Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nike is Scary

I love Nike. I love their apparel, I love their logo, I love the little Indonesian kids that they pay 5¢ a day to make my shoes, and I love their commercials and print ads. I don't think I've ever seen a Nike ad that I didn't like or that didn't inspire me. Nike must have the best marketing department this side of beer companies, and yet I will probably never own a pair of their running shoes. The video below was apparently banned from TV in the US because it was too scary, but that just makes it the perfect video for a Halloween post.

Too scary? The Nike spot isn’t even as scary as some of the promos for upcoming TV shows that I’ve seen aired on Sunday afternoons during football games that I’m watching with my kids. It’s not even as scary as that preceding run-on sentence. You want scary? Turn on the E! channel when they reveal what the Hollywood Celebs are wearing to their Halloween parties. Paris Hilton as a slutty cop/nurse/bunny/princess: Scary. Britney Spears as a Mom: Terrifying. Either one as any kind of role model: Traumatizing.

Have a safe Halloween everyone. I hope that you get plenty of Vanilla Tootsie Rolls and an awesome monster name like mine.

Villager-Abducting, Nun-Injuring Lycanthrope from the Legendary Abbey

Get Your Monster Name

If you were wondering, a lycanthrope is a werewolf. Yes, I had to look it up. Sue me.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Every Race a PR

I started running 2½ years ago and in that time every race that I have run has been a new PR. It’s really not as impressive as it sounds, but that doesn’t stop me from boasting about it to everyone who’ll listen without adding any kind of disclaimer whatsoever. Why is this accomplishment unimpressive? In the first 2 years of my running career I only ran 3 races, the 2005, 2006 and 2007 Bolder Boulder 10K. It really shouldn’t be a surprise that I was able to get faster each time after having a full year to train for it. Since the last Bolder Boulder I have run 2 other races, both at new distances (a 5K and a Half Marathon) so both of those were PRs by default.

Nevertheless, I will continue to boast about running a PR in every race I’ve ever run ever ever in my whole entire life ever. At some point in time this streak will end. Perhaps it will end in 6 weeks when I run the Rudolph’s Revenge 10K, especially if there is snow on the ground, or perhaps it will end in next year’s Bolder Boulder. As I begin to run more races I will have to find new ways to claim a PR. For example if I fail to PR in the Rudolph’s Revenge 10K I can call it my Winter 10K PR. This article suggests that we should have different PRs for many different situations. A winter PR, a summer PR, a road race PR, a trail race PR, PRs for each different course you run, PRs for each different type of weather you run in, PRs for each different type of sports drink that was served during the race, PRs for a course that is a loop, PRs for courses that are point-to-point. I may have a 10K PR in a race that served Gatorade that is different from my 10K PR in the race that served Accelerade.

Come December 15th I’ll be running the Rudolph’s Revenge 10K in which I’ll hope to set a new 10K PR for myself in a winter race where the temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees, where Gatorade is served, on a course that is an out-and-back loop, consisting mostly of hills, that starts at 10:00am, at an altitude of 5446 feet. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I think it’s a virtual lock that I PR. High Five!

Saturday, October 27, 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.

It’s not delivery...

Picture credit to And I’m Not Lying – For Real (via With Leather and KSK). These pictures have been all over the Internet for the past few days so you may have seen them before, but it was too good to pass up. I like to think the artist named that 4th picture “Things That Will Kill You.” The Dr. Pepper is a nice touch as it ironically brings the phrase “just what the doctor ordered” to mind.

In another post relating to guns, Zero to Boston answers the question of what it feels like to run the final miles of a marathon. It doesn’t make me want to run one.

Just One Marathon implores you to Run Sexy, which probably doesn’t include eating pizza with McDonalds as a topping. I can’t help but run sexy, I sweat sexy from my pores, the rest of you will have probably have to work at it.

The Boozehounds Inc. Running Team has a solution to the age old dilemma: Go home and run or go out for drinks with co-workers.

You might want to sit down for this one because it’s going to floor you. WebMD revealed this week that after people get married they have a tendency to gain weight! Are you telling me that people stop trying after they get married? Next thing you know wives will start becoming less interested in sex, and husbands will stop paying attention and once that happens you then you can just forget about the romance. In related news the sky is blue, grass is green and Britney is a bad parent.

Quick Hits
Pieces Of Me has a funny breakdown of the people at her gym.
Jason’s Running Diary shares 30 things he’s learned from training for a marathon.
Best of luck to the Joggler today as he attempts to set a new World Record by Joggling an Ultra Marathon faster than anyone ever has. UPDATE: He did it! Congrats to the Joggler on the new WORLD RECORD!
Best of luck to Ali as she runs the Grand Rapids marathon.

Have a great weekend everyone. Happy running!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Review of the FIRST Half Marathon Training Plan

Before I review the FIRST plan let me briefly explain what it is. The focus of the FIRST plan is quality not quantity which loosely translates to more intense runs but less of them, this is also supposed to decrease your risk of injury. Under the FIRST plan you run only 3 times a week - when I heard this I was all over this plan like hair on soap. There are no easy runs, you run one speedwork session, one tempo run and one long run. Where are the easy runs? They’re relaxing on the beach somewhere with a Corona, changing their latitude.

The schedule calls for Tuesday and Wednesday to be your speedwork and tempo runs consecutively... on back-to-back days, and then your long run is either Sat or Sun. I should note that after being too physically exhausted to complete my tempo run the day after my speedwork, I amended my schedule to be Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, instead of Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday. On the 4 other days of the week the plan calls for 2 to 3 cross training days to maintain fitness.

Results/Review: You've probably all read my Denver Half Marathon race report, so you already know that I achieved my goal using the FIRST plan. I am faster now than I was before I began training and I have run longer than ever before. I also did not get injured during this time, but who can say whether or not that is attributable to the FIRST plan or whether that was just dumb luck. Knowing me, the latter sounds more likely.

Given these results you would think that I would be willing to endorse the program and sing its praises, and you’d be correct. However, I will add that you'd better be mentally tough if you plan on doing the FIRST training. There is some real speed involved in the workouts and I consistently failed to complete all the miles in a workout at the required pace, often having to slow down towards the end. During a couple of the runs I even outright quit and walked home. Hey, I’m not proud of it, but it happened. This frequently created nagging feelings of failure and doubt which are even evident in my goal setting post when I predicted a time of 2:06 for myself.

Prior to running the Denver Half Marathon I was actually prepared to write a bad review of the FIRST plan due to the fact that I felt the runs were too demanding and too unrealistic. However having had some time to reflect on my half marathon and comparing my running in June with my running today, it is painfully obvious that I am faster now than I was then. I am a better runner today, and you simply can’t argue with a plan that helps you accomplish that.

For more, see the FIRST Half Marathon Training Plan at Runner’s World.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Can’t You See I’m Running

Thank you to those of you who reminded me in yesterday’s comments that 9 days is an eternity for a runner to not be running. I did finally go out and run last night. Sometimes it’s just good to give your body a rest and take some extended time off. Oh, who am I kidding sometimes it’s just good to be a lazy bum and do nothing. I loved it!

Last night as I was out running I noticed an old lady walking way up ahead of me on the trail. She was wearing a purple shirt and a purple hat and was yapping at everyone that passed within earshot of her. I could see it coming. For those of you who are not into sports the Colorado Rockies (purple) are currently playing the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. Last night was Game 1 which saw the Red Sox beat the Rockies like a red-headed step-child, but this didn’t occur until after my run.

As she heard me approaching from behind she yelled over her shoulder “what a beautiful evening!” Now I don’t mind saying “hi” to a fellow runner and I’ll even offer a “good evening” to someone who greets me, but I’m trying to run here. I’m usually far too out of breath or too tired to chit-chat, so I try to halt this burgeoning conversation with a short answer.
“Yup.” It doesn’t work.
“Beautiful night for our Rockies to win their first World Series” she says as I’m now right beside her. Now I’m a little annoyed. First of all the game was at Fenway in Boston so it really doesn’t matter that we were having beautiful weather in Colorado. Second of all it’s a best-of-seven format so neither team will be winning the World Series tonight and finally, they’re not OUR Rockies because I’m a lifelong Red Sox fan. I realize that she could have meant that it was a beautiful night to be watching the Rockies on TV and she could have meant ‘win their first World Series game,’ but like I said I was already annoyed that she was trying to strike up a conversation with me while I was running. Despite all this I restrained myself from yelling “go Sox” because I know that Boston fans have a reputation for being obnoxious, know-it-alls, who think they’re better than everyone else and I certainly don’t want to feed into that stereotype. I gave the lady a thumbs-up and hoped that she’d take my non-verbal hint that I was done with this conversation. No such luck.
“I think they’re going to win! Don’t you think they’ll win?” she asked, as I was now well ahead of her.
I turned around, jogging backwards I said to her “I just hope that Beckett pitches well tonight!” she smiled, nodded her head and gave me a clueless thumbs-up. Again for those of you who don’t follow baseball Josh Beckett was the Game 1 starting pitcher for the Red Sox.

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful. I was running without my MP3 player, I didn’t have a specific time goal in mind and it was kind of liberating. I was just running. It feels good to be back.

Editor’s Note: I promise not to turn this into a sports blog during the World Series, but this was too good a story to pass up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Guest Blogger: My Running Shoes

Every now and then I have a guest blogger write a post here at Half-Fast just so that I don’t have to write one, and so that you get to read something from someone other than me. It’s really a win-win situation. Today I’d like to introduce a new guest blogger who hasn’t posted here before. Please give a warm welcome to: My Running Shoes.

Right Shoe: Hello to all of Ian’s readers and welcome...
Left Shoe: Whoa, whoa, whoa, I don’t think he wants you using his real name. I think you’re supposed to call him Vanilla.
RS: Vanilla? Really? That’s so lame!
LS: I’m just saying.
RS: Sorry. Hello to all of Vanilla’s (*snicker*) readers. We are sorry to have to tell you that we believe that Vanilla (*snicker*) has given up on running. We haven’t seen him since that lady jabbed and poked us trying to cut the timing chip off at the end of the Denver half marathon.
LS: I thought she was quite nice.
RS: Well that’s because you NEVER carry the timing chip. Anyway if any of you readers happen to see Vanilla (*snicker*) around then please tell him that it’s been 9 days since he last ran. 9 Days! Do you know what that makes you?
LS: Don’t say it!
RS: It makes you a ‘JOGGER!
LS: Oh no you didn’t!
RS: That’s right. I said it. You’re a JOGGER! You like to think that you’re hardcore, you like to think that you’re a dedicated runner but you aint nothin’!
LS: You are going to get us replaced for a newer pair of shoes.
RS: You know what I wish? I wish that we’d fit well on that guy that came into the store and tried us on before we ever saw Vanilla (*snicker*). That guy was fast! If he’d have bought us we’d have won some races with that guy. None of this middle of the pack, taking 9 days off, slowly jogging, crap. You’re not half-fast, you’re all-slow! And you’re probably getting slower from not running! And while I’m at it, haven’t you ever heard of nail clippers? Hello? I’m sick of getting stabbed every time we go out.
LS: You’re going to get us replaced.
RS: Well maybe that’s for the best. If it means that I never get peed on again then I’ll gladly retire.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Official Race Pictures

My apologies for not posting anything yesterday. I spent the better part of my day trying to purchase World Series tickets from the Rockies website, only to discover that ticket sales had been suspended due to the sheer volume of requests. At this point the Rockies may as well just hang up a sign saying Red Sox fans and Scalpers Welcome.

The official race pictures from the Denver Marathon have been posted on brightroom. This picture to the right is me running down the final stretch. I remember being extremely happy about being close to the finish, but this picture doesn't really capture much happiness at all. I look like I'm in pain. On a positive note you won’t see any of the marathon finishers in that picture with me because I finished ahead of them. Come to think of it Haile Gebrselassie recently set the marathon world record at 2:04:26 which means that even he wouldn’t have finished ahead of me. It also means that while he can almost run a marathon in the time it takes me to do half of one he is NOT twice as fast as me. He’s maybe only 1.98 times as fast as me. Strangely enough I take a lot of pride in that.

Many of you have asked what race I’m going to sign up for and to be honest I’m really not sure. I’m leaning towards the Rudolph’s Revenge 10K. Viper pointed out a while ago that the 10K is becoming an endangered distance and I have also noticed that there seem to be very few 10Ks to run. A 5K is too short to motivate me to train hard, I just finished training for a half marathon so I don’t want to do that again just yet, and as for Ali’s suggestion that I run a marathon... I'm laughing so hard right now that I can barely type. You crack me up Ali!

Saturday, October 20, 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.

Hmmm. That’s a good point that I hadn’t thought of. Perhaps I should add this rule as an addendum to my Treadmill Manifesto.

Speaking of treadmills do you ever feel like the guy on the treadmill next to you is trying to out-do you? He is, at least according to Lance: the Blog! I know that I’m guilty of trying to run faster for longer than the guy next to me.

Are you having trouble accomplishing your goals? Just Your Average Joggler thinks that you should just quit. Ok, Ok that’s not what he said, but he did cite a recent study published in the September issue of Psychological Science that said quitters are mentally and physically healthier. Those guys over at Psychological Science are just inspirational I tell ya’. I guess they haven’t heard that no one likes a quitter.

Tazz over at Running... the pursuit of living found a humorous top 10 list from the Honolulu Marathon. Go check out the Top 10 Reasons To Run Honolulu.

I loved the way that Just One Marathon describes reading race reports: “It’s like experiencing the whole glorious event minus the pain.” I also loved that she described me as the “funniest running blogger” but I hope that she’s referring to my writing and not the race pictures that I recently posted.

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
Thanks to Ian over at A Tale Told by an Idiot for this Japanese game show Human Tetris clip.

Should the Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week become a regular part of the Weekend Splits? Let me know in the comments if you would like this feature to be continued, and then be sure to e-mail me whenever you find videos that qualify.

Have a great weekend everyone (except for you Viper - I hope that your team takes two losses and you have a miserable weekend). Go Sox!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Something’s Wrong with Me

I was sitting on my couch the day after the Denver Half Marathon yelling at the Red Sox through my TV and rewarding myself for my previous day’s effort by eating and drinking whatever I pleased. For the most part I was pretty inanimate because I had developed some new muscles just so they could ache. I guess my body got tired of punishing me with soreness in my existing muscles.

My attention wandered to my laptop during the commercial breaks, where I was busy looking up companies that would install an elevator in my home because I’ve come to the conclusion that stairs suck. (Sorry, that’s a ‘lift’ for you blokes in England, or l'ascenseur if you’re French.) I've seen the commercials a thousand times already and I was getting pretty sick of Dane Cook telling me that there was only one October. Thanks for clearing that up Dane, if you could add the Cleveland Rocks song to the end of that commercial you'll have achieved the pinnacle of annoying.

Before I even knew what had happened I found myself on the Runner’s World race finder website. Despite the pain and soreness I was already looking for the next race to run. Having a race to aim my training at makes the running that much more meaningful for me. And so it was that I found myself looking up races, ashamedly hiding the screen from my wife so that she wouldn’t see what I was doing. I need to race. It’s a sickness, and I don’t want to get help. I’ve said it before, but Monday night just confirmed it. I’m addicted.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Denver Half Marathon – The Aftermath

Note: This is essentially part 2 of my race report. If you missed part 1 which was actually about the running part of the race you can read it here.

Do I look cold? I am.

The thrill of my accomplishment was quickly stifled by the cold. Not 10 paces past the finish line I stopped while some kind volunteer cut the timing chip off my shoe. I was terrified that she was going to ask me to lift my leg up because rigor mortis had already set in. I was looking around somewhat dazedly at the crowd wondering how long it was going to take her to cut the stupid thing off when I realized she had already moved on to the next finisher.

Hey. Where’s my freakin’ medal? I crossed the finish line a good 20 seconds ago. I followed the other runners to a table where they were handing out bottled water. Not interested. Who’s handing out the medals? Finally I see a guy handing them out and I make my way over to him. Each step is painful but well worth the shiny goodness now within my grasp. He hands me the medal still in its plastic bag and my frozen, wet fingers can’t get the stupid thing open. I thought a beautiful woman was supposed to hang the medal around my neck for me upon completing the race. I’m disappointed.

After the medal ceremony handout, I followed the other medaled runners down some steps (ow ow ow ow) and found myself in line for something. I was a little confused from the cold and the pain and it didn’t even occur to me to find out what the line was for until someone came up behind me and asked “what’s this the line for?” I looked up to the front of the line and saw that it went into a tent.
“It’s the line to get in there,” I answered pointing at the tent.
“What’s in there?” he was clearly not satisfied with my original answer.
“No rain,” I said, as if it should have been obvious. At this point the guy in front of me turned and told us that they were giving out free pairs of dry socks in there. I frowned. What am I going to do with dry socks? My shoes are soaked and it’s still raining.

Next stop was the bag check to reclaim my sweatshirt and pants. Cheer Team Vanilla met up with me there and it’s a good thing too, because I was so sore that I needed help getting into my sweatpants. I grabbed another couple of goodie bags, my free beer and we began the walk back to the car. I was walking so slowly that my wife walked on ahead to start the car despite the fact that she was pushing 2 kids in a stroller.

All in all it was a good race and a really nice course past many of the Denver landmarks. The organizers did a wonderful job and if they keep pulling off world class events like this I bet they’ll even be able to get some celebrities to come run this thing.

Congratulations to Lei who was the closest to guessing what my time would be for the race. Lei if you want to e-mail me your address I will send your prize to you just as soon as I figure out what it is going to be.

Cheer Team Vanilla went up to my office to briefly get out of the rain and snapped this picture of the start.

I'm such a goofball.

This is the shirt I got... and my medal.

This is the vanilla shot that I didn't use... and my medal.

Awww, wook at da' cute widdle 8oz beer... and my medal. Yeah, this beer shot was not going to be enough to make me forget about the pain.

Did I mention I got this medal?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Slippery When Wet

Denver Half Marathon Race Report

Editors Note: This is going to be a long post, so grab a cup of coffee, sit back and relax with your feet up. Tell your secretary to hold all calls and ask your boss to come back at a better time.

I was the only runner not smart enough to wear long sleeves.

I stood with the huddled masses, shivering at the start as the rain drizzled down around us. It was 41 degrees and I was leaning close to the other runners, soaking up as much of their heat as I could. As we breathed into our hands and bounced to keep warm it struck me as ironic that only a week ago runners in Chicago were faced with overwhelming heat and not enough water. In Denver there was so much water it was falling from the sky.

I was stuck at the back of the pack on account of my bladder deciding that it was too full just minutes before we were called to the start. I can see the 9 minute pace corral way up ahead of me but I can’t get to it. It’s OK because my race strategy is to run at a slower pace for the first 4 miles and put myself 2 minutes behind the required pace for a sub 2 hour half marathon. After mile 4 I intended to pick up the pace and make up those 2 minutes over the next 9.1 miles.

The gun goes off and a minute later I’m shuffling towards the start I put my headphones in and select my Denver Half Marathon playlist. I eventually cross the start and immediately find myself leaping over discarded sweatshirts, pants, rain jackets, ponchos, trash bags with arm holes, and even a pair of underwear. I guess they were chafing someone. It only takes a mile for me to become completely soaked which is a relief. I enjoy running in the rain, it’s just the initial getting wet part that sucks. Now that I’ve got that out of the way I can focus on my race.

At 3 miles I check my watch and find that I’m already 2 minutes behind the pace for a sub 2 hour marathon so I begin to increase my tempo. At this point I’m quite happy about the slow start as I have NEVER been able to start a race slowly and then speed up, I’m apparently more of a start-quickly-and-fade guy.

Just past Mile 4 Cheer Team Vanilla is waving, yelling, taking pictures and ringing those annoying cowbells. Who got those things for them? Not only did they stand out in the rain and meet me at the finish they were also willing to carb load with me the night before. Way to take one for the team. Shortly after this point my bladder (which I’m thinking about having removed) decided that it needs to be emptied again, but it will have to wait.

Having already run through the first two water stops without taking any liquids I decide that I had better grab some at mile 5 despite my bladder’s continued pleas to be emptied. By mile 6 I’m running through city park, where I am no longer sheltered by the high rise buildings. The wind is biting through my wet clothes and I pretty sure that my nipples could cut glass at this point. I check my watch and I’m only 1 minute behind a sub 2 hour pace, which means that I’m making up time nicely. I reach out to take a Clif Shot and the girl hands me three. I glance at the flavor to see what I’ve been handed and it’s Vanilla. It may sound stupid, but cold and wet and 6 miles deep into a half marathon I felt like it was a sign. It was like the sun was bursting through the clouds and angels were singing “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” Only there was no sun, only rain. I downed one of the shot gels, put one in my pocket for later and tossed the third one back towards the girl who’d handed it to me.

By mile 7 I wasn’t paying attention to my MP3 player, I wasn’t thinking about how cold or tired I was. I was simply weighing the pros and cons of peeing my pants. The fact that running can put you in a situation that allows you to even consider this as a viable option is probably grounds for quitting. My shoes were already soaked, and if my shorts would have been wet enough to hide it I would have probably just peed myself.

I reached mile 8 and had almost dropped back to 2 minutes off the pace again. I was extremely disheartened and began to doubt my ability to finish in under 2 hours. Mile 9 had a couple of tough uphill sections and I felt sure that my pace had fallen again. The rain and cold got to me and I decided to stop and pee in Cheesman Park. Hoping to take no more than 15 seconds I found a nice bushy tree, I ducked under the branches and... Holy Shrinkage Batman! 45 seconds later I was back on the course and feeling much better.

‘Come on Vanilla’ I told myself, and yes I actually said Vanilla instead of Ian, because I was trying to remind myself that I’d have to blog about how I failed. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was carrying 7 less pounds of urine or if the 45 second break recharged me, but I was running strong. There was a hill at mile 10 but I didn’t even feel it, I was passing people like they were volcanic lava. I passed mile 11 without looking at my watch, it didn’t matter, I was just running. I grabbed a Gatorade and splashed it up my nose and down my front, it didn’t matter. I was running, I was Forrest Gump.

At mile 12 I did look at my watch: 1:50:06. All I needed was a 9 minute pace. I felt like I was on the verge of achieving my goal. I was willing myself to the finish. With less than a half mile to go I was only conscious of my legs as those weights beneath my hips. I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch at 1:59:42. Initial feelings of disbelief turned momentarily to elation and pride before giving way to uncontrollable shivering and icy pain.

Tomorrow I’ll have some more pictures and more on the post race thaw. Update: Here

Monday, October 15, 2007

Today is Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day and all around the internet blogs just like this one, except not quite as cool, are participating in this event nay, extravaganza!

Since I committed to Blog Action Day, (which per my previous post will be referred to as BAD) I’ve been trying to figure out what to write about. There are plenty of ways to relate running and the environment, but nothing was inspiring me, until I went running past the High School down the street from where we live. Normally I don’t like to complain about what teenagers are doing because that just makes you sound old and grumpy. “I just don’t understand those darn whippersnappers with their hi-tech cell phones and their new fangled walkmans, in my day… [insert long, boring and usually untrue story].” I ran past a group of kids that I can only assume were trying to keep up the ‘stoners’ stereotype. As I ran past, one of them dropped his cigarette butt on the ground and then stepped on it to extinguish it. I noticed that all along the path there were cigarette butts that had evidently suffered the same treatment.

It made me begin to wonder why we just accept that smokers do this? It’s littering plain and simple. How often have you seen a smoker throw a cigarette butt on the ground and walk away? As if it was OK to discard because it’s so small. If I started unwrapping my drinking straws and throwing the paper wrapper on the ground and then stepping on it I don’t think people would be OK with that, and rightly so. My paper drinking straw wrapper can be rolled up smaller than a cigarette butt and is more biodegradable (may or may not be true) but people wouldn’t accept this kind of behavior and I think it’s time we started calling out smokers on their littering habits. Next time you’re walking around in a public place take a few seconds to notice how many cigarette butts are lying on the ground. I think you’ll be surprised, I hope you’ll be outraged.

I propose that we invest more money in Big Tobacco and try to help them find out if there is any way that we can make cigarettes even more potent so that they kill idiots people quicker. We are talking about people who not only pollute the air but who also litter, I think most people would be OK with this solution. After all, no one’s forcing anyone to light up.

I realize that I’m probably preaching to the choir here because I doubt that any of my readers are smokers. I mean I assume that the majority of my readers are runners and tri-athletes, maybe a few cyclists and swimmers, a good number of heads of state and most of the Hollywood A-list (Hi Jessica, Bonjour Monsieur Sarkozy).

I’m sorry if you came here wanting a race report from yesterdays Denver Half Marathon. I’ll have a full report on it tomorrow and it will probably be quite long because I’m awesome. I rock. I finished in 1:59:42.

Saturday, October 13, 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.

As a runner, you’ve probably always heard that you shouldn’t wear high heels because it’s bad for your back, your knees or your ankles and while I never wear heels I have always been a big fan of them. The ladies in the following video [from My Boston Marathon 2010 via With Leather] take it to a whole new level, they are racing in heels.

Gesundheit! Also see basketball in heels.

If you haven’t already read Amy’s most recent marathon training incident over at Lawson’s Do Dallas then I encourage you to do so. Not only is her story-telling funny as always, but this particular entry is also illustrated by the author.

Jes (Self Motivation) has a unique way of applauding those who finished Chicago, while Jess (21 Days) has a link to an ebay auction where you can buy a medal in case you didn’t get to finish. Thanks Jes(s)!

Speaking of Chicago, Mark the Running Blogfather posted a great article over at Complete Running calling out the organizers and the Chicago press for their spin after the race.

This last link isn’t really running related but it really made me laugh and I found it at a runner’s blog so I’m including it here. Thanks to Taryn for the Poison Control post.

Have a great weekend everyone! I’ll be back early on Monday morning with a Blog Action Day post and I’ll have a full race report from the Denver Half Marathon sometime after.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sampling the Denver Marathon Expo

I went and picked up my race packet at the Denver Marathon Expo this afternoon. When I first walked in the doors to the hotel ballroom where it was being held I was struck by how many older folks I saw milling around. ‘Wow, this is fantastic,’ I thought. ‘I had no idea that there’d be this many old people (we’re talking 65 years old and up) running the marathon and half marathon.’ And I had no idea that AARP was sponsoring this marathon... oh... crap... I’m in the wrong ballroom aren’t I? Yup. I’m the only person in the room that doesn’t have a good first hand story about what I was doing when JFK was shot.

When I eventually found the right ballroom I grabbed my race packet and made several trips around the booths, sampling everything I could as many times as possible. Of course being a marathon expo all of the samples were things like energy drinks and energy bars and shot bloks and shot gels and why am I typing this post so fast? I feel like I am flying weeeeeeeeeeeee look at how fast I am typing this post!

The expo was pretty good, but I was beginning to think to myself ‘you know what this expo needs? -- More cowbell!’ That’s when I came across the table pictured to the right. All the cowbell that you could possibly want. I grabbed 2 cowbells and shoved them into my goodie bag, one for my 2 year old and one for my 4 year old. If that isn’t a recipe for noise then I don’t know what is.

Check back tomorrow for the Weekend Splits, but in the meantime “I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription ... is more cowbell!”

Thursday, October 11, 2007


My race preparation has been sabotaged. Who would do such a thing you might ask? An angry reader out for revenge? A fellow competitor looking to gain an edge? No, it was my wife! I got home last night and this was the scene that I walked in to:

Not just a bag of Halloween candy, but an ALREADY OPENED bag of Halloween candy. I’m days away from my half marathon, I’ve been tapering my running and I’m trying to equally taper my eating so as not to gain weight, but alas temptation has been thrust in my face.

“Just don’t eat any until after Sunday,” was my wife’s suggestion, and under normal circumstances that would be the solution. Believe it or not I do have a modicum of will power and self-restraint, but the bag contains some of the best candy ever invented: The Vanilla Tootsie Roll. If you’ve never had a Vanilla Tootsie Roll then you haven’t lived. I’m no fortune teller, but I suspect that when I finally kick the bucket and my ticket gets punched it will be the first time the coroner has ever written OD: Vanilla Tootsie Rolls in the cause of death entry blank. And while the mortician will eventually be able to wipe the gooey-Vanilla-Tootsie-Roll-drool from my face he will not be able to get rid of the goofy smile. No, I’ll still be smiling six months after I’m dead.

In fact, the reason that my blog is called Half-Fast and not just ‘Fast’ is because of Vanilla Tootsie Rolls. Well, that and because ‘Fast’ would be a pretty lame name for a blog, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Vanilla Tootsie Rolls are the reason that I will never win a race, I’m convinced of it.

I leave you with this:

Vanilla Tootsie Rolls - they make me want to dance and shake my money maker too.

Denver Marathon Waives Entry Fee for Chicago Runners

I’ve been playfully bagging on the Denver Marathon lately over their Celebrity Auction, but I think that this is a really cool thing to do. I received an e-mail from the Denver Marathon this morning with the following message:

The Denver Marathon, scheduled for October 14, 2007, announced today that it will waive marathon entry fees to runners who were registered for the Chicago Marathon but were unable to finish.

The downside for those runners is that the Denver Marathon is only 3 days away which leaves very little time to make the trip out here to Denver. The predicted high temperature for Sunday here in Denver is 56 degrees with a 40% chance of showers so I don’t think heat will be an issue, but the altitude might if you’re a flatlander.

“As a former professional athlete, I know what it takes to train for a big race and the disappointment of not being able to finish due to circumstances outside of my control,” said Denver Marathon Executive Director Anton Villatoro.

Awesome. I had another post lined up for today which I’ll post this afternoon, but I thought that this was too cool to leave unmentioned.

Source: Denver Marathon

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Vote Early Vote Often

The 2007 Weblog AwardsOne of my very best cyber-friends, Amy Lawson has been nominated for the 2007 Weblog Awards in the category of Funniest Blog. If you've never read Amy's blog then you should go do that, but not until after you've voted. Amy is very funny and as if that wasn't enough she's also a runner. A very fast one. So let's all come together as a running community and help out a fellow runner.

My initial thought when I read about the nomination on her blog was to chuckle and think of creative ways that I could call her a geek. Then I realized that the only thing geekier than pimping your own blog for the Weblog Awards is pimping your cyber-friend's blog for a Weblog Award.

Am I a geek? I guess you could argue that I am, but my devastating good looks and charming wit blow an ozone sized hole in your argument. To vote, simply go to the Weblog Awards Funniest Blog page and scroll down until you see The Lawson's do Dallas in the comments, then click the plus sign in the bottom right hand corner of the comment. You don't have to fill out any personal information and it seriously takes 5 seconds to vote. I know you've got some time to kill because otherwise you wouldn't be here. As an added benefit you can try to guilt Amy into making you a magnet as thanks for your vote.

This is great because it gives me an opportunity to use my 'helping others' tag which makes me feel charitable and not so self-centered. Tomorrow, we'll resume with your normal programming of me talking about me, and my upcoming race, and my training.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Goal To Fall Short Of

With the Denver Half Marathon less than 5 days away it's probably a good time to start thinking about setting a goal. Actually a good time for setting a goal would have been 6 months ago when I could have trained towards that specific goal, but that's just not the way we do things in the procrastination business. When it comes to getting things done, I drag my feet more than Keyser Söze.

Over the past few weeks I've had some really good runs that have left me feeling like a world beater and some pretty crappy VW Jetta runs. I've changed my mind on what I think my goal time will be every other run and the times have varied by as much as 15 minutes. There's a good chance that I'm indecisive. An indecisive, procrastinating employee who is blogging from work? They're lucky to have me, but in typical corporate fashion they keep promoting me up the ladder. Enough with the procrastinating, on to the goal.

My FIRST training plan indicates that the pace I've been running at should allow me to complete the race in 2:02:42. The annoyingly accurate McMillan Calculator indicates from my last race that I'll finish in 2:04:37. Going off of these numbers and taking a guess at what my time will be I'd say it's going to be 2:06:57. I've kind of been hoping that I could finish with a time under 2 hours but given my history in predicting my time I doubt that will happen.

Let's hear your predictions for my time in the comments. Maybe I'll even have some Half-Fast memorabilia for the person who comes the closest to my official time, like a keychain, or a bracelet - something really useless that you'll never use.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Chicago Marathon - Game Off

In case you hadn't already heard (doubtful) the Chicago Marathon was called off yesterday due to excessive heat and insufficient water. Runners who had not reached the midpoint at the time of the cancellation were re-routed and instructed to walk, at which point I'd have probably instructed someone to pucker up to my posterior. I cannot even imagine how disappointed you would be as a runner to have trained so hard for something only to have it cancelled midway. It would be easy to rant and rave against the Chicago Marathon, but I'll leave that to the people who actually ran it.

Of the runners I mentioned in the last post, Tom has posted a race report and Doug has posted his time but it will certainly be interesting to see what everyone has to say. I hope that all are well and look forward to hearing their thoughts on Sunday’s race.

Once again, major props to those who ran:

Saturday, October 6, 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 credit to The Booze Hounds Inc. Running Team, which quite frankly sounds like a running team that I could get on board with.

Tomorrow (Sunday) the windy city hosts the Chicago Marathon. Best of luck to all of the runners but most especially to the one's listed below:
  • Ali (Run #99 in a row!)
  • Jess
  • Tom
  • Perry (Just Your Average Joggler) - who will be joggling the whole way.
  • Doug

As for me, I'll be doing a little relaxing this weekend watching the MLB playoffs (let's go Red Sox!) and plenty of football through the bottom of my beer bottle. It's a little harder to see the TV, but the losses don't hurt quite so bad. If you're also going to be doing some relaxing then head on over to the newly opened Runners Lounge and hang out with me and all the rest of the cool kids over there.

I discovered a great new blog this week which is just going to cut back my productivity at the office even more. Lance: the Blog! I recommend you begin by reading his 10 Things You Should Never Say To Your Trainer, and then check out some of the other posts too.

In honor of those saps dedicated individuals running the Chicago Marathon tomorrow the terrifyingly named A Case of the Runs has one of those 'you know you're a marathoner if...' lists.

Amanda at Run to Finish tells the tale of having to run without socks this past week. I cannot run without socks, mostly because it doesn't take much of an excuse for me to cancel or postpone a run and not having socks would certainly qualify as a good enough excuse.

Nora over at Cruchy 'Nanas had a bizarre experience at the Paris-Versailles 10 miler. You should go and read it because I've never heard of congestion at the finish line happening at a race before. Wait... I didn't think the French liked running?

That's all I got today. Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Running In Place

Do you run in place when you come to a street that you have to cross? I'm in two minds about this. One of the routes I like to run has a major intersection that I have to cross, and it can often take 30-40 seconds before I get a walk signal. Standing around doing nothing for that long gets me out of my rhythm and it allows the lactic acid to start building up in your muscles. (Editor's Note: I have no idea if that lactic acid thing is true or not, I just know that it is much harder for me to run if I stop for a prolonged period of time. If you were looking for actual facts and scientifically backed up articles then you're at the wrong blog. I suggest you start with these guys - Science of Sport.)

On the other hand when I do run in place I feel like everyone in their cars is just rolling their eyes at me. 'Would you look at this guy? Hey buddy! We get it, you're healthy! You don't even stop running when you have to stop running!' I don't want to be that guy. You all know that guy he's the one that sees you eating something and tells you without solicitation that he never eats that because it's not good for your health. That guy is the person in your office who not only takes the stairs every time, but tells you that he takes the stairs every time because elevators are not good for your health. Yeah, well you know what else is not good for your health? A flurry of punches from my fists of steel and justice, so you'd better quit annoying me.

Lance Breger has a hilarious post about what to do instead of running in place at the intersection, but I don't recommend that you read it if you're dedicated to running in place. I just read it and I can tell you with certainty that I will NEVER AGAIN run in place at an intersection. Thanks for breaking me of the habit Lance. Those are some pretty good alternatives, but next time I come to an intersection I think I'll do the Chicken Noodle Soup.

Your thoughts in the comments, and also, do you stop your watch while stopped at the intersection? It only seems fair that you would.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

You Write Like A Girl!

The ultimate insult is very difficult to achieve, but when done correctly it can be quite effective in making the target feel like a quivering mass of useless flesh. A putdown of that nature can be witnessed in the following video clip taken from The Sandlot.

"You play ball like a GIRL!" - Ouch!

Half-Fast was recently listed as one of the Top 100 Health and Wellness Blogs by the Nursing Online Education Database (NOEDb). At first I was pretty happy about this news but then I went and actually read the review (emphasis mine):

"Vanilla" writes an entertaining blog about her running skills, where she claims that she's neither fast nor slow but always in the middle of the pack. Great advice on treadmill use and other sage tips.
Ughhh!! Shoot me! Shoot me now! 'Her' running skills? Yeah, I've got your great advice and sage tips RIGHT HERE! *grabs crotch in overtly masculine fashion*

This means one of a few of things: 1) Whoever compiled that list really hasn't spent a lot of time here at Half-Fast, I mean you don't have to scroll very far to see a post titled My Balls Ache. 2) I should never have written about my running skirt experience. 3) I write like a girl! I'm going to say it's probably the first one because that's easier on my ego. I actually suspect that the list was put together to get 100 health and wellness bloggers to link back to the NOEDb site while excitedly screaming to their readers "Look! I got linked in a Top 100 list! It's right here! Go see it!" And it is working to perfection, we running bloggers are like a pack of lemmings. On the other hand what do I care? Any publicity is good publicity right? Even if it isn't anatomically correct.

I guess that's the price I pay for trying to be anonymous. So if you're here for the first time from the NOEDb Top 100 link, welcome to Half-Fast, make yourself at home. My name's Ian and I'm a guy. I'm sorry if that disappoints you. Feel free to poke around my blog, my e-mail is up top in case you want to contact me, there are some links to some of my favorite posts on the right and please leave the seat up if you use the bathroom while you're here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Running Companion

I run alone. I'm like a lone wolf that way, a free spirit or the tiger who hunts in solitary. I do however have a running companion. It's the best friend a runner could ever have. It's 3.5 oz of sleek black plastic. It's my Sony Ericsson W810i cell phone.

I Love You Sony Ericsson W810i

Oh, but it's so much more than just a phone. It's a music player, it's a flashlight, it's a radio, it's a camera, it's a stopwatch, it's an internet browser, it's a crime deterrent, it's too good to be true is what it is! Allow me to show you why I need all of these incredible features, and the benefits they provide.

Feature #1 - Phone
The ability to make phone calls during a run is a blessing, not because I DO make phone calls, but because I know I COULD make phone calls. Should I try to run around this lake before I head back home? Yes, because I can always call someone to come pick me up if it turns out to be too far. Should I stop running because I feel a twinge in my knee? No, because if it snaps I can call 911 to come get me. Benefit: Having a phone makes me run further and train harder. I assure you that my logic in this matter is quite infallible.

Feature #2 - Light
The phone has a very bright light, and if you've been paying attention you know that I am often out running in the wee hours of the morning when it is still dark. I often turn on the light to scare off potential muggers and to see the path that I am running on. I am less likely to step in a pothole if I illuminate my way with the light. This in turn makes it less likely that I will be hobbled by a sprained ankle, making me an even more attractive prey to the muggers than before. You don't want to be the wounded baby rabbit when the lone wolf comes along because, where do you think you're going? Benefit: Having my light decreases my chance of injury and ambush.

Feature #3 - Camera
The phone has a 2 mega pixel camera. This is essential for me because I am a dedicated running blogger and there may be something that I need to photograph so that I can blog about it, or maybe there is just something I have never seen before. For example, during my first ever morning run I saw the sun rising in the east. I know, I couldn't believe it either! Benefit: Having my camera makes me a better running blogger, and a better human being.

Feature #4 - MP3 Player
The phone holds up to 2 MB (upgraded) of songs. Not just any songs, songs that make me faster. Songs like ‘Til I Collapse by Eminem and Fergalicious by Fergie. Hey, don't judge me. Benefit: Having my MP3 player makes me run faster.

Feature #5 - FM Radio
If I ever get sick of listening to my stolen legally downloaded and paid for MP3s, then I can annoy myself by listening to the afternoon show DJs or the always asinine 'Morning Zoo'. Nothing makes me want to end my run faster (or jump into oncoming traffic) than suffering through the ramblings of these idiots. Benefit: Having a radio will annoy me into being faster.

Feature #6 - Stopwatch
The phone boasts a stopwatch that will track and remember up to 9 laps. Benefit: If you need me to explain the benefit of this feature to you then you should turn in your runner's membership card right now, and go become a morning DJ... or a door-stop... or a boat anchor. Your potential is limitless.

Feature #7 - Internet Access
The phone allows me to check my e-mail, view sports scores, and pull up directions on Google maps. 'But you can't do those things while you're running?' Maybe YOU can't do those things while you're running you sausage-fingered-chucklehead, I do them all the time. Seriously. How else am I going to pass the miles during my long runs? Benefit: Having internet access stops me from getting bored.

Feature #8 - Crime Deterrent

Personal Running Log - September 2007

Not as much mileage as I would have liked for September, but that’s primarily due to the laziness in the week of 9/3. That was the week that I actually allowed myself to be content with a one mile run.

9/29/2007Misc RouteLong10 Mi1:37:249:45
9/27/2007Misc RouteTempo4.5 Mi43:359:42
9/24/2007Home TreadmillInterval7 Mi1:04:009:09
9/22/2007Misc RouteLong12 Mi2:00:4510:04
9/20/2007Misc RouteTempo8 Mi1:15:319:27
9/17/2007Home TreadmillInterval4 Mi36:479:12
9/15/200710 Mile LoopTempo10 Mi1:30:459:05
9/14/2007Misc RouteLong7.75 Mi1:17:019:57
9/10/2007Home TreadmillInterval5.5 Mi50:179:09
9/8/2007Misc RouteEasy1 Mi9:009:00
9/5/2007Misc RouteRace5 km27:108:45
9/2/2007Misc RouteLong12 Mi2:07:2510:38
Distance: 84.9 miles
Total Time: 13:39:40

Monday, October 1, 2007

More Celebrity Goodness from the Denver Marathon

A little over a month ago I managed to offend super-sensitive commenter Daniel when I called out the folks at the Denver Marathon over their somewhat exaggerated use of the word "celebrity." I sure hope that Daniel is not still reading this blog because I just received an e-mail from the Denver Marathon with the remainder of the "celebrities" who will be running.

In case you missed my first post on this subject, or missed Daniel's comment you can find them here.

The complete list of "celebrities" (new to the list "celebrities" are bolded):
  • Rowdy Gaines - gold medal-winning Olympic swimmer.
  • Bill Romanowski - former Denver Broncos player.
  • Alex Smith - cast member of MTV's Real World Denver.
  • Scott Elrod - cast member on ABC's "Men in Trees."
  • Jake Schroeder - lead singer of Opie Gone Bad.
  • Marni Rachich - "Peekaboo Screech" on the Denver Roller Dolls.
  • Vic Lombardi - CBS4 sportscaster.
  • Maggie Ireland - Miss Colorado 2007.
  • Chris Anthony - extreme skier and star of 17 Warren Miller films.
  • Ami Cusack - cast member of CBS' "Survivor 9 Vanuatu".
  • Whitney Gustafson - Broncos Cheerleader.
  • Stephen Keel - a Colorado Rapids defender player. (Their phrasing, not mine.)
  • Dave McGillivray - Race Director of the Denver and Boston Marathon.

To be honest I don't really have anything further to say and probably would have just let this slide by unnoticed if Daniel hadn't commented on the last post, but now I feel like I have to defend the position that I took. I'm guessing that Daniel is actually someone who is involved with the Denver Marathon, because I really can't fathom someone on the list being upset about a blog with a daily readership of under 200. I also find it hard to believe that this actually reached one of the people on the list. Daniel is probably the talent coordinator for the Denver Marathon and was Googling "Denver Marathon celebrities" to see what people were saying about the wonderful job he did of bringing in A list celebrities to run this thing when he came across Half-Fast. It's really too bad because I found Daniel's comment amusing, he seems like a funny guy. I'm quite sure that we'd have been best of friends if we'd have met under different circumstances.

As I stated previously I have no beef with any of the people who are volunteering to run for the benefit of a charity. I was merely pointing out that there are very few of them that I would consider to be celebrities, but hey, what do I know? I'm just some dick with a blog.