Friday, October 30, 2009

Last Minute Halloween Costumes for Runners

Tomorrow is Halloween and if you’re like me you’ve waited until the last minute to think about what kind of costume you’re going to wear and now it’s too late to make that awesome Geico pile of money costume. Of course if you were really like me then you’d have some wicked good dancing skills and a Gorilla Ice costume to fall back on, but since you have two left feet and a dearth of gorilla suits lying around I’m going to help you out with a last minute Halloween costume suggestion for runners. Was that not clear from the title?

Are you ready for this? Go dressed as... a runner. I can already hear you saying “But I am a runner, so why is that a good costume?” It’s a good costume because many of the people at your Halloween party probably don’t know that you are a runner or may have never seen you running. It’s like when I go dressed as a banker, talk about a funny costume! I get all the laughs, especially when I do my dancing banker bit. Plus, this is a last minute idea so while dressing as a giant iPhone may sound like a good idea you probably don’t have a spare flatscreen lying around that you can use, but if you do then send it my way.

Here’s what you’ll need: running shoes, short shorts, a singlet with an old race bib pinned to it, Band-Aids for your nipples (or red food dye on the singlet), a watch and a headband. The headband is necessary for selling your costume as an obsessed runner, but what is really going to sell this is not what you wear but how you act. You should be in a hurry wherever you go. Grab people’s drinks out of their hand like they were a race volunteer and chug them as you run off, better yet splash them all over your face and toss the cup to the side. People won’t ever get tired of your drink-stealing antics and hey, free drinks for you all night!

If you don’t think you can get away with stealing drinks wear your fuel belt and fill up your 6oz flasks with your beverage of choice. Not only do you have a rockin’ costume but you can also have your hands free all night and you won’t forget where you left your drink. (Note: If you do forget where you left your drink, it’s on your hip and you are way too drunk. Go home now before you make a fool of yourself.)

You’re also going to want to stretch a lot. Don’t be afraid to bend over and touch your toes right in front of people or to just cop a squat wherever you are to do some stretches. Wear a watch with a stopwatch so that you can annoyingly time everything that anyone does.
Friend: “I’ll be right back, I’m going to the bathroom.”
You: “OK, I’ll time you. Ready... Set... GO!”
*When they return*
You: “3 minutes and 22 point 47 seconds! That’s a new personal worst! What on earth were you doing in there?”

Don’t you go looking for a bathroom though, just go pee by the side of the road as you would in a race. Blow snot rockets and wipe the debris on the bottom of your shirt. Wear an old race medal because when are you ever going to have another chance to wear it and not feel like an attention seeking showoff. Wearing your medal also gives people who may not know that you are a runner the opportunity to ask you where you got it, which gives you an opening to be an attention seeking showoff and tell them all about the marathon you ran while allowing you to stay in character as an obsessive runner.

If you don’t like my suggestion then you could always go as balloon boy or Kate Gosselin, but you know that everyone is going to be doing that. Be original. Be a runner.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Anthony Edwards is Running

Check out the hilarious new video from Funny or Die via the always humorous Mark Remy from RW Daily.

Anthony Edwards has finally found a way to get back into television: The ING New York City Marathon. Listen and learn as he tells you about his preparation and planning for this spectacular live television event.

I’m so brushing my teeth with Accelerade on race mornings from now on.

Yeah, that’s all I got today.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How to Avoid Halloween Candy

It’s that time of year again when you find yourself with so many opportunities to teach your kids about sharing as you sample the Halloween candy that they’ve collected and take that last fun size Snickers for yourself. Like many of you, I try not to overdo it with the Halloween candy. I mean I rationalize it away by saying that I’m a runner and I need the energy or carbs and that I’ll just run an extra mile or two tomorrow to make up for that fistful of Candy Corn, but the truth is I rarely run an extra anything. So, in order to maintain my finely tuned runner’s body (finely tuned like a kazoo) I find the best policy is to try to avoid the Halloween candy. Here are some of the best candy avoidance techniques that I’ve come up with:

Aversion Therapy
Every time you eat a piece of candy have your spouse tell you you’re fat. Eventually you will learn to associate eating candy with being fat and your spouse’s disapproval. If this doesn’t work then have your spouse tell you you’re fat while smacking you upside your head.

Exposure Therapy
Go out right now and buy as much candy as you can. Consume it all at once. Repeat until you become nauseated by the candy and the undulating waves of sugar highs and crashes. If you’re not getting sick, you’re not eating enough candy. I suppose it would be more accurately termed Over-Exposure Therapy.

Fat Disgusting Picture Therapy
Just look at this fat disgusting picture. If you still feel like eating anything then there’s no helping you.

Bacon Therapy
Eat bacon instead of candy. Bacon tastes good, but it’s kind of salty and it doesn’t go well with candy. Also, you probably don’t want to ruin that delicious bacon taste that you have in your mouth now by eating candy. I’m not sure that this is really a healthier option than candy but this isn’t a healthy eating list, it’s a candy avoidance list and the bacon thing will work. Trust me.

Beer Therapy
Beer does not taste good with candy. I cannot enjoy a beer and simultaneously be eating candy. ‘But Ian,’ you say ‘what about when I’m done with the beer? Won’t I be tempted to eat candy when I stop drinking beer?’ Solution: Don’t stop drinking beer.

Sex Therapy
Make sweet, sweet love to your spouse. I don’t know why this would help you not eat any candy, but mmmm boy, it sure does sound like fun doesn’t it? Plus now that it’s officially part of this candy avoidance list you have one more tool at your disposal to help you plead your case. Not that you need any help since you are probably already using my handy pick-up lines.*

Germaphobe Therapy
Pretend the candy is covered in swine flu, which it probably is since it has been sitting in that bowl and all those kids have been reaching their grubby little hands in there, snot nosed little Petri dishes that they are. Candy corn is a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria.

Punishment Therapy
Think of ways to punish yourself for eating any Halloween candy, because I understand that this kind of obsessive, self-destructive behavior is a healthy way to think about food. If you can get to a point where you start hating yourself for eating candy you’re well on your way to a candy-free Halloween and probably an eating disorder too. Hey, it’s not so bad. At least you’ll be skinny and happy OK, so maybe just skinny.

That’s it, that’s all the suggestions I have. Best of luck giving yourself a candyectomy this Halloween season and remember, if you must eat Halloween candy, eat it while you run. Who needs sport beans and gels when you can chow down on candy corn and pop rocks.

*If you are using those pick-up lines you really do need help, but not the kind that you'll find here, professional help.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This is Me Enjoying the Race

Race pictures from the Denver Half Marathon have been posted and the good news is that they took a ton of me and Candis. The bad news? Despite the fact that I was taking it easy and tried to smile at every photographer I saw most of my pictures came out looking like the one you see on the right.

Before we get to the rest of the pictures, Candis wanted me to share the best part about the race with all of you, which I guess means that she’s not going to write her own race report (lazy!). As we were walking back to our car from the post race expo (interesting that the best thing about the race occurred after it, no?) we walked past an elderly couple on their way to church. The lady noticed Candis’ medal and not so quietly whispered to her husband “Oh look at that, she must have won something!” Candis was so delighted that she quite literally leapt for joy... and then promptly doubled over in pain.
“I shouldn’t have jumped like that,” she told me as she attempted to stretch “my legs are too sore for jumping.”

Here we are at the start of the race. I wonder why no one else has their sunglasses on?

Here’s Candis ‘enjoying’ the race.

Here I am coming down the final stretch to the finish. I’m practically euphoric.

Here’s some visual evidence that some poor guy got chicked by Candis. Notice the guy ahead of Candis in the black shirt and white visor.

Look, now there he is behind Candis as she crosses the finish line. That’s right buddy. That. Just. Happened.

Candis apparently likes to run with one hand up in the air. Maybe she’s practicing for running with the Olympic torch just in case she ever gets asked.

Monday, October 19, 2009

So Much For My Happy Ending

The Denver Half Marathon Race Report

Wherein I run the juvenile ‘happy ending’ allegory into the ground.

Given the lack of training and motivation that I have displayed over the last several weeks my goal going into this race was to run at a leisurely pace and enjoy it. Candis had hoped to PR in this race but given that we’ve been passing the same cough back and forth for the last few days it was not in the cards. Seriously, between the two of us we left more phlegm and snot on the Denver Half Marathon course than should be legally allowed. If Denver area runners break out with some kind of epidemic over the next few days it will be entirely our fault.

Candis finished in 2:21:00 (a 10:46 pace) and I managed a relaxed 2:06:55 (a 9:41 pace). This is the first half marathon that Candis had run without me at her side and she is feeling good about the accomplishment despite missing a PR. As for me, I thought about running with Candis again this year, but as is often the case I was more concerned with getting to my happy ending than helping her reach hers.

The temperature at the start was a chilly 50 degrees (burrrrrrr!) so we had to huddle together until the starting gun went off. This kept us sufficiently warm and also kept the other runners sufficiently nauseated. We ran together for a couple of blocks before I ditched Candis and went off on my own. Throughout the course I was a high-fiving, cheering machine. If anyone wanted a high five, I swerved over and gave them one (usually right after I had finished coughing into my hand). If someone was holding up an encouraging sign I thanked them as I went by, even all the people holding the “your feet only hurt because you’re kicking so much asphalt” signs which are both unoriginal and serve only to remind me that my feet are hurting.

I arrived at mile 9 enjoying myself and feeling pretty strong. Somewhere in my head a part of my brain kicked in to gear and ran some quick (and incorrect) calculations. “Hey, if you run the last 3 miles at an 8:15 pace you can still break 2 hours!” And so I sped up, hoping to get my happy ending after all and not realizing that my math was horrendously incorrect or that there were actually 4 miles left, not 3. My aspirations were fugacious (word of the day, anyone?) as I quickly realized that I would not be finishing in under 2 hours. I slowed down and went back to spreading cheer. Mostly cheer, with only a few germs mixed in. So much for my happy ending.

Look at these happy runners, surely they didn’t just post PWs?

Friday, October 16, 2009

I say like too much

A post in which I find word clouds, which the rest of the internet has known about for a long time.

Oooh, look at this cool word cloud that I made at

This is a visual representation of the things that I talk about on this blog. I think we can learn a couple of things from this nifty looking word cloud. First of all it would appear that I am overly reliant on the words ‘just’ and ‘like’ but fear not, I will use my handy thesaurus to help me eliminate those awful words from this post. (Update: No I won’t. I tried to do it, but like, I’m like a 14 year old girl or something because, like, I just can’t write without the word like. I guess it’s like a crutch or something, so now I’m all like ‘you totally can’t write without the word like.’ Instead what I’m going to do is overuse the word like in this post so that next time you come back and read another post you’ll be like, ‘wow Ian has totally cut down on using the word like since the last time I read his blog, I like this much better.’) Secondly, is no one from Propel paying any attention to this blog? This word cloud merely furthers my argument that Propel should be paying me some kind of stipend or something.

I actually feel kind of vindicated that race, marathon, run and running are as big as they are. It’s like I have proof that this really is a running blog. I’m a little disappointed that the word bacon is so small, I feel like that’s a subject that deserves more of my attention. Also, why did wordle put faster right next to Candis’ name? Just what are you trying to tell me wordle?

Have a great weekend everyone, and good luck to all those who are racing. I’ll catch you on the flip side with a post about what it’s like to run a race for fun.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ugh. 7am?

I just discovered that the Denver Half Marathon starts at 7am? Um, why? It’s not like this is the middle of the summer and we need to get the race in before it gets too hot. It’s mid-October for crying out loud! Why not start this thing at 8 or 9 o’clock so that I can sleep in a little? As if that wasn’t bad enough their published Race Etiquette states that you should show up an hour and a half before the race starts. 5:30? You want me to be there at 5:30? I’ll still be hitting the snooze button at 5:30, and if that makes me discourteous then so be it. You show me someone that got up early enough to be there at 5:30 and I’ll show you a discourteous runner.

The good news is that the Denver Marathon claims to be ‘iPod friendly,’ which hopefully means that I can listen to my iPod and not that they don’t discriminate against any iPods that want to run the race. This is good news because in the event that I have a really good race and win this thing, I’d hate to get disqualified like that one chick that you’ve no doubt read about elsewhere by now.

I have no idea if you will be able to follow us on Sunday at the Denver Marathon website, but I have complete faith in your online stalking abilities. I doubt that there’s anyone out there who can’t wait until the Monday morning race report to hear how we did, especially since I have no race goals other than something about a happy ending that I didn’t quite follow in the previous post. (What? You think I understand my rambling posts any better than you do?)

Candis is looking for another PR in this race and should be within striking distance of achieving that end. Her time to beat is 2:17:14 which is the PR she set on this very same course last year. Given her recent success I’m certain that she’ll come in under that mark, the only question is how far under? My guess is 2:08:37, your guesses in the comments.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Denver Half Approaches

I can honestly say that I’ve never been less prepared for a race than I am for the Denver Half Marathon this Sunday. The good news is that I’ve never been more prepared for failure than I am this time around. For the first time ever I won’t be going into a race with a time expectation or a goal in mind. Given my lack of preparation for this race I think it would be futile to have big expectations.

For me the ‘fun’ in racing has always been in achieving faster race times and in proving that I can perform at a certain (albeit mediocre) level. The race itself has never been the part that I enjoyed. The race itself is a punishing, physical exertion that I endure to get to the fun part, which is stopping my watch at the finish line sooner than I have ever stopped it previously. It’s the happy ending, if you will. The happy ending is realizing that I have accomplished what I set out to accomplish, that I have run faster than ever before. The happy ending is the improved race time which is the payoff of all the hard work that I put in during the weeks and months leading up to the race. However, since there has been little to no hard work leading up to this race it would be idiotic to believe that there is going to be a happy ending.

My challenge this Sunday will be to enjoy the race. I’m not looking for a happy ending, I’m looking for a happy beginning and middle. Instead of waiting until the end of the race to be happy, I’ll be happy right from the get go. Prematurely happy, if you like. On Sunday I will run just for the love of running, I’ll run for the camaraderie, and for all that other sappy, feel good crap that other people talk about. Perhaps it will be the shot in the arm that I need to get myself back on track. At a minimum it should result in some good race pictures, at least that’s what the Chic Runner says will happen when you ‘run for fun.’

I have no doubt that the future holds more PRs for me. I am certain that there will be many more races where I endure the pain to capture the glory, but Sunday will not be one of them. Sunday I will run to enjoy running. I’ll be the goofy idiot that’s smiling and chatting with anyone who will listen. I’ve always wanted to be that guy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Free Stuff

Someone who likes to go by the inconspicuous name of Anonymous left a comment on my last post that was really long and looked like it would be tiring to read in its entirety, but the gist of it (I think) was that there’s some law being considered that will require bloggers to disclose any free products that they receive or face an $11,000 fine. My first thought was ‘yeah OK, good luck trying to regulate that.’ I’m not going to get into the politics behind this because I like to believe that none of you have a good read on where I stand politically and that’s the way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it, but I do want to respond to the comment. Despite my burgeoning image as a product whore, I really don’t receive that much free stuff and I have always disclosed anything that was given to me for free. Believe it or not, I even turn things down from time to time.

Did you know that I once received an e-mail from Propel Enhanced Water* offering me a coupon for a free bottle of Propel but I turned them down because the last thing I need is to buoy my image as a sellout, especially since all they were offering in return was a $1.83 coupon. And I like Propel Enhanced Water. A lot. Now, if they want to give me a car covered in Propel ads (like the Red Bull car) and have me drive it around then I’d be happy to help them promote their line of Propel Enhanced Water, which has less calories than Gatorade other unnamed sports drinks. (I have a really long commute, you people at Propel should totally do this! How many times do I have to mention it before someone takes notice?) But I would absolutely disclose the fact that they gave me a car (or maybe a bicycle?) so that you people knew that I had received something in return for my endorsement of Propel Enhanced Water, but as of right now I have not received anything (not even a logoed tech shirt?).

For the record, let’s set some things straight: If you see links over there on the side bar and they’re under a section heading of Paying My Race Fees or Sponsored Links, you’re never going to believe this, but I get paid for having those links there. I’m glad I confessed that, I’ve been worried sick that you guys thought I was just really that excited about Leptovox (whatever the hell that is). Any links that you see under Half-Fast Recommends or Running Links are not paid for. Those are just links that I like or recommend. I’ve had advertisers specifically request to put their link in the Half-Fast Recommends section but you can’t pay to get in there, all you can do to get in there is be funnier or more interesting.

Because this blog is not really dedicated to giving serious advice (see tagline) I don’t get many offers to do product reviews and that’s OK with me. Let’s take a look at the list of things that I’ve received for free so that I can brag about it it’s out in the open and there’s no hint of impropriety:
  • Pearl Izumi Running Shoes - on a couple of occasions including a pair that were given away as part of a contest.
  • Clif Family Wines - yes there is a Clif Family Winery, however I was given the wine after I had already written about their wine not prior to it, they’re just really nice people.
  • Tech4o running watch.
  • Pro Wash detergent - this barely got mentioned in a post by Candis.
  • SofSole insoles - these didn’t get mentioned at all. Note to marketers: I’m an awesome product promoter, send me more free stuff to review!

See, no Propel Enhanced Water on that list (not even a free Propel visor?). I just love Propel Enhanced Water. All this just to tell you guys that I disclose it anytime I get something in return for mentioning a product, it really doesn’t happen as often as you’d think, and not nearly often enough. Technically, I don’t just disclose it, I shout it from the rooftops to rub it in your faces because it makes me feel big and important. Now go buy some Propel (OK fine, I’ll take the stupid $1.83 coupon) and tell them I sent you, tell them repeatedly.

*PROPEL is a registered trademark of Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. and can be purchased at retailer in your area or on their product website.**
** Seriously, I’ve really never received anything from Propel.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hey! What’s This? A New Post?

In case you haven’t noticed I haven’t been around lately. I haven’t posted, I haven’t commented on any of your blogs, heck, I haven’t even read any of your blogs. You see I have this thing called a day job and lately things have been pretty crazy. Good crazy not bad crazy. All the hard work and effort that I put into blaming other people for my mistakes and taking credit for their good ideas is finally paying off. So during the past week and a half I’ve had to do most of my blogging late at night after I get home from work and... well... you can see how well that’s worked out for me. I kept telling myself “good gracious Ian, you’ve got to write a post tonight after work. It’s been 3 days since your last post!” I’m so polite when I talk to myself, but then I never actually wrote any posts and when 3 days turned into 9 days I said to myself “listen you lazy sack of maggot-riddled-crap! You get busy writing a post tonight and get it posted or else you’re going to lose readers!” But apparently I don’t respond well to yelling and threats either because that just made me drink more during the evenings. To be honest with you guys I just didn’t feel like writing at all after work and I was wondering how I was ever going to write another post again because frankly I’ve been too busy with work to write a coherent post at the office.

Then just this morning, totally out of the blue, I pushed aside some pressing work issues and directed all my calls to voice mail. I opened up blogger and for no particular reason I just started typing. I typed to the end of the line and when I got there I thought maybe I’d type to the end of the paragraph. Now that I’m this far I figure I’ll just type a whole blog post. I’m like the Forrest Gump of typing. “You might not believe me if I told you, but I can type like the wind blows.” I’m back, baby! Just in time so that no one will have noticed my increased productivity around the office and won’t come to expect it of me.

You’re all probably wondering what happened to the lack of motivation that I talked about two weeks ago. Well, my plan worked. My laziness has been contagious and Candis has not been running or training much either. Welcome to the dark side. Anyway, with the Denver Half Marathon a mere two weeks away, we both needed to force ourselves to do a long run this past Saturday and I came up with an idea that I thought was brilliant (because it was my idea). Candis got up early on Saturday morning (brilliant!) made bacon for breakfast (brilliant!) then she got in the car and drove 12 miles away from home. She parked the car and ran home. Meanwhile I slept in (brilliant!) ate some bacon (brilliant!) and waited for her to return. When she arrived home, I ran 12 miles out to the car to pick it up. There was no quitting because the fastest way to be done was to get to the car. Next time we do this, I’m going to ask her not to tell me where the car is, instead she can just give me her Garmin (pbtn) and I’ll retrace her steps. It will be like geocaching. (Note: I have absolutely no clue what geocaching is, but using a Garmin to find your car sounds to me like something that would fit the definition of geocaching.) Besides you know how women are with cars and directions, it just makes more sense to put your faith in a Garmin (pbtn) than in any woman’s sense of direction, amiright?

Well, that’s probably enough for today, someone down the hall just had a great idea and I need to pass it off as my own to upper management. Time to get back to work. Ahhh, who am I kidding, I’ve got a boatload of blog posts to get to in my Google Reader and sarcastic comments to leave. I understand someone had an 18 minute marathon PR while I was gone. Of course, I’ll probably choose to focus on the fact that he still missed his goal by 4 minutes and change. FAIL much?