Monday, December 31, 2007

Personal Running Log - December 2007

You’ve heard the expression “falling off the wagon,” this is what it looks like (see running log below). Once my racing season was over I got into a one-run-a-week rut. Nancy asked in the comments of a previous post if I was going to give a final mileage total for the year, but at the beginning of the year I was using the highly advanced, technological method of writing my times on a piece of paper to track them. I no longer have the piece of paper and even if I did I doubt that I’d feel like totaling all those runs up for an annual result. What I can tell you is that since July 1st of this year I have run 416 miles, so if you make the assumption that I ran an equal amount during the first 6 months of the year then I guess I ran 832 miles this year. I have no idea if that’s an accurate assumption, but you know what they say about making assumptions right? When you make ass-u-mptions you make an “ass” out of “u” and “mptions.”

My initial thought when I was calculating my annual mileage was that I should set myself a goal of 1000 miles for 2008, but I really couldn’t care less how many miles I run in ’08. What I’m more concerned with is how much faster I can get in 2008. If that equals more miles, then I’m okay with that. If it equals less miles, then I’m even more okayer with it. I’ll get a post up in January detailing my goals for 2008, it will be more focused on getting faster than it will be on total miles.

Have a safe and happy new year everyone, I’m not posting again until next year. I’ve really enjoyed reading all your comments, many of your blogs and getting to know you all this year. 2008 is going to be a good year, I can feel it.

12/31/20075 Miles Out & BackEasy5 Mi47:459:33
12/29/20077 Miles Out & BackLong7 Mi1:10:3310:05
12/27/2007Home TreadmillEasy4 Mi39:119:48
12/22/2007Misc RouteLong6.87 Mi1:07:079:47
12/16/20073 Mile LoopEasy3 Mi31:0710:23
12/8/2007Misc RouteRace8 Mi1:13:119:09
12/6/2007Misc RouteInterval5.2 Mi49:509:35
12/4/2007Home TreadmillEasy1.5 Mi14:329:42
12/2/2007Misc RouteRace5 km25:568:21
12/1/20076 Mile Loop Short HillEasy5.91 Mi57:299:44
Distance: 50 miles
Total Time: 7:56:41

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Requisite “Year In Review” Post

If you write a blog or a column or are the programming director for a TV station then you know that the easiest way to fill in content at this time of the year when you probably don’t feel like working is to do the “Year In Review” thing. You might call it ‘the best of’ or ‘the worst of’ or the ‘top 10 moments in 2007’ but it’s all the same thing. It’s an easy post/TV show. You talk a little about some significant events, you link to those articles/show old footage, you reminisce, and then you wrap up by talking about the upcoming year. Hey presto! You’ve got yourself a blog post.

This is my “2007: Year in Review” post. The only difference between my review and all the others you will read is that I’m sexier than everyone else that’s doing it, but since I won’t be posting any pictures of myself in this entry I guess that doesn’t really matter.

On April 1st, 2007 I started Half-Fast. I felt that April Fools Day was an appropriate date for what I had in mind for this blog and I stand by that decision. The only bad thing about it is that when Half-Fast turns one on April 1st 2008 I won’t know whether to do a celebratory post or an April Fools Day joke post. Ahhh, who am I kidding? I’m going for the joke post all the way. Half-Fast has turned out pretty much exactly the way I envisioned it and I look forward to bigger and better things in the coming year so be sure to stay tuned.

Over this past year my thoughts on running have changed as dramatically as my goals have. My original profile on this blog stated that I intended to run only the Bolder Boulder 10K every year, as I had done the previous 2 years. Of the 3 years that I’ve been a runner, this has been the year that I’ve taken it more seriously than before. This is the first year I have entered other races, and is the first year that I’ve followed any kind of training plan that included speedwork or tempo runs. I ran my first half marathon this year in under 2 hours, looking back this is probably what I am most proud of as a runner. I’m also proud of the fact that every race this year was a PR, admittedly some by default, but I continue to improve as a runner and hope to continue this trend through 2008.

Also, I never thought I’d run a marathon, but now I can see one on the distant horizon. Yes, just one.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

So what did you get?

Now that Christmas is over we can all stop talking about how it’s better to give than to receive and we can start boasting about all the great gifts we got. Did you get any good running gifts for Christmas? Go ahead, make us all envious. I tell you what, I’ll start.

I got all kinds of running apparel, cold gear, hot gear and gift cards to buy whatever-the-hell-I-want-gear, but the one thing that you’ll all be jealous of is the slap bands that I got in my stocking. Not just any slap bands, but reflective slap bands. They go on my wrists or on my ankles or anywhere I want to be reflective, and perhaps more importantly they make me want to do the Electric Slide. Come let me take you on a party ride. And I’ll teach you, teach you, teach you, I’ll teach you the electric slide.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Suggestions

Just a few quick suggestions for all my loyal readers that have stuck around and are still reading over the holidays.
  1. Enjoy your Christmas! Eat, Drink and be Merry, but remember to be safe, I’d hate to lose a reader as the result of a stupid holiday accident. I prefer to lose readers in the normal manner; boredom, disinterest or just plain offended by what I’ve written.
  2. Take some time to yourself and try to get a run in. I might even try to take a break from all the family stuff and squeeze in a short run on Christmas day. If you do, I highly recommend loading some Christmas music onto your MP3 player and running to that. I’ve been running to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra the last few days and I’ve really enjoyed it.
  3. Spike the Eggnog.
  4. Remember, as of midnight on December 25th you’ve got a whole year to get back on the “nice” list.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Weekend Splits - Holiday Edition

Weekend Splits is my recap of things that I found interesting or humorous over the past week. If you have a submission for the weekend splits e-mail me.

Do the holidays have you all stressed out? Head on over to Pieces Of Me to read how she deals with stress and print out a copy of her handy-dandy stress reduction kit (below).

Paul the Recovering Runner brings us the news that the Beer World Record was recently broken. Jim Finlayson ran a 5:09 mile on a track, stopping after each lap to chug a beer. Perhaps we could arrange some kind of virtual race like this next year, I know that I could get the Booze Hounds Inc. Running Team on board.

Ted’s Running Journal posted a video of a hippo running on a treadmill. More importantly he used the word “treadmilling” as a verb which I was trying to popularize back on this post. I'm not sure if he read that post and is using it in support of my trying to popularize it or if he is just a creative genius like me. After all, they say that great minds think alike and so do mine and Ted’s!

The Science of Sport reports that Oscar Pistorius was banned by the IAAF. This has been a fascinating story to follow, and I find myself siding with Jonathan and Ross over at the Science of Sport which is to say that I agree that he should not be allowed to compete with able-bodied runners. Of course I haven’t really read the other side of the argument but I like to make my decisions without all the pertinent information, it’s why prosecuting attorneys refer to me as “the perfect juror”. Or maybe it has something to do with how my butt looks in my suit, I don’t know.
Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week

Posting will be sporadic at best this week and I know that you don’t care because you’re probably reading this the week after Christmas if at all. I was going to try to post regularly during the week of Christmas but sitemeter tells me that very few of you are still actually visiting Half-Fast. Jerks. Like your families are more interesting than I am?

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Closing roads for marathons leads to fewer traffic deaths. No. Really. It’s true. I didn’t believe it at first either but then I saw this scientific study last night while I was not running again. Researchers at Canada’s University of Toronto (as opposed to Australia’s University of Toronto, I suppose) led by Dr. Donald Redelmeier have determined through an extensive study that there were 2 fewer traffic fatalities per day in counties where roads were closed for a marathon.

When reached for comment Dr. Redelmeier said “I’ve been wanting to scientifically prove this ever since I bet Dr. Munson that traffic deaths were lower during marathons and he scoffed at the idea.” Here we are, thousands of taxpayer dollars down the road and Dr. Redelmeier has finally won the argument and the respect of his peers. Up next for Dr. Munson is a study to prove that less people fall victim to frostbite in tropical climates, before initiating a probe into how the old “pull my finger” gag works.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Return of the Snow Heels

I once again went running in the snow with my Mizunos. After reading about the problems I had in my 8 on the 8th report you may be wondering why I would do this and the answer is because I thought I had found a solution and I lack the mental capacity to learn from previous mistakes.

A couple of commenters who shall remain nameless *cough Jon and Linda cough* left comments on that post and suggested that I put Vaseline or Pam into the hole because oil and water don’t mix. I tried this and it turns out to be an outright lie. What is this world coming to when you can’t trust the advice of faceless blog commenters on the internet. And when I say faceless I don't just mean anonymous, I heard that Jon really doesn't have a face! Freakshow!

I actually didn’t have any Vaseline or Pam so I ended up spraying WD-40 into the cavity in the sole of the shoes, and it did seem to work for a little while but pretty soon I was having the same old problems again. It starts off looking like this:

After a while though it gets ridiculous. The snow keeps building up and building up and before you know it I’m running in heels, snow heels. By the time I was finished my Mizunos looked like this:

Sure, laugh it up but I’m going to roll an ankle if I try to run in those things. If those heels get any taller people will start calling them... um... you know... “do me” heels... except with “F”. Despite their height I don’t find them at all sexy, although that may have more to do with who was wearing them. Still, I’m not sure what you could wear with those heels, something that was both sporty and dressy at the same time. Perhaps THIS would work?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How Did I Miss This?

Warning: This post contains tasteful pictures of college kids running in their underwear.

Last Wednesday hundreds of San Diego State University students participated in the 3rd Annual Midnight Undie Run, and it was everything that you’re hoping it will be. The students gathered fully clothed and then stripped down to their skivvies and went for a mile long run. The discarded clothes were collected and donated to victims of the October wild fires who, when asked for comment said “... uh thanks, but we’d have rather been there to collect the clothes ourselves.” To be honest with you if I was a victim of the October wild fires, even if I had been wearing the same t-shirt and jeans for months I’m still not certain that I’d want to change into the clothes that some broke college student no longer wanted. I’m just sayin’.

I really feel like a failure for not catching on to this earlier. I mean, it happened a full week ago now, and I’m only just hearing about it? This is the kind of story that is tailor made for Half-Fast. Hot college coeds? Check. Stripping down to their underwear? Check. Posing for pictures that are available online? Check. Check. Some obscure tie-in to running? Check. What more could I ask for?

A little something for everyone.

Below are a few more of my favorite pictures from the event (as always click to enlarge), but if you feel like ignoring work for a while please feel free to peruse the full 87 image gallery at SignOnSanDiego. Come on, you know you want to. Besides it’s December 19th, no one expects you to actually get any work done anyway. You can also read the full article about the event (if you like kidding yourself that you’re here for the articles) or check out Mr. Irrelevant’s take on it, which is where I first heard about it (via With Leather).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Kryptonite

I attended a Holiday Party yesterday afternoon that was thrown for my department by another group in the company. We send a lot of business their way and they always have an afternoon Holiday Party for us in December. It was an opportunity for me to showcase my iron willpower and forgo all the calorie rich foods on display, a time to amaze my coworkers with my tenacious pursuit of healthy eating. There was a token platter of fruit and some bottled water at one end of the spread, it was easy to spot because there was no one circling that end of the table. I would be the Spartan among them.

I grabbed a plate of fruit and a bottle of water, but as I was turning to go mingle I caught a glimpse of the most wonderful looking sugar cookies that you’ve ever seen. You know the kind, with icing on top that is made by mixing powdered sugar, water and heaven. To be honest I don’t even like the cookies that much but it’s apparently impolite to just lick the icing off and toss the cookies, which you undoubtedly do if you only eat the icing. A rainbow of colors burst forth from the little holiday themed shapes of paradise and a beam of sunlight shone down from above to the accompaniment of an angelic chorus of “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

I didn’t even hesitate. I grabbed one and placed it next to the fruit on my plate. I ate it quickly and then licked the crumbs from the plate so that I could regain the appearance that I was only having fruit. It was delicious. DE - LICIOUS! I walked to the trash can, disposed of the fruit and went back for another couple of cookies. Pretty soon the water bottle had been discarded too in favor of a pumpkin spice latte from the barista, because that goes much better with cookies anyway.

My conversations with coworkers grew shorter and shorter, my eyes nervously flitting over to the plate of cookies. Would it be inappropriate to excuse myself from the conversation to go get more cookies? How can I end this conversation and break away? For the love of all things holy will you please stop talking and let me go grab MORE COOKIES!

I lost count of how many cookies I’d eaten somewhere after 7 but my consumption was definitely north of that mark. I didn’t eat anything else because nothing else would have been able to compare. As I was about to head back to my office I grabbed a napkin and placed a couple of extra cookies in it ‘for later’. Except as soon as I got back into my office I closed the door and inhaled both of those too, and you know what? I don’t even feel the least bit guilty. In fact, I wish that I had brought even more cookies back with me so that I could have eaten them all. It is a miracle, a Christmas Miracle that I didn't go back for more cookies later. So I don't know how many cookies I ate yesterday, and I like it better that way. It was a good day!

I was like Cookie Monster, but not the new version of Cookie Monster that claims that cookies are a sometimes food and eats them in moderation after a well balanced meal. No, I remember a Cookie Monster that used to eat as many cookies as he could and then eat the plate too. Yeah, that was me yesterday.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Weekend Splits

Weekend Splits is my recap of things that I found interesting or humorous over the past week. If you have a submission for the weekend splits e-mail me.

The above picture had me in tears laughing. Looking at it now I’m not all that sure why, but perhaps it had something to do with the bottle of wine that I had just consumed before I opened Chuckie V’s blog and found the picture.

Fitness Fixation reviewed the Baywatch Beach Body Workout and was decidedly against it. While I agree with Kelly’s assessment in principle I would like to advise her not to “Hassel the Hoff.” Ladies, no need to thank me for the eye candy to the right. You are welcome.

Congrats to Amy Lawson who ran a new PR in her marathon last weekend! Now comes the good part Amy, rewarding your effort by overindulging and running less. At least I imagine that’s what I would do if I ever ran a marathon.

Frayed Laces also ran a marathon last weekend (race report Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3), but in order to make it more challenging did so with a broken pelvis. Yes, you read that right. Broken. Pelvis! I hurt just thinking about a broken pelvis, let alone attempting to run a marathon with one. In fact if I ever break my pelvis I will just have myself euthanized so I don’t have to deal with the pain. Big ups to Frayed Laces. Get well soon.

Keep your eyes open for Just Your Average Joggler when you’re out driving around this weekend. It turns out he’s a menace to society, jaywalking and who knows what else.

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
This weeks video goes out to all those of you who will be travelling over the holidays. Have you ever been on a plane that felt like it swerved a little when it touched down on the runway? My guess is that you were landing in a crosswind. Do you have any idea how airplanes land in crosswind conditions? I didn’t until I saw the video below.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Half-Fast Has Moved!

Half-Fast has moved to a new URL! My new web address is which you can hopefully see in the address bar above. It’s exciting news to say the least and I’m betting that you’ve got a ton of questions which I why I’ve created the following NSFAQ (that’s Not So Frequently Asked Questions).

Q. What will happen to the old address?
A. It will still work for now. It will forward you to the new address until I stop using blogger and switch to a different blog hosting service.

Q. Should I update my links to reflect this new URL?
A. Yes, do it. Do it now.

Q. What if I don’t currently link to Half-Fast?
A. What if I take my boot and shove it up your keister? Go and remedy the error of your ways immediately, and then seek forgiveness while there is still time.

Q. Why did you pick
A. Several reasons, would have been my first choice but that was taken and the joker that runs that lame site wouldn’t respond to any of my e-mails despite the fact that I offered him a very nice half marathon medal, a vanilla Clif Shot and an 8 oz beer to part with his domain name. Whatever. Thanks a lot, jerk! I bet no one even visits his website anyway. My second choice would have been (no hyphen) and that one is actually available... for the bargain price of $2,088. Unfortunately that’s roughly $2,078 more than I was willing to spend, but if you are a wealthy, philanthropic runner who was looking for the perfect gift to give Vanilla over the holiday season I can’t think of anything better.

Q. What would you be willing to do in exchange for the domain name?
A. Pretty much anything. I’ll link to your site, I’ll write a glowing race report for you that you can post as your own, I’ll write about your favorite charity, I’ll write your life biography that details how you were single-handedly responsible for ending the cold war, curing Alzheimer’s, and patching the hole in the ozone. Heck, I’ll even give you one of my children.

Q. Will Santa be able to find you at this new address?
A. If he knows what’s good for him he will.

Q. Will this be a seamless transition to the new URL?
A. No, absolutely not. Knowing blogger there will indubitably be some problems. Please, please, please let me know if you experience any problems like pictures not showing up, links not working, or a strange burning sensation when you pee. (I hate that!) Also, for those of you who read Half-Fast in a reader or via the feed let me know if there are any problems with that.

Q. Have you seen my glasses?
A. You took them off to read the directions on that Tylenol bottle and left them next to the medicine cabinet.

Q. Does the new official looking URL mean that we can expect more or better quality posts?
A. No. Are you even paying attention to what you’re reading? I’m in the middle of a NSFAQ post for crying out loud.

Q. Have you seen Val Kilmer’s shoes lately?
A. No, and neither has he! (Ba Boom Cha!)

Q. Are you now too big to reply to my e-mails?
A. Yes I am, but one of the downsides of being better than everyone else is that people tend to assume that you’re pretentious. In order to avoid that perception I will still respond to all your e-mails.

Q. Is there any truth to the rumor that your name was mentioned yesterday in the Mitchell Report?
A. No comment.

Q. Is it true that you have not run at all this week since deciding to quit the Rudolph’s Revenge 10K?
A. Whoa! Look at that, we’re all out of time here folks. If you have any other allegations questions please feel free to e-mail them to me and I’ll be happy to dodge, deflect, and deny with the poise and indignation of a cheater baseball player.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nobody Likes a Quitter

I’m quitting the Rudolph’s Revenge 10K that I had planned for this Saturday. I don’t think they’ll actually cancel the race when they realize that I won’t be running it, but it will probably feel like they should have. Due to some other things that have come up, (a friend’s kid’s birthday party that I feel like I should attend) I will have to miss this race. To be quite honest I don’t really know that it’s accurate to say that I’m going to ‘miss’ it, but I certainly won’t be in attendance.

I’m a little bummed about it but also a little relieved. This brings my racing season to an end as of last Saturday, which in turn means that I can get off my strict runners diet of low fat cheesecake and baked lays potato chips and get back to the salty greasy full-fat chips that I love so much, hopefully they’ll have some at the birthday party. You know... for the kids.

I am disappointed because I know that at least a couple of you were going to be running the race and I was looking forward to meeting you. I know that you’ll miss me, but you’ll pull through, I’m certain of it. And you know what they say: If life deals you lemons... just add vodka. So instead of running a race at 10am this Saturday, I’ll be at a birthday party, drinking. Wait, what? What do you mean they don’t serve alcohol at kid’s parties? If there’s one kind of party where it should be mandatory to serve alcohol it’s a 3-year-old’s birthday party. Have you ever been to one? Kids running around all hopped up on cake and fruit punch. It’s dreadful. I want to have a drink just thinking about it, and you know what? I think I will. After all, I’m not ‘in training’ any more.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

8 on the 8th

Warning: Half-Fast not responsible for hours lost staring into those steely blue eyes.

I awoke on Saturday ready to run 8 miles only to find it cold and snowy. I almost bagged the whole idea in favor of hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies in front of the fire. I wish I would have. Instead I drove to a 1.4 mile loop that circumnavigates a small lake near my house, strapped on my Garmin and commenced operation crazy.

When I began the first lap at 10am mine were the only footprints to blemish the pristine snow that covered the loop. A fresh start. Here I was being a hardcore runner and there was no one around to witness it, nevertheless I was excited to be alone with my thoughts. Alone with the exception of my digital training partner, whom I’ve decided to name Gustavo. (Thanks to Doug for that suggestion.) I set Gustavo out at an 8:50 pace as I was hoping to complete the run in 1:10:00.

Roughly one tenth of a mile into the run I noticed that my right shoe had a fairly large rock jammed into the cavity in the heel. Just my dumb luck I chuckled to myself and stopped quickly to pry it out. What I discovered was not a rock, but a snowball. As I ran the snow would press up into the cavity in the heel (see Figure 1.1) until it was full, at which point the snow on the ground would stick to the snow packed into the cavity and cause a buildup. It was like trying to run in heels that were getting progressively taller with each step, or at least what I would imagine it’s like to run in heels. Despite the fact that I felt like a saucy minx for wearing “heels” I was convinced that this was not a healthy way to run 8 miles.

Strangely enough, this snowball effect was occurring mostly in my right shoe. I tried everything to stop it, I tried landing more on my forefoot, I tried stopping and scrapping it out with a stick, I tried to ignore it, I tried cursing like a sailor on leave which didn’t abate the problem but it sure made me feel better. In the end the only solution was to thump my heel down hard into the gravel path under the snow and then drag my heel. This seemed to work to clear it out, but I ended up having to do this every 50 yards. For 8 miles. I considered quitting many times, and even now while I write this I do not know why I didn’t. Trust me, it’s totally in my personality to just give up and quit when the going gets tough, but for some reason I hung in there on Saturday.

Figure 1.1

As I began my final lap, I noted that my footprints had been joined by a few others. One jogger, and a couple of walkers who had no doubt puzzled over the man with the epileptic twitch in his stride. The path which had once looked like a fresh white canvas was now forever ruined by the punch marks in its surface, the scars of a frustrated runner etched into it by my spastic heel-dragging routine.

My Garmin beeped signaled that I had completed the 8 miles. My final time was 1:13:11 for a pace of 9:09. Gustavo had long since finished. He was already at home in front of my fireplace, drinking my hot cocoa, eating my cookies.

Thanks to Nancy for putting this together, you can visit her blog to see everyone’s final times. It was fun. Honestly. Also, Mizuno running shoes suck!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Site News - Housekeeping

I’d like to take care of couple of housekeeping items. (My wife is shaking her head in disbelief right now because she didn’t think that word was even in my vocabulary.)

1. Allow me to apologize for the lack of posts around here lately, there’s a very good explanation for it but I don’t feel like talking about it, so back off man! I am getting back to my regular schedule of posting 4-5 times during the week and once on Saturday for the Weekend Splits. This will continue until Christmas when I will post about as often as I do actual housekeeping, and boy won't those be crazy days what with all the flying pigs and hell having frozen over.

2. I’d like to welcome my real-life friends to my blog. Yes I have real live friends, and no, I hadn’t told them that I had a blog. Why? Because very few (if any) of them are as passionate about running as I am and also because I didn’t want them to know how much of a geek I really was. Last week a friend of mine found Half-Fast and soon realized that Vanilla was a guy that he’d known for the last 15 years. I think it was the race pictures that tipped him off. Yes this blog is written by Ian. Yes, THAT Ian - as if you knew any other Ian’s.

3. I will post an 8 on the 8th virtual race report this evening, or maybe tomorrow morning, or whenever I feel like doing so. I was originally planning on posting this on Saturday, but rest assured it will be worth the wait.

4. I am fully aware that I said I was going to take care of “a couple” of housekeeping items and then posted 4 bullet points. I am also fully aware that “a couple” means 2, but perhaps bullet points 3 and 4 are not considered housekeeping items. Did that even occur to you before you jumped to point out my mistake? No. Perhaps it would have been easier to just go back and edit my original sentence to say “4 housekeeping items” but that’s just not my style.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Colder Bolder Race Pictures

Thank you all for your condolences and kind comments on yesterday’s post. I debated taking a week off from posting at Half-Fast given the circumstances, but what better way to honor a writer than to keep writing. Besides, getting back to normal can only help, so here are some race pictures from Sunday’s Colder Bolder 5K. (For those of you who ran it, here is the link to all the Colder Bolder race pictures.)

The first picture here features some guy in a Santa Hat. He was a good 30 - 40 feet ahead of me for most of the race. I decided to run him down at the beginning of the final mile and it took me forever to pass him, but I eventually did. Passing Santa doesn’t automatically relegate you to the naughty list does it? That’s me behind him in the white shirt with gray sleeves, we have less than a half mile to go in that picture. Not pictured: the little kid who blew past me like I was sap oozing down a tree trunk.

You can see in the picture below that I have removed my gloves and shoved them into my pockets. It didn’t occur to me at the time that doing so might make my pants look like standard issue Nazi fatigues. Maybe next time instead of my pockets I’ll just shove my gloves down the front of my pants. BAM! How do you like my race pictures now? Still not pictured: little kid who blew past me. I think he must have cheated and taken a short cut. It’s the only viable explanation as to how I got “kidded” which, for the record is not quite as bad as getting “chicked”.

Finally, just because I got such a positive response the last time I posted a picture of my kids, here is another picture of Cheer Team Vanilla. They are my motivation to run. Not in a I-want-to-be-healthy-to-see-them-grow-up kind of way, but more in a looking-for-any-excuse-to-get-out-of-this-crazy-house-so-I’ll-go-run kind of way.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

In Memory

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. I learned late Sunday night that a friend of mine, Jason Wenger, was shot and killed in Spenard, AK on Sunday morning. Jason was a dear friend and an inspiration to me as a writer. I have tried on several occasions to sit down and write a post for today, but I don’t have it in me to be funny right now. There will be no humor today at Half-Fast, there will be no post today that is “...dripping with thick snazzberry syrup sarcasm” – a phrase that was originally penned by my late friend Jason Wenger.

I will miss Jason dearly. I will miss his goofy smile. I will miss his passion. I will miss trading literary barbs with him in our fantasy football league, mundane as that may sound.

I wish that I could write something that would adequately eulogize Jason in a manner that I feel is appropriate, but I will never be as eloquent as he was. I found the following on the Jason Wenger Memorial Blog, it is the conclusion to a paper that Jason wrote a year ago:

“... it is my responsibility as a lover of fiction to be an active member in my community and world. In the case of many writers, this activity takes shape in politics and action. Here I must again admit my shortcomings. My heart is much more drawn to the individual, rather than the population. I suppose this is again representative of my world view. I believe in individual and personal civil service. I hope to remain humble, and to emulate the example of the servant, Jesus Christ. I do not wish this for myself in order to gain respect, admiration, or a ticket stub that certifies my entrance to heaven. On the contrary, I don’t believe I can earn such grace or mercy. But in striving to live my life as a servant, I pray that God will bless me with the wisdom to suffer the intolerance of my sin, and the ability to strengthen my love for Him and His creation. If in the act of service, I continue to gain ideas, experience conflicts, empathize with characters, benefit my fellow man and take notes, I will consider myself worthy to be called a writer.”
I do not grieve like those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4: 13, 14) for Jason was above all else a God fearing man and I will see my friend again when I arrive in heaven. Until that time, I will remember fondly our fellowship on this earth and look forward to continuing that fellowship in eternity. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with Jason's family who have suffered a greater loss than I.

My friend and brother in Christ, Jason Wenger (Jan. 30, 1980 – Dec. 2, 2007)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Wind, I Hate It

Colder Bolder 5K Race Report

I knew that it was going to be cold on Sunday while I was attempting to PR at the Colder Bolder 5K, but I had no idea that it was going to be so windy. I HATE wind. It was 34 degrees outside and the average wind speed was 13mph with gusts registering speeds upwards of 28mph.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the Colder Bolder it consists of 13 separate races. Each of the first 12 races are invitational races where runners are invited to participate based on their Bolder Boulder 10K time from earlier in the year. The 13th race is an open race for runners who didn’t run the Bolder Boulder. I guess that’s how an open race works. I was invited to the 10th race which was for runners who finished the Bolder Boulder between 56:00 and 57:59. The idea is that everyone can be competitive in each of the races, but looking at past results it seemed that there were always a few runners in each race that were somewhat ahead of the curve.

I stood at the line with 65 other runners, none of whom had run the Bolder Boulder any faster than me (56:00) 6 months earlier. I had set myself a goal of running an 8:00 minute mile pace and I felt like I should be able to stay with the front runners. When the air horn sounded it was evident that all 65 runners felt the same way and we all started out faster than Thanksgiving shoppers bursting in to Target at 6am. After a quarter mile I checked my Garmin to reveal that we were running at a 6:24 minute mile pace! To be quite honest I didn’t even think I was capable of running at that speed. I slowed down and watched droves of runners overtake me. At that point I was probably in 40th place and I decided to focus on beating my PR instead of beating all the other speedsters out there.

At the half mile mark we turned a corner and were met head on with a gusting wind and slight hill. All of a sudden we were back to being the slower runners that we were supposed to be. Somewhere in Antarctica Heinz ketchup was flowing out of a bottle at a faster pace than we were moving. We ran into a headwind for most of mile 2 and even though I didn’t feel like I was moving very fast I found myself passing a lot of seemingly winded runners.

I ended up finishing 15th in my race with a time of 25:56 which is a new PR. My splits were reflective of the headwind we faced: 8:11 – 9:02 – 8:11. I was hoping for something a little better, but I’ll take it given the circumstances.

When we got home from the race I got up on the roof and put up our Christmas lights, we’re going with blue this year. (Just like the last 5 years.) Once the lights were up I was starting to feel pretty chilled and I knew that it was time for an ice bath, Half-Fast style.

Cheer Team Vanilla once again braved the cold for the opportunity to ring their cowbells.

Daddy didn’t get to the podium but Cheer Team Vanilla is #1 (and #3).

All you can eat hot pancake breakfast = Why we run.

Personal Running Log - November 2007

My Colder Bolder Race Report is coming shortly.

11/29/2007Misc RouteTempo6 Mi55:509:19
11/24/2007Home TreadmillLong8 Mi1:19:199:55
11/23/2007Misc RouteEasy4 Mi39:129:48
11/19/2007Misc RouteEasy5 Mi48:469:46
11/17/200710 Mile LoopLong10 Mi1:35:589:36
11/14/2007Misc RouteTempo5 Mi45:209:04
11/12/2007Misc RouteEasy5.05 Mi47:379:26
11/10/20078 Miles Out & BackLong8 Mi1:16:149:32
11/8/2007Misc RouteEasy5 Mi47:199:28
11/7/2007Home TreadmillInterval4 Mi35:579:00
11/5/2007Misc RouteEasy5 Mi48:559:47
11/3/2007Misc RouteLong7.78 Mi1:21:3810:30
11/1/2007Home TreadmillTempo3 Mi26:578:59
Distance: 75.8 miles
Total Time: 12:09:02

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Weekend Splits

Weekend Splits is my recap of things that I found interesting or humorous over the past week. If you have a submission for the weekend splits e-mail me.

Picture stolen from Dmitri’s blog “into the trails”.

The picture adequately sums up my feelings on treadmills, they are not for humans. I know that some of you disagree with me on this and for you folks, I recommend you check out the joggler. He suggests 5 mind tricks to make treadmill runs more interesting and I suggest that you take those 5 tricks, and stick’em where the sun don’t shine. The only mind trick that is going to help me get on the treadmill is the Jedi mind trick: “You love to run on the treadmill.” Yes, I love to run on the treadmill.

Tom over at the Runner’s Lounge has been doing a great job of posting gift ideas for the runner in your life. This was something that I was going to post about but he’s done such a great job at compiling gift lists for runners it would seem redundant for me to do it too when I can take the lazy route and just point you to his posts. Thanks for making it easy for me Tom! Books for runners. T-Shirts for runners. Other gifts for Runners. Also, while you’re there check out Amy’s suggestions on how to decorate your blog for the holidays, you know what just read all the posts and then subscribe to the feed. It’s all good.

Kelly at Fitness Fixation had a great post with the top 21 reasons that you should walk away from the table. Perhaps next year we could get this post a week before Thanksgiving instead of a week after?

Finally, Nancy found herself in a competition this past week with a hot young fitness intern chick and retells the tale of her epic battle here. The only disappointing part of the post is the lack of pictures of the hot young intern.

Apparently my blog requires a junior high reading level, which is appropriate because I have about the same maturity level. Like when I saw that, I was like no way? OMG like that is so TOTALLY appropriate. FWIW I soooo LOL'd at that and then I sent it to my BFF and he was like TOTALLY.

Well, that paragraph certainly won’t help. Perhaps it would ameliorate my ranking if I used more words of Brobdignagian proportions instead of such diminutive ones.

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
I discovered this video over at A Tale Told by an Idiot.

Authorities are currently looking for the bird in question. Rumor has it that he dyed his feathers a little darker and fled to the Cayman Islands and has gone into hiding. However his love for salty snack chips will be his downfall as he was spotted again at the beach. If you have any information as to the whereabouts of this bird then please contact local authorities immediately. No one's chips are safe until this fiend is locked up.

Friday, November 30, 2007

3 Races in 3 Weeks

This weekend is the beginning of the end for my racing season. I will be running the Colder Bolder 5K on Sunday, the Virtual 8 on the 8th next weekend, and the Rudolph’s Revenge 10K the following weekend. Now I know that you’re probably thinking “HOLY CRAP Vanilla, don’t do it! You’re Crazy!” but I am running races on 3 consecutive weekends and I will not be dissuaded.

I guess you could think of me kind of like Dean Karnazes when he ran 50 marathons in 50 days. An intimidating feat to be sure, but clearly no match for my 3 races in 3 weekends, I mean he only had to prepare himself for one distance (26.2 miles), I have to prepare for three. THREE!

It just occurred to me as I type this post that I have a 5K in two days and I haven’t even started to taper! I usually like to have a good 3 to 4 week taper before I run a 5K. I guess I’ll just have to suck it up and run it. To make up for it I will start my two day binge eating carb loading right away. I smell a PR in this one folks.

The question I’m really asking myself is will I be able to PR all of them. The 8 miler will be my first official 8 mile race so it is a PR by default, my current 5K and 10K PRs are 27:10 and 56:00 respectively and I certainly feel like I’m faster than that now. As I mentioned about a month ago, every race I’ve run this year has been a PR and I’d really like to continue that trend. I bet Dean didn’t PR every one of his 50 marathons in 50 days, but that's ok Dean. It is OK. Not everyone is cut out to be an elite athlete like myself, some might even say I’m Super-Elite.

The Weekend Splits will be up on Saturday, and I’ll have a race report for you all on Monday. As a warning though, don’t read the race report if you’re not prepared to listen to a grown man piss and moan about cold weather because that will likely be 80 percent of the post.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Niketown: A Model of Efficiency

For my wife’s birthday I recently bought her, among other things, a nice cold weather running shirt from Niketown. Unfortunately I bought it a size too small and ended up having to return it. Incidentally men, if you’re ever in doubt about which size to buy for the woman in your life, go with the smaller option. It’s much safer. “Really honey? You don’t wear a Petite? Well, you look petite to me.” This will earn you more brownie points than the actual purchase and will partially make up for saying that running on a treadmill is worse than giving birth. You know... if you were stupid enough to say something like that.

Allow me to state for the record that I love Nike. I’ve never bought a pair of their running shoes, but I probably own or have owned everything else they’ve ever made, including a lovely running skirt. So it gives me no joy to have to write a negative post about Niketown, which I sincerely wish was an actual town. It would be a town without fast food chains, the streets would be paved with that rubbery track compound and Gatorade would flow from your faucets.

Back to the story. I walked in to Niketown, the store not the imaginary place in my head, and I moseyed on over to the customer service desk. I explained my situation to the kindly old lady who looked eerily like my late Grandma, while she scanned the small shirt and checked my receipt. I was about to turn and walk off to grab the new shirt when Grandma informed me that someone else would get it and bring it to me. Perfect. That would save me from seeing something else on my way and exchanging my wife’s new shirt for that jacket I’ve been eyeing.

I stood to the side and waited. The women’s running shirts were located on the 2nd floor, which is a U-shaped floor that is open to the 1st floor below in what would be the middle of the U. This allowed me to actually see the rack where my wife’s shirt was residing. After waiting for a few minutes I turned to Grandma and told her that I remembered where the shirt was located, and would she like me to go and get it. No. Someone was already getting it. It occurred to me that perhaps someone was bringing one from the supply room instead of getting it off the rack. I figured that this would be a good thing as I often hear women say that they’d rather not wear things “off the rack.”

After some more waiting, Grandma asked me if anyone had brought the new shirt down yet. She asked me. I looked around at the empty counter and then sarcastically at my empty hands before answering in the negative. Grandma spoke into her walkie talkie and a new employee hurriedly came out of the Women’s Running department and down to the counter where I was patiently waiting. The employee looked at the shirt I had returned, frowned and then headed back upstairs where she began searching the racks for the shirt. After some flustered searching she found the shirt I had been awaiting, pulled it off the rack - sorry honey, the shirt is “off the rack” : ( - and then did something very curious. She walked past the stairs, over to the other side of the store and put the shirt into a giant glass tube that was apparently some kind of “merchandise elevator.” Seconds later the shirt disappeared into the ground and showed up in the giant glass tube that was 30 feet from the counter that I was waiting at. Nifty huh? Except that Grandma was now helping other customers and didn’t notice that the new shirt had been beamed down.

More waiting and then Grandma excused herself from the customer she was working with and spoke into her walkie talkie again. I could only make out her side of the conversation. “Are you bringing that shirt down?” - “Oh… but I’ve got A TON of other customers I’m helping, I was hoping that you could bring it to the register.” (Apparently, in Niketown the store, 2 customers equals A TON.)

The second employee emerged again from the Women’s Running department with a less than pleasant look on her face. She hurried down the stairs, went to the merchandise elevator, pulled out the shirt – the shirt that she had put in there only moments ago – and brought it to the counter. Before I could even thank her she dropped the shirt on the counter and then WENT BACK UPSTAIRS. At this point it had taken 20+ minutes for the new shirt to arrive at the counter. It would have taken me less than 30 seconds to go upstairs and grab it myself, but Niketown in their efforts to put the customer first decided to save me the hassle. Thanks Niketown. I actually think they just like using those cool merchandise elevators, I know I would if I were a Niketown employee, but alas I’m entirely too efficient to work there.

When I got the shirt back home and gave it to my wife, she removed it from the bag and out fell a 20% off coupon attached to the new receipt. Do you know when the 20% off coupon expired? Two hours from the time of issuance. Bravo Niketown, Bravo.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

8 Miles on the Treadmill is Fun

You see what I did there? I used a headline that clearly isn’t true. That’s called sarcasm. Sarcasm is the crutch of the shoddy writer and is the lowest, basest form of humor, which is why you’ll find plenty of it here at Half-Fast.

Anyway, like the headline says I ran 8 miles on the treadmill this past weekend and they were anything but fun. Looking back on it I’m not exactly sure why I decided to run on the treadmill but it was almost as bad a decision as when my wife and I decided that we wanted a second child.

You ever notice how painful memories seem to get less painful as they fall further into the past? It’s like natures way of making sure you don’t learn from your mistakes. When Candis was pregnant the first time, she hated the final few months and the whole birthing process. Things got pretty bad, but a few months later there we were talking about having another kid, just standing on the tracks completely oblivious to the train hurtling towards us.

That’s what running on the treadmill is like for me, I always forget how bad it is and how much I hate it. No, I did not just compare childbirth to running on a treadmill. Running on a treadmill is much worse than giving birth as far as I can tell. At least after you give birth someone brings you your meals in bed. When I get done on the treadmill I have to go get a meal on my own, ironically I’ll probably be doing a lot of that over the next few days after my wife reads this.

Monday, November 26, 2007

How to Ice Bath

So you just finished up your long run, your legs are tired and you’re considering an ice bath but you’re not sure if you want to put up with the torture of sitting in ice cold water. As you often do when confronted with an unpleasant running situation you find yourself wondering “What Would Vanilla Do?” The answer to that question always runs through the path of least resistance, which you will no doubt see by reading on.

Far too often people go overboard with the ice, this is a MISTAKE! I recommend that you begin with 2 cups of ice. Now I know you’re thinking that 2 cups of ice doesn’t sound like anywhere close to enough, but hear me out on this.

Place the 2 cups of ice into a medium sized pitcher. Bathe the ice by adding the following:

  • 12 oz silver tequila. I am partial to the Milagro Silver Tequila, but you can use whatever tickles your fancy.
  • 8 oz Cointreau.
  • 8 oz freshly squeezed lime juice. Some people substitute frozen limeade concentrate here but it really tastes better with fresh lime juice.

Take the leftover lime skins and use them to wet the rim of your glass, then dip the glass into a plate of coarse salt - your body loses salt when you sweat you know.

Mix the contents of the pitcher well and then pour over ice into your already salted glass. Finally add a small umbrella or better yet a palm tree with a monkey on it. Some people may call this ‘girly’ or may disparage your manhood, but I never really liked those people anyway. If they’re laughing it’s just because they’re jealous and you don’t need them. Everyone knows a margarita tastes better when garnished with a monkey in a palm tree and it really adds to the ambiance.

Finally take your margarita out to the HOT TUB, being careful not to step on a pop-top or blow out your flip-flops, and climb in. Relax your aching muscles. During these cold winter months you will want to remember to bring the pitcher out with you so that you don’t get too cold running back in to refill your glass. Also, Half-Fast advises against ‘running’ to and from a hot tub after you’ve had a couple of margaritas. Remember, safety first.

Speedo’s are prohibited, swimming trunks are optional.

Best ice bath ever? Best ice bath ever.

Editorial Note: I am aware that I have some Mormon readers and perhaps there are some other teetotalers out there. Feel free to replace the margarita with a delightful Arnold Palmer (one part lemonade, one part iced-tea) and enjoy a sober soak in the hot tub. For the record, a sober soak in a hot tub still beats an inebriated soak in an ice bath.

UPDATE: The Editor is an idiot. Mormon commenter Topher informed me that Mormons do not partake of the tea either. Really? Even if it’s decaf? I thought it was just a caffeine thing. Anyway, I’m changing my suggestion to Freckled Lemonade. Enjoy.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Weekend Splits

Weekend Splits is my recap of things that I found interesting or humorous over the past week. If you have a submission for the weekend splits e-mail me.

Sorry for the risqué picture at the top of this post, in the future I’ll try to warn you beforehand when a post is going to contain sexy tanlines.

Instead of working today I’m taking the day off to recover from my turkey induced stupor. It feels like a Saturday and I don’t feel like posting anything so you’re getting the Weekend Splits one day early. It’s a lazy 4 day weekend at the Half-Fast house so just be glad that you’re getting anything.

Topher, whose blog always makes me crave Dunkin’ Donuts, provides his race report from the first annual Trypto Trot 4 Miler. He was the winner, race director, official timer, and sole participant.

J-Money ran a more official race and then rewarded herself with breakfast at IHOP. At least I assume it was an official race as she had a picture of herself with a trophy, but it wouldn’t be totally out of character to discover that she did that on her own.

Thanks to Mary from Sheesh for sending me a link to the second best study ever. You may remember a couple of weeks ago in the Weekend Splits I linked to a post at Cranky Fitness that “proved” that beer is the post race beverage of choice, and I commented that someone needed to prove that bacon was good for you. Ask and ye shall receive. Half-Fast - endorsing post race beer and bacon since 2007.

Frayed Laces, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs to read, is taking the Art of “Chicking” to new levels. Beer? Duct tape? Frayed Laces, you had me at Football.

Pieces Of Me recently took the time to write a letter to running. I think it was like one of those things that your therapist makes you do just to help you think through your feelings. I don’t like feelings or therapists but the letter is pretty entertaining.

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
As is often the case with videos that I post here credit for this one goes to With Leather. Also as is often the case this one has been around the internets quite a bit so you may have already seen it. At any rate this video displays the multi-tasking abilities of our Japanese friends who can workout at the same time as learning English. The phrases they learn just get more and more bizarre as the video continues. “Spare me my life?” Where are they vacationing? Baltimore? Compton?

Have a great weekend everyone. I hope that you all had as good a Thanksgiving as I did. See ya’ on Monday slackers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those of you who might be reading this from outside the United States allow me to take this time to remind you that tomorrow (Thursday, November 22nd) is Thanksgiving Day. There will be no post here at Half-Fast tomorrow. I will be busy celebrating my favorite holiday.

It’s that time of year when we get together with family, over-eat and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. During this time of year you will no doubt read or hear lists of things that people are thankful for. They will usually contain things like family and friends, or perhaps homes and jobs, but these are things that everyone is thankful for and I like to be original. So here at Half-Fast I’m going to give you a list of some of the smaller, often forgotten things that I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for:
  • OPB - Other People’s Blogs. I have some 80 - 90 blogs in my Google reader that keep me entertained at work on slow days. If you’ve ever commented at Half-Fast, chances are you’re one of them. “You down with OPB (Yeah you know me).”
  • TiVo - No explanation necessary.
  • My office switching to 2-Ply.
  • Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
  • Heated Seats.
  • Sarcasm - without it Half-Fast would cease to exist.
  • YouTube.
  • Champion’s C9 Base Layer Gear - Many thanks to Viper for that one.
  • Beer.
  • The Red Robin Banzai Burger.
  • Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.
  • Bacon.
  • Bacon Bits.
  • My company not ever checking how long I spend on the Internet.
  • Brown paper packages tied up with strings.
  • Football.
  • Tryptophan.
  • The Adam Sandler Thanksgiving Song, because Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving until you’ve heard this song 5 or 6 times.

Finally, I’m thankful for all my readers. Best of luck to everyone with the Turkey Trots. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dr. Scholl is an Outrageous Liar

Almost 2 months ago I mentioned that I was experiencing a lot of pain in the balls of my feet when I ran for any length of time. Some of you mentioned that you had gone through the same kind of thing when increasing your mileage and that it eventually went away, so I decided to wait it out. Last week I decided that I was done waiting it out and that the problem was with my Mizuno shoes. A quick check of my training log revealed that they had soaked up little more than 200 miles and I really didn’t want to replace them yet, which is what led me to try Dr. Scholl’s Gel Sport Insoles.

What attracted me to these insoles was their claim to provide “Outrageous comfort for active feet.” I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a level of comfort for my feet that I’d describe as outrageous. I’d estimate that I’ve only ever experienced a ‘preposterous’ level of comfort, which as you probably know falls above ‘ludicrous’ comfort but below ‘outrageous’ comfort on the ‘ridiculously-overstated-comfort-scale.’ Needless to say I was ‘outrageously’ excited for my feet to feel a new level of comfy, one that I haven’t felt since my wife got rid of my sheepskin slippers.

I put the new Dr. Scholl’s inserts into my Mizunos on Friday night and went to sleep anticipating my long run on Saturday morning. I dreamt of comfortable things; goose down comforters and overstuffed chairs, while pillow-top mattresses danced in my head. When I awoke on Saturday I downed two cups of coffee so that the ‘outrageous comfort’ wouldn’t induce me back to sleep. I was beyond excited. I sat on the edge of the bed to put my shoes on. I loosened the laces, closed my eyes, held my breath, and braced myself for the comfortslaught that was about to wash over me. I slipped my feet into my newly insoled shoes and I waited. And waited. I cautiously opened one eye and glanced at the mirror to make sure I was in fact wearing the shoes. Something was amiss, my feet were not ‘outrageously comfortable.’

Convinced that I was doing something wrong I took the shoes off and double checked that I had installed the insoles correctly. Then it dawned on me. These were Sport Gels, so perhaps they weren’t going to exude comfort until I started running. I ran 10 miles on Saturday morning and while I am happy to report that I did not experience the level of pain that I have had in the past, I most certainly did not experience anything that I would describe as ‘outrageous comfort.’

While I am thankful to Dr. Scholl for providing me with a solution that should be able to see me through the end of my racing season (Dec. 15) I am disappointed that he felt the need to overzealously market his insoles. I will be writing a letter to Dr. Scholl and suggesting that they consider downgrading their description of this product to ‘admirable comfort’ for active feet.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Weekend Splits

Weekend Splits is my recap of things that I found interesting or humorous over the past week. If you have a submission for the weekend splits e-mail me.

Thanks to Adeel, who writes for the Complete Running Network, for the link to this post (bare runner cheeks warning) which contained the picture above as well as many other running ads that were a part of an old Adidas running campaign.

Lance provided some links and a video in this post that is well worth your time. The video is 6 seconds long if you only watch it once. I watched it more than that because I like to learn from laugh hysterically at the misfortune and stupidity of others.

In cold weather news Viper provided the Winter Rule Book (be sure to adhere to Rule #7), and Frayed Laces has some fashion tips for the ladies. Haven’t you always wanted a running skirt that’s hot enough to keep you warm at the same time as being cool enough to go clubbing in? If you haven’t read Frayed Laces’ blog then I encourage you to do so. From what I can tell she’s a fairly new runner who just ran her first half marathon in 1:43:03 1:42:49 ~time updated at the request of Her Royal Highness~ (a 7:51min/mile pace).

Don’t you just hate when new runners take up the sport and are already faster than you? This brings up a good point. Some of you asked what it meant to get “chicked,” a phrase I mentioned here. Getting “chicked” is being beaten by a girl in a race, more specifically I think of it as being passed by a girl. It’s an ego-deflator to be sure. If I were to race against Frayed Laces I would most certainly get “chicked.”

Speaking of chicks who are faster than me, Amy Lawson has an illustrated story of Marathon Training Incident #5. I don’t want to ruin the surprise if you haven’t read it yet, but it involves farting.

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
This weeks Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week comes from The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy, which is written by the talented J-Money who, come to think of it, is yet another chick who is faster than I am. This is getting depressing. I need to get faster, faster. Anyway, here’s the video, I think it’s some kind of 80’s fitness video that’s supposed to reduce wrinkles??

Many thanks to dietcokegrrl who e-mailed me the Star Wars Trumpet video. I was going to use it in this spot but chances are you’ve already seen it as it went viral in the past few days. If you haven’t seen it click the link and then watch in amazement and ask why dietcokegrrl hates you so much that she wanted to subject you to that.

I hope I haven’t offended any of the broads that I referred to as “chicks” in this post. I’m really not sure what the preferred terminology is, but you dames can let me know in the comments. Is it girls, ladies, women, gals, dolls, babes, birds, skirts, hussies, spinsters, old maids, damsels, senoritas, gold-diggers, floozies? Who knows, certainly not I.

Have a great weekend all!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Winter Gear

The end of daylight savings time is depressing. The days feel shorter, it’s colder outside, it’s harder to see when I’m out running, if I didn’t know any better I’d think that I was dying. Of course I’m not dying, at least not any more than the rest of you are. In these cold and dark times I need some advice. What do you wear when you go running in the cold darkness of winter?

Viper has a couple of posts about good reflective wear and how to stay warm. I’m really liking the Reflecto-Vest idea but I need some more ideas on warm gear to run in before I end up freezing. No one wants to see Vanilla, ice. Wow, look at that - the jokes really do write themselves (not very well, but by themselves nonetheless).

I currently own one warm running shirt that wicks away sweat and keeps me warm, the one you see in the picture above. I wear the ski mask thing over my nose so that it doesn’t freeze and so I cannot smell my one and only winter running shirt, which often goes running multiple times between washes. If you’re running the 8 on the 8th, you should be glad it’s a virtual race because you won't have to smell my running shirt unless you live in Colorado or maybe Nebraska or Kansas if it’s windy.

When that shirt is in the wash I usually go with an Under Armor heat gear compression shirt and a hooded sweatshirt. This works OK and has the added benefit of making me feel like Rocky Balboa or LL Cool J “I’m gonna knock you out, Mama said knock you out!”

So let’s hear it. What do you wear when it’s cold out? Oh, and before any of you year-round-warm-climate folks chime in with chippy remarks about how you don’t have to worry about this kind of thing, allow me to invite you to help yourselves to a bucketful of SHUT UP JUICE! Yeah, you know who you are.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

8 on the 8th

If you haven’t yet heard of 8 on the 8th then you probably suck at the internets. Nancy is organizing a virtual 8 mile race that will take place on the 8th of December and everyone is invited. I was originally scheduled to run 10 miles on the 8th so I will just run a couple of cool down miles after I’m done (yeah right) or I’ll add a couple of miles to one of my other runs that week (not likely), at the very least I will add a 2 mile run to my schedule to make up the miles (not happening).

In order to encourage you all to participate I’ve put together the following list of reasons why you should sign up for 8 on the 8th:
  • Pick your own course. I’m going to drive up into the foothills and run all 8 miles on the steepest downhill stretch of road that I can find. Sure I could end up tripping and falling for a half mile, but that’s just less distance that I have to run. Here’s a peek at my 1600 foot elevation drop 8 miler.
  • Race start time works out perfectly with your schedule. If you’re late, they won’t start the race until you get there. I am sooooo sleeping in.
  • Entry fee fits in perfectly with your budget. Have you ever heard of a race that’s free to enter?
  • No annoying online registration forms to fill out. Simply let Nancy know that you’re participating over at her blog or join the 8 on the 8th group over at the Runners Lounge.
  • You won’t get chicked. (I guess you could get virtually chicked, but you won’t see it happening).
  • No annoying lines for the porta-potties before the start. Better yet, no porta-potties period.
  • No race pictures of you walking and looking exhausted.
  • No backlog at the starting line.
  • No rules disallowing headphones, dogs or jogging strollers.
  • No timing chip to attach or to fall off.
  • No waiting for your official time to post.
  • No one will cut you off or yell “on your left” as they pass you.
  • Post race beer is your favorite beer and is not served in wimpy 8oz cans. (The downside is that it’s not free, but if you’re like me you’re taking the $30 - $40 you saved by not paying a race fee and using that to procure some post race refreshments.)
  • You get to run a race against Vanilla. Despite the fact that I’ll be running a downhill course many of you will still beat me and will have bragging rights for the foreseeable future. I welcome any trash talk in the comments which will be promptly met with responses of “I know you are but what am I” or “Your Momma!”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Go Run

I don’t know about you but I want to go out and run right now.

I don’t remember where I first saw that video but everyone that has recently posted it on their blog kept saying that they stole it from someone else, I tried following the links so that I could give credit to the original poster but it got boring quickly. So if you would like credit for that video just claim it in the comments and it will be just as if I gave you the credit myself. During my endless clicking through blogs I did however, discover something worth sharing with you.

I’ve always maintained that if you ever take the time to read an elite athlete’s blog you will be bored to tears. Every one I’ve ever tried to read has been dryer than a Chicago Marathon water stop. It appears that I’m going to have to modify my thinking on this issue though. Allow me to introduce Chuckie V and Tim Luchinske. Chuckie V is, according to his own words “... a has-been pro triathlete/cyclist and past Ironman winner.” Tim Luchinske’s blog tells us that he’s a “15 time Ironman, ex-professional triathlete.. [who is] switching to the marathon. In my 3rd attempt I placed 5th at the Denver marathon in 2:30.” Well I’m sorry to tell you Tim, but you didn’t finish in Denver until AFTER I had already finished. (Editor’s Note: I only ran the half marathon.)

Both of their blogs are quite funny and they give advice that is actually worth listening to, unlike my advice which usually consists of things like “be careful not to pee on your shoes” or “don’t jump onto a moving treadmill”. In one post on Tim Luchinske’s blog he talks about showing up at a 10K race, checking out the competition at the starting line and figuring that he could probably win. Ho Hum. No big deal. He then goes on to win in a time of 33:00. Yeah, I hate him too. Although I must admit I do the same thing at all my races. I check out the runners who are there and as I make my way back to the 9:00 minute/mile pace corral I think to myself “crap, if those 300 people ahead of me hadn’t shown up I might have had a shot at winning my age group.”