Sunday, September 30, 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 Jes with one "s" for e-mailing me the picture that I'm using for this weeks weekend splits. It's OK for me to post right Jes, there's no copyright restrictions are there? Because you didn't mention any when you sent it to me. You should check out Jes' blog, Self Motivation which unlike so many blogs today does not suck.

While surfing dmitri's trail blog, I found a link to a post at Bad Ben's Ramblings which details the rules for proper T-Shirt etiquette. I encourage you to check it out, especially if you've ever wondered whether you should wear the race shirt of the race you never actually finished, or if you want to know if you can wear your race shirt prior to the race.

Ali only has 10 runs to go (probably less now) and had a great post honoring the occasion - The Top 10 Overrated list. I'm intrigued to find out what she blogs about over at Just One More Mile after she quits running in 10 days, perhaps it could be a celebrity gossip blog because we could use another one of those.

The Science of Sport has been doing a fantastic series on running technique and I heartily encourage everyone to go and check it out. The first post in the series can be found here and from there you can simply click the 'Newer Post' link to get to the next one. Or alternately you can view the entire series by following the running technique label and start from the bottom. Some of the posts are quite long, but before you start complaining it's because they contain actual facts that will be beneficial to you as a runner. As a faithful Half-Fast reader you're obviously not used to that. I can't stress enough how much I recommend that you take some time and read these articles, I mean if you can take the time out of your day to come read Half-Fast then you can definitely take the time to read something that will actually be useful.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Treadmill Manifesto

I made a comment in my last post about breaking the cardinal rule of treadmill running, and it got me to thinking that we really should have a set of rules or at the very least guidelines for proper treadmill use. They could help prevent situations like the one in the following video. Normally I'm a big fan of stupidity being rewarded with pain but the treadmill in this video pantsed the kid first, and then threw him off. (Yes, it is a different video from the one in the last post).

That's just uncalled for.

With my recent near disaster and videos like the one above in mind, I decided to put together a list of tips and guidelines for you to use to ensure a safe treadmilling experience. And yes, I am aware that I just verbed that noun. Remember, many of you do not have ninja quick, cat-like reflexes and the gracefulness of a swan like I do so these guidelines are for your benefit.

The Treadmill Manifesto
Vanilla's tips and tricks for proper treadmill use

  • Do not run on a treadmill. Go outside instead.
  • Should you find yourself in a situation where you think it would be better to run on a treadmill, please refer back to rule #1.
  • Do not face the treadmill away from the wall. Proper treadmill placement is key. Remember it is better to be flung free and clear of the treadmill than it is to be pinned against the wall while the belt gently exfoliates the skin from your thighs. Gently like a chainsaw.
  • No, you should not see if you can run on it at the highest speed setting. I like to call that setting "moron speed."
  • When you fall off, if anyone saw you, be sure to act like nothing happened. Maybe even do it a couple more times just to spite them.
  • One person at a time on the treadmill.
  • Do not use a treadmill if you are being filmed. Have you ever seen a video of someone using a treadmill that didn't end painfully? Video cameras cause malfunctions.
  • Do not use the safety-key/killswitch. This is for pansies and klutzes and using it signifies to everyone around that you are one.
  • Do not attempt to mount it while it is moving. Actually this rule will also do you right in many other situations outside of treadmilling. (I'm going to do my best to make that a common expression, my job will be complete when a writer uses 'treadmill' as a verb in Runner's World magazine.)
  • No jumping on the treadmill. No hopping, no skipping, no leaping & bounding, no hurdling, no dancing, and no sashaying. Not ever. Not under any circumstances. Only use the treadmill for running or walking.
  • Finally, should you choose to ignore any of these rules you may do so only under the camcorder exemption. Under this exemption you film yourself and then share your inevitable demise with the rest of us.

There you have it, my Treadmill Manifesto. I wonder how many bloggers we need to ratify these rules before we can officially proclaim them the Treadmilling Constitution? I’m taking up the cause because YouTube is just chock full of this kind of stupidity.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Idiot vs Treadmill - Part 2

A number of months ago I posted Part 1 of this little series and at the time I knew that there would eventually be a Part 2. I knew that after having made fun of people for falling off treadmills I would eventually get mine. I knew that my comeuppance was coming, so to speak, that what I sent around was on its way back around. Well, last night it completed the circle and came back around like a Mack truck in the dead of night.

I was running on the treadmill, which is never something I like to do, but I was scheduled to run 4 x 1600 intervals and the high school track that I usually run on was unavailable. In between my intervals I broke one of the cardinal rules of running on the treadmill: Never try to get back on it while it's still running. I should know better.

It was after my first interval that I decided to jump off the treadmill and turn the fan up to the highest setting. Having adjusted the fan I turned around and stepped onto the side rails of the treadmill so that I could commence running again. Except I missed the left side rail with my foot and was surprised to find it rocketing towards the back of the treadmill like a fighter plane shot off an aircraft carrier. My finely honed survival skills instantly kicked in, and with ninja-like quickness I put a kung-fu death grip on the hand rail with my right hand. As my left foot disappeared off the back of the treadmill it caused my body to twist violently before being thrown off to the right of the treadmill in a spinning motion that left me facing away from it. Still holding on with my right hand I got my feet beneath me and as I pulled myself up the treadmill tipped slightly towards me. Now back in control of my balance I let go of the treadmill and sent it crashing back to it's upright position with a thud. I quickly composed myself, climbed back on and started it up again.

A couple of seconds later my wife came bursting through the basement door. "Are you OK?" she asked. I looked at her with my best expression of shock and surprise as if to say whatever do you mean? Look at me running. Look at me. Does it look like I've just fallen off the treadmill? Would I look this composed and calm if I had just been flung from the treadmill like dog poop off a shovel? Do you not know that I have cat-like reflexes? Puh-lease woman, I take umbrage at your insinuation. My wife frowned. "Maybe it was the boys?"
"Maybe what was the boys?" I replied still feigning ignorance.
"I thought I heard a loud noise. It must have been the boys."
"Yup. Must've been," I answered in my best indignant voice as if she should be ashamed for even having thought that I could fall off the treadmill. What kind of amateur does she think I am?

And that my friends, is how you fall off a treadmill. Here endeth the lesson.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Balls Ache

I ran 12 miles on Saturday and ever since then the balls of my feet have been killing me. What? Oh, you thought I meant those balls? How uncouth of you. To be honest I am a little bit offended at your boorish imagination. Sitting there reading my blog and thinking about my private parts, it is quite unacceptable! Not only that it's downright discourteous and disrespectful to me as an individual.

Let's be serious, if I were to ever experience discomfort in that area, my very favorite area, I would give up running faster than you could say "testicular fortitude." Heck, I'd give up eating and probably breathing too before I'd put up with any discomfort down there.

As I was saying, I ran 12 miles on Saturday and the pain started around mile 9 or 10. It began in the ball of my right foot and by the end of my run it was affecting the balls of both feet. It's actually much better today but it was pretty painful yesterday. Has anyone ever experienced this? It just figures that something like this would show up 3 weeks before my half marathon. It's like a metaphorical kick in the balls (yes, now I'm speaking about those balls... metaphorically anyway).

Saturday, September 22, 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.

Video courtesy of Bob's Random Thoughts While Running blog who asks "are you the monkey or the dog?"

RunnerGirl is done for the year. My condolences, it sucks to be injured. I'm glad that you're going to keep working out and doing spin class etc. I would SO let myself go if I knew I was done for the year. I'd be eating Baconators and Deep-fried Twinkies like they were going out of style.

Congrats to Amy who won a 15K, or won her division of a 15K or something like that in 1:14:30 which is super duper über fast in my book (a 7:59 pace). Also congrats on being hit on by 4 women at an Indigo Girls concert, you have to read the story.

Just Your Average Joggler has the 9 essential spots where you should apply body glide to prevent chaffing, but be careful if you head over there because there is a picture of some skimpily dressed men (safe for work). And before some of you readers get excited and flock to his site (Yes, I'm talking to you Marcy and Ali) they aren't particularly the kind of men who SHOULD be skimpily dressed.

Miss Petite America ran 18 miles on a treadmill. Just as soon as I get done with this post I'm calling the men in white jackets and they're coming to take her away ho ho hee hee ha haaa!

A lot of people mentioned Half-Fast this past week, including one person who apparently thought of me while she was in the shower. There were far too many to list individually, but know that it is always appreciated. To be honest there's probably not too many to list individually but I'm too lazy to do it this week. What do you people want from me?

Have a good weekend everyone! Happy Running!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Jessica Simpson is Running

The above picture is the lovely Jessica Simpson running yesterday in LA. The picture is posted here so that we can analyze her running posture and should not be used for ogling purposes. It appears to me that she is using the Pose method of running, as opposed to being a heel-striker. Bravo Jessica! It also looks like she overpronates a touch and should perhaps buy some running shoes that are designed to correct that. Finally, she does appear to be a little top heavy. Woo Hooo! The only other thing that is wrong with the picture is that it is a still picture. Man, what I wouldn't give to have that be a video.

This has been an educational moment brought to you by Half-Fast.

Yowza! Nice Stems!

In related news I'll be moving to LA very shortly where I will be performing the ultra-ironman-feat of running around all the parks in LA non-stop until I am joined by Jessica Simpson. Once she smells my vanilla-y sweet sweat she'll be all mine.

Personal note to Candis, my beloved wife: I'm sorry you had to find out this way. I think you'd do the same if Matthew McConaghay was single and out running around.

By the way you can click the pictures for full-sized analysis of Jessica's running form.

With thanks to WWTDD, who has more pictures if you're interested, and why wouldn't you be?

Thursday, September 20, 2007


So... Uh... I've got a confession to make. I went running again in the morning. In fact, I've been doing it a lot more than I've let on here. I didn't mean to, it just kind of happened... You know how it is... One thing led to another and before I knew it I was up and running at 4:30 AM. I swear it didn't mean anything to me, and I was thinking of evening running the whole time I was doing it.

It's not what it looks like. I can quit any time I want to. It's not like I'm the only person in the world doing this, there are tons of people who are even worse than me. Besides, I'm only hurting myself.

Yeah, so I'm a morning runner now. I didn't even see this coming, and it happened so quickly. It was a mere 6 weeks ago that I posted how I was dreading getting up to go run in the morning, and now I dread the thought of having to wait until I get home to go run. Me and morning running, we go together like PB and J, like Siegfried and Roy, like Lindsay Lohan and hooch.

It's like I'm having an out of body experience and someone else is controlling my actions, because 6 weeks ago I would have told you that you were out of your dome for suggesting that I'd look forward to morning runs. I am NOT a morning person. I don't understand what's going on. I'm going to be really worried if I start getting actual work done at the office instead of reading blogs and researching fantasy football. I mean, call an exorcist or something because I'm no longer in control here.

Let the intervention begin in the comments, and someone be sure to bring the Holy Water.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sweaty Update

I mentioned a few weeks ago on the weekend splits that my sweat doesn't stink. I think that some of you may have thought that I was joking around, but now researchers are actually looking into this strange phenomenon. Duke University researcher Hiroaki Matsunami, PhD asked 400 people to smell the male sweat chemicals, androstenone and androstadienone.
“Some people found the smell pleasant and similar to the smell of vanilla.” Source: WebMD.
It's true, when I get a good run going and really start to get lathered up I smell like freshly baked cookies wafting past you. It's probably what makes me feel so hungry when I run. People continually find themselves strangely drawn to me.

You might be thinking "wait a second, aren't people dying of cancer and heart disease every day in this great nation? Shouldn't these scientists be spending their efforts on THAT?" And if you are, let me stop you right there. Sure, there are people suffering from innumerous terminal illnesses and diseases, but those people can be comforted by the fact that they won't stink. Besides they're probably being punished for something really bad that they did, either in this life or a previous one. I say that if we can't research the genetics behind sweeter smelling sweat, then the terrorists have already won.

Some people dare to dream about a world without death and disease. I dream about a world without body odor, a world far superior and more aromatic than your overpopulated world without death and disease.

Now, I don't like to throw the word 'hero' around willy nilly, but I believe that these scientists are the real heroes. Is there a nobler pursuit in life than stomping out body odor? It doesn't seem like there could be. Alas, I will have to content myself with spreading delight to the nation's nostrils one pair at a time, and enlightening this harsh world one blog-reader at a time.

Up next for research: What is it that makes me really, really, ridiculously good looking? How does my hair stay so shiny, full and free from split ends? Why do men and women alike find themselves lost in my deep blue eyes, dreaming about walks on the beach and hot cocoa by an open fire? Do not despair fair reader, science will one day triumph against these mysteries and we will all know the answers. Until then, keep fighting the good fight.

Monday, September 17, 2007

What's My Name?

Due to some scheduling conflicts this past week (read: laziness) I had moved some of my runs back a few days and was facing an 8 mile tempo run on Saturday after having just done an 8 mile run on Friday. Combine that with the fact that I have yet to complete an 8 mile tempo run at the suggested pace (9:00 minute miles) and you have a recipe for a VW Jetta run if I ever saw one. I was not looking forward to Saturday's run, but I thought I would go anyway so that I could at least log the miles.

I started out with a nice slow warm up mile, knowing that this run was more destined for failure than that kid in my macro economics class who always wore a helmet and drooled on the desk. I began to pick up the pace at the one mile mark and for some reason unbeknownst to me I also decided that this would be a good time to play around with my stride. I have done this in the past in an attempt to get closer to 180 strides/minute, which appears to be some kind of magic number.

Instead of focusing on how fast I was going, I was focusing on shortening my stride and increasing my turnover speed. I got to the end of the first tempo mile in 8:45 which means that I was a touch too fast (that may be the only time you ever see that phrase in writing on this blog). At the end of the 5th tempo mile I was still on a 9 minute mile pace and was feeling pretty good. This is huge for me because lately I have been fading around the 5 mile mark on my tempo runs and by mile 6 or 7 I'm way off the 9 minute mile pace.

I took a Cliff Shot and kept my focus on shorter strides, faster turnover. I wasn't feeling tired at all, in fact I felt quite superhuman. I was up and over the hills that usually cause me problems without even feeling them. By mile 7 I knew that I was easily going to complete this tempo run at the suggested pace. Nothing was stopping me know. I finished up the 8th tempo mile in a time of 1:11:38 which is a pace of 8:58 per mile. Who's the man? What? I can't hear you. Who's the man?

This was a major breakthrough for me, and I don't often boast on this blog but I felt great after that run. I finished with a cool down mile bringing the total to 10 miles in 1:30:45 and even with the warm up and cool down added in that averages out to a 9:05 minute mile pace. This is the first time during my training that I've really felt like a sub 2 hour half marathon might be possible.

Of course, I came to find out later that Amy had just run a 15K at a 7:58 pace! Thanks a lot Amy! You couldn't let me bask in the glory of my 8:58 pace? You just had to rain on my parade! Some friend you are!

Saturday, September 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.

Thank you all for the links and suggestions that you posted in the comments section of my last entry. Shortly after I posted it I found the following cycling instructional video posted over at With Leather. I'm going to do my best to copy the techniques in the video.

Pretty awesome huh? Does it make me a bad person for laughing to the point of tears at some of those wrecks? I sure hope not. Speaking of wrecks, I found the following picture over at Speedwork, he finds the best pictures – Speedwork is also where I found the picture of the wooden tandem bike.

I think that most of you probably read Lawsons do Dallas already, but in the event that you do not, Amy had a great story involving her husband and a treadmill this past week. I keep telling myself that I'm not going to just keep linking to her blog in the weekend splits, but every week she has at least one post that has me rolling in fits of laughter and I just have to share it. Plus it takes a lot of effort each week to find links for the weekend splits, and it's pretty easy to just keep going back to the same well.

I've recently been visiting a new blog called Crash Fistfight written by Crash who is a triathlete. For those of you who like to learn from other's mistakes, he has some good advice on what not to do before you run a half marathon: Don't get drunk. Crap. I guess I'll have to amend my plans for my upcoming half.

As I was perusing the Runners Lounge blog I came across a post written by Amy that included advice on running fashion tips. It's definitely worth a read, and be sure to follow the link on there to the Fat Triathlete's guide to the Irresponsible use of Spandex. Good stuff.

Finally, the cookie diet gets a review (highly recommended - the article is highly recommended, not the cookie diet.) from a guest blogger over at Cranky Fitness. I had never heard about the cookie diet until I mentioned it here and now I keep seeing it everywhere.

Reciprocal Shout-Outs:
Moon – Moon is busy working towards a Mickey Medal.
Amy at Runners Lounge.
Marcy who is always an entertaining read.
That crazy girl who's running everyday. Someone told me she was smart and pretty too. While that may be true it's unfortunately offset by the fact that she's Canadian, eh.

I'm off to get my long run in. Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Half-Fast - Now With 50% More Cross Training!

As you know if you've been reading this blog for any length of time I've been using the FIRST half marathon training plan. This plan calls for 3 runs a week and 2 or 3 cross training days. Until now, I've been using soccer as one of my cross training days and doing strength training for the other. I'll now by adding a third cross training day by riding my brand new bike! My lovely wife got it for me on my birthday, it was a total surprise. Almost. (More on that story here, if you're so inclined.)

No, unfortunately mine does not have cool spinners like this one.

I'm so excited. I haven't owned a bike since I was 15, because I figured once I could drive what was the point of a bike? Remember those days? When you were too cool to be seen riding a bike because you drove a car. I remember driving around during the summer months with Will Smith's Summertime blasting on the speakers, wearing my mirrored sunglasses and rockin' a hyper-color T-shirt. How cool was I? (That's rhetorical, please don't answer it.)

Anyway, here's a list of things that I know about bike's:

  • They have 2 wheels.
  • You have to pedal them to make them go.
  • They have gears.
  • The seat is not comfortable - I learned this from my first ride this past week.

And that pretty much sums up my knowledge on the subject. So if you know of any helpful websites or have any helpful advice for a newbie cyclist like "don't ride on the street against oncoming traffic like a runner," or "don't stretch cold muscles before you cycle" (where were you guys on that one?) then please feel free to leave it in the comments or shoot me an e-mail.

I don't plan on becoming a serious cyclist or even competing in triathlons, I'm just a runner who doesn't want to have to run every freakin' day, so this is something that will help me to maintain fitness on days that I'm not running.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm Running 2,561 Wienermobiles

It's Wienerific!

A number of weeks ago Just Your Average Joggler had a post where he discussed the length of a marathon using some non-standard units of measure. Today I will be employing the use of my plagiary tag and re-writing his post in my own words. I feel really guilty about it because I'm quite sure that no blogger has ever taken another blogger's idea and posted it onto their own blog. Ever.

As you know I'll be running the Denver Half Marathon on October 14th and while most people think of a half marathon as 13.1 miles I think I might prefer to think of it as:
  • 2,561 Wienermobiles.
  • 702,748.29 Cockroaches laid end to end, but I feel sorry for the .29 of a cockroach that has to be brutally murdered and sawn in half to complete this analogy. (OK, no I don't.)
  • 221,337.6 Flaccid penises laid end to end. No word on whose flaccid penis that is and I really do feel bad about the 0.6 in this analogy. Is there any way we can use John Wayne Bobbitt's since it may already be a 0.6? (Did you know that there are 2 C's in flaccid or that it can apply to something other than your wiener? It's not a word I like to use a lot so I had no idea.)
  • 47.56 Empire State Buildings laid end to end.
  • 3,547 Small Intestines.
  • 9,764.89 Shaquille O'Neals laid end to end.
  • 11,857.37 Giraffe's Necks.
  • 16.47 Trips across the Golden Gate Bridge - That somehow makes it sound better.
  • 1,419.69 of the World's Longest Snakes. I hate snakes.
  • 0.262 Panama Canals. (Did you know that if you spell the phrase "a man, a plan, a canal, Panama" backwards it says the same thing. Also, did you know that's called a Palindrome?) You did not!
  • 207,504 Human tongues, meaning that a human tongue is roughly a quarter inch longer than a flaccid penis and there is no way to prove this because a human tongue has never seed a flaccid penis.
  • 230.56 Football Fields
  • 0.00655 Oregon Trails.

Also of note, I weigh the same as:

  • 11.48 Spider Monkeys.
  • 2,592 Human Eyeballs.
  • 0.146 Testicles of a Right Whale. Now I don't know what a Right Whale is pero él tiene huevos grandes.
  • 3,227 Quarters.
  • 36 Chickens.
  • 1.47 Jennifer Anistons.

I weigh 1.47 of these. I hope she's not stretching cold muscles prior to going for a run. Only an idiot would do that, right?

If you'd like to know how tall you are in tongues or if you want to know how many breast implants it would take to equal your weight you can visit the weird converter and figure it out. Be sure to let us know if you find any that are interesting.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

To Stretch or Not To Stretch

Let me start this post by thanking everyone for their concerns and show of support as I looked for my motivation. It was touch and go there for a while but I finally found Figment hiding under the bathroom scales in the form of 3 extra pounds. (Hey, it was an awesome birthday weekend, what can I say). I was back on my running schedule again on Monday evening with some intervals.

Now on to the topic at hand. Stretching. I hate it. Always have. I get my gear on and I'm ready to go, but then I have to take 10 - 15 minutes to stretch, it just delays me from getting to my running. In every organized sport that I've ever played we've always had to stretch before every game and every practice, so I've always assumed that I should stretch before running. Turns out that might not be the best idea, at least according to this article. How did I not know this? I've found several articles since that one that even suggest stretching before running could actually cause injury. Admittedly, I have done zero, zip, zilch, nada, nil, no research on this whatsoever, but I can tell you that I'm already a die hard believer in the no stretching before running rule, because quite frankly I hate stretching. This might be the best news that I have heard since my lawyer told me that those charges would never stick.

Now I realize that there are many more experienced runners who read this blog and to those runners I probably sound more ignorant than the comments section of a YouTube video right now, but it has never even occurred to me that stretching might have negative effects. How many of you already knew this? And if you did, why didn't you tell me? Make me feel stupid in the comments.

Incidentally, you can purchase that wonderful stretching machine that's pictured above by clicking on the picture. It may come in useful if you need to torture some medieval peasants and you can't find your stocks.

Monday, September 10, 2007


On Saturday morning I was scheduled to run 10 miles. Unfortunately, when I woke up on Saturday I discovered that I had misplaced my motivation. As you might guess, this is a somewhat common occurrence for me and I began looking for my lost motivation in the usual places. Was it still in bed, hiding under the covers? Nope. Was it in the pantry? Nope. Was it between the cracks in the sofa? Nope. It was nowhere to be found.

Without my motivation it was going to be tough to get outside and run my 10 miler. I debated just putting the run off altogether and that's when I drew the attention of the nagging voice in my head that I think of as the runner inside of me. He used to be the jogger inside of me and I used to be able to shut him up with donuts but he's been getting a lot louder and harder to ignore in recent months. "We HAVE to go run!" he kept telling me. After an hour of unsuccessfully trying to find something else to do I begrudgingly agreed with the runner inside of me, got my gear on and headed out the door.

One of the tricks that has always worked for me when I don't feel like running is to tell myself that I'll just go run one mile and then be done. That's usually good enough to get me out the door, and then once I start running I'll go ahead and run further, usually completing the run that I was scheduled to do. It's a great trick that my inner runner plays on me, and it always works. At least it HAS always worked. On Saturday morning as I headed out for my run the runner inside of me was feeling pretty smug, but I was still not feeling very good about it at all. It came as quite shock to my inner runner when I arrived back home after having completed one measly mile. I had barely even broken a sweat and I was finished.

As I walked through the back door of our house I happened across my ever supportive wife. She looked at her watch as if to see how long I'd been gone, raised an eyebrow and asked "are you injured?" all very cleverly calculated to make me feel guilty. Don't think for a second that she needed to look at her watch to know how long I'd been gone or that she thought I might be injured. I think my inner runner had phoned ahead and asked her to be there when we got home.
"Uhhh. No. Not injured, just done" I replied. I attempted to walk past her into the house and she moved into my path. A brief discussion ensued with her trying to motivate me to go back out and run and me extolling the virtues of the one mile training run. It ended when she played what she thought was the ace up her sleeve:
"You can be done if you promise to post on your blog that you only ran 1 mile today!"

So there it is dear readers. I ran 1 mile on Saturday, sans motivation. While I'm thinking of it, if anyone finds my motivation please return it to me. It's kind of a tabby color and answers to the name Figment.

Sunday, September 9, 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.

This edition of the Weekend Splits is being posted on Sunday, September 9th which just so happens to be the birthday of some pretty cool celebrities: Michael Keaton, Hugh Grant, Adam Sandler, Rachel Hunter (no surprise that she's the one whose picture I chose to display), Joe Theismann, Macy Gray, and Vanilla – that's right. Me! Also on September 9th California was admitted as the 31st state of the United States, so you see, it wasn't always good times and noodle salad on the 9th.

Happy Birthday Rachel Hunter!

Have you ever wondered why your running shoes smell? Just Your Average Joggler breaks it down in detail, but he doesn't just stop there. He's a problem solver, so he also tells you the best method to clean your running shoes too. Notice that I said "YOU" and "YOUR SHOES" because my shoes don't stink. My sweat smells of rose petals and cinnamon and has been known to restore sight in blind people, I also piss excellence.

EDIT: - I just found additional 'smelly shoe advice' complete with hilarious video over at Runners Lounge. Check it out.

Ali over at Just One More Mile continues to run every day and has proclaimed that she will do so until she reaches 100 (consecutive runs not years old). She's getting Limbaugh'd on Ibuprofen and running a half marathon today. Best of luck Ali, I hope that you PR. I also hope that I'm faster than you in 5 weeks when I run my half marathon because it's my secret goal to be faster than any of my readers or commenters. Once I stop getting faster I'll just have to start eliminating readers who I believe to be faster than me. Watch out Marcy!

EDIT: - Just read Ali's blog and she did PR. 2:07:01. Awesome Job Ali!

For any runners out there who are looking for advice I'd highly recommend that you contact Amy Lawson. Why? Just take a look at the advice that she gives. She's better than Dear Abby, who's probably a guy anyway.

That's all I've got this week. As always please e-mail me if you run across something that you'd like to see linked on the Weekend Splits.

Thanks to those who mentioned or linked to Half-Fast this past week, it's always greatly appreciated. Those whose links I found include:

Have a great weekend everyone. Don't forget to wish me a happy birthday in the comments, if you do it early enough in the day I might still be sober enough to read your well wishes.

Friday, September 7, 2007

What I Learned on my Summer Vacation

Editor's Note: Today at Half-Fast I am pleased to introduce my first ever 'guest blogger' as you are being graced with my wife's post race report. This is good news for me because it means today's post takes little to no effort on my part, Candis even told me what to title it. Should you want to read more from Candis you can visit her very humorous blog Icing Side Up. The picture below is blurry because she is just that fast, not because the camera sucks, and certainly not due to operator error. Without further ado, here is the unedited, unabridged race report:

Yes, I did finish ahead of that kid.
  • 5K's are a lot less effort for the same post race spread and free beer
  • The calories you burn during a 5K can never equal Outback steak, chicken and flan
  • 34 minutes is a lot faster than it sounds
  • Overcoming my exercise induced asthma is a lot easier than that fat guy overcoming his mass
  • That fat guy will still run if he gets passed by a girl even though it might actually kill him
  • Your husband will not notice the courses winding rivers or appreciate the rolling landscape- and this is the guy who hates running on a treadmill
  • Running on grass- Suuuucks
  • I will always be able to find a race excuse for why I was not fast
    (In case you want to know, the Bolder Boulder was too hot and the Chamber Challenge was too windy)
  • I was born running-underprivileged (if only I were Kenyan)
  • I will forever be Mrs. Half-Fast

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Ka-Chow! Race Report

The Chamber Challenge 5K
Candis and I stood poised at the start. There were maybe 200 entrants and we were somewhere around the middle of the pack. I'm disappointed to discover that the guy dressed as the Chik-Fil-A cow is not running, and he appears to be the only person in a costume. Well him and some other guy who's dressed in drag... no... wait... that's really a woman. Eeesh! An official looking man is talking over the loud speaker but we can't hear him through the wind and excited chatter of the crowd. Searching for a mantra to use, the first thing that comes to mind is "Speed. I am speed. Faster than fast. Quicker than quick. Float like a Cadillac, sting like a Beemer." That's from the movie Cars for those of you that don't have kids, and yes, my boys have been watching it a lot lately.

Hey, where's everyone going? The front group of runners is already leaving and I didn't even hear a starter's pistol. I give Candis a quick kiss for luck (aww, that's so sweet!) and we head out. I had debated running with her and pacing her, but she told me I didn't have to, and since I am worthless at picking up on non-verbal hints I leave at my own pace.

I finish the first mile in 8:40. The McMillan Running Calculator had predicted an 8:41 pace for me, it's annoyingly accurate. If I can just plug numbers into a website and find out how fast I am what's the point in actually running? Why not forget about running the Denver Half Marathon and just let McMillan give me my PR for that distance too?

Somewhere around mile 2 a couple of ladies pass me, one of them is wearing a running skirt that looks a lot like mine, and the other one has an abnormally large caboose for a woman of her stature. Seriously, baby got back! I determine that I'm going to keep up with them and pass them before the finish, but I'm starting to feel a little out of breath and I let 'Skirt' and 'Caboose' get too far ahead of me.

We enter the final stretch of the race and move from a concrete golf-cart path onto grass as we circumnavigate the driving range. Judging by the clumps of fresh clippings it has recently been mowed, but it is still very thick and spongy. It's like running on a bouncy castle and even though I try to ignore the small piles of grass mulch, I still find myself bobbing and weaving like they were the gates of a slalom course. What's wrong with you? This is going to slow you down! I can't seem to stop myself though.

I finally force myself to look ahead, ignoring the grass I see 'Caboose' right in front of me, her pace has slowed considerably. The finish is close and it's time for me to turn it up a notch. I pass her and scarcely manage to keep myself from taunting her with "unhitch the trailer," but I can't conceal a smile. 'Skirt' is not too far ahead and as she turns a corner she motions for 'Caboose' to hurry up and come join her. Oh, hell no! I'm not about to get 'chicked' this close to the finish. I push the pace even harder, and not only does 'Caboose' not catch me, but I even outkick 'Skirt' to the finish in what felt like a full out sprint. The Eat Mor Chikin cow is trying to high five everyone as they finish and in my head I'm thinking how funny it would be to tackle him at full speed. I decide against it because I'm pretty sure that assaulting the mascot results in immediate forfeiture of your post race meal, and if I can't have the food then what's the point in even running a race in the first place?

Official results have not been posted yet but according to my watch I finished in 27:03 which is a PR by default (first official 5K race) and equates to an average pace of 8:43 per mile. Ha! Take that McMillan Running Calculator, you were off by 2 seconds per mile. I'll post the official time and some race pictures when they become available, and I'm still hopeful that Candis will write her own race report which I'll post here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Blog Action Day is October 15th

I first heard about Blog Action Day (hereinafter referred to as BAD because that's easier to type and sounds way cooler) through Kara's blog and then again through Pat's. BAD is an effort to get as many people as possible to write about a single topic on October 15th. The topic? The environment.

Now if there's one thing I hate to do it's commit to something. If there's two things I hate to do it's: 1) commit to something and 2) get all preachy and serious about an important topic like the environment. So as you can see this is really a lose-lose proposition for me. Also October 15th is the day after my half marathon which is when I was hoping to post a race report, so that really makes it a lose-lose-lose situation.

On the other hand I do like to have days when the topic of my post is already decided. If I were to take part in BAD I could encourage all my readers to do the same and then tell you all how to be more environmentally friendly as runners, and I really enjoy telling other people what to do. So I guess I'm semi committed to it. I'm not married to it, but we're not seeing other people either. Although, if it keeps leaving its stuff in my bathroom cabinet I'm going to start getting a little freaked out.

What kind of impact will BAD have? I don't really know. I suspect that after reading 4 or 5 blogs that all talk about the environment I will get sick of reading about it and head over to Runner's World forums.

Each participant in BAD is encouraged to write about the environment as it relates to the general topic of their blog and in there own particular style. For me that means I'd be discussing running and the environment, and as is my style I'll probably make fun of the environment, and give it a bit of a literary smack around - you know, in a playful, good natured, long-time-frat-brothers kind of way.

Finally, here's a Deep Thought by Jack Handey for you that pertains to the environment.

"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason."

If there's anyone reading this from BAD then that's the kind of post you can expect from me on October 15th. You guys are lucky to have me on board. Well, semi-on-board to be more precise.

Unrelated note: I'm running my first 5K tonight with my wife, so I'll have a race report for you tomorrow, and if I can talk her into writing one perhaps one from my wife too.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Longest Run of my Life

On Sunday I had the longest run of my life. I began running at one o'clock in the afternoon when the sun was high and the sky was cloudless. I would finish 12 miles later and feel like it had taken days to complete. (It didn't take days, but it did take long enough that you won't see the actual time in this post, if you want that info you'll have to check back at the end of September in the Personal Running Log.) The temperature was 88 degrees but I wasn't worried. I'd been hydrating properly and Pat had really made me feel like a wuss when he mentioned on his blog that he likes to wait until the temperature drops to around 101 before he goes out running. I think maybe he lives in hell. The plan was to run a 6 mile loop twice, which would allow me to grab a Clif shot and some water at the house after 6 miles, because I hate carrying that stuff with me when I run. What am I, a mule?

The first 5 miles went by slowly, but generally without incident. I didn't even get mad at the motorist who blazed through the crosswalk ahead of me. Then, as I began to approach home - the halfway point - my body began to tell me that we were almost done. "No! We're not! We're almost HALFWAY done," I reiterated. My body was having none of it. My legs knew this stretch of road was always the final stretch, they knew that they were supposed to be tired by now. This internal debate went on for almost a quarter mile with my legs insisting that they were almost done and ready to stop, and my mind trying to override my body's desire to quit. Then out of nowhere my body played its trump card; "not only are we done running, but now you have to pee!" What?!? Awww man! Well played. Now I have to go inside, making it more likely that I'll call it good at 6 miles.

My body however, is seriously underestimating how badly I want to complete this 12 mile run. I get back to my house, grab the drink and Clif shot that I left on the porch all the while jogging in place. I jog into the house to... "wow, it sure is nice and cool in here, I mean it's almost chilly," it feels like a refreshing swimming pool on a hot day. Focus. Still jogging in place I head into the nearest bathroom, and determined to not lose my rhythm I attempt to jog in place while I pee. Bad idea. Do you remember that scene in Backdraft when the firemen lost control of the hose and it was spraying water everywhere? Yeah, it looked exactly like that but with pee... and a longer hose. (Lying.)

Now my body thinks it's won because I'm going to have to clean up that mess and you surely can't jog in place and clean up pee, but once again my body has underestimated how badly I want to complete this run. Because I'm in the kid's bathroom I just leave the mess knowing that my 4 year old will likely take the fall for it, while claiming he didn't do it and being scolded for lying. It's OK. It will teach him a valuable lesson that life isn't fair and that authority figures can't always be trusted. It's a brilliant idea, but hold on to your shorts because I'm not done with brilliant ideas yet.

I head downstairs, remove my shirt, turn on the fan, and finish my run in the cool basement on our treadmill. I'd run shirtless outside but I'd have to carry a stick to beat off women, plus I've been warned before about the glare that it causes for passing motorists. Checkmate. My body has no response, superior intellect has once again triumphed. I logged the final 6 miles on the treadmill and showed my legs who wears the pants around here (metaphorically speaking of course). That was Sunday. Monday and Tuesday my legs have been killing me. Maybe next time I'll be more inclined to listen to them... nah, I doubt it.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Weekend Splits - Hooray Cheerleaders!

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 Weekend Splits are being posted a little late today (OK a LOT late) because I spent the morning at the Colorado vs Colorado State football game in a stadium with 60,000 screaming fans, 50% Colorado fans and 50% disappointed fans. Go Buffs!! Football season is upon us, and I'm happier than the Minneapolis Airport bathroom attendant. Blood makes the grass grow.

I've been told that the above video is the oldest video in the history of the Internet, but I've never seen it before and it fits nicely with the cheerleader theme. Apart from being incredibly stupid and dangerous I really like how all the guys congratulate each other while the cheerleader is left dazed and holding her head. You guys are like the coolest male cheerleaders ever! Video credit to With Leather.

Carrie over at the Lewis Girls blog discovered a running cheerleader in her neighborhood whilst on her afternoon run. Why does this never happen to me?

Country Music Television is going to be airing a new reality show called I Want To Look Like a High School Cheerleader Again. The women will be whipped into shape by the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader trainer. Wait, they have their own trainer? It sounds like an awful show that will be an absolute trainwreck, I'm sure I'll be addicted to it in no time. Hey, don't we have all know a blogger in Dallas? Any chance we'll see you on this show Amy? Don't you want to look like a high school cheerleader?

Speaking of Amy she is in training for a marathon and wrote a hilarious story about it here. It's not news that Amy wrote a hilarious story, just that it was running related. By the way, that's a direct link to the story as opposed to a link to the front page of her site - it took me forever to figure out how to do that.

New running blog The Middle of the Pack explains why we are middle of the pack runners. Here's to hoping for more posts at The Middle of the Pack.

Lei at Aquarium gives us a short post about running on a full stomach. Sage advice, I bet you all wish my posts were as short as that.

Also of note this week, I got my first mean-spirited comment when someone named Daniel took something I wrote too seriously. Daniel's first mistake was taking me seriously, his second mistake was not using spell-checker and getting his panties in a bunch over a pretty tame post. Celebrity; C-E-L-E-B-R-I-T-Y. Thanks for stopping by Daniel, please come back and comment again. You can see his comment here, because I didn't delete it. You see, I don't mind people offering a differing (read: wrong) opinion here at Half-Fast.

Thanks to lifestudent who mentioned me here and here. What better way to improve your blog than by mentioning me not once but TWICE in one week. Thanks lifestudent. You rock.

Thanks also to Crabby McSlacker. I've said it before and I'll say it again; if you don't read Cranky Fitness everyday then you should at least stop by every Friday because the Friday posts are always fantastical. In fact, if you're reading this Crabby I'd like to recommend you name your Friday posts Fantastical Funny Fridays. It may sound like an overstatement, but trust me, it's not.

Finally, for no other reason than I love my readers and they seemed to enjoy the picture of David Beckham - here's another one (click to enlarge). Male readers are encouraged to visit this post for eye candy.

Have a great looooooong weekend everyone! Happy Running!

Personal Running Log - August 2007

EDIT - I'm changing the date on this post so that the Weekend Splits are at the top of the page, but this was really posted on Sunday evening 9/2 after the Weekend Splits.

I mentioned back when I posted my June '07 Personal Running Log that I was disappointed that it was only 40 miles and that I was hoping that it would get to be closer to 80 miles. As evidenced below I ran 97.8 miles in August. If I would have known at the end of August that I was 2.2 miles away from running 100 miles in a month I would have surely gone for an easy 2.2 mile run.

Today (Sunday 9/2) I went for my longest run ever - 12 miles. It's not shown below because today is September and below is the personal running log for August, can't you read the title? I'm thinking about chronicling the longest run of my life in a separate post, but I'm pretty exhausted right now so it will have to wait.

8/29/2007Misc RouteTempo9.3 Mi1:37:3410:30
8/27/2007Home TreadmillEasy3.5 Mi33:029:27
8/24/200710 Mile LoopLong10 Mi1:36:109:37
8/23/2007Misc RouteTempo6 Mi55:189:13
8/20/2007Home TreadmillInterval5.5 Mi50:329:12
8/18/20078 Miles Out & BackEasy8 Mi1:17:519:44
8/15/2007Misc RouteLong9 Mi1:27:579:47
8/13/2007TrackInterval5 Mi45:069:02
8/12/200710 Mile LoopLong10 Mi1:39:309:57
8/9/20076 Mile Loop Long HillTempo6 Mi54:099:02
8/7/2007Home TreadmillInterval6 Mi55:559:20
8/5/20078 Miles Out & BackTempo8 Mi1:16:049:31
8/2/20076 Mile Loop Long HillLong6 Mi59:319:56
8/1/2007Home TreadmillInterval5.5 Mi51:109:19
Distance: 97.8 miles
Total Time: 15:39:49