Friday, November 16, 2007

Oscar the Brain

A free Blog is like manna from heaven...

You never know what you'll find in your in-box!

I was bored in the middle of a busy day at work, so I decided to get some diversion by checking out your blog. Your post started out well. As I read it, I was thinking of all the ways you are stupid, and how this has brought about the consequences you mentioned early in your post. Central to your stupidity is your delusion of grandeur, you inability to see that you are a simple person, just like anyone else. That is not to say that you are not a likable person, or an admirable person for the choices you make in life. It is to say that you seem to believe you are great. You are not. That belief costs you. I thought that you had an awakening and a changed approach to yourself. Of course you left the details about what you meant by stupidity to the end of the post. Needless to say, you completely missed the mark. You take the position (sideways, of course) that you are even too great for marathoning, marathons are stupid to you, which further proves my argument here.

There is nothing stupid about experiencing life. Boston itself is really nothing special. I have no idea why you are so obsessed with it. My guess is that you think you are extra special by qualifying for, and running Boston with 22,000 other people. I have qualified for the next Boston 5 times already (in Seattle, LA, Boston, Eugene, and Portland). Really I am not sure if it is worth the long trip to the East Coast. I don't know, maybe I'll do it anyway. Try out LA. That was a fun marathon. It has very diverse course and participants. It is a completely different experience than the marathons we see in the PNW or Boston. Nonetheless, if you are really obsessed with qualifying for Boston, come to do Seattle next week. Seattle is a great course and it is very well organized. The first 20 miles can be said to be either flat or downhill, then there are a couple of OK climbs that are not horrible. They start a bit steep for a block each (small very steep street block on Galer off McGilvra, and the first block on Interlaken off Lake Washington Blvd), but afterwards they are not too steep. The begining of those climbs break people down psychologically, when they really don't amount to much. Then it is almost all downhill to the finish near the Space Needle, which is visible for the last 3 miles. If you want I can give you a rundown of the course. If you understand Seattle, there is no reason why you can't PB here. In fact my 2nd fastest time was in Seattle last year, and I PBed here by 13 minutes the year before that. It is well organized race. There are volunteers reading the time at each mile marker. Many local endurance sport clubs take care of the aid stations (Sea Tri does the aid station at the start, Eastside Runners do the Interlaken station). Seattle is big enough that you will not be running in the middle of a country road by yourself, being passed by pick up trucks, like you will in a smaller marathon. Good luck in your next race Vince.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hello, My Namie is Vince and...

Hello, my name is Vince.

"Hi, Vince," calls out a Greek chorus!

And I am a stupidity addict. I have been addicted to stupidity for over forty-seven years.

The room gasps.

Yes, it's true. And when I stop and think of all the stupid things I have done in my life, I'm probably lucky to still be alive. I've always been attracted to, lusted after, craved, and had a great weakness for stupidity. The more impulsive it was, the more I liked it. The more rash the stupidity, the crazier the actual act of stupidity, the more I did of it. I lived for stupidity. Oblivious to all else. And not just normal stupidity, but stupidity on a grandeur and a scale that makes even me, in my rare rational and lucid moments, gasp and shake my head and make me wonder, "What the Hell was I thinking?", the answer of course being that I wasn't thinking at all.

Like most stupidity addicts, I have tried to rationalize my stupidity. Called it things like a "sense of adventure", "whimsy", "joie de vivre". I have thought of myself not as stupid, but a "bon vivant", a lover of life, and as a writer, compelled to be open to all the experiences that life has to offer. In other words, addicted to stupidity.

And I can't even begin to tell you what my stupidity has cost me in terms of friends, loved ones, money, career and health.

I had hoped that over time - let's face it, I'm getting a little long in the tooth to still be acting stupid - and with the loving support of my family and friends that I would beat my addiction to acts of gross stupidity.

After the Portland Marathon, and failing to re-qualify for the Boston Marathon, I vowed to be a rational, logical, clear-thinking adult. I swore my stupid days were behind me.

I really hoped to be able to live a life of quiet happiness, free of the stupidity monkey on my back.

And for four full weeks, I took my stupidity one day at a time.

I had three dinner parties. I wined and dined with friends. I made long-term plans for the future that didn't include stupidity.

After Portland, I didn't even run for a WHOLE FREAKING WEEK!

I took long walks with my dogs. I enjoyed the crisp autumn air and the leaves changing colour. I bought a new computer. I helped a few friends around the house.

But, there is no getting away from the fact that I am addicted to stupidity.

And even though I regularly sleep with two dogs - and know full well the dangers of such - I just couldn't let sleeping dogs lie, or is it lay?

So I have once again fallen off the wagon...

I am going to run the Olympia Marathon in Olympia, Washington on December 16, which just happens to be a Boston Marathon Qualifier.

Yes, I know this is an act of stupidity.

I was going to try and keep this a secret, but we all know that the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.

What can I say?

I'm stupid.

Actually, it's worse than that.

I'm old enough and theoretically smart enough to know better, and I'm still stupid.

Vince Hemingson, stupidity addict.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What's So Great About the Boston Marathon, Anyways?

Ahhh, you know I'm full of shit.

The Boston Marathon is the greatest race, let alone marathon, in the world.

After going for the last two years in a row, it's just a little hard for me to accept that I can't actually run the race in 2008.

The best marathon I ever ran - out of 23 - was in Boston.

2007 has been an interesting year.

I haven't Blogged as often in the past twelve months for a variety of reasons.

On November 5, 2006 my father had a heart attack. He has been in and out of the hospital four or is it five times?, since then. He had a pacemaker installed. While he was in the hospital I was his primary care-giver. I think he racked up a total of ten or eleven weeks in all in the hospital. And when he was released he needed a lot of help.

I don't resent the role, but it takes a tremendous amount of time and in a strange way it does eat away at your core strength. Not sure what I mean by that, but then, you've never met my father... Not an easy man. Wonder where I get that.

2007 has been a tough racing year for me. I don't think I had a real shot at the title the whole year. My marathons in both Boston this Spring - the weather conditions and my getting ill during training - and in Portland - my asthma attack - meant that I don't feel that I had an opportunity to do my best.

But that in and of itself is part of both marathoning and life. You don't always have things go your way. So you do the best you can.

In the past month I have tried to do other things than Blog and think about marathons.

You should read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

You should see the documentary film about Edward Espe Brown called, "How to Cook Your Life".

You should try to be a little more Zen. I have hard time accepting that all life is suffering.

Having suffered only a little, I am grateful for the joy nad moments of bliss that the universe has offered up to me.

I am lucky to have so many friends and people I care about in my life. And love. That makes me happy when I am smart enough to remember that.

You should bake a loaf of bread, it will be good for your heart and soul. It tastes great! And smells even better.

If you love the Beatles, you MUST see "Across the Universe". It's a great film. Even if you don't like the Beatles, you will after this film.

I bought a new iMac 24 after suffering through two decades of PC crash and burns and the dreaded "blue screen" of death. Torture and a nightmare for a writer.

Learning a new operating system at my age and peak of crankiness has reduced me to tears. I am not speaking metaphorically.

I am down-loading my entire collection of CD's. It will take weeks.

As of this exact moment, I have down-loaded 4642 songs and have 12 days of music to listen to. I am not even a quarter of the way through.

Boy do I collect a lot of shit... Maybe that is as metaphorical as literal.

I have THREE freaking copies of Fleetwood Mack's Rumours album. How did that happen. Already I have found half a dozen "doubles" or repeats with my early onset memory loss and friends gifting you music when you already own.

Buy the Buddha Bar two CD set. It's great. It will make you feel younger and a little more hip. Even though of course you aren't.

CD jewel cases are crap. They are built like crap and they fall apart with feather like ease. They are more delicate than glass orchids.

Where do missing CD's go? I have a couple of dozen empty jewel cases. Albums with no music inside. Did they disappear? Have they joined up with the odd socks of the universe?

I say this, sharing with you the knowledge that I never take the CD's out of my house. I have never owned a vehicle of any description with a CD player in it.

When I rent a car, I usually have to buya CD at a gas station to keep from going nuts. I hate tuning a strange car radio. I know I am weird about stuff like this

Throw a party.

I threw a Costume Party for Hallowe'en. Then I threw two unexpected parties out of the blue, a last minute birthday party for one of my best friends and a going away to Europ party for another best friends.

In October I drank too much wine and ate too much cheese. But it all evens out, because I didn't have enough of either in August and September.

I have gained ten pounds since October 7.

My asthma has been bothering me and affecting my running and I'm not sure what the problem is. Maybe my racing days are over.

You should take a cooking class.

Read the Omnivore's dilemna.

I was asked to Host a program on one of the big cable networks and took a week out of October to make an audition tape (of course it's a DVD these days).

The process made me thankful for my many friends and made me realize how much I enjoy doing that work, even though I am terrified of being on camera and then you get excited about sharing ideas with people and it doesn't really matter because you forget all about it.

It's good to have something in your life that you can be passionate about. I guess that's why all my friends laugh at me when I tell them I am actually very shy. But words and doing things and talking about things that excite you can make all that go away.

But then, you are still shy afterwards. It's an interesting dilemna for someone like me.

I ran 26 kilometres on Sunday in three hours.

It felt good.

Life is not that bad.

I still wish I had qualified for the Boston Marathon next year.