (Image from

WEATHER: Wet, sticky, humid, hot.



WHERE TO: Once again — Eastern Market, Mall, Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle, etc.

MOOD: Silly.


I ran this evening instead of this morning, which always seems to yield way-super-faster runs than just rolling out of bed and going for it (a concept that has some scientific basis, it turns out).  This being DC, every single day the forecast calls for “isolated thundershowers, some of which might be strong,” or perhaps “scattered showers, maybe, but then again maybe not, we just don’t know,” or even “a shower or two, but don’t blame us if there aren’t, because what the shit do you want from us, anyway, you little turds?  Huh?”

So the “tiny chance of maybe a super-bad-ass thundershower at some point in the near future” came to fruition around mile 8 today, and I came in the house dripping wet.

“How was your run?” asked my housemate, the Irishwoman.

“I’m COVERED in SEMEN!” I yelled, dripping all over the entryway, because this is the kind of intelligent humor that we engage in in our home.  “Oh, hey, T,” I added, suddenly noticing her boyfriend.

He looked frightened.  The Irishwoman peed herself in hysterical laughter.  I peed myself in embarrassment and squished my way off to the shower.


But to the point — why did I run in the evening instead of the morning, thus subjecting myself to a two-mile full-body douching?  Because I needed extra sleep this morning.  Very badly.

And why did I need the extra rest this morning?  Because I ran like a rockstar this weekend and in general partook in healthy activities, and thus decided that maybe my legs and entire being, really, could have a well-deserved rest today.

Because I had one or two too many alcoholic beverages this past weekend and decided that maybe I should just sleep in for once to recover more fully.

Because I don’t recall much about the weekend aside from stumbling home from some house in Northeast on Sunday morning at 7 AM, dressed in nothing but a rainbow “Pride!” flag with a keg tap and a live rooster in tow.

Am I joking or not?  Doesn’t matter.  The point here is — do running and drinking mix?  It would seem not — I nearly skipped my training run today because of a fantastically stupid weekend that featured fantastically mature decisions:

Toolish Army Dude: “Why aren’t you playing flip-cup?”

Me: “Because I don’t want to.”

Toolish Army Dude: “What — are you some sort of pansy?”

Me: “Oh dude it is SO ON!”

Because NO ONE calls me a pansy without watching me drink a lot of beer afterward.  It’s just the kind of pride I have.

OK, so my problem today was more sleep deprivation than anything.  But that is part of the point — hangovers and a magic-markered face aren’t the only side effects of drinking.  I present to you two case studies, who also happen to be two of my most loyal training partners — S. and Rusty.  S. is a teetotaller, having decided after his crazy college years that drinking mostly did nothing but waste time, in the form of both (a) taking up a whole Saturday night, then (b) causing you to wake up at 5 AM on a Sunday feeling like ass but — because God hates you — unable to sleep or really do anything but watch a whole season of Heroes, thus making you hate God right back.  So then you feel generally OK eventually, fine, but then you only got negative-two hours of sleep and you have to work on Monday, you idiot, and also post on your goddamn blog, and my God what the balls were you thinking?

And S. has an excellent point here.

But then Rusty is the flip side of this coin — a man about my size and yet I have seen this man drink like a CHAMP (whereas 2 glasses of wine compel me to perform “Faith” by George Michael, even at non-karaoke-featuring events)…and the reason I feel comfortable divulging this about Rusty (you’re the man, Rusty…honestly…) is also because he still manages to kick my ass on a weekly basis, berating me this past weekend on a punishing 14-miler in the 90-degree heat (to be fair, I was the moron who decided to keep adding miles to the run, because — logically! — the only way to feel better on a shitty-feeling run is to make it longer).

The point here — not that I have much of one — is that both of them seem to be doing fine, kicking ass, running either stupidly fast or stupidly long.  And of course, now I realize, the decision doesn’t have to be black-or-white; perhaps I can engage in moderation, be an adult, take respons-

Toolish Army Guy: “That’s f**king weak, man.  I bet you can’t even do a kegstand.”

Me: “Give me that tap, dumbface.”

Ask a Runner

If I put up a Glee picture, will more people read? (Image from

WEATHER: Glorious — 69, non-damp, pretty.



WHERE TO: Eastern Market, Mall, Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle, etc.

MOOD: Helpful.


It has come to my attention that there are blogs out there that actually are…you know…USEFUL.  And so, in the spirit of attempting to help my fellow man/womyn, and especially YOU, blog-readers, whom I love with every part of my being, especially my bosoms feet, I give you the first installment of “Ask a Runner,” wherein I answer all your running-related questions.  So.  Let’s go, kids.


Q: How do I pick the right running shoes for me? — Deanna Z., Ledyard, IA

A: Measure your feet, find some shoes in a color you like, and go.

Just messing with you.  Picking the right running shoes is a very complicated process that involves going to a running store, where there are trained professionals who can help you find the specific shoes that will make your daily 4-mile death march feel a bit more like 3.9 miles.  Feet move in different ways, you see, depending on how you “push off” on your “stride” — among the myriad ways in which your “feet” can be “moving” horribly, irreparably wrong, are supination, pronation, abomination, and ululation (this one is particular to warrior princesses).  You need shoes that fit what your feet are doing wrong, you see.

To help ensure you get the “right fit,” these pros will actually sit down in front of you, the poor saps, and take your feet into their hands and INSPECT YOUR FEET CLOSELY, kindly taking into account yet not commenting on all of your feet’s little peccadilloes, callouses, corns, and 6th digits. Strangely, doing this never seems to bother them.

“My GOD,” the running store saleswoman will often say as you unveil your foot from your greyed, hole-y sock.  “Your feet are INCREDIBLE.”

“Um…yeah,” you will say, a bit taken aback at first, but trust me, this is just how these people work.  Go with it.  “So…can you tell me what shoes I need?”

“Nnnnnnnng,” she will say, rubbing your glorious foot on her cheek.  Again, relax.  This is part of the process.

After she has invited you back to her place, usually she will give you a sale price of 20% off of the marked-up-150%-shoes she has selected for you.  Yes, it feels like highway robbery, but then, she did compose a madrigal about your big toes while showering you in grapeseed oil.  You’re paying for the experience here.


Q: What is my ideal weight as a runner? — Tom R., Bethesda, MD

A: Whatever you are minus 10 pounds.

OK, haha, just joking.  It’s actually 20.


Q: Can I touch your face? — Richard X., Washington, DC

A: You again?


Q: Is there a particular diet I should be following as a runner? — Svetlana E., Baton Rouge, LA

A: There is a wide variety of foods that you can eat, depending on your weekly mileage:

0-10 miles per week — dust mites

11-20 miles per week — celery sticks

21-30 miles per week — celery sticks and shots of vodka

31-40 miles per week — marshmallow fluff, Cheez doodles

41-50 miles per week — duck breast with goat cheese and a balsamic reduction, served over farm-fresh organic arugula

51-60 miles per week — entire jars of peanut butter.  Mayonnaise, too.

61+ miles per week — the cast of Glee (actually, please do this)

Some runners follow a strict vegan diet.  Ultramarathoner Scott Jurek is perhaps the most famous for this.  I am confident that we can all call a big fat shenanigans on him, as well.  I mean, maybe he’s part bunny or something, but no one can run 50 gazillion miles a week on nothing but Garbanzo beans and iceberg lettuce.  Plus, I once at a race spotted him sneaking into the bushes to chomp on a squirrel.  Scott Jurek, you’re sick, man.

Maybe it’s my Iowa roots, but I mean…I dunno.  If you’re working that hard, you might as well treat yourself to a delicious, formerly-living being once in a while.


Q: Iowa, huh?  The land of potatoes, eh? — A surprising number of seemingly-educated East Coast people

A: I hate you.


Q: Is Shaniqua there? — Esther Q., Muncie, IN

A: HELL, no. How many times do I have to tell you?


Well.  Do you have a question you need answered?  Write it on a (full) peanut butter jar or a Glee cast member and send it in.


I mean…why ask why?  (Image from




WHERE TO: Anywhere I feel like!

MOOD: See this post’s title.


Today a lovely and close friend from college, who I will call Doris, called me.

“I’M LOSING MY MIND, DJ!” was the thesis of the call.  You see, Doris has runner’s knee, and has moved to Crazytown as a result.  The conversation made me strangely emotional, as I recalled my months on the DL.

Apparently, Doris’ husband (who is also — kickass! — training for the NYC marathon) essentially told her, “Calm down.  It’ll get better.”  And while, yes, the runner with a nagging but low-pain injury needs to take a chill pill and also develop a meaningful and close relationship with a physical therapist, STAT, telling them to “calm down” is about the equivalent of telling someone with ebola who is also bleeding out the eye sockets, “Walk it off, champ.  It’s just a sprain.”

Dramatic?  Yes.  Overstatement?  Probably.  But fiddle-dee-dee.  Bite your tongue.  To tell the Serious Runner not to run is like…well… <violin chorus cue> telling the sea to stop roaring like a restless lion.  Like telling the clouds to stop their inexorable dance across the heavens.  <oboes and timpani chime in> Like telling a daisy not to bloom its beautiful face toward the sky.  Like telling that little brat from across the street to stop trying to pee on your bicycle tires as you ride by.  <sopranos> Like telling a foul-mouthed blogger to stop using the word “boner” so much.

Some forces, friends, can’t be stopped.

So when Doris told me her worries and frustrations, I felt for her.

She said, “I see all these people with PERFECTLY GOOD KNEES not taking advantage of it!”

“I know!” I chimed in, rolling about on my bed at 11 AM.

“Like, do you know how GOOD YOU HAVE IT?”

“Dude!  Like, get up off your ass already,” I added, rolling over to my computer, consulting Bing image searches to compare the merits of shirtless-Prince-of-Persia-Jake-Gyllenhaal-covered-in-a-fine-layer-of-Arabian-Sand-grit versus shirtless-Gladiator-Russell-Crowe-covered-in-a-fine-layer-of-Coliseum-dirt-grit (revisionist history is SEXY, bitches!), and also whether I could survive on the sawdusty dregs from Friday’s trail mix left in the baggie in my work-backpack next to my bed, or whether the strenuous trek down two flights of stairs would be necessary so that I could score a few spoonfuls of Quik (shut your godawful mouth, haters; I don’t judge you for those nudie Carol Channing pics I found in your den).

See, even in light of Doris’ withdrawal, I was suffering myself from a mild case of burnout.  You know you need a day off when, even not-training for anything, you’re running enough that your plantar fasciitis is acting up and the word “fartlek” is no longer funny and your soul hurts when you see the giant mobs of Team in Training people out on the trails because YOUR running isn’t fighting disease or helping people or dutifully clogging the trails around Bethesda for the rest of the world (hey.  Just saying.).

Ever since my convalescence, I had been attempting to do every run with a good old can-do gung-ho grateful-for-my-health KAPOW! sort of spirit, but Jaysus.  Sometimes it feels so optimistic and perky and spunky that I want to punch myself in the face and do a self-administered swirly. So (sorry, Doris), I did the unthinkable — I took TWO STRAIGHT DAYS OFF.

I know.  Easy, tiger.  Soon I’ll start organizing my sock drawer by size and not color WHOOOOOOA I JUST BLEW MY FREAKING MIIIIIND.

Anyway.  Tomorrow is another long run.  Back on the horse, back to the sweaty drippy fun.  Mmmmm…..


Oh, and in other news, Madam Sixpack has a blog.  In which she tackles the big life questions, about God and love and war and conflict and pain and joy and loss and suffering and…oh, no, my mistake.  It’s about her love of reading about throbbing, painful erections.  ENJOY!

The Universe Works in Mysterious Ways…

Dude this is EXACTLY HOW I LOOKED! (Photo courtesy of one of the first pics that popped up when I Googled "road rash")

WEATHER: I want to shower every 5 minutes.

MILES: 10?


WHERE TO: Adams Morgan, National Cathedral, Georgetown, Dupont Circle.

MOOD: Pensive.


It has been too long since my last post, a fact that was sloshing around in my head as I trotted through Georgetown this morning.  And then the universe gave me something to write about.

I saw this dude with no shirt, red shorts.  From the back and two blocks away, he looked to be about 45 or so (can I tell? YES I CAN.).  And magically, it always seems to be the quick, sinewy, middle-aged-dudes who go about my speed, so I thought this would be the perfect rabbit for me to chase for my last few miles.  I picked up the pace, springing along at a good clip, ready for the thrill of the chase, the joy of catching another runner, the lovely wild and free sensation, lalala.

“I will write tonight about the thrill of the chase, the joy of catching another runner, the lovely WHY ARE MY FEET DUMBASSES OH NOOOOOOO…”

And soon I was skidding along Q Street, my feet having caught a sidewalk brick that was just the teeeenist bit out of place, which sent me stumbling and spinning along so that, by the time I got a hold of myself and the momentum had stopped, I had scrapes along my ankle, hip, elbow, hand, shoulder, and somehow my right shoulder blade.  Furthermore, I am both proud and ashamed to say that I was going so fast that I’m pretty sure I bounced.

So I stood, wiped off the grit, inspected the damage, and was horrified to see a woman walking toward me with her dog baaaawwwwww someone saw that!

This very well-dressed, white-haired, glassy-eyed lady walked up and said placidly, “It’s a beautiful morning for a run!”

Whoa.  Hey.  Is this broad messing with me? <Irony scan>  Huh.  No…..

ME: <picking gravel out of my upper thigh/ass> Yes…yes…beautiful…?

SHE: <not even really catching my eye, continuing walking past> Just beautiful!  Much better than yesterday!

ME: <dabbing at blood> Um…a little help?

SHE: <humming contentedly, wandering off>

I suppose I’m a little at a loss for what the moral of all this is, or if there is some deeper hidden meaning to this story, or if I need to justify even why I told it to you at all, blog-readers.  Except to merely point out that this is what I go through just to put up blog posts to entertain you, and it’s a thankless job I tell you what, and you just come home and put your feet up and ask where’s dinner, where’s the paper, where’s my blog post well HERE!  Your dinner is burned, the dog pooped on and then ate your paper, my body is scarred and ruined, but oh well, at least your BLOG POST IS DONE BAAAAAAAAAAA <sniffle> THINGS USED TO BE DIFFERENT WITH US!  We used to just stay up all night cuddling, remember?  Wasn’t that great?  There are other ways to be intimate, you know!  <face in hands, wailing>


Oh, by the way, The Mountie has a new blog, and you should read it.  In it, she chronicles her summer in Alaska — living, learning, loving, and only occasionally being eaten by polar bears and penguins.