Friday, October 31, 2008

Nicollette Sheridan is Running

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

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


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

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


Thursday, October 30, 2008

An Open Letter of Apology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A New Toy

If you take the time to read the ramblings that I post with my personal running log, then you’ll remember that I recently said I wasn’t interested in receiving cheap products to review on my blog, and encouraged marketers to send me high dollar items. Finally, someone paid attention and sent me a new toy. Many thanks to Greg, who is working with Tech4o (visit them at www.tech4o.com), for sending me the Accelerator Trail Runner watch to review (pictured right).

My understanding is that this watch is a pedometer, using an accelerometer to count your footsteps. I’m reserving judgment on it right now because I want to properly calibrate it and test it before I jump to any conclusions. However, I will say that it is a nice looking watch, by which I mean it is immeasurably smaller and lighter than my Garmin and can be used as an everyday watch. As you are probably well aware by now, I’m all about looking good when I run and while I enjoy the data that my Garmin 205 provides it is a bit of an eyesore. I think it was Kristina who compared it to a circa 1980 Casio calculator watch, a comparison that countless others have probably also made and one that I now think of every time I wear the Garmin. Thanks a lot Kristina!

I’m looking forward to testing the Tech4o watch and will update you all with my findings in the near future. In the meantime please enjoy the following video of my son emulating me dancing to Vanilla Ice while wearing a gorilla suit, or at least while wearing the gorilla head. Young kids are so impressionable when it comes to stuff like this, which is just one of the reasons why I really shouldn’t have been allowed to have kids.

video

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gorilla Ice Ice Baby

Last weekend I played the role of awesome, supportive husband when I ignored my own race goals and my marathon training schedule and ran the Denver Half Marathon with my wife, pacing her and catering to her every need. This weekend was payback as I sent her all over town looking for items to complete my Gorilla Ice costume for the Denver Gorilla Run and then told her that I didn’t even like most of them. I then proceeded to get gorilla fur all over the house (seriously, that thing was shedding like a yeti vacationing in the Caribbean), and finally made her drag two tired little boys all around Denver so they could cheer for me.

The race was roughly 3.6 miles long and I had decided that I would try to take it easy on this run, mostly because I would be wearing a gorilla suit, but also because I was still hoping to get my 15 mile long run in. I ended up finishing somewhere around 36:22 with an average pace just north of 10 minute miles. It was a little slower than I had hoped for, but the effort that I put forth felt more like I had been running a 5K close to an all out pace. I kept my mask on for the first mile and then alternated between perching it on top of my head and pulling it back down over my face when I saw an official photographer. I didn’t feel at all guilty for not wearing the mask the whole way because there were some people that didn’t even wear it for the first tenth of a mile while others ran with their gorilla costumes stripped down to their waists. It was hot. The temperature was in the 70s and I was so hot that my teeth were even sweating.

At one point in the race we were forced to stop before crossing a busy street that had not been closed to traffic. There were a couple of traffic cops directing traffic and they stopped a group of us for at least a minute, normally I would have been upset about this, but this was a fun run for charity and at the time the forced break was welcome.

All in all it was a fun event. I managed to make a complete fool of myself as you will see in the video below and I got to meet up with Simon from RunColo who took 2nd place overall. If you want to know how it feels to be competitive then I recommend reading his account of the race. Congrats Simon!

The video below is me dressed up as Gorilla Ice dancing to, what else, Ice Ice Baby. I figured if I was going to be Gorilla Ice then I should at least try some dance moves. Steve in a Speedo has on a couple of occasions posted videos of himself dancing as the Grim Reaper and he inspired me to give it a try. Perhaps in the future I’ll challenge Steve to a virtual dance off (challenging him to a foot race is out of the question, he’s fast) because the only thing lamer than a dance off, is a virtual dance off between two bloggers.

Crank up the volume and bask in the beautiful sounds of Vanilla Ice accompanied by the eye-gouge-inducing dance moves of Gorilla Ice. A couple of things to watch for: At the 46 second mark you can see me very nearly roll my right ankle, that would have been an embarrassing way to injure myself. At the 2:30 mark you’ll see Simon cruise by in a Hawaiian shirt and an orange headband.

High quality version available at YouTube.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gorilla Suits are Hot

This Saturday is the Denver Gorilla Run and I’ve already received my gorilla suit. I tried it on the other night and it was hot just standing around in it. How am I ever going to run a 5.6K race in that thing? Also, 5.6K? Obviously I knew that it was going to be hot running in a gorilla suit, but I had no idea that it would be THAT hot. What is it made out of real gorilla fur? I guess it’s probably not, because that might conflict with the whole “save the gorillas” theme of the race. So if they’re going to use synthetic gorilla fur anyway then why can’t they make it out of some dry-fit, wicking material so that it’s nice and cool? Have we as a society not yet become technologically advanced enough to make a wicking gorilla suit? I think science needs to step it up a little here, maybe even pull some people off that whole curing cancer thing so that this can happen.

Also, when I try to raise my arms in the air (and wave ‘em all around like I just don’t care) the suit kind of gives me a wedgie. You’re probably thinking “well just do like McCain and don’t raise your arms in the air,” and that’s good advice but you’ve clearly forgotten this picture of my running style, and I’m using ‘style’ in the loosest possible sense of the word. Between the sweating and the wedgieing it’s not going to be a good day to be Vanilla’s underwear, and man oh man how I hope that you were eating lunch when I graced you with that visual.

I’m still trying to scrape together some items to make this costume less gorilla and more “Gorilla Ice” because that would be cool, and not at all geeky or nerdy despite what other people might say. I’m not sure yet if it’s going to happen or not, but I guess you’ll just have to wait until Monday when I have some pictures to post with my race report, and maybe, if you’re lucky, a video too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nike Responds

I just received an e-mail from Jacie Prieto, media relations manager for Nike, indicating that Arien O’Connell is going to be recognized as a winner of the Nike Women’s Marathon. Moreover, Nike is learning from their mistakes and will be eliminating the elite running group at next year’s Nike Women’s Marathon.

I think the most important thing to notice here is that Nike’s media relations manager sent me an e-mail. This is probably due to the fact that the massive sportswear corporation was terrified of drawing the ire of Half-Fast. Ignore for a second that the e-mail was recalled shortly after it was sent, and that I was BCC’d on the e-mail which means it probably went out to hundreds of other bloggers too, what’s important is that I single-handedly brought the sporting giant to its knees. I was the David to their Goliath, the kryptonite to their Superman, the 1980 US hockey team to their corporate, commie USSR hockey team, the Betamax to their VHS... wait... I think my analogy is breaking down. Breaking down like Nike, on their knees, begging for my forgiveness. (Analogy back on track!) It’s OK Nike, don’t cry. I could never stay mad at you. Now, how about some free dry-fit gear?

The following is Nike’s official statement:

Nike is announcing today that it recognizes Arien O'Connell as a winner in last weekend's Nike Women's Marathon completing the full race in 2:55:11. She shattered her previous time and achieved an amazing accomplishment.

Arien will receive the same recognition and prize, including a Tiffany & Co. trophy, the full marathon elite group winner received. Arien was unfortunately not immediately recognized as a race winner because she did not start the race with the elite running group, which is required by USATF standards. Because of their earlier start time, the runners in the elite group had no knowledge of the outstanding race Arien was running and could not adjust their strategies accordingly.

Learning from the unique experience in this year's race, Nike has decided today to eliminate the elite running group from future Nike Women's Marathons. Next year, all runners will run in the same group and all will be eligible to win.

Nike has a proven track record of supporting athletes and we're proud to be able to honor Arien and other athletes who surpass their goals and achieve great accomplishments.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Arien O’Connell Wins SF Marathon... Or Not

[This video is provided as a soundtrack for this post. You don’t need to watch it, just push play and listen while you read, that is, if you’re capable of two things at once.]

24-year-old Arien O’Connell finished the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco with a faster time than any of the other runners participating. In fact, Arien’s time of 2:55:11 was 11 minutes faster than that of any other runner, but what does she have to show for it? A nice new, shiny PR and a mention on Half-Fast, but no prize money and no trophy. Some people might argue that being mentioned on Half-Fast is the ultimate prize and what every runner strives for (keep trying Ryan Hall, you’ll get there someday) and those people would be correct. However, it would be nice if the race also officially recognized your accomplishment.

Unfortunately for Arien O’Connell, she did not consider herself to be an “elite” and therefore did not run with the “elites.” She started 20 minutes after them with the rest of the pack. The race therefore will not honor her as the winner despite the fact that she ran the only sub-3 hour time.

Nike’s media relations manager, Tanya Lopez *cough* *eat feces and die* *cough* came out and said that “at this point, we’ve declared our winner.” Oh, I see. You’ve DECLARED your winner. Well that settles it then. And here I was naïve enough to think that winners were decided based on who had the fastest time, I didn’t realize that the winner could just be declared, as though they were a piece of fruit crossing the border. I like Nike, I really do, not their running shoes per se, but I like everything else about them and I hope that they get this figured out. Arien O’Connell’s situation is exactly the type of thing that they could have built a marketing campaign around or at the very least, could have gotten some great PR out of it. Instead it’s turning into one giant clusternication. Pull your head out, Nike!

If any of you are thinking that this situation is unfair to the other “elites” because they never knew that they were competing against Arien and could have increased their pace, then I point you to every other age grouper out there. Most of us run races not knowing who we’re competing against within our division, we just run the best race we can. Also, I’m not sure that you can argue that point when the time gap was 11 minutes. If the “declared winner” left another 11 minutes on the course because she thought she was in 1st place, then she doesn’t deserve it anyway.

So, Congrats to Arien O’Connell: Winner of the Nike Women’s San Francisco Marathon, at least as far as I’m concerned.

Confidential to Arien: If it turns out that you pulled a Rosie Ruiz and you embarrass me for shedding light on your plight then I’m going to be so mad at you. You only think you’ve heard the worst possible grade school insults, but just you wait.

You can read more about it at SFGate.

Runner’s nod to RW Daily for finding the story.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Denver Half Marathon


If you happened to stop by Half-Fast late on Friday or at some point over the weekend then you know that Candis and I ran the Denver Half Marathon on Sunday, and you also probably ought to find some more fun things to do on your weekends. Seriously, even I don’t stop by Half-Fast on the weekends (blatant lie). As you read on Friday evening, or whenever you stopped by (you loser) the plan was for me to pace with Candis since this was her first ever attempt at this distance.

Despite knowing better, we both decided that we needed new race shirts on Saturday evening so we headed down to the local running store and we both purchased some new shirts to run in. Fortunately there was no new-shirt chafing on Sunday morning. I bought a nice new neon yellow shirt that is actually painful to look at, because nothing screams “look at me, I crave attention!” like running in day-glo yellow. Unfortunately I chose not to run in this shirt on Sunday so you’ll have to wait until a later race for pictures. Your retinas will thank me.

After having read so much about negative splits lately, Candis wanted to try and use that strategy for the half marathon and printed out a customized pace band for me to wear so that I could keep us on track. The pace band indicated a final time of 2:17:15, and we crossed the finish line with an official time of 2:17:14 (10:28 pace). BAM! That’s how good I am at pacing! I brought Candis in 1 second under her ideal time. That’s why this post is not so much about how Candis ran her first ever half marathon, nor about how her fastest mile was her last, this post is all about me! I am a freakin’ awesome pacer. Seriously, just give me some balloons and add me to the Clif Bar Pace Team. If you want to hire me to pace you for your next event then be sure to let me know. All you have to do is pay my airfare (I prefer to travel first class), pay my hotel bill (a nice big suite), pay my race fees, and pay my “official pacer” fee (I’m thinking we’ll start this out at $1,000 and then increase it when the demand gets to be too high).

Candis ran a great race, but really how could she not when she had me at her side to pace her and give her unwanted advice. When we came to water stops, she ran on through and I slowed to get Gatorade and then caught back up to her (quite easily, I might add). I carried her sport beans and her inhaler and gave them to her whenever she needed them. I even took a picture of us running with my camera phone (see below). When someone got in her way I tripped them up, when someone tried to pass her I elbowed them in the throat, when someone tucked in behind us I assumed it was to stare at her butt and ran behind her to block the view. I was like a one man race support team, and I was good at it.

We crossed the finish line together and learned that Candis’ Dad had come down to watch us and we totally missed him. He was at the final turn before the finish and I think we were both in full tunnel vision mode by that point. We found him at the post race expo and thanked him for coming, I know it meant a lot to Candis that he came down to watch us. Candis has been downright giddy ever since. She just called me this morning at work and told me: “It’s Monday, the house is a mess, I’m cleaning, the boys are misbehaving, I’ve got a huge pile of laundry staring me down, but I just put my medal on and I couldn’t be happier.” It’s as though she’s proud of her accomplishment or something but I have to keep reminding her that it was really all because of me and my pacing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pick-Up Friday

So it occurs to me that I haven’t said anything about the Denver Half Marathon which is Sunday morning before sun up, literally. Sunrise is at 7:15 am at which point we’ll have been running for 15 minutes, unless we’ve already stopped for a walk break, in which case we might have been running for 12 minutes and walking for 3. You might be noticing that I keep saying ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ and that’s because Candis and I are both running this race, it will be Candis’ first half marathon.

Several months ago when I talked Candis into signing up for the half marathon I promised to run with her and pace her for the entire race and apparently Candis is one of those women who is all into keeping the promises that you’ve made. What. A. Drag. Anyway, this is probably the reason that you haven’t heard me talk about this race these past couple of weeks. I won’t be attempting to PR at this race I will be attempting to push Candis as fast as possible so that she can feel as miserable as I felt when I ran my first half marathon. Our goal time is somewhere around 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Today we went to the expo and picked up our race packets, but that’s not all that we picked up. Oh, no. We also picked up the following:

  • We picked up some new cow bells for the boys.
  • We picked up our free shirts and goodie bags.
  • We picked up every possible free energy drink sample.
  • We picked up every possible free energy bar sample.
  • We picked up our energy levels. Way up.
  • We picked up some more free samples.
  • We picked up some unwanted junk mail when we registered to win a new car!
  • We picked up our pace when the guy at the Larabar booth yelled “Hey, didn’t you guys already take a handful of those?”
  • And finally, we picked up that that was our cue to leave.

Can I just tell you all that it’s not a good idea to let your children try all those energy drink/energy bar samples and then give them cowbells. Let’s just say the buzz we all had going in the car on the way home could have powered it. I think I know how Flubber feels.

Finally, I have to share the conversation that we overheard while we were busy imbibing Clif Shot Bloks like water. A guy walks up to the Clif Pace Team girls and after some pleasant small talk says:
Guy: So... how long is a marathon?
Girls: [Giggling] 26.2
Guy: Miles?
Girls: Uh... yeah.
Guy: And you run it?
Girls: Are you sure you’re at the right conference center?
I LOL’d. It turns out the guy was just there to help set up one of the other booths. He was not a runner, but you had probably picked up on that.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Inspiration in a Quote

I’ve never really taken part in Take It and Run Thursday (TIaRT), which is a weekly meeting of the running minds over at Runner’s Lounge every Thursday. Is it because I’m a maverick and I prefer to do my own thing? Is it because I don’t like being tied down to a specific topic? Is it because I’m highly under-qualified to give advice? No, mostly I think it comes down to laziness. Not my laziness mind you, Tom and Amy’s laziness. Tom and Amy never ever send me a personal e-mail to remind me that it’s Thursday and spell out the topic of the TIaRT. I guess that they figure it’s enough that they tell us what the topic is the previous week and then post about it on the Runner’s Lounge Wednesday and Thursday, but that just feels so impersonal. I mean, is it too much to ask that they pick up the phone and call me?

This week’s theme is Running Quotes and Sayings. When it comes to motivational quotes I’ve always loved Despair.com’s Motivation Poster which says “If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon.” The funny thing is, there are some quotes that really do motivate me to get out the door and run. I guess I should make sure my resume is updated.

The first two quotes I’ll share with you are original Vanilla quotes. I wrote them myself, at least I think I did. It’s quite possible that I read them somewhere and then forgot about them, which by the way is the official line that I will be sticking with.

“Respect the distance, don’t fear it.” I scrawled this across the bottom of my marathon training plan in bold red ink. I had become so focused on respecting the distance that I had placed it on a pedestal. I was so fearful of becoming overconfident that I was completely losing all my confidence. I already had visions of how tough it would be at the end. I was already preparing myself for the final miles to be an exercise in futility. I don’t think it has to be like that. I don’t think it will be easy by any means but I see no reason with the right training, that I can’t finish this marathon strong. “Respect the distance, don’t fear it,” is my happy middle ground between being overly confident and expecting a dismal failure.

“I’m in ‘like’ with running, I’m in love with better results.” Coincidentally, I first wrote that phrase for my Open Mic Friday interview at Runner’s Lounge. The idea behind this quote is that I love getting better, I love getting faster, and I’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen. I like running, I enjoy it, but what I love is getting better at it. There will probably come a time when I reach some kind of peak and I will no longer be able to get any faster or any better. I’m not sure what will happen when that day comes, but I’ll let you know when I get there.

Along the same line of thought, I have always loved the quote that Frayed Laces uses all the time: “There will be a day when you can no longer do this... Today is NOT that day.”

Finally, here are a couple that I’ve actually posted before, I’ve never been able to pin down exactly who said these so I’m not going to give any credit other than to say that these aren’t mine:

“Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win.”

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or gazelle - when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”


I think that’s enough quotivation out of me for one day, but be sure to check out what other bloggers are saying on this issue by heading over to Runner’s Lounge.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another Half-Fast Sighting

Thanks to the ever-alert (and apparently ever-camera-toting) reader joyRuN who e-mailed me the pictures you see below. Says she:
Your poor boat is looking neglected. I spotted it during a 5-mile route that I rarely take, so I hadn’t noticed it before. I looked around & couldn’t find I & II.



There’s something decidedly redneck about the manner in which that boat is being stored, perhaps it’s the rusted trailer or the weeds growing up the side or the fact that it looks like it’s just parked in someone’s unkempt backyard. Come to think of it there was something decidedly redneck about the last Half-Fast sighting too, the fact that it was on the infield at a NASCAR event. I’m starting to wonder if the term Half-Fast might have some redneck connotations y’all.

This means that we’ve now had Half-Fast sightings by land (the bus) and by sea (the boat), although I’m not sure I’d trust that boat to remain afloat for any significant length of time. What we need next is a sighting by air. I’d like to think that there’s a sleek private jet out there somewhere named Half-Fast with all of life’s luxuries built in, a pilot to take you wherever you want to go as long as it’s someplace warm and a sexy flight attendant to bring you drinks from the well stocked onboard bar. Unfortunately, if anyone finds the Half-Fast airplane it will probably look more like this, but huge bonus points will be awarded to anyone that finds it.

On a running note, since this is intended to be a running blog, we went back to the track again yesterday and I ran a set of intervals from hell. The FIRST plan called for the following intervals: 1200m, 1000m, 800m, 600m, 400m, 200m with rest intervals of 200m separating them. 200m rest intervals? I thought I was supposed to get a full lap for my rest interval? When I first saw this on the schedule I didn’t think it would be too bad because each consecutive interval was shorter than the last. What makes it a little tougher is that each interval is supposed to be run at a faster pace than the previous one, meaning that I was supposed to be getting faster and faster despite the fact that I was getting fatigued-er and fatigued-er. (If it’s not a word it should be.) If my wife and kids weren’t there watching me I might have just quit after the first two intervals, but I guess that’s just one more reason not to have a wife and kids.

Thanks again to joyRuN for the awesome Half-Fast boat pictures.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Splitting it Negative Style

If you are one of those unfortunate souls who reads Nitmos’ blog, Feet Meet Street, then you probably remember a post on Friday in which he discussed the challenge of running negative splits. His rhetoric, *checks dictionary* yes rhetoric, while causing my eyes to bleed a little, also caused me to pause for a moment of introspection (curse you for this, Nitmos!). It caused me to think back to a time when my long runs felt faster and I began to remember that earlier in the year I almost always ran negative splits on my long runs. I even mentioned in this post that I had been setting my Garmin’s digital training partner to the goal pace, letting him get out ahead of me, and then reeling him in over the last half of the run.

After this time of enlightenment and meditation ended on Friday I checked my training plan and saw that it was calling for a 15 mile run at a 9:45 pace on Saturday. Up until Saturday the longest I had ever run was 13.1 miles and my average paces on my last 4 long runs were 10:34, 9:44, 9:34, and 10:15. This has been somewhat frustrating because before the Georgetown Half I was completing long runs at a pace somewhere around 9:15 to 9:20. Nevertheless, I decided that I would attempt this longest run of my life on Saturday using negative splits. The plan was to run two 6 mile loops and a 3 mile loop so that I could consume water and Clif Shot Gels at the end of each loop, freeing me to run without the fuel belt and making me look much cooler. I wanted to run the first loop at the 9:45 pace and then have each loop get progressively faster, here’s how it worked out:

Loop 1 (6mi): 58:28 - 9:45 pace. BAM! Right on target.
Loop 2 (6mi): 55:37 - 9:17 pace. Stay on target. Stay on target.
Loop 3 (3mi): 27:48 - 9:16 pace. Whew! That was close!
Total Time: 2:21:56 - 9:28 pace.

My fastest 2 miles were the 13th and the 14th but then I really crapped out on the final mile which is why the 3rd loop was almost a positive split. All in all I was pleased with this run, but I still have a lot of work to do.

For those of you who don’t remember Nitmos’ post (easily forgiven as it wasn’t very memorable) or who don’t read his blog, this is what he said on Friday:

“I am suggesting that a negative split is the sign of a seasoned, well trained, and developed runner. Either that or someone who started out woefully slower than their ability so had an abundance of energy late.”
I think he just called me a seasoned, well trained, and developed runner. If that doesn’t convince you that Nitmos’ has no idea what he’s talking about then I don’t know what will. I mean, I’m definitely ‘developed’, and you might even say handsome, witty, charming and urbane, *checks dictionary* yes urbane, but seasoned and well trained? Hardly.

Update: Congrats to Viper who finished the Towpath Marathon (his second marathon in as many weeks) with a new PR. As of right now he hasn’t posted about it, but his sidebar has been updated with his new time. Congrats!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Boulder Pumpkin Run

Have any of you heard of the Boulder Pumpkin Run? It’s a Halloween run held in the beautiful city of Boulder every year. Much like the Denver Gorilla Run that I’m participating in you must wear a costume to run the Boulder Pumpkin Run, but not just any old costume, it has to be your birthday suit. Yes, the Boulder Pumpkin run is a naked run, which makes it the perfect Friday topic here at Half-Fast. Just to be clear though, the runners aren’t entirely naked because they do wear jack-o-lanterns on their heads. We wouldn’t want their ears to get cold or anything.

No, I’m not going to participate in the Boulder Pumpkin Run because it would be a total waste of my awesome Gorilla costume. Also, the average temperature at 10PM on October 31 is not conducive to showcasing your male reproductive organ and I can do without all the laughing and pointing thankyouverymuch. However, I will gladly volunteer to be the official photographer, I’ll even wear my Gorilla costume.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Boulder Pumpkin Run you can visit their website at nakedpumpkinrun.org. Fear not, that link is safe for work but where you go from there is at your own discretion, particularly if you decide to click on the Gallery or view the videos.

I really don’t get why this sort of thing would be enticing. I mean sure, I get that you want to see other people naked, but doesn’t it hurt to run naked? I mean, isn’t everything kind of bouncing around in an uncomfortable manner? If it was really cold enough then I suppose your junk might shrink enough to reduce the flopping around to a manageable amount, but then you get back into that undesirable area of the laughing and the pointing. No thank you. Perhaps some of you readers who have participated in naked runs can enlighten me as to what the lure is. Be sure to include pictures* with your e-mail... you know... to prove that you’ve actually done a naked run.

*Does not apply to male readers.

Editorial note: Please accept my apologies for the recent lack of posts. I’m a banker and I’ve been extremely busy these past few weeks, what with the market deciding to take a dump and my insistence on continuing to work banker’s hours. It’s going to be OK though. My company is planning a luxurious retreat at a 5 star resort so that I can recharge my batteries and I’ve been meaning to thank all you taxpayers out there for making that possible. Without your help we probably wouldn’t be able to spend a cool half a mil on golf and fun in the sun, it’s just what the doctor ordered.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Family Night at the Track

Yesterday was one of those days when my training schedule clashed with Candis’ training schedule in that we were both scheduled to run. Since we can’t leave our young children alone I naturally assumed that Candis would run on the treadmill so that I could go run outside when I got home from work, but was disappointed to discover that this wasn’t the case at all. Apparently I’m supposed to be willing to make compromises or something but I don’t remember that being part of our agreement. If I hadn’t taped over our wedding ceremony I’d go back and see what we each vowed to do because I’m pretty sure that Candis’ vows had something in there about bowing to my every whim, but Candis doesn’t remember it that way. Selective memory, I guess.

Since we were both planning on doing some intervals we decided to go to the local track and take the kids with us where they could annoy and get in the way of other runners. We packed some snacks for the boys, gave them a stern lecture about staying out of other people’s way and headed to the track. For the most part the boys were content to sit and watch from the bleachers while Dad ran circles around Mom. They ran a few laps with us when we were running cool down laps and David (my 5 year old) even ran a complete lap with me at a 9:45 pace. The rest of their time was spent shouting “go Mom!” or “go Dad!” or “Mom, can I have this Krispie Treat?” They also practiced their long jump, which is good because they totally suck at it.


Good form, poor distance.

All in all it was a fun evening. The boys ran several laps and got a ton of exercise and Candis didn’t have to run on the treadmill. I really wish we’d thought of this earlier in the summer because it would have been a great way for us to spend time together as a family while Candis and I both got some training in, of course now it’s starting to get dark early and it will be harder and harder to squeeze it in. Perhaps next time we’ll bring a happy meal and our portable DVD player with us so the boys don’t get too much exercise and can fit in better with society. I wouldn’t want them to be outcasts.

When we got home for the evening the major downfall of this plan became immediately evident, which is to say, where the hell is my dinner? You see, usually when I run in the evening my dinner is ready and waiting when I get home, but this was not the case on Tuesday. Moreover, Candis had to put the kids to bed and iron my clothes for work the following day and didn’t even get started on making me dinner until after that. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as famished as I did last night, sitting there on the couch playing Mario Kart Wii.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Personal Running Log - September 2008

Has anyone tried the new Gatorade G2 drink? I had it once and it wasn’t bad, but I’ve been seeing a ton of commercials for it lately. I suppose that Gatorade’s marketing department felt like they needed to clear things up because I suspect I wasn’t the only one who first heard of G2 and thought it was some kind of minor summit meeting. If you haven’t heard of it, it has nothing to do with international gatherings but is a light sports drink intended for athletes when they are off the field, because apparently it’s always important to hydrate.

The commercials tout G2 as a ‘low calorie hydrator’ but you might be surprised to learn that there is another low calorie hydrator already out there; water! I know, I didn’t believe it at first either, but I asked my doctor and he confirmed that water is indeed a low calorie hydrator. This was good news for me because when I’m at work (i.e. “off the field”) and looking to hydrate I sneak into the break room where my boss keeps a water cooler and when nobody is looking I steal some of the water from it, and take it back to my desk in an oversized Nalgene bottle. BAM! Free low calorie hydration for Vanilla! My fight against The Man continues. Also, while we’re on the subject, if anyone needs any free pencils or post-it notes then just let me know because I’ve totally got the hook-up.

As far as low calorie hydrators go, I’m more of a Propel Fitness Water kind of guy. I’ve purchased their powder packets that you add to water and they are delicious, especially after a long run. I think that someone from Propel once contacted me and offered me a free 16 oz bottle in exchange for a review, but I turned them down because I have principles I already knew I liked Propel and also because that offer was worth, like, a buck and a half. Note to marketers: If you’re going to offer me free stuff to review, then please don’t waste my time by being cheap, offer me a whole case of fitness water, or a car with a Propel logo on the side. If I’m going to be a sell-out, then I’m going to be the biggest sell-out that I can be, let’s talk high dollar items here.

Without further ado, here’s my Personal Running Log, brought to you this month by Propel Fitness Water. Don’t just hydrate. Nourish.*

DateRouteTypeDistanceTimePace
9/30/2008TreadmillIntervals (3 x 1600)5.2 Mi43:398:24
9/27/2008Grand Lake (Alt. 8500 ft)Easy (w/Candis)5 Mi1:01:4812:22
9/24/200811 Mile LoopLong11 Mi1:46:569:44
9/23/20085 Miles Out & BackIntervals (6 x 400) 5 Mi44:228:53
9/20/200811 Mile LoopLong11 Mi1:45:139:34
9/18/20086 Mile Loop Long HillTempo6 Mi53:328:56
9/15/20085 Miles Out & BackIntervals (6 x 400) 5 Mi44:438:57
9/13/200810 Mile LakeLong10 Mi1:42:2610:15
9/11/20084 Miles Out & BackEasy4 Mi36:539:14
9/6/2008Skirt Chaser 5KRace3.1 Mi24:287:53
9/4/20086 Mile Loop Long HillEasy6 Mi52:588:50
Totals:
Distance: 71.3 miles
Total Time: 11:16:58


* No, I didn’t really sell the naming rights to my Personal Running Log to Propel, they totally didn’t offer enough swag.

Sunday, October 5, 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.

El Overcompensato?

Huge truck? Check. Huge fake balls hanging down from trailer hitch? Check. Personalized plates with overly masculine phrase? Check and check. Yup, either this guy is packin’ light or he’s hiding something. I’d guess that he’s two, maybe three therapy sessions from finding a new calling as an interior designer. This is the kind of thing that you see in really bad movies when the writers want to portray someone as a tough guy but are too stupid to show it through the plot and dialog or think that the viewers won’t pick up on subtle hints. As I drove past I looked at him half expecting to see a caricature of Steven Seagal, instead I saw a regular guy staring back at me through tinted glass that was probably paid for with stolen lunch money. “I’m sorry about your small penis,” I mouthed to him before he could gun the engine and overcompensate some more.

Sorry for the tangent there, I know it has nothing to do with running but you know what does? The links:

  • I weighed in on Kid’s Treadmills at CRN on Tuesday, although it feels like that was 2 weeks ago - it’s been a long week.
  • I was interviewed by Runner’s Lounge. (Don’t worry, the rest of the links are not me-centric.)
  • Mike is going to start a Running Carnival over at runningisfunny.com. Head on over there and check it out.
  • This one’s from a week or two ago, but it was too good to pass up. It’s called Endurance Poop 101 and I think that you can see now why it was too hard to pass up. Or maybe just too hard to pass. Yay poop jokes! Thanks to J~Mom for e-mailing it to me.
  • Tiggs went looking for groceries and found some soup mix from a company that should probably fire their entire marketing department. You have to go check this out, even just to look at the picture.

Random Non-Running Related Video of the Week
This video follows the seen-while-driving theme of the picture above and it has been around for a little while so you might have seen it, but try to guess if I care.


All of a sudden I feel a lot safer about having taken the top picture on my camera phone and writing this post on my Blackberry, while driving.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Vanilla Exposed!

This is going to have to be short, because the overlords here at work are actually making me work. I’m convinced that they tried to kill me yesterday by making me sit through 8 hours of compliance training, death by boredom. Fortunately, I figured out how to get my Google Reader on my Blackberry. That really saved my life yesterday because I desperately needed something to take my mind off the stiff with the 4 inch comb-over bombinating at the front of the room. They tried to get us excited for the training by providing a free box-lunch (read: dry sandwich and a fruit cup) and free coffee in the morning. I’m always down with free coffee, but providing 4 oz paper cups to drink it out of was just plain cruel. The man is trying to keep me down, but I managed to get in a good 6 mile run this morning before work so I’m a little less cranky today.

I’ll try to get a Weekend Splits post up on Saturday, but in the meantime, head on over to the Runner’s Lounge to see who the handsome devil is that got interviewed for Open Mic Friday. (Hint: It’s me!) Not only can you read my witty responses and discover what type of blog I almost started writing instead of Half-Fast, but you can also see all-new, never-before-seen pictures of me and my family. It’s a big Vanilla exposé, but fortunately with out any of that kind of exposing - get your minds out of the gutter! While you’re over there, if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up to be a member of the Runner’s Lounge and we can be totally awesome online friends. Runner’s Lounge; it’s where all the cool kids are hanging out these days.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Denver Gorilla Run

Ever since my wife signed me up for the Denver Gorilla Run I’ve been getting e-mails about the plight of gorillas and the things that I can do to help. Isn’t it enough that I dropped 150 bones to run in a gorilla costume and that I’m drawing attention to it by blogging about it? I sure hope so because that’s pretty much all the kind-heartedness that a self-absorbed humanitarian like me can muster. Why can’t it be enough for me to just draw attention to the problems and then hope that others will step up and deal with them? Consider yourselves officially ‘put on notice’ that there are only 723 Mountain Gorillas alive today, now go do something about it. You can start by visiting my donation page and making a donation to save the gorillas. Not only is it tax deductible, but you’d also be helping me out because the person who raises the most money wins a prize, and me winning a prize is the real cause to rally around here.

In these trying times when the value of your home is plummeting and the price of gas is so high it has the munchies, just try to remember that there are gorillas who are less fortunate than you. Sure they don’t have gas to buy, or a mortgage to pay but they’re more endangered than your 401K, although if we’re honest that’s getting closer to being a toss-up. But just think, if every one of my readers gave a dollar then we’d be able to see how many readers I have and find out just how accurate SiteMeter is, and if you don’t want to support the gorillas or help me win the highest fundraiser prize then do it so that we can figure out how accurate SiteMeter is.

Finally, if you can’t afford to donate or just don’t feel like it (you cold, heartless git) then you can help me win the prize for most creative gorilla costume by leaving your suggestions in the comments. Right now, the leader in the clubhouse is “Gorilla Ice” meaning that I would dress up like Vanilla Ice and then do a lot of 90s dance moves, which could be detrimental to my marathon training and possibly devastating to my street cred. It’s your chance to suggest ways for me to further humiliate myself, I expect full participation in the comments.