When Trash Talk Goes Wrong – 26.2 Miles Wrong

By Myles Dannhausen Jr.

Under gray skies and through a heavy mist Sunday afternoon, I ran farther than I ever have in my life. I was putting in my first “long run.” Twelve miles around the damp back roads of Baileys Harbor.

It was the end of my first week of serious training for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, now just seven weeks away. Now, the last thing the world needs is another self-indulgent blog by someone taking up running for the first time and how it changed their life, or the inspiring story that pushed them to pound the pavement.

Don’t worry, this will have neither. I have always wanted to run a marathon, just to do it (and because two of my sisters have), but at age 32, nothing particularly inspiring motivated me to start. No, in this case, my hand has been forced.

Last October I went to Baltimore to do the Seagull Century Bike Ride with my sister Barb and her husband, Gary. Gary was doing the ride with traditional toe-clip pedals with a strap over the foot, while I was using clipless pedals, which attach your shoe to the pedal – a huge advantage in peddling efficiency and speed. For 80 miles we stayed together, but after the last rest stop, I still had a lot left and decided to push hard to the finish, pulling away from Gary, who is in pretty good shape but was extremely limited by his pedals.

So, like any good brother-in-law, I have him a gift certificate for Christmas to a sporting goods outlet so he could get some new pedals. And, of course, I sent it with a little jab:  “Here you go, use this to buy yourself some clipless pedals so you can keep up with me next time.”

A couple weeks later I got the following email from him, which also went out to my five brothers and sisters, my parents, and a couple other mutual friends.

From:  Gary Lam

Subject: A public Thank You

Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2011


I was so touched by the Xmas gift I received from you, a private thank you just wouldn’t do. Particularly the caring note attached to the gift, reading “buy some clipless pedals so you can keep up with me next time.” So moving was the thought that I just had to publicly thank you. Although your Xmas gift is late, it should be arriving any time now. It comes straight form the heart.

Here’s a hint…

After I work out, the cheese you smell is not from Wisconsin, but fromunda (my doo dads)

Everything a kid from Green Bay would want, a trip to the frozen tundra.


Gary Lam

I wasn’t sure what was coming my way, but I thought it might be Packer tickets. “Wow, what a nice gesture,” I thought. “He really out-did me.” And he did, though I had no idea by just how much.

But nothing came in the mail, and I didn’t receive any more emails from him. Then my older sister called me, laughing. I didn’t know what she was laughing about, but she suggested I look for an email from MarathonGuide.com. I had one, but I figured it was a spam message from someone trying to sell services to the Door County Half Marathon, which I help promote.

I clicked on it, and a couple seconds later, tarnished my sister’s ears with a barrage of words unfit for print. The email is below:

Thank you for your order!

Order Information
Merchant: MARATHONGUIDE COM / Web Marketing Associates
Description: Cellcom Green Bay Marathon Marathon Registration – Dannhausen Jr, Myles
Invoice Number: xxxxxxxxx
Customer ID: xxxxxxxxxx



Billing Information
Gary Lam
xxxxx    xxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxx  xxxxxxxxx
Shipping Information
Myles Dannhausen Jr
xxx xxx  xxxxx
baileys harbor, WI 54202

Total: US $93.70


Gary had registered me for the Green Bay Marathon, which ends with a swing through Lambeau Field, hence the Frozen Tundra reference.

Now, this was smack in the middle of basketball coaching season, and I didn’t exactly have free time to train, but I really couldn’t back out of this – not with my pride intact anyway. A week after we completed the Seagull Century Ride last October, Gary had celebrated his 40th birthday by running the Baltimore Marathon (slowly, but he finished).

After opening the email, and letting it sink in that I was actually going to have to do this, I grabbed a beer out of the fridge – a good one – and took each sip slowly, knowing my training started the next day.

Of course, a week later, I pulled my groin badly playing basketball. For six weeks I intermittently tried to run, but it wasn’t healing (and it wasn’t helped by my attempts to play broomball – not a good exercise for groin pulls). It’s still not healed, but I’m determined to give this a shot, determined to finish this thing…

OK, I wasn’t really that determined a week ago. I had resigned myself to running the half marathon instead, but then Barb called.

“How’s the training going?”

I gave her my groin excuse and told her I would probably just run the half.

“You [expletive expletive]!” she said. “If Gary can do this at 40 a week after that bike ride, then you can do this.”

She tore apart my excuses for another minute or two, and I knew I was going to have to run this thing.

The next day, last Monday, I began to run, putting in six miles. I put in 44 miles in week one, paying the price with a sore knee and Achilles. But there’s a light at the end. Sometime around 11:30 am on Sunday afternoon, May 15, I’ll cross the finish line, and as soon as I stop gagging and if I don’t pass out, I’ll grab my cell phone and call Gary.


Then I’ll hang up and head to the beer tent.

3 comments to When Trash Talk Goes Wrong, 26.2 Miles Wrong

  • Kathy Yanda

    You can do it bro! I’ll be with you in spirit! And, don’t take that sarcastically and even think of signing me up for ANY race! Love you!

  • Larry

    Myles, as long as you finish in less than 6 hours you can tell Gary to SUCK IT!! He fuckin walked the damn thing. Go gettum killer, best of luck, I have all the confidence in the world that you will smash his time and it will be a new step for you as well. Larry

  • Thanks Larry! I got up to 18.5 a two weeks ago. One more long run and, hopefully, my “9 weeks to your best marathon” training plan will work out for me.