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    A Wedding Fit for Princes of the Universe


    2011 - 11.28

    “Here we are, born to be kings
    We’re the princes of the universe…”
    QueenPrinces of the Universe 

    If my calculations are correct, I’ve been in ten weddings. Ten. That’s pretty much all the credentials I need to be the romantic interest in the next Katherine Heigl straight-to-video Rom-Com. I could at least give Seth Rogen a run for his money in the Knocked Up sequel, Knocked Up 2: Single Mom Raising a Kid in LA on TMZ Reporter’s Salary.

    Before you get the idea that I’m bitching, let me preface this by saying that I love being in weddings. Being a Groomsman is not nearly as stressful as being a Bridesmaid. You usher some folks in, you stand in the front looking regal while no one pays a bit of attention to you, you get introduced at the reception with an attractive girl who everyone knows you have no chance with, you do some dancing, and you get liquored up. What’s not to like?

    The only real downside to the whole thing is the tuxedo. Unlike Bridesmaids dresses, we don’t buy them, we rent them. That might seem like an awesome idea until you realize that you’re paying $150 for something you’re gonna wear 5 or 6 hours at most. You can’t use it for a Halloween costume the next year or cut the sleeves off of it like Rick Vaughn for your next AMEX commercial. About the only cool thing you can do is send it back stinking of Jim Beam and bad decisions.

    I’ve been in ten weddings, so at an average cost of $150 for a tuxedo rental, that means I’ve spent $1500 on tuxes over the last couple of years. It was an honor to be in each of these weddings, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but my memory is long and that money ain’t gonna earn itself, as they say. The time is not yet here, since I have no bonnie lass to offer my hand to in the hopes that what God hath made no mortal may wash assunder, but alas, here is how I plan my revenge…

    My wedding will be more of an “event” rather than a simple ceremony. I intend on having a medieval theme of sorts, but nothing at all like the Renaissance Festival or one of those LARPer outings. Think Highlander mixed with “A Song of Ice and Fire” and a little bit of “Lord of the Rings” thrown in for good measure. This is a marriage of royalty, not a bunch of ingrates renting out Medieval Times for the renewal of their common-law marriage vows.

    A simple wedding that was a day’s drive from where most of my friends live would not suffice at all. No, indeed it would not. A wedding for those born to be kings has to be held in the land of kings, the United Kingdom. Dover, more specifically. It’s right there in the name; Kingdom. From King, the Latin word for “King” and Dom, the Latin word for “Land of.”

    The Groomsman, of which there will be 13, will be spending the day preceding the ceremony learning to ride horses and wield swords at a marginally functional level. These will be no ordinary ponies like you see at the petting zoo or those inbred quarter donkeys you go ride on in North Georgia that couldn’t buck a paraplegic if he sank a hot poker into its ass. No, these will be Destriers. Great beasts of war bred by the Gods of yore for the sole purpose of frightening the innocent and riding down those that dare question the supremacy of the rider upon its not inconsiderable back. In essence, the small-block Chevy of its time. I expect a few broken bones.

    The rehearsal will be held at the training grounds where handlers will be on hand to help keep the horses calm and so as not to give away the beauty of the actual ceremony location. It should be just as magnificent to the Bridal (Groomal?) Party on the day of the ceremony as it is to all guests.

    The rehearsal dinner will be held on board my yacht (that I hope to own within the next couple of years), the U.S.S. Possumbane, a converted Galleon from the Colonial Era. Entrees will include bacon wrapped oysters, prime rib, lobster tails, and Publix Brand Pizza Rolls. I plan at least three varieties of homemade mac and cheese in addition. Vegetarian fare will be available as well, although I cannot guarantee its edibility or freshness.

    At the rehearsal dinner, all will be invited to share toasts and or stories of times gone by that pertain to me and and my betrothed. Many vintage libations will be available for consumption, so please try to keep it between the ditches until you’ve shared your toast. I know my soon-to-be wife is hot. You don’t have to remind me in the least respectable way possible by letting those in attendance know you’d smang it Tarantino, from dusk till dawn.

    After the rehearsal, members of the Bridal Party will be escorted back to Dover Castle for a sleepless night fraught with ghosts and waking nightmares of charging Destriers. The Bride’s parents will be escorted back to their rooms in Canterbury Castle (XOXO – Biloxxxi).

    On the morning of the wedding, each Groomsman will be attended to by a Squire who will help them don their boiled leather and light suit of armor, which they will be required to rent. I’ll provide each Groomsman with a customized helm and great sword or battle ax as gifts.

    The ceremony itself will be held on the White Cliffs of Dover and presided over by the Honorable William James Robert Peel, the 3rd Earl Peel, and Lord Chamberlain of the Household. For the uninitiated, he’s married to Winston Churchill’s granddaughter.

    White Cliffs of Dover

    The Groomsman will each ride to the altar on their respective Destriers whilst the incomparable Eric Johnson play Cliffs of Dover as they enter. A stable hand will be in attendance to help each Groomsman dismount and lead the horse to the tie-up point to the left of the altar. All horses will be equipped with those handy poop bags that are so eloquently referred to as “Horse Diapers” so as to prevent any unfortunate incidences during the ceremony.

     The Bridesmaids will then walk to the altar to whatever song the bride chooses as long as it’s sung by the girl at 0:22 in this video.

    That’s Roman’s younger brother’s girlfriend and she can sing. And I don’t mean sing as in she can sing “Highway to Hell” just like Bon Scott. I mean like actual, for real, “Holy shit, I just chose the right chalice to drink out of at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and God has sent this awesome voice to carry me on to eternal life” singing. Seriously, she’s good. She sang the Lord’s Prayer at Roman’s wedding and it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

    I myself will then ride to the altar on my black Steed of War, Pestilence. A massive Clydesdale bred in the Blue Grass of Kentucky. I will dismount and my Squire will present me with my wedding cloak. A black and gold cloak with the Von Lutz family coat of arms on the back fringed in the fur of a black bear.

    Rather than lighting a unity candle, I’d like to light a rope that burned slowly up and over the audience, so that right as the ceremony was ending it would let the hammer of the bells loose and the bells would start chiming. And yes, before you start asking, I am trucking the Liberty Bell in from Philly for the occasion. You can’t say you spared no expense without trucking in the Liberty Bell.

    The ring will be brought forth by a child dressed in a magnificent golden suit of armor riding a Shetland Pony. He’ll remain mounted throughout the ceremony and will lead my bride and I out at the end of the ceremony. Sort of a drum major type role, if you will.

    As far as vows go, I was tempted to borrow from Ricky’s vows from The Trailer Park Boys

    I Richard, promise to love and to not break the law as much as I used to. I promise to be a good father to my child and to not swear any more or as much as I do in public places and I promise to love you as much as I can and as often as I can under the circumstances…

    But I thought better of it, given the classy, biblical nature of the wedding thus far. I’m gonna keep that portion of the ceremony between myself and my future ex-wife for the time-being.

    After the exchange of vows, the bride and groom (me, in case you haven’t been paying attention thus far) will remain at the altar until all the other members of the wedding party have retreated down the aisle, unlike most weddings. The Groomsmen and Bridesmaids will pair up and ride out on the groomsmen’s respective horses. Once behind the audience, the horses will stop and the Groomsmen will raise their swords to the sky. the Bride and Groom will ride betwixt them and gallop off into the sunset… only to reemerge 20 minutes later at the reception.

    The reception will be held in a huge tent, henceforth referred to as the King’s Tent, heated with braziers on the grounds of Dover Castle, but before the reception, the guests will be seated in a small arena erected on the grounds. The wedding party will be introduced to the audience at this point. The introductions will be made with Queen featuring Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden on vocals playing Princes of the Universe.

     After the introductions are made, a tournament will be held in honor of the wedding day. Jousting seems kind of stupid to me so there will be none of that. There will be a horse racing tournament held between the Groomsmen and some select guests. Other guests are welcome to bet on the outcome and a Las Vegas bookie who attended the previous day’s training will be present to set the handicap for the riders.

    There will also be a melee where the Groomsmen and select guests will fight until surrender or victory. This will follow Royal Rumble rules where if you’re thrown from the melee area, you are eliminated, but can come back one additional time later in the contest. The winners of these contests will receive the ultimate honor of sitting at the table with the bride and groom and getting a dance dedicated to them with their lady or wench of choice. Bets are welcome during this event as well. (Brief Note: In the unlikely event of a kidnapping of the groom, winnings will be confiscated to pay for his ransom.)

    After the tournament, dinner will be served in the King’s Tent. Guests will be served by a dedicated wait staff, each hired specifically for this wedding. It will be the ultimate honor within their industries. They will from that day forth speak of it as if it were the “Fuckin Catalina Wine Mixer.”

    The meal itself will be 30 courses; one for each member of the wedding party plus an appetizer course and a salad course. Whole cooked animals will be brought forth so guests may decide for themselves which cut of meat they prefer. The 27th course is mine, and in a nod to my best man, the Most Interesting Man in the World, it will be a turkey shoved inside a duck, shoved inside a chicken, then shoved back inside the original turkey.

    There will be an open bar and getting excessively drunk is encouraged. Once again, this is a classy wedding and the goblets are made from silver and the finest Czechoslovakian lead shot crystal and will knock your ass out cold if you’re hit with one, so please avoid throwing them and using them as weaponry.

    Dancing will not begin until the crowd is sufficiently wined and dined. There will be no waiting around for the drinks to kick in before the dancing starts. I’ll not have my best songs wasted on a bunch of wallriders.

    The first dance will be Something by the Beatles performed live on a grand piano with genuine blood ivory keys by Andrew Cooper. He’s taken an already great love song and injected way more meaning into it by transposing it for the piano.

    There will be a Father-Daughter dance and a Mother-Son dance as per usual U.S. custom, then the winners of the melee and the steed race will each have a dance dedicated to them. After these dances, the floor will be opened to everyone and the music selection will ensure that every person in attendance dances their asses off.

    When all the dances have been danced and all the toasts toasted, the Bride and Groom will be prepare for “The Bedding.” I stole this one straight out of “A Song of Ice and Fire.”

    In “The Bedding” the women carry the Groom up to the marriage bed on their shoulders, all the while joking with him and making fun of his angry Irish inch, amongst other japes. The men do the same thing for the Bride. It’s all in good fun and makes light of what everyone knows is about to happen once the Bride and Groom leave the reception; A proper doin’ is about to take place.

    Hopefully a gloriously epic destination wedding such as this will allow me to get even with all my best friends for the financial burden over the years, but still be awesome enough to totally make up for it. Except for the guy that loses a digit or two during the melee. Things are gonna be touch and go for him for awhile after that.

    I leave you with a selection of lyrics from one of my favorite songs that I think sums up my wedding plans quite nicely:

    Yes there were times, I’m sure you knew,
    When I bit off more than I could chew.
    But through it all when there was doubt
    I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all
    And I stood tall and did it my way…

    My Way – as performed by Elvis Presley

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    Atlanta Half Marathon – 2011


    2011 - 11.27

    A few days ago on Thanksgiving day I finally did something that required real effort; I ran a half marathon. I set a goal for myself and I met it, even if just barely. I’m pretty damn proud of myself, so bear with me while I brag, and hopefully convince you that you can do it too.

    The Lead Up

    I started running back around my birthday in July. I wasn’t in bad shape, but I’d go out and throw the frisbee or something and I’d be out of breath in no time. That would not do. No, not at all. So, I started running a couple times a week with Buda and Anna. At that rime, my only real goal was to be able to run 4 miles by my birthday.

    I struggled to meet that mark, which seems ridiculous now. I turned 29 on a Friday and I wasn’t able to run 4 miles without stopping until the following Monday, and it took me 40 minutes to do it. I had only been running seriously for about 2 weeks though, so I couldn’t be too hard on myself.

    Up until this point I’d been running in some old New Balance Cross Trainers I’d had forever. They got the job done, but they were heavy and kinda beaten down, and I really just wanted something else. Since those Vibram Five-Fingers shoes came out a year or so ago I’ve had my eye on some, but I just never had the $100 to throw down on something that might not work out for running and I sure wasn’t gonna wear them around casually. My Mom solved that dilemma for me by picking up some of the Fila Skele-Toes shoes that were on sale at JC Penney’s or something. They’re basically the same thing as the Vibram’s but about half the price. Mine look exactly like this:

    Fila Skele-Toes

     

    Anna and I signed up for a couple of 5Ks in September and after vacation time in August, we started getting a bit more serious about running. My first 5K was the Kaiser-Permanente Corporate Challenge. Jenn joined me and we ran for Anna’s corporate team.

    I finished the race in 24:50. Not too shabby for my first 5K, but nothing spectacular either. I ran the Lexis Nexis 5K a week later up in Alpharetta and finished that one in 23:52. I was pleased with that. Any time my pace is under 8:00 a mile, I’m pretty happy.

    Anna and I ran the East Atlanta Strut 5K at the beginning of October with Rick from Fontaine’s. Rick and I matched each other pretty much step for step and I finished in 24:07. The course was a little longer than the usual 3.14 miles so my pace was actually still under 8:00.

    After the race, Anna started talking up running some longer distances. I figured she just meant a 10K or something. No, she wanted to try for The Half; 13.1 miles. I certainly wasn’t going to let Anna get all the credit for doing something badass, so I agreed to run it with her.

    We had exactly 8 weeks from that point to train to do this, and it’s not like we had been ramping up our distances in our runs up to this point. We’d basically go out and run for half an hour then go eat chicken wings and drink beer. Adding 8 to 9 miles to our distance in 8 weeks was gonna be a tall order. Fortunately, I like my orders like I like my women… tall. (Not necessarily true, but it sounds good.)

    Anna found an 8 week training plan online and we adapted it suit our needs. The plan originally had us running 4 times a week, but we dialed it back down to 3 times just because of our busy schedules. On Saturdays or Sundays we would run longer distances and then Tuesdays and Thursdays we’d dial it back just a little to try and get used to running the distances we were adding.

    About 4 weeks in, my feet and my knees really started to hurt. And I mean really hurt. I’m not a wimp. I’ll run right on through stuff that would make most normal people quit long ago, but when we did our first 7 mile run, I barely finished. The only reason I didn’t quit was that running was the absolute quickest way for me to get back to my sofa to pass out.

    By this time, Brett had started running with us. He’d just moved back from New York where he ran in a couple of half marathons. He was instrumental in pushing us to run further and since he’s about the same speed as me, he’s good for my pace.

    I took a week off to rest my feet and knees and did a bit of research on what could be causing some of my issues. I bought an IT band for my right knee which solved almost all the knee issues. My feet I just chalked up to running too much and them not having a chance to get acclimate to the distance.

    From that point until the race, I only ran once a week. Brett, Anna, and I would start out in the Highlands, run down Virginia to Monroe and then cut over to Peachtree and run as far up Peachtree as we needed to go to get in our distances. In the 3 weeks leading up to race, we did 8 miles, 10 miles, and 12 miles. I was sore for a couple of days after each of these runs, but I was having way better results than I was when running 3 times a week. Despite not ever making it to 13.1 miles in training, we felt like we were ready.

    Race Day

    Thanksgiving morning was cold, but clear. I decided to go with my shorts even though it was so cold. I was a bit hesitant to wear my running tights for that long of a distance since I’ve never run in them before. I didn’t know if I’d wind up with some weird chafing issues. With shorts, I might be a little cold to start off with, but at least I knew what I was working with.

    Brett and I were in the B coral with a projected finish time of 1:45. We were scheduled to start at 7:35 am. Anna was in coral D, scheduled to start 10 minutes later.

    I had some technical issues at the start of the race. I couldn’t get the music app on my cellphone to work and I was a little worried that I’d have to run the whole 13 miles with no music. I didn’t know if I’d be able to make it that far without Elvis and his American Trilogy to motivate me at mile 10.

    The more pressing issue at the start was my feet. They were numb from the cold. It took a good two miles before they thawed sufficiently, but even then it felt like only half of my heel was there. It was really unnerving. Fortunately I was able to get my music app to start working so that was one less worry.

    Brett and I stuck together at the start. We started really strong once the crowd thinned out a bit. Our pace was just under 8:00 a mile through about Mile 5 or so then we got to the hills…

    About Mile 8 my feet really started hurting and my pace began to suffer. I was still right around 8:00 a mile, but Brett was starting to pull ahead of me. I was able to dig deep and catch back up with him, but then we got to another hill and I just couldn’t keep pounding my feet at that pace.

    I held steady with a respectable pace for the next 2 miles, but then we got to Auburn Ave. where a stretch of the street is paved with those octagonal concrete pavers. Those things just beat the hell out of my toe-shoe shod feet. Then I got to Boulevard and it was also paved with concrete. (For those of you that don’t know, asphalt is a much softer surface to run on than concrete. You’d never notice it in normal shoes, but when you run in minimal footwear, you can tell a huge difference.) My pace suffered horribly here and for the next mile or so which was basically just a long uphill.

    About 11.5 miles in I started seeing the 1:50 pace team pass me, so I realized I was falling behind. Like it or not, I had to put the pain out of my mind and finish this thing strong if I was going to hit my goal time. I dug deep and I as I rounded the last corner and saw those Olympic Rings on Capitol Avenue, I forgot all about the pain and sprinted. I passed a ton of people in those last 100 yards and when I crossed the finish line, I realized something; I really didn’t feel that bad, but my feet felt like they had axes buried in them.

    Post Race

    I grabbed a bottle of water and a banana and set out to find Brett so we could cheer Anna on as she crossed the finish line. I found him soon enough and we set up post right near the finish line. I stretched as best I could and tried to keep loose. Anna crossed the finish line a little while later with a strong time considering she’d never run more than 10 miles in training due to some shin splint issues.

    As the day wore on, I realized that all the parts of me that were typically sore really didn’t feel that bad. I’d taken extra care to stretch really well before the race and I stayed hydrated throughout. The only thing that held me back was my feet. Those toe shoes just don’t provide enough cushion for 13.1 miles of battery. I can run like the wind for 5 or 6 miles in those bad boys, but they really held me back at this distance. I had way more in the tank cardio and muscle wise, but my feet just couldn’t hold up.

    That night, before I went to bed all fat and happy and with a sense of accomplishment, I checked online for the official times for the race. I’d finished in 1:50. I hit my goal right on the nose.

    Prologue

    Friday I helped my Mom rip up the old carpet in their living room and clean the hardwood floors underneath. It was quite the undertaking. I wish I had some before and after pics, but the camera on my cellphone is acting up. The room looks a hundred percent better without that nasty 20 year old carpet in there. In exchange for working my tail off all day, my Mom and Dad bought me some of the New Balance Minimus running shoes. I’ve only gotten to try them out for a couple of short runs up the street because my feet are still recovering from the half marathon, but so far they feel great.

    Below I’ve included the Google Map data from the half marathon. You can click on the little pins and it will tell you my pace and all that stuff. (7.5 mph is an 8:00 per mile pace.)


    View 2011-11-24 07:34 in a larger map

     

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