Friday, January 29, 2010

Hey, I Know Her

As many of you have probably heard by now the renowned Kristina Pinto who blogs over at Marathon Mama had an article featured in Runner’s World magazine. It’s available at newsstands everywhere so go and check it out. It’s on page 48 and it’s a great read, not that you would expect anything less if you follow Kristina’s blog.

It’s kind of cool opening up Runner’s World and seeing an article written by someone you know, and I use the word ‘know’ in the internet/social media/talked once on the phone for a podcast sense of the word not in the biblical sense. Probably not quite as cool as opening up RW and seeing an article written by someone that is yourself, but until RW starts focusing on juvenile humor, sarcasm and lazy writing it will have to do. (Incidentally, I think RW could use a little juvenile humor and sarcasm; it would be a nice change of pace from all the ‘10 weeks to your fastest 10k’ articles that they love.)

That’s all I got for today. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Death Throes of a Treadmill

It was cold last night. Not so cold that I couldn’t wrap up and head out the door for a brisk evening run, but sometimes getting ready to run in the cold is just such a hassle isn’t it? Am I the only one that feels this way? I’ve got to assess exactly how cold it is outside and then determine if I just want to wear one of my UA cold gear shirts or if I’ll need something else over it? Will a vest suffice or do I need a hoodie or a light jacket with sleeves? I just don’t know. Do I want my thin running gloves or my slightly thicker ones? Which hat do I want to wear, the thinner Headsweats hat or the fun one with the tassel on the top that playfully bobs back and forth as I run? These are the important questions that a runner has to ask oneself before heading out in the elements.

It’s just so much easier, albeit more boring, to throw on a pair of shorts and a shirt and hit the treadmill, which is what I decided to do last night. I put a movie on the TV and began to slip into my treadmill coma to help me survive the boredom. But something wasn’t right. The treadmill wasn’t moving and I wasn’t running. I was just standing there watching TV.

“Something’s not right,” I thought. I checked everything again. The dashboard was lit up, the safety key was securely in place, the speed was set just above 6 mph and yet the treadmill was motionless. Blissfully motionless. Standing on the side rails I looked down at the belt and blinked a couple of times before gingerly dipping my toe onto it, half expecting my foot to jerk backwards, but the belt was not moving. Had I finally run my treadmill into submission? Was the cursed piece of machinery finally dead? I hopped off with a little extra bounce in my step, quietly singing to myself “ding dong, the witch is dead.” I was positively giddy. It is flat out wrong how excited I was to go upstairs and inform Candis that the treadmill was dead. I was already thinking about the celebratory bottle of wine I was going to drink and how I’d toast the death of my antagonist. Perhaps I would even mockingly pour some out for my fallen homey.

Then the unthinkable happened; the treadmill beeped at me. It was taunting me, calling out to me for help. I walked back over to it and turned it off and back on again as though it was running on Vista. The dashboard lit up again, just as it had before. I stood on the rails holding my breath and pressed the start button. An eternity passed as I gazed down at the belt but then slowly, almost imperceptibly, the belt began moving monotonously backwards, picking up speed with all the haste of sap oozing down a tree trunk. I let loose a tempest of curse words and I might have even hit or kicked the treadmill a couple of times.

Alas, my treadmill is not dead, and I managed a few lackluster miles on it last night with a few lackluster intervals thrown in for good measure. I suppose that’s good news as it means I don’t have to go through the agony of deciding what cold weather clothes to put on and I can run indoors, but it sure didn’t feel like good news last night when I was on the verge of skipping my run. It’s just one more reason to hate my treadmill, as if I needed any more.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cops: They’re OK I guess

This past weekend during my long run I had another encounter with the po-po, I think that’s what all the cool kids are calling the police nowadays. I guess they “see me rollin’, they hatin’, patrolling they tryin’ to catch me riding dirty.” Now I know how Chamillionaire feels. Those of you that haven’t been following this blog for very long might have missed my previous run-in with the law, if that’s the case you can read about it here.

I was finishing up my 6 mile run (yes that qualifies as a long run these days) and I was pushing the pace a little because there were people around watching me, plus it was a downhill stretch, plus I was feeling guilty about doing 6 miles and calling it a long run. Coincidentally I was running right past the crosswalk where the previous incident occurred (again, read that account here). As I approached on the sidewalk I noticed that a traffic cop was sitting in the school parking lot on the lookout for speeding motorists. It was warm out (50 degrees, which is warm by Colorado standards this time of year) so he had his window down and as I ran by I couldn’t stop myself from pulling out an earbud and yelling at him, “was I speeding?”

He laughed and waved at me before responding with “nah, but I did actually clock you at 8 miles an hour!” I smiled at the thought that he had seen me coming and clocked me. I guess some cops aren’t so bad. Although the fact that my Garmin never had me at anything faster than an 8 minute pace (7½ mph) would indicate that his radar gun was off by a ½ mph in his favor, proving that cops really are just out to get me. Whatever, I just roll on. “My music so loud, I’m swangin’, they hopin’ that they gon’ catch me riding dirty.”

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Glitch in the Matrix

Yesterday morning weird things were afoot. First of all I was out running before dawn which is weird thing number one, but it gets weirder. I was running along the sidewalk when I was passed by a white Volvo and a black BMW. No, that’s not the weird part. I don’t know what made me take notice of them, perhaps the fact that they were side by side travelling the exact same speed, but what made it weird was that they passed me again not 30 seconds later, going in the same direction, same formation and I’m pretty sure there was no possible way for them to loop around behind me that quickly. It made me think of that scene in the Matrix when Neo sees the black cat twice. I’m pretty sure it was a glitch.

Just shortly after they passed me the streetlight that I was approaching went suddenly dark. I hate it when this happens. All of a sudden the street was flooded with darkness and I found myself focusing my attention on the sidewalk because now it was harder to see obstacles or patches of ice that might be in my way. Of course, this left me less time to scan the surrounding bushes and trees for would be muggers or women who might want to attack me and forcibly take advantage of me (because I’m so sexy, see). When you’re running in the dark you have to be alert at all times for women like this, because you don’t want to miss them if they’re out there.

The streetlight thing is something that I’ve written about before and even though I hate it, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m used to it. During almost every run one or two lights will go out as I pass under them and it’s never the same lights. I no longer think that it’s part of some evil genius’s dramatic scheme to kidnap me, but it is weird, right? Do any of you have this affect on streetlights? Do you have any theories on what causes it? Is my Garmin interfering with the lights somehow or is it just the excellence that I radiate from my pores that fool the light into thinking it’s morning?

I also trip the traffic lights coming out of a couple of neighborhoods when I cross the street which probably just means that the traffic sensor is too perceptive and not that I weigh as much as a VW Bug, but I like to think it’s because there’s some paranormal activity going on. Here are some other paranormal things that often occur around me:

  • The light in our fridge turns on when I open the door.
  • If I close the garage door and then walk under it, it starts going back up.
  • Women become nauseous.
  • Sometimes when I’m driving down a long straight stretch of highway I’ll notice that my blinker is on, even though I haven’t used it since I changed lanes six minutes ago!

Weird huh?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Goals, Resolutions and Various Other Lies

I know you’re all thinking “oh great, another post containing goals and resolutions. I just can’t get enough of other people’s goals and resolutions.” First of all, you can keep your sarcasm to yourself because I’m already up to my eyeballs in it. Second of all, if I don’t post my annual goals there would be no opportunity for another FAIL riddled post at the end of the year and I’d really hate to deprive all of you jackals of another chance to engage in the schadenfreude of commenting on my year in review post.

Without further ado, here are my 2010 goals or resolutions or whatever else you want to call them (you might also want to call them laughable, or unattainable):

Post more frequently this year Admittedly two posts in eight days isn’t a great start but I’d like be back around 200 posts for the year. This is a dangerous resolution as it potentially leads to quantity over quality, which is something I’m leery of. If you don’t have time to write something and you can’t think of anything to write about, then you probably shouldn’t put up a post just to comply with some arbitrary goal. Those posts are like junk miles, except without the maintenance benefits that you might get from junk miles, so... really... not at all like junk miles. I guess they’re more like your appendix or the time you spend reading this blog; completely useless. These are the posts that clog up my reader every year when NaBloPoMo comes along, but don’t get me started on that.

Run a sub 50 minute 10k I still want to do this, so let’s carry this one over from last year.

Set a new Tripple 7k PR Another carryover. The half marathon distance is still my favorite distance to race.

Set a new 5k PR Despite my struggles this year I still managed to hover within 20 - 30 seconds of my 5k PR. With some hard work and dedication I think I could set a new 5k mark for myself. (Note: I had to look up how to spell ‘hard work and dedication’ because those words are not a regular part of my vocabulary.)

Run some different races Every year I seem to run the same races because I’ve enjoyed them in the past, but then I exhaust my racing budget and don’t do any new races. This year I want to run at least 3 new races that I’ve never run before. Of course, I’ll still run the Bolder Boulder 10k but I’m not committing to repeating any other races. I have to run the Bolder Boulder because it’s just a big Memorial Day party and many of my ‘non-running’ friends also run the race. Beating all of my non-running friends allows me to hold it over them for yet another year and makes up for them all being smarter and better looking than me. I know you’re probably skeptical that I have friends and especially ones that are better looking than me (Non! C’est pas possible! - Pardon my French.) but it’s true, we are beautiful people, like a real life version of the cast of Friends.

Finally, in honor of the failures chronicled in my last post I leave you with this video of the best fails of 2009 (via WL). Fortunately none of my fails were big enough to make the highlight reel. (Note: There’s some NSFW language at the beginning so crank up the volume if you’re at work.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2009: The Year in Review

It’s time for another one of those ‘year in review’ posts that everyone has been doing, but this one is different because it’s long past the time for year in review posts. At this rate I’ll get around to my new year’s resolutions in February and start setting goals for this year in March or April.

The biggest accomplishment of the year was finishing my first marathon back in January. After that the year pretty much went downhill. To be honest with you I didn’t even remember what my goals for this year were until I went back and looked them up moments ago. That probably speaks volumes to why I didn’t accomplish many of them. Let’s break out Viper’s Big Red FAIL Stamp and take a look back at my list of 2009 goals (originally posted here).

  • Get faster. FAIL (Zero new PRs this year.)
  • Don’t get slower. FAIL (Technically the marathon was a PR but only because it was my first.)
  • Run a sub 50 minute 10K. FAIL
  • Win an age group award, and by win I mean take first, second or third, I’m really not that picky. FAIL
  • Shave my 5K. As the host of the SY5K Challenge it would be embarrassing for me to get slower. Check! (My smooth time was faster than my stubble time, though neither were PRs.)
  • Set a new PR at the half marathon distance. FAIL
  • Not sign up for another marathon. Check!

I’ve been running for almost five years now and up until 2009 I was getting faster regardless of how much speedwork or effort I put forth. It was just a given that I was going to set new PRs every year and I think it probably made me a little complacent. It turns out I’m going to have to actually work harder to get faster in the future and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I prefer to have things handed to me with minimal input on my part, it’s one of the things that makes me such a good employee.

2009 will be known as the Year of the Marathon for me. Five years ago when I started running, my only goal was to post a faster time in the annual Bolder Boulder 10K, I never set out to run a marathon. In fact whenever anyone suggested that I should run a marathon I would explicitly tell them that I had no interest in running that far. I still have no interest in running that far, but I’m glad that I did it last year. My biggest accomplishment in 2009 was finishing a marathon and my second biggest accomplishment was not signing up for another one. I’m an inspiration, for sure.