Friday, August 31, 2007

Soccer > Running

Crunchy 'Nanas blogger and occasional Half-Fast commenter Nora recently had an article published on Complete Running about how soccer burns more fat and increases muscle mass more than running. This is of particular interest to me as I play soccer on a regular basis, and what better picture to use with this post than that of the most recognizable soccer player on the face of the planet.

For those of you who don't know who that is (hard to imagine) it's soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria (Posh Spice). Marcy has mentioned in the past that I need more pictures of cute guys on this blog and while I may disagree with her I suspect that my female readers would probably share her opinion. Hopefully this is something for everyone, and if Becks doesn't do it for you ladies, then I don't know who to post pictures of because come on... he almost does it for me.

Apparently a team of researchers at the University of Copenhagen conducted an experiment that featured 3 groups of men; a group that played soccer for 3 months, a group that ran, and a passive control group. As stated above, the group that played soccer burned more fat, and increased muscle mass more than either of the other groups. More details here. Incidentally if you ever have the opportunity to get paid to be in a scientific exercise experiment try to be part of the passive control group, because that's as close as you'll ever get to free money. Well, that and when the blind man next door asks me if I've got change for a $20, but there's less guilt involved in being part of the passive control group. Sorry, I'd love to walk with you and take the stairs but I'm under strict orders not to exercise, so I guess I'll wait for the elevator.

Speaking of less guilt, I've been counting my weekly soccer matches as "cross training" on my half marathon training schedule, but until this point I've felt like that was kind of cheating. I don't feel so guilty about that now. I guess sometimes it's just helpful to have someone else reaffirm things for you. Whenever I feel guilty about something I've learned that the first step to recovery is being able to forgive myself, and after that I tell myself "go ahead and do whatever you want, it's OK with me."

Oh, and by the way, DO NOT Google David Beckham without the safe search feature on. Or do, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Above picture found at With Leather, originally from the 'W' magazine photo shoot. Additional racier pictures from the shoot can be found here (although unfortunately there’s still no nudity).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oops!... I Did It Again

Remember when Britney Spears used to be normal? Me neither.

What did I do again? I got up this morning at the butt crack of dawn and went for a 10 mile run. In case you're wondering what time the "butt crack of dawn" is, it's much earlier than the crack of dawn. For me it was 4:30 am. No, that's not a typo, I got up at 4:30 this morning and went running. I'm going to make an appointment to have a CAT scan in the near future because I think that something must be wrong with me in the head.

I had to change my route a little because when I came to the trail that I like to run on I discovered that it is not very well lit. I could barely even see the path let alone all the murderers and weirdos that I knew to be hiding behind every single bush, and tree. So I ended up sticking to the sidewalks with streetlamps until the sun finally got its lazy ass up at 5:30. I'm not used to being up before the sun and I know it's not used to seeing me first thing in the morning. I think it was confused at the sight of me, as it spent the rest of the morning hiding behind clouds, occasionally peeking between them to see if it could figure out who that crazy runner was. No way it could be Vanilla? Yes way!

In conclusion I don't much like getting up that early and I don't like running in the dark by myself, perhaps I'll take my dog with me sometime, but he can't handle 6 miles, much less 10. I DO however like not having to spend an hour and a half running in the evenings when I get home from work so I've got that going for me.

And yes, I am embarrassed by that post title. But no, I'm not sorry if that miserable song is now stuck in your head.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Guess Who's Running a 5K

I said in a previous post that I had never run a 5K and that I wasn't planning on running one prior to the Denver Half Marathon, but that has all changed. I will be running the Chamber Challenge 5K on Wednesday, September 5th just one week from tomorrow. Let me tell you how I came about this decision to shirk my original plans and run a 5K. My office phone rang, I picked it up and my wife said "hey, I signed you up for a 5K because I wanted someone to run with." Ta Da. Easiest decision I've ever made.

I have no idea what my pace should be or how hard I'll try to run this thing but the good news is that it will be a PR because I've never run a 5K before. Your first attempt at a race distance is always a PR right? Plugging my Bolder Boulder time of 56:00 into the McMillan Running Calculator that I have linked on the right, I come up with a suggested pace of 8:41 and a time of 26:57. Since the Bolder Boulder my shortest training runs have been 5 or 6 miles so I'm really not sure what to expect for a 5K. I'm not going to specifically train for the 5K (obviously since it's a mere 8 days away), but I will continue my half marathon training and just throw this in as an extra run. On another positive note I will be posting a race report on Thursday morning or whenever I get around to it and you can all critique my performance.
Join us after the race for some delicious food provided by Outback Steakhouse, Ted’s Montana Grill and El Jardin Mexican Restaurant. Beverages provided by BJ's Restaurant, Inc. Live music by Trainwreck and festivities will feature a Meet the Candidates Reception.
Now I like Outback and Ted's Montana Grill as much as the next guy, but I just don't know if it will be worth sitting through a "Meet the Candidates Reception" just to get some good food. I'll let you know what I decide about this in the post race report. Or more correctly, I'll pass judgment on what my wife decided we'd do in the post race report. She makes the decisions, I mock them behind her back - it's one of the keys to a happy marriage you know.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Half-Fast Pronunciation Guide

I was recently fitted for new running shoes at the Boulder Running Company in Boulder, CO. The gentlemen that was helping me seemed very knowledgeable until he recommended that I try on a pair of the latest shoes by Saucony. The problem wasn't that he recommended them, the problem was that he pronounced it saw-kah-nee, when everyone knows that Saucony is pronounced saw-so-nee. We ended up picking out a pair of the Mizuno Wave Alchemy shoes as you may remember from this post. I couldn't help but shake my head in wonderment that a running shoe store could employ someone who was supposed to know what he was talking about and then not tell him how to pronounce the various brand names. What a moron.

Then I got home and opened up my issue of Runner's World magazine only to find the ad that you see pictured to the right. Turns out, I'm the moron. I can't believe that I've been mispronouncing this my whole life, it was just like when I found out that The Weather Girls weren't singing "Israeli Men! Hallelujah, Israeli Men!" but were actually saying that it was raining men. Or like the time when I found out that the Beatles were singing about a woman who had a ticket to ride, instead of "she's got a chicken to ride." How cool would it be if you had a chicken to ride or if The Weather Girls had a thing for Israeli men? And since we're discussing misheard lyrics, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my wife singing "God forbid you ever had to walk in my linen shoes" by Everlast instead of "walk a mile in his shoes."

On the subject of mispronouncing things, let's go over some other commonly mispronounced words. Triathlon is pronounced try-ath-lon, not try-ath-a-lon, athlete is pronounced ath-leet, not ath-a-leet, and nuclear is noo-klee-ur, not noo-kyu-lur. Please try not to sound as ignorant as I do.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Weekend Splits - Wedding Edition

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

Seamus O'Toole. Bobby O'Shea.

"You know how they say we only use 10% of our brains. I think we only use 10% of our hearts."

My sister is getting married today! I don't have a lot of time to put the Weekend Splits together so I'm just going to recommend that if you're looking for some reading material over the weekend that you go visit my Sister's blog, The Ramblings of my Mind, and read some of her entries. It won't take long as there are only 10 total posts there, and fortunately none of them are embarrassing stories about her brother... yet. Anyway, go check out her blog in honor of her nuptials today, she's funnier than I am... funnier LOOKING! I can say that because the odds of her actually taking the time to read my blog today, on her wedding day, are slim and none.

I had been wondering what advice to give if given the opportunity to make a toast or address the wedding guests, and then I found this wonderful Marriage Tip over at The Lawson's do Dallas. So I think I'll just re-tell that story.

One of my readers is proving the validity of the cookie diet. Thanks for taking one for the team and trying it out dietcokegrrl.

Finally, if you're going to be a spectator at a marathon please be sure to read Complete Running's spectator guide. Don't shout things like "hey, only 18 more miles left!"

Thanks as always to everyone that links to Half-Fast in their blog or on message board forums, I know I'm probably missing some this week as I haven't been real diligent in following up on it, but the following blogs are the one's I found:

more chips and salsa please… which is written by dietcokegrrl, but maybe it should be renamed more cookies please…

Kara at Between The Miles who is the genius behind T-Shirt Thursdays, an idea that really needs to catch on and see some traction because it's awesome.

Jes over at Self Motivation not only runs and blogs but is also a grad student studying Forensic Science. Maybe she can explain why my favorite trail loop seems to always be going uphill. I swear it's like I'm in some kind of sick M.C. Escher drawing or something.

Last, but certainly not least Crabby McSlacker over at Cranky Fitness mentioned me in her Random Friday post. Those Random Friday posts are always worth reading.

Have a great weekend everyone! Happy running!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Site News

I'm off work today and Friday which means that I'm not going to be sitting in my office getting bored with my job, which in turn means that you're probably not going to see a post on Friday. You weren't going to get one today either, but then it occurred to me that I could just post some "site news" and count that as Thursday's post. You're welcome. I'll try to get the Weekend Splits up on Saturday but I've been a little remiss in looking for links on account of being busy with my short work week. Plus my sister is getting married and I think it might be a busy day. Hopefully I'll have time to post it right before the wedding, and if I'm a little late to the ceremony then I don't suppose it will matter too much. Once you've seen one wedding, you've seen them all. Also with each word I type I'm probably losing my invitation.

In the mean time please visit The Lawson's do Dallas because Amy is giving away free magnets to anyone who publicizes her blog for her. I'm thinking about using white masking tape to put her URL on the lapel of my tux for the wedding on Saturday. If the magnet is nice enough I might just do it. Anyway post a link to The Lawson's do Dallas on your blog or on a message forum somewhere and let Amy know and you too could get a free magnet! High five!

By the way I got this idea from George Clooney, who I hear is a big fan of The Lawson's do Dallas. Although he did mention to me that he hasn't received his magnet yet.

Amy feel free to steal this image and use it as you desire.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Running With Celebrities

I received an e-mail from the Denver Marathon a couple of days ago inviting me to bid on the opportunity to run part of the Denver Marathon with a Denver "celebrity." Apparently 13 Denver "celebrities" will run 2 miles each to benefit a charity of their choosing. Let's take a look at the list so that you stop wondering why I keep using the "air quotes" when I say "celebrity."

  • Bill Romanowski - Former Broncos Player
  • Alex Smith - a cast member of MTV's Real World Denver
  • Scott Elrod - a 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 (you have to click that link, it's pretty high on the unintentionally funny scale.)
  • Vic Lombardi - CBS4 sportscaster
  • Maggie Ireland - Miss Colorado 2007 (pictured right)
  • Chris Anthony - an extreme skier and star of 17 Warren Miller films

That is a pretty sad indictment of the celebrities we have here in the Denver area, I think I'm probably in the top 25. Anyway there is a clear winner in the bunch, and I'd like to ask for your donations so that I can run with... *drum roll please*... Miss Colorado 2007, Maggie Ireland. We have so much in common that we could talk about during our 2 miles together. For example, Maggie is a beauty queen, and I like to daydream about beauty queens. Maggie strongly holds to her beliefs that we can find optimism in the midst of adversity and I strongly hold to my beliefs that Maggie is a smokin' hottie.

If you possess an IQ in the double digit range then you've probably already noticed that there is something wrong with the above list, something other than the fact that they're playing it pretty fast and loose with the term "celebrity." The list only has 8 people on it, which means that there are six... no... four... several people who will be added at a later date. I assume that the race organizers are presently scouring the state for anyone who's remotely famous. Pretty soon the list will be completed and the last "celebrity" that's added will be that guy on his cell phone behind home plate at the Rockies game who's always on TV. If he turns it down, I'm next in line.

If you're so inclined you can view the full Maggie Ireland, Miss Colorado 2007 gallery.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Why Vanilla?

In the comments section of my 100th post, Marcy asked the question posed in the title. Why did I choose the name Vanilla as the name to post and comment under? The answer is really quite simple, that's my real name. Not my first name, it's my last name: Pete Van Illa. No? Not buying it? Ok, how about this:

My real name is Vernon Angus Neilson (V.A.N.) and I have always thought that I was a pretty illin' dude, to use the 80's street slang. Hence VAN-illa. Ok that was worse than the first one.

Here's the truth. I began using Vanilla as a username a while back on various message board forums. I picked the name to keep my true superhero identity secret. (So much for the truth.) I've always maintained that I'm a plain vanilla kind of guy, what I mean by that is that I'm pretty boring and incredibly average. 1 wife, 2 kids, 1 dog living in a moderate house in suburbia (mine is the beige one), working in an office, driving an SUV, blah blah blah. It came down to Vanilla or some variation of Average Joe and the more I thought about it the more Vanilla made sense. I really do prefer vanilla to any other flavor of ice cream, I order vanilla latte's, vanilla milkshakes, and vanilla frappuccinos. And if it makes you think that I'm like Vanilla Ice, who is quite obviously the coolest person on the face of the planet, well then that's even better for me.

Check out this video and tell me you don't wish you could be that cool. He's the epitome of cool.

Laugh all you want but you know you wanted to get up and dance to that.

If you were so inclined you could find my real name quite easily from the information that has been given in various posts over the past 4 months, but then I'd have to get a restraining order against you. Besides, you'd just be disappointed because I'm much more interesting and there's a lot more mystery and intrigue if you continue to know me only as Vanilla.

So what is my real name? I'll give you a clue; You can spell it using the letters in VANILLA, not all of them, and not my last name just my first name. Your guesses* in the comments, plus whatever else tickles your fancy. I may even tell you if someone gets it right. Word to your mother.

*Guessing competition not open to family members. Must be a US resident at least 18 years of age or older, other restrictions apply.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Denver Marathon Capping the Field

The Denver Marathon recently announced that they will be capping the field of runners at 10,000. Personally I think they should be more careful about how they phrase these press releases because on the streets where I grew up, getting 'capped' is slang for getting shot. As in "yo, Slim narced to the po po and got his self capped fo' it." OK, well maybe not 'the streets where I grew up' but not far from there. Like less than 45 minutes away if traffic's good. Look, all I'm saying is that you have to be careful how you phrase things. It reminds me of the time that time I gave myself the nickname fly-head, because I have beautiful swept back features as though flying through the air. I'm afraid some people mistook it for meaning I had a head like that of a fly. I ended up having to get all new business cards made up.

The field was restricted this year (see, isn't restricted a much less confusing word) after registrations jumped up three fold from last year. I like to think that this occurred right around the time that I registered and word began to seep out that the suave, debonair blogger, Vanilla had signed up. At least that's the rumor I'm trying to cultivate. If you've only recently started reading Half-Fast then you might not have known that I was going to be running my first half marathon in Denver on October 14th, now with only 9,999 other people. Thus far in my running career (3 years) the only official race I've run is the Bolder Boulder 10K (three times) and it occurs to me that I have never even run a 5K and probably won't before October 14th. How many people can say that they have run a half marathon prior to ever running a 5K? Maybe that will be my thing. I'll be known as the runner who's never run a 5K, I could even have a jingle or something.

According to this article, the field is being restricted so that organizers can adequately meet the need's of all the runners, and I certainly appreciate it. I for one would hate to get to the water table and find them out of water and CLIF shots, or even worse get to the finish line and find them out of medals. You had better believe that I will be taking a medal home with me even if I have to steal it from some kid who finished ahead of me.

So if you want to run with me in Denver you'd better get signed up quickly because the word is out and the registrations are pouring in.

Saturday, August 18, 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.

But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a wood bicycle built for two.

If you want to read more about the wood bicycle pictured above go to Speedwork, and while you're there tell Dennis that I stole his picture thank you for letting me use that picture.

There must have been something in the air this past week because I found tons of funny blog posts and there is no way that I could fit them all into one post, so here are some of my favorites:

I'm going to warn you right now that you're going to want to file some of these under "T" for Too Much Information. I guess within the runners community we don't have any problem sharing this kind of stuff with each other.
Marcy at I Signed Up For This?!? shares with us the joys of runners ECP. What is ECP? Why it's Evil Crotch Pain, glad you asked?

KdoubleA is experiencing one of the lesser talked about downsides of morning running; having to poop in the middle of your run. Apparently this is not that uncommon as Amy at The Lawsons do Dallas is expecting the same problems when she begins training for her marathon in December.

Ali at Just One More Mile has been running for close to 50 straight days now and she has come to the realization that running is like aging. Does this mean that if I run less I'll look younger?

jkrunning had me laughing out loud with the top 5 searches that brought people to her blog. Apparently she blogs a lot about boobs, at least judging by the searches that led there.

Finally, See Zanne Run lost a battle with her stopwatch. That sucks for her, but it sure makes for entertaining reading for you and me.

A huge thank you goes out to everyone that has mentioned Half-Fast this past week either on their blog or on a message board forum. I see on my sitemeter stats page that some of my posts have been posted on message board forums and I love that my readers think me worthy of such high praise. You guys are the best. It's getting harder to keep track of everyone that mentions me on their blog but here is a quick list of those that I ran across:
Marathon Moona fairly new running blog but it shows a lot of promise so far. Mentioning Half-Fast is always a good way to start a blog, at least in my opinion anyway.
Amy's Running LifeEvidently Half-Fast appeals to people named Amy, I've lost count of how many Amy's comment here.
60 IN 3 - In a weekend roundup post no less.
Jess at 21 Days just celebrated post 652. - Boy do I feel stupid for making a big deal about 100 posts.
Ali, Amy L. and KdoubleA also linked back to me this week, but I've already mentioned each of them in this post once and it's a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I have better things to do. How much attention do you guys need?

Have a great weekend everyone! Happy running!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pace Teams

I was recently on the Denver Marathon's website when I came across a reference to the CLIF BAR Pace Teams at last years inaugural running of the race. I was intrigued by this idea but could not find any information about whether or not there would be pace teams this year. It was at this point that I began the futile, life sapping process that is e-mailing the Denver Marathon. I wanted to know whether or not they were going to have pace teams again this year, because this webpage clearly references last year's race, and also if they would be available for people running the half marathon.

I filled out their 'contact us' form and sent them a message. Four days later I received a response that appeared to be automated which directed me to 'follow this link' to their website for more information. You'll never guess where that link took me? Yup. Right back to the page that caused me to have questions in the first place. I guess that this means that the information on that page applies to this year too, which is good news because they have a 4 hour marathon pace team which should translate into a 2:00 half marathon for me.

The more I think about following a pace team, the more it seems devious, or somehow unethical (those words are both too strong but they’ll have to do because my thesaurus is giving me stuff like 'Machiavellian' and 'depraved'). One of the toughest things about my training runs is being able to judge my pace, and knowing when I need to speed up or slow down. Running a race involves more than just physical strength, it requires some strategy too. Will you try to run even splits the whole way or will you go slower on the uphill sections and try to make it up on the downhill sections? Running with a pace team eliminates that entirely. You just latch on to a group and run. You don't have to think about it at all. While that sounds appealing on many levels something about it just doesn't feel right. It seems too easy.

Fortunately for me I'm too shallow to care about being labeled as Machiavellian or a cheater so I will run with the pace team if the opportunity presents itself. Your thoughts in the comments, is it wrong? Would you run with a pace team?

In the vein of keeping up Video Friday here's a video for all you swimmers out there courtesy of With Leather.

Weeeee! This is fun!

You know that once you get your spot in that wave pool you're not getting out. Not for anything. No, not even to pee. Hey, you were all thinking it, I just said it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Girl’s Track Coach

Back when first started high school I remember that our girl's track team was never very good. In fact the same year I began attending, the school had just hired a new track coach, as opposed to simply letting the gym teacher continue to coach them. Over the next few years I watched in wonder as they morphed into one of the better teams in the state. The change was so dramatic that rumors started circulating amongst the students that the coach was providing the girls performance enhancing drugs. How could a coach possibly make them this much faster? What kind of training regimen were they using? How come Cindy can bench press more than I can?

For the most part I just assumed that they were nothing more than rumors. Perhaps the coach was giving them supplements or perhaps he was just a really good coach. Then one day I was in the teacher's lounge area right outside their offices waiting to talk to my soccer coach. I saw one of the faster members of the track team head into the coaches office and couldn't help but think that she looked more than a little concerned. I scooted as close to the office as I could without being obvious and tried to listen in.

The girl, who shall remain nameless, began to tell the coach that she was worried. She explained to him that she thought that she was starting to grow hair on her chest. The coach was clearly concerned too and asked her "are you sure? How far down does it go?"
To which she replied "all the way down to my balls!"

Yeah, so that's not true at all. A colleague just told me that joke and I thought I'd pass it on to you since I really don't have much else to say today. For those of you following the nude running priest story that I linked to in the Weekend Splits I can give you a breaking news update though:

DENVER -- The Rocky Mountain News reported additional information that the
priest in question had allegedly appeared nude at a summer camp for Catholic
boys in 1999.

He appeared naked before some Catholic school boys at summer camp?!? I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you! It's things like this that... wait... you mean the priests at summer camp were not supposed to be naked? They told me that was all part of the "summer camp experience."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The rose goes in the front big guy

I went shopping for some new running shorts this past weekend, not because I needed them mind you, just because I wanted to. I was grabbing some shorts that I liked off the running shorts rack and not paying real close attention. I grabbed a couple different sizes to try on and a variety of colors. Note: I do NOT wear the short shorts, I wear the shorts that are a little longer.

Shorts in hand, I headed off to the fitting room to try them on. I grab a pair, pull them off the hanger and then I jump into them, because I don't put my pants on one leg at a time like the rest of you do. I come to the last pair and something strikes me as a little odd. As I start to pull on the final pair of shorts I notice that I'm not pulling on shorts at all. I am pulling on a running skirt! I quickly check over my shoulder as though someone might be watching and then look around at the ceiling to see if there’s a security camera. I can just picture some security guards watching me on a 6 inch black and white TV, laughing their butts off. They can't be allowed to put security cameras in fitting rooms can they? I must admit that I was a little alarmed to find myself half way into a skirt for the first time in my life (at least as far as I can remember), but after the initial shock wore off, it struck me how soft and comfortable it felt.

Then came the knock at the door. You've never seen a man get out of a skirt so quickly. Oh crap! They were watching on the security camera! They think I'm some kind of cross-dressing pervert! How will I explain all this? It's not my fault! They're the one's who put this skirt on the men's running shorts rack! Standing there in my boxer shorts I answer the knock "Hello?"
"Sorry," comes the reply. It was only an employee trying to find an empty dressing room. Whew, that was close.

I leave the skirt in the fitting room and close the door behind me, it really didn't match my running shoes anyway. My heart is racing and it feels like everyone in the store is staring at me. I just want to scream out "I DIDN'T REALIZE IT WAS A SKIRT!"

So that was my ordeal trying to buy a new pair of running shorts. What did I get out of it? One new pair of running shorts, a new under armor shirt, a lot of anxiety, a lot of judgmental stares, and one new men's running skirt. What? IT WAS ON THE MEN'S RACK! I can only assume that I am on the leading edge of men's fashion. I'm the tip of the sword, the trend setter.

P.S. Bonus points for whoever can tell me where the post title is from or why it's relevant.

P.P.S I hope this is the only time I ever use the cross-dressing tag.

Monday, August 13, 2007

100 Posts

This is the 100th post on Half-Fast since I started the site back on April Fools Day (tell me that isn't an appropriate launch date). Back on Friday I proclaimed that the 100th post here at Half-Fast was going to be big, and ever since then I've been racking my brains trying to figure out what to do for this post. Then it came to me while I was watching an old episode of Friends. It was a clip show. I hate clip shows. A clip show is one of those episodes where one member of the cast says to another "those were good times weren't they?" Then both actors act like they're thinking about the 'good times' and for the next half hour they proceed to show you clips of previous episodes to illustrate the 'good times.' I hate this because I've already seen all those episodes and I wanted some new original funny, not highlights of past funny. Nevertheless, my 100th post will be a clip show, I'm not giving you any new funny, just highlights of previous funny. I assume that most of you here reading this post have not been here since the beginning so maybe you'll get to read something new anyway.

The funniest post: That Wasn't Me You Saw Running – This is probably my all time favorite post. Honorable mention in the category of funniest post: 9 Types Of Runs, Running Dad and To the police officer who almost ran me over in the crosswalk.

Most creative post: Excuses. This is a poem that I wrote based on my take of Shel Silverstein's classic children's poem Sick.

My wife's favorite post: Running Mad. (Wow, look how much shorter my posts used to be.)

Posts with funny video's that are worth your time: Idiot vs Treadmill, Treadmills are for Hamsters, and of course this past Friday's video was pretty good too.

Posts containing useful information and facts:

Posts containing pictures of Vanilla: Bolder Boulder Race Report, Things Only I Find Interesting.

Most embarrassing thing I've done since I started Half-Fast: Entering the Hottest Male Blogger Contest. Yes it's just as geeky as it sounds. Think of it like a Mr. Universe contest only without all the oiled up muscles and with 90% more pocket protectors and horn-rimmed glasses. In case you're wondering why you've never heard about me entering the Hottest Male Blogger Contest it's because I was too embarrassed to admit to it at the time and I lost in the first round. Ouch!

Looking back over all these posts makes it seem like it's been such a long time, but I still remember my first comment from a non-family member. I remember I used to get excited when I got 3 comments on one post. Now I want more, I'm never satisfied. I want 20 plus comments on every post, and when I get there, I'll want 30 plus comments on every post. I want to rule the blogs. "One Blog to rule them all, One Blog to find them, One Blog to bring them all and in the darkness bind them." That's my new goal. Screw running and getting faster, I want to be Lord of the Blogs.

While I'm on the subject of comments let me assure you that I do read ALL of your comments. I actually have blogger set up to e-mail me every comment that is posted, so even if you go back and comment on a post from 3 months ago, I still read it. I love all your comments. I crave comments, even if it is just a simple "hello". I especially love funny comments. Ali, Amy, Pat, jkrunning, Marcy, and many others, you guys make me laugh all the time. So, keep the funny comments coming, even the one's that make fun of me. Make fun of my running, make fun of my writing, I don't care. I poke fun at a lot of things on this site without intending to be taken seriously and I don't ever take offense to any comments you leave. I love them all, whether it's a full blown analysis of my post, a long story you just have to share or a quick "lol." So, now that I've just declared open season on myself... have at it. What are your favorite posts? What are your least favorite posts?

Saturday, August 11, 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 found at Just Your Average Joggler

The picture has nothing to do with this post, it just made me laugh so I had to steal it. Kara over at Between The Miles reports on the priest who was caught running naked right here in Colorado. I can't tell you how proud we all are of our clergy. If this guy gets convicted he's going to have to register as a sex offender, which seems a bit extreme. On the other hand he is a Catholic Priest so maybe that's just a good preventative measure anyway. Thanks Father Whipkey for proliferating the stereotype that Catholic Priests are perverts, and making all these jokes possible. You make my job so much easier.

Little Miss Runner Pants has some advice (and a hilarious story) about how not to make your protein shake. You really should go read it for yourself but on the off chance that you're too lazy here's the gist of it: Don't put a spoon in the blender.

KdoubleA over at Running to Detroit shares his story of being harassed while running. By an Army Drill Sergeant. "I don't know but I've been told..."

Finally, the Pizza 5K race was held this past week. Personally I think that someone needs to put combine this event with the Beer Belly Two, a two mile race with beer stops along the way and at the finish. I know I'd be willing to run 5.1 miles for some pizza and beer wouldn't you?

Quite a few people mentioned Half-Fast this past week. Thanks to Marcy at I Signed Up For This?!? If you ever can't remember how to get to her blog you can do a Google search for Hooker Boots and you'll get there.
Thanks to Rob at Run to Lose and to KdoubleA at Running to Detroit who both linked back to my morning running post. Also thanks to Amy at Runners Lounge who linked back to my Baconator post.
Last but certainly not least, thanks to Amy over at The Lawsons do Dallas who followed my lead in getting rid of word verification for the comments and continues to get funnier and funnier. I see a lot of you who comment on Half-Fast commenting over there which is great... just as long as you keep coming back here too. If you ask me she's a little too negative and I think she makes stuff up a lot. (That's a joke. If you don't get it then you should head over there and read some of Amy's recent posts because I don't have the time or the inclination to spell it out for you. Now who's being negative?)

Have a great weekend! Happy running!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Video Friday, Again

I don't mean to always be phoning it in on Friday and posting videos, in fact I wasn't even going to post at all today until I saw the following video. Watch very closely after the logo splash screen at the end. I cracked up at that guy as he sits down at his computer. I totally feel his pain.

That's it for today. The Weekend Splits will be posted tomorrow (hopefully) and then Monday will be Post #100 for Half-Fast. Be sure to tune in for that because it's going to be big. I'm not sure what it will be, but I'm pretty sure there will be dancing and free alcoholic beverages. Hey, I guess it will be kind of like my Sister's upcoming wedding, only bigger and better because I won't be wearing a tux. Heck, I might not be wearing anything at all! Wooo Hoooo!

Video from A Marathoner's Blog via The Toronto Runner.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

My Much Anticipated Morning Run

At five o'clock this morning my alarm sounded. SCREW. THAT. I leaned over and hit the snooze button, perhaps a little harder than necessary, but certainly no harder than a snooze button deserves or is used to. Six minutes later the alarm clock again started begging for more punishment. I turned it off. What idiot thought this would be a good idea? But then, just when I thought that I couldn't be any stupider I found my feet on the floor and I was getting dressed to go run. At five o'clock. In the morning. In spite all of YOUR negativity in the comments of yesterday's post and in spite of my ever supportive wife, who said to me last night as I was getting into bed: "You know, it would be funnier if you failed."
"Excuse me?!?"
"Your blog. It would make for a funnier post in the morning if you failed."
Awww, thanks honey. I love you too.

In a state of semi-sleep, I pulled my shorts on, laced up my shoes, and went to go check on the coffee. I had pre-programmed our coffee machine last night so that it would be ready for me this morning. Great thinking right? Except for one little oversight. Some idiot forgot to put the coffee grounds in it. Can I interest you in a nice hot pot of water? No? How about a new coffee machine to replace the one I just threw across the kitchen? This is not looking promising.

As I am about to head out, I observe that my shorts are on inside out. Nice work genius. I guess that's what happens when you dress yourself in a sleepy stupor. I remedy the problem and start out for my run. The first thing I notice is that the picture I posted yesterday of the morning runner is full of crap! It's still pitch black out. There's no beautiful sunrise like the one in the picture. Even the sun is not stupid enough to be up at this abominable hour. Undeterred, I continue with my run. It was actually a pretty good run, all things considered. I ran 4 tempo miles (9:00 goal pace) with a warm up mile and a cool down mile. I don't imagine that you're particularly interested in the splits, but you're getting them anyway because I'm a little cranky.

Mile 1 - 9:45 (warm up)
Mile 2 - 9:00
Mile 3 - 8:30
Mile 4 - 8:44
Mile 5 - 8:25
Mile 6 - 9:47 (cool down)

So the actual running part was good. The getting up early, not so much. I've already had two large cups of coffee here at work and I'm still as tired as a Lindsay Lohan excuse. Another good thing about the run this morning was that there was no one else on the trail, and that made me feel like I was a hardcore runner. The bad part was that there was no else on the trail to see me being a hardcore runner. You will all just have to take my word for it. I was hardcore this morning.

The jury is still out on whether running in the mornings is good or not. It's supposed to get up to 97 degrees today so I guess it's a plus that I got my run in early. We'll see how tired I feel for the rest of the day. The real payoff will come tonight when I get home from work and don't have to run. I'm already looking forward to getting my couch potato on. Oh, and the sun did eventually rise. I took a couple of pictures (below) of the sunrise as proof and because I don't know if and when I'll ever see another one. Sunrises are really, really spectacular! Who knew?

Click pictures to enlarge.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Run In The Morning? No Thank You

I don't ever run in the mornings. Ever. I run after work when I get home. Sure it is usually hotter at that time, and sure, it takes time away from my family, and yes, it gives me more of the day to make excuses why I shouldn't run, but it does have the added benefit of not being the morning.

I'll admit that lately I've been considering how much more time I'd have in the day if I ran in the mornings, but I just don't think it's going to happen. I am not a morning person. I despise having to get up early and often hit the snooze button upwards of 10 times. I abhor getting up to run in the mornings. I don't think you understand just how much I hate running in the mornings, so allow me elaborate. Here is a list of things that I would rather do instead of running in the mornings.
  • I'd rather sleep.
  • I'd rather listen to nails on a chalkboard.
  • I'd rather round up stray dogs wearing only Milk-Bone underwear.
  • I'd rather go hunting with Dick Cheney.
  • I'd rather run every day for two months.
  • I'd rather slather my ear in BBQ sauce and play Chinese whispers with Mike Tyson.
  • I'd rather wear a Vick jersey and leather pants to a PETA rally. (I could totally make that outfit look good.)
  • I'd rather get into a pissing match with a used car salesman about the warranty.
  • I'd rather get between Rosie O'Donnell and the buffet.
  • I'd rather you give me the full length slide show presentation about your recent prostate exam.
  • I'd rather eat yellow snow.
  • I'd rather watch those annoying erectile dysfunction commercials on a continuous loop.
  • I'd rather bet money on the Cubs winning the World Series this year. (Yes, I'm aware that they've come on strong lately and as of this writing are only a game out of the division lead, but they're still the Cubs.)
  • I'd rather have an enema.
  • I'd rather watch a Yankees game with a know-it-all Yankees fan. (Redundant?)
  • I'd rather have my teeth cleaned by my barbaric dental hygienist.
  • I'd rather this conference call that I'm on continue another hour because people are asking inane questions.
  • I'd rather you include me in your chain mail forwards.
  • I'd rather submit to a lie detector test where my boss asks me if I blog at work.
  • I’d rather SLEEP.

So as you can see I'd rather not run in the mornings, thank you very much. Despite all that, I'm going to attempt to run in the morning tomorrow, so you can probably expect a mumbling, caffeine aided, complaint filled rant of a post. I'm scheduled for a 6 mile run which means I'll have to set the alarm about an hour earlier than usual, or just leave it set as is and not hit snooze. I can't even type that with a straight face. Not push snooze? Yeah. Sure. That'll happen.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Six Pack Abs Made Easy

I was flying home from a recent business trip and had finished reading my latest edition of Runner's World magazine. Out of reading material and not wanting to strike up a conversation with the cowboy sitting next to me I reached into the seat back pocket to see if I might find someone's leftover magazine from a previous flight. Hoping for Maxim, I pulled out Sky Mall. Ahh Sky Mall, parting suckers from their money at 30,000 feet.

As I flipped through the Sky Mall magazine, two items caught my attention. The Cookie Diet and the Giddyup! Core Exerciser (pictured on right). From what I can tell, you sit on this $520 contraption and it gyrates back and forth and up and down and that's supposed to strengthen your core muscles... while you just sit there... doing nothing. According to the website "Exercising has never been this easy!" Newsflash folks: Exercising is not supposed to be easy.

I'll tell you what. If you're going to drop $520 on that ridiculous piece of equipment then I might have a better solution for you. For a mere $300 dollars you can call me daily and I will berate and yell at you until you drop down and do some sit-ups. Unless, of course you're paying all that money because you're into the gyrating up and down thing. In which case do not call me, call a 900 number, it will still be cheaper.

I can totally picture someone buying the Giddyup and sitting on it in front of the TV, eating a Baconator, all the while imagining that they are "exercising". Shortly thereafter they will relegate the Giddyup to an unused room because it's freakin' huge for a piece of exercise equipment that only works one muscle group (allegedly). Before you know it the Giddyup will either be completely forgotten or nothing more than a prop when your kids play Cowboys and Indians.

Chances are pretty good that if you're not happy with the way your abs look it's because they're hidden behind a layer of fat and not because the actual abdominal muscles are not large enough. The first step to great looking abs is a healthy diet and running. The second step is more running and after that, even more running. Once you get down to less than 15% body fat you can start worrying about the sit ups and crunches to help tone the muscle group. I'm sorry to be the one to tell you that great looking abs will take a lot of work. Riding a mechanical bull and eating Diet Cookies is just not going to get it done.

Alright my dearly beloved readers, I want confessions in the comments section. Who just ordered the cookie diet?

Site News

You will no longer be required to use the word verification tool when you leave a comment. The word verification is there to prevent spam, so unless I start getting spam in the comments you can expect that this will be a permanent change. Also, Half-Fast is coming up on 100 posts and it feels like I should do something special for it, I have no idea what that might be but I look forward to your suggestions in the comments.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Addicted to Blogging

You know that you're addicted to blogging when all you can think about on your runs is how you could have improved previous blog entries, or what you could write in future posts.

I had a 6 mile tempo run on Sunday, which actually translates to 8 miles by the time I do a warm up and cool down. I've been struggling with my Tempo Runs lately and yesterday was no exception, I ran the first 4 tempo miles at a 9 minute mile pace (the goal pace) but then dropped to a 9:30 minute mile for the 5th and a 10 minute mile for the 6th. During the run I found myself thinking "you know, this is definitely a This Is Why More People Don't Run Run," it was at this moment that I realized what an awful name that is for a run. I spent the next 2 miles mulling it over and trying to come up with a funnier, more creative and more concise name for that type of run. This is the kind of nonsensical stuff that I think of when I run. Anyway, I couldn't come up with anything so I'll continue to refer to it as a This Is Why More People Don't Run Run, or maybe I'll abbreviate it to TIWMPDRR. In my office we're all about acronyms.

My thoughts were then interrupted by some kids up ahead with a lemonade stand. I immediately thought about my Video Friday post, and in particular the third video in which a woman runs by a restaurant and grabs a water from a customer on the patio and splashes it on her face. I kid you not when I tell you that it was all that I could do to not grab a lemonade as I ran by, drink it and then toss the cup off to the side of the path. I would have stopped and bought lemonade, but I don't carry cash with me when I run. Do you hear that all you would be muggers? No cash.

I have a speedwork session scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) but I also have to watch the boys while my wife is at a meeting which means that they'll be babysitting themselves again while I run on the blasted treadmill. Hopefully they behave as well as they did last time.

Saturday, August 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.

One of the keys to having a successful site is having good commenters, so it is always a pleasure when I am outdone by one of my commenters. This week it was Pat (from Self Propelled) who one-upped my Baconator post by pointing me to the Heart Attack Grill. The sandwich you see above is called The Quadruple Bypass Surgery, and inappropriately it is served to you by waitresses dressed as 'naughty nurses'. So it's kind of like Hooters, except not quite as classy. They even have a blog where customers can upload pictures that they've taken of themselves with the naughty nurses, I think my favorite is this one. I like how you can see the guy's wedding ring in the picture. He's a keeper ladies.

Huge props to the Super-Cool Ali who recently completed Julyathon (a challenge she set for herself to run every day in July) and inspired many others to do the same for August. I was going to give Ali top billing on the Weekend Splits upon her completion of Julyathon but how could I put anything in front of the skanktastic Heart Attack Grill? Congratulations to Ali all the same, who is now going to be running every day for 2 months! Yeah, I hate her too.

Just Your Average Joggler announced this past week that he plans to make an assault on the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest man to joggle a 50 mile Ultramarathon.

Robert over at Fit at Forty gives us a Marathon Item List which includes lot's of things you'll need that you probably haven't thought of yet.

Here's a quick non-running related link for you. Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Wild Thing Vaughn would have pitched against The Natural, Roy Hobbs? Wonder no more, this video gives us the definitive answer. Originally from Barstool Sports.

Thanks to Rundoodle, Cranky Fitness, and A Tale Told by an Idiot who all mentioned Half-Fast this past week. It is always appreciated and hopefully never goes unnoticed. Cranky Fitness is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs. As a side note I think the author of A Tale Told by an Idiot actually has some writing experience/background which is a novel idea amongst bloggers. Just imagine how great it would be if everyone who wrote a blog actually had some training in writing, the blogosphere would be a much gooder place.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Personal Running Log - July 2007

7/7/2007Columbine Lake 2 LapsEasy3 Mi29:379:53
7/11/2007Home TreadmillInterval4.5 Mi42:539:32
7/12/20075 Miles Out & BackTempo5 Mi45:459:09
7/14/20076 Mile Loop Long HillLong6 Mi58:269:45
7/18/2007Home TreadmillInterval5.5 Mi50:369:12
7/19/20076 Mile Loop Long HillTempo6 Mi55:469:18
7/21/20078 Miles Out & BackLong8 Mi1:20:1210:02
7/25/2007Home TreadmillInterval6.5 Mi1:00:509:22
7/26/20077 Miles Out & BackEasy6 Mi1:02:3810:27
7/29/20074 Miles Out & BackLong10 Mi1:50:5111:06
Distance: 60.5 miles
Total Time: 9:57:34

Friday, August 3, 2007

Video Friday

I've got serious writer's block today which means that today is Video Friday, or if you prefer, phone-it-in-Friday. Have you ever heard of free running? It really has nothing to do with running at all as you or I would think about it other than the word running is in the title. That's enough for my loose standards of what constitutes a running related post, especially on a day like today when my fingers are as eager to start typing as a cyclist is to give a urine sample. There's no better way to explain what free running is other than to just show you the video. Editor's Note: The sound was pretty loud on my computer with this video so if you're sitting at work watching this (sucker!) you might want to mute it – it's just crappy music anyway.

Impressive huh? If you've seen Casino Royale (the latest Bond film starring Daniel Craig) then you saw Sebastien Foucan doing some free running tricks/acrobatics in the opening scene. Sebastien Foucan is one of the founders of this new sport called free running. If you didn't see the opening scene, watch the video below.

They don't show it but Bond eventually catches up to him and ices him. It's OK. He was a bomb maker, he had it coming. Plus his name sounds French. If you're interested in watching more free running videos, Google it yourself or search for it on YouTube, there are tons of them out there. The last three videos for today are just funny running related commercials.

That last one is a good example of why you should not allow yourself to be distracted by something while you're out running, just keep going.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Finding Half-Fast

How did you arrive at Half-Fast? Did you follow a link from another blog? Did I leave a comment on your blog and you traced it back to Half-Fast? Did you find me from a post on the Runners World forums? Did you Google something and Half-Fast was the answer? (Doesn't seem likely.) Fortunately, I have this wonderful tool called sitemeter so I probably already know the answer, not for you as a specific reader but I know where most of my traffic comes from. What follows is a list of some of the more unusual Google searches that brought people to Half-Fast. If you've been here for a while you'll probably understand why most of these searches landed people here, if not that's what the search feature (up top) and the archives (bottom right) are for. Get to it, you've got some catching up to do. NOTE: I've left these exactly as there were typed into Google, spelling mistakes and all. (My observations in parentheses.)

  • Fergie Nude (Pervert!)
  • Fergie
  • If you have any poo fling it now (This one has occurred at least a dozen times.)
  • gazelle vs lion quote
  • hammock joke
  • Ali Landry Splits (Hopefully someone searching for Ali Landry's marathon splits, but could've been looking for a picture of her doing the splits, in which case: Pervert!)
  • Ice Cream Waffle Sandwich (Mmmmm, I need another one of those.)
  • What is Jessica Biel's workout
  • machismo pics (I don't even want to guess what this person was searching for.)
  • kissing too fast excuses (Interestingly enough, Half-Fast was the #1 search result at the time.)
  • nude runner (Pervert!)
  • Fergie barefoot (Pervert!)
  • loch ness marathon route map elevation
  • blow me im asthmatic
  • men like to be lazy (Shut up!)
  • naked running (Pervert!)
  • barefoot to neck (Pervert!)
  • nudist running (Pervert!)
  • rhyming fast (Pervert! Wait... No... Sorry, I got carried away there.)
  • race report peeing pants (Weirdo!)
  • workout how my time runners (I can't even work out what you were searching for.)
  • see me pee pee (Seriously? What are people searching for?)
  • pee on me shirt (Disgusting!)
  • Baconator nutrition (Wendy's will be pleased to know that my post shows up 4th among the results.)
  • Jim valvano don't ever give up inspirational speech (It probably took you longer to type this into the search than it took to watch the video you were looking for.)

And the number one most bizarre Google search that landed someone here? Half Fast running blog. Bizarre because someone was actually looking for this blog, someone intentionally subjected themselves to reading the tripe that I write here on a daily basis. Inconceivable! The shocking conclusion that all this leads me to, is that the Internet is chock full of perverts. Inconceivable!

As I ready myself to post this, it occurs to me that I've just made it twice as likely that I'll get tagged on these searches again. So if you're one of the folks who came here looking for Jessica Biel naked (aren't we all) then I'm sorry to tell you that you're in the wrong place. We don't tolerate your type around here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The 9 Types of Runs

It has been my experience that there are essentially 9 types of runs.

The Daydreamer You head out for your run and before you know it you're back home. You were so involved in the run that you often finish and realize that there are long stretches of the route that you don't even remember. The Daydreamer will cause you to question whether or not you really ran the route you thought you did.

The Hollywood Marriage Run This run never lasts very long and no one really thought that it would anyway. By the time it's over you're already looking forward to the next one.

The Volkswagen Jetta Run Like the VW that I once owned everything that could possibly go wrong, does. You get a rock in your shoe. Your iPod dies. Mistaking it for water, you squirt Gatorade on your head. Your shoes come untied and when you pause your watch to tie them you forget to restart it. The sweat gets in your eyes, the wind is in your face going out and coming back. You trip over your own calf muscle and everyone sees it. By the time you're done with this run you're seriously considering giving up running.

The Broken Watch So named because you felt great the entire run and you're pretty sure that this is going to be one of your fastest times ever. Alas your stupid watch must be broken because it thinks that this was one of your slowest times ever. I never liked that watch very much anyway.

Even The Russian Judge Likes It Run The perfect run. You feel good, you feel fast, nothing can stop you. A slight breeze keeps you cool, even while the sun smiles down on you. As you approach the bottom of that tough hill, cartoon bluebirds appear from nowhere and whisk you up to the top in no time at all. The squirrels along side your path stand and give you the Arsenio Hall salute as you pass them at dangerously fast speeds. This run may not happen all that often, but it's the one that keeps you coming back for more.

The This Is Why More People Don't Run Run This is the run that pushes you to your limits, that forces you to dig deep and use all your willpower to get through it. Your legs hurt, your side aches, and who the hell thinned out the air today? This is the run that makes you realize why running is beneficial, and why more people don't do it.

The Academy Awards Speech Run You start this one intending that it will just be a short run, but you're feeling so good about yourself that you end up running longer. And thanking everyone you meet.

The Quitter You get some kind of cramp or injury that you can't run through or know that you shouldn't run through. This inevitably happens at the furthest point from the finish and of course all the people you passed now witness you walking home like some kind of can't-hack-it-pantywaist. You try to let them know that you're walking because of an injury by stopping to stretch frequently or limping slightly, but no one's buying it because everyone's pulled that old trick.

The Blog Buster Much like an episode of The Bill Engvall Show this run goes off without anything interesting or funny happening. Your time is as you expected it would be and there is nothing worth noting about this run. That's all great but now you don't have anything to blog about. I guess you'll just have to write about fast food or maybe you can get away with making up a list of the different types of runs.

Let me know in the comments if you think I forgot any.