Archive for the 'My Story' Category

I live. 24Feb11

I’ve been away. So sorry. It’s me, not you.

Being injured has sapped some of my enthusiasm for writing. But I am giving it another go and hope to resume posts the short term.

Meanwhile, follow me on the Twitter (@zerotoboston) and send me some ideas of what you’d like me to skewer… er… write about.

– Dean

The Wall 17Apr08

Over the past seventeen days, I’ve written a Socratic dialogue starring Obama, Hillary, and McCain, presented a Studio 54 marathon medal only an undertaker would love, and extolled the virtues of Cadbury Crème Eggs. I wasn’t ashamed to say that Bambi scared me out of my skin, and I didn’t realize just how many people had heard of the Duel in the Sun but hadn’t ever seen it.

But Now I’ve hit the wall. My creative glycogen has been depleted and I now must burn the fat of writer’s desperation. I’m stumbling through the final miles of this daily blogging marathon.

Like all runners who experience quasi spiritual epiphanies after mile twenty. I’ve come to the end of my plucky wit and am finally looking beyond my own nose. I’ve realized that through all my sardonic bluster, I’ve failed to truly thank those who’ve helped get me to this point.

So let’s put this to mending:

East lake Runners
You lit the fire, gave me a structured goal, and provided much-needed companionship early-on. Without this, I doubt I’d have stuck with this running fad.

Boss Frog
You taught me how to run. You’re a human metronome and a running encyclopedia. You’re also the busiest man I know… and I know myself.

Harbison Trail Runners
You boiled me when I needed it most and introduced me to the engrossing trail culture. I always look forward to running with you. Let’s talk Laurel Canyon!

Readers, Family & Friends
Thanks for following my story and encouraging me as I’ve expressed doubts. Your support empowers me and your blog comments are consistently hilarious.

I swear, I’m running during those two hour lunches.

More than one person sacrifices during obsessive, continuous marathon training. You’ve backed me thoroughly and perfectly; much more than I deserve. I guess this means I owe you big time.

O’Charley’s tonight, baby!

Posted 1 Comment »

11.5 and all is well. 15Apr08

Feet are quite peculiar, and typically ugly. Like the ear, they are prone to bulbous, odd shapes that remind me of my least favorite vegetables (cauliflower and green squash).

They can also cause problems, especially for runners. But I’ve never had any noteworthy problems with my feet. I’ve had no black toenails or lost toenails. I’ve avoided plantar fasciitis, calluses, infections, arch pain and unsightly fungus. I’m even a neutral pronator.

The occasional blisters appear, but only after a marathon or ultra, and only on my left little toe. They clear up right away. Since I’ve shifted from roads to trails, I can’t even remember the last time my feet were sore.

At the risk of sounding painfully shallow, I love my feet. This doesn’t mean that I spend all day thinking of my feet, or any other feet for that matter. But I do do buy running shoes at least partially based on fashion, and I have had a pedicure.

Does this make me a metrosexual runner?

– Dean

Started running. Now I have calves. 04Apr08

Six degrees of Earnest Hemingway
I’ve come across a unique book called “Not quite what I was planning.” It’s filled with memoirs from famous authors, each summarizing the essence of their lives.

While this sounds like something you’d discuss at “the finer things” club, the book offers quite an energizing twist. Inspired by an urban myth regarding Hemingway’s ability to tell compelling stories with very few words, each memoir is precisely six words long.

That’s hardly sufficient to summarize today’s weather, let alone the crux of an entire life. Hemingway offered the poignant, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” I guess that’s why he’s Hemingway.

Never one to wax melodramatic, I’d like to make a different contribution to the six-word story genre. The chief complaint I get here at ZeroToBoston is my failure to complete race reports in a timely fashion. So here they all are; precisely six words each.

Hit the wall at mile thirteen.

Collapsed at finish. Lovely Medical Tent.

Rockier than you can possibly imagine.

Ran day and night. Van reeked.

First Boston attempt. I Bonked ignominiously.

At least there was free beer.

Friend fell, got hideous knee wound.

Shoes still waterlogged; full of sand.

The Mythical Frog Boil finished fifth.

Unlike Chicago, they stocked extra water.

Sea of humanity enjoys vulgar Brooklynites.

Amazingly flat for a hilly town.

Qualification overshadows boring course, cheesy shirt.

Twenty-two miles up; Eighteen down. Curious.

What color should my hair be?

Keep comments to six words, please.

– Dean

This post has been “tagged” with the circulating six-word memoir blogfad. Please visit:

Atomic Sugar Shock 03Apr08

Photo by Heather Leah Kennedy

I unabashedly love Cadbury Crème Eggs. The whole gooey, chocolaty mess enthralls my taste buds, which otherwise shy away from prodigious concentrations of refined sugar. Only Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies (an excellent post-marathon treat) rival Crème Eggs as a discipline-smashing guilty pleasure.

Drooling excessively on my keyboard as I write of the Egg’s many indulgent virtues, I dream of the luscious rippling chocolate shell holding its succulent cargo of silky, flowing sweetness. I’m lost in the moment.

Oh yeah, I eat a lot of Crème Eggs.

No longer content to buy one Egg at a time, I purchase them in packs of four. I devour the first, and in the dizzying haze of my newfound sugar high, reach for the second; only to discover an empty box. I never recall eating all four. Is that a bad sign?

The Eggs satisfy my emotionally suspect chocolate urges, but they don’t do much for my training regimen. Have you ever run ten miles through trails fueled only by a handful of Crème Eggs? I assure you it’s not a pretty sight.

One Egg provides more carbs than the average (disgusting) Gel pack, but you also get enough fat content to sink a battleship. Based on a 2000 calorie diet, each Egg offers 17% (3.5g) of the Recommended Daily Allowance for saturated fat. I shudder at the prospect of multiplying this by four. But face it; if you’re downing multiple Crème Eggs in one sitting, you’ve blown the 2000 calorie diet to smithereens anyway.

What will I do? Maybe I can link my passion for running with my chocolate egg addiction. Perhaps Cadbury will sponsor me in a marathon. I’ll work the expo, wear a custom singlet, and agree to eat one egg per aid station during the race. I’d blow through at least a dozen. That’s impressive, right?

But there will be repercussions. High sugar concentration slows down stomach emptying, impeding the flow of real fuel to the muscles. That doesn’t bode well for endurance running. More pointedly, the harsh ebb and flow of insulin levels in my bloodstream would make for a spasmodic marathon experience. I’d drag listlessly into every aid station, down an egg, and zoom out like a Lovey Howell hopped up on sugar beets. I’m sure mathematicians could predict my rollercoaster sine wave splits based on some complex formula involving VO2 max and sugar calories per Egg.

This could work. But I’d only be able to train with Eggs a few weeks each year, when the Cadbury Bunny leaves her limited supply at convenience stores across America. And now Easter is over and they’re gone until next year.

Gone and we are lost! Lost, precious! Losssst!

– Dean

Tomato Tomahtoe 17Sep07

You say email, I say RSS
If you want to get some brief, comedic runner spam every now and again, you can now sign up for my EMAIL LIST over at the top of the right column. So easy my grandmother could do it. She’s not with us any longer, but you get the point.

If you prefer to receive sarcastic running commentary via RSS, you can subscribe to my RSS FEED at the bottom of the right column. It’s so crazy, it just might work.

Whatever you do, please don’t call the whole thing off.

– Dean

I am yet living. 20Aug07

Thank you to all who have written expressing concern for my well being. Though it may seem I have fallen from the face of the Earth, rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I am merely hip-deep in preparation for the Blue Ridge Relay, Steamtown Marathon, and New York City Marathon. Apparently, life is what happens to you in-between training, and I have precious little time for life right now.

So please call off the hounds.

I’ve got lots of stuff brewing that I hope you’ll enjoy, including my recent bout with heat exhaustion, all you ever wanted to know about my upcoming races (all wonderfully unique), the accidental McMillian, and how as a runner, your brain lies to you. Like a dog.

– Dean
White Space

Why I started running… 18Oct06

I always wanted to say that I’ve accomplished something noteworthy, and as a legitimate mid-30something, I am a perfect candidate for a midlife crisis.

Yes, I said mid-life.

You see, according to most sources, I have quite literally reached the middle of my life. I prefer the Social Security life expectancy table, which is as daunting as it is oblique (as all government documents apparently should be). According to this table, I have lived 36 years and have (statistically speaking) approximately 40.38 years of life left. Other tables give me fewer years, so I’ll take this one.

My Life according to the actuaries at the US-SSA.

Now, the Social Security table also says I have a 0.001770 “death probability.” I have no idea what this means, though somehow I expect it has something to do with the equations that will someday result in my paltry Social Security check. But I digress.

The point is, governmental actuaries consider me to be half-way to the grave. Time to do something.

Ambition divided by Naievete squared times mid-life crisis = runner

I chose running because it sounded like something easy to do. You just buy a decent pair of shoes and off you go. More to the point, running an actual marathon had the advantage of sex appeal, a key factor in any mid-life crisis worth its salt. A marathon is also a nice life checklist item. Right up there with sky-diving, just less insane.

Mind you, I had no real clue what I was in for, just a vague sense that running a marathon would take commitment and would be pretty hard.

I found a group interested in training for the 2005 Disney Marathon. 6 months before the race, I bought a so-so pair of New Balance shoes, doned my best baggy basketball shorts, and ran two grueling, exhausting miles. I immediately wondered if I’d ever make it.

So how did you get started?

Welcome to! 09Oct06

Hi! My name is Dean.

Dean at the 2006 Disney Marathon

This is my first post at, a blog for runners and those who love them. Here, I’ll offer my obervations (both subtle and gross) of the running subculture. I’ve been running for just over two years, so I know a few things now, like the critical difference between pronation and supination.

Anyway, I’m seeking to qualify for the Boston Marathon, ostensibly the marathoner’s nirvana. Perhaps together we’ll discover why I’m doing this.

Here’s how this site works: If you’re not a runner, I’ll try and explain runners to you. If you’re a runner. I’ll try not to make fun of you… much.