Sunday, January 15, 2012


Moved: Forwarding Address

Does anyone still subscribe to this blog that I haven't updated in many years?

If so, you can now find me at my new website:

And my new blog:

See you there!

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Full Metal Lunchbox

I'm going to bring this blog to a close now.  A month or two earlier than planned, but it seems like the right time to move on to new endeavors.

How do you like them apples?

Here's what I've learned over the past 2 1/2 years:

There's a lot more that I want to say, but can't.  That's kinda the point.

I thought that for my last post I'd do something big and amazing, like a retrospective or something.  But I'd rather just crawl into bed next to the air conditioner and read my funny paper.

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by to read (and comment on) what I've written.  Your support through my various misadventures has been much appreciated. 

A very small number of you have by now received your invitations to share in my next endeavor.  As for the rest of you, sorry but this is where you get off.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Thought I Had Seen It All

After three decades riding the CTA (many of those years during very odd hours) I thought I had seen it all.

But the strangest was yet to come...

Check out the naked dudes between cars on the Red Line that I saw on my way to work yesterday!  They stood between cars, shirtless, wearing only shorts, singing merrily (and shivering) the entire trip downtown.

I took this photo when I got off the train at Lake Street at 4:30AM.  They were surprised to see me take this photo--like what they were doing was completely normal.

I love this town.

Friday, July 20, 2007


All Good Things..


Before I make my announcement, a couple of quick updates:

And that sort of brings me to my announcement..

After more than 300 posts going back 2 1/2 years, I've decided to retire this blog, Full Metal Lunchbox.

A few months ago a good friend of mine (I can't say whom, but hint: she's the one who first suggested I start a blog) told me that she stopped posting to her blog because she "got bored of it."  I didn't understand at first, but I think I get it now.

Yeah, I'm bored with this, and ready to move on to something else.

And recent events in my life have shown me in stark relief just how incredibly artificial the blogging world is.  For me, the question is relevant: why broadcast to strangers when I should be connecting to real people around me?

(I can think of a few bloggers who are shaking their heads at that last paragraph.  Hey, if it works for you, more power to ya.)

And finally, there are a few regular readers who should have no part of my life whatsoever.  You know who you are.  (Don't think I don't see you, just because you've never left a comment.)

This photo isn't supposed to represent anyone in particular, but I just had to include it.

So, that's that.

I don't have a date for my final post, but it will likely be sometime between the Chicago Marathon and the end of the year.  Or it could be sooner.

A very small number of you will receive invitations to keep up with my goings on via a private blog.  To the rest of you, in case I forget to say later, thanks for participating.

Please feel free to call or e-mail me anytime.  All of you (with very limited exception) are welcome to be a part of my life.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Time off from Running and Blog Posting


I've been taking a few days off from both running and blog posting.  Nothing wrong, just need a short break.

I'll try to post something later this week, including perhaps photos from the big Wisconsin Beer Roadtrip II.

In the meantime, if you are looking for online reading material, check out some of the many fine blogs linked to in my left margin.  Many of them are about running and a few of them even mention drinking and computers.

Today I'm decompressing.  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


DNS, Oh my tendon

My ankle, never fully recovered since GMR, is still acting up and for the past few days I've experienced problems with the tendons connected to my hamstrings.  Given the risk of further injury later in the training season, I've decided to hedge my bets and lay off running for a few days.

Unfortunately, that means I was DNS for tonight's Niketown Bastille Day 5K -- a race I had been waiting for since last year when I was also DNS (that time because Justyna forgot her shoes and borrowed mine).

It also means I wont get to run Lake Monona this weekend with Shea

But that's probably OK, since I'll likely be in no shape due to the big Wisconsin Beer Roadtrip.  Details on my coming adventures driving a dozen of my friends to the cheese state for all kinds of mayhem will be posted here after the weekend.

Tomorrow I have the day off, and I head off on my big van adventure on Saturday morning.

Lord have mercy on us all.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Boring Saturday Blog Post

This will be boring post.  Every now and then I have to do this, lest you think my life is all about running, drinking, and having fun.  Well that's certainly not the case.

Last night (hold the excitement campers) I worked from home on a systems migration from 11:30PM to 3:00AM.  I did thrilling UNIX chores like "stopping the cron job," and "restarting the load manager."  When it was all over I faced the dilema about whether or not to go to bed and get up again at 4:30AM to go on my 12 mile long run.  I really wanted to go, but I felt the sniffles from my still lingering cold from last week.

So I chose to be lazy.

Sleeping in with Denise under the big air conditioner was pure heaven.  But eventually I felt guilty and went to the gym (first time in two months!) for a long, slow workout.

aerobic: 25 minutes of hill repeats and speed intervals on the treadmill
upper body: chest and shoulder presses, curls, reverse curls
mid-body: crunches baby crunches!
lower body: lunges (20 pound dumbells)

I've been exchanging text messages with Denise's sister, who inexplicably is driving in from Minnesota for the weekend.  She's stuck in traffic, which wouldn't have happened if she were to have bought a plane ticket.  The plan is to meetup for lunch at the Red Apple, but I have a feeling will morph into a late-afternoon snack.

For dinner, I'm considering celebrating 7/7/7 by taking Denise to--where else--777.  That is, if every other superstitious yahoo in town doesn't have the same idea.

Tomorrow we're going to the Sox-Twins game, which promises to be the most boring highlight of my weekend.  Neither team really knows how to catch a baseball.  I expect it will be like going to some kid's t-ball game, but without the amusing homicidal parents.

I might even attempt to makeup my 12 miler tomorrow morning.  But that would run the risk of making this weekend too interesting.  And we can't have that, now can we?!

Saturday, June 30, 2007


11 Miles Tough to Swallow

This past week my ankle has finally been well enough to complete more of my mid-week runs, and the extra effort paid off:

Today was the easiest long run I've had so far this year.


Long Run

6/30 long run (2007)

Cool Down

I actually considered running an extra 2 miles but decided not to risk it.

Almost everything was perfect.  The pace felt comfortable, and no one in my sub-group of six had any issues at all today.  The path was crowded with other running groups, but this was actually a good thing because everyone was friendly and happy to be outside.  I even bumped in to Jayhawk in the middle of her solo 12 miler.

The only thing that went wrong was some poor fueling decisions.  Here's what happened:

Last night I had pad thai for dinner.  

Unfortunately, I had too much and went to bed full.

I woke up at 5AM in the morning still full from the night before, so I didn't eat breakfast.

All I had was half a red bean bun before heading out for my warmup.

My only fuel was shot blocks, which I ate while running.

This caused acid reflux.

Now my throat feels like it's been scraped with sandpaper.  I had to skip lunch today because it hurts to swallow.

Next time I'll make sure I have breakfast first.

But otherwise, it was a good run today.

Next weekend: 14 miles -- an important distance for me, since that's the one that knocked me out of commission last year.

See you out on the running path, everybody!

UPDATE: My roughened throat from Saturday left me vulnerable to a nasty cold, so I'm likely off the running for another couple of days.  I will never again skip a meal before a long run.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Happiness is Mexican Corn


Sunday, June 24, 2007


Weekend Hangover Update

First, a word of clarification.  Many of you have commented that my blog gives the appearance that I am frequently intoxicated.  I assure you that this is not the case; I drink a lot less than many people I know.  But it seems that I only get around to posting to this blog immediately after a drunken episode.  And today is no exception.

But first, I'll backup and update you on my running, which my readership probably cares about more than my perceived drinking problems.  I've been skipping my mid-week runs these past two weeks due to some weird kind of ankle injury, though I'm feeling a lot better these days.

I was able to participate in my CARA long run yesterday (6:00AM Lincoln Park group, 9:30 pace, intermediate) though my not having run during the past two mid-weeks showed in my trouble keeping up with the group.

I started out with a warmup that turned into more of a fast jog than I would have liked, since I was running late (so to speak).

Then it was time for the long run, which fortunately this week was "stepback."  I managed to keep up with my group for exactly 4.75 miles before becoming dehydrated and lethargic.  After falling back for an unscheduled water and stretch stop, I took the nature trail back on my own for the final mile and a quarter.

The good news is that I did my distance at nearly the speed intended, and my ankle barely hurts at all.  So this week I'll be able to keep up my mid-weeks in anticipation of the 11 miler coming up next Saturday.

As for my drinking, here's what's going on.

1)  Denise and I missed the Pride parade today because we were too hungover from last night drinking with our recently married friends Jim & Kelly.  Jim, an accomplished sportswriter in training, had no problem keeping up with me with the Cuervo 1800.  And from what I hear he ended up in worse shape than I was this morning.

So, instead of meeting up with Jason and Leah and 500,000 other people in Boystown, Denise and I slept in until like 2:00PM and then hung out at Coffee Chicago.  We looked pathetic, but felt well-rested.

2)  My Wednesday night running speed work training will have to be delayed by a week because my employer is taking us out to a Cubs game.  My colleagues and I are planning to get as drunk and obnoxious as possible and blame it all on the UNIX.

3)  Next month I'm leading a group of 14 to Wisconsin for the Second Annual Alcoholics Reunion Wisconsin Beer Roadtrip(tm).  More on that in a few weeks.

No, I don't have a problem.  Thanks for caring.

See you out on the running path.  Or on the floor.  Or both.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Great Midwest Relay

Good morning everybody.  After my first real sleep in 36 hours I'm ready to write my race report.  It's a bit intimidating writing about a 190 mile relay race; there was just so much to this, and it's overwhelming.  So I'll just write about my little part of this before Denise and I venture out to improve our sunburns.

(Apologies in advance for the crudity of the maps in this post.  I can't get my Garmin-to-Google Earth converter to work today.  Damned pirate technology.)

First, some introduction.  The Great Midwest Relay is a 190 mile relay race from Madison to Chicago.  With the exception of a few ultra bands, the race was run in teams of 12.  My gang was Dude, Where's My Van?.  

Here they are:

Running Jayhawk, Team Captain









Out of Shape Guy

Sorry, Mike, this is the only picture of you that I have.  But it illustrates just how tired we all were when this event was only halway done!


(This is only a file photo.  How I managed to not take any pictures of someone with whom I spent nearly every minute for 32 hours with is a GMR mystery.

It all began with a party at Barb & Mike's, most of which Barb & Mike were not present for while they navigated the labrynth of Hertz Wait-in-Line.

Barb & Mike kiss goodbye before each driving a van to Madison.  After the night in the hotel, the alternating van nature of the relay would make it so this couple wouldn't get to see each other for more than a few minutes at a time over the next day and a half.

I was the lead-off man, running in the first position.  It was cool starting out in Madison, and everyone on the team came out to watch me kick things off.

Having not properly warmed up or even ran at all for the past couple of days, I decided to run my first race leg conservatively, keeping a steady pace and walking when needed.  The view around Lake Menona was invigorating and the morning breeze off the lake woke me up quickly.  I ended up meeting my 9:30/mile pace goal without really trying, and that put me in a good mood for the rest of the day.

Here team members from both of our vans relax together while waiting for Dawn to finish her first leg.  After that, it was all van 2 for awhile while van 1 went to get a nice pasta lunch.

Dice and Mouse were happy to find free public wi-fi at the second van transfer point, where we all hung out between rounds 1 and 2.

I enjoyed reading "Shalimar the Clown" by Salman Rushdie under a shady tree before it was time to warm up for my second round.

My second round was on an isolated, limited-entry bike path located roughly southwest of Waukesha, ending at the Milwaukee county line.  This time I brought music ("Dance Department" by Paul Van Dyk) and allowed myself to get fully into the experience.

Overcome with emotion for no particular reason, I ran the fastest time of my entire life.  I was almost completely out of control by the time I reached the exit of the bike path, yelling at a lady walking her dog to get out of my way and perhaps scaring our next runner, Jason.  It felt good for once to really give it everything I had.

Our next van transfer point was at a church outside Racine at 3:30 in the morning, where Barb and Mike shared a quick hug under a blanket in the cold.  Van 1 had been allowed a few hours to nap in the church on the floor of a classroom, but I couldn't sleep.  So when the messages came in rapid-fire that it was time for me to get ready for my final leg I was in a particularly foul mood.  Mike doesn't remember me yelling at him, which is good.  Somewhere along the line I lost my favorite pillow.

Generally disoriented and running almost completely in the dark, I decided to take it easy and made no attempt to meet my speed goals.  It was a good fun run, and I don't regret slowing down.  Seeing Lake Michigan in the middle of the night was the most surreal running experience I've had so far.

I finished just as the sun was starting to come up over the lake.  I felt lucky to be done, but not as lucky as Jason, who after two tough runs earned the privilege of an incredible sunrise leg along the lakefront.

After watching Dawnie complete a grueling 7 miler, van 1 was done for the day.  Time for breakfast--our first real meal since lunch the previous day!  (I had an omelet with five kinds of meat.)

After reaching Montrose Harbor, van 1 had some time to kill before the arrival of van2 and the finish of our anchor runner Elizabeth.  We drank beer and hung out while watching some of our favorite teams finish, such as the pirate team and the seemingly unlimited number of teams from Texas.

I was concerned that van 2 wouldn't be able to navigate Evanston and Chicago traffic, and park in the crowded park before the finish, but they made it just in time.  And e-Speed bought us a couple of extra minutes by getting lost a mile from the finish line. In the end we all finished together with smiles on our faces and sunburns on our various parts.

I was feeling ready to go home by the time Captain Barbara presented me with my finisher's medal.  

Fortunately for me, home was just a few blocks away.

Heartfelt thanks to the team of "Dude, Where's My Van?" for inviting me along and encouraging me to do my best, and especially to my crew in van 1 for being so laid back and funny.

And thanks again, Barb, for putting this together.  Sorry I couldn't make it out for karaoke.

As Mike would say, "Jesus, take the wheel."

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