Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Off Season Regimen

It’s the offseason. Not just for running but apparently for posting too. This is the time of year when my running usually takes a backseat to indulging my offseason hobbies of cookie eating and eggnog spiking. Last year I was unable to fully enjoy those hobbies because I was in the middle of training for a marathon but this year my plan to get back on the cookie wagon is in full swing.

In order to impede my poor eating habits I’ve also been doing a lot of cross training this winter in the form of P90X. You’ve probably seen the ads for it all over the place and now that I’ve mentioned it in a post it will probably show up in the ads here too. I’ve never been good at cross training because I’ve never really enjoyed it all that much, and therefore I’ve never stuck to it for more than a few weeks. To be honest I’d rather just go run than spend my time lifting weights or doing yoga or whatever else it is that you do for cross training, but P90X has been different. I actually enjoy doing it.

One of the reasons for doing P90X is so that I can start to look more like the cover models on Runner’s World magazine. I’ve often made mention on this blog of my chiseled Pecs and my rippling abs and it would be kind of cool if one of those things were actually true. Maybe then I could get on the cover of RW, I’d even be willing to wax my chest to help make it happen. Ironically, my quest to look more like a RW runner has led to me running less frequently (as little as twice a week) and doing more cross training, but it’s the offseason so I’m OK with that.

Site Note
Sorry about the lack of posting lately. I’ve been struggling to find the motivation to write something on a regular basis, but I’d like to get back to it because it’s a cathartic exercise for me. I’ll have a year in review post coming up next week that you don’t want to miss. If you’ve been following my race results this year then you know that there are going to be a lot of excuses. A. LOT.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukah or whatever it is that you celebrate in the winter season that allows you to eat stupid amounts of fatty foods. The winter solstice has passed and that means that Spring (and racing season) is practically here!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Re-Naming The Half Marathon

I have long thought that calling a 13.1 mile race a ‘half’ was a great disservice to the distance. This is mostly because I enjoy running half marathons and intend to run many more of them. The same cannot be said for the full marathon. I did not enjoy it, and I do not intend to run many more of them... that’s what I meant when I said that the same cannot be said for the full marathon. Why are you making me explain this twice?

This naming problem has been brought up by countless other bloggers. Nitmos complained about it in this post back when he wasn’t lazy and used to post regularly (“Hello Kettle, you’re black!”), but as you would expect from Nitmos he didn’t really provide any workable solutions. Typical. Kristina touched on the issue yesterday in her Op-Ed Wed piece which I highly recommend as it is a great read almost every Wednesday (the one time when it was not a great read was when Kristina took apart Reebok* for their EasyTone ads because it made me feel ashamed that I had posted the ads even though I ranted against them lightly disapproved. - Not cool Kristina! Not cool.) Kristina also did not offer any naming solutions, although to be fair her beef was with some idiot whose resolution was to rename the half marathon the ‘13.1 Marathon.’ That simply won’t do. If you did this you’d have to start calling 26.2 miles the Double Marathon and an Ultra Marathon would become a Double Ultra Marathon (which would appropriately be abbreviated as DUM).

I think we can all agree that you can’t call 13.1 miles a marathon, but I don’t like calling it a half marathon either. With that in mind I’d like to offer the following suggestions for races so that the 13.1 mile distance can finally get some much needed respect.
  • The 21k - This is my second favorite option.
  • The Double 10k - Theory: We overcompensate for having to use the word ‘half’ by sticking the word ‘double’ into the name of the race. Problem: Not an accurate representation of the actual distance, which leads me to my favorite option...
  • The Triple 7k - This is my favorite option, stop making me explain everything twice. There is some serious overcompensation going on here which is what I’m all about. (In fact, the reason that I drive a beat up, crappy vehicle is to overcompensate for my huge, enormous... you know... ego... in a manner of speaking.) Plus, everyone knows that triple 7s are lucky. You might run a bad ‘half marathon’ but you’d never have a bad day running a ‘Triple 7k.’
  • The Thirteeny - Yeah, that ‘teeny’ on the end isn’t helping.
  • The 69,168 footer
  • The 6,864 Acre Race - This sounds much more massive than ‘half marathon’ doesn’t it? If my calculations are correct (and they’re probably not) you would encompass an area of 6,864.4 acres if you ran a 13.1 mile square (i.e. 3.275 miles on each side of the square). Awesome!

I really think that if we all adopt one of these names for the 13.1 mile distance that we can get some race director somewhere to adopt our nomenclature and then I can totally take credit for it. Come on race directors, if your race was called the ‘P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon and Triple 7k’ it would make it sound like you were hosting two completely different races, and hey, guess what? They ARE two completely different races. Sure, the Triple 7k may often be run on a portion of the marathon course but it’s a different strategy and requires different training than the marathon. I’m not going to get into that here though because Kristina does a great job breaking down all the reasons why it’s a different animal in her post and I wasn’t smart enough to understand all of them.

Let me hear your suggestions in the comments.

*Actually, the Reebok post was fantastic, but I still don’t think people should make me feel ashamed of my chauvinistic tendencies.