Monday, March 31, 2008

It’s Shaving Time!


As you may remember today (March 31) was the original deadline that I set for completing your stubble time 5K for the Shave Your 5K Challenge. Thus far I have received 67 entries for the SY5K Challenge and I know of a few others that are taking advantage of the extension I granted, so I’m confident that we will exceed 70 entries before all is said and done. Remember that the deadline for sending me your $5,000 entry fee is tax day (April 15).

Many thanks to all of you who have helped me publicize the SY5K Challenge and to everyone who is taking part. The results page is updated as of this morning so if you think you entered and don’t see your name listed then you need to resend your e-mail. If you sent me an e-mail and did not hear back from me within a week then your e-mail probably did not make it past my spam filter. Please e-mail me again and this time, leave out the word “penis.”

Like the title of this post implies, now is the time to get busy shaving. To improve your 5K time I recommend lots and lots of rest days, a high-fat diet, and plenty of time on the couch, especially for the 20 of you who posted faster times than I did.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Gait Analysis

Candis and I headed down to our local Rec Center this past Wednesday night because they were doing free gait analysis sessions for runners and I have always subscribed to the premise “if it’s free, it’s for me.” The gentleman who appeared to be performing the analysis immediately gave off the impression that he was a smooth operator. He had slick, dark hair and was more tan than anyone in the northern hemisphere should be in March with the possible exception of George Hamilton. His movements were fluid and calculated and I immediately decided that I didn’t trust him at all. He completed his own character assassination when he introduced himself to me as “Dr. D.” It seemed strange that he would avoid using his last name, especially when he later introduced himself to my wife and gave her his complete last name.

We had a brief discussion and I could tell by the way he threw around words like “alignment” and “adjustment” that he was a chiropractor i.e. not a real doctor. Then he asked me to take off my shoes and socks and run on the treadmill while he filmed it for a couple of minutes. Having never run barefoot, with the exception of chasing my wife around the bedroom (high five myself), it felt strange. My stride didn’t feel right. I was up on the balls of my feet much more than I normally would have been, and in the quarter mile that I ran on the treadmill I never felt like I settled in to my stride.

We looked at the footage on Dr. D’s computer and he informed me that as far as my stride, everything was centered and looked good (I’ll say). I didn’t over-pronate or supinate or coagulate, I was just plain average. The one thing that he did point out was that my right elbow seemed to flail out to the side a little more than my left elbow and this was perhaps due to the fact that my alignment was off. I could see where this was heading. He informed me that they were holding a runner’s clinic next week covering things like gait, alignment, and various tips for runners to make sure you’re running with the utmost efficiency. It was not a free clinic.

I didn’t feel like Dr. D ever really told me what I could do to fix my right elbow flail and he even seemed to avoid directly answering some of the questions I had for him. He kept telling me that they were going to cover some of these things at the clinic. It was like I was talking to a politician. I declined to sign up for the clinic because I didn’t see how I was going to find the solutions to the glitches in my individual gait by paying to sit through a generic presentation to a bunch of fellow dupes.

I was beginning to wonder if this had been a complete waste of time when my wife made it all worthwhile. Once she had finished her barefoot gait analysis, Dr. D asked her if she had ever been to see a chiropractor before. “Yeah,” she answered without realizing that Dr. D was probably a chiropractor “but it was totally worthless.” Just like that she trampled all over his ego, and she did it without any right elbow flail at all.

*This post does not apply to Jared Lawson, who is a level headed and legitimate chiropractor.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Shoes!


There aren’t many things in this world better than the smell of new running shoes fresh out of the box. You unfold the tissue paper that covers the shoes, remove the wadded up balls of it from the toes of the shoes and you catch your first whiff of new running shoe. It’s fantastic, but do you know what’s even better than the smell of new running shoes? Actually buying new running shoes. Trust me they look at you kind of strange when you ask if you can smell several pairs and then just leave the store without buying any. Do you know what’s even better than buying new running shoes? You probably don’t because you’re not awesome like me. I’ll tell you what’s better than buying new running shoes: Being given a free pair of new running shoes to review on your blog. Pretty awesome huh? Do you know what’s even better than being given free shoes? Being given a new pair of the latest Pearl Izumi SyncroInfinity running shoes. (Syncro Infinity? syncroINFINITY? I can’t figure out which one is right, Pearl Izumi must be loving this right now.) Do you know why I keep phrasing everything as a question in this post? Me neither.

Receiving a free pair of Pearl Izumi running shoes is better than receiving any other brand because it’s as if Pearl Izumi is endorsing me as a runner. It’s as if they’re saying “Hey Vanilla, you’re not a jogger, you’re a runner, you run like an animal, you are our kind of people, we want you in our shoes, and not all those lame joggers who read your blog,” – personally I would be offended by that last statement if I was you guys.

Now you may think that me agreeing to review their shoes in exchange for a free pair is a conflict of interest. You may call my actions “selling out” or “whorish behavior” but I call it “shut up you’re just jealous!” I assure you that my review of the shoes will not be tainted by the fact that the super-duper, totally awesome, stupefyingly great company Pearl Izumi just gave me free running shoes. I will not allow it to impair my judgment.

I’ve only run in the shoes a couple of times, so I will save my review of their performance for another day but let me just say that these might be the coolest looking shoes that I’ve ever owned, and that’s saying something because I once owned a pair of grey dress sandals that I wore with grey socks (by the way, thanks for that Mom). I was fully expecting to receive the same running shoes that I’ve always run in, you know the kind; white mesh upper with a colorful stripe or two, some reflective material and a multi-colored sole (whoa, flashy!). So I was pleasantly surprised by the black and grey shoes that you see pictured. My favorite thing about the Pearl Izumi SyncroInfiinity is the snarling teeth on the back of the shoe (pictured right). They say to other runners, “back off man, I’m dangerous!” I feel b-b-b-b-bad to the bone when I run in them and that’s probably what Pearl Izumi was striving for, especially when you consider all their ads.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I heart Nike

Hello, this is Candis again. I told Ian that I had a good idea for a post thinking that he’d run with it, but instead I received an e-mail invite to post at Half-Fast and directions to “Go for it.”

I was excited to go outside and run this past weekend, to get away from my children and take advantage of the weather. Calendars and bloggers everywhere claim “Spring is Springing!” LIARS! As I was waiting for Ian to get home from his run the sun vanished, the clouds came, and the wind picked up. That was it, I was hamstering it, and then something happened when I opened my closet to find my running gear; I saw price tags instead. Oh yes, I bought that for the cold. The next thing I knew, I was wearing all my cold gear. I don’t think I voluntarily picked it, or agreed to run outside. It’s like when your car drives you somewhere without you paying any attention. I headed out the door and muttered something about being back in 10 minutes to run my eight miles on my hamster wheel.

Even with Easter looming, there was no spring to be found. I exited the neighborhood and it began snowing. Ahhhh, Colorful Colorado. LIARS! I haven’t seen any color in months. Then I realized, I wasn’t cold and it was quiet. Yup, I was going 8 miles, because that my friends, equals an hour and a half of quiet (mothers of toddlers are odd creatures.) I looooove Nike. The factory must be like the Fairy Godmother’s magic factory in Shrek complete with colorful explosions of fireworks and athletes pouring snow, ice and wind into giant vats. Then Voila! Out comes Nike Deep Freeze Pro Gear. I don’t know what “Dri-FIT” is and the factory workers probably don’t either. How can a shirt keep you so warm and still breathe after 5 miles? Magic baby! The beauty is that I don’t really care why. Plus they have a killer marketing department that makes me get off the couch and run.


I am a running gear addict. We’re all addicted to something: caffeine, sugar, those paper Starbucks cups. I NEED all this running gear. It gets me out of my head. It prevents me from thinking, “can’t feel my legs” with each step. You saw the Nike commercial, it’s dangerous not to feel your steps. I need a shirt for freezing, a shirt for wind, a shirt for blistering heat. It makes me run outside. I’m really a closet hamster, I like the treadmill. The treadmill makes me run how I’m supposed to, it has no hills and no weather swings. But I learned when I was little that if you spend your milk money on candy, you’d better enjoy it. (Also you’d better not let your Mom know you did it.) Same applies now. Do my kids really NEED this much milk? This shirt lets me run in 100 degree weather. It’s not like they’re malnourished. It makes me run faster and further- and it’s paying off. You won’t be seeing me crying on a Richard Simmons Infomercial. I’ll be running with these wacky boys- they’ll thank me later.

I love all my running paraphernalia. Running in the cold makes you feel hardcore. You get smiles from people who wish they were as cool as you. Maybe it’s all in my head but I run further with Clif Shot Bloks, Accelerade (which turns into a nice slushy when it’s freezing- yum), Eminem and Gustavo (Ian’s Garmin).

Hey! I have another idea I conjured up- wouldn’t it be cool if Nike made cold gear shirts with zip sides for those temperature swings? Hey Allison, you don’t have another cousin who works for Nike do you?

If only Nike had opened their magic factory in the 50’s, imagine how much faster our icons could have been. Ahhh, but they were so much tougher than I am.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Proper Hydration Techniques

I don’t know about you, but I hate having to carry a fuel belt or a water bottle when I’m out on a long run. They’re bulky, they’re cumbersome and they bounce around like I’ve got some serious junk in my trunk. Fortunately the video below shows two runners who have found a better way to hydrate during a long run.


The second guy clearly has much better technique for getting the water into his mouth. I mean he just goes for it, I suspect he even took some in through his nose to speed the hydration process. This is pure genius, and I plan on using this technique the next time I need to hydrate on a long run. (I don’t actually plan on using this technique, that was my karma talking.)

The girl that filmed this particular video was clearly overjoyed that she had caught something on film that was YouTube-worthy. It is unfortunate that we live in a day and age where people film everything hoping for something bad to happen and then rush to put it on the internet for all to see. But remember, without those heartless jerks my self-righteous indignation would have nothing to take a stand against, and moments like the one above would be lost forever.

So, just to recap: Using your blog to make fun of a runner who fell and was caught on film = OK.
Filming a Steeplechase and hoping that a runner eats it so you will have a funny video for YouTube = Heartless jerk.

Credit: With Leather

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday and if you’re unlucky enough to be stuck at work without the benefit of a TV to watch March Madness then you’re probably looking for something to pass the time during this lazy Friday. Perhaps that’s what brought you here to Half-Fast today. Unfortunately, it’s a lazy Friday for me too and I don’t feel like writing a big, long, entertaining post, but what I can offer you is this wonderful little game based on the movie Run Fatboy Run. In the game you are trying to burst all the blisters on Dennis’ feet. Once you get past the disgusting nature of what you are pretending to do in this game it is actually kind of fun. My high score thus far is 583 points. Telling you that is my way of slapping you in the face with a leather glove, throwing down the gauntlet, drawing a line in the sand and challenging you to a duel. That’s right, you heard me. IT’S ON!


UPDATE: UGH! I was originally attempting to place the widget in this post to allow you to play the game right here at Half-Fast but either the widget sucks or I’m an idiot. Most likely it’s the latter but for some reason when I embed the widget all the other images here at Half-Fast disappear. So if you want to play the game you’ll have to go visit the widget on Facebook, where they know how to properly install widgets. NERDS!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Oscar Pistorius Banned Again!

As if Oscar Pistorius didn’t have enough troubles already, it was announced today by the Governing Board that he would also be banned from the Shave Your 5K Challenge being hosted by Half-Fast. Organizers had long been considering barring Oscar Pistorius from competing in the SY5K Challenge based on the IAAF’s findings that his prosthetic carbon-fiber blades provide “clear mechanical advantages.”

SY5K event organizers were not certain if Oscar Pistorius was planning to enter the contest but wanted to eliminate any doubt about his eligibility with the deadline to post a stubble time looming. They further asserted in a written statement that it would be “impossible to determine whether Oscar’s improvement during the year was due to training or technology.”

Oscar Pistorius has called the announcement “nothing more than a publicity stunt” on the part of Half-Fast, an insignificant player on the world running stage. Pistorius went on to claim that Half-Fast was merely looking to cash in on Google searches for the name “Oscar Pistorius.”

When reached for comment, hunky Half-Fast spokesperson Vanilla said “If Oscar Pistorius thinks that this is just about publicity and Google searches then Oscar Pistorius is wrong. Oscar Pistorius was banned from this event because Oscar Pistorius has an advantage over able bodied athletes not named Oscar Pistorius. If Oscar Pistorius would like to discuss the barring of Oscar Pistorius in a civil manner or file an appeal then Oscar Pistorius is welcome to contact me via the e-mail address listed at Half-Fast. Oscar Pistorius can easily find the site by Googling Oscar Pistorius.”

Perhaps Oscar Pistorius will take solace in the fact that he was not the only person who was banned from participating in the Shave Your 5K Challenge. Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco and Eliot Spitzer were also banned from the SY5K challenge although it wasn’t made clear why.

With apologies to those of you who just found Half-Fast via a search for Oscar Pistorius, I highly recommend The Science of Sport for their coverage of this saga.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cheer Team Vanilla is Loud

Because I love my readers and everyone seems to enjoy seeing pictures of Cheer Team Vanilla I’m going to attempt to post a video of them at the race this past weekend. Please keep in mind that this was “filmed” on my camera phone so the quality will be worse than the Zapruder film. Also I should warn you that there is cowbell involved and it is quite loud. If you’re at work you might want to turn your speakers down and then write yourself a quick reminder to buy some contraceptives on your way home.

video


Ta Da!
From my cell phone to your computer. A home video posted here at Half-Fast. Talk about being on the cutting edge of technology! Does any other blog do things that are this advanced? I doubt it.

As you all know from reading yesterday’s post my wife ran a St. Paddy’s Day 5K this past weekend, and as usual our boys were happy to provide a cheering section. We positioned ourselves just past the starting line and the two of them screamed and yelled and rang their cowbells from some time roughly 2 minutes before the race started until every last participant had disappeared around the first turn. I think Mommy was embarrassed to be associated with us but I don’t blame her. At one point I even tried to scoot away from them so that I could look at them disdainfully as if to say “whose kids are those?” but unfortunately they stuck closely by my side.

After the noise had subsided a little I checked my course map to see where we could go and see the runners pass by again. However, since they had moved the starting line (more about that in yesterday’s post) and I have the mental capacity of a 7 year old I was not able to figure out where I was or where the race was going. Fearful of getting lost and ending up alone with two cowbell wielding boys I decided we’d just go wait at the finish. After standing for a couple of minutes at the finish I was sick of being bombarded by questions like “Is Momma coming yet?” “How much longer will it be?” “Can we go home now?” Fortunately there was a park right across the street.

We returned from the park in time to scream some more as Mommy crossed the finish line. On the ride home from the race my wife and I were discussing how this was her least favorite race since there was no post race beer. My youngest son interjected that this was his second favorite race because there was a park to play at. His favorite? “The one where they had pancakes at the finish.” (The Colder Bolder) What can I say, my son likes his pancakes and my wife likes her beer.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Where’s Me Bloody Green Beer?

The following is a guest post by my wife. It is her race report from the St. Paddy’s Day 5K which she ran this past weekend.


The Highlands Ranch St. Patrick’s Day 5K forgot one key ingredient for a successful race. I’m sure that Booze Hounds would agree with me: You run a race for the free swag, you run a St. Patrick’s Day race for Free Green Beer!

I got a bottle of water, an apple, an orange and a new homes flier. I think federal inmates eat better. The swag bag looked like a stocking gone wrong from a RE/MAX Santa. I don’t want fruits sleighed across the border and I don’t want your organically grown Whole Foods oranges. I appreciate that no oranges were harmed by angry pesticides during growing or shipping, I eat them all week long after my runs. What I want after your race is ALCOHOL. You may decide what kind. Is it because it was 10am? Because I would have happily run later in the day, plus I’m pretty sure that rule doesn’t apply after a race or on vacation. I would also be willing to run it in the Bahamas- they would probably blend my fruit up with some rum for me. Is it because I only ran a 5K? I would run it again for some Free Green Beer.

Ian loves getting race shirts. It makes him feel cool. He can’t wear his running gear to the movies, so he likes to wear a shirt that proves his addiction. I however, am over cheap cotton, garish-logoed T-shirts that are going to look like a car rag in a month. They are just more shirts I’ll have to hide at the bottom of Ian’s shirt drawer. My St. Paddy’s Day wearable is a really soft white technical shirt! Best race shirt I ever got. Problem is they printed a clip art leprechaun in a tragically wrong green on the front and stamped company logos all over the back- I know those logos paid for the shirt, maybe next time they’ll spring for food. (OK, I’m over it. Really.)

The race was a Bolder Boulder qualifier- I say was because after they read this, it might not be. It was also not on St. Patrick’s Day but I don’t think the Bolder Boulder cares about that.

When my company plans social events we go over A LOT of details, sometimes we have to make small, last-minute changes. When I’m waiting for a race to start I often appreciate how well planned it is and notice how well the masses of people are routed. The Highlands Ranch St Patrick’s Day 5K was very well organized: the tents were well placed, there were extra staff to move cattle to appropriate lines, there was free, pre-race lukewarm Starbucks (hey, Starbucks is Starbucks), motivational music, a great announcer that was actually audible, and a warm pub that I could stand in and dream of... what else... green beer.

Ten minutes before the race, I began looking for the start. The finish was excitingly visible. No starting line… No wait, here it comes, race officials were bringing it up the street. (It wasn’t supposed to be on this street.) Last minute changes I guess, I hope they measured well from where it was supposed to be. Why did it get moved? It did make more sense in its new location, but it created one glitch- The course would cross the finish line 3 times. Really. After the announcer yelled “Go”, (I’m always disappointed- seriously call the track coach and get a starters pistol) runners crossed the finish line within the first tenth of a mile and then turned right. (#1) With a quarter mile remaining we ran past it again in the opposite direction (#2) and then looped back around a Cul de Sac and headed back to the finish (#3). After the first pass Ian overheard a volunteer say “they’re running back over this mat when they come back? That won’t work!” (Keep in mind all the racers were gone now.) “You can’t have people running both ways across the mat! You’ve got about twelve minutes to fix it!”

When you call a 5K a “run/walk” you obviously get some folks who are going to walk, you hope that they won’t line up towards the front. It’s really good to see that all those people are working on their fitness and trying to get faster. It’s refreshing, when so many people strap a Slendertone® to their green-beer gut and try to drop 50 pounds while eating their Sam’s Club Tub-O-Cheetos. (Sorry, soapbox.) I’d just be more refreshed if you wouldn’t work on your fitness WALKING 3 people across on a frickin’ bike trail. Again, people please etiquette! I realize my crabbing is ill-placed because the 21 minute 5K runners had no problem. They were long gone. Yes, I want to be Mrs. Half-Fast and for you to just stay out of the way!

That’s me in the middle, without the feather boa.

In the last 5K that I ran in September I posted a time of 34:18. [Ed. Note: Race report here] I read in Runner’s World that shaving 20 seconds off your time was impressive but I was not about to be impressed with a 20 second deduction.
With the sweat that I’ve invested, I’ve earned more than a 20 second return. I felt much stronger, faster, and more in control than I did at my last 5K. This was in part due to running with a Garmin and partially due to more intense training. I have been completing tempo runs at a 10:30 pace, so I knew that I could achieve that pace during this race. I was actually slightly faster as I finished in 31:54 (10:17 pace). A new PR! It felt good, even though I probably just screwed myself in the Shave Your 5K Challenge. As if that wasn’t enough, the FIRST plan calculates your training pace based on your current 5K time so my workouts will be speeding up. Additionally, the McMillan Calculator indicates that I should run the Bolder Boulder 10K in 1:06:16 which just sounds like crazy talk to me but I think Ian is expecting it now. [Ed. Note: Actually with 10 more weeks of training I’m expecting closer to an hour.]

Want to run faster? Train harder. It works and I hate it- during my FIRST intervals I’m pretty sure I curse under my breath- sometimes they slip out. (Confidential to the red-head with the Pekinese: Please tell your mommy I’m sorry you learned that word from me- someday you’ll understand.)

Saturday, March 15, 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.

Let me begin this week by congratulating my wife who set a new 5K PR in today’s St. Patrick’s Day 5K beating her old PR by nearly 2½ minutes. I’d tell you more about it but I’m going to let her tell you in a guest post on Monday and I don’t want to steal her thunder if I haven’t already by telling you all that she PR’d. Yes, she will be entering the Shave Your 5K Challenge.

  • CRN’s handsomest new writer (that’s me, I may also be the vainest and illiterate-ist) had a post go up this week that will give you some new ideas for your iPod playlist, and I’m not talking about songs either. Intrigued? Go read it.
  • Running Jayhawk is hosting a March Madness Bracket to support their Team in Training fundraising efforts which benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Head on over and fill out a bracket, there are tons of prizes that they’ll be giving away including stuff from Amphipod, Yankz, Injinji, and Runervals to name a few. To be honest with you I’m not even sure what some of those things are, well except for Injinji which was a Robin Williams movie.
  • There have been a few posts about the 101 year old man running the London Marathon, but I liked Jenn’s the best because it’s really concise. More concise than this bullet point. Also, Jenn e-mailed it to me so I didn’t have to go looking for it, and it was concise. Did I say that already?
  • If you’re somewhere where it’s still cold then Kristina has a solution for you. Insulation in the form of thicker skin.
  • Betsy posted one of my favorite motivational YouTube videos, and then had a humorous post to go along with it. It’s a double-threat, except replace “threat” with “treat” because it’s not threatening, except don’t because a double-treat doesn’t sound as cool.

Comment of the Week
From Nitmos on my Wanted: Evil Arch Nemesis post:

I can not accept Nancy’s nomination despite the fact that your half marathon time is laughable (did you walk it?) and your blog gives off the faint odor of moldy cheese.

I liked it because I was initially offended by it until I caught on to what he was doing. Thanks Nitmos. But seriously, what the hell is a Nitmos? It’s not even a real word, I know that because of the squiggly red line that showed up underneath it when I typed this. I noticed that there was a definition of what a Nitmos is at the bottom of your blog and I was going to read it but it was kind of long, plus it turned out that I really don’t care.

Big thanks to Nancy (who ROCKS) for introducing me to Nitmos, because I’ve been enjoying reading his blog. I’m afraid that he’s too fast to be my Evil Arch Nemesis. While I did want someone faster than me, I didn’t want someone who was THAT much faster than me. I’ve got to be able to beat my Evil Arch Nemesis on occasion otherwise what trash talk will I be able to use in my defense? As crappy a moniker as “Nitmos” is, I can only draw on that well so many times before it starts getting old.

There were several other outstanding candidates to fill the role of my Evil Arch Nemesis. RazZDoodle fits the bill well, plus he’s a Husker fan so he’s got that going against him. Mr. Satan A. Chilles has a great name for an Evil Arch Nemesis, as does Viper but I’m still convinced that he drives a Toyota Prius and no Arch Nemesis of mine is going to drive a freakin’ Prius. Jess majored in laser beams which would be good if I could handle getting chicked and then being taunted about it, and kyle is clearly over-qualified to handle the sarcasm requirements as are several others. In the end it was good to see that a lot of you are eager to skewer me on a regular basis, but I’m beginning to learn that you can’t just go out and hire an Arch Nemesis. I think it’s something that you have to build to. You can’t force the relationship of Hero vs. Arch Nemesis, it will just develop over time.

No Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week this week, go look one up yourself. Have a great St. Patrick’s Day weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Nicole Kidman is Running


Nicole Kidman was photographed running this past weekend in L.A. It’s been a while since I’ve written a post about a celebrity running, despite the fact that they are some of my favorite posts to write. Mostly this is because it has given me an excuse to (Go)ogle pictures of Jessica Simpson, Katie Holmes, and Jessica Biel to name a few. Also, it allows me make fun of famous celebrities and showcase my jealousy of their fabulous lives. Today it is with half-hearted resolve that I post this entry containing pictures of a pregnant, 40 year old Nicole Kidman. Let’s face it she’s not really stacking up to the other names that I mentioned above.

I’m not saying that Nicole Kidman isn’t sexy enough to be featured here at Half-Fast because she’s 40 and pregnant, it’s just that... well... yeah... I guess that’s exactly what I’m saying. To be clear I don’t have anything against pregnant 40 year olds, other than the fact that it seems an unnecessary risk to get pregnant at 40 when I have two kids that I would happily give away to a good home. It just doesn’t usually make for a good combination when you’re looking for sexy images to post on your blog.

So why did I post the above picture? To illustrate a point. I need your help here folks. I don’t think it benefits anyone if I have to resort to posting less-than-sexy celebrities, but I can’t keep track of all these celebrities by myself. I know that you all read the celebrity gossip rags, hell Marcy practically writes one. Whenever you see stories about celebrities running I need to know about it. When the paparazzi photograph some A-lister running on the beach, I need to see those pictures. You people need to do a better job of e-mailing me when these stories pop up.

Now normally this post would also get the “posts I hope my wife doesn’t read” tag, but in this case it’s not necessary because she has nothing to fear from Nicole Kidman. Nicole Kidman is not ever going to come searching for a little Vanilla love due to her tragically horrendous taste in men (see Cruise, Tom also see Urban, Keith). Even if she did, I would not be interested. First of all, my wife is much hotter than Nicole Kidman (and also much more reading this over my shoulder as I type than Nicole Kidman). Also and perhaps more importantly, my wife is not on the verge of producing a screaming, crying, diaper-filling, bundle of what-have-we-done.

Thanks to Celebrity Source which is where I heard about the story. No thanks to you lousy readers, when are you going to start pulling your weight around here?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Beautiful Day for a Run

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Denver. We had blue skies, warm temperatures, an extra hour of daylight and a general feeling of goodwill towards all mankind. (We’re good people here in Denver.) As I drove home from work I saw runners out on the trails, I saw cyclists, I even saw several couples walking their dogs. It was almost as if everything was working together in perfect harmony to make me go run. By the time I got home I was more excited than I’ve ever been to go out and run. In fact I think it’s safe to say that I was bubbling over with more anticipation than a pimple-faced 13 year old who has just stolen his first Playboy.

I arrived home to a family that was happy to see me. “I’m so glad you’re home,” said my wife as she briskly walked past me and out the door I’d just come in.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“I’m going running,” she said and then she threw one more comment over her shoulder as she headed out for her run. “The kids are in the backyard. Good luck!”

And then she was gone. I stood there all alone wondering what had just happened. My wife is a runner so it is no surprise that she went running, but something felt different. It quickly became clear that she was using running as an excuse to get away from the kids. It was evident that she just wanted to have them out of her hair for an hour or two. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. Using running as an excuse to get away from your two crazy little boys is shameful and selfish, and quite frankly I called dibs on it. Seriously, that’s my racket. What’s next? Is she going to start peeing in the shower? Is she going to start monopolizing the remote? Is she going to start pretending that she doesn’t know how to load the dishwasher to get out of doing it? Is nothing sacred anymore?

Despite my world being turned upside down, I was still excited to run. I changed into my running clothes and couldn’t contain myself any longer, I needed to run. So, with my wife out running and my boys ricocheting around the backyard, I decided to go run a few warm up miles on the treadmill. After a couple of miles my 4 year old came down to the basement and I was certain that he was about to tell me that Mom was home.
“Dad, can we turn on the hose?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
“Same reason they don’t give guns to monkeys.”

Typically, I would have told him “because I said so,” but it’s not like he pays attention to me anyway so I occasionally throw out a confusing answer just for fun. He left and I continued my run on the treadmill, all the while wondering if the hose was being used. ‘A few warm up miles’ quickly turned into a few intervals and before I knew it I had completed my entire workout on the treadmill. Good thing it was such a beautiful day outside. When my wife returned home I went outside and ran a cool down mile, mostly because it seemed like a waste not to. For those of you who are wondering, the hose did not get used.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wanted: Evil Arch Nemesis


I linked to J-Money’s post about her arch nemesis in my previous Weekend Splits post and then Nancy mentioned in the comments that I needed one. You know what? She’s right. I do need an Evil Arch Nemesis. If you’re thinking that I’m just plain stealing J-Money’s idea for this post then maybe you should apply for the position, because that’s exactly the kind of jerkish thing my Evil Arch Nemesis would think.

This position will be responsible for taunting and sneering at my training runs in a manner that will provide me with the utmost motivation to train harder. Accordingly the ideal candidate will have excellent verbal and written communication skills and will be able to fling a sarcastic barb without remorse. In order to be effective as my Evil Arch Nemesis you will need to be at least as fast as I am and you should be posting race results that are often faster than mine. (I hate you already.)

Candidates will be required to read Half-Fast regularly and leave deriding remarks in the comments. Additionally, applicants should feel free to be creative in ridiculing my race results in venues outside of the comments section.

Applicants should be detail oriented and must be able to work well under minimal supervision. Blueprints for total world domination will not be provided so candidates must have experience with creating their own evil schemes. Applicants should be thick skinned since insults are likely to be returned, also applicant should not be easily offended by phrases like “I know you are but what am I,” or “Your Momma!”

You will be required to provide your own assistant, extra consideration will be given to applicants who have midget’s or evil henchmen for assistants.

Travel Requirements: 0%
Salary: $0
Benefits: none
Status: full time

Required Skills
  • Candidate must have 2+ years experience as a successful Evil Arch Nemesis. Candidates with a proven track record of evil will be given priority.
  • Quick and creative wit
  • Must be handy with a laser beam
  • Evil laugh (Mwwaaa haaaa haaaaa!)
  • Sarcasm

Preferred Traits

  • Handlebar mustache
  • Monocle
  • Freaky abnormality (3rd nipple, scar over eye, affinity for gold etc.)
  • Anyone who owns sharks with frickin’ laser beams on their heads is a shoe in.

Half-Fast is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Weekend Splits - Here to Stay

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.


Race Strategy


Thank you all for your input last week regarding the Weekend Splits. For now they are here to stay, they may not get posted every weekend and they may occasionally get posted on Friday but they’re not dead yet.

The video above comes from TheDailyRunner.com. This is an excellent piece of race strategy, but usually at larger races there are people handing out drinks at the table as well. Remember that after you clear off the table it will be necessary to then slap the drinks out of the volunteer’s hands to complete the maneuver.

  • Ali has not been able to run lately and posted some wonderfully funny observations about not running. If you’ve ever had to sit out due to an injury (you weakling) then you’ll be able to relate.
  • J-Money has a running Arch Nemesis and I don’t. I like to think that I might be someone’s arch nemesis, it’s probably not the case but I like to think it. Either way I need an arch nemesis.
  • Topher had a post this week comparing running to potty training. It seems like there should be so many good jokes that I could make here but I can’t think of a single one.
  • Marcy tried thinking about sex while running to see if it helped alleviate the pain of running. Hmmm sex and running. That would be like combining my two favorite things, if running were one of my favorite things. Incidentally you can enjoy both running and sex without being good at either of them... or so I’m told. Fortunately I’m good at both, and humble too.

Comment of the Week
From kyle on my Trackless Intervals post:

i'm a big fan of track runs because the repetition just pulls me along, but i know most people hate it. those fences around tracks are the worst; it's always a risky couple of seconds as i try to keep my "dangling participles" from becoming split infinitives (i may have just taken that too far for comfort.).

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
Have you ever seen a water balloon pop in super slow motion? It’s really cool. The water just kind stays in the shape of the balloon for a moment. Believe it or not there is a water balloon popping in this following video but if you’re like me (i.e. a guy) you won’t notice it the first few times you watch it. Trust me though, it’s there. The video gets old after the first twenty or thirty times you watch it and then all of a sudden: “Whoa! There is a water balloon in the video!”


Best Slow Motion Balloon Pop Ever - Watch more free videos


Have a great weekend everyone! Happy Running!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Trackless Intervals

My first FIRST speedwork session was yesterday and I was going to publish this post about it until I found out that yesterday was also National Grammar Day which made me too scared to type. I, never was, very good with’ my comma’s or’ apos’trophies and I dont know what it mean’s to dangle your participle but Im pretty, sure that I do it. I don’t even know if it’s a good thing or bad thing to dangle your participles but it sounds like it would be fun... you know... as long as you weren’t running, you don’t want your participles dangling when you run. Am I right or am I right?

Moving on. I woke up at a previously undiscovered hour of the morning and programmed my Garmin to run 8 x 400m intervals with 400m rest periods. This was only the second or third time that I’ve used Gustavo (my Garmin) in such a manner, and I have to say that it’s a pretty cool feature. Maybe the rest of you use this feature regularly, maybe you read the manual and fully understand all of the Garmin’s features but I prefer to discover cool new things as I go. It’s more fun that way.

I decided to put together a list detailing the pros and cons of running your intervals without the benefit of a track. Here they are in RazZDoodle-approved bullet points:

Pros
  • I was not running in circles.
  • It was dark and the track is not lit.
  • Non-repetitive scenery.
  • I didn’t have to climb over the chain link fence to get into the locked high school track which usually results in me getting my shorts (or my dangling participles) caught on the fence.
  • Freedom to run wherever I want.
  • Some of the intervals occurred on nice downhill stretches.
  • It was kind of fun.

Cons

  • It’s still running.
  • Some of my intervals were uphill and into the wind. :(
  • It didn’t really feel like interval training. (Although this might also be considered a “Pro”)
  • Pavement/asphalt is not as soft as track.
  • No bleachers to sprint past and imagine myself winning the gold medal.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Hot Flashes

On Saturday, the temperature here in Denver was 71 degrees, it definitely felt like spring was springing. Actually, it really felt more like we had just skipped spring altogether and jumped right into summer. I woke up late on Saturday, lounged around, posted the Weekend Splits and then at high noon decided it was high time I got started on my long run. No, I was not high.

With all this cold weather we’ve been having lately, I’d forgotten just how much the heat can affect your time, or how easy it is to blame it for a bad run. I’m all about making excuses. When I returned from my run I actually told my wife that I was sick of the warm weather and much preferred running in the cold to running in the heat. She told me that I was an idiot for running during the hottest part of the day and she’s probably right. Frankly, there are only two words that can be used to describe someone who waits until the hottest part of the afternoon to run: mor on.

I woke up Sunday morning, not 18 hours after my long sweaty run, to the sounds of neighbors shoveling the snow from their walks and my two boys yelling “Daddy, it snowed!” I for one will not be complaining about the weather ever again (this is an outright lie), and I refused to shovel the driveway one day after getting sunburned as a matter of principle. For what it’s worth it doesn’t take much to sunburn my handsome fair complexion. I once had to be hospitalized for second degree sunburn after I stood at our front window waiting for the mailman to deliver my Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. True story.

Saturday gave me a brief glimpse of what the spring and summer have in store for me and it was a nice reminder that I’ll need to get up earlier and not be so lazy about getting my runs in. Now if I could just get one more glimpse of summer today I can remain obstinate about not shoveling the ice rink that is my driveway.

Personal Running Log - February 2008

Pardon me while I post my Personal Running Log here. It’s boring stuff, but fear not. A new exciting post is only moments away!


DateRouteTypeDistanceTimePace
2/27/20084 Mile LoopEasy4 Mi36:439:11
2/24/20088 Miles Out & BackLong8 Mi1:14:489:21
2/21/20084 Miles Out & BackTempo4 Mi35:098:48
2/19/20084 Mile LoopEasy4 Mi36:039:01
2/18/20086 Mile Loop Long HillEasy6 Mi57:099:32
2/16/2008Misc RouteLong11 Mi1:46:069:39
2/13/2008Misc RouteEasy4 Mi37:149:19
2/10/20086 Mile Loop Long HillTempo6 Mi52:458:48
2/9/2008Misc RouteEasy6 Mi1:12:2712:05
2/6/20084 Miles Out & BackEasy4 Mi38:489:42
2/4/20085 Miles Out & BackEasy5 Mi45:559:11
2/2/200810 Mile LakeLong10 Mi1:34:279:27
2/1/20084 Miles Out & BackEasy4 Mi37:279:22
Totals:
Distance: 76.0 miles
Total Time: 12:05:01

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Weekend Splits - Should They Stay or Should They Go?

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 not going to lie to you sexy readers, posting the Weekend Splits every Saturday (occasionally Sunday) is kind of a pain in the glutes. Go look at the stats for almost any blog and you’ll see that there are fewer readers on the weekend and I’m afraid to tell you that Half-Fast is no different. People just don’t take the time to stop and read blogs on the weekend and I have to believe that this applies even more to runners who are busy trying to get in their long runs. So my question to you today is this: Should the Weekend Splits stay or should they go? How many of you read them or click on the links that are posted? Let me hear your thoughts on the Weekend Splits in the comments so that I can ignore them decide if I’m going to continue posting them on a regular basis.

As for this week? Here is your link dump:
  • Reluctant Runner is amending her stance on hating hills, now she only hates uphills and if anyone has any information on how to join the Olympic Downhill Running Team she’s all ears.
  • J-Money, who writes one of my very favorite blogs, wrote some letters to strangers including one to the “gentleman” who flipped the bird while “politely” suggesting she run on the sidewalk.
  • Sarah (who’s waist is small and curves are kickin’) is discovering what it’s like to have people checking out your rump. These good looks can be a curse sometimes. Also of note, I stole the picture above from Sarah’s blog. Thanks for being so understanding Sarah.
  • The Daily Runner posted a short 20 second video that I like to call “Watch out for that last hurdle... and the one before it... and also the one before that.” Good thing I don’t believe in karma, because laughing so hard at that guy would not be good for it.
  • Amy e-mailed me a link to the Most Ineffective Diets, and quite frankly it confirms what I’ve always suspected; there’s no such thing as a good diet.

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
My sister sent me this video clip from the show Moment of Truth. If you’re not familiar with the show it is, in my sister’s words “where people go to ruin their lives and not win any money for it.” Sounds fun, no? Enjoy.



Have a great weekend everyone! Happy running!