Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How to Trim Your Tree

You’ve no doubt already trimmed your tree which means this advice is probably too late but that really doesn’t matter because it’s not going to be very good advice anyway so why do you care that it’s too late? You see what I did there? I made it look like you, the reader, were an ass for being picky about my advice being both awful and late; this is how you move to the top of the corporate food chain, kids.

What better way for a runner to decorate their tree than to do it with race medals? Not only are your medals festive and shiny but they come with a handy ribbon already attached. Plus, now you have the perfect opportunity to tell all the guests at your Christmas party the story behind every triumphant race. Spare no detail because people love it when you talk about yourself. It’s joyous and self-aggrandizing all at the same time, just like Christmas is supposed to be!

Merry Christmas to all of you who are still reading my inconsistent drippings here, you’re my favorite readers.

Monday, December 19, 2011

How Bad Do You Want It?

I can’t really explain why I like this video so much, but I thought it was worth sharing. It makes me want to go run hard, and that’s never a bad thing. I’m even considering downloading the mp3 to play on my iPod when I run.
 

 
Hat tip: theCHIVE

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pumped Up Kicks

If you’re one of those people who thinks that I don’t post enough to be getting free stuff to review then you might want to go ahead and skip this post.

You see, the kind people at Saucony decided that I’m exactly the kind of person that should be testing and writing about their new Saucony 8mm drop shoes. I was as surprised as you are, probably more so because the last time they sent me shoes I went out of my way to call them ugly (the shoes not the people at Saucony).

When I took my new Saucony Guide 5s out of the box it was love at first sight. Unlike the last pair of Saucony shoes these are not uglier than a batman villain nor do they look like part of Boy Wonder’s costume. How running shoes look is important to me because I’m a very superficial person. I can afford to be superficial about my shoes because I’ve run in so many different types and brands of shoes and have almost never had any problems (*cough*Mizuno sucks!*cough*).

However, since I know that some of you like to pretend that you don’t judge a book by its cover let me tell you about Saucony’s new line of 8mm drop shoes. The line includes the Guide 5, the Triumph 9 and the Hurricane 14, together they form the Justice League; fighting crime wherever it exists. These shoes all have an 8mm heel-to-toe drop as opposed to the more typical 12mm. Basic math eludes me, but my assistant tells me that’s a difference of 4mm or, to put it in perspective, the size of my tiny, banker heart. According to Saucony this difference “puts the runner in a more balanced, comfortable and powerful position without reducing cushioning or stability. Also, runners can more easily adjust their stride to a midfoot strike, aligning the lower body to absorb impact.”

I’ve never been a fan of messing with your stride and foot strike unless you’re seeing frequent overuse injuries, but if you are going to start adjusting your foot strike it’s best to make small, incremental changes. These shoes would be a good starting point for someone who was looking to gradually change their foot strike or make the switch to barefoot running.

The shoes are really comfortable to run in and to sit around and watch football in – they’re a double threat! They’re lighter than my other shoes at 10.2 oz (yes I weighed them). They don’t feel like they’re altering my stride as radically as the Saucony Hattoris did and they’ve made me roughly 25% faster! (Blatant lie!)

Many thanks to Saucony for the free shoes. Your move, Pearl Izumi.

For more on the geometry of these new Saucony shoes check out this video on YouTube.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Running Infographic: Men vs. Women

You know what the problem is with all these infographics? It’s that they’re too easy to consume. They’re put together with lots of pretty pictures to distract you and then lazy bloggers post them because it makes for a fun, easy post with minimal writing involved. We just accept everything we see on these charts as FACT and that’s a dangerous thing to do, which is why I did a lot of research before posting the infographic below. OK, that’s a blatant lie. I just ooooohhed and aaaaahhed at the pretty colors and posted it without a second thought. That’s how I roll here at Half-Fast.

Enjoy.


Brought to you by Running Music
 

So, why did they title it Sports Bras vs. Speedos? Who runs in Speedos? I might have to try it, they’ve got to be more comfortable than running in these cargo shorts.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Heart Not Included

A while back I was offered a free heart rate monitor by Caitlin who works for Adidas in the hopes that I would review the product here at Half-Fast. In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that Caitlin also sent me a free iPod Touch and washes my car every other weekend. (Only one of those is true.)

The Adidas miCoach Connect heart rate monitor syncs with the miCoach app which is available for your iPhone, iPod Touch, Android device and even your antiquated Blackberry. Setup is quick and easy and there’s even a 12 minute assessment workout that you go through so that the miCoach can figure out your various heart rate zones and paces. That’s how it works in theory, but when I was done with my assessment it told me that it could not figure out my paces because they all looked like the same slow pace. I tried the assessment again making sure to start out nice and slow and it worked better the second time. Who’d have thought that I don’t put much distinction between a level 5 effort and a level 10 effort? Those are both out of 100, right?

Here’s some pros and cons:

Pros
  • The App is free and so is the miCoach account that you create when you sign up.
  • Workouts are automatically uploaded to you online account when you finish.
  • I can analyze the crap out of my runs even more now.
  • Easy to use.
  • It provides a real time review of my effort level.
  • It tells me when I can slow down.
Cons
  • It sometimes tells me to speed up, this does not elicit a positive reaction.
  • You have to wear that thing around your chest, though it does allow me to predictably say “I’ve got something I’ve got to get off my chest,” every time I get home. Yes, every time. My wife can vouch for that.
That’s about it. It really is one of my favorite running apps, even when I don’t use the heart rate monitor.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Updates!

I’m getting old. That’s the first update. Lately it seems like something always hurts; my calf, my groin, my back, the list goes on and on. I never realized when I wrote this poem that it would turn out to be prophetic. Not only does everything hurt, but everything gets injured easier and heals slower. Getting older sucks.

My days are numbered. No, not in terms of life, in terms of continuing to be faster than my boys. David and Graham ran the Granby Gutbuster 5k over the summer. Their previous 5k PRs were both in the 37 minute range but they managed to complete it in 30:13 and 33:20. That was good enough to put David (age 8) 3rd in the Under 12 age group and Graham (age 6) 5th. Our families keep telling us that we obviously passed on the running talent to our kids but I’m starting to suspect that these aren’t my children because I don’t have any running talent. I have to work very hard at running to be this mediocre. I’m the 99% of running talent.

Finally, Candis and I ran the Denver Half Marathon last month. Naturally, I managed to roll an ankle right in the middle of my training and couldn’t run for a month (see first paragraph). I finished in 2:08 and Candis in 2:12. Those are hardly the times of ‘talented’ runners. We are middle-of-the-packers for life, not to be confused with the extremely talented Green Bay Packers.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My first DNS

Did Not Start. The Breckenridge Independence Day 10k was held on July 4th as the name would imply. It was only because I was so excited to do this race again this year that I was able to roll myself out of bed at 5:30am on a holiday morning after a night that I’m sure included some drinking but I honestly can’t remember how much. I quickly dressed and arrived at race registration around 6:15am groggy but somehow still energized to race. As I neared the front of the short line of runners I heard the lady at the registration table tell the runner in front of me that registration was closed. I remember laughing at this and I’m not sure now if it was because I thought she was joking or because my sleepy mind couldn’t clearly comprehend this horrendous new development. Either way it wasn’t funny for very long. The temporary registration table was folded up, the line dispersed and the world seemed to go on around me as I stood there in bleary-eyed disbelief. I mingled aimlessly with the other runners all the while feeling like I stood out because I was the only loser without a bib. Finally one of the ladies from the now defunct registration table came over and told me that “the trail’s all marked out if you want to go run it right now.” But I didn’t want to run it right now, I wanted to run it in 45 minutes with all the other runners. I came here for a race, not a time trial.

Without all of the adrenaline and energy that goes along with waiting for a race I became very aware of how tired I felt. I decided that what I needed was some coffee. Coffee soon turned into coffee and donuts and when I decided that I shouldn’t eat any more donuts I bought two dozen donut holes, or as I prefer to call them ‘little balls of heaven’ to take back to the friends with whom we were spending the weekend. Unfortunately not all of the little balls of heaven survived the trip.

When I got back to the place we were staying I found our kind hostess in the kitchen making a hot breakfast and so I traded in 18 donut holes for some eggs, bacon and hashbrowns and there might have been a pancake or two in there as well. I really don’t remember at this point, I just know that it was a good trade.

That’s how my Independence Day started, and it ended with the lamest fireworks display that you’ve ever seen. You can suck me sideways, Breckenridge!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Any plans for the 4th?

That seems to be the popular question for making small talk around the office these last few days. Either that or “Are you doing anything fun for the 4th?” I’m running the Breckenridge Independence Day 10k so I thought I was doing something fun for the 4th, but then I started trying to explain it to people: “I’m getting up stupid early to run with 300 other people up a single file trail that rises from 9,600 feet to 10,400 feet before coming back down again.” It doesn’t sound like something I’d normally describe as fun, but maybe my sales pitch just needs a little work. Those endorphins must be powerful things to make us do the things we do.

Candis and I ran this race last year and I really enjoyed it, Candis not so much. That explains why she’s sleeping in this July 4th and I’m running it by myself. I have no idea how fast I’ll be able to run it since it’s a tough course and last year Candis and I took it pretty easy, even walking through some of the steep climbs. I think I’ll be happy with anything under 60 minutes.

So, what about all of you? Are you doing anything fun for the 4th are you running a race?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

These shoes don’t need no alibi!

Somehow someone at Saucony thought it would be a good idea to send me a pair of their Saucony Hattori shoes to review. I guess they thought this would be a good marketing opportunity. They must have missed the fact that I post about as frequently as a bear poops during hibernation and the fact that most of my posts are riddled with sarcasm and scat humor, or maybe they’re just into that kind of thing. Since I’m not one to turn down a free pair of shoes, I agreed.

I missed the part of the e-mail where they told me that these were minimalist shoes and also the part where they told me that the shoes were hideous. I used to have a pair of water shoes that I wore to the beach when I was a kid that looked just like these and every time I see pictures of myself wearing them I cringe. As you can see from the picture the shoes don’t have laces they use Velcro to attach themselves to your feet. That would be really cool if I needed to get them on quickly for an emergency, like if my boat was sinking over a rocky seabed but even then I’d probably still look around to see if I could borrow a pair of my wife’s shoes first. (Full disclosure: I do not own a boat.)

I’m probably not a great test subject for these kind of shoes because I really like my running shoes to correct my over-pronation. I like the motion control, the stability and the heel cushioning that my current shoes provide and I like to feel the reverberations crash up my leg as my heel strikes the pavement first. It just feels right. I guess I’m not much of a minimalist. In fact I’d go so far as to say that I’m a maximalist; it’s the American way! I want a bigger house, a faster car, more money and bigger shoes that do more for me. More is always better! (Notable exceptions: bikinis and cavities.)

Nevertheless, I wanted to give Saucony a fair shake and try the shoes because despite the tone of this post I really do like Saucony. Naturally, before running in minimalist shoes for the first time I wanted to take some precautions so I made sure to go run when I thought the fewest amount of people would be around to see me in these disastrously ugly shoes. I also took my dog with me so that anyone that did see me would look at the cute dog and not notice my ugly, ugly shoes. Initially I felt like I was coming down hard on my heel but that went away after only a quarter mile. I went 4 miles and felt fairly confident that I hadn’t changed my stride too drastically but for the next couple of days my calves were screaming so I had obviously been compensating.

While I’m not a fan of the shoes or of minimalist running in general I am a fan of strengthening my calves so I’ll probably continue to take short sporadic runs in the Saucony Hattori shoes, but mostly after dark when no one’s around to see me.

If you’re looking for a good review of these shoes by someone who is actually a minimalist you should check out http://minimalistrunningshoes.org/saucony-hattori-shoe-review.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Bolder Boulder Race Pictures!

You know what’s a good idea for your blog when you don’t feel like writing? Pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Pictures take up more space than words so they make the post seem fuller. Also, they are colorful and shiny and they distract readers with short attention spans. Should you be offended that I just suggested you have a short attention span? Probab... Look PICTURES!!

That guy in green is waving goodbye to me because that’s the last he’d ever see of me.

Sprinting, yes SPRINTING to the finish!

Congratulating the guy that SPRINTED with me.

Candis sprinting to the finish. (Lowercase ‘sprinting’ because she’s not as fast as I am… or as boastful.)

That guy in orange is directly behind Candis in so very many of Candis’s race pictures. Why I oughta’…

There’s also video of me finishing at this link here (6 seconds in, right side of the screen). It must have been slowed down so runners could pick themselves out because I know I was running faster than that, especially at the end when I was SPRINTING. I think it’s pretty cool that they’re showing that video in slo mo.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Pants, I Wear Them

Bolder Boulder 10k Race Report
Let’s get straight to the point. I’m still the top dog in this house. I’m still the hombre that wears the pants around here. I’m still the one calling the shots. I’m the lead dog, the head honcho, the big kahuna, the top banana, numero uno. When it comes to the Bolder Boulder I still finish before my wife, and yes I like to think that the clarification at the start of this sentence was necessary.

On Memorial Day weekend Candis and I ran the Bolder Boulder 10k in 57:07 and 53:28 respectively. For Candis it was a disappointing time, though still the second best time she’s posted in a 10k. For me it was a major relief, and coincidentally my second best time in a 10k. (Side note: I’m going to start using the term P2B to represent a Personal 2nd Best and I’m going to celebrate P2Bs with the same gusto that I normally reserve for PRs. After all, this is a sport in which we hand out finisher medals and that’s basically just the same as a participation medal. Maybe I’ll eventually start celebrating P3Bs and P4Bs too because that’s the kind of inspirational go-getter that I am!)

The Race
I pulled ahead of Candis in the early stages of the first mile and told myself that I would not turn and look back for her. The entire race I imagined that she was just a few paces behind me waiting to make her move but I didn’t want Candis to think that I was worried even though that’s the only thing that was keeping me going. Whenever I started to tire or slow down I imagined Candis surging past me and I found that visualization exercise to be quite motivational. In fact, I may make Candis run behind me in all my races from now on.

It wasn’t until I crossed the 6 mile mark and headed down into Folsom Field that I began to feel confident that Candis wasn’t going to catch me. I sprinted to the finish weaving in and out of slower runners until some guy accepted my challenge and we sped towards the tape, matching each other stride for stride. We crossed the line in a tie and gave each other a congratulatory handshake, and when I say that we tied I say that the same way a guy who’s just been dumped by the woman he loves says that the decision to end the relationship was mutual. I think in both situations you can probably read between the lines and see what happened but the classy thing to do is just agree with the guy that it was mutual. We finished the race mutually.

Finally, here is the updated chart of our times over the years. This is more for my enjoyment than anything else.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Two Weeks and Counting

The Bolder Boulder is 2 weeks away and I have absolutely no idea what to expect out of myself. I mean, I still expect to be handsome and to wake up in the morning and piss excellence and fart distinction, but I have no idea how fast slow what my time will be. Incidentally, there’s always a lot of ‘distinction’ on race morning, must be nerves or something. I’m fairly certain that not knowing how well you’re going to perform is a bad sign. It probably means that I haven’t done nearly enough training and certainly means that I haven’t logged enough miles at race pace.

Of course the big question for BB10k 2011 is whether this is the year that Candis actually beats me. I’m hoping that the answer to that question is a resounding no, hell, I’d settle for a scrawny no or a feeble no just as long as it’s a no. I’m just not sure that my ego could take it if she beat me and it just makes it worse knowing that you’re all rooting for her. All your ‘Team Candis’ comments from last year just serve to engorge my determination (it’s almost at half mast!). Failure is not an option.

This year’s race plan is simple: stay ahead of or with Candis and outkick her at the finish. In past years I have had a detailed race plan broken down by mile and elevation and while that worked well in 2008 it has not been successful in subsequent years. Some things just aren’t as successful the second time around; think of Harrelson and Snipes in Money Train, Gere and Roberts in Runaway Bride, Farley and Spade in Black Sheep or Keanu and anyone in anything - all examples of things that were successful once but failed spectacularly the second time around. And yes, I do think it’s a good idea to base my race strategy on Hollywood movie couplings, but it’s probably too brilliant for you to understand.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Bolder Boulder Approacheth

It’s that time of year again. Time for the Bolder Boulder 10k (well, in 5 weeks anyway). It’s my favorite race because it was the race that got me into running 6 years ago and has always been a good measuring stick of my progress as a runner, or my lack of progress if you’re only looking at the last couple of years. I know that there are a few folks out there who do not like the Bolder Boulder because of the crowded field or the fact that so many of the participants are out there for fun or are walking the whole way and while I admire their elitist attitude and often like to think of myself as better than others I just can’t dislike this race.

Of course, if Candis beats me this year then I’ll officially change my position and join the ranks of the elitist runners who sneer at the BB10k. I’ve been looking for something to sneer at for a while now so it will be the perfect excuse. You may remember that after the race last year I charted out my results and compared them to Candis’s results, but you probably don’t so here’s that chart again.


After I put this up last year I vowed to train so very, very hard for the BB10k this year so as not to allow those lines to cross. You know that it’s bad if you cross the streams, right? How bad? “Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.” However, it turns out that vowing to train hard and actually training hard are two different things and lately my training can be summed up with one simple word: meh. It’s not even a real word which is appropriate as my training as of late is not even real training.

What I need now more than ever is a Runners World magazine that unlocks the secrets of training and shows me ‘How to Run My Best 10k in Just 5 Weeks.’ I’m going to assume that they’ve already covered that topic multiple times and search through all my issues until I find it.

In past years Candis and I have ended up starting in different waves which means it’s never really been a head to head race, but this year will be different. I’m not about to run this thing without knowing how fast she’s running it. You see, no matter how ill-prepared you are for a race I imagine you get an incredible surge of adrenaline when your wife passes you, at least that’s what I’m counting on. That and a superior race strategy. Actually, it will be interesting to race it head to head because of the different race strategies we’ll both undoubtedly use. Will one of us throw in a few surges to try and discourage the other person? Perhaps. Will Candis try to be fast during the first mile knowing that I like to take it slower on that first mile? Maybe. Will one of us try to rely on a strong finishing kick? It’s possible. Will I resort to childish name calling and psychological warfare if I get passed? Most definitely.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What You Think During a Marathon

The video below may be the best done attempt at marathon humor that I’ve ever seen, and just in time for the Boston Marathon on Monday. It’s so good that I even sat down and wrote a blog post! I mean sure, the first time I watched it I immediately picked out a few minor flaws but that’s just my nature and also the trait that makes me such an awesome husband.

I frequently get e-mails asking me to tell my readers about a new running product or post an informational video. In exchange for the post the e-mailer will be sure to send me some hi-res pictures of the product or of the celebrity spokesperson that I can use in the post and then I’m forced to send them this link which was kindly put together by The Bloggess. By the way, if you don’t already follow The Bloggess then you really should and if your reader is full then just go ahead and delete this blog to make room for it. You’ll be glad you did. OK, don’t delete this blog but definitely delete this one and this one, even if you have plenty of room in your reader.

Anyway, I received a refreshing e-mail from Annalisa at Improv Asylum and all she really said was ‘hey, here’s a video about what goes through your head when you run, tell me what you think.’ I’m paraphrasing but that was the gist of it. No offer to give me a link back from a blog they host, no request for me to share it with my readers, just a simple let us know what you think. Being the hardened cynic that I am, I was prepared for the worst but found myself laughing out loud before it was over.

Enjoy the video below, and then let’s meet in the comments to nitpick the minor flaws because that’s always the fun part of any video posted on the internet.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Radar Love

I have a new running partner who is always really excited to go run. The downside is that this new running partner often has to stop and poop while we’re running. No, it’s not Beth, it’s our new dog.

Back in September of last year we lost our 11 year old Alaskan Malamute to a combination of illnesses and old age and it’s not an exaggeration to say that our family was devastated. (Pictures and stories about him here and here.) Initially I told Candis I wouldn’t be able to own another dog for at least a year and she heartily agreed, suggesting that it might be even longer. After a month and a half without a dog the house was feeling pretty empty and we started looking at animal shelter websites. Two weeks after that we were visiting animal shelters in person and fell in love with a 9 month old Boxer/Australian Cattle Dog mix. I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of our family and my new running partner, Radar:


Why did we name him Radar? Take a look at those ears!


Other than the pooping he’s been great to run with thus far. It only took him a couple of months (and a lot of cursing) to figure out that I didn’t want him to cross right in front of me while we’re running. He’s also picked up this annoying habit of pooping twice when we run in the mornings which was especially unfortunate the first couple of times since I was only carrying one poop bag. True story, one time he pooped on the lawn in front of a competitor bank and I happily left it there. Do you ever wonder what dogs are thinking when they see us picking up their fecal matter? Do they think we’re saving it for some reason or collecting it? It must seem weird.

I’ll leave you with one final picture of him trying to look like Scooby Doo.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Morning Running

Those of you who have been following me for any length of time know that I’ve had an on again off again (and on again and off again) relationship with morning running that is kinda back on again. The good thing about morning running is that when I get home from work I can lounge about and do nothing. The benefit of evening running is that it allows me to repeatedly abuse the snooze button in the morning. It’s probably not a good sign for me that the best part of my day is the part where I’m not running. So, why am I running in the mornings again? I’m glad you asked.

One of the things that happens as you get older other than the fun new games you get to play like ‘gray hair or sun bleached hair?’ and ‘hey, I’ve never noticed hair growing there before’ is that your evenings seem to fill up with all manner of family activities that prevent you from running. My kids are 6 and 7 and they love sports and I love that they love sports but you know what I don’t love? Practices. Just call me Allen Iverson. They’re 21 months apart which means that they play at different age levels and have different practice nights and we move from basketball to soccer to baseball to flag football to indoor soccer and then back to basketball to start ALL OVER AGAIN. We actually had them convinced not to play basketball this season and I was looking forward to some more me time but then their school friends convinced them that they should play. It just doesn’t stop, and more importantly it’s really interfering with daddy’s running. And don’t even get me started on the concerts, plays, parent teacher conferences and puppy training classes that fill up the rest of the evenings.

If I don’t get a run in first thing in the morning then it’s not happening and I’m not going to lie, there have been plenty of days lately where it hasn’t happened. Of course with daylight savings coming up next weekend it will start to get easier to run in the evenings (read: easier to hit the snooze button). Morning running, ha! More like mourning running, amiright?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I need some tear away pants!

If you read Mike at Running is Funny then you already saw this a couple of days ago when he posted about it, but if you don’t then this might look like I’ve had a totally original idea! Mark this day down in history! January, 27th - The day Ian appeared to have an original idea.

Apparently there is a company called Sheddable Shell that sells tear away marathon pants and jackets. They’ll keep you warm when you’re standing in the starting corral on those chilly mornings and make you look hot when you tear them off like a Chippendale dancer. I NEED some of these pants! The question that I have is whether you can put the pants back together again once they’ve been torn away because I’d like to practice tearing them away before race day. I want to get really good at it so that when I do it on race day in front of crowd it’s sure to be a show stopper.

The website says that the jackets can be customized but what about the pants?  I’d like it to say “POW!” or “BAM!” over the crotch to help me get my message across, and maybe have my URL across the butt. That way whoever finds the pants can make their way back to Half-Fast and see pictures of the handsome devil that shed his pants at mile 2 and maybe some video of me shedding the pants set to Marvin Gaye.

I would also like to offer some advice to whoever is in charge of the marketing effort for Sheddable Shell. Why no videos of the tear away pants being torn away? There’s so much potential for viral videos there. You could have videos of hot sculpted runners tearing away their pants to reveal their toned legs or videos of runners tearing away their pants and falling down as they try to do it without stopping running. Then to really summit the mountain of viral marketing you could have a blooper reel of sexy runners ripping their pants off and oops... they forgot to put on anything underneath! We’d tastefully blur that out of course but maybe you could even make a little extra dough on the side selling the un-edited version of the blooper reel. If I’ve learned anything about the internets, and I’d like to think I have, it’s that these are the kind of videos that go viral and get you tons of free publicity. As soon as I get myself a pair of these awesome tear-away pants I plan on making lots and lots of videos. Hmmmm... perhaps I should work on getting rid of this “weighted vest” before I shoot my videos.

Anyway, they probably don’t need to advertise at all now since I’ve mentioned the tear-away pants on Half-Fast and enlightened literally dozens of people to this awesome new product.  Perhaps instead of spending all that money on advertising they could send me a free pair of the pants. Also if they’re reading this I’d like a pair of the pants for my wife too... not for running but for something else I’ve been wanting to try. I’ve said too much haven’t I?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Running: Yeah, I do that

I should probably talk a little bit about how my running is going lately since I’ve talked about everything but that since my return to blogging.  I took an extended break from running due to laziness and life getting in the way. In December I was busy with year end stuff at work and after work parties and family holiday commitments and shopping and a short family vacation and on and on it went. When January finally got here it seemed like a good time to reset my priorities and get back to running regularly except I got sick and felt like crap for 3 weeks.  (Doesn’t that always happen at exactly the wrong time?)  Anyway, all this is to tell you that I’ve been running very little.  This past week I managed 12 total miles and felt good about it because it was more mileage than I had run in any of the previous 7 to 8 weeks.  But I’m finally feeling good enough to run and I’m planning on doing a lot more of it.

The good news in this whole situation is that the running I have been doing I’ve been doing in a weighted vest. Actually it’s not so much a weighted vest as it is an extra layer of fat that I’ve attained from not running.  Nitmos has his “cheeto layer” and I have my “weighted vest.”  Of course I can’t just take off my weighted vest when I’m done running so I end up doing everything in my “weighted vest” during the cold winter months and I mean everything.  Candis is so lucky to have me.  To make up for not running I have been regularly participating in a rigorous core workout, if you’ll accept coughing until my eyeballs pop out and my abs lock up as a rigorous core workout.

I’ve also started logging my runs again.  I quit doing that sometime last year which was probably a bad sign.  I got myself the Runkeeper App which is pretty cool and I’ve been using it to track and analyze all my runs this year.  It seems to be pretty accurate although I swear I’ve heard it snicker when telling me my average pace on at least a couple of occasions.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wham, Bam, Thank you Spam!

I get a lot of spam comments on this blog.  Very few of those comments ever see the light of day thanks to Blogger’s spam detection software and comment moderation on older posts.  Those comments that do get through are sent to my e-mail and I quickly delete anything that looks like spam or has Nitmos listed as the author.  Since I have a smartphone I can even do this on the go. These draconian measures are ├╝ber-effective but sometimes I lament that you don’t get to enjoy all of the spam because the spam is very often entertaining in its own right.  Sometimes they even provide me hours of fun as I try to unravel exactly what was meant by the spam comment.  Obviously the bulk of these spam comments are written in another language and then translated into English, which means they’re probably written by foreigners and that’s unfortunate because it just reinforces my belief that foreigners are not to be trusted.

Spam comments are kind of like that episode of Friends where Joey learns to use a thesaurus.  In the episode he writes a letter changing every word to bigger word with the help of the thesaurus until it doesn’t make any sense, which I guess means he didn’t really learn to use a thesaurus after all, but you get my point.  Joey is trying to explain that his friends have big hearts and he ends up writing that they have ‘full-sized aortic pumps’ which sounds like something Mrs. Bigfoot wears with her little black dress.  (You might have to think about that one.)

Anyway, if you get spam all day, every day like I do here’s a fun little game you can play; try to reverse-engineer the sentence to figure out what the comment originally said before it was run over by a thesaurus or online translator.  If you don’t get any spam then you can play along with the comment below that I received, but before you do I’d like to point out that you’re obviously not as important as I am since you’re not inundated with spam like I am.  I assure you that I did not make up or edit the following comment in any way.  Note: underlined words are the ones that need to be changed.   
I unceasingly dig reading dignity articles by an singular who is simply up to snuff on their chosen subject. I’ll be watching this string with much interest. Conserve up the spacious produce, dream of you next occasionally Singapore escort [link redacted].
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
I always like reading important articles by an individual who is clearly knowledgeable in their field.  I’ll be watching this thread with much interest.  Keep up the great work, imagine yourself alongside a rare Singapore whore. 
OK, I’ll admit that the whore substitution at the end was just for fun,* but that has to be close to what they were going for, right?  I still can’t quite get the last half of that final sentence, but the highlight of it for me is ‘conserve up the spacious produce’ because I can totally picture someone trying to make ‘keep up the great work’ sound smarter and coming up with that phrase.  I think that ‘conserve up the spacious produce’ just jumped up to number two on my list of favorite phrases, right behind bingo bango bongo.

* If I had a nickel for every time I’ve uttered the phrase “the whore substitution at the end was just for fun” then I’d have $22 right now, but only because I have $21.90 in my pocket already. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goals for 2011

You know what comes naturally after a year in review post?  A Goals for the upcoming year post!  Hooray for easy posts!  You take the goals you missed last year and repost them again, then you take the goals you accomplished and make them a little tougher and bingo bango bongo you’ve got yourself another post!  Some people might think that they should all go in the same post but that’s ludicrous and I’ll tell you why; then you only get one post out of it!  Look at me, I have 2 posts out of this now, and that’s without even counting the next post wherein I tell you HOW I’m going to accomplish all these new recycled goals.  You have to work hard to be as lazy as I am.

This year I’m actually going to try something different in my approach.  I’m not going to have any goals for 2011. (Note: Do not try this line with your boss it goes over about as well as it would if you tried to switch my regular coffee to Folgers - blech!)  However, since I’m the boss on this blog I have the final say, and I say: No goals in 2011.  I’ve never really been motivated by writing down my goals and setting high expectations for myself.   I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants and see where we end up kind of guy.  This year I’m going to be a free spirit, just blowing wherever the wind takes me. I’ll still run, I’ll still work hard to get faster but I’m not going to beat myself up for failing to reach arbitrary goals that I set while high on the enthusiasm of a fresh start just because I had to switch out my calendar with a new one.  (Note to self: switch out your calendar with a new one.)

2011 is all about low expectations and no failures.  It will be the year of aiming low and surprising myself.  I’ll not be disappointed.  Perhaps my motto this year will be ‘nothing to aim for, nothing to miss.’  Having no goals this year sure made this ‘Goals for 2011’ post much easier to write although it’s going to make writing a year in review post a lot harder at the end of the year. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Goodbye 2010

You know what’s sad?  I spent a good twenty-five minutes sitting in front of a blank screen trying to come up with a really clever title for this year in review post and couldn’t come up with anything better than Goodbye 2010.  Lame. 

It seems like everyone does a year in review post and I hate being the same as everyone else but how can you pass up the old year in review post?  You can’t, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve done a year in review post every single year of this blog’s stinking existence.  Yes, some of those links are duplicitous because this blog has only existed for 3½ years but it seemed more emphatic to link every word.  And just because I disappeared for 6 months of the year is no reason to not review the year, believe it or not I was still running even though I was not here telling you about it.  On top of that the year in review post is an easy one to write.  You simply repost your goals from last year, giving excuses for the ones you missed and patting yourself on the back for the ones you accomplished.  The only thing you really have to work at is an introductory paragraph... well would you look at that... it practically wrote itself.  (If only the title would write itself too, lazy title!)

2010 Goals (as posted here)
Post more frequently this year - I swear I’m not making that one up.  That was the first goal I posted last year and I even talked about writing 200 posts this year.  Obviously 33 posts is not going to be enough to call this a success.  Not off to a good start.
Run a sub 50 minute 10k - Nope.  0 for 2.  I only ran one 10k and I ran it in 54:something.  I don’t even care enough to go look it up or link to the post where I discussed it.  Haven’t I already linked to enough posts?
Set a new Half Marathon PR - YES!  I am awesome!  1 for 3!  No linking to that post either since it is the previous post.
Set a new 5k PR - Nope.  Nuh-Uh.  Didn’t do it.  1 for 4.  This is getting depressing.  Why do people write these posts again?
Run some different races Yes!  2 for 5!  I ran the Crossroads Half-Marathon and a couple new 5ks that I hadn’t run before.

Wait?  That’s it?  Where are all the other goals?  I really only set 5 goals for last year?  What’s truly unbelievable is that in almost every year that I’ve set goals (except for 2010 I guess) I’ve included ‘win an age group award’ as one of the goals.  In 2010 I didn’t include it as a goal and it actually happened.  I took 1st place in my age group at the Hawk Hustle 5k.  Why wasn’t that a goal this year?  What was I thinking?  You know what, I’m going to go ahead and give myself an extra credit point for winning that age group award which puts me at 3 for 5.  And now that I think of it, PRing the half marathon was a HUGE deal to me and really deserves to be worth 2 points instead of 1 which brings me to 4 out of 5.  So there you have it.  I scored 80% on the year for my 2010 goals, that’s a solid B+ (I’m grading on a curve).  Wow!  What an awesome year 2010 was for me.  I really rocked it.  Here’s to 2011.  I’ll call it a success if it can be even half as successful as 2010 was.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

6 Seconds

The Crossroads Half Marathon Race Report
Back in September Candis and I ran the Crossroads Half Marathon in scenic *snicker* Fort Collins and we both set new PRs.  However, since I was not posting back in September I didn’t get to boast regale you with the tale of  my our triumphs.  Here is the most belated race report you will ever skim over before posting a disingenuous “congrats” in the comments. 

Going into the race my long runs had been averaging a 9:30 pace which left me optimistic that I could get under the 2 hour mark (a 9:09 pace).  It had been 2 (two!) years since I broke the 2 hour mark in a half marathon and that was on a race that descended 1,000 feet from start to finish.  Due to my tempo runs being vastly more successful than my long runs my plan was to run the first half at a comfortable pace and then run the second half at a high tempo pace as though it were a training run.

Mistakes aplenty
I forgot to start my watch for the first minute or two of the race.  I then compounded this mistake by running back to Candis so she could tell me how much time I needed to add.  This seemed like a good idea at the time but I realize now that it might not have been my smartest decision.   I forgot my sunglasses.  I forgot my sunblock.  I managed to delete the playlist I was trying to shuffle, though I think I can pin that one on Steve Jobs.  It was not a good start.

I settle down
Due to my early mistakes and my clumsy attempts to calculate my actual time and distance and then my rehashing of my mistakes ad nauseum it took me a while to settle into an easy pace.  I finally managed to get comfortable and I tried to remember everyone that was passing me, telling myself to let them go and catch them later.

Just before the 5 mile mark a cute girl wearing a CamelBak ran up beside me and asked me what our time and distance was.  It was a simple question but I managed to stammer through the answer and I breathlessly tried to explain that I had started my watch late.  I then subtracted from the distance instead of adding to it and ended up telling her that we were at 4 ½ miles.  No sooner had I said that we rounded a corner and passed the 5 mile marker.  “Your watch is way off,” she said, and so was she, leaving me to contemplate my suaveness.

egO face?
I am a passing machine
I hit what I calculated (probably incorrectly) was the halfway point in the race and started to pick up my pace.  The field was pretty spread out and I was moving from one group to the next, passing people with authority.  A few people tried to keep up but I was determined to drop people as I passed them and each time I passed them I think I had a tiny ego orgasm.  Maybe that's overstating it a little bit.  In any case, I was running a lot faster than was necessary to get under 2 hours and considered slowing down to ensure I wouldn't run out of gas in the last few miles but I was having too much fun picking people off to slow down.  "Screw it," I told myself, "I'm going for the PR."  I was terrified I was going to end up walking the final mile and see the clock tick past 2 hrs long before I crossed the finish.  A little voice in my head told me to back off and just take the 2 hour victory but I could not be reasoned with.  I was going for it.

I am invigorated by my own gusto
It was thrilling to be throwing caution to the wind and just running as fast as I could.  It was even more thrilling when I realized that I had the cute CamelBak girl in my sights.  I wondered if I should say anything to her as I passed (“have you slowed down?”) but decided against it.  As I passed her she glanced at me and offered up an approving nod and a high five.  “What’s our time and distance?” she asked again.
“I don’t know,” I replied with a shrug “my watch is way off.”

With a couple of miles left my legs were starting to feel like dead weights but I managed to will myself to my fastest mile of the day (8:11) for the final mile of the course.  I crossed the finish line and forgot to look at the official time though I did remember to stop my watch; a move that was as useless as a BP cleanup crew.  (Are we past the cutoff for BP jokes being funny/current?)  I knew that I was under 2 hours and depending on how much time I added for starting my watch late I knew that a PR was going to be close.  When the official times were posted I had managed a 6 second PR.  1:56:39.

Those of you that have followed this blog for any length of time know that it had been a while since I’d posted a PR at any distance and it felt great, orgasmic even.  Oh, and then Candis went and showed me up by beating her former PR by 8 (eight!) minutes with a 2:09:20.  Of course she didn’t have to overcome the adversity that I did that day.

Full disclosure:  When I was checking the posted results for my official time the cute girl with the CamelBak was there (sans CamelBak) looking for her time and despite crossing the line a minute or so after me she actually posted a faster time than me, by 21 seconds.  Curses!  Chicked again!