Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Need This Shirt

I couldn’t have been prouder of Candis for finishing her first Triathlon. On our way home from the Tri we had the following conversation:

Me: You did awesome today!
Candis: Thanks.
Me: Seriously, I think it’s really cool that you’re a triathlete now.
Candis: Really, why?
Me: Because I’ve never slept with a triathlete before.

Then Candis found this shirt on Caf├ęPress and I must have it.

Speaking of shirts, I’ve been toying around with some sites similar to Caf├ęPress and have been thinking about designing some Half-Fast running shirts with slogans on the back like “Behind every good runner... there’s you!” I’ll have more on that in the future, but feel free to suggest race shirt slogans that you’d like to see.

That’s all I have for now, but be sure to check out my post today over at Complete Running, Kristina said it was “best thing you’ve written that I’ve read”... of course, Kristina also does this, so I’m not sure that she’s all there.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It’s a Wonder I Don’t Fall Down More

As I was putting on my free Pearl Izumi running shoes the other day, I noticed that there were signs of wear and tear around the ankle of my left shoe. I was more than a little perplexed by this which is not an emotion that I’m used to dealing with, unless I’m getting something out of the fridge but who among us hasn’t been perplexed by the little light in there that just somehow knows when to turn off and on? How does it know? I checked the other shoe, I guess that would be the right one, to see if it was encountering the same pattern of wear. It was not.

I sat in my closet with one shoe on and one shoe off trying to figure this out before giving up after a couple of hours and embarking on my run. I mulled it over as I ran and began to notice that I was kicking my left ankle with my right foot 5 or 6 times every mile. I’ve never noticed this before, but it’s obviously been happening for a while given the tattered state of my left shoe. Perhaps this is what’s been making me slower all these years, because I’ve always felt like I’m really an elite athlete trapped in this slow (albeit devastatingly handsome) body.

The more I thought about it, the more I kicked myself in the ankle. I tried to run with a wider stance but I’m pretty sure that just made it look like I was ready to have my diaper changed, and while that may be good practice for my golden years it’s not an image I want to conjure up right now. Perhaps I could take up horseback riding, I hear that really widens your stance although I’m not sure I can pull off the requisite cowboy boots and Skoal rings.

When I got back to the house I went into my closet and checked the other pair of shoes that are currently in the rotation (yes, I am two-timing my shoes because one pair is not enough for me). There were absolutely no signs of wear on my Asics GT-2130s. (By the way, thanks for discontinuing those, Asics. Jerks!) I went and checked several pairs of retired shoes; my Mizunos, my Asics 2110s, even an old pair of Pumas and NONE of them had the same wear pattern that the Pearl Izumis have. I guess I only kick myself in the ankle when I’m wearing my Pearl Izumis. When they say that “run easy is an oxymoron” they’re not kidding, because it’s not easy to run while you’re kicking yourself in the ankle. In fact it’s downright amazing that I don’t trip myself up more than your average runner. Once or twice a mile is average right? Right?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Mid Week Long Run? Say It Ain’t So!

This weekend is going to be busy, and I’m not sure that I’ll have time for my regularly scheduled suck-fest otherwise known as my long run. Because I’m so dedicated, I am going to run 12 miles this evening after work and call that my long run for the week. I’ve been working to increase my mileage the past couple of weeks in anticipation of the beginning of the end, otherwise known as my official marathon training plan.

As mentioned previously, I am using the FIRST plan and have decided to blend their two marathon plans together to formulate my very own personalized marathon training plan because I wanted a happy medium between one 20 miler versus five of them. The first timer’s training plan was 18 weeks long and the old timer’s plan was 16 weeks, naturally when I blended them together I opted for a 16 week plan. What this means is that training for the PF Chang’s RNR Arizona Marathon officially begins next Monday, but since I am planning my runs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I guess it actually begins next Tuesday... unless of course something else comes up and/or I sleep in Tuesday morning and then the training plan begins next Wednesday, but Wednesday’s are no good for me so at that point I’ll just push it back to the following week. This whole rigid training plan is a pretty fluid concept, but I tentatively anticipate that I’ll probably start training sometime next week. Maybe.

What I am sure of is that I’m running 12 miles tonight after work and that it will be a horrifically unpleasant event. I’m so excited I can hardly wait. I hate mid week long runs like Amy Winehouse hates being sober, I hate them like Nitmos hates children. Long runs are much better suited to the weekend. When you do your long run on a weeknight it takes up your whole night, at least it does if you’re as slow as I am. Even more depressing is that I’m totally going to miss the premiere of Lipstick Jungle wait, no, not Lipstick Jungle, I meant to say Knight Rider. Fast cars and violent, action-packed chase scenes, GRRRRRR!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So I Married a Triathlete

This past weekend Candis and 6 friends all completed the Tri Babes Sprint Triathlon. A feat that required them to swim 750 meters, bike 12 miles and then run a 5K. I completed the much more impressive feat of toting two kids around a triathlon course, taking pictures of their mother and cheering loudly. Why is my feat more impressive? Well... it’s not, but I did mine without a lick of training and set a new Personal Record for the number of times I lost track of where my children were. Ta da! Unfortunately they always found their way back to me thanks to the friends and relatives who were in attendance cheering for Candis and the other ladies.

Enough about me. Candis. Rocked! The night before the tri Candis indicated that a good time to shoot for would be 25 minutes on the swim, 45 minutes on the bike and 35 minutes for the run for a total time somewhere around the 1 hour 45 minute mark. I countered with 20 - 45 - 30 because Candis always underestimates her abilities when creating race goals, and a 35 minute 5K for Candis would be downright shameful. I’m not sure what we decided on but here’s the way it worked out!

Swim (750m): 15:39 (A full 4 minutes faster than her best training times!)
T1: 1:52
Bike (12 mi): 46:36
T2: 1:06
Run (5K): 32:11
Total Time: 1:37:22

Most impressive was clearly the swim and T1 time. I was so excited for Candis when she came up out of the water in 15 minutes and headed into T1, she was doing great! T2 was an entirely different story, and not because it was slow. Candis came in on the bike, hung it on the rack and headed out as quickly as she could. She’d been gone a few minutes when I saw her bib still lying in her transition area. (For the sensible readers among you who don’t do triathlons; you have to put the bib on for the run.)

In an ironic twist of fate you’ll notice that in Candis’ last post before the tri, the only item in her Race Plan that suffered from excessive exclamation points was “BIB ON !!!” Perhaps it needed more exclamation points or a larger font. Springing into action, I illegally leapt into the transition zone and snatched up the bib. I could either head to the finish and try to hand her the bib a couple tenths of a mile prior to the finish line or I could try to chase her down. I knew that she would be upset about leaving the bib if she realized what she’d done and I was worried she’d come back to get it, so dressed in jeans and a cotton t-shirt I took off for a little 5K jaunt. Not long into my impromptu run I rounded a corner and saw Candis running back towards me, tears welling up in her eyes. I handed her the bib and she turned around and headed back in the right direction. I paced with her for another quarter mile until she was able to settle down and get into her groove, at which point I went back to the finish area and thanked Candis’ aunt and uncle for watching the kids.

Hey look, no bib!

The run course as measured by a friend’s Garmin actually turned out to be 2.7 miles (a 4.4K instead of a 5K), but by coming back to get her bib Candis managed to run an extra half mile, making her run a fraction longer than a 5K. I suppose you could say that Candis was the only one to finish the course because everyone else stopped shy of running a 5K, in fact if I was her I’d be telling everyone that I was the only one who was able to run a 5K after the grueling swim and bike. That’s the way I roll, dishonest and boastful are two of my more attractive qualities. Sorry ladies, I’m taken.

I can’t even tell you how proud I am of Candis so please try to suppress your praise and adulation of me and tell Candis in the comments that she did great, just for today. Tomorrow you can go back to telling me how awesome I am because let’s not forget that I’m the one who’s running a marathon.

Don’t let her catch you!

Candis takes my 3 year old’s advice and shows her Battle Face!

Also of note I ran into Ross Hadley from agegroupers.com and he took a whole bunch of pictures of the event, you can see them here. All of the girls from our group are wearing the same pink hibiscus shirt that Candis is and there’s even a group shot of the husbands and kids that were there supporting Team Hibiscus. Many thanks for the pictures Ross.

Congrats on a great time C. “It’s a shame I’m going to have to destroy you.”

Friday, September 19, 2008

Shocking Video: Shark Attacks Jogger!

When I was a young boy my parents let me stay up late one night to watch Jaws with them. It was a bad idea. For weeks afterwards I would lay awake in my bed at night, soaked from the cold sweats just waiting for a shark to pounce from my closet and make off with my torso, leaving the rest of me to bleed to death all over my urine soaked sheets. Sure, in the history of mankind there had never been a recorded shark attack on dry land and by the light of day I was pretty sure that a shark couldn’t get that far inland without dying. But I guess when the lights went out my rationality and bravery dissipated with them. All of a sudden it would occur to me that if a shark did make it that far inland he’d probably be pretty hungry, not to mention more than a little put out, and a young boy lying paralyzed with fear in his bed would obviously look like a tasty fisherman bobbing along on a raft. I was certain that the following morning Mom and Dad would find my bloody remains and feel remorse over making me go to bed so early instead of letting me stay up later, you know, when sharks were less likely to attack. That would show them. The thought of my parents being reprimanded by the local news anchors for playing a role in my untimely and tragic demise by making me go to bed so early would momentarily bring relief from the gripping fear, but then it was back to that super-heightened state of awareness that is necessary for detecting sharks in your bedroom.

Every noise I heard sounded like a crafty shark slithering across the carpet, bringing me ever closer to my impending doom. I knew he was crafty because when I’d hold my breath to hear him better he’d pause and wait for my heavy breathing to resume. The point I’m getting at here is that I was irrationally afraid of sharks for a long time, and also that the wet spot on my bed was from the cold sweats and nothing else.

I eventually conquered my irrational fear by rationally coming to the conclusion that despite the SNL skit to the contrary, (which I fortunately didn’t see until many years later) sharks can’t attack people on the land. I’ve held firmly to that belief for many, many years. The new evidence presented in the video below is going to cause me to reevaluate everything.

The stunning footage that you’re about to see shows a shark attempting to attack a human as he jogs along the beach. Let me tell you, it’s a good thing that a young Vanilla never saw this video because it probably would have scarred me for life. Can you imagine if, as an adult, I was still afraid of sharks attacking on dry land? That would be embarrassing, especially if I moved to a landlocked state smack in the middle of the country just so I could be as far away from sharks as possible. It’s a good thing I don’t have any irrational fears anymore. *Casually glances over shoulder to make sure a land shark isn’t standing behind him and rests his hand on the harpoon gun under his desk.*

[Tip o’ the hat to TheDailyRunner.com]

Marathon Update: RazZDoodle has announced that he is running the PF Chang’s Arizona marathon. Head on over and congratulate him on his idiocy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Did I Mention I’m Running a Marathon?

You should all prepare yourselves for the fact that I’m going to act like I’m the only person ever to train for and run a marathon. Before this thing pounds me into humility I plan on making it a big deal around these parts, despite the fact that many of you readers have already run marathons. Thank you to those of you who left comments on my last post suggesting how many times I should run a 20 miler, extra special thanks if you told me that I should definitely not do 5 of them. I was giving some serious consideration to that plan and now I’m not.

Right now my plan is to run a couple of 20 milers before the race and I’m even considering doing a 22 or 23 miler too. It’s easy to say that right now, because the furthest I’ve ever run is 13.1 miles and I have no concept of how much pain and agony goes into a 16 mile run much less a 20 or 22 miler. Nevertheless, the plan is to do at least 2 20s and maybe a 22 or 23 miler too. Here’s the logic behind my thinking: What’s the longest run that most runners run prior to a marathon? Answer: 20 miles. Where do most runners say that they hit the proverbial wall in their marathon? Answer: 20 miles. Coincidence? I have no idea, but that’s my thinking. Of course I may just throw all this out the window when I start getting into those looooong, long runs.

I received an e-mail from another running blogger who is considering coming out to Arizona to run the marathon, I won’t give his name because I’m not certain if he’s decided to do it or not and I’d hate to steal his thunder if he’s planning a big blog announcement. I once had my thunder stolen and it was no fun at all, the police didn’t even take my stolen thunder report seriously and just rolled their eyes when I mentioned I would offer a reward. Stupid cops. Anyway, JavaMom has also mentioned to me that she is going to be running the half marathon and if anyone else is going to be out in Arizona for the race then I’d love to meet up with some of you. Not all of you, just the cool people out there. So if you’re going to be around and you’d like to meet up and buy me a beer, and if you think you’re cool enough, then shoot me an e-mail or leave me a comment.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Hi, this is Candis again. Ian asked me to mention that you can read more of his drivel (drivel is my word, I think he used “prose”) over at Linden’s Pensieve today because Linden asked several bloggers for advice before her marathon. Why anyone would ask Ian’s advice on marathoning is beyond my comprehension. Speaking of running a marathon, I’m certain that Ian finally decided to run one so that he could announce it this week and overshadow my Sprint Triathlon that is ONLY 4 DAYS AWAY!!

Tick. Tick. Tick... the last time I heard the clock’s every tick I was waiting to go into labor. I am just as nervous for my upcoming Sprint Triathlon. I understand it is no Iron Man, no ½ Iron Man, no Olympic Tri but that’s because I am not that obsessed... yet.

I’m a simple girl. OK that’s not true at all, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like simple running plans, simple race plans and simple packing plans. This is not that plan. There is nothing simple about it.

So for now, pretend it’s challenging and for you pure runners, revel in my idiocy of attempting two sports too many.

Pack Plan

  • Tri Shorts
  • Tri Top
  • 2 hair rubber bands
  • Extra contacts
  • Pam
  • Wet suit
  • Plastic bag
  • Goggles
  • 2 swim caps
  • Nose plug
  • Inhaler!!!
  • Kashi bar
  • Garmin
  • Half towel
  • Socks
  • Shoes w/ elastic laces
  • Wind jacket
  • Sport Beans/SHOT Bloks
  • 1 bottle iced Accelerade
  • 1 bottle water
  • Tube
  • Tire tool
  • CO2 canister & pump
  • Mini screwdriver
  • Pump
  • BIKE!!!
  • Mark bike w/ number
  • Helmet!
  • Sunglasses
  • Belt
  • Safety pins
  • Bib
  • Timing chip
  • Flag for transition spot?
  • Sweats/sweatshirt
  • Bag
  • My mind

Race Plan

  • Set Up Transition
  • Find landmark to remember it
  • Mark arms
  • Timing tag
  • Check enter/exit spots for T1, T2 & Finish
  • Start swim at back right
  • Start slower speed up
  • Stay to right at buoys
  • Peel wet suit down to waist and remove swim gear by T1
  • T1
  • Drink at start of bike
  • Eat Sport Beans at mile 4
  • T2
  • BIB ON!!!
  • Fight through the first 0.3 miles
  • Try not to get caught in race photos looking like this.
  • 10 minute miles for run
  • Whoop & Holler at Finish Line
  • Drink Pitcher Margaritas [Ed. Note: I’d like to add one more after that one: Get taken advantage of by loving husband.]
I am VERY excited to just run after my tri is over. Ian’s simple running plan has been taunting me. For months I have been calculating the arc tangent of the 7 day week to discover the Pythagorean Theorem of muscle recovery and hydration percentages marked by the stupidity of the bored runner.

Of course, we always want what we don’t have. In 2 months I’ll just want to swim and ride my bike, yeah right.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Have I Done?

I mentioned in the previous post that I did something stupid this weekend. Those of you who are hoping for a story about how I embarrassed or injured myself are going to be disappointed, although my act of stupidity certainly has the future potential for both. So what did I do? I registered myself for the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon. The marathon, which takes place the morning of January 18th in Phoenix, will be my first (and probably last) attempt at this distance.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to running the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon lately and finally decided this past weekend to Nike-Up and just do it. Everything has been pointing me in this direction for a while now. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t going to run a marathon until I could realistically hope to finish in under 4 hours, and according to McMillan my new 5K PR of 22:48 translates to a marathon time of 3:58:31. McMillan’s estimation of my marathon time has been hovering around the 4 hour mark with my recent results but this was the first time I’d seen it at sub 4. In addition to that I received a $10 off coupon at the Georgetown Half and then noticed an ad for the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon over there on in the right sidebar so I was pretty much obligated to sign up.

So, why the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Arizona?
  • Are you not paying attention? $10 off!
  • It’s a flat course.
  • It’s at an elevation that’s roughly 4,000 feet lower than where I train.
  • It’s in January, which means all my long training runs can take place in the cooler, winter months. I’ve struggled with some of my long runs in the heat this past summer and I’m not dedicated enough to get up early on the weekends and start running prior to 10:30 am.
  • The marathon takes place on my Father-In-Law’s birthday providing me with the ultimate excuse to miss his party. (Actually, he’s going to be in Scottsdale for the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction which means I might even be able to convince him to watch my kids while I run, and maybe buy them their first car.)
  • I’ve been saving myself for the right marathon, and this is it.
  • Finally, $10 off! You just can’t pass up a deal that good.

As most of you probably know I’ve been a big fan of the FIRST plan for some time now and I’m planning on using it again to train for this marathon in January. The FIRST people actually offer two different training plans for marathon runners; one that is for marathon virgins like myself, and one that is for people looking to improve their marathon time. Obviously the first timer’s training plan is the one I qualify for and it is probably the gentler of the two, but it only has me doing one 20 mile long run, while the other plan has five 20 milers over a 16 week span. So my question is this: Is it enough to only run one 20 miler before the race? Shouldn’t I be doing more? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

By the way, you should prepare yourselves for lots of questions like this over the next few months, and probably for lots of whining and complaining too. Right now, I’m brimming with confidence and enthusiasm about this marathon, but I’m sure it will soon give way to pessimism, self-doubt, and a defeatist attitude. For example, the day after I signed up for the marathon I went out for a 10 mile run and logged the worst pace that I’ve seen all year. Oh crap! What have I done?

Saturday, September 13, 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.

The above image is from Jokes and Clips, but I first saw it at Pat’s blog, Note to Self. Thanks Pat, that’s a much more creative use of hand signals than I’m used to seeing. Onto the links:

  • I had an open letter to race directors go up at CRN. I already linked to it once this week, but it doesn’t hurt to do it again.
  • And here’s the dissenting opinion to my letter to race directors.
  • Steve in a Speedo competed in the Square Lake Half Ironman and did the run (13.1 miles) dressed as the Grim Reaper, complete with sickle. If you don’t read the post at least go look at the pictures and watch the video at the end, especially if you’ve never seen Death dancing to Kanye’s Stronger.
  • Lance tries to spread cheer and introduce the Runner’s Wave.
  • Last, but certainly not least the disgustingly talented J-Money posted a race report. You need to go read this post, because it’s not everyday that you get to laugh at the phrase Bifida the Clown.
That’s all for this weekend. I’m feeling kinda’ lazy so I don’t have a comment of the week or a video of the week. I will tell you all that I did something really stupid this weekend, and hopefully I’ll have more about that on Monday... or Tuesday... or whenever I get to it.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Personal Running Log - August 2008

I’m beginning to realize that I have a tendency to miss some runs after a race, and it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a 5K or a half marathon. You can see below that after the Georgetown Half Marathon it took me a week to get back out there and run again, and do you think that I’ve gone running since the Skirt Chaser 5K on Saturday? Nope, sure haven’t. If only my wife would have bought me some dedication for my birthday.

Instead of dedication, I got an entry into the Denver Gorilla Run, which I’m really excited about. I was considering this race a few months ago, which some of you may remember, but hopefully not too many of you because I’m just going to repost what I already posted. A quote from a previous entry is a quick and easy lazy way to fill a blog post. Here’s what I wrote on June 18th:

The next race up for consideration is the Denver Gorilla Run, those of you who voted that I should do the slip ‘n’ slide (90% of you) will like this one because you have to run dressed as a Gorilla. It’s a 5.6K but other than that I don’t know much about it. Apparently the proceeds go to the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund to benefit the Mountain Gorillas, probably by building them new schools and providing them text books or something. Anyway, they give you a Gorilla suit and you get to keep it! I’ve always wanted to own my own gorilla suit so if I participate in this race it will be one more thing that I can cross off my bucket list. Prizes are awarded for Highest Fundraising Gorilla, First to Finish, Furthest Traveled Gorilla and Most Creative Gorilla costume (i.e. what you add to your monkey suit to make it stand out). I’m thinking The Vanilla Gorilla costume is a shoe-in for first place. Shoes! I bet the proceeds go towards new shoes for the gorillas.

The most likely hindrance to me participating in this event is the high entry fee ($150). I guess that’s attributable to the gorilla suits that they give out and the rising cost of gorilla text books. The best thing about this race, other than it being a good excuse to keep calling everyone a “damned dirty ape,” is that I have never run a 5.6K (who has?) which means that it would be a PR by default. Anytime you can guarantee yourself a PR just by completing an event, that’s a good thing.

8/30/2008MiscLong8 Mi1:18:509:52
8/28/20087 Miles Out & BackTempo7 Mi1:04:359:14
8/26/20085 Miles Out & BackCrappy5 Mi48:489:46
8/21/20085 Miles Out & BackTempo5 Mi42:578:36
8/19/20085 Miles Out & BackIntervals (4x800)5 Mi43:598:48
8/16/20087 Miles Out & BackEasy7 Mi1:06:539:34
8/9/2008Georgetown HalfRace13.1 Mi1:56:458:55
8/6/2008TreadmillTempo4 Mi35:498:58
8/4/2008TrackIntervals (4x400)4 Mi35:298:53
8/2/20086 Mile LoopLong6 Mi52:418:47
8/1/20085 Miles Out & BackTempo5 Mi44:038:49
Distance: 69.1 miles
Total Time: 10:30:49

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cry If I Want To

I have another post up at CRN today, and you should totally go read it because it’s my birthday. You know what I really want for my birthday? Tons and tons of birthday wishes in the comments to help stroke my tender ego, and boost my low self-esteem. Also for my birthday, I think I’d like to not write very much.

Monday, September 8, 2008

We Deal in Speed, Friend

The Skirt Chaser 5K: A Joint Race Report
Because it was requested by tfh, this is a he said/she said race report, and since I have no idea what a he said/she said race report is supposed to look like this is how we’re doing it: I’m going to start typing a race report and Candis is going to interject and interrupt me in her usual manner.

Candis: How do I indicate that I’m rolling my eyes right now?
Ian: I think you just did.
As you may have guessed from the title of this post, the Skirt Chaser was a good race for both of us. In fact, we both set new PRs on Saturday. Candis broke 30 minutes for the first time in her running career with a time of 29:40 (9:32 pace). Awesome job babe! This also means that she’s setting the SY5K bar rather high by shaving more than 2 minutes off her 5K time and she’s not done yet... We have the Colder Bolder 5K coming up in December where I’m certain she’ll crack the 28 minute range.
Candis: Nothing is ever good enough...
Ian: I managed a time of 24:28 (7:52 pace), shaving almost 1 ½ minutes from my previous time. w00t! As you can tell if you’re any good at math, the 3 minute head start that the ladies get in the Skirt Chaser was not enough for Candis to finish ahead of me.
Candis: We ran this race with 2 other couples that we’ve been friends with for many years. The two guys were given permission for a one time butt-smack if they could pass me. They could not :) he he.
Ian: The Skirt Chaser course was an out and back course which meant that you could wave at and taunt the other runners as you went.
Candis: It also meant that you could see the winners coming back to the finish- not that I was still at the finish when they came back...
The first men passed the waning women at 0.3 miles. Holy crap, how is that possible? Unfortunately I’m no good at math while I run, and I gave up trying to calculate their pace at 0.5 miles.
Ian: You’re no good at math at ANY time.
Candis: It was quite demoralizing, but then right before the turnaround point, 3 women blazed back passed us. Women cheered like we’d just gained suffrage. Still no men to be seen... yet. It was like I was winning, but not.
Ian: It was demoralizing to see the lead runners so far ahead but I took comfort in the fact that once I made the turn at the halfway point I could start demoralizing the other, slower runners. After the turnaround point I would try to make eye contact with the other runners and then look at my watch and shake my head in disgust. I hope they were all demoralized.
Speaking of demoralized my goal had been to take all your advice from Friday’s comments and start fast. I was hoping to post a 7:30 first mile, but found out while running that most of the first mile was uphill.
Candis: I didn’t really notice that it was that much of a hill.
Ian: “Oooh, look at me I didn’t notice the hill.” Whatever. After maybe a quarter mile at a 7:45 pace I changed my strategy mid-race, which is never a good idea.
Candis: You know what else isn’t a good idea? Telling your husband that he looks sexy in that lucky blue race shirt. Seriously honey, wear something different.
Ian: Ignoring you. Knowing that I would have a fast downhill finish I slowed to an 8:00 minute pace. My final splits were 8:03, 8:05 and 7:46. It worked out for the best, but meant that I wouldn’t catch Candis until after the halfway point.
Candis: As I got closer to 1.55 miles I started to get nervous. Pre race farts again. (Can I say that?) My stomach knotted. I knew he was coming. I took one look over my shoulder and then decided it wasted hundredths of a second that I didn’t have. I picked up the pace and made the turn before Ian. Shortly after the turn I spotted him coming the other way and decided that it would be best if he didn’t notice me because it would surely give him a boost if he saw how close he was but then... “Ian!” I blurted it out before I could stop it. Oops.
Ian: I heard a familiar voice and saw Candis across the street already on her way back. It did give me a boost of speed to know that I had almost caught her. I rounded the turn and began reeling her in
Candis: I picked it up to 9:00 minute pace despite the fact that we were going uphill. Was he there yet? I was waiting for a smack on the butt I knew was coming. It was taking too long...
Ian: I began to close in on Candis at the 1.8 mile mark and decided to encourage rather than taunt. “Good job babe, keep it up!”
Candis: The first thing I heard was his familiar breathing... (keep your mind on track) who was he to be supportive? Why was he being sweet before the smack?
Ian: She took off in a dead sprint, trying in vain to outrun me for a few more seconds.
Candis: “Stay back there!” I screamed. Women cheered.
Ian: I matched her sprint for only a few strides, but it hurt too much and felt like too much energy so I let her go. She was fending off my advances well.
Candis: I’ve had a lot of practice, I’ve been doing it for 16 years now.
Ian: I knew she couldn’t keep it up for long.
Candis: I sprinted until my throat screamed. My ego told it to shut up. Then my legs reminded us that we still had another hill left and that Ian is faster by nearly 2 minutes/mile. Here’s the math again. I can’t tell you what it is, but if he waited 3 minutes to start and caught me at 1.8 miles then I wasn’t beating him to the finish.
Ian: I did the same math, only a little more accurately and settled back into my pace, it was inevitable that I’d catch her. I wasn’t going to kill myself for it right now.
Candis: I’d lost- I knew I would- and it still sucked. I wasn’t quite as dejected as I thought I’d be. It’s not like it was close. I knew I could still make my sub 30 time, and did.
Ian: I passed her at the 1.9 mile mark amid cheers from all the women around us for her to beat me. Whatever. The love tap on the butt turned into a little more of a grab than a tap. What can I say, I’m handsy.
Candis: Great. Some women marry men that are handy, but I manage to get a guy that’s handsy. Figures.
Ian: At this point I had passed every member of our group except one. Carl and his wife were behind me as was the other guy (we’ll call him Bert), but Bert’s wife (we’ll call her Foghorn Leghorn- inside joke) was still ahead of me. I plowed ahead in an attempt to catch Foghorn Leghorn but knew that it would be tough.
I pushed myself as hard as I could down the hill to the finish. My Garmin indicates that my final tenth of a mile was at a 5:40 pace which is just ridiculous for me. I didn’t see Foghorn Leghorn until I crossed the finish line and noticed her standing up ahead of me in the chute. Chicked!
Candis: he he :)
Ian: The official results indicate that she beat me by 6 seconds. I’ll hang my hat on the fact that she technically ran the same distance 2 minutes and 54 seconds slower than me.
Candis: What happened after you crossed the finish line?
Ian: I’m getting to that. Literally seconds after I finished, even before I saw Foghorn Leghorn ahead of me in the chute I crossed the Puke Threshold. It was a bizarre feeling. I’ve never actually puked after or during a run, but doubled over in the chute I found myself staring at my Gatorade-stained lunch splattered on the street.
Candis: Changing the subject, this was hands down my favorite race ever. Usually Ian & I start together and I lose sight of him at .005 miles in a cloud of dust. The focus of this race was very unique and it made it a great diversion to my ‘two sports too many’ training (more on this later). This night was all about speed, great friends (who usually don’t race with us- so it was fun), and great post race food. Well, almost. The beer sucked.
Ian: Dale’s Pale Ale. I’m not sure why Dale hates us so much but I couldn’t even drink the beer, and it was free.
Candis: Well done Skirt Sports. Thanks to Nicole & Tim DeBoom (more on them later). They put on a very exciting and well planned event. Loads of fun, just when I needed to remember why I like racing.
Ian: Unfortunately, I never found P.O.M. or Christine, but I did meet up with Simon from RunColo which was cool. Be sure to check out all of their blogs for more on the Skirt Chaser. My wife has rambled on long enough for this post.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Race Weekend

Saturday is the Skirt Chaser 5K, which is my first 5K since I posted my Stubble time of 25:56 at the end of last year so it will be a good indication of how well I’m Shaving My 5K. If you’re a new reader of Half-Fast and have only just heard about the Shave Your 5K Challenge it’s not too late for you to enter, especially if you’ve already run a 5K this year. If you haven’t run a 5K this year then it’s still not too late to enter but it probably is too late to win. Enter anyway, because life’s not just about winning; it’s about the journey, the camaraderie, it’s about pushing yourself to the limits because it makes you a better person, and a bunch of other crap like that - anything that takes your mind off the fact that you’re not winning, loser!

The Skirt Chaser race is all about fun, and I have several friends, including Carl, running the race with me so I’m not going to set a real aggressive goal for myself. I want to have enough energy left for the post race bash so that I can party like a rock star. Except without the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, and without the musical talent, or the groupies, or the good looks, or the expensive tastes, or the wild temper, or the propensity for dating Pamela Anderson. But other than those few missing details, I’ll be partying EXACTLY like a rock star.

The goal for Saturday is simply to set a new PR, but I’m undecided on how to go about doing that. I usually try to reign myself in at the beginning of a race so as not to fade at the end, but I also recently read this article on Runner’s World that talks about runners having success in 5Ks by going out fast. I kind of like the idea of going out fast because then I’ll be able to catch Candis much sooner, but I also like having a nice strong kick to the finish because it makes me feel good and it always sucks to get passed at the end of a race. Let me hear your thoughts on 5K strategy in the comments so that I can arrogantly ignore them and do my own thing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

And to Think That I Saw It on My Long Run

When I leave for my long run my wife always tells me,
“Honey, keep your eyelids up and see what you can see.”
But when I return all agog, with a great post for my blog,
She sternly tells me, “Your eyesight’s too keen, like a wary guard dog.”
“Stop telling such outlandish tales. Stop turning minnows into whales.”

Now what can I blog about when I get home today?
All the way to the lake and all the way back,
I’ve looked and I’ve looked and I’ve kept careful track.
But all that I’ve noticed, while running ahead,
Was a woman with a bottle balanced high on her head.

That’s nothing to tell of, that’s far too dull,
Just a woman with a water bottle perched on her skull.

That can’t be my blog post, that’ll never do,
Instead of just one bottle, I’ll say it was two!
And that is a blog post that can’t be outdone,
When I say that it happened on my long, slow run.

Yes two bottles is fine, but it’s still kinda’ mellow,
She’ll be joggling instead, with seven balls that are yellow.
And the story would really be easier to embrace,
If we were joggling together at a blistering pace.
Yes, two speedy jogglers is nothing to shun,
When I say that it happened on my long, slow run.

But a spectacle like this deserves a large crowd,
I’ll add some more runners and fans that are loud,
A cyclist to salute us as he passes us by,
But not any old cyclist, it’s that Lance Armstrong guy,
And who is that swimming out in the lake?
It’s Mike Phelps himself, creating a wake.

The crowds push and they elbow to see all the drama,
VIPs have shown up, including McCain and Obama!
“You should be President,” they cheered from the side,
And that thought alone made me want to go hide.

Now that is a story that’s second to none,
When I say that I saw it on my long, slow run.

But now I don’t know, it doesn’t seem right,
We’d pass the crowd in a blur and be fast out of sight.
They’ll need a jumbotron screen with ultra slow-mo,
That stands 4 stories high and gives a good show.
Watch nationwide coverage on NBC,
But not until primetime so more people can see.

Yes, that makes a story that’s really not bad!
But it still could be better.
Suppose that I add...

... the Goodyear blimp circling the skies,
A bicycle chase team with plenty of supplies,
A police escort in front to make the path clear,
A truck with our times displayed on the rear,
A pace team to guide us around every bend...
No time for more, we’re close to the end.
I swung ‘round the corner and dashed through the gate,
I ran up the steps and I felt simply GREAT!


But my wife said quite calmly, when I returned from my jogging,
“Now what did you see? Was there anything worth blogging?”
Oh, where to begin? I HAD SO MUCH TO SHARE!
But my wife looked at me sharply with a skeptical glare.

She raised up an eyebrow and quietly said,
“Was there nothing to look at... no tales you can spread?
Is there no story to be woven, not even a thread?”

“Nothing,” I said, my face turning beet red,
“But a woman with a bottle perched high on her head.”

With apologies to Dr. Seuss.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hydration Made Easy

I’ve finally solved the age old problem of how to hydrate on a run without having to wear a fuel belt (which just looks awkward), or carry a water bottle (which just freezes your hand and tilts your kilter). This past week Candis and I found ourselves without our children on several occasions thanks to their grandparents, who unimaginably seem to enjoy spending time with the dirt-covered, balls of energy that we’ve produced. It was on one such peaceful afternoon that I decided to head out for a run, and since we are one of those annoyingly cute couples that still enjoy each other’s company, Candis decided to tag along on her bike.

I took full advantage of this situation and loaded Candis up with water bottles, Clif SHOT Gels, and anything else that I thought I might need on my run. It was fantastic. Whenever I needed a drink I just snapped my fingers and barked “Water!” I’d douse myself with cool water like an Olympic marathoner and then toss the bottle to the side of the road, because if the Olympic marathoners can do it, then I can too. Of course since we had a limited supply, Candis would jump down from her bike, scurry off to the side of the road to pick up the water bottle and then catch back up with me. Being the loving husband that I am I never once complained about how long it took her to do this.

After a couple of miles I was really getting the hang of running with a cyclist and I was demanding assistance like an entitled actor with an oversized ego. “Hold my sunglasses,” “give me a SHOT Gel,” “take my hat,” “give me back my sunglasses and hat,” “no, no, no, hand me the hat first and then the sunglasses, are you trying to make me slower?” “Go on ahead and push the button for the crosswalk and make sure you time it so that I don’t have to slow down.” I even considered asking her to wipe the sweat from my brow, but she looked so wobbly with all those things in her hands that I was worried she’d accidentally hit me with the handlebars. Perhaps once she gets a little better at this we’ll give that one a shot.

It was a good run, and I think that we both enjoyed my company. It’s really nice to have water available without having to figure out how to carry it, and I plan on doing many more runs with my wife at my side. I highly recommend this method of carrying water on runs for those of you with spouses or children who can ride bikes. It’s time to put your family to work for your benefit, you won’t be disappointed.