Friday, November 30, 2007

3 Races in 3 Weeks

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Niketown: A Model of Efficiency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

8 Miles on the Treadmill is Fun

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 26, 2007

How to Ice Bath

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speedo’s are prohibited, swimming trunks are optional.

Best ice bath ever? Best ice bath ever.

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

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

Friday, November 23, 2007

Weekend Splits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dr. Scholl is an Outrageous Liar

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Weekend Splits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend all!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Winter Gear

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

8 on the 8th

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

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Go Run

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 12, 2007

Site News

Check it out. Half-Fast now comes with tabs. They’re sugar free and they taste better than any diet cola because I care about my readers. I’ve felt for some time now that the side bar on the right was getting a little cluttered so some of those things have been moved into the tabs that you now hopefully see below the banner image. I like the new look and I hope that you do too. If you have any technical problems with the site please let me know, if you have any problems with the content of the site you can stick it in your ear.

Also, consider this post fair warning that Half-Fast will be selling out sometime in the near future. I’ve always wondered what would possess people to have those Google Ads plastered all over their blogs, but did you guys know that they pay you to put those Ads on your site? Crazy huh? I looked into putting Google Ads on Half-Fast a few months ago but I was only going to make 3¢ /month and quite frankly it was insulting, I felt that my time and effort was worth more than 3¢/month. However, Christmas is coming up and if I’m really honest my time and effort might not be worth more than 3¢/month.

And now, in honor of my new tabs I leave you with a 1960s Tab commercial that oozes awesome, and chauvinistic overtones.

Ladies, are you a mindsticker?

Saturday, November 10, 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.

I’m going to begin the Weekend Splits today on a serious note (a little ironic after the way I started out my previous post, I know). Bolder in Boulder is a great Triathlete blog. This past week he shared the story of losing his wife to breast cancer and announced a call to action for all bloggers. I can't say what he says any better than he did so I’ll just provide a link to the story.

Another Triathlete blog, Crash FistFight has a side-splitting-kick-you-in-the-crotch-spit-on-your-neck-hilarious entry that takes you on a magical journey down the virtual fashion catwalk of a 1977 JC Penny catalog. I had to close my office door when I read it because I was laughing so hard. I’ve since seen this posted various other places, but I first saw it at Crash FistFight so he get’s the nod here. UPDATE: The post has seemingly been taken down. You can find it at 15 minute lunch (original author, I believe).

Crabby McSlacker wins the award for goodest news of the week with what I will simply refer to as the Beer Post. The Beer Post over at Cranky Fitness, talks about a study that was done by some science-y people at some scientific institution or something, the details of which are not important. What is important is that these “experts” determined that drinking beer after a workout may actually help you rehydrate better than only drinking water. Predictably, Viper at The Booze Hounds Inc. Running Team was all over this idea this idea like ‘loud’ on a drunk, giving it his full support and endorsement. Now all we need is for someone to tell us that bacon is the best post race recovery food. Woo Hoo! Bacon and Beer after your run! Link to actual study.

Mary over at Sheesh lists 2 things she likes about running. Number 1: Stopping. I couldn’t agree more. Being done with your run is a great feeling, also from now on, stopping running = starting drinking beer. So, it’s got that going for it too. The number 2 thing... I’m not going to give away the whole post. Head on over there and read it for yourself. Also, check out the 2 things she hates about running. (Mary, you only have two?!?)

With Leather breaks the news that recent NYC Marathon winner Martin Lel was aided in his victory by his trainer’s adherence to carb loading and celibacy. Apparently Lel’s trainer had him eating pasta for lunch and dinner 4 days prior to the race and kept his girlfriend away from him for a fortnight. Lel’s trainer must subscribe to the theory of “no boom boom before big race.” Me on the other hand, I don’t just load up on carbs the night before a race, I... wait... you probably don’t need to hear that...

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
A pair of 8 year old twins were sick of being bullied and being given wedgies, their solution: Wedgie Proof Underwear. Fortunately for you dear reader, FOX News reported this hard-hitting exposé of bullying and the technology used to fight back, so there is video evidence to view.

This is nothing new, I own several pairs of tear-away underwear not because I’m afraid of bullies but because that’s how we sexy people get out of our underwear. BAM!! I just ripped off my underwear! Does that blow your mind? Incidentally I believe that this is the only time that it is OK to ask an 8 year-old boy “is your underwear around your knees?” without having charges filed against you. Sicko!
Thanks to Geekologie for the video.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A "Serious" Review of the Garmin Forerunner

Among the comments from yesterday’s post were several that I am resisting the urge to focus on. However there was one comment that caught my attention. Amanda, who eats hills for breakfast, asked “but seriously I want to know what you think of [the Garmin]?” Amanda, I am offended by your use of the word seriously. We do not do ANYTHING seriously here at Half-Fast, you should know better. What I can offer you are my real opinions of the Garmin couched in juvenile humor and sarcasm. It’s what I do best.

Last night I strapped on my Garmin Forerunner 205 and headed out for a 5 mile run. What I liked the most about the Garmin is that it let’s other runners know that I’m a serious runner. When I passed people on the trail our eyes would lock for a fleeting second and I could tell that they were thinking “not only is that the prettiest man I’ve ever seen, but he is also clearly a serious runner.” I like the Garmin because it is a status symbol, just like the Starbucks coffee that I take into the office everyday. My Starbucks let’s everyone know that I’m too good for the break room coffee and I’m wealthy enough to do something about it, i.e. pay $5.48 for a grande, non-fat, no-whip, half-caf, extra hot, vanilla latte.

Some of the other features that I liked:
  • Auto Pause. Whenever I stopped at a crosswalk the Garmin automatically stopped the timer. It took about 3 - 4 seconds to pause and only 1 - 2 seconds to restart so technically it was stealing a few seconds from me at every stop, but it’s a cool feature nonetheless.
  • Auto Lap. I set the Garmin to begin a new lap every mile allowing me to analyze my mile splits at the end of the workout.
  • Distance Alerts. It can be set to beep at you every mile (or whatever distance you select).
  • Digital Training Partner. I didn’t use this feature but I will, and I’m pretty sure I’ll love it, unless my digital training partner keeps beating me.
  • Accuracy. I ran a route that I’ve mapped out many times on various pedometers as well as on Gmaps Pedometer and the Garmin appears to be very accurate.
  • Pace. I’ve read complaints elsewhere about the pace being erratic, but it seemed to be pretty much dead on right from the start. Of course I’m in Colorado so I’m a mile closer to the satellites than all of you flatlanders.

Some of the things I disliked:

  • I disliked that it made me do stupid things, like running with my wrist near the ground and then leaping into the air and throwing my hand up high just to see if I could get it to register a 9 foot spike in elevation. (Didn’t work by the way.)
  • I disliked that it does not have a backlight to illuminate the display which led to me only looking at the Garmin when I ran under a street light. Of course when I got home I discovered that the Garmin DOES have a backlight which is very easy to use, I’m an idiot.
    All in all, there was nothing that I disliked.

I love my new Garmin and I’ve only run with it once. Maybe I’ll post a more complete review after I get more familiar with it, but until then I need everyone’s help with something. My digital training partner needs a name. He needs an identity so that I can motivate myself to beat him and talk trash to him as I run. My wife suggested I call him Chocolate, since I’m Vanilla and that would be opposite. You can’t see it but I’m rolling my eyes and groaning as I type this. My idea (Chump) wasn’t any better. Please tell me that you are all more creative than we are. Your suggestions in the comments.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My New Garmin Forerunner

I’ve never been so excited to try out a new toy in my entire life. I took my Garmin Forerunner 205 out of the box and read the entire manual on Tuesday night and on Wednesday night I was ready to go put it to the test.

The first thing I noticed was how freakin’ huge it was. Look how big it is on my manly wrist? (picture right) I would put it around my ankle but then I’d just look like someone under house arrest or Lindsay Lohan when she had that ankle monitor, and if I looked like Lohan I’d have to spend even more time in front of the mirror, naked.

So I strapped it on and started my run. I decided beforehand that I wasn’t going to keep looking at because a) that’s how faceplants are born and b) I didn’t want to be distracted from my run. After a few minutes though, my curiosity got the best of me and I looked at it to see how it was doing. Nothing. I was disappointed to find it staring blankly back at me. The timer was running but there was no distance displayed, no pace, nothing. I kept running until I had gone a mile, hoping that it would start to pick something up. No luck. It was not registering that I had gone any distance at all.

At that point I was so disappointed and mad that I just got off the treadmill and put it back in the box!

I’ll give it one more chance tomorrow when I run outside and if it still doesn’t work I’ll be shipping it back with a strongly worded letter!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Katie Holmes is Running

Katie must’ve dropped something. Too bad it wasn’t that freakshow husband of hers.

You've probably already heard that Katie Holmes ran the NYC Marathon this past weekend and you’ve probably already seen the pictures. You’re probably thinking that I’m awfully late to the table with this entry but quite frankly Half-Fast has never claimed to be quick on the uptake, nor has it ever been considered a source for breaking news. Yes, all the best jokes have already been written by others and there’s very little left for me to say. Why then would I go ahead and post this blog entry? Because it gave me an excuse to Google pictures of Katie Holmes, and because if I don’t mention it on Half-Fast then it never really happened.

As much as I applaud Katie Holmes for running the NYC marathon I’d prefer that she stick to what she does best: Cavorting around in my dreams sans underwear while we play in the warm surf of the Caribbean waters, giggling as our toes sink into the sand. Later we’ll go back to the cabana and I’ll quote French poetry to her as she gazes at me in wonderment, all the while wanting to... uhmm... what? Sorry about that. I was just getting caught up in the moment.

Hey look! It’s just like my dreams! She’s not wearing a bra! At least that’s what someone told me. I didn’t actually notice that she wasn’t wearing a bra, in fact, I’m not even sure how one would be able to tell if that was the case or not.

Ahh yes. Nothing says “loving husband” like dreaming of another woman on your wife’s birthday. Happy Birthday babe! I love you!

Many thanks to reader and fellow celeb stalker, Marcy for the tip on this story.

Katie finished the NYC Marathon in 5:29:58 which equates to a pace of 12:36 per mile. I mention this only to add some legitimacy to this post. Now, back to that dream that I was having. Where were we? Oh yes... gazes at me in wonderment, all the while wanting to...

Monday, November 5, 2007

An Extra Hour You Say?

I hope that everyone took advantage of the time change over the weekend, and I don’t mean by just getting an extra hour of sleep. What better way is there for a runner to enjoy that extra hour other than to be running. Better yet, to be PR-ing. Think about the possibilities here, time doesn’t just stand still, it rewinds.

Like most of the great ideas that I have this one came to me too late to matter, but let me outline the plan for next year. I will head out for my run at 1:50 am without using a watch to time myself but rather I will simply note the time on my cell phone (because it updates to the time change automatically). Assuming that I haven’t gotten any faster I will complete a 13.1 mile run in roughly 2 hours. However, when I finish and look at my cell phone to determine how long it took me I will see that the current time is 2:50 am and my awesome powers of deduction will reveal that I have just run a half marathon in 1 hour! That’s a new PR by almost a full hour! Hooray for me!

Join me next year as I attempt to PR during the time change. When you get into the office on Monday and everyone’s talking about how they liked that extra hour of sleep or how they hate that it gets dark so early, you can be the one who actually has something interesting to share.

If there isn’t already some kind of organized race that takes advantage of the time change then there should be. They could call it the ‘Sprint Forward at Fall Back’ or the ‘Half-Fast Half Marathon’ since it was my idea. I could totally BQ if they were taking an hour off my time.

Sunday, November 4, 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.

Finally we have an answer to the question that has plagued the minds of scientists and intellectuals for decades. If the world’s fastest speed walker is in mortal danger he runs! And you thought that there was nothing good on Japanese television.

Kelly from Fitness Fixation is here to pump you up with her article on Weight Lifting for Women which is actually posted over at Straight to the Bar. I like Fitness Fixation a lot. I go there for my daily dose of badassery and fitness advice laced with swearing (swearing and fitness go hand in hand). If you only read one fitness blog a day... well... then you should just keep reading Half-Fast, but if you read more than that, Fitness Fixation ought to be one of them.

The Running Laminator posted the Top 10 Things that he won’t miss about marathon training. I love top 10 lists, but I’m not going to lie to you. I still haven’t figured out why he named himself The Running Laminator? I know, I know, it’s ironic that a guy who called himself Vanilla is posing that question.

P.O.M. posted a hilarious Ode to her muffin top. To be quite honest I didn’t even know what a muffin top was until I read her post. I do know that the Atlanta Bread Company has the best Muffin Tops in the entire country. That Mocha Chocolate Chip is simply to die for, and you don’t even have to worry about whether or not to eat the bottom part of the muffin because you only bought the top! How do they make just the tops? Do they throw away the bottoms? Boy I sure hope not.

Finally, I’d like to point out that voting for the 2007 Weblog Awards is currently taking place. Half-Fast officially supports The Lawsons do Dallas! under the category of Funniest Blog and Kissing Suzy Kolber (R Rated for Language) under the category of Best Sports Blog. Please take 30 seconds and go vote, if you need more encouragement go read Amy’s plea for help which includes... you guessed it... a Top 10 list! Yay!

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
I’ve said before that radio DJs are morons, but the evidence that is mounting against them is piling up faster than beer bottles in the back of Kiefer Sutherland’s car. The screams in the video below are even funnier in slow motion.

That’s not a divot that you can replace, genius. The good news is that he probably just took himself out of the gene pool so we won’t have to suffer through any of this idiot’s children. Have a great weekend everyone!

Video credit to With Leather for both videos.

Personal Running Log - October 2007

Between tapering for the Denver Half Marathon and then just generally being lazy after it, my mileage for October is pathetically low.

10/29/20074 Miles Out & BackEasy4 Mi36:529:13
10/24/20074 Miles Out & BackEasy4 Mi37:129:18
10/14/2007Denver Half MarathonRace13.1 Mi1:59:429:09
10/11/20074 Miles Out & BackTempo4 Mi34:368:39
10/8/2007TrackInterval5.5 Mi48:218:48
10/6/20076 Mile Loop Long HillLong6 Mi54:299:05
10/4/20075 Miles Out & BackTempo5 Mi44:478:58
10/1/2007TrackInterval5.75 Mi51:188:56
Distance: 47.4 miles
Total Time: 7:07:17

Saturday, November 3, 2007

About Half-Fast

Half-Fast is a blog dedicated to finding the funnier side of running. Here you will find a collection of stories, poems, ideas, news and advice about running. OK, so there have only been two poems but that’s because I’m not a poet and I try to keep that stuff to a minimum and the advice? Well the advice sucks and should be blatantly disregarded as I am in no way qualified to give advice. If you came here looking to be inspired you’re in the wrong place, my friend.

If you come across any news stories, videos or anything else that you think would make a good post here at Half-Fast then be sure to send it my way.

If you have found yourself offended by something you’ve read here at Half-Fast then I recommend you head straight down to Wal-Mart and buy yourself a sense of humor, and a more relaxed fitting pair of underwear. Nothing that you read here should be taken seriously. Ever.

Half-Fast is written by a sculpturesque runner who at one time used to be known as Vanilla in the online community and who is now talking about himself in the 3rd person. My real name is Ian but you can call me O Captain my Captain if you’re feeling daring. As for why I used to use the name Vanilla? Much like that Ice Ice Baby cassingle I bought, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

In addition to writing here at Half-Fast, I write sporadically over at Daddy’s Little Tax Credits, which is a blog about my lack of parenting acumen. I also write even more sporadically for the Complete Running Network, you can see my articles for CRN by following that link you just glossed over.

I am happily married to my High School Sweetheart and we have 2 young boys, ages 4 & 6 that are free to a good home.

View my complete profile here.

Best of Half-Fast

On the one hand it seems a little arrogant to have a ‘Best of Half-Fast’ section listing my favorite posts. It’s as if I’m saying “Hey, read these posts, they’re really, really good,” and that is something that I’d never actually say. On the other hand these posts are really, really good and if you’re new to Half-Fast then I want you to be able to find them quickly and easily because let’s face it, there’s a pretty good chance that I phoned in the post that’s currently at the top of the home page. I do that a lot. However, I actually put some time and thought into these posts and I hope that you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Races & Times

Below you will find my upcoming races and a list of races that I have already run with links to the race reports for each of them. I usually put a lot more time and thought into my race reports so they are often quite long. Consider yourself warned.

Upcoming Races

There always upcoming races.

Past Races

September 2009*This is when I stopped updating this page*
August 2009Granby Gut Buster 5K24:53Race Report
May 2009Bolder Boulder 10K53:50Race Report
January 2009P.F. Chang's Arizona Rock 'N' Roll Marathon4:31:06Race Report
December 2008ColderBolder 5K25:26Race Report
October 2008Denver Gorilla Run (3.75mi)36:22Race Report
October 2008Denver Half Marathon2:17:14Race Report
September 2008Skirt Chaser 5K24:28Race Report
August 2008Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half1:56:45Race Report
May 2008Bolder Boulder 10K52:07Race Report
December 20078 on the 8th1:13:11Race Report
December 2007Colder Bolder 5K25:56Race Report
October 2007Denver Half Marathon1:59:42Race Report
September 2007Chamber Challenge 5K27:10Race Report
May 2007Bolder Boulder 10K56:00Race Report
May 2006Bolder Boulder 10K58:53
May 2005Bolder Boulder 10K1:06:33

Personal Records (PRs)

5K24:28 (7:52 pace)Skirt Chaser 5K
10K52:07 (8:24 pace)Bolder Boulder 10K
13.1 1:56:45 (8:55 pace)Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon
26.2 4:31:06 (10:21 pace)PF Chang's Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon


So you want to get in touch with me? It’s easy! Just send an e-mail to Be sure to include your name and address so that I can bill you for wasting my valuable time, or if you prefer you can include a credit card number.

I am of course kidding (unless you were prepared to send me money in which case I’m not), I would love to hear from any and all of my readers. Chances are I am sitting in my office bored, so reading your e-mails will give me something to do.

Please note that all e-mail is subject to republication, and hate-mail is subject to public mocking so be sure to run the spell checker before you hit send.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A New Toy, Almost

After work on Tuesday night I went out with my family to purchase a Garmin Forerunner because quite frankly, I deserve one. I have been contemplating buying one for some time now and I received a gift card to Road Runner Sports for my birthday so I planned on using that to pay for the new toy.

There are very few things in this universe that I don’t understand, but among them are the following: Why Monday Night Football hates my eardrums (see commentators Tony Kornheiser, Joe Theismann, Dennis Miller, etc.) Why people are paying upwards of $2,000 for tickets to see Hannah Montana. Why anyone feels that it’s OK to converse with me while we stand exposed at the urinals. And finally, why my kids lose all perspective of what constitutes socially acceptable behavior the instant we enter any sporting goods store. It figures that the one store that I don’t mind going shopping in is the one store where my kids become devil-children, or los niños del Diablo for those of you south of the border.

Tuesday night was no different. The over-eager sales associate came over to offer us assistance and while I was explaining what I was looking for, my oldest son was tugging on my hand demanding I remove his coat. The sales associate, whose name was Tom, glanced nervously at my kids and then back at me as if to say ‘I really don’t like kids very much.’ I hate it when people act like this when I’m with my kids. ‘Hey Tom, guess what? I don’t like them very much either but at least I possess the decorum to not show it in front of them!’

Tom quickly shows me to the Garmins and then leaves just as quickly. In what would turn out to be a horrendous mistake I remove the 4-year-old’s jacket which leads to me also removing the 2-year-old’s jacket, and I turn my attention to the Garmins. Not thirty seconds later a fight breaks out in women’s apparel in which jackets are being used like nunchucks. My wife and I separate the pair and she ties their jackets around their waists after declining my more radical idea of tying them around their necks.

I go back to looking at Garmins, debating if I want the one with the heart rate monitor or the cheaper one without the heart rate monitor. Cheaper wins out and I try it on to see how it feels. Somewhere on the other side of the store a jacket takes flight. I'm guessing by the size of it that it wasn't the sales associate’s jacket and I can tell from the trajectory that it was launched from somewhere around 2 feet above ground level.

My wife and I decide to divide and conquer. I take the youngest boy to one side of the store and she takes the oldest to the other side. This is a great strategy if you can put up with the downside: Going out with your wife and not ever seeing her because you’re afraid of the consequences of uniting the Gatekeeper and the Keymaster. This is also why I won’t be having any more children. We currently have two, which means that we can still play man to man defense against them. When the third child arrives you have to switch to zone defense and it’s just not as effective.

Having settled things down, and after re-hanging countless shirts, shorts and socks back on the rack I headed to the cash register with my new Garmin. Well worth the hassle we’d endured. Unfortunately the gift card didn’t work, and Tom would have to... blah, blah, blah, -long list of excuses that don’t make any sense to me-... and long story short, I’ll have to order it online. This means that our pilgrimage to the running store was completely futile other than to raise my blood pressure a few degrees and cause me to sound like my father. “Don’t touch that!” “Put that back!” “Stop playing with that!” “No yelling!” “No running!”