Friday, February 29, 2008

Reducing Junk Miles

Ever since my racing season ended back in December I’ve just been running whenever I’ve felt like it. No plan to follow, no schedule to adhere to, just running by the seat of my pants whenever the urge struck me. Unfortunately there were some weeks when the urge didn’t strike as often as it should have and that is the danger of not having a plan to follow. I like to think of this strategy as being spontaneous. You may think that this is a reckless and cavalier way for me to train, but I in turn think that your feet are too big and your hairstyle is outdated. Sure I’ve thrown in a few tempo runs, and maybe one or two speedwork sessions, but mostly I’ve been running junk miles. (Ed. Note - A quick check of my Personal Running Log reveals that I have done no speedwork sessions at all. Boo-yah!)

As of Monday there will be no more junk miles for me because I’ll be embarking on the FIRST training plan. Those of you that have been around since I ran the Denver Half Marathon will remember how much I cursed this plan during my training, and also how much faster it made me. I’m starting their 12 week 10K training program that will lead me up to the Bolder Boulder. Why am I focusing so much on a 10K? Quite simply the Bolder Boulder is the most important race that I run. Every year 50,000 runners in 85 separate waves toe the line in Boulder which means it’s an extremely popular race and also that many of my non-runner friends will be competing against me. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it sucks to get beaten by one of your friends who is not a runner.

I had been hoping to run the Bolder Boulder this year in 50 minutes, but thanks to an overload of junk miles that’s probably not in the cards. I think I could probably go out and run a 53:30 10K right now and it’s not likely that I can cut three and a half minutes off it in 12 weeks, but it is way too early for talking about goals so I’ll just table that discussion for now.

You can learn more about the FIRST plan and see the training plan that I’ll be using at their website. Furman Institute of Running & Scientific Training.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Leap Day

Tomorrow is February 29th, and just like the Olympics and trips to the dentist it only happens once every 4 years. In my opinion that makes it a free day, almost like it doesn’t exist. In fact, I heard that if you race on leap day and you PR it doesn’t even count, you can’t legally claim it as a PR.

How you treat your free day says a lot about you. Are you the kind of person who says that it’s an extra day to get a run in, that your mileage should be higher this year than last year because you’ve got 366 days instead of 365? Or do you think that you can take February 29th off and still have 365 days left in the year to accomplish your running goals.

If you are in the middle of a running streak can you take the 29th off and still continue the streak on March 1st? This is probably a question for Just Your Average Joggler as I believe that he is in the middle of a running/joggling streak.

I am of the mindset that if they are going to throw in an extra day every four years it should at the very least be a holiday or a weekend. I propose that every four years we add our leap day as an additional Saturday after the last Saturday in February. In other words, this past weekend we would have had 2 consecutive Saturdays and 1 Sunday. It doesn’t seem fair to have an extra work day thrown into the year just because the earth can’t quite make it all the way around the sun in 365 days. Can’t science do something about this?

Needless to say I am of the mindset that I only need 365 days to get all my running done for the year, so I will probably not be running tomorrow. If I do run tomorrow however, I will not run some other day that I’m scheduled to, just to make up for it. Also, I will not be working tomorrow. I will be at work, but I will not do any work because I’m protesting this extra day that was somehow thrust upon me without my consent. Now, if I could just figure out an excuse as to why I don’t do any work the remaining days of the year I’d be all set.

How will you spend your extra day this year?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It Slices, It Dices

Are you sick of having too much money in your wallet? Are you looking for the next great piece of exercise equipment? Is your Giddyup already lonely in the guestroom and needing company? Then I have got the deal of the century for you. May I present the MultiFlex and iBSlender “home gym.”

I’m really not sure what you’re supposed to do on these things so if any of you suckers own one maybe you can let us all know what you do with it. Nothing I’m guessing, but just look at the description of it (emphasis mine):

You can now exercise 20 minutes a day while you are watching television or talking with your family and friends. Be at home and having fun while you work out and get a great back massage...
...A Massage While Working Out? With the Multiflex Core Component, you’ll be able to get the stomach muscles you’ve always wanted while simultaneously getting a back massage.

It massages your back and it works your abs from the comfort of your own home while you watch TV? It sounds too good to be true which means it probably is, and quite frankly it looks like an evil Johnny 5 robot sent to earth to watch over us and attack when it receives the command from the Mothership.

Arghhh! Help! It’s eating my hair! Help!

I’m sorry to tell you that if you own the MultiFlex or the iBSlender then uBStupid.

And don’t even get me started on the name of this contraption. (Too late.) Apart from the fact that it appropriately draws your attention to the letters BS in the name by having them be the only uppercase letters, it is downright shameful how unoriginal it is. Apparently, in the copycat marketing departments of today’s corporations, putting a lowercase “i” in front of a product name is the new black. I’ve got to tell you though, every time iSee someone use this technique it just reminds me how much iHate iPod and iTunes for starting this iDea in the first place. Seriously, it’s about as original as a TV commercial that shows everyone ordering a double chin with a side of love handles. Hey, look at me, I have a marketing suggestion: I’d like to order a TV commercial that comes up with an original idea and could I get a side of creativity with that?

Coming up with your own iDeas: Priceless.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hiccups Suck

I hate hiccups. I loathe them more than anything that you can name. When I get the hiccups I get them bad. My wife can attest to it, I sound like I’m dying. I hiccup, I burp, I make gagging noises, I gasp for air, and somewhere in between all that sexiness I shout and yell because I HATE hiccups. Fortunately, I’ve never had to deal with the hiccups during a run, at least until this past weekend and let me tell you that it was more annoying than a “he went to Jared” commercial.

They probably only lasted for a quarter mile, but it was the worst quarter mile of my running career. It definitely made my long run a Volkswagen Jetta Run. It’s been a while since I had a VW Jetta run so I guess I was due for one.

Shortly after my bout with the hiccups I came to a crosswalk where I paused for a few seconds while waiting on the walk signal. As I waited I noticed an attractive brunette was following me down the trail towards the crosswalk, I wondered if she had witnessed the idiotic convulsions and gyrations caused by my refusal to stop and deal with the hiccups. While she was still 20 meters away I got the walk signal and crossed the street.

I found myself faced with a dilemma because the attractive brunette would certainly make it across the street after me and she appeared to be running a little faster than I was. No doubt she had been gaining on me for quite some time. My ego was prompting me to speed up so that I wouldn’t get “chicked,” but my increase in pace would have been obvious to her and she might have thought that I was being rude. It also occurred to me that my ego might not ever recover if I increased my pace and still got “chicked.” After weighing all my options I actually slowed my pace to allow her to pass me. Using the phrase “allow her to pass me” significantly boosts my ego.

She never did pass me though. I ran at a slower pace for a half a mile and she seemed to remain 20 meters behind me. Figuring that I had misread her pace, I ramped back up to the 9:15 pace that I had been running at and assumed I was leaving her behind. A couple more miles passed and I came to part of the trail that almost doubles back on itself which allowed me to see that she was still 20 meters behind me, she was matching my pace. My ego and I agreed that I needed to throw in a half mile interval, which I ran at a pace somewhere around 7:45 before slowing back to my original pace. Slightly winded, I glanced over my shoulder to find the brunette 40-50 meters back and gaining quickly. Somewhere before I got home she must have taken a different path, because this was the last I saw her.

To be honest I was a little perturbed at her behavior and if the roles had been reversed I would have certainly expected a face full of pepper spray. I was trying desperately to figure out what she was up to when it suddenly hit me. It was a warm day and I was wearing shorts; she was simply admiring the view from back there. It made perfect sense to me and my ego. It is a really nice view, I only wish that I could see it more often and without the aid of a mirror.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Weekend Splits

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

I found a lot of good links for the Weekend Splits this past week, but this is going to be a somewhat abridged version of what I normally post because it’s been a busy weekend and I don’t feel like putting a lot of effort into this post. Here are the links:

  • J-Money’s workout numbers are quite impressive and she uses tastier energy bars than I do.
  • Sister Skinny posted a video that by their own admission is neither insightful nor clever, it is very amusing though. Especially if you are amused by 6th grade fart humor like I am.
  • Crabby at Cranky Fitness has trouble thinking and exercising. I used to have this problem until I gave up thinking, life’s much easier that way.
  • Running Jayhawk posted a letter exposing a runner she caught cheating at a race. I was going to cheat at my next race, but I’ve decided against it now.
  • RazZDoodle posted the 5 Stages of Treadmill Running and it’s well worth your time to read, that way you will be able to identify those disturbing feelings that you’re experience while you’re treadmilling.

Comment of the week:
RazZDoodle on my Men’s Running Skirt post:
“It kinda looks like something Rocky would wear if he fought someone in Glasgow.”

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
Tony vs. Paul is one of the most viewed videos that I’ve seen on YouTube so you may have already seen it but it’s worth watching again. It’s a cool little stop motion video. It took 2 and a half months to make and is 5 minutes long, and people think that runners are crazy.

Have a great weekend everyone! Happy running!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Men’s Running Skirt

Ever since I posted about my running skirt experience it has haunted me. I constantly find references to that post all over the blogosphere and it’s one of the more common Google search terms that leads to Half-Fast. In fact if you Google “running skirt” you’ll find Half-Fast at the bottom of the second page (as of this writing), if you up the ante and Google “mens running skirt” I am the number one search result. Needless to say I did not set out to become the world’s foremost authority on men’s running skirts, and yes I am well aware that this post will do nothing to abate my standing in that regard.

Men’s running skirt or 1950’s cheerleading skirt?

Just yesterday I found a post by The Marathon Mama who has actually found a men’s running skirt. It’s made by Utilikilts, an American company that hires actors for their commercials with Scottish accents that are worse than Mel Gibson’s. Their marketing strategy seems to be two-fold. First, they make fun of all of us “pants wearing wimps” and then they show a lot of pictures of men wearing Utilikilts doing overly macho things like construction work, lumberjacking (I’m not making this up), rock climbing, and welding - all of which just screams “TRYING TOO HARD!”

Anyway, as I perused the site I actually considered for a nanosecond how funny it would be to buy one and then post some race pictures of me wearing it without even mentioning that I owned a running skirt. That thought quickly faded when I remembered that I wasn’t a woman and also when I saw a price tag of $110. $110? Are you kidding me? Do you have any idea how many pairs of running shorts I could buy with $110? And that’s the cheapest “kilt” they sell. Now, if they sent me a free one...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It Might Not Be The Weather

In a post a couple of weeks ago I talked about a scenario where I arrived home after work and was inspired to go run because it was snowing. Yesterday I arrived home from work and the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the temperature was a balmy 52 degrees. It was a great night for a run even though I was not planning to run last night. I had planned to do some light weights (because heavy weights are too strenuous) and then maybe some mental training. Nevertheless, I found myself heading out the door for a quick 4 miles with my dog, Epaphras.

It was during my run that it occurred to me that if bad weather = me running and if good weather = me running then perhaps it isn’t the weather that makes me run. Perhaps there is just something wrong with me that makes me want to run. Perhaps it’s genetic? Perhaps all of us runners have some gene that has predetermined that we are going to be runners? Did it ever occur to you that you can’t turn someone into a runner, they’re born with it? These are the kind of crazy thoughts that crash around my cranium while I run.

Somewhere around the 3 mile mark Epaphras stopped to sniff some bushes and pee on them. Usually I try to make him keep running so we don’t have to stop but I’ve been battling a sore throat and a cough and needed some time to clear the massive phlegm buildup from the back of my throat. After a few hacking coughs brought up a loogie the size of my fist I felt a little better. I momentarily considered swallowing it because to be quite honest it had a very similar consistency to one of those CLIF Shot Gels. I’ve noticed this before and often thought that if I ate a bag of Skittles candy and then hocked up a loogie it would be pretty similar to a Raspberry CLIF Shot Gel. Don’t get me wrong, I swear by those things. I buy them by the case and I won’t go on a long run without one. (With apologies to the great folks at CLIF Bar who will most certainly not be sending me any more free stuff now that I’ve compared their Shot Gels to snot. It would appear that no one is immune to my stinging half witticisms.)

Before we started running again I gave a quick farmer’s blow to clear my nostrils. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw movement at the park across the street. There were two young boys over there staring at me with their mouths agape. The shocked expression on their faces said “dude, that’s the grossest thing I’ve ever seen!” I chuckled to myself, smiled at them and then went on my way. If they’re anything like my boys, they probably attempted their first farmer’s blow right after I left... either that or I’ve turned them off running for the rest of their lives. This would be disconcerting if we hadn’t already established that becoming a runner is genetic.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Emergency Procedures: Quicksand!

In my quest to differentiate Half-Fast from the many other running blogs out there, I am debuting a new feature today called Emergency Procedures. There are many excellent running blogs around that offer sound coaching (Runner’s Lounge), scientific analysis (Science of Sport), humorous poop stories (Lawsons Do Dallas & 21 Days), and “hydration” advice (Booze Hounds Inc.), but no one is giving advice to runners about what to do when faced with an extreme emergency. That all changes today. Emergency Procedures will be an ongoing feature that will appear here at Half-Fast on a random and inconsistent schedule based loosely on its popularity. Today’s topic as you may have already guessed is Quicksand!

First let’s start with a couple of preventative measures that you can take:

1. Do not fall into quicksand. Avoid running in areas where there might be quicksand. Warning signs of quicksand to look out for are sand, water, mud, marshes, swamps and signs that read ‘Danger: Quicksand!’ Also be sure to avoid the Fire Swamp which is the only known location in the world where ‘Lightning Quicksand’ exists and is the natural habitat of the R.O.U.S.

2. Tie your shoelaces tight. This will not prevent you from falling into quicksand but it will prevent you from having to buy new shoes when you’re extricated, and I think we all know how expensive new shoes are.

Now let’s take a look at what you should do if you were stupid enough to ignore my preventative measures or if you were cast as the damsel in distress in an old Tarzan movie. In the event that you find yourself trapped in quicksand or maybe even a sinkhole while you’re out running, please follow the emergency procedures outlined below.

1. STOP YOUR WATCH. The most dangerous thing about quicksand is that it can really mess up your splits, which is why it’s critical that you stop your watch as soon as you realize that you’re caught up in quicksand. If you’re wearing a Garmin hold it up above the quicksand as high as you can (because it’s expensive) and maybe it will tell the satellite to send help (no it won’t).

2. Don’t panic. You’ve stopped your watch so you’re not losing any time off your run. Despite what you might think, now is the time to be cool and collected. Catch your breath and rest your legs so that you can finish your run strong when you get out.

3. Take pictures. No one’s going to believe your awesome quicksand story without some visual evidence.

4. If you can still reach your waistband, retie it a little tighter. You don’t want those pants coming off when you are pulled to safety.

5. Yell and scream for help like a little girl.

6. If someone shows up to assist you, help them to remain calm by cracking jokes. For example, when they ask you if you’re stuck or need assistance, tell them “No, I’m not stuck, my legs were running too fast for my torso and now I’ve lost them, have you seen them?”

7. If no one shows up to help you, the best solution is to try to remember what you’ve seen on survival shows on TV, and not what you’ve read here at Half-Fast. I think I once saw someone lay on his back and pull his legs up out of the quicksand one at a time, give that a shot.

8. Do not dive back in to retrieve an item of lost clothing (unless it’s your Garmin, because those are expensive and worth the additional risk).

I hope and pray that none of you will ever find yourselves trapped in quicksand while you’re running, but I am confident that you will survive it now that I’ve armed you with the information you need.

The Shave Your 5K Challenge

This is your comprehensive guide to the Shave Your 5K Challenge. It will contain links to all the posts about the SY5K Challenge as well as results which will be updated as I receive them. If you haven’t heard about the SY5K Challenge then this is the place to start. If you have heard about it then just skip this post, its sole purpose is to give me a place to host the results that can be linked to from the Shave Your 5K tab above.

The basic idea is to see who can shave the most time off their 5K time during 2008, so everyone will run a 5K at the beginning of the year and another one at the end of the year. The winner is the person that shows the greatest improvement. To enter just e-mail me your name (or online identity), your 5K time, and the name and date of the race. That’s the short version, if you want all the fine print and the terms and conditions see the links below.

Stubble Time Results
17:05 running private
17:10 Paul
17:27 Andrew
17:44 Relentless Runner
19:25 speedygeoff
19:36 Paul
20:18 Turi
20:41 J-Money
21:02 Bill
21:30 Ewen
21:44 kyle
22:01 Kevin
22:18 Shoreturtle
22:43 KdoubleA
23:06 MMCS(SW/AW) Jason Tucker
23:08 Eric Gervase
23:16 Marcy
23:19 Sarah
24:12 Chad Stevens
24:36 kara
24:37 Laura
24:37 Renée
25:37 Viper
25:52 John
25:56 Vanilla
25:59 Meg
26:09 Strugglepants
26:16 Kristin
26:22 Tall Girl Running
26:35 Jon
26:38 Kaeti
26:40 Amanda
26:43 Karen
26:53 K
27:05 Christine
27:12 Maddy
27:26 Irene
27:33 Tiggs
27:34 Glaven Q. Heisenberg
27:45 Bryan Daneman
27:49 Robert
28:00 Reluctant Runner
28:02 Nikki
28:14 runatthemouth
28:19 Sherry
28:30 suzee
28:34 Aaron
28:45 audgepodge
29:16 Dawnie
29:21 Sarah
29:40 Ali
30:02 sherijung
30:20 Eric
30:22 Jeanne
30:39 Jennie
30:48 Gary
30:50 KimsRunning
30:54 Jess
30:56 Derek
31:01 AndrewE
31:04 Cropstar
31:04 Yas
31:07 Slow Poke
31:09 Donna
31:15 Jim
31:34 Pam
31:40 Non-Runner Nancy
31:48 Chris
31:54 Mrs. Half-Fast
32:11 Linda
32:41 lifestudent
32:52 Bev
34:02 MissAllycat
34:08 jkrunning
34:41 lil 1/2 pint
35:01 J~Mom
35:43 *lisa*
35:46 Mike
35:47 Jill
35:57 Viv
36:07 Katie
37:31 miss petite america
37:36 Darlene
38:40 })i({ Runnergirl
39:03 Danielle
39:14 Stacy
39:15 Theresa
39:37 Shaun
40:16 Jenn
40:30 Anna
41:55 Bill
44:38 Kitzzy
45:18 311boysmom
57:45 Melissa
1:02:40 Darla

Let me know if any of these results are incorrect, or if you want me to change the link or name etc. Results will be added within a few days of me reading your entry e-mail, which may be drastically different from the date that I receive your entry e-mail.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Weekend Splits

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

I love that picture. I saw it in the form of a poster hanging in Niketown one day and wanted to post it here, but I could never find an online version of it... until this past week. Many thanks to My Life & Running for finding it and posting it.

As always, I’ll start by directing you to my post over at CRN. Your Right to Shoes, I mentioned it earlier in the week when it went up, but if you missed it then you should go and check it out.

It was a beautiful day for my long run here in Denver today, but tomorrow we’re expecting more snow. Ugh. If you’re experiencing some distasteful weather then I suggest you head on over to The Booze Hounds Inc. Running Team and heed Viper’s advice. He disagrees with T.S. Eliot, instead proclaiming that February the cruelest month and making a valid argument that this is drinking weather, not running weather.

Jamoosh takes issue with an “expert” who gave the following tip: “Don’t be a jerk and sprint to pass people in the last 100 meters. Those people ran 26.1 miles ahead of you. Show a little class.” I am going to have to politely disagree with this expert, only because I don’t know where to find him so that I can rudely disagree with him. If you ask me it sounds like someone is still bitter about getting “chicked” at his last race.

Hey! Who’s that over there in those sexy fishnet tights? It’s Topher! Come on Topher, I thought I knew you.

Speaking of men wearing wildly inappropriate athletic apparel, have you seen the new Speedos? Just when you thought that they couldn’t get any more inappropriate, they come out with a new swimsuit (the LZR Racer) that pretty much ensures that I won’t be watching any of the men’s swimming events at the upcoming Olympics. Let’s just say that it leaves little to the imagination. You can see a picture of Michael Phelps modeling the suit at the unveiling. But seriously, be warned. You’re not going to want to have to explain why you were looking at this picture to your kid or your boss. Here’s the picture in all of its phallic glory. (Image credit, or perhaps discredit goes to Uniwatch via With Leather.)

Comment of the Week
This award goes to Merry who commented on my The Difference Between Men and Women post saying:

Adopts a lamentably bad fake French accent:

Ah yes, my young friend, you must alwayz realize zere iz a vas differens between zee men and zee women.

I laughed, I snorted, I kicked myself for not thinking of it first. Nice work Merry.

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
This video comes from the show Sport Science. I think in this episode they are trying to prove that even when you attempt to do a serious study on the effects of getting hit by a tennis ball in the junk it’s still funny as all get out. I’m still not convinced though, I think we need to run some more testes tests, I meant tests. Also, notice the name of the ball machine while you watch it. Ironic?

Happy running everyone! Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Inspiration

I received an e-mail a few days ago from Kate who is trying to raise awareness for some volcano race (Mt. Cameroon Race for Hope), and she asked if I’d consider posting about it. Well let me tell you that I was flattered to be considered worthy of such a request, and then I noticed that 21st Century Mom had already posted about it. That means that Kate had e-mailed her about it too, and if she e-mailed 21st Century Mom then she probably e-mailed a lot of running bloggers (show of hands in the comments). I’m not going to lie to you. I was a little hurt. But me being the nice guy that I am, I decided to post about it anyway.

I watched the YouTube, read the article, visited the website and then realized that it was extremely inspirational stuff, the kind of stuff that really doesn’t belong at Half-Fast at all. Normally I like to whine about things, complain about shoes, or generally make fun of people and circumstances, but there will be none of that today. OK, I’m sure there will be some of that, but there will also be a little inspiration mixed in. First, check out the video.

Crazy stuff huh? 50 degree temperature swings, 10,000 foot vertical ascent and descent, loose volcanic rock, and the winners take home the equivalent of 4 years salary. Granted the average salary in Cameroon is probably like $37 but still, it makes your complaining about the conditions that you run in seem a little inconsequential, no? Anyway, you should go and check out the website at and if you want to see the full movie, which is no doubt ten times more motivational than the trailer, then you can buy a copy of the DVD on the site. In fact you should buy a copy of the DVD, if you’re into that kind of motivational, inspirational stuff, which I’m not. I much prefer to sit down and watch a movie that doesn’t make me want to go achieve something great, that doesn’t make me want to get out and run 20 miles. But I imagine some of you might be into something like that.

Me, I prefer to watch your standard Hollywood movie that begins with our hero being the victim of some unnecessary gratuitous violence – it’s what made him the hero that he is today. Then he finds love in the arms of a beautiful woman only to have some romantic misunderstanding that neither of them bothers to even bring up with the other, until disaster strikes! Why, the same villain/evil circumstance that started the movie is now threatening to take away our hero’s true love. Will he be able to overcome the painful childhood memories and save his true love? Or will he run with his tail between his legs? You’ll never guess what happens, so I’ll just tell you. He overcomes! He overcomes! He conquers! And just when he turns to walk away his true love confesses her true love for him! The romantic misunderstanding is solved, and just when you think it couldn’t be any more perfect they cut to the wedding scene or the scene of our hero reading a book to the pregnant belly of his true love.

Or I could watch something original, something true... hmm... tough decision.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Request for Garmin

Whenever a gift giving occasion comes along, multitudes of husbands go and ask their wives what they should buy for them, but not me. Oh no. I used to do that until I learned my lesson. Now when one of those times comes around where I’m supposed to buy my wife a gift, like Valentine’s Day, or her birthday, or Tuesday, I already know what I’m going to get her. How? I pay attention. This earth-shattering departure from societal norms is one of the things that makes me a freakin’ awesome husband, but before you go heaping praise on me, let me explain how this radical new way came to be. (Ladies, take notes.)

Every time I asked my wife what gift she wanted, she’d come up with something that would be perfect for her. “Oooooh,” she’d say, “I really want a large capacity washing machine that becomes a dryer when the wash cycle is over and then dries the clothes in a wrinkle free manor.”
“That sounds really cool,” I’d answer, “where did you see it?”
That’s when the other shoe would drop. “Oh, I’ve never actually seen one anywhere. I just conjured it up in my head so that you’d be miserable as you wandered from store to store asking pimple-faced clerks where the washer-dryers were located only to find that they had misunderstood the question...” OK that’s not what she said, but that’s what I heard.

Naturally, I don’t ask my wife for ideas anymore. It’s much easier to painstakingly pay attention to her when she talks and then go buy her the things she desires that I know actually exist. Unfortunately this strategy doesn’t stop her from occasionally telling me about made up stuff that she really, really wants.

Such was the case this past week, when she told me that she wanted a Garmin of her own. Oh, but not just any Garmin. No, no. She wanted a Garmin that was a pair of sunglasses instead of a watch, and not cheap, crappy sunglasses either. Stylish ones. Then instead of going through the agony of having to look down to see your pace, the sunglasses would just flash that information up on the inside of the lenses, kind of like a Heads-Up-Display (HUD). And hey! Let’s not stop there, the sunglasses should also play MP3s and you should have the option to hear your pace, distance, time etc. through the earpieces.

It’s a fantastic idea, but I don’t think they actually exist. So if someone at Garmin is reading this post, then I’d like to suggest the Garmin Sunrunner 505 Sunglasses (pictured above, artist’s impression). If someone over there could get on this idea pronto, I know my wife would appreciate it. Would it be asking too much to have a pair of the 505s over-nighted to my office so that I could give them to my wife for Valentine’s Day?

NOTE: If no one at Garmin has thought of this yet, then they are welcome pay me royalties for this idea.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

There Once Was a Man from Nantucket...

Just a short post today as I have another article up over at CRN. For some reason I was inspired to try my hand at limericks. I don’t know why.

There once was a runner called Half-Fast,
Whose limericks were quite unsurpassed.
He gave it a try,
Without knowing why,
And discovered he was having a blast.

Now Half-Fast had a pair of Mizunos,
And he frequently lamented their woes.
When the snow came in dumps,
They turned into pumps,
And when you’re trying to run, that blows!

The Mizunos ad group must be full of deceit,
But I suppose it would be hard to compete,
If you played a fair game,
And your slogan became;
“It’s like getting kicked in the nuts for your feet!”

Now I sent them off to Reuse-A-Shoe,
Without even bidding them a formal adieu,
Then I told them a lie,
With a gleam in my eye,
“This hurts me much more than it hurts you.”

If you don’t know what the Reuse-A-Shoe program is then you should go and read my post over at CRN, Your Right to Shoes. Writing that article is partially what inspired this post. Do you think that Mizuno will be contacting me to offer me free shoes anytime soon?

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Difference Between Men and Women

On Sunday my wife and I decided to run together, but since we have two young kids she jumped on the treadmill and I went outside in the beautiful sunshine. I got to go outside on account of my awesome Rock-Paper-Scissors (Rochambeau) skills and I'll let you all in on the secret to always winning at RPS. You should always throw the secret 4th option: Fire. (Note: the Fire move is not officially recognized by the World RPS Society.)

When I returned home from my run in the beautiful outdoors I went down into the unfinished basement to check on my wife. She too was done with her run, had taken off her shoes and socks and was walking around the basement picking up toys. I immediately noticed that her foot was bleeding. “Do you realize that you’re bleeding all over the basement floor?” I asked, hoping that she didn’t catch that the concern in my voice was clearly for the basement floor. She stopped and looked at the floor around her. Sure enough there were bloody footprints all around, revealing exactly where she’d been since she took off her shoes and socks. It was almost cartoon-like.

It became even more cartoon-like when she shifted her weight to her bloody right foot and picked up her left foot to look at it. “Uhhhh, I’m pretty sure those are right footprints on the floor Babe,” I said as she stood balanced on her right foot in a puddle of blood. “How much blood did you lose?” I asked, my concern starting to switch away from the unfinished basement floor.

All of a sudden it occurred to us both at the same time that maybe she’d lost her first toenail. “Hey, check your toenails” I said excitedly. We both eagerly looked at her toenails to see if one had come off and even tugged at a few that were caked with blood but alas, no luck. All 5 toenails were securely in place. The only thing we could find was what looked like a very small blister that had rubbed off.

We went back and looked at her shoes and socks and not surprisingly the toe of the right shoe was stained a deep crimson red color. I’m not sure how she missed it when she took her shoes off but somehow she managed it. This is where I guess men and women are different. I saw the blood on the shoe and was overcome with jealousy. I looked down at my nice new white Asics and wished I could see some evidence there that would prove I could run through pain. My wife saw her nice new white Asics stained with blood and was disappointed that they were ruined.

After we had both showered and changed it occurred to me that I needed to post about this and I grabbed my camera to capture what would have surely been a Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of the bloody shoe. I found the shoe clean and drying in the tub. Ruined! If this would have happened to me there would be multiple pictures accompanying this post. I would have told the story to everyone I met on the trail and it would have been bigger and better every time. “You see that. That’s not Gatorade that I spilled on my foot, that’s blood. My blood. It’s from this one time that I lost a toe, not a toenail, a toe. I guess I was going too fast or something.” Also, I would have definitely written “K ALCS” somewhere on the shoe.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Shave Your 5K Suggestions

I’ve already written way too much about the Shave Your 5K Challenge so it’s probably the last thing you want to hear me drone on about in today’s post. But look, here I go, typing away, not caring. I’m forging ahead with some dos and don’ts for those of you participating in the SY5K Challenge.
  • Do get faster this year.
  • Don’t get slower this year.
  • Do use the CRN Race Calendar. It’s a really useful calendar that will allow everyone to see when you’re going to be racing and I strongly urge you to use it. If you include “SY5K” somewhere in the title of your race entry I will even be able to create a special feed or widget for the contest. I’m not sure yet if I will do that, but I could do it and that’s comforting to know.
  • Do pick a flat 5K to race for your smooth time.
  • Don’t accidentally pick a 5 mile race.
  • Don’t forgo entering the contest because you are training for a longer distance. I’ve seen several people mention that their goal this year is specifically to run longer distances not to get faster. I was guilty of the inverse of this at the beginning of the year but getting faster and getting longer are not mutually exclusive. Last year I trained to run a half marathon which was a longer distance than I had ever run before, the end result of my training was not only that I could run more miles than before but also that I was faster than before. Your marathon or half marathon training will also benefit your 5K time, in fact in my most recent copy of Runner’s World magazine they stated that “runners training for a longer event, like a half or full marathon, can use 5-Ks in place of speedwork... It's a good way to race into shape.”
  • Don’t forget to e-mail me your results.
  • Do include all pertinent information in your e-mail.
  • Do feel free to talk trash to other participants.
  • Do pick a 5K with a good post race spread.
  • Don’t get “chicked,” unless you are a girl in which case…
  • Do “chick” some poor guy when you kick to the finish.
  • Don’t be faster than me. That’s just rude.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

When Blogging Pays Off

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about CLIF Bar’s new recovery drink, a 2003 vintage Cabern-ade Sauvignon. In that post I linked to the CLIF Bar Family Winery and somehow the folks over at CLIF Bar Family Wines found Half-Fast and my post about their wine. I received an e-mail from their Brand Manager telling me that they enjoyed my blog, and asking for an address so that they could send me some free wine and CLIF Bars. How freakin’ cool is that? It’s cooler than finding out your official race time is several minutes faster than what your watch said at the finish.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more eager to respond to an e-mail in my life, I hastily sent them my name and address. I crossed my fingers that they weren’t just looking for an address to send the Cease & Desist Letter to and waited for my wine. The package came on Friday morning, which is handy because that’s when I like to start my weekend drinking. Inside the box I found: 4 CLIF Bars, 2 packages of CLIF SHOT BLOKS (Piña Colada flavor and Margarita w/Salt flavor - do these people know me or what?), 1 bottle of The Climber 2006 White Wine Blend, 1 bottle of The Climber 2004 North Coast Red Wine, 1 hand written thank you note, and 0 Cease & Desist Letters!

Needless to say, I love the CLIF Bar organization! I may even go buy a case of CLIF Bars to send to the winners of the Shave Your 5K Challenge. I would send the winner a bottle of their wine, but the odds of me buying liquor and not drinking it myself are slim and nil.

Many, many thanks to the owners and staff at the CLIF Bar Family Winery, who I’ve heard are all elite runners, members of Mensa, as beautiful as models, and spend their free time ending world hunger, curing cancer, stamping out oppression wherever they find it, and ridding the world of road rage by always practicing safe driving habits. They have won themselves a loyal customer, despite the fact that they did not like my suggestion for adding a sport nozzle in place of a cork.

Above are a few pictures of the goodies they sent me just to prove I’m not making this up. All that, just because I mentioned how much I enjoyed their wine... Have I mentioned how much I love my new Asics? Have I told you how great my Under Armor cold gear shirts are? Hello? *knocks on monitor* Hello? Is anyone from Asics or Under Armor reading this?

For more about how awesome the CLIF Bar organization is, check out what they’re doing here.

Personal Running Log - January 2008

1/30/20084 Miles Out & BackEasy4 Mi36:359:09
1/28/20085 Miles Out & BackEasy5 Mi45:479:10
1/26/2008Misc RouteLong9 Mi1:28:029:47
1/20/2008Misc RouteEasy3.57 Mi37:4110:34
1/19/2008Misc RouteEasy4 Mi42:1410:34
1/16/2008Home TreadmillEasy5 Mi48:509:46
1/14/20085 Miles Out & BackEasy5 Mi47:509:34
1/12/2008Misc RouteLong9.23 Mi1:28:559:39
1/10/2008Misc RouteEasy3.77 Mi37:4110:00
1/8/20084 Miles Out & BackTempo4 Mi34:238:36
1/7/20085 Miles Out & BackEasy5 Mi48:149:39
1/5/2008Misc RouteLong9 Mi1:29:039:54
Distance: 66.6 miles
Total Time: 10:45:15

Monday, February 4, 2008

Early Morning Angry Run

You can always run. That’s what I love about it. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a bad mood, if you’re stressed out from work, or if you’re feeling fantastic, you can always lace ‘em up and get out there. If you haven’t figured it out yet I’m a Patriots fan, which means that my weekend ended on a sour note last night.

This morning I woke up early (still not sure how I managed that) and pounded out 5 angry miles. I took out my frustrations on the sidewalks, on the hills and on my legs. It felt good. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good angry run, and the lingering memories of last night’s game combined with the fact that it was Monday morning and I had to go to work all helped me push myself a little harder.

It was a good run. It was good to be out there running in the dark, alone with my thoughts, and I felt much better when I returned home. Of course now I’m here at work and everyone’s a comedian. Everyone has a funny comment about the game that they’ve just been dying to tell me since the final second ticked off the clock, was put back on the clock and then ticked off the clock again. You can only have so many pretend conversations with the dial tone when people come by your office, and they’re usually undeterred anyway. By the time this day is over I might be in for another angry run tonight. Ahhhh, coworkers: You can’t live with ‘em, you can’t strangle ‘em with a phone cord. Right? I’m not allowed to do that am I? Because that might make me feel better than another angry run would.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Weekend Splits - Super Bowl Weekend!

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.

Enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday tomorrow, but whatever you do please don’t be this stupid - keep your beer on ice or in a refrigerator! Yeesh! Think before you act people!

Top billing in the Weekend Splits this week goes to... drum-roll please... ME! I love me some me! In case you missed it, I had another post go up at Complete Running on Tuesday in which I talked about Running at Altitude. Head on over and read it because you’re hurting my feelings if you don’t.

RazZDoodle who
  • never met
  • a bullet point
  • he didn’t like
  • had a great post titled Morning Insanity. In it he describes the insanity of his morning run (I’ll bet you didn’t see that coming) and also imagines what others are thinking when they see him out running in the cold early morning. Even his 4 year old told him he was crazy.

Laura has a post up over at Absolut(ly) Fit called You Know You’re a Crazy Running Blogger When... #1 and I’m convinced that it’s the start of a good series. However, isn’t it a bit redundant to put “Crazy” in front of “Running Blogger?”

Sister Skinny gives us Twenty Ways Getting out of Debt is Like Losing Weight. The easiest way to get out of debt is to win the lottery or to marry into a rich family. Too bad marrying into a skinny family doesn’t have the same effect. Anyone know where I can purchase tickets for the weight lottery?

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
This week’s video features Damien Walters who is a member of the British Olympic Trampoline Gymnastics Team. He’s got some ridiculous moves.

Presumably there are clips of him karate kicking a punching bag and twirling a sword around to prevent me from saying things like “gymnastics is for sissies,” or “what a pansy,” but I’m not scared of him. My fists are considered deadly weapons in all of the 48 contiguous states, I’m not even allowed to take them on airplanes anymore.

Video from FanIQ via With Leather.

Have a great weekend everyone! Happy Running. Go Patriots!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Random Friday Musings

On Wednesday I was going to go running after I got home from work because I’d been up late the previous night and elected ‘the pillow’ over ‘the morning run.’ Balloting was done by snooze button. Final vote: Pillow 9 – Morning Run 0. When I got home from work it was below freezing outside and I had already made up my mind that I was going to run on the treadmill. I was only scheduled for an easy 4 miler and I was in no mood to be cold. Then something happened.

It began snowing. All of a sudden I knew I needed to be out running in it. I don’t know why I needed to, I just did. Maybe because I knew it would make me look hardcore, maybe just to show the weather that I wasn’t scared of it. Does anyone else ever get motivated to go running because of worse weather? Maybe this is one of the addictions that I should have warned new runners about.

For those of you who are less observant, I’ve added a Shave Your 5K tab at the top of the page. Right now it just links to the Shave Your 5K post but pretty soon it will link to a table of everyone’s stubble times so that you can see how they’re doing. I’ll have some more announcements about this in the next week or two.

I went running this morning and almost forgot to put on something reflective. It would have been tragically ironic if I’d have been hit by a car after my post on Wednesday, not to mention the hassle it would have caused some poor motorist. Alanis Morissette could have written a song about it.