Saturday, August 30, 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’m going to keep this short like my runs (lately) and your attention spans. It occurred to me recently that I rarely feature any of the blogs that I have listed over there --> in the Half-Fast Recommends section in my Weekend Splits post. I guess that’s because I assume that you all read those blogs anyway, which probably isn’t the case given your short attention spans. Anyway, if I included every good post from each of those blogs, the Weekend Splits would just be overrun by links to Amy Lawson, Viper, Nitmos, J-Money, and the rest of them. Be sure to check them all out regularly, in the meantime check out the links below.
  • Reid is hosting a 1 Mile Virtual Race on September 6th. I have another race that day, but I may try and do it anyway. 1 mile couldn’t hurt, right?
  • Jamoosh gives us his Olympic wrap-up including which sports need to quit the Olympics. Try and guess if the trampoline is one of them.
  • If you’re missing the Olympics, Steve has some ideas to help you get over them, but you’re going to need a feral cat.
  • Jeanne writes a letter to running. It sums up how I’ve felt about my runs this past week very nicely.

Comments of the Week

Adam on the Half-Fast Sighting post: I understand if you’re chased by a NASCAR fan you can make a successful escape simply by turning right. It confounds them every time.
RazZDoodle, in reference to the bird porn people: Donald Duck Does Dallas!
Xenia: And the bird porn lady... I think she should be more concerned with squirrel porn. Have you seen the size of their nuts?
Nitmos, in reference to Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney’s duet: I think you have it wrong. I believe MJ said: “McCauley, I think I told you, I’m a lover not a fighter.

Excellent work all around. You guys crack me up!

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
Whenever I don’t know what to post for a video in the Weekend Splits I go rummage through the recent posts over at With Leather. Those guys are always good for a skateboarder doing something stupid that we can all laugh at. This one’s a little different though because the stupidity starts before the guy even gets on his skateboard and ends up preventing him from doing his trick. It’s a shame, because I would have loved to see a skateboarder with his pants on fire skateboarding down a rock of fire... uh-oh. I hope I didn’t just give away what’s going to happen. (Video Contains Strong Language)

Have a great weekend everyone. It’s Labor Day here in the US on Monday so you’ll have to live without my wit and wisdom until Tuesday. It will be tough, but I’m confident most of you will pull through.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Evening Running Again

I slept in again this morning instead of running, which means that I’ll be running when I get home from work this evening, or maybe this afternoon because really, who wants to work a full 6 hour day anyway? Not me, that’s who. You might be thinking that I should have learned my lesson in yesterday’s post, but if you’re thinking that then it’s like you don’t even know me at all! Learning from your mistakes is for history teachers and people who are too weak to make the same mistakes twice. Me? I like to make the same mistake several times before I learn from it, that way it really sticks, kinda’ like taking the same class several times because you flunked it the first 3 times. Who do you think knows more about economics, me or the guy that only took it once?

I guess I’m kind of in a running funk right now and not the good kind of funk. If anyone has any ideas that might motivate me then be sure to send them my way, and send them repeatedly since I probably won’t catch on the first few times.

Daily DNC Report
The number of cops here in Denver has increased significantly, or maybe they’ve just been more visible in the past couple of days. They’ve been pretty congenial, even posing for pictures with kids and tourists on several occasions. You literally can’t walk 20 yards without passing a group of SWAT cops decked out in riot gear. It’s been difficult to maintain my regular practice of mouthing something like “you filthy pig” from under my disdainful glare to each and every one of them, but I’ve struggled through. What else am I going to do with all the righteous indignation that has welled up inside me based partially on my own experience but mostly on movies depicting cops as bad apples who enjoy abusing their power, and flexing their authority to compensate for their teeny, tiny... intellects. What? You thought I was going to say something else there? Also, when did The Rock become a SWAT cop?

Can you smell what the SWAT is cooking?

There are so many groups out there trying to get their message out that you really need to turn on your BS filter before heading out the door. Or if your BS filter is not very good (i.e. you’re gullible or a moron) then you can always get some glasses like these that will filter it out for you.

It’s kind of hard to see, but the girl with the BS glasses is also wearing a neon pink sticker at the bottom of her shirt, right next to where I annoyingly branded the picture. It says “Make Out, Not War.” Michael Phelps (far left, red shirt) is not impressed. I always thought it was “make love, not war” and frankly that’s much more poetic and makes me think of Michael Jackson’s duet with Paul McCartney where he tells him “Paul, I think I told you, I’m a lover not a fighter.”

When I first saw this ostrich (see below), I thought we were going to get a demonstration from the bird porn people, maybe something like this, but I guess not. Boy, I hope that link doesn’t get me into hot water with the bird porn people. If it matters I didn’t get aroused at all watching that video.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Running is a Harsh Mistress

Last night’s run sucked, it was a VW Jetta run for sure. I skipped my long run this past weekend (meaning I didn’t do it, not that I was skipping for 12 miles) and then I sacrificed yesterday's morning run on the alter of the sleep gods. Sleeping in felt good, but I’m pretty sure the running gods punished my indiscretions with a crappy run last night.

I set up my Garmin for some 3 x 1600 intervals and headed out down my usual running trail. The warm up and initial interval went pretty well, but then it headed down the crapper faster than a supermodel’s purged lunch. My legs felt like lead weights, my breathing was off, I was extremely hot, and my ears were ringing, which has never happened before but can’t be good. I’ve tried to come up with every possible excuse reason for my horrendous performance and can’t think of any. I guess that there are just some days when you are going to have a bad run and on days like yesterday, even wearing your lucky rocketship underpants won’t help.

Daily DNC Report
Hey, if I have to put up with all the disruptions it brings, you have to hear me whine about it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to bring you all a little flavor of the DNC at the end of some of my posts this week.

I know I said yesterday that I would not be revealing my political affiliation or candidate of choice but I’m going to break my silence today and throw the full weight of Half-Fast behind one candidate who I saw campaigning yesterday on the mall. I am officially endorsing Captain Morgan.

A platform of booze and wenches is one that I can definitely get behind. Incidentally, this reminds me of a joke. A pirate walks into a bar with a ship’s helm protruding from his pants, the bartender looks at him and says “Hey, you’ve got a ship’s helm sticking out of your fly!” The pirate snarls at him and responds “Ayy matey, ‘tis drivin’ me nuts.” Completely unrelated, but a funny joke, no?

I also took a flyer from a woman with a sign that said “Stop Bird Porn,” because I think that bird porn is going to be one of the topics that decides the outcome of this election. Here is an excerpt from the flyer: “The elderly find that Bird Watching is not strenuous. And this erotic experience can be enjoyed privately through binoculars. Most disturbing are groups of Bird Watchers seeking vicarious sexual gratification in the woods. Shamelessly, they blatantly observe God’s defenseless creatures mating. LEAVE THE BIRDS ALONE!”

As you can see, crazy has busted onto the scene here in Denver in Kramer-esque fashion, (unfortunately in some cases, complete with racist overtones). The bird porn lady is just one example of crazy and she’s got it all wrong. I mean, I agree that these dastardly peeping toms are the pondscum of society, but if birds didn’t want to be seen mating then they wouldn’t do it in my front yard for all the world to see. Stupid, exhibitionist birds! She says stop the voyeurs, I say stop the exhibitionists!

Interestingly, the flyer was translated into Russian on the back which leads me to think that maybe our Russian immigrant friends are the ones who need to hear her message.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Off Track: DNC is in Town

The Democratic National Convention is in Denver this week and I work somewhat close to all the action. I took a trip down the 16th street walking mall at lunch time yesterday and thought I’d compile a few stats for all of you.

Number of people I judged to be ‘obviously a Democrat’ or ‘obviously a Republican’ based solely on outward mannerisms: 13
Number of times I felt guilty for judging a book by its cover: 0

Number of people walking the 16th street mall with signs displaying political messages: 31
Number of people that will see those signs: 89,024 (estimation)
Number of people whose minds will be swayed by a sign or poster board: 1
Number of people yelling at people with signs: 5

Number of helicopters seen overhead: 9
Number of police and security officers seen: 1,057
Number that looked bored: 1,053
Number that I could most certainly outrun: 1,035

Number of opportunities to buy overpriced DNC memorabilia: 14
Number of times survey-takers asked if I was registered to vote in Colorado: 7
Number of times I lied and said no: 7

Number of times I was asked for directions: 3
Number of times correct directions were given: 2

Number of people wearing Obama pins, shirts, bags etc. 2,695 (estimation)
Number of people wearing Hillary Clinton pins, shirts, bags etc. 3
Number of people wearing McCain pins, shirts, bags etc. 0

Number of dollars that the parking lot next to my office increased its daily rate: 31
Number of empty parking spots in that lot yesterday when I arrived: 0
Number of times I have since wished I owned a parking lot downtown: 16

Number of clients who trekked into the downtown area to pay us a visit yesterday: 0
Number of clients expected over the next 4 days: 0
Number of reasons for me to work in the office instead of at home: 0
Number of days I have been given permission to work from home: 0

Number of times I will reveal my political affiliation or candidate of choice on this blog: 0

Monday, August 25, 2008

Half-Fast Sighting

Huge thanks to the award-winning Sarah who sent me the picture below. (Seriously, she just won an award, first overall female or something.) I’ll let Sarah introduce the picture:
Last Sunday I attended-- no, made the pilgrimage to-- the NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan, which is about 20 miles away from my home. While at the race, on the infield (our customary spot), my husband and I spent some time walking around. I took a lot of pictures as I am eternally fascinated by the species Homo sapiens redneckius. The MIS infield provides ample viewing opportunity of these specimens. I spotted this example of a "NASCAR bus" and immediately knew I had, absolutely had to take pictures of it. Enjoy!

Thanks Sarah! I guess my secret is out now. It’s true, I sponsor an infield NASCAR bus and allow only the fastest runners to sit atop of it and watch the race. All of the people you see up there run sub 2 ½ hour marathons without breaking a sweat. Of course when I say ‘run’ I actually mean ‘watch’ and when I say ‘sub 2 ½ hour marathons’ I actually mean ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.’ I bet I can beat 95% of any NASCAR infield in a footrace. I would have said 100% but it turns out that Sarah would probably own me. Perhaps I’ve found my new running goal; to be faster than everyone who regularly attends NASCAR events.

Finally, there are still 3 open spots in the Half-Fast Fantasy Football league. Sign up before Thursday if you want in, if you have any problems logging in, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll send you an invite.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Delicious Sesame Chicken to Blame for Dropped Batons

Drop it like it’s hot.

As you have probably heard by now both the men’s and women’s US 4x100m relay teams dropped the batons in the semi-finals at the Olympics. Many of the pundits have looked at the tapes and tried to figure out where the mistakes were made and what was to blame for the Americans raging case of the dropsies. What has gone unreported until now is the underhanded tactics that were employed by the seedy underbelly of the Chinese Olympic committee.

The shocking truth that I am about to expose was relayed to me by confidential sources (like a friend of a friend and anonymous e-mailers so you know it’s totally true), and could cost me life imprisonment or even death should I ever go to China.

As the US men’s relay team tried to focus on their upcoming semi-final in a locker room under the Bird’s Nest stadium, they were startled by a knock on the door. A young Chinese girl, no more than 13 years of age entered with a special delivery, a large bowl of sesame chicken and 4 pairs of chopsticks. The athletes, suspicious at first decided to leave it alone, but the smell was too tempting. Unable to operate the chopsticks provided, the men dug in with their fingers unsuspecting that the cunning and Machiavellian Chinese Olympic committee had turned off the water in the US locker room, leaving them unable to wash their hands.

The rest, as they say, is history. It’s hard enough to pass a baton with clean hands. When your hands are slick with sesame chicken residue it’s all but impossible. The devious scheming didn’t stop with the men’s relay team either, as the slippery, sesame chicken baton was then given to the US women to use in their heat too. Two birds taken out with one stone, actually three birds if you count the chicken, or believe that it was really chicken.

When reached for comment Tyson Gay was upbeat. “The joke’s on them,” Gay said, “because that was the best sesame chicken that I’ve ever had. You get to compete for Olympic medals every 4 years. You only get sesame chicken like that once in a lifetime. It was that good.” Gay went on to add that it didn't really matter because he “didn’t think we were going to beat Usain Bolt and the Jamaican team in the finals.” When asked whether he was worried about a similar situation cropping up in London 2012 Gay told reporters that he didn’t see it as a problem because “British cuisine sucks.”

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another Request for Garmin

The fine folks at Garmin have completely ignored my previous request for sunglasses with a Heads-Up-Display (HUD). Why is it that I can get some random guy to offer to make me a frilly skirt, but I can’t get anyone at Garmin to offer to make me those sunglasses I suggested? Perhaps I overshot current technology with the sunglasses request but I have another suggestion for Garmin today that should be fairly easy to accommodate. Being the easily accommodatable guy that I am, I’m willing to forget all about them stonewalling me on the HUD Sunglasses thing if they’re willing to send me a new Forerunner 405 with the following new feature that I am suggesting today:

Predicted Finish Time. I call it PFT for short, which is pronounced kind of like a quick, quiet fart (pffftt). I think that makes it an onomatopoeia. You would primarily use the PFT feature for races. You would need to input your race distance prior to beginning your workout or race. The Garmin would take the distance you have remaining and multiply it by your current pace, then it would add this to the time that you’ve already been running. The Garmin would essentially tell you what your finish time is going to be based on you maintaining your current pace. Now that’s useful information! Much more useful than some of the existing features that my Garmin has, I mean, have any of you ever used the Sunrise or Sunset feature? How about the distance feature? Totally pointless, am I right?

As always, if anyone at Garmin sees my PFT idea and implements it, or even if they implement PFT without seeing this, they are welcome to pay me royalties for my geniusness. While we’re on the subject of great ideas, I just thought of another one that should be standard on every Garmin, a thermostat. No, I don’t mean a thermometer. I don’t want it to tell me how hot it is, I want to be able to turn the temperature down. Now admittedly I’m not sure how the technology behind a thermostat works, but people have had them in their homes for like, the last 2,000 years or something, so it’s about time we figured out how to make them fit into watches (and sunglasses). Also, how about an incline/decline button like my treadmill has? You want to do hill sprints but don’t have a hill? Just use the Garmin incline button. Tired of running uphill? Use the decline button and you’ll be running an easy 0% grade in no time. There are tons of great things that Garmin could put on their Forerunner series watches, yours in the comments.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Skirt Chaser 5K

As you no doubt remember from my last race report miles 11, 12 and 13 were unending in their torment of my psyche and my quads. I am bound and determined to make sure that doesn’t happen in my next race, which is why I have picked a race that doesn’t have a mile 11,12, or 13. In fact, it doesn’t even have a mile 4 because it’s a 5K, hopefully the title of this post didn’t give that away too early.

On September 6th Candis and I will be running in the Denver Skirt Chaser 5K. The women start off in the first wave with a 3 minute head start, and the men start in the second wave, also called the skirt chaser wave. A 3 minute head start is a sufficient amount of time for me to boil an egg and then chase down Candis somewhere before the 2 mile mark. Once I catch her I’ll give her a taunting loving pat on the butt and then speed off to finish the race as far ahead of her as possible, reminding her that I am superior and belong on a pedestal. Do not bother to respond in the comments about how Candis is going to ‘totally kick my butt’ because it is a virtual certainty that she will be ‘husbanded’ before the race is said and done. (‘Husbanded,’ another one for the list Nitmos? Or maybe Vanilla’d?)

It’s been a while since I’ve run a 5K so this will be a good judge of progress as to how well I’m Shaving My 5K. The skirt chaser race series is supposed to have one of the best post race block parties with beer and music aplenty so I’m looking forward to the event. Additionally, there are going to be at least two other bloggers that I know of who are heading out to Denver to participate in this event so perhaps I’ll get to meet them too.

For those of you who are wondering, Candis will be running in a skirt, I will not, despite this generous offer that I received shortly after my Men’s Running Skirt post:
Just a line to let you know that if you want a running skirt for free it would be my honor to make one for you. Send me your measurements and color and type you desire. - Davian Steffen, SkortMan.
At first I thought that it would be kind of funny to go ahead and get a skirt to run in, so I clicked on the link to his site, SkortMan and then I took a long hot shower in the fetal position because it was quite a bit different from what I was expecting. Go ahead, click the link.

So on the off chance that Davian Steffen is reading this, thanks for your generous offer but I’m going to have to pass.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weekend Splits - Michael Phelps Edition!

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

You might think it’s weird that Paraguayan Olympic Javelinist, Leryn Franco graces this edition of the Michael Phelps Weekend Splits instead of a picture of Michael Phelps. If it’s a picture of Michael Phelps that you’re after then perhaps you could visit, oh I don’t know, one of the thousand or so running blogs written by women this past week that featured pictures of him low-ridin’ his $750 speedos. I’m just trying to level the playing field and give the ladies equal time by posting some pictures of our female Olympians. I’m nothing if I’m not about women’s rights and equality. Half-Fast is proud to be an EEO (Equal Opportunity Oggler). On to the links, there are 8 of them, one for each gold medal that Mighty Michael Phelps will drape from his alabaster neck.
  1. I had a post go up at CRN about the latest new craze in Beverly Hills; running tours aimed at seeing celebrities.
  2. Chuckie V gives you the Top 7 Reasons to Watch the Olympics. Hint: More pictures of hot Olympic athletes.
  3. An article went up this week on the Phat Phree that gives a guys perspective on Hot Yoga (Bikram?). It was doubtful that I was ever going to do hot yoga before I read the article, but now I’m never going to do it.
  4. In the spirit of the original Olympians competing naked, lists the 5 best and 5 worst sports to compete in while wearing your birthday suit.
  5. According to RW Daily, Mighty Michael Phelps is competing in another event before the end of the Olympics.
  6. Cranky Runner gives us a behind the scenes look at NBC’s coverage of Mighty Michael Phelps. NBC: All Phelps, all the time.
  7. Kristina gives us 8 ways to run greener, presumably as an honor to Mighty Michael Phelps' 8 gold medals.
  8. Kyle takes a look at the Mighty Michael Phelps goggle incident. Personally I think it was a cunning assault on democracy, planned by Red China to take down Mighty Michael Phelps. This is nothing less than an ACT OF WAR!!!!!!!

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
What Phelps has done over the last week has been simply incredible, superhuman even. The most exciting race was the 4x100m Freestyle relay, and you’ve probably seen it a hundred times but it’s worth another look. YouTube videos of the Olympics have been disappearing faster than mob informants but this one is hosted elsewhere so I’m hoping it sticks around.

The worst part about that video is that it’s not the whole race and it doesn’t do justice to the faces of the French team after they realized they’d lost. Suck it France!

Video and images of Leryn Franco from With Leather.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Off Track: It's Fantasy Football Time!

Every now and then I get the urge to post something that isn’t running related whatsoever and I always usually just trash it because this is a running blog. However, I’ve decided that it’s my blog and if I want to write about something that’s not running related then that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’ll be using the new Off Track tag for these kind of posts. Get it? Off Track can mean not pertaining to the usual subject matter or it can mean not on the track, as in track and field. It’s a really funny pun! You might even say that it’s punny. (Punny! Ha! Another one, I am just on fi-yah with the jokes today!) These Off Track posts won’t happen very often, but today I’m going to talk about fantasy football.

I love fantasy football. Does that make me a geek? Perhaps, but no more than having a blog does so I’m OK with it. At the very least, I don’t cry myself to sleep about it anymore. Anyway, I decided to give you all a chance to get beaten by me in Fantasy Football and have started a league that you’re all invited to be a part of. Candis is also in the league which means there are 10 open spots left. Details below:

Who can join? Anyone. Lurkers, regular readers, first time visitors, non-runners, fantasy football virgins, seriously anyone, I don’t care.
How much does it cost? It’s free, hosted by CBS Sports.
How do I sign up? Click this sign up link and then enter the password. If that doesn’t work search for the Half-Fast Fantasy Football private league on CBS Sports.
What’s the password? bloody nippl (I was going for ‘bloody nipples’ but it cut off the ‘es’ just to be difficult.)
When is the draft? The live online draft will be held Thursday, August 28th at 9:15PM Eastern Time.

I have no idea how quickly this league will fill up or if it will even fill up at all, if it doesn’t fill up then I’ll try to open it up to the general public so that we have enough teams and then resume crying myself to sleep at night. There are no prizes for first place except the pride that will swell up in your loins which may or may not make you a faster runner (the safe money's on not).

I’m so excited for football season to start and for my productivity at the office to take a nose dive. Let me give you a little peek at what consumes my days during football season, or more specifically, fantasy football season.

- Monday is for checking the scores from the weekend’s games and figuring out what needs to happen in the Monday Night Football game. I need 4 TDs from Colts’ tight end Dallas Clark, but I need someone other than Peyton Manning to throw them to him. This can happen right?
- Tuesday is for checking out which free agents are available and submitting waiver claims for them. Kicker Rob Bironas kicked 8 field goals in one game? I must have him, he’s going to do that every week, no?
- Wednesday is for discovering which players I received from the waiver wire and checking out which players other teams dropped.
- Thursday is when I begin checking my player’s match-ups to see who’s playing a tough defense and who’s playing the Lions. Thursday is also the day that teams release their official injury lists. Tom Brady is listed as ‘probable’ oh no! Is that Belichick being disingenuous or am I really stuck starting Kyle Orton this week?
- Friday is when I set my lineup for the coming weekend’s games. Friday is also a good day for reading the fantasy analysis websites and articles and second guessing myself into losses.

As you can see, it is a time consuming endeavor, especially when you add in all of the running and blogging that I’ll be doing as well. My boss is going to have to ease up on the workload over the next 5 months if we’re going to make this whole employer/employee relationship work.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


At 6:45am I boarded the big yellow school bus that would shuttle me to the start of the race, and took the first open seat I saw. I knew that the bus would fill up and was expecting to be joined on the brown, vinyl seat by a fellow runner, I did not expect the battle of wits that was about to catch me unawares. She sat down next to me and offered a smile. I returned the gesture and then out of a habit formed in high school resumed my empty gaze at the back of the seat in front of me.

Once all of the runners had streamed onto the bus the doors closed and we were off, driving up the road that we would all shortly be running back down. I imagined that the driver was wondering why he was driving us 13.1 miles away from our cars so that we could run back to them, he must have felt the same way the pilot of a plane full of skydivers does. As we headed up the hill the woman next to me smiled at me again and took a deep breath as though she wanted to say something but couldn’t find the words.

Sitting there in awkward silence, it occurred to me that she was trying to be polite and start a conversation, maybe even hoping that I would start the conversation. She was a fellow runner and I didn’t want to appear rude so I began racking my brain for something to say to her. The longer we stewed in our unwieldy silence, the cleverer my comment would have to be. I didn’t want to be cliché and talk about the weather, I wanted to say something intelligent and obviously she did too. We sat there casting sideways glances at each other trying to come up with something to say, both of us wanting to be the first to break the silence and not the dimwit who couldn’t think of anything good to say.

It was as though we were locked in a battle of wits, a mortal struggle between intelligence and idiocy and I was slipping ever closer to idiocy. If I didn’t say something right quick I’d wind up a full blown idiot like Nitmos*. Say something! Anything! But before I could come up with the words she turned and looked at me smugly, I knew that she’d won. “Have you ever run this race before?” Wow. She was good. It was relevant, it was topical and it was obviously common ground for both of us. I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. Surely someone clever enough to beat me in this battle of wits was not just asking this as a simple question, but what was the hidden meaning? What was she getting at? It was driving me nuts and I needed more time to figure out how to respond.
“Hmm?” I said raising my eyebrows as though I hadn’t heard her. I immediately regretted it for the lack of intelligence it showed, but this woman was impossible to get a handle on.
“This race, have you ever run it before?” She had changed the structure of the question, putting the direct object at the beginning. Very crafty.
I was flustered and in my haste to appear smart, I blurted out as many sesquipedalian words as I could, “No I haven’t, but it’s not because I have triskaidekaphobia or anything. It’s because I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of an antidisestablishmentarian.” I wasn’t sure what the last word meant but I said it with an English accent, because that always makes you sound cleverer. Then I deftly turned the tables back on her, “This race, have YOU ever run it before?”

Our conversation parried delicately back and forth, a whirling intellectual dogfight taking place up in the skies, high above the IQ of the average Joes on the back of the bus. When the dust settled I was too confused to know whether I’d won or lost the quest to appear more intelligent. It was after a several minutes of silence that she turned and looked at me again and said “So, did you run this race last year?” At first I thought that she hadn’t been paying attention to my answers, or that she had been too confused by my magniloquent stylings, but I’d already established that she was sitting on a supernumerary IQ. I had already determined that she was dealing from a fuller deck than I was, perhaps even playing with two or three decks like a Vegas blackjack table. Clearly this time there was a hidden meaning to the question because I thought I'd already answered it, at least as I understood it. Instead the question just hung out there in the open, unanswered, poking my pudgy IQ in the belly and mocking my ineptitude. I had no response and she had won.

*You didn’t think I was going to leave this completely unprovoked attack unanswered did you?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Post Race Thoughts

First of all let me once again offer my congratulations to Viper on winning our challenge. He offered a virtual handshake in his post yesterday and I wish to be a good sport and return the sentiment. As much as I’d love to continue verbally assaulting him I’m going to stay classy and take the high road, mostly because I have no ammo left now that he possesses all the PRs and I’d just be reduced to spreading ugly rumors like a catty, middle school girl. Speaking of ugly rumors, I heard a rumor the other day that Viper is hideously ugly. Now I don’t believe it because I’m taking the high road, but has anyone ever seen a picture of Viper? Why do you think that is? I’m just sayin’.

Official race pictures have yet to become available to me but you can see what I looked like 15 yards before the finish line. It’s not pretty, so I guess you can file this under H for hypocrisy because mine knows no bounds.

It Hurts! It Hurts!

Check out the guy and his daughter behind me who are giving me the ol’ hairy eyeball. I was in a pretty comatose state so I don’t remember what I did to deserve that. It could have been any one of the following: farting, cursing, farting while cursing, shouting, spitting, snot-rocketing (it can be a verb), or just generally smelling like a locker room. Whatever it was, I hope that he will accept my apologies for doing it in front of his daughter. If it helps, my kids were watching from the other side of the street so they saw whatever it was too.

Notice the return of the cowbells. Every time we get ready to go to a race, the boys lament that they’ve ‘lost’ their cowbells and then they somehow make an appearance right before we’re ready to leave. Mysteriously, they always disappear again when we get home from races.

Monday, August 11, 2008

History In The Making?

History is written by the winners. You don’t often hear about guys who issued a challenge and then failed to live up to it, but that just makes this post unique. What I’m trying to tell you here is that I’m not the winner. I’m the loser. While I did set a new PR this past weekend at the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon, I failed to best Viper’s time of 1:54:49. It was the most disappointing PR I’ve ever set.

I needed to average an 8:46 pace to beat Viper’s PR and what’s really frustrating is that I was on pace to do it for a while. Here’s a fun little game that you can all play at home: I’ve listed my splits below, see if you can figure out when my quads decided to lock up tighter than Fort Knox.

Mile 1 - 8:52
Mile 2 - 8:43
Mile 3 - 8:31
Mile 4 - 8:22
Mile 5 - 8:45
Mile 6 - 8:23
Mile 7 - 8:33
Mile 8 - 8:54
Mile 9 - 8:53
Mile 10 - 8:50
Mile 11 - 9:34
Mile 12 - 9:33
Mile 13 - 9:30

If you said mile 11, you win! Give yourself a pat on the back. At the end of mile 10 I was starting to slow a little but was still averaging an 8:41 overall pace and feeling like I’d be able to push myself in the final miles. Shortly after the water stop at mile 10 my quads just ceased up. I tried pushing through it, I tried changing my stride, I even stopped and tried to stretch for a few seconds. Nothing worked. My pace dropped to 9:30 in the final 3 miles and I couldn’t find speed anywhere within myself. I crossed the finish line in 1:56:45 (8:55 pace), a PR by over 3 minutes. Not nearly enough of an improvement considering that it’s been almost a year since my last half marathon.

I offer no excuses for my suckitude, and I’ll gladly take my lumps in the comments. I opened the trash talking last week and came up short, I guess I know how the French 4x100m Freestyle Relay Team feels.

Congrats to Viper who smashed my 10K PR with a blistering 50:48. I’m actually glad that he beat me because if we’d have both failed it would have just been pathetic. Despite my vows in the final 3 miles to give up running forever, I find myself resolving to train faster and longer in the upcoming months in that never-ending quest for self improvement - it’s one of the reasons that I really hate running. Running, I wish I could quit you.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Race Preparations

In case you hadn’t heard, I have a big showdown with Viper tomorrow. The kind of showdown where one of you gets carried off the dueling grounds in a pine box. The kind of showdown that only two over-inflated male egos could possibly think that anyone cared about. The kind of showdown that makes the O.K. Corral look like a neighborhood game of freeze-tag. Unfortunately it’s also the kind of showdown that we could both win, subjecting all of you to even more gloating and posturing in the coming week. You really should just be rooting for both of us to fail, I know I am. No. Wait, not both of us, just Viper.

On the eve of this epic battle I will be preparing in the tried and tested manner that I use to prepare for all of my races. For the very first time I am making it public so that you can copy my preparations and be as successful as I am.

The Night Before
- Lay out clothes I’ll be racing in, which tomorrow will include my lucky blue race shirt. (As seen here and here.)
- Try on race clothes.
- Look in mirror, practice winking while giving the double guns. “Who loves ya’ baby?”
- Stop before I get myself too excited.
- Check the weather.
- Drink some water.
- Put Garmin somewhere I won’t lose it so I don’t freak out.
- Print directions to race.
- Re-check starting time.
- Freak Out! “Where the hell is my Garmin?”
- Move Garmin to more conspicuous location.
- Drink some water.
- Debate whether to wear my Red Sox hat.
- Change mind 7 times.
- Debate which sunglasses to wear.
- Change mind 9 times.
- Re-check weather.
- Calculate drive time and when we need to leave.
- Re-calculate because it can’t be that early!
- Change mind one more time on Red Sox hat.
- Drink some water.
- Realize Garmin needs to be charged and plug it in.
- Look at course map and elevation.
- Plan breakfast.
- Calculate necessary pace/mile.
- Set alarm clock.
- Change alarm to later time, promise to eat breakfast in car.
- Verbalize above list to Candis ad nauseam.
- Lights out. I’m not a big believer in the whole no-boom-boom-before-big-race theory, but my wife is still sick (because she’s weak), which means that I’ll probably spend a good 15 minutes trying to convince her that the trusty old saying goes; “starve a fever, have sex with a cold.”

Race Morning
- Snooze button.
- Snooze button.
- Snoo... “Holy Crap! Look at the time, we’re going to be late!”
- PeeBrushTeethPutOnClothesDrinkWaterRunOutDoorBackCarOutOfGarage!
- Stop.
- Run back in and grab Garmin from charger.
- Pray for no speed traps on way to race.
- Be thankful of previous night’s pedantic antics.

And that, is how you prepare for a successful race. Let me know in the comments if I’m missing any preparations, because I could really use some more items to fret over tonight.

Best of luck, Viper.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Day at the Track

This past Monday I hit the local high school track for some intervals with a friend (for the purposes of this post we’ll call him Carl - not his real name). My training schedule called for some 4 x 400m speed sessions which may not seem like very much but that’s because I have the Georgetown Half coming up on Saturday and my training is a little less intense this week so that I can be well rested. My goal pace for the 400m intervals was a 7:25 minute/mile pace, and I really tried to hold myself to that pace but I just couldn’t do it. I don’t know if it was the fact that we were only doing 4 x 400s or if it was because Carl was there running with me, but I ran my 400s a lot faster than normal. I discovered when I got home that during those 400m intervals I averaged a 6:50 minute/mile pace. Thanks Carl! Oh, and sorry about calling you Carl in this post (I think he hates that, but that’s just the kind of friend I am).

Also of note at the track on Monday I got my first ever bloody nipple (pictured right). It’s not nearly as rewarding as I thought it would be. Normally I wear Under Armour compression shirts when I run to combat nipple chafing but I didn’t on Monday because it was just a short workout. The high school football field was being watered on Monday night while we were there and an errant sprinkler soaked Carl and I on almost every lap. I guess it was like the perfect storm of conditions to give me a bloody nipple. Hopefully it is fully healed by Saturday because it’s really detracting from sexytime with my wife.

If any of you have any other suggestions for preventing chafed nipples I welcome them in the comments as long as you don’t say Band-Aids. The last time I tried Band-Aids they fell off as soon as I started to sweat.

Responding to Your Comments
Nikki asked in the comments of yesterday’s post how I managed to be so consistent with my pace on my long runs. I actually use the digital training partner on my Garmin and set him to a pace just faster than what I want. I play a game where I let him get out ahead of me over the first few miles which helps me to start slower. During the middle miles I try to remain the same distance behind him and over the last 3-4 miles I try to catch him. Truth be told I didn’t pass him on any of my long runs last month, but I have been running negative splits, ending somewhere around an 8:50 minute/mile pace.

Viper’s comment on yesterday’s post has me in quite a state of confusion. At first I thought it was sarcasm, but it really didn’t have that kind of tone to it. Could it be that Viper was simply being encouraging? Of course not! Obviously he was trying to jinx me by saying that I was going to break his PR! Well it won’t work, because I don’t believe in jinxes either!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Personal Running Log - July 2008

It’s that time of the month again where I pretend that you’re all deeply interested in my running log. I know that a great many of you will just skip right past this post and that’s OK because I do the same thing with a great many of your blog posts. But this is my blog and if I want to drive readers away in droves by posting my boring running log, then that’s exactly what I’ll do thankyouverymuch.

For those of you who have made it this far and are still reading (bored at work today?) allow me to allay your fears about me kicking my karma in the junk in yesterday’s post. It’s OK because I don’t believe in karma. If karma were real then good things wouldn’t keep happening to people like me. Karma is a just big bag of propaganda that ‘they’ use to keep you in line. Karma is henceforth invited to kiss my sweaty, dimpled, derriere. How do you like me now, karma?

I think I’ve said enough for today, but be sure to check back tomorrow to see if that imaginary leprechaun we call karma had the stones to respond to my taunts. I’m shaking in my running shoes... shaking it like a Polaroid picture! Hey Ya!

7/29/20084 Miles Out & BackIntervals (3x800)4 Mi34:508:43
7/26/200812 Mile LoopLong12 Mi1:51:239:17
7/23/2008Misc RouteTempo9.25 Mi1:22:108:53
7/21/20086 Mile Loop Long HillIntervals (4x1600)6 Mi51:018:31
7/19/200811 Mile LoopLong11 Mi1:41:029:12
7/16/2008Misc RouteTempo8 Mi1:12:268:59
7/14/2008TrackIntervals (6x400)4 Mi33:568:29
7/12/200810 Mile LakeLong10 Mi1:32:309:15
7/10/20088 Miles Out & BackEasy8 Mi1:19:409:58
7/8/20084 Miles Out & BackIntervals (4x800)4 Mi33:208:20
7/5/20086 Mile Loop Short HillLong6 Mi55:259:15
7/2/20086 Mile Loop Short HillTempo6 Mi52:488:48
Totals:Distance: 88.25 miles
Total Time: 13:20:31

Monday, August 4, 2008

You’re Sick Because You’re Weak!

My whole family has been sick this past weekend, coughing and wheezing with a little puking thrown in just for good measure. My wife and both boys have been feeling absolutely miserable and have been popping Dayquil and Nyquil caplets like a young Brett Favre, as if you hadn’t heard enough about that guy already. Anyway, they were a pretty sad bunch, and I’m still kind of mad at them for ruining my weekend. Why can’t they get sick during the work week when I’m not around to put up with it? So inconsiderate.

Nevertheless, I shrugged off my annoyance at their illness and played the role of supportive husband. Mostly that consisted of me strutting around, displaying my good health and telling them that they were sick because they weren’t mentally strong enough to fight it off. I almost never get sick, which is why it annoys me so much when others are ill, I suppose. If you didn’t want to be sick, then you wouldn’t be sick, it’s just that simple.

When they first started coming down with sore throats and wet, hacking coughs I was a little worried that I would catch it right before my half marathon this Saturday. However, I’ve since decided that I don’t think I’ll allow myself to get sick this week. I’m going to take a rain check on whatever it is that my family has been infected with. And if by some twist of fate I do get sick this week, I don’t anticipate it preventing me from beating Viper’s PR in the half marathon because the list of ways that he is superior to me is shorter than Tom Cruise and just as phony.

Saturday, August 2, 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.

Kara Goucher (pictured above) is a US medal hopeful in the 5,000 meters and the 10,000 meters at the upcoming Olympics. Also, she’s kinda’ hot. Thus concludes the Half-Fast Olympics Preview.
  • For similar previews of the Olympics check out the AOL Fanhouse Attractive Olympians series of posts.
  • Speaking of attractive, I would be remiss if I didn’t link you to my post over at CRN from this past week: Running is Cheap.
  • April and Amy over at Twenty Six Point Two just celebrated their 1 year blogiversary. Paper is the traditional 1 year anniversary gift, but you’ll have to make do with a link in the Weekend Splits because I’m cheap. Look at that, it fits you both perfectly! Check out their best and worst 5 running moments (Amy’s and April’s) and congratulate them while you’re there.
  • Viper responded to my challenge with baseless insults like calling me half-smart, but I would expect no less from that besotted lout.
Comments of the Week
From chia on the Plans for a PR post:

If Vanilla wins, I'm seriously cutting my mileage in half because it would be
the ultimate testament to the fact that not running is the antidote to

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
The honor this week goes to a bench-clearing brawl at a Japanese baseball game. I hope that it is fake but if it’s not, the Japanese obsession with quirky game shows is starting to make sense.

Have a great weekend everyone!