Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I was out running my long run this weekend when I started thinking, something that I should not be allowed to do and especially not whilst running. The thoughts that started rattling around inside my head were how much I hate my long runs lately. HATE. I blame Amy Lawson for this (because it couldn’t be my fault), she mentioned on our first podcast that she always thought about how much she hated running while she was running. Anyway, I was thinking about how slow my long runs have been lately (something you’ll all be able to see when I post my December running log in a couple of days, I know you’re all eager to see it), and how much I loathe my long runs. They’ve felt like such a chore these past few weeks. Somewhere running ceased to be fun and enjoyable, and when I realized this at mile 15 of my scheduled 20 miler, I stopped. I considered what this meant for my marathon training and I didn’t care at all because there was a 90 percent chance that if I pushed on through to 20 miles I’d have quit running altogether. Forever.

So I’m heading into the taper with one 18 miler, one 16 miler and no 20 milers under my belt. It’s the perfect recipe for my first ever DNF! Or maybe, for a downgrade to the half, which is awesome because the half marathon in Phoenix is 13.1 miles less than the marathon and that sounds really appealing at this point in time. On the one hand I’m tempted to still go out and try to run the marathon because if I don’t do it now then I probably never will and no one likes a quitter. On the other hand I’m not so sure I actually want to run a marathon, which is probably not a good mindset to be taking into it.

I’ll probably end up running the full marathon anyway, but I’m guessing that you’re going to want to shield your children’s eyes from that race report.

On a lighter note, I’m off work all week which means it’s harder to keep up with all of your blogs but that will remedy itself in January when I get back to the office. When I’m at the office I have much more peace and quiet to read blogs, plus they block my access to Facebook’s Texas Hold’em game so I have nothing better to do. I hope that you are all doing well and that your runs have been more productive than mine. I’ll catch up with you all in the new year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Running Gear

You guys will never guess what I got for Christmas this year: New Running Gear. (Was that not clear from the title?) I got running shirts, a running hat, running gloves, I even got a some stretchy bands which means that I can join Viper’s quest to prove that Nitmos is an idiot. Is this still something that needs to be proved? I mean are there people out there who still think that the world is flat and that Nitmos might not be an idiot? Doesn’t seem likely.

I also got my final race instructions from the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon, but I don’t think that was a Christmas present, I assume it was done just to freak me out a little. As of this post there are 22 days left before the marathon and I’m so underprepared I’ve probably got salmonella poisoning. Fear is a great motivator though, I haven’t skipped any of my scheduled runs this week, which is good, but I also haven’t skipped any servings of dessert or candy, which is bad. This weekend I’m supposed to run my 20 miler and I’m holding out hope that the weather will cooperate so that I can run it all outside.

Did anyone have a December to Remember? Go ahead and tell us in the comments so that we can all hate you and your hoity toity lifestyle with your Summers in the Hamptons. I hope that you choke on your beluga caviar and your Cristal champagne this New Year’s eve and don’t even get to enjoy your new Lexus into 2009.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

This will be the last post here at Half-Fast before Christmas, so I wanted to take a few minutes away from all the sarcasm and juvenile humor and wish you all a Merry Christmas. As you all stop by here today, think of this post as a personal and meaningful Christmas wish to you and your family, kind of like that scene in Christmas Vacation where all the suits walk by Chevy Chase and he wishes each of them a Merry Christmas or something along those lines.

Thank you all for taking the time to read Half-Fast. I’ll probably have a post on Friday, (not that anyone will be around to read it) but in the meantime, run hard and stay warm in this nippley weather we’re having. I’ve no doubt that you guys are the jolliest bunch of a-holes this side of the nuthouse.

Monday, December 22, 2008

18 Miles of Misery

I woke up on Saturday morning and I was eager to get started on my long run. (Note: Only one of those things is true.) The sun was shining and I thought that it looked like the perfect weather for my first attempt at 18 miles and I was right it did look like the perfect weather for 18 miles. I flipped on the active menu on our TV to see what the temperature was and almost crawled back into bed. It gave an actual reading of 22 degrees but also proudly proclaimed that it “Feels Like 8 degrees.” As if that wasn’t enough there was also a cute little wind icon on the screen, right next to the phrase “27 mph,” and yes, I’m being facetious about the wind icon being cute. I’m still trying to figure out how to punch the wind in the face without looking like a total idiot.

Undaunted (lying again) I bundled up in my warmest running gear, donned my sunglasses and headed out the door for the first of what would be three 6 mile loops. The wind was brutal, there’s just no other way to put it. Many of the paths were still covered in ice and snow and the headwind that I was running into was brutal, did I mention that already? (I hope that you’re not sick of hearing about how much I hated the wind because that’s going to be a continuing theme in this post.)

On the upside, I was able to entertain myself by firing snot-rockets and loogies for record distances during most of the first loop. By the time I started running the second loop it was less entertaining and more of an annoyance that my nose wouldn’t stop running. I cursed my nose. I cursed the runner who had obviously run this path before me wearing YakTrax. I cursed YakTrax for not giving me a free pair to review on my blog. I cursed each and every one of you who have ever encouraged me to run a marathon. I cursed the headwind that I was running into and then chuckled when I thought ‘headwind? They should call it giving-head wind because it sucks!’ Then I cursed the wind again because my lips were so dry the chuckling cracked my lips.

I finished the second loop feeling completely sapped of strength and decided that I was done battling the wind. I headed inside and finished my final 6 miles on the treadmill and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve never loved my treadmill as much as I did on Saturday. Don’t get me wrong, I cursed the treadmill too but not nearly as much as I had been cursing the wind.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Knee is Painfree, Slower than I Remember

The good news with my running lately is that I’ve been able to run with almost no pain in my knee, probably resulting from the 600mg of Advil coursing through my veins. The bad news is that I seem to be slower. I’m blaming the slowness on the 2 weeks that I took off from running to nurse my injury, and I’m starting to rethink what my marathon goals should be, but that’s for another, more boring post.

Due to the icy paths and sub-freezing temperatures here in Colorado recently I’ve been forced to do some of my runs on the conveyor belt of boredom, which is probably better for my knee anyway. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself as I trundle along like an unclaimed suitcase, endlessly circling the baggage claim carousel.

Thus far in my training, the furthest that I’ve run is 16 miles and while it was a good run, it’s been more than 6 weeks since I went that far. I have two more long runs before the taper starts (18 miles and 20 miles) and the forecast for this weekend is not making things easy. There’s still ice on the paths and tomorrow is going to be 21 degrees with snow flurries. I simply refuse to run 18 miles on a treadmill, you’d have to be clinically insane to try that (looking at you Kristina). A friend suggested I go to a nearby Rec Center that has an indoor track, but the track is only a tenth of a mile which means that I’d have to run 180 laps and I’ll be honest with you, I can’t count that high. Seriously, I have trouble with any kind of math while I’m running. One time I accidentally ran 11 miles instead of 10 because of a miscalculation when adding ‘distance remaining’ to ‘distance already covered.’ I’ve never hated math more than I did that day.

Anyway, the success or failure of my scheduled 18 miler this weekend will be a defining moment in my marathon training, and ‘when a defining moment comes along, you define the moment, or the moment defines you.’ That’s a movie quote folks, 5 Half-Fast bonus points in the comments for the first person who can tell me what movie it’s from. 5 Half-Fast bonus points and $1.42 will get you a gallon of gas these days. Bonus points are non-refundable, non-negotiable, have no cash value and may cause a slight itching and burning.

Only 6 shopping days left, almost time for me to get started. Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where It All Began?

I was recently at my parent’s house, lamenting all the cool toys that they’ve bought for my children that they never bought for me and generally being an ungrateful son when I came across a box of some of my old school work. One of the items in the box was my old ‘News Book’ where we kept a record of the things in our lives that we deemed newsworthy. I’m not sure what grade or age I was in when I wrote the entries in this book, but clearly it was sometime before they taught us punctuation or appropriate sentence length. You may catch some distinctly British phrases mixed in because I grew up in England and also, you should probably be reading it with an English accent.

It says:
June 6
In the holidays was when my daddy took me out for a 1 mile run and I went to Village day and I tried to win a football lots of times but I never did get one and I went on the merry go round and then I had a go at throwing a ball at the can and I got a key ring with a cat on it and my worst thing was when I got a pain in the neck and I got sun burnt.
Now, this brings up some interesting questions like; what on earth is Village day? Was the pain in my neck from the sunburn or in addition to it? Was this my first ever run or had we done this before? Did we run any intervals during that mile? What was the elevation profile like? How do you stretch one sentence out over 2 pages like that? Because seriously, that would have been a useful skill to have remembered in college. And finally, why the hell was I in school on June 6th? That’s practically the middle of the summer. These are all things I’d like to know. I wish I could go back in time and grab that little boy who wrote that by the collar and yell “be more specific,” while shaking him violently, because I think I’d be the better for it.

There were a number of other entries in the book that were a lot funnier than this one, but I found it interesting that I apparently started running and writing about running a long time ago. Check it, I even got a comment on it.

It’s also kind of neat that even at a young age you can see my writing style starting to develop into the complex style that I still use today on my blog and I still run just like I did in the holidays and I even ran last night on the treadmill and I didn’t want to because of the pain in my knee and then I did and soon I’m going to run a marathon and I’ll probably write about it too and I’m going to be fast and I hope that my knee doesn’t hurt and soon I will learn about punctuation and appropriate sentence length.
Exciting Podcasty Update: The new podcast is up, download it here or search for it on iTunes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Year in Review

Christmas is almost here, which means it’s time to look back at the goals we set at the beginning of the year and see how we’ve fared. Fortunately for me I couldn’t find a goal-setting post at the beginning of the year which means that I didn’t fail to meet any of my goals, if that makes sense (it made sense in my head). Last year I wrote a year in review post talking about all that I had accomplished but this year just doesn’t have a finished feel to it, and it probably won’t until I run the marathon on January 18th. Ironically enough, it was my year in review post last year where I first mentioned that I might consider running a marathon. I really wish that someone would have stepped in and stopped me right then and there. So instead of taking the time to craft a well thought out post about this past year, here are some bullet points.

Things that I’ve done this year that you probably don’t care about:

  • Set new PRs in the 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon.
  • Participated in my first podcast.
  • Signed up for my first marathon.
  • Started the SY5K Challenge.
  • Ran a race in a Gorilla suit, a lifelong goal of mine.
  • Sought out an evil arch nemesis.
  • Found one. (Except, replace evil with annoying.) As of right now Viper has re-claimed all 4 PRs, 5K, 10K, 13.1 and 26.2 but I’ll have my sights set on several of them for next year. For those of you wondering, I will not be eating my sweaty Red Sox hat. “I’ll eat my hat,” is just an expression to convey disbelief, no one really thinks that you’re going to literally eat your hat. It’s kind of like when I tell each and every one of you to kiss my derriere, I don’t expect you to literally do it, just figuratively. I will however admit that Viper proved me wrong, he did indeed run 32 miles last week. Bravo and congratulations for putting in some marathon type training in order to reach an arbitrary mileage goal that you’ll probably still fall short of. In fact... yeah... if Viper reaches 1,000 miles for the year, I’ll eat my shorts.*

That’s about all I have the energy for right now. I’m currently in the heart of marathon training and it doesn’t feel like a good time for careful retrospection and summation, plus “careful retrospection and summation” so doesn’t sound like something that you’d expect to find here at Half-Fast anyway.

*No I won’t, because it’s just an expression.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Get to Shaving Already!

Of the 94 stubble times that have been submitted for the Shave Your 5K Challenge, I have received only 19 smooth times. Perhaps people have forgotten about the challenge, or perhaps they’ve gotten slower and are too ashamed to e-mail me their times, fearing that I will mock them mercilessly (a well placed fear if ever there was one). The good news in all of this is that the less people who submit smooth times the greater your chances are of winning! Thus far it appears that there has been some pretty impressive shaving going on and I’m sorry to say, some pretty impressive cheating going on too. I just re-checked my originally posted terms and conditions and wow, are they long. They are as lengthy as my... well... let’s just say that they’re lengthy and leave it at that shall we? Anyway, the terms and conditions do state that I have the right “to disqualify anyone who submits a stubble time that I feel is significantly slower than it should be” and I’m so glad that I put that in there because disqualifying people sounds like a total power trip and tons of fun to boot.

I’ve decided that I won’t be posting the results until after the competition ends on January 1st just to keep you in suspense. Okay, you got me, it’s mostly because I like to procrastinate and put things off to the last minute, I haven’t even bought a single Christmas present yet. Why would I? There’s still 2 more weeks left before Christmas!

That’s all I’ve got for today. Have a good weekend and enjoy this video of the Mother of the Year and her son enjoying some kind of evil amusement park ride. Or maybe it’s the mother who’s evil, not the ride. By the way laughing at this video is equivalent to punching your one way ticket to Hell, so it’s a good thing that I wasn’t laughing at the video but rather at a joke I heard the other day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Emergency Procedures: Dance Off!

Emergency Procedures is my quest to differentiate Half-Fast from any other running blog out there. It is an ongoing feature designed to give runners the advice that no one else does, and appears on a random and inconsistent schedule despite its severe lack of popularity. Today’s topic, as you may have already guessed, is Dance Off!

I think that we can all agree that if there’s one thing Vanilla does well, it’s dancing. If there’s two things that Vanilla does well it’s dancing and talking about himself in the 3rd person like some kind of hot shot, superstar athlete. Naturally, I’ve never been worried about being challenged to a dance off while out running on the trails but that’s because I’ve got the moves to get you into the grooves, or something like that. However, it occurs to me that some of you might be terrified about the prospect of being challenged to a dance off because you don’t know how to get in to the groove or even how to shake your groove thang. Well fear not my friends, because Vanilla is here with another useful Emergency Procedures post to teach you how to win an impromptu dance off.

You’re running along, just minding your own business and enjoying your tunes when someone steps into your path Black Knight style and issues the all too familiar “None Shall Pass” edict. You’re about to be involved in a dance off... to the death! Here’s what you do:

Start out with the always popular running man. You’re probably already in your running groove and your running groove can be easily morphed into a dancing groove by starting with the running man. From there I always recommend shifting into Vanilla Ice’s Ninja Rap. “Go ninja, go ninja, go!”

Now if this kid knows what he’s doing then he’s probably going to come back at you with the Chicken Noodle Soup dance and maybe he’ll even pop and lock it, but don’t back down now. Tell him to step off, “I’m doin’ the Hump,” and bust out the Humpty Dance. Remember that the Humpty Dance is your chance to do the Hump. After that I’d reach back into your bag of tricks and give him some of the classic moves; the shopping cart, the lawnmower, and the sprinkler.

He’ll be taken aback by your prowess on the dance floor and resort to the robot and maybe even *NSYNC’s Bye Bye Bye puppet dance, which is a good point but that’s when you hit him up with MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This and Too Legit to Quit. He’ll probably be all, like “I see your point but here’s some moonwalking in your face!” And you’ll be all, like “Whoa, you’re good but can you handle my electric slide?” And while he’s still reeling from your awesome electric slide that’s when you hit him up old school with the ace up your sleeve: The Thriller, because “whosoever shall be found, without the soul for getting down, must stand and face the hounds of hell, and rot inside a corpses shell.” Game. Over!

Just remember, whatever you do, do not, under any circumstance, ever, ever do the twist. If you’re even contemplating this, then you’re way too old to be participating in a dance off in the first place. Also out of the question: walking like an Egyptian and the chicken dance. Stop. You’re just embarrassing yourself.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Race for Remembering

Last year on Sunday morning, December 2nd I ran the Colder Boulder 5K and set my stubble time for the Shave Your 5K Challenge. Later in the evening, I found out that about the same time that I was running that race I had lost a good friend, if you were reading Half-Fast back then you may remember my post paying tribute to Jason Wenger. It seemed only fitting that I should remember him this year when I ran the race. So, this past Sunday morning Candis and I went and picked up Carl (Jason’s Brother-In-Law) and the three of us ran the Colder Bolder 5K wearing our softball jerseys. (Jason used to play on our softball team and the team has since been renamed JWengs in his honor, likewise the new jerseys have ‘JWengs’ emblazoned across the front, which is why we chose to wear them for this race.)

I don’t mean to bring down the usually jovial mood here at Half-Fast because I know you don’t come here for heart-wrenching, tear-jerking posts but this is my Colder Bolder 5K race report and I can’t talk about it without mentioning Jason. Now without further ado, onto the actual race report and some much needed juvenile humor.

The Colder Bolder is a series of invitational races based on your finish time from the Bolder Boulder 10K race in May. I was running my race at 9:10am, and Candis and Carl were running their race at 10:10am, giving me an hour to finish the 5K loop and take over kid watching duty from Candis and Carl.

The gun sounded and I was out of the gate at a 6:00 minute mile pace. This was due to the small field, the downhill start, and the fact that I knew Candis was around the first bend taking pictures. After a good solid minute I dropped back to a 7:45 minute pace which was my goal pace for this particular 5K, but like all goals I decided that it needed to be changed mid race. Actually I didn’t decide it needed to be changed, my lungs did. Entering the second mile I could not catch my breath, I felt like my lungs were the size of testicles at a Polar Plunge meeting.

Also slowing me down was the cotton softball jersey I was wearing. The temperature was in the 50s, and I was burning up. I was struggling to breathe and my jersey wasn’t breathing at all so somewhere in the midst of mile 2 I removed the jersey hoping that it would cool me down and improve my speed. (Note: I was not topless, I had a long-sleeved compression shirt on under the jersey.) Alas, taking off the jersey did not magically make me faster. I still found myself struggling to stay below 9:00 minute miles and my teeny, tiny lung-sticles were on fire.

I gave up on trying to PR and put the jersey back on, finishing in 25:26 (8:21 pace) and shaving exactly 30 seconds off my time from last year. None of us PR’d in this race, Candis came in at 30:13 and Carl finished in 32:22. I think that my apparent lack of lung capacity and inability to hold the pace I wanted was due to having taken a couple of weeks off from running to rest my injured knee. The race showed me that if I still plan on running the marathon in January then I had better get myself back into running shape quickly. I’ll be hitting the treadmill for some speedwork tonight (it’s snowy and icy outside today) and I’m back on the full training schedule effective immediately.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cleaning Really Interferes with My Running

[by Candis, as if you couldn’t tell that from the title]

[image by Ian, as if you couldn’t tell, because this is how I pictured it]

Children and dogs are much dirtier than I was led to believe. I think owners of the previous understate this to those of us considering an acquisition.

This morning (is 1:30am morning?) my floors were bombarded with messes from both ends of our personal acquisitions. You should know that I’m a germ freak. Our home is not however freakily clean. (Odd eh?) Ian did not marry me for my cleaning skills- or he’d be gone already. He must actually like me. See, years of barely cleaning has paid off. I now know how much I really mean to my husband. Try it if you like, it’s risky though.

Even us ‘barely-cleaners’ must draw the line somewhere and I draw it at poop and throw up. As such, I spent a working man’s day and 3 boxes of baking soda disinfecting 2,000 square feet of floor.

My back is KILLING me (and to preempt the sarcastic, it’s not just because I’m not used to such extended periods of cleaning). I attempted a few lame runners’ yoga poses to fix my pain and trod off to our hamster wheel. It was the most painful easy run of my life. My arches hurt, my ankles hurt, my hip-flexors hurt, my back screamed and my shoulders locked. Usually I only come up with one reason I should stop running and have to talk myself through it- five is much harder to reason with.

This simply won’t do. It’s not even a running related injury, it’s an “I need a maid” injury. There you go honey, the perfect gift for me this year. I just can’t clean anymore.

Weekend Plans

The picture you see to the right (click to enlarge) was requested in the comments of yesterday’s post by tfh. Long winded commenter extraordinaire Glaven, beat me to it and offered up this version of the image, but I prefer mine because... well... because it’s mine. Thanks to tfh for the suggestion.

On Saturday I’ll make my (hopefully) triumphant return to running aided by 600mg of Advil, and on Sunday I’ll be (hopefully) Shaving my 5K at the Colder Bolder. If things don’t work out for the Colder Bolder race on Sunday then I guess I’ll just use my 5K time from the Skirt Chaser in September. I realize that the September Skirt Chaser race is outside of the window for running your ‘smooth time’ race but I’ve appealed to the race director (me) and I’m confident that he’ll grant me an exception if I need one (he will).

Several of you mentioned in the comments that I should not be taking Advil prior to running and I’ve heard that same thing before in the past, and so I mentioned this to the good doctor when gave me the advice. His response was that he didn’t think it was a big deal. He said that taking anti-inflammatories prior to exercising might diminish the benefit your muscles receive from the exercise but not enough to be of concern to someone who isn’t at an elite level. The other downside that he mentioned to taking Advil prior to running was that it would mask pain, and one of the functions of pain is to prevent you from injuring yourself further, but he dismissed this in my case because he said my knee was structurally sound and that running on it was not causing any further damage. I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t still have some reservations about taking Advil before running, but keeping in mind that he’s a doctor at an Orthopedic and Sports Medicine practice I’m going to give it a shot. I’ve googled the subject to try and find some definitive reasons not to take Advil before running and there’s a lot of information out there but most of it is posted on message forums and starts out with the phrase “Well, I’m not a doctor, but I heard...”

Below is my injury riddled running log for November. It has been mentioned by at least a couple of idiot bloggers that no one wants to see this and I’m well aware of that. If you’re not interested in my November running log then you can just skip the rest of this post, don’t worry you won’t be missing any jokes, just raw data.

11/22/20086 Mile Loop (x 2)Long14 Mi2:22:0910:10
11/19/20083 Mile LoopEasy3 Mi26:278:49
11/18/20083 Mile LoopEasy3 Mi29:009:40
11/15/20086 Mile LoopLong/Injury :(5.15 Mi48:099:21
11/12/2008Misc.Intervals (6 x 800)5.46 Mi48:408:55
11/9/2008Grand Lake (elev 8300 ft)Hills5.11 Mi49:339:42
11/7/20086 Mile Loop (x2)Long14 Mi2:15:299:41
11/5/20085 Miles Out & BackTempo5 Mi42:268:30
11/1/20086 Mile Loop (x2.6)Long16 Mi2:30:309:25
Distance: 70.7 miles
Total Time: 11:12:23

P.S. This is my 400th post! W00t!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fashion Statement

Despite what you witnessed in the previous post, Vanilla is the height of all fashion. The image you see above is a trendy boutique near the Spanish Steps in Rome, not the Rome in Georgia, the one in Italy. It makes me wonder what the Spanish Steps are doing in Italy, do the Spanish people know that their steps are in Rome? And is Spanish similar enough to Italian for the steps to even understand the people there? Are the steps bilingual? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. No doubt these are questions that philosophers have pondered ad infinitum (Latin!) over the centuries. These pictures come from Xenia the Warrior Princess who, rumor has it, pondered the answers to the above questions while running the Spanish Steps in Rocky-esque fashion. From the horse’s mouth (though I’m sure Xenia’s mouth looks nothing like a horse’s):

I was wandering around Rome yesterday and came across your eponymous shop near the Spanish Steps.

Is this where you're marketing your new line of sexy shorts? ;)

Eponymous: adjective - A name, as of a people, country, and the like, derived from that of an individual.

If I had to go look it up then I think we can all agree that you guys were going to have to go look it up too. Man, I hate people that are smarter than me and try to prove it by using sesquipedalian words.

Amy, Nitmos, Raz and I are going to be recording another Podcast sometime over the coming week and being that we’re a group of unimaginative mouth-breathers (speaking primarily for Nitmos and Raz here) we’d like to ask for your input. If you have any topics you’d like to hear us discuss, or if you have any questions that you’d like us to answer for you then please leave them in the comments or e-mail them to me and I’ll pass them on to the others. Please don’t be offended if we don’t select your question to answer, it’s not necessarily because your question sucked, it may just be because you’re fat and ugly and don’t deserve to have your question addressed by 3 beautiful people and an idiot on a podcast. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out who the idiot is, but I think it’s obvious.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

“Maybe you just can’t run that far”

That’s what the orthopedic surgeon told me yesterday just moments before he doubled over in pain from a kick to the groin. OK, so I didn’t kick him in the groin, but I wanted to.

Since I went straight from work to visit the doctor’s office I was still wearing a suit and apparently you can’t take x-rays through suit pants. Really? The machine can see through flesh and muscle but it can’t see through finely crafted, Italian, merino wool faux polyester from Indonesia? I was handed a pair of one-size-fits-all shorts to wear for the x-ray part of my visit and fortunately for you, Candis was with me to snap a picture of me looking sexy as hell in oversized shorts, dress socks and a shirt and tie.

Tucking the tie into the shorts really completes the ensemble. As I walked across the office to the x-ray room I could tell from the looks I was getting that all of the nurses wanted to get in my pants, and the good news is that I had room in there for every single one of them.

Shortly thereafter, the doctor came in and inspected the x-rays. The only conclusion that could be drawn from the x-rays was that beauty is NOT skin deep as the x-rays proved that my knees are sexy all the way through to the bone. Other than that, everything looked normal. Perfectly healthy knees. X-rays = useless. Hopefully that means that I won’t be charged for them, right? Right?

Next the doctor had me lie down on the table and he flexed my knee every which way possible. He poked and prodded, he twisted, he hyper-extended, he did every trick in the book to try to cause pain or discomfort but nothing came close to the discomfort I had felt earlier when he paraded me across the office in sexy shorts like a piece of meat. It was not even remotely unpleasant and I think I may have even nodded off for part of the exam.

Finally, we got to talking about the injury. I explained where the pain was (behind my knee) and told him how it only comes on after an hour or two of running. I explained how excruciatingly painful it is when it appears and how it disappears completely after ice, Advil and a few hours rest. The final diagnosis was that I probably have a tiny Baker Cyst (also known as a Gargamel Cyst) in the back of my knee that gets irritated after running for any length of time. Incidentally, no one guessed Gargamel in the comments so you all suck at diagnosing running injuries as much as I do. That’s when the doctor told me, in between coughing fits, that I could continue running and that maybe the pain was my body’s way of telling me that I just can’t run that far. He even jokingly told me that maybe I should stick to half marathons, but it wasn’t funny. He suggested I keep running, building my long runs slowly to the point where the pain starts. He also recommended taking 600mg of ibuprofen before my long runs.

The good news in all of this is that the marathon is still in the picture depending on how far I can run prior to the pain starting up. I’m going to take a couple more days off and jump back into running again this weekend, after all I’m running the Colder Bolder 5K on Sunday with Candis and Carl and it will be my final attempt at Shaving my 5K.

The most disappointing thing about the whole trip to the doctor’s office was that I didn’t even get to pee in a cup. That’s always the best part about going to the doctor’s office. I know it probably wouldn’t have helped with a diagnosis, but shouldn’t we at least give it a try on the off chance that it would? Maybe my knee hurts because I’m pissing out pieces of my knee’s meniscus and it would have showed up in my urine sample along with traces of excellence. Hey, you never know.

Edit: I Googled Baker Cyst and it turns out the other term I was looking for is Ganglion not Gargamel, however I will continue to refer to the little bugger as Gargamel because it seems more appropriate.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It’s Not a Tumor

The mystery of my knee has been solved, thanks to the miracle of internet self-diagnosis. I recently followed an ad to the iVillage Symptom Solver website which asked me lots of questions about the pain and then proceeded to tell me that I have rheumatoid arthritis.

If it is rheumatoid arthritis then I’m screwed because the Symptom Solver also told me that there is no cure for R.A. That Symptom Solver has the worst bedside manner ever. Seriously, you can’t break that to me a little easier? You can’t tell me gently that there isn’t a cure? You can’t warm up your hands before we do the hernia check?

Despite the thorough diagnosis of the Symptom Solver, I won’t be cancelling my trip to the Orthopedic Specialist this afternoon. Hopefully he’ll be able to give me a better answer, with any luck it will even be the right answer and hopefully his hands will be warmer too. I’m actually kind of excited to go see the doctor and find out what’s wrong with my knee and what treatment it requires. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that it’s not any of the items listed on Symptom Solver’s results because even if I lose, most donuts cost close to a buck now anyway.

My guess is that it’s Patellofemoral Syndrome or Chlamydia... no... wait, I think I mean Chondromalacia. It had better not be Chlamydia, I hear that will really mess up your knee.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I was going to use today’s post to list things that I’m thankful for like friends, family and blog readers, but that’s not funny. It’s not funny at all. Also I’m not about to give thanks for a bunch of readers have taken it upon themselves to place bets in my comments section on what my knee injury is. Jerkfaces! Then I thought that I could make a sarcastic list of things that I was thankful for, but I did that last year so this year I’m just going to remind you that when you post your list of things that you’re thankful for, you had better include Half-Fast on your list. I tirelessly work my fingers to the bone for you people and you never remember to thank me for it! Would it kill you to tell me those 3 little words I’ve been longing to hear? Does it even occur to you that maybe I need to hear you say it every once and a while?

While you’re busy thanking me, don’t forget to also thank Amy, Nitmos, RazZDoodle, and the Runners’ Lounge for putting together a quality podcast for you to listen to over Thanksgiving. Seriously, download it today and then tomorrow when you think you can’t take one more story about how advanced your cousin’s illegitimate 7 month old is, just pop in your headphones and listen to the podcast. It will be 45 minutes of bliss compared to your family get togethers. Actually, I should mention that throughout the call there was this intermittent screeching noise in the background. I thought that Raz would remove it in editing, but it turns out that the annoying screeching noise was actually Nitmos talking. Even taking into account the cacophony that is Nitmos voice, it’s still going to be better than spending time with your family and having to explain to your mother why you just couldn’t make it work with that nice young lawyer even though he was cheating on you with a 17 year old and had no discernable soul.

We had a lot of fun recording the podcast, and I hope that you’ll have just as much fun listening to it. You can read the show notes and download the episode at Runners’ Lounge or at Running Off at the Mind.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

-Oh and by the way, I’m totally kidding about that betting on my injury thing. Get your guess in before Monday and we’ll see who’s the closest.

Download Podcast

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Doctor, doctor, give me the news

I’ve got a bad case of... well... I’m not really sure what it is... it’s not a hamstring... it’s not an ACL or MCL... it’s probably some kind of inflammation that’s caused by... well... I’m not really sure what could be causing it.

There you have it folks. I went to the doctor yesterday and he couldn’t tell me what was wrong with my knee. He listed a whole lot of common runner’s injuries and then proceeded to tell me why it didn’t sound like any of them. After that, just for fun he stretched, pulled, pushed and twisted my knee to see if he could duplicate the pain but he couldn’t, probably because I’m a tough guy. In fact, while he was trying to hyperextend my knee I looked at him squarely in the eyes and said “Doctor, do you expect me to talk?”
To which he replied with a sinister laugh, “No Mr. Vanilla, I expect you to die!” Then he tied me down, set the laser to “obliterate” and left me for dead. If it wasn’t for my laser-deflecting watch I’d have been dispatched for certain, instead I managed to escape through the heating ducts but only after making out with the hot nurse practitioner.

Yeah, so, Candis and I went to see Quantum of Solace this past weekend and somewhere after the phrase ‘hyperextend my knee’ in that last paragraph I transitioned into fiction. Hey, I’m not running much right now, what else do you want me to write about?

The Doctor (Evil?) was somewhat baffled by the way the injury happened and the way it went away in the following days. He thinks it might be some kind of inflammation and he was convinced that a MRI wouldn’t help much. The Doctor (No?) did refer me to an Orthopedic Specialist, which is great news because under my current health care insurance I think anything with that has the word ‘specialist’ in the title is totally and completely free... or maybe I’m reading that backwards. Anyway, the Orthopedic Specialist (cringe) can’t see me until Monday so I’m going to take this week off from running and then see what the specialist tells me to do. If anyone would like to buy a child I have two wonderfully behaved boys (entering the realm of fiction again) that I will gladly sell to get my knee back to its original form.

Check back tomorrow for the Podcast, and in the meantime enjoy another funny video courtesy of Marci’s blog, Ramblings of a Running Addict via Mike’s Carnival of Running at Running is Funny. If you don’t follow the Carnival of Running then you really should, it’s a lot like my Weekend Splits, except it’s actually posted on a regular basis. He even takes pot shots at Viper, just like I do.

No ellipses were harmed during the writing of this post.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Miscellany

Knee Problems Persist It turns out that my knee issue wasn’t just a one time, random occurrence as I had hoped. My long run on Saturday was abruptly ended at 14 miles when the pain in my knee became debilitating. Candis doesn’t think that I should run until the pain reaches the point where I would describe it as ‘debilitating’ but what would she know. On the plus side I made it 9 miles further this week before crashing to the ground in crippling pain. If that trend continues I’ll be able to run 23 miles next weekend before the pain kicks in. On the minus side, the pain was a lot worse this time and lasted a lot longer despite breaking open the Advil Liqui-Gels and mainlining that stuff right into my bloodstream.

I could really use some good advice here, and who better to turn to for advice than a group of pseudonymed commenters who seem to enjoy juvenile humor and sarcasm on a running blog. I’m toying with the idea of taking 2 weeks off from running to try and recover fully and then resuming my training. I have only 7 weeks left before the marathon so that would leave me 3 weeks to get ready for it and 2 weeks to taper. I’m really not ready to give up on it yet, but that won’t matter if my knee doesn’t heal up. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and I’ll let you know tomorrow who was closest to what a real doctor says, since I have an appointment with one this afternoon. Yeah, that’s how bad it is, I actually made an appointment to go see a doctor.

Podcasting You are probably already aware that the Runner’s Lounge has been putting together some really good podcasts lately. What you might not be aware of is that I was involved in one that was recorded last week. Amy Lawson, Nitmos and I joined RazZDoodle to record our first podcast. Well, it was a first for all of us except Raz, but he certainly performed as though it was his first. The podcast will be available on Wednesday and I’ll no doubt provide a link to it when it’s up, but let’s face it, the title Half-Fast doesn’t just apply to my running but also to my expediency in getting posts up at this wonderful little blog. If you’re really desperate to get your hands on the podcast the second it goes live then you’re better off checking Runner’s Lounge or Running Off at the Mind (Raz’s blog). Whatever you do, don’t miss it because we tackled many of the hard hitting issues that runners face, things like llamas, Fergie, and how to best let your coworkers know that you’re a runner. A couple of days after we recorded the podcast I found the following video at EverymanTri which is another funny way to let your coworkers know that you’re a runner, but not quite as funny or as good as our suggestions in the podcast. Enjoy.

“Think like an athlete...”

Friday, November 21, 2008

Shave Your 5K Update

This is just a friendly reminder for those of you who are participating in the Shave Your 5K Challenge that you only have 5½ weeks left to get achieve your Smooth time so you’d better get your butt out there and start running some 5Ks. My dilatory way of processing the results means that many of you didn’t receive an e-mail confirming that you were entered into the challenge, but if you sent me an e-mail with a 5K result then you should see your name on the results page. If you don’t see your name, then you need to send me another e-mail so that I can ignore you again correct my oversight.

All Smooth times must be e-mailed to me before the end of the day, January 1st, 2009. I’ll plan on announcing the winner’s and sending out prizes some time in January and I promise to be somewhat punctual about it.

Finally, here’s a video that is not related to anything I’ve said in this post whatsoever, but it’s Friday and I needed a laugh and you look like you could use one too.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Running Again

I went running yesterday morning, because I couldn’t bear the thought of resting any longer. I have experienced very little pain in my knee since the end of the all the football games on Sunday evening, but I am certain that my FBNH injury recovery system is fully responsible for what appears to be a complete recovery... almost. I had intended to run a very cautious 3 miles at a relaxed pace, but after a painless couple of minutes I found myself running at a heightened velocity. The scenery in my peripheral vision blurred together and disappeared behind me, the crunching of gravel underfoot grew rhythmically faster, my legs danced like a flautist’s* fingers trying to keep up with The Flight of the Bumblebee, the wind rushed fiercely through my ears, in one and out the other, my stride returned to its glorious, pre-injury form, and with it all, my proclivity for longwinded, run on sentences was apparently restored.

You might have deduced that it was a good run from my magniloquent description of it above, but at the very end of my 3 miles I did start to notice a faint pain in the back of my right knee again. Fortunately, I was finishing up my run and was able to kill it with a fun-sized pack of Advil. I’m going to rest up over the next couple of days and then make a second attempt at the 17 mile long run that was cut down in the prime of its life last Saturday. If I am unable to finish what I’ve started this coming weekend then it will be a sure sign that my work life has started to slip into my personal life, and also I’m going to look into having my knee replaced so that I can be ready for the PF Chang’s R‘n’R Marathon in January.

Do you hear me, right knee? If you screw up again you’re getting replaced. I simply won’t tolerate certain body parts quitting on the rest of us.

*Or ‘flutist’ if you prefer to be a little less pretentious, which I don’t.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You’re Hurt Because You’re Weak!

[a post by Candis]

Remember this post? It’s payback time!

As you all know from Ian’s last post he hurt his widdle knee on his long run last weekend.

Ian took his usual hour to prepare for his run Saturday. He mixed potions, calculated gels, went out on the back deck and then put on gloves, went out on the front porch and then took off his gloves, set up his private water station at the street and triumphantly announced he would return in an impressive 2 hours and 40 minutes (while we could also see him at his water stops). He bounded down the street while 2 PJ clad boys screamed “run blazing fast Daddy!” maybe they should have shouted “Don’t bust a knee Daddy!”

Tick, tick, tick... 45 minutes gone and the phone rang. I knew who it was and knew he needed a ride. Let’s just say it’s happened before. It’s a bad habit someone started. “Something’s really wrong. I can’t put weight on my knee... wait, let me try to run some more (genius)... argggg! Can you come get me?”

“Boys! Gotta’ go get Dad.” They jump in the car without so much as a question (normal).

All the way home, Ian showed his calmness and played down the injury. “I missed another run this week because of that dinner and now I owe RazZDoodle a beer and I probably won’t be able to go long next week, my marathon training is ruined!”

All day Saturday and all day Sunday Ian sulked around the house and used his “injury” to get out of being a useful human being. I thought he was really, really injured. “Oh, I wonder when you can get in to the doctor to get that looked at,” I asked worriedly.
“It’s not serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor’s office,” but it was serious enough that he was unable to get up and get a beer. It was serious enough that he couldn’t stand to make chocolate milk for the boys. It affected his ability to think. He couldn’t even remember for himself when he had last taken Advil! “Honey, can I take more Advil yet? Do you remember what time I took it?”

Why is it that men are such babies about getting hurt or injured? I’ve never heard a grown man complain so much about how cold an ice pack was. Ya, it’s ice, it’s supposed to be freezing.

Don’t even get me started on his FBNH recovery system or whatever he called it. It was more like CLAW- Complaining, Loafing, Advil and Whining. (At least mine actually makes a word.)

This is all very suspect. It’s convenient that Ian got injured at the start of the weekend. He had to rest during football- all 7 games that we watched.

Hey, Ian was right -for once- it is fun to mock other people’s pain!

Monday, November 17, 2008

[Expletive Laden Title]

Until Saturday morning I was able to count myself as one of those fortunate runners who had never suffered a running injury. Until Saturday. I really don’t have the words to describe how frustrated I am right now, but that’s only because this is a PG-13 blog and I try to avoid using words like [censored], [redacted], or mother[expletive]!

At the end of my first run of the week I noticed a twinge in the back of my right knee. I skipped my midweek run due to other commitments, although I used the aforementioned twinge to justify skipping the run. Then on a brisk Saturday morning I headed out for a 17 mile run (my longest run to date). Through the first 5 miles things were going swimmingly. I was feeling good and the pain behind my right knee was barely noticeable at all. I stopped at a crosswalk and waited for the traffic to stop. The cars stopped, the walk signal lit up, and I took off at my crosswalk pace, which is a little faster than my usual pace because there are more people watching at crosswalks. I made it two steps before wondering who was stabbing the back of my right knee with a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils. I stumbled, hopped and caught myself from falling before beginning the walk of shame. No, not that walk of shame, the runner’s walk of shame. You know, the one where people see you walking in all your running attire and know that you’re a quitter. Yeah, that was me on Saturday.

I walked for a minute, barely able to put weight on my right leg before deciding to try running again. Yes, you read that right, even though it was difficult to put weight on my right leg I thought I’d give running another try. Needless to say, it did not go well. I actually ended up calling Candis and telling asking her politely to come and pick me up so that I wouldn’t have to do the walk of shame all the way home. It sucked.

Since Saturday morning I’ve just been R.I.C.E.-ing it (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation for those of you who aren’t ‘in the know’). Except, the Ice was really, really cold and I didn’t like that so I replaced icing my knee with drinking beer, and that seems to be just as effective at relieving my pain. And then I also modified ‘resting’ to be ‘watching football’ which is still pretty relaxing even though it often involves me raising my voice at the TV. I don’t have anything to compress my knee with either so I changed ‘compressing’ with ‘nachos’ because nachos go great with football and beer. Elevating my knee worked out OK, but I usually have my feet up when I’m watching football anyway so I changed ‘elevation’ to ‘hot-tubbing.’ Suffice it to say it was a pretty relaxing weekend, even taking into account the intermittent screaming out obscenities at my right knee, and on the plus side I did come up with a new injury recovery system for runners: F.B.N.H. which is short for Football, Beer, Nachos and Hot-tubbing. Sure, it’s not an easy to pronounce acronym like R.I.C.E. but it more than makes up for its difficult pronunciation in its enjoyment factor.

For those of you are wondering (including you Candis), no, I’m not going to see our family physician, those people are nothing more than witch doctors and voodoo specialists with their fancy cars, high priced degrees and white coats. No, I’ve always believed that laughter was the best medicine, which is why we took our kids to the circus instead of the pediatrician when it was time to get their measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination.

As if all this isn’t bad enough, the weather has been absolutely perfect for running these past few days in Colorado. I can’t tell you how many runners I’ve cursed at for having the nerve to be out running while I was injured. Have they no sense of decency? No compassion for a fellow runner? Those selfish rat-[censored] can kiss my [bleep]ing [expletive]!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Best Thing About Pain?

Earlier this year I did a post for CRN (Complete Running Network) about adding inspirational movie quotes to your running playlist. It’s a fun distraction to hear quotes from your favorite movies interspersed with the songs that get you pumped up. The other night I was watching the movie G.I. Jane (don’t judge) starring Demi Moore as a woman trying to make it as a member of the Navy SEALS, when I came across the following quote that is being immediately added into the running playlist rotation:

“Pain is your friend, your ally, it will tell you when you are seriously injured, it will keep you awake and angry, and remind you to finish the job and get the hell home. But you know the best thing about pain? It lets you know you’re not dead yet!”
You can find a link to the mp3 file and the wav sound file at the bottom of this page.

Speaking of CRN, I don’t think I linked to either of my 2 most recent posts over there. (This is October’s and this is November’s.) So, if you haven’t already read them then you should go do that now, and in the future don’t wait for me to link to them you lazy sack of slow twitch muscle fibers. Seriously, do I have to do everything for you? You might be thinking that reading both of them is too much effort in which case you and I are a lot alike, and you should totally just read November’s because I kind of phoned in October’s. (Hey, just like I’m phoning in today’s post!)

I also want to mention the Treadmill Vehicle, as seen on With Leather (video below). I couldn’t think of a clever segue to allow me to just radically change topics like that in the middle of a post, so it’s a good thing that I don’t allow trivial things like flow and style to influence my writing. At any rate, the Treadmill Vehicle is claiming to be the first man powered treadmobile, but if you’ve been a reader of Half-Fast since the beginning (you’re still here?) then you will remember a couple of posts that I wrote about the Treadmill Bike. I think the Treadmill Bike people have grounds to sue the Treadmill Vehicle people and more importantly I think they’re both morons. A bicycle is much more convenient than either of these two options for getting around and if you wanted to run... then why wouldn’t you just run?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Art of the Snot Rocket

It was cold this morning when I left for my run, but running in the cold brings with it the joy of a runny nose. Why is a runny nose a joy? Because of all the snot rockets I get to fire during my run. If I ever get lost on a cold weather run I’m confident that I’ll be able to find my way home by using the Hansel and Gretel approved method of following the trail of Vanilla snot that can be found on various street signs and lampposts. That is, of course, assuming that the creatures of the forest don’t eat my “breadcrumbs”.

The snot rocket (or farmer’s blow) is an essential tool of the cold weather runner and if you don’t yet know how to perform this maneuver then it is high time you learned. Whatever you do, don’t follow Viper’s lead as his trail would apparently lead around his shirt and back to his shoulder.

If you’re an amateur snot-rocketeer (not to be confused with a Mouseketeer) then you’ll want to hone your skills when stopped at a crosswalk because it’s much easier to perform the snot rocket while standing still. Also, there are usually more people to witness your snot rocket at an intersection and that’s a good thing because this is a highly difficult and highly attractive endeavor. I mean, for me it just doesn’t get any sexier than a sweaty runner chick blasting snot rockets on a cold winter’s day.

Those of you who are veteran snot-rocketeers can perform this maneuver on the run. Here’s how you do it. First, you give a quick check over your shoulder to make sure there isn’t a cyclist barreling past you (or if you don’t like cyclists then wait until there is one). Turn to face over your right shoulder and tilt your head back a little. Breathe in through your mouth and plug your left nostril with your left index finger and then... FIRE!! “Bogey 1 is down, I repeat, Bogey 1 is down!”

Next, turn to the other side and acquire your next target. Plug the other nostril, wait until you get missile tone (not to be confused with mistletoe - you should never fire a snot rocket whilst under mistletoe, it would really catch your partner off guard and it’s totally disgusting) and then: Fire 2! Fire 2! “Bingo, that’s a direct hit, Bogey 2 is splashdown! Yehaw! Jester’s dead!”
“This is Mustang to Vanilla, can you get visual confirmation that the target has been destroyed?”
“That’s affirmative Mustang. Zero survivors, zero collateral damage.”

Collateral damage is not just a bad Schwarzenegger movie, it’s what happens when you misfire and get snot all over your pants or shoes, also often referred to as friendly fire. As you practice your snot rocketeering you may find that you get the occasional Stage 5 Clinger and these can be wiped on the bottom of your shirt. Avoid wiping these on the back of your sleeve, especially if you are prone to mopping the sweat off your forehead with the back of your sleeve. That’s a rookie mistake that you’ll only make once. Trust me. Before you know it you’ll become so proficient that you will fire snot rockets into the break room trashcan from the other side of the room. It’s a really neat party trick and a great conversation starter.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Things to Do on Your Long Run When Your Legs Are Dead

You might not be aware of this but I’m in the middle of training for a marathon. In January I’ll be heading out to Arizona to run in the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, an endurance feat that I doubt has ever been accomplished by anyone else in the history of mankind. As part of my training for this daring undertaking I have been increasing my weekly mileage, and more specifically, increasing my long runs on the weekend. I’ve always found long runs to be somewhat boring and monotonous, but that is even more pronounced during marathon training, when your long runs last well beyond their entertainment value, kind of like an SNL skit.

Fortunately for you, I’ve come up with a useful list of things that you can do to help pass the time.

  • Use the time to plot the perfect murder.
  • Ponder the chicken and the egg, which one came first?
  • Use the time to concoct the perfect margarita.
  • See if you can balance your water bottle on your head.
  • See if you can balance your check book in your head.
  • Write your next blog post. If nothing exciting is happening then just make stuff up.
  • Try out some pick-up lines on everyone you see.
  • Listen to your mp3 player and figure out what Weird Al would do to each song. Surely you can do better than Rye or the Kaiser.
  • Call a cab.
  • Curse this cold weather.
  • Think up insanely long and confusing titles for your next blog post based loosely on movies that you haven’t even seen.
  • Pee on things.
  • Count the number of steps you take in a minute.
  • See if you can increase that number.
  • See if you can decrease it, maybe even to zero.
  • Stop somewhere for lunch.
  • Shout obscenities at some random passer-by.
  • Steal candy from a baby.
  • Change the screens on your Garmin to display sunrise, date, calories, and GPS Accuracy because knowing your time, distance and pace is overrated and only makes the run feel longer.
  • A spirited game of Ding, Dong, Ditch is a great way to get in some fartleks. (Did anyone else call this game Knock Down Ginger? That was how I knew it growing up in England but my wife had no idea what I was talking about.)
  • Take your Blackberry and reply to some e-mails.

Before you know it your run will be over and you’ll have a speedy time, because time flies when you’re having fun.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Personal Running Log - October 2008

October was my first ever 100 mile month. I guess the increased mileage is the result of training for the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon. I know it’s been a while since I mentioned I’m running a marathon, so I hope you didn’t forget. You may now continue to be in awe of me. My mileage hasn’t yet topped out, but I’m already looking forward to tapering. How long is the standard taper for a marathon anyway? 5 weeks? 6 weeks? When can I start running less? And, is it a bad sign that in the midst of marathon training I want to run less?

I can safely say however, that I won’t be skipping any of my long runs. Those of you who read RazZDoodle’s blog (both of you) will already have heard about our little wager. Since we’re both running the RNR AZ marathon and his sister is running the half, we’ve decided that for every long run you skip you owe the other participants a beer. We will prove that we’ve completed our long runs by taking a picture of our Garmins and e-mailing them to Raz who will then post them on his blog (see last week’s here). If you are going to be running the RNR AZ marathon and want in on a piece of this action then let me or Raz know, and then head on over to his blog and leave discouraging comments that will cause him to miss his long runs. He’ll be happy to buy you a beer too.

October was also the first time that I received 10,000 plus hits in a single month, I wonder if the two are connected? Do the hits increase as the miles increase? I guess we’ll find out in January when I stop running completely.

Now, without further ado, I’ll get to the part of this post that you’ve all been waiting for; the raw data. If you’re like me, you get a boner just looking at all these running stats. Forget Nicollette Sheridan, give me some more of those sexy, naked numbers!

10/30/20086 Mile Loop Long HillTempo6 Mi52:088:42
10/28/20085 Miles Out & BackIntervals (3 x 1600)5 Mi42:258:29
10/26/20086 Mile Loop (x 2)Long12 Mi1:55:279:38
10/25/2008Denver Gorilla RunRace3.75 Mi36:229:42
10/23/2008TrackTempo 6 Mi51:438:38
10/21/2008TreadmillIntervals (5 x 1000)5 Mi41:298:18
10/19/2008Denver Half MarathonRace 13.1 Mi2:17:1410:29
10/17/20087 Miles Out & BackTempo7 Mi1:01:448:50
10/14/2008TrackIntervals (ladder)5 Mi42:438:33
10/11/20086 Mile Loop (x 2.5)Long15 Mi2:21:569:28
10/9/20087 Miles Out & BackTempo7 Mi1:04:039:09
10/7/2008TrackIntervals (4 x 800)4.5 Mi38:388:36
10/4/2008MiscLong13 Mi2:17:2010:34
10/3/20086 Mile Loop Long HillTempo6 Mi53:478:58
Distance: 108.4 miles
Total Time: 16:56:59


You’ll notice that I’ve changed the Denver Gorilla Run from 3.6 miles to 3.75 miles and that’s because that is what they are reporting it as on their website, and also because it makes my pace look a little more respectable.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Off Track: Idiot in an Elevator

When I returned from lunch today I was riding the elevator up to my office when I had the following conversation:

Unknown stranger: Did you vote?
Me: Yeah. Did you?
Stranger: No... It doesn’t matter, it’s going to be a landslide anyway.
Me: You think Nader’s got this all locked up too, huh?

Keep in mind that I live in Colorado, which is one of the more evenly split states according to recent polls and that we have 9 electoral votes. Now this stranger may be right, this thing may be a landslide and his vote may not have mattered but I find myself hoping that he’s weeping into his loafers as the results come in tonight. The really bizarre part was that he brought up the question of whether I had voted, obviously knowing that I would likely return the question. It was like he was dying to tell me that it didn’t matter whether you voted or not.

I know every other blog is telling you to go vote today and I really wasn’t planning on doing it because I hate to be like every other blog, but please don’t be like the idiot in the elevator. Go vote. It does matter, even if everyone already knows that your state is red or blue. It matters that you vote. It’s your civic duty to vote. If you don’t do it, then I don’t think we can be online friends anymore.

Runners Expose Their Pumpkins, Get Ticketed

The Naked Pumpkin Run took place in Boulder, CO on Halloween night and police were out in full force ticketing people for indecent exposure. As opposed to ticketing them for decent exposure which is what happens when models and beautiful people expose themselves and is only a misdemeanor if there are kids around. You might remember that I had mentioned the event in a previous post, but I just wanted to write a quick follow up today because things got interesting this year.

In this the 10th annual Naked Pumpkin Run through the streets of Boulder police decided to crack down on the naked runners and issued citations to 12 of them. There were upwards of 100 participants this year, so I’m not sure what these 12 people did to warrant indecent exposure citations but I’m sure you can all come up with some creative guesses in the comments. Now pay attention because this is where the story gets really funny, if these charges stick the naked pumpkin runners will have to register themselves as sex offenders. ROFLOL! It’s funny because it’s not happening to me!

I’m no legal expert but I’m fairly certain that being required to register as a sex offender has far reaching implications that could possibly change your life forever. Your neighbors will shun you, no one will let you near their kids, and you could possibly lose your job and find it difficult to get another one. No, stop, you’re killing me! I’m in tears laughing over here! OK, maybe it’s not quite as funny as I’m making it out to be, but next time you decide to expose your pumpkins (unisex euphemism) and go running down the street you might want to think twice. Heck, even thinking once might have helped in this situation.

[Source: Daily Camera]

Monday, November 3, 2008

Do you mind if I run with you?

Such was the question posed to me during a recent tempo run while I was paused at an intersection. As I waited for the walk signal to tell me it was time to run again, I was approached by a guy who was probably still excited that he could now legally buy porn and vote, although probably less so the latter. “Do you mind if I run with you?” he asked. I nodded and pointed out which trail I was intending to follow, and then we both obstructed our hearing with our earbuds, bringing our clumsy attempt at socializing to a screeching halt. As we waited for the walk signal he jogged in place and I tried to distance myself from him so that people wouldn’t think that we were together. I used to be one of those people that jogged in place at intersections, but I haven’t done that since this post.

After a few seconds the traffic light turned red, the little white man started flashing (the crosswalk signal, not me) and I took off across the street. I made it safely to the other side and headed on down the trail, moving to the far right so that Junior could run alongside me, but Junior never did. At first I was worried that he hadn’t made it through the busy intersection, but I didn’t want to look back because if he had been hit by a car I’d feel obligated to stop and assist him. If I just kept on running I could pretend I didn’t know that he’d been run over and avoid unnecessarily interrupting my run. Curiosity got the better of me and I glanced back over my shoulder. Fortunately for me, Junior had made it across the street and was 7 or 8 paces behind me. I stayed to the right, expecting him to pull up next to me at any second but he never did.

I glanced back a couple more times and Junior was always 7 or 8 paces behind me. This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I told him he could run with me. I glanced down at my watch and was shocked to find that I was running a 7:20 pace, a full minute faster than I was attempting to complete the tempo section of this run. I tried backing off the pace a little but there was something about having company on a run that wouldn’t let me slow down. After a quarter of a mile at this blistering pace (for me anyway) I managed to back the pace down a little and shortly thereafter Junior pulled up next to me. He was flush in the face and visibly winded and it took everything I had not to crack a smile at this realization. I backed off the pace a little more and pulled out an earbud when it looked like he was about to speak, “I’m going to turn around and head a different direction,” he said between gasps for air.
“Okay,” I nodded, “I’ll see you around.”
“Yeah, thanks for letting me run with you,”
he said while offering up a fist bump. I tried to return the fist bump, but missed awkwardly as he had already turned to run back the other way and my arms weren’t long enough. I quickly turned the fist into a wave so as not to seem like so much of an idiot - whew, really sidestepped that landmine! I finished the rest of my run grinning from ear to ear. I had run with a younger guy and I had beaten him soundly.

While I’m on the subject of great runs, I had another one on Saturday. It was my first attempt at 16 miles and I chose to run two 6 mile loops and then a 4 mile loop, again attempting to run negative splits. Here’s how it worked out:

1st Loop (6 Miles) - 58:30 (9:45 pace)
2nd Loop (6 Miles) - 56:04 (9:21 pace)
3rd Loop (4 Miles) - 35:56 (8:59 pace)
Total: 16 miles – 2:30:30 (9:25 pace)

My training schedule was calling for me to run this at my intended marathon pace (9:09) + 45 to 60 seconds per mile, but that seems way too slow to be doing my long runs, so again I started at a 9:45 pace and tried to pick it up as I went along. I still felt strong at the end of this run, so it’s possible that I might need to increase the pace a little more on my long runs, but there’s still time for that between now and January.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Nicollette Sheridan is Running

Nicollette Sheridan, of the TV show Desperate Housewives and timeless movies such as Beverly Hills Ninja and Spy Hard, was spotted running on the beach in Malibu at least a couple of times in recent weeks. Running on a beach often sounds like the perfect run, but trust me when I tell you from experience that it is nothing of the sort. It tears up your calves, it really doesn’t make you look any sexier, and even when you try it in slow motion (a la Baywatch) it still invites comparisons to beached whales. Just shut up and leave me alone you stupid tourists!

But if you ever had any lingering doubts that running does a body good then I invite you to review the pictures of Nicollette Sheridan lounging in a bikini that I have placed at the end of this post. Nicollette Sheridan turns 45 next month and she still looks great, not quite up to my high standards mind you, but certainly closer than any other 45 year old.

As I type this post it occurs to me that Nicollette Sheridan along with many other actors has a pretty tough life. Running on the beach with your dog, lounging in the sun, drinking, doing magazine photo shoots, attending all those award shows and making appearances at multiple after-parties, how do they do it? They truly are the model of hard work and dedication, the epitome of the American dream being lived out before our very eyes. And if you think that it just sounds like I’m extremely jealous then you, sir or madam, are quite perceptive.

Note: I realize that today is Halloween and this post isn’t very scary or Halloweeny, so allow me to offer some bonus Halloween advice to make up for it. I’ve been noticing a lot of tips on how to avoid the Halloween candy from the various running and health blogs that I visit, things like buy candy you don’t like (does not compute), or give out pens or toys or healthy snacks (a sure way to be the hated neighbor). Here’s my tip for you: Show some freaking restraint you gutless pushover and just DON’T EAT THE CANDY IN THE FIRST PLACE! If that fails, then just do like I do; eat whatever you want and add some extra miles to your long run. You probably burn somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 calories per mile, keep that in mind when you’re inhaling 500 calories of Snickers and think of the pain that 5 more miles will equal, then ask yourself “is it really worth it?” In the case of the Snickers the answer is yes, yes it is worth it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

An Open Letter of Apology

During the last three and a half years that I have been a runner, I have occasionally found times for careful introspection. Recently in one of these introspective moments I looked deep into my soul and I found a fault. Not a substantial fault, but rather, some minor ugliness that wasn’t easily brushed aside by my typically aloof conscience. It gnawed at me for a good thirty seconds before I realized that the ugliness occurred in a public setting and it should be dealt with and apologized for in the same manner. The ugliness of which I speak? Peeing during my long runs.

To the two gentlemen building a swing set in their back yard who witnessed me peeing in the park, I apologize. It was unfortunate that I did not notice you before I started peeing and even more unfortunate that you DID notice me. Next time I shan’t whistle while I work so you’ll be less likely to spot me. Furthermore, I apologize to anyone who used the slide at the park later that day.

To the little girl in pigtails who was riding her bike and saw me peeing on that tree, I apologize. Ringing your bell and pedaling faster won’t make that memory go away. I apologize to you and to your parents who will have to deal with the emotional scarring and the therapy sessions.

To my fellow runner who saw me trying to dry the pee stain on the front of my shorts by vigorously rubbing the crotch, I apologize. It didn’t immediately occur to me how that must have looked to you, but rest assured I was trying to avoid embarrassment by drying the front of my pants, I was not ‘doing myself a favor’ as you succinctly put it.

To the elderly couple who saw me peeing off the side of the footbridge, I apologize, even though I’m sure you don’t think it necessary. Surely, no one understands better than the elderly that sometimes you can’t hold it any longer. Thank you for your understanding, and for averting your eyes.

To the female cyclist who startled me as I peed crouching behind a bush, I apologize. My remark for you to “take a picture it will last longer” was totally uncalled for and simply a knee jerk response to you seeing me peeing.

To the woman walking her dog downwind from where I was peeing, I apologize. It was unfortunate and completely unintentional that your Basset Hound took a direct hit and although I’m quite certain that he’s peed on my mailbox and deserved it, I was unaware that the wind could push the sprayback that far across the path.

To the owner of the lovely house that is situated at mile 7 of my favorite running trail, I apologize for the sorry state of the flowers that are now all but dead. It is an unfortunate coincidence that I always feel the need to pee when I run past your backyard and I assure you that it is in no way connected to the Yankees windsock that hangs on your porch. I apologize if I’ve caused you to question your gardening skills and assure you that there really isn’t anything wrong with the soil in that particular window box.

To the owner of the Ford Truck that is always parked half way up the curb on Reed Street, I apologize. You may have found yourself stepping in a puddle when entering or exiting your vehicle. There’s something about seeing Calvin peeing on a Chevy logo that reminds me that I need to go too.

To the first golfer to retrieve his ball from the hole on the 14th green I do apologize. The green is so nicely secluded among the trees and I can’t explain why it’s so much fun to pee into the cup while yelling “hole in one!” I apologize for my immaturity, I’ll try to grow up, and I’m sorry about the way your ball smells for the remainder of your round.

To the losers skateboarders who like to smoke pot and cigarettes while sitting around the big oak tree just off the school grounds, I apologize. You may have recently taken a seat and found it to be a little damp in spite of the recent lack of rain. I hope that having your pants so low helped you to notice it was wet sooner than someone with a regular waistline might have noticed. At least you’ve got that going for you, also please take this into consideration before deciding to re-use any of the old butts around the base of the tree, though this should really go without saying.

To the young boys who were unfortunate enough to witness me performing a range and targeting test on a warm evening in June, I apologize. In the future I’ll be sure the area is clear before commencing a weapons test. I also apologize to their parents who will no doubt be forced to clean up after they try their own weapons test, but let’s face it, they were going to think of it at some point anyway.

To the brave firemen who drove past me while I was peeing on a hydrant, I apologize. I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I also apologize for signaling for you to sound the horn and shouting “I bet you’ve never seen a hose this big before!” It was completely uncalled for and I fully intend to wash off that hydrant before you need to use it again. I’ll let you know when I get around to it.

To anyone on the Denver Half Marathon course in 2007 who was desperate enough for hydration to pick up a used Gatorade cup from under the tree in the park, I apologize. It may have once been Gatorade, it was in me, but it had to come out.

To the cute blond running in the black skirt and pink tank top, I apologize. I know it’s too late now, but I instantly regretted saying “how YOU doin’?” when you saw me peeing behind that park bench.

To the entire Eagle Creek Elementary School who caught me on the field making a creek on their eagle, I apologize. I had no idea that you were about to come out for recess and I was not able to stop midstream. When does school get out for Winter Break anyway?

Finally, to my shoes, who always find themselves situated in the splash zone, I apologize.