Friday, October 30, 2009

Foto Friday

What would the world look like if the internet disappeared today? Well, other than Al Gore would need to get cracking, the world would pretty much be hilarious:







Thursday, October 29, 2009

TGIFF

Thank God it is Fake Friday

One of the best things about being a traveling consultant is (are?) the Thursday flybacks. Now, much to the confusion of my in-laws, I do actually have to work on Friday – just from home. Just like Nitmos has mentioned, pants and shaving are certainly optional. By optional I mean: “put on pants 30 minutes before your wife gets home”. Even that said, trust me when I say that Fake Fridays are 80% as awesome as a normal Friday. For some reason after the week I’ve had, just like Hulk Hogan needs to be on antidepressants I’ve needed this light at the end of the tunnel.

After my post yesterday, I got to thinking about the various workout challenges that I must deal with because I travel and haven’t been running. Before, I could put on my cotton socks, basketball shorts, shoes, and Garmin and plod away along the suburban sidewalks of Atlanta. Not any more. Now I actually have to PLAN my workouts. If the (singular) exercise bike in the hotel is busy….I wait. I must make sure to carve out over an hour to get my blood pumping.

The issue: I am LAZY. In an ironic way, just like most guys I fall into a routine very quickly. Exhibit A: My running routes from the last two weeks of running before my injury. Funny stuff now that I look at it. Lord help me if the mafia ever wants to track me down. You could set your watch by my habits.

















My wife and I made the decision some time back to cancel our gym membership to save a little cash and let our finances stabilize after buying the house. As a result, I’ve been increasingly more and more creative with getting a quality workout in while cooped up in the hotel room. I’ll do crunches with my feet tucked underneath a dresser – while laying on the bed runner, I’ve perfected lunges while carrying my laptop bag, and I know that I can curl my suitcase 10 times. I’m going to post more details in the future on my adventures (with pictures!!), until then I’ll be the one huffing and puffing in the hotel room next to you. Ignore the grunts, that is just me feeling the burn.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I want to run

Something happened on Monday that hasn't happened in a really long time. I left work planning on riding the exercise bike and didn't follow through. There really weren't any GOOD reasons, I just didn't want to. Now, it may have been because I was a bit tired from all of myIowa State win celebrating but that is probably no excuse. So, what is a real man to do? I made up some fake excuses to myself and my wife (I had to do some work) and didn't go down to the hotel gym. Fail.

In my defense, it turns out, my hotel gym isn't really all that good. In fact, as I drug my butt down there on Tuesday, I realized that it had a bit of a prison cell feel. That is, if your prison had a huge mirror wall instead of the risk of getting shanked and a not very comfy bunk bed.


It even smells sad.



Either way, I was able to get a solid 75 minute exercise bike ride in. According to the H1N1 sesspool above, I biked 29.7 miles. As I watched the miles tick by, I couldn't help but think about how I really wanted to be running. Just like an attendee of an AA meeting, I can confess: Hello, my name is Adam. It has been just over six weeks since my last run.

Probably the most frustrating thing is that I haven't had any pain for the last week to week and a half. Based on everything that I've read, that is a very VERY good sign. Most people agree that you need to have no pain for 2-3 weeks before you can start to physical activity again. By the time my appointment rolls around, I'll be right at 3 weeks with no pain. Score.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think that if I had to I could run. But, until I start messing with sasquatch, I'll be the one chained to the recombant bike.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I am the CHAMPION!

Two posts - one day? Consider it a little anniversary present. Only this time, after dinner no one is complaining about "having a headache" or "having a stomachache". Blogger "business time" is NOW.

On Friday, I made a bet with one RazZDoodle over at Running off at the Mind that the Iowa State Cyclones would dominate the Nebraska Corn Huskers. Sort of a Midwest showdown of sorts - where the only thing that Midwesterners can think of to strike fear in the hearts of all others is a portly gentleman with a large hat and a tornado. Hide your mobile homes!

Short story: I won, RazZDoodle lost. In true stand up form, he delivered. Check it out, laugh, pee your pants just a little bit. I did all three.

Two Year Blog-o-versary

Two years. A lot has happened in that time - I’ve posted 554 times, I’ve (virtually) met all sorts of blogger buddies, I’ve ran over 2000 miles, and Lady Gaga has continued to crank out hits that get my booty shaking.

Like I said in my first year anniversary post, the story of my blog’s creation is as boring as my title. I was up past 2:00am for a work maintenance cutover. I was killing time and had spoken to my best friend about blogs and starting our own. Next top, hilarity.


Of those 550+ posts, I have had a few favorites. Of course, my all time favorites have been the posts my husband manual series. In particular the Chapter on saying NOTHING.

Other than that, it seems that I find myself going back to read (yes, I do that) the posts on race reports and the posts about travel. Both take up most of my free time and offer equal opportunity to hear about poo.

Finally, since I seem to live my life on my sleeve, a common trait for full disclosure bloggers, here are a few posts all about my favorite topic. If you don’t have enough ammo to stalk me after reading those then you’re not trying hard enough.

So, what does the next year bring? Lots of blogging to be sure. Unless I have some sort of creative outlet, I seem to go just a tad bonkers. Bonkers meaning that I act just a bit like the girl who is possessed in the exorcist. There will be more running for sure. Hopefully 5 or so Rock and Roll marathons. I'm going to try to crack 3:20 this spring - as long as I didn't loose a crap-ton of fitness over the last 7 weeks. Next stop? Who knows. Maybe I'll finally get to the magical 3:10.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

GhostBusters Multitrack

My buddy Nick shared this video with me late last week and I found it both amazing and funny at the same time. This guy taped FOURTEEN parts and mashed them together. Enjoy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Complaint – Luna Bars

I’ve got a bone to pick with Luna Bars**. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t the taste – to quote Kramer on Seinfeld: "Who doesn't like Junior Mints? They're chocolate, they're peppermint, they're delicious!!!" – the same applies to Luna Bars. In fact, if anyone from Luna Bar would like to give me some ‘samples’ to test, I would be more than happy to write a glowing yet fair and balanced review for everyone to read.

However, every time I go to buy one either in the airport or in Target, I can’t help but think that I am doing something wrong. I feel like I am 19 trying to by beer or 16 trying to force my voice lower to buy the latest issue of Playboy – for the articles. Check it out:



The whole nutrition bar for women!? Since when did eating something that tasted good also require having a vagina?

I’ll admit, there are things that should be separated one gender from the other. Women have their cute cut shapely T-Shirts while guys have their baggy regular shirts, girls have bras while guys have bros, but FOOD!? I (half heartedly) tried to find an energy bar or granola bar that advertised itself as being strictly for men. Nothing. In fact, the makers of Luna bars are also the makers of Clif bars (will accept free samples of those too). While I will admit that Clif bars sure do LOOK like something guys would eat, they don’t specifically call out “no girls allowed” on the package.

Although, it did get me thinking about what an energy bar for men would taste / look like. Honestly, it probably would look something like a Clif bar – that is, like a turd. Flavors would probably run the gambit with the top sellers being: Beer, Tabasco, and Stripper Perfume. Any other flavors that I am missing?



**Of course, most of this post is in jest, but that still doesn’t mean that I won’t accept some freebies.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Running News

There has been a LOT of running news lately. Of course, it may be because I can’t run I’m noticing all of the running news more. Here are a few of the most notables:

First, on a sad note, three people died during the Detroit half marathon. From what I understand, it wasn’t particularly hot, they were no known pre existing conditions, and nothing would have been able to predict the tragic outcome. The Laminator provides a great read from a physician’s point of view. To ease my wife’s mind, I will say that the statistics from dying while running a marathon are somewhere around 1 in 100,000. That is a little better odds than dying from a house fire while in your own house which is 1 in 84,000. So, while running a marathon I am safer than in that deathtrap we call "home".

Next, my buddy Dean Karnazes. As if his random running exploits didn’t make me feel like a pansy each and every day (200+ miles on a treadmill!?), during the Chicago marathon he had to one up me. Much like Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird, Dean Karnazes has one marathon for breakfast, and another for lunch. That is, immediately after running the Chicago Marathon in 3:52, he ran it AGAIN in 3:57. I wonder who would win in a race between Chuck Norris and Dean Karnazes. Probably Chuck since there would likely be time travel involved.

Also, in a race that I hope to run someday soon - the Des Moines Marathon, a train stopped the lead pack 400 yards before the finish! That is right, during this past weekend’s running of the Des Moines marathon (which I knew a gaggle of people who ran the half – good job Emily S @ 1:39!!) a TRAIN stopped the leaders! Amazing. To the RD’s credit, he had previously confirmed with the RR company that no trains would be running all morning and the RR company has admitted complete responsibility. I have to admit that if I were WINNING a race, I would totally try to hurdle through the moving cars.


Finally, my favorite “story”. I still am a subscriber to the Kansas City Sports Commission newsletter. I’m not sure WHY I still subscribe, but I do. Recently I got an email about the county where I used to live in Kansas is hosting a “Run to Stop Underage Drinking 5K”. Really?
I get running for cancer, running for Mothers against drunk driving, or running in tribute of some horrific event. But really? Underage drinking? Now, call me juvenile (because I am), but I immediately thought of fun things that I could do while running for this “worthy” cause.
  • Run while drunk
  • Run while wearing one of those two beer helmet things
  • Run with a Bud Light T-Shirt on
  • Three words: Beer. Aid. Station.
Sadly, I probably wouldn’t get very far as I am sure that “the law” has a pretty strong presence at the race – but it would sure make for good blog pictures!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I left the country!

This weekend I decided that Sunday would be my “long” bike ride day. Just like runners with MUCH more self control than I, I decided that this ride would be purely based on time – not on distance. One hour out, out hour back. I’m still not sure how runners are able to tear their eyes away from their Garmins and just run by time alone. I imagine it is similar to the feeling of not wearing underwear. Everything is just…loose…and it feels funny.

So, like I said, on my bike ride I left the country! Sort of. I was finally able to ride all the way from my house onto one of the local Indian Reservations – Specifically the Gila River Indian Reservation (henceforth referenced as “The Res”. Let me tell you, on The Res, there is…..NOTHING. I’m talking nothing nothing. To play into stereotypes, not even a casino was in sight (the main one was a few miles north, the brand new one was a few miles north and a few miles west. I think they have three of them in total….maybe four. But again, no stereotypes….) I didn’t take my camera along, you know - didn’t want the added 4 oz that would drag me down, but here is a “file photo” that is nearly identical to what it looked like.

I can almost hear the tumbleweeds.

The reason that I went to The Res is twofold: one, to say that I technically left the country and two to avoid stoplights every mile. I learned from my Ironman neighbor that this is where a lot of the Ironman AZ people train to avoid the stop and go of normal city traffic. Score. Training among the best. Sort of like going on a jog with Kara Goucher – if she were clad in some sort of robotic exoskeleton that enabled her to run super humanly fast.

These guys (and gals) were FAST. If I can set the stage….I’m wearing my headphones jamming along to alternating Fergie and Jonas Brothers songs (literally. Don’t judge. Maybe I like to think that I am glamorous while I ride) wearing one of my two technical TShirts and cotton shorts. I’m clipping along at a healthy 17.5 to 18 mph when all of a sudden four spandex clad bikers all in a drafting line zoom by like I was standing still. I’m not sure if my ego was hurt more by the fact that they were wearing such glorious outfits or the fact that I totally got schooled. Repeat this 3 more times before my hour is up. Bummer.

Since I am always on the hunt for improvement, I captured a few takeaways:
  • Must look the part. Need to supplement my Beyonce black leotard with some Corona beer jerseys
  • Must look the part. Need to get one of those cool guy tear drop helmets. Will probably need to wear it to work to get used to the weight
  • Must act the part. Will practice screaming “on the left!” in the mirror in full areo position while in the hotel
  • Must drop weight on my bike. Am going to swap out wasteful two wheeled bicycle for much lighter unicycle

Orrr, I guess I could just practice. But, you know as good as I do, that is crazy talk.

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Update on the stress fracture. All is well from what I can tell. I have no pain on my shin, even with pressure, and can move around without even knowing that something is wrong with my knee. I have been VERY “good” (as I always am – no matter what my wife says) as running hasn’t even entered my mind. I have another appointment with the sports med dr on 11/6 at which time I HOPE to get the green light for some light running supplemented with biking / elliptical. I’m still planning on running Rock and Roll AZ on 1/17 come hell or high water. Like I always say – hell is MUCH more likely given the sweltering heat of PHX.

Additionally, you’ll notice that I added Rock and Roll Mardi Gras to my 2010 race list. Signed up last night. Let the year of the Rock and Roll race begin!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Travel is in the air

What is that I hear? The sound of squealing children at 5:30am? The sound of snoring coming from what can only be described as a ‘portly’ gentleman in the distance? Where am I? None other than on another germ tube from sunny PHX to hopefully sunny ATL.

Business travel is interesting. I see all kinds of people. In fact, some of them are in a similar situation that I am in. Resigned to pack up what meager belongings they have in a TSA approved suitcase and drag their already tired asses to the airport - only then to get to 2nd, or if you are lucky, 3rd base with one of the TSAs finest.

For one of the first times, someone recognized me as a fellow road warrior on the PHX-ATL path and struck up a conversation. Our eyes locked, each knowing the pain of the other, each sharing a few battle stories of weeks travel gone by. Ahh memories. Thankfully I was able to remember a few facts about him and his life and he was able to do the same. I feel like we had previously shared an exit row seat before each of us had gained “gold” status that would enable us to cast aside the mere mortals and forever be upgraded to first class. These.are.my.people.

I take a taxi to and from the airport on Monday and Thursday and have had some VERY interesting encounters over the last few weeks. For some reason I envision the application for a driver reading something like: “WANTED: Driver with license, lots of household drama, and a crazy life story. Safe drivers need not apply.” Some of my recent encounters have included:
  • A polish driver who, after asking permission of course, cranked up some VERY good Russian pop music. In fact, I had the Russian version of “Shake your Bon Bon” stuck in my head for many days afterwards. (When I asked what the translation was, the driver simply said: “it is literally, ‘dance around’”….Disappointing). He offered to give me the CD, because I honestly did like it, but I declined – he promised to have an extra copy next time.
  • A driver whose son was a professional Halo video game player – and had been since he was 16. He is flown around the country to play in tournaments all expenses paid. If my grandmother was correct, with all of the video games that kid plays his brain has most certainly turned to mush.
  • The most bizarre was a driver who had no issue with telling me, after meeting me for 10 minutes, that he was in the middle of a divorce and was going to have to file bankruptcy because (among reasons) his Lincoln Towncar lease was $800/month. Lord knows what sort of secrets he would have shared had I known him for longer.
  • Finally, probably one of the most funny was the guy with a foul mouth. He would cuss up a storm – all the while swerving across 5 lanes of traffic to make an exit in 100 yards. All that I could do was hang on and provide encouraging words such as “wow, can you believe these drivers!? You really have to take the bull by the horns and lead the way sometimes, right?”. Fuel to the fire.

I can’t help but think back to some of my more funny trips because I can sense that my travel days are, in the short term, numbered. My contract is scheduled to end around Thanksgiving and will certainly end no later than the middle of December. I’ll take a few weeks to get to know my wife a little better, but as is usually the case will get kicked out of the house after a few weeks. I seem to create a lot more clutter than my wife is used to with the house to herself.

Update tomorrow on my 35 mile bike ride this weekend!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Biking vs Running

Since I have logged 3,000+ miles running and 35+ miles biking, I feel that I am now an expert on both and can provide my thoughts on the similarities and differences. Makes sense, right? Ha -riiiiiight.

I went on another bike ride yesterday, my second, for a total of 20 miles. I was able to average a bit higher mph (around 16.5 mph) mostly because I ran more red lights. Which brings me to my first difference: doing illegal things.

While running, I have NO problem with doing things illegal: I'll jaywalk, run through red lights, pee in public (during races... ok, and sometimes just normally), and will sometimes trespass to get to a good
running trail. BUT, while riding my bike, I am very conscious of not running red lights, always have my hands on 10 and 2, and still haven't figured out how to pee while riding - yet. Winner: Running.

Speed: While riding, you can cover a lot of ground in not a lot of time. I seem to be able to ride along at around 16 mph. However, even during my tempo runs I'll only average 8 mph. Just like a strung out meth-head, that means that I can cover loads of ground in not a lot of time. Of course, the one downside of all of that speed? Other than all of the bugs in your teeth - WIND! I didn't even think that what is a slight breeze at 7 mph would be a tongue wagging wind tunnel at 60 mph. While my tongue doesn't nearly wag like I was hoping at 16 mph (I tried), it does both keep me cool and slightly slow me down. Winner: Biking.

Lastly, one of the main differences that I've noticed is gear: While running I am a very fairly cheap simple runner. I 'need' whatever shorts that I have laying around, the cleaner the better, my running shoes, my Garmin, and my chest hair (singular) waiving in the breeze. I still wear *gasp* cotton socks and still only have two technical shirts that I've bought. On the other hand, like I said in an earlier post, biking requires a lot of gear. I need a bike (duh), a helmet, sunglasses, all SORTS of stuff to change a flat tire...not to mention the stuff that I didn't get like clippy shoes, padded shorts to not make my ass hurt, etc. Winner: running. But, I will admit, surfing bike websites for the latest gear is pretty fun!!

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Like I said before, overall my second bike ride went really well. I tried to ride to the closest Indian reservation so that I wouldn't feel so guilty about running a few red lights but I ran out of time. The res was around 13 miles one way from my house. (Near where it says "Sun Lakes" in the map below.) If I could figure out something to make my ass less sore, this weekend I may try to go the full distance!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cheeseburger? That’ll be $25 a month please

I was watching the news Tuesday morning while stretching out and a story particularly caught my eye. Check it out here. Since I know that only 10% of you will actually go to that link, let me summarize for you: North Carolina is joining Alabama in charging it’s obese and smoker employees more for health insurance. $25 per month more in most cases. Ouch.

The thinking here is, of course, that both smoking and carrying a few extra lbs is a sure fire way to live an unhealthy life. Think of it as playing with fire. Sure, if you play with matches (cheeseburgers) most of the time you’ll be fine. However, that one time that you played with matches over by the gasoline station (deep fried Twinkies at the state fair), you are certain to get burned. Burned with 2700 calories of deliciousness!

Now, it seems like the topics of my blog are organized into one of the following: Running (and I guess biking?), things that be followed with “that’s what she said”, consultant travel, poop jokes, threats on Billy Crystal’s life, and various goings on in my life….Running and general fitness being the overall themes. So it should probably come as no surprise that I think this is generally a good idea. But, I can’t help but think that it does have a bit of a big brother feel to it. I don’t like the government in my business any more than the next guy and it seems like this would put my healthcare company squarely at the head of my dinner table. Moreover, I think that it will suffice to say that any policy like this will likely affect various socioeconomic classes more than others – and that I don’t like.

So, I am a bit torn. Unfortunately, I think that as costs rise, employers will find one way or another to pass the costs off to Joe SixPack. I wonder what Dr Gupta would say.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I got a bike!

Just like I finally had to realize that John from “John and Kate Plus 8” really is a tool (come ON dude, I was on your side for the first few days), I finally broke down and bought a bike! Here she is:



Bikes, just like boats and cars, are always female. Now, I know what you are all thinking in your head. What is Adam going to name it!? Probably nothing - I never got into the habit of naming stuff. Even my cars I refer to as “Red Car” and “Black Car”. I am boring. But just like my blog title says. If you are reading this, so are you!

I bought it approximately 5 hours after receiving my stress fracture diagnosis. My wife was out of town all weekend, so I didn’t have to face her disapproving tone when I announced that I was off to buy a bike. In fact, when I told her on her way back into Phoenix, she didn’t even believe me. You’d think that I constantly play tricks on her or something. I wouldn’t do that, right?

Now for the nerdy bike specs: It is a Trek 1.1. It has two tires and one set of handlebars. It is made out of metal. It has brakes. Other than that, I have no clue what the various “specs” are. Well, that isn’t true. I had the bike guy put it on a bike scale and we determined that it weighs 22 pounds. Considering I’ve probably had bathroom breaks that were half that weight, I figure it isn’t too bad.

While shopping around, I did have my first encounter with a bike snob. I went into a specialty bike store that was very close to my house and asked about the (very) entry level Trek 1.1. The salesperson then went on to say that they don’t stock that bike…blah blah blah… we sell what we want to ride… blah blah… not good enough to even piss on. I turned around and left. I don’t need that crap. For that matter, I’m not going to throw down $2,500 on a bike when the last bike I owned was a $50 10 speed huffy – in middle school. Trust me, I had to beat the girls off with my Velcro trapper keeper.

It made me think a bit about the differences between runners and bikers. While I think that there are certainly ‘geared up’ runners, biking sure does lend itself to a lot more gear. I’ll have to jot some more differences down and make a full post out of it. I will say that I COMPLETELY give bikers a pass on waving to me while I am running. I about ran into a few cars on my first ride waving at a few runners because I refused to be that “stuck up biker guy”. I eventually had to just yell “GOOD MORNING!” keeping both hands firmly planted.

Overall it was a good purchase. It is fun to get out there and feel the breeze – even if it does make my ass hurt like a week long bender full of Mexican food.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gonna' have to bench you

Like I said before, that is what I heard from my sports medicine doctor after he took a look at my scans. My response? "Bummer".

Mid last week, I honestly thought that I was on the mend. I had went on a 4 mile run, had minimal pain, and announced in true Baby Bash and Akon form that I was back. As I looked back at my blog history, what I realized I forgot to mention was that I tried to go on a 6 mile run the day after, only got 2 miles into it and had to bail because of the searing intense pain. I can only assume that it burned as much as when Lindsey Lohan goes #1. I think that I have only had to bail out on a run once before. For this one, I thought that I had a bad run and that it would turn around soon. As I look back, I'm not quite sure what I was thinking and am pretty impressed with being able to crank through the miles with a slightly broken leg.

When I first got to the clinic (not Betty Ford thank goodness) I explained all of my symptoms to the RN. Being the quasi-type A person that I am, I of course had each symptom bulleted out so that I didn't forget any:
  • Strong Bone pain on my shin bone just below the knee (Pain level 8)
  • Pain on the kick back behind my knee when I am jogging (Pain level 6)
  • Calf pain after running (Pain level 3)

I should have seen the writing on the wall when he immediately ordered a full X-Ray. One thing led to another and before I knew it my doc was telling me that I was benched for 4 weeks. He said that while he didn't see any actual break, he could see healing taking place which based on the location of the pain was 95% conclusive. He said that we COULD do an MRI and/or a bone scan but we didn't have to. Since I knew that would mean another co-pay, I decided to pass.

I asked him what being benched meant. Could I bike, swim, etc? He said that swimming was fine and biking was OK as long as I wasn't hammering on it HARD. He particularly advocated aqua jogging where as I strap on a life vest, jump in the deep end, and pretend to be running. I'll probably try that eventually.

One thing that he wasn't able to provide much insight on was how much cardio fitness I'll lose while taking time off. I have to assume that even if I were to swim as much as Phelps and bike as much as Lance I'll still lose SOME level of running fitness. I paid my money for RnR AZ on 1/17 and plan on running it. Even if that means that it is a training run for some other race in the future.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Stress Fracture

Just got back from my first doctor's appointment to take a look at my knee (4 weeks after the initial injury). I've officially been diagnosed with a stress fracture. Weeeeeelllllllll poop.

Quote the Doctor: ""we're going to take it month by month.....but we're going to have to bench 'ya"

I'll have more details tomorrow as anything I post now would come across as VERY whiny.

Friday's Funnies - Ruminations

I think I’ve said on numerous occasions that I am a huge fan of Aaron Karo’s Ruminations website. It is a fun user created website where people can post little snippets about their day to day observations. For example, here are a few good ones pulled from the website:

  • "Fragment (consider revising)" has got to be the most useless grammatical suggestion ever in Word.
  • People always make petty complaints in the form of, "It's 2009, why can't someone make this trivial annoyance in my life go away?" or "They can put a man on the Moon, but they can't pop all the kernels sitting in the bottom of the bag?"….. You know what? I can watch TV on the internet while I'm on the can. I suggest we take a step back and count our blessings.
  • I hate when I go and get my haircut and they ask, "So what do you want me to do with your hair today?". I'm a guy. Make it shorter.


So, over the past few months, I’ve created a few of my own. Some have been Facebook status's (satai?), others are just random thoughts. Hopefully they stack up!

  • Whenever I am washing my hands and accidentally spill water on my pants in the bathroom, I can’t help but explain to everyone that I meet that I did not pee my pants.
  • Yeah, you in the corner cube by the front door. You have not been working on the same power point slide all week. You might as well stop switching your screen from TMZ.com when people walk by. Everyone knows.
  • I can’t help but judge everyone who has an iPhone (since I don’t). I think the straw that broke my iPhone holdout back was seeing the guy in bib overalls watching an episode of Hee-Haw on his.
  • Every so often, I’ll try to hide beer cans or an empty wine bottle from the maid in the hotel room trash. For some reason I feel like she’ll think badly of me that I was drinking alone in the hotel room.
  • The statistical probability of receiving a dirty email forward goes up with equal measures when either my boss is walking by my desk or I receive an email forward from my father in law.
  • Two of my guilty pleasures are MMA fighting and reality TV. I think they sort of even out – kinda like frozen fish sticks that are still frozen in the middle and burnt black on the outside.
  • Sorry Pizza Hut.... You will NEVER be cool enough to be called "the hut". Don't even get me started on you Radioshack with your "The Shack" business.
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I’ve been putting those down for quite some time. I’ll probably post some more in the future!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Guest Post - Twin Cities Marathon Race Report

Well, since I was/am all gimped up (and had another horrible run last night) I asked my buddy Nick who ran the Twin Cities Marathon to provide some thoughts on his race. Below is his detailed blow by blow, complete with Caribou references (Did you know that Caribou and Reindeer are the same things?) and not nearly enough areas where I can scream "that's what she said!!". Although, there is at least one public urination story, so that probably makes up for it. Enjoy!


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Hello All!

Since Adam was unable to run the Twin Cities Marathon, he’s asked me to post my experiences about the race. Although I can’t promise that I’ll be able to live up to the standards that he’s set, I’ll attempt to fit in as many “business time” references as possible to keep with the dominating theme of the blog. :)

Friday Night:
My wife and I had some difficulty flying into Minneapolis from Chicago on Friday night. I guess they are doing some sort of construction on the runways, and they were down to one runway. 1 Runway + low cloud Ceiling = 4 hour Flight delay. I have to give it to Minneapolis, I thought Chicago had bad construction, but if you guys have construction on your airport runways, you win! Adam came and picked us up late from the airport and took us back to the hotel. Upon arrival we were told we were upgraded to an awesome room. This due entirely to the fact that we booked our room with Adam “Big Pimpin” Marriot rewards account. Thanks Adam!

Packet-Pickup:
All 4 of us (Adam, I and our spouses) headed to the packet pickup down in St Paul. Overall I was impressed with the Expo. I was hoping to get a picture taken with the Caribou mascot “Carrie Bou”. I saw her once, by the time I got my gun out and the safety off, I mean the camera ready, she’d run off and couldn’t be found. I did however pick up some useless trivia about caribou (Did you know that both the females and the males have horns?). I picked up a few PowerBar gels for the race and grabbed my race packet. The technical shirts were not given out in the packet as they were handed to the runners as they finished. [soapbox] I personally find this annoying and cheap because not everyone will cross the finish line, but I think that everyone should be given all of the swag! [/soapbox] (I’m a software developer, can’t you tell?). On the way home we stopped at Target and I picked up a SWEET grey sweat suit for after the race. Let me tell you what, If anyone ever looked hot in a $10 matching grey Target sweat suit, it’s not me.


That evening we hit up Vescio's in St. Louis Park for a good Italian dinner. The food was decent, and the atmosphere was inviting. Overall it was a great way to relax before the big race and it was a ton of fun to hang out with some friends. We headed home and packed it in for the night.

Race day:
Woke up and had my banana and half an English muffin w/ PB. Adam dropped me off at the light rail and I rode that in. I was very impressed with it. I wish we had something so up to date in Chicago. The train dropped me and a hundred or so fellow racers off right at the Metrodome. Now THAT’s service. I did the normal pre-race stuff and headed to the start line.
There were two corrals and since I’m slower than molasses in January, I was in the 2nd one. By the time I got out there I could only get as close as the 4:15 pacer. I didn’t want to be “that guy” pushing my way through the crowd at the last minute so I stayed put. I figured I had a good pace plan that I was going to stick to no matter where I started.

The weather was absolutely perfect. Temps somewhere in the low 50’s with hardly any wind. I was wearing my normal running stuff and a pair of $1 pink gloves from target and I felt great.

Mile 1:
The first mile was quicker than I planned, but slower than my body told me to go. I guess it’s good that I was able to slow down, but next time I need to pay even closer attention. What really threw me off is that the 4:15 pacer ran the first mile faster than I did. I figured my GPS was off, but I made myself run slower anyway. Needless to say the 4:15 pacer hit the brakes when at the 1 mile marker and I surged ahead.

Mile 2:
This mile was back at a pace where I wanted to be. Mostly because I took a leak on a wall around the 15 minute mark. Gotta love urinating in public!

Mile 3-6:
These miles went by without much of a problem. I knew that I was running a bit faster than my pace plan, but I tried to hold back as much as possible. I will say this though; this is a truly beautiful course. They are most definitely dead on when they say this is the most beautiful urban marathon in the US.

Mile 7:
At the 7 mile hydration station, I sucked down a gel and grabbed some water. This is also where I ran into my crew for the first time. As all you runners out there know, having people on the sides of the roads cheering is great, but to have great friends and family cheering for you is 10x better. I definitely got a lift when I saw them as I had walked through the water station and still ran faster than my pace.
Note the pink gloves.

Mile 8-15:
I don’t remember much specifically about these miles so they must have gone without much of a hitch. My pace stayed about where I wanted it to be and I tossed back another gel around 14.
Just a few comments though:
  • It can be very annoying running next to someone that has their name printed on their shirt when you do not. All I was hearing was “Hey Go Rachel!” because of the lady running next to me. Yeah, basically me just being jealous. :) I actually think it’s a great idea and I’m going to consider it for the next race
  • You cannot hear the theme song to Rocky too often during the race.
  • People in the Twin Cities love dogs. I bet I saw 100+ dogs on the side of the road watching the race with their owners. I am a huge dog lover, having a yellow lab myself, so I really enjoyed this.
  • You cannot hear the theme song to Rocky too often during the race.
  • When running with a GPS, make sure that when you go over 1 hour, you have at least one view where you can see hh:mm:ss. Over the course of my training, I only cared about mile splits so I didn’t realize my GPS, which I’d upgraded to in the spring, wasn’t configured to show the seconds once I got over an hour. Kind of annoying but far from the end of the world.
  • You cannot hear the theme song to Rocky too often during the race.

Mile 16-17
There is something about this section of the race that really messed with my mind. These two miles felt like they were all on a gradual incline that made me think they were harder than they really were. While I was running this section, I kept thinking “I don’t remember THIS on the elevation Map”. After the race I checked it again and I didn’t see it. Even on my elevation map on my GPS it doesn’t register any sort of real incline. Very screwy. I met my crew around 17.5 and got a definite lift again.

Mile 18-20:
I think that Dogs Eye view said it best when they wrote “Everything falls apart”. The mind warp continues with these miles. I still felt like I was running mostly uphill, although there is hardly any real uphill at all. Honestly I’d have to say that I was probably just worrying about the big hill at 21.5 and just couldn’t get past it. At any rate, my pace starts to slow down and over the course of these 3 miles, I lose all of the 1:24 buffer I’d built up. I can feel my goal of 3:50 slipping away…*sigh*

Mile 21:
Dread. This is the word I’d use to describe this mile for me. By now my legs are starting to go and I know the “Big Khauna” is approaching. The Gel I took at 20 starts kicking in a little, but I think it’s too little too late. I’m just holding on. On a positive note, I meet my crew again. I wish I had 10% of the energy that I have, but they do their job again and I kick it in gear and keep moving.

Mile 22-23:
There it is, the hill in all of its glory. Once I get to the hill I realize that it is in fact a large hill, and yes it’s going to suck. However it’s not unlike any other hill in that all you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other. I believe I took at least one walking break (the first of a few to come), but I did make it to the top. Even though I’ve taken a gel at 21, I pound my last one at about 23. I figured it can’t hurt. I’ve also resigned myself to the fact that I’m not going to be hitting the 3:50 mark anymore. I’m over 3 minutes behind the pace and I’m doing nothing but fading. My thoughts now change to running a PR.
This raises a question: What do people use to get through things like this? Personally I keep telling myself that I only have a few grueling minutes of this left then I can sleep all afternoon. I also start doing things like forcing myself to concentrate on the pavement right ahead of me and counting my paces. I set a goal like “Ok Nick. 300 paces and then you can look up and see where you are.” Suggestions?

Mile 24-26:
Whew! Made it! That wasn’t so bad was it? The combination of the two gels kicks in and I have a small spurt of energy. Oddly enough I quickened my pace through these last few miles. The mindset of having less than 30 minutes to the end helped.

Mile 26-Finish:
What a great finish for this race. It was an amazing feeling to come over the crest of the hill and see the capital, and more importantly, one last HUGE downhill. I basically let it all hang out and tear down the hill. At about 25.8 both of my calves and my quads seize up but I keep moving and they slowly comply until I reach the finish line. Whew! 3:56:52. A new PR!

Post Race:
Overall I consider the race a definite success, even though I wasn’t able to accomplish my goal of 3:50. I will never complain about a PR. Outside of my own race, the race as a whole was awesome. I’ve run marathons in Milwaukee, Kansas City, and Chicago before and the Twin Cities is my favorite. There were people along every block of the entire race cheering all of the runners on. Everyone was incredibly friendly and the course really was beautiful.

Lastly, I’d like to give a shout out to my crew of my wife, Adam and his wife. They did an amazing job of zipping around the cities and seeing me at 5 places during the race and then being there at the finish. I’m truly lucky to have such great friends come out and support me. Thanks guys!


Below are my splits. You can see that I had a decent buffer and a good pace before miles 18/19. Mile 22, in the middle of the big hill was the worst.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm Back!

That is right! I'm back running. However, unlike the Curb Your Enthusiasm ploy to bring back Seinfeld, this come back is actually a good idea.


Who doesn't think of Whoopi and nuns when you think happy? Basically instead of hearing harps when something awesome happens, I see Whoopi, center square, Hollywood Squares style.

4 miles, 8:18 pace. Pain 2.5 out of 10 (day after pain 3/10)


I haven't had a straight up running post in quite a while. I just checked my Garmin software and the last run that I logged that wasn't a 'test' run was on 9/13. Wowza.

Overall the run went really well. I had some stiffness and some residual soreness but I think that some of that was just cobwebs from not running for 3+ weeks. Before I started I agreed to myself that I would just run at whatever pace felt good. I wasn’t going to look at my watch – just run. For me this is ALWAYS a bad idea. It is sort of like saying: “I’m just going to open this movie theatre size bag of Skittles and eat them until I am full. Never mind that I will be pooping rainbows for a week because I will plow through the entire bag.” When I don’t look at my watch I tend to run faster than I want. I would have liked to run around 8:45, but I must have had a lot of pent up energy from the 3 weeks off.

Now, that isn’t to say that I wouldn’t wear my watch and then pour over the details like a meth addict picks at a tear in the wallpaper. When I got back from my run I saw that I was fairly consistent in my pacing with the only two slowdowns at the turn around and a red light. However, as expected, I was a bit faster than I wanted. 8:20 ish pace isn’t knee busting fast, but I’ll still need to learn to reign it in a bit better.

Now, the run wasn't perfect. I had some soreness afterwards so I iced like an Eskimo and stretched like a double jointed gymnast. Hopefully the ice will keep the post run pain hangover at bay. If my knee feels good I'm going to go for a bit longer today. Maybe 6? If I can get out of work before prime time TV starts, I may even make it a bike/run combo workout.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Twin Cities Marathon - Spectator Report

Where do I begin? First, I did not run the race. (I can't remember if I said that before or not.) My leg is still pretty sore and I would most certainly hurt myself further if I tried to finish. Not the manly play for sure. Probably the smart one.

SOOO, for the first time ever I was a full time spectator. I've volunteered, but never been a Marathon roadie. What better for my first time than watching my best friend run the "World's most beautiful urban marathon". Minneapolis to St Paul.

First things first, the expo and.... Hal Higdon!


He was there signing copies of his new novel. I bought a copy and had him sign my bib. It was especially cool to see him since I've followed his training plans for all of my races. However, it was especially ironic because the bib is my one and only DNS. Super! He spoke for a few minutes at the expo in what can only be described as a 15 minute single breath that covered 15 different topics. I was sort of disappointed. He was all over the place. Maybe it had something to do with the high voltage behind him?

Interestingly, he mentioned that he hadn't ran a full marathon since 2002 and most of his runs now cover less than a mile. Believe me, I'm going to be remembering BOTH of those things the next time that I need to go on a 20 miler. Of course, the fact that he has run 111 marathons (one of which in the 2:20's) will never enter my mind.

Other than Hal, the expo was very busy and pretty similar to other big expos I've been to. I tried to hold off on the free samples, but they call my name every time.

Now the race. The plan was to see my buddy at miles 7, 11, 18, 21, and at the finish. My jobs were to drive, cheer on the runners, and possibly jump out of the way of any errant spittle. I have to say that I executed each flawlessly.

Here is Nick at mile 7. He looked like he was doing GREAT (which he was)! Check the pink gloves. $1 Target dollar spot. Score.

We caught him again at 11 and again at 17. He looked great each time. Unfortunately, our last spot at mile 21 was about a quarter of the way through the very last two mile long hill. A lot of the runners looked pretty tough. But, Nick grabbed a GU and powered through.

Of course, I needed to give the runners the kind of advice that I live by day in and day out.

Strangely, I didn't get many laughs at mile 17 and 21. I wonder why!!

Nick finished with a new PR and most importantly received the all important mylar blanket.


I asked Nick to provide a few comments and I'd post them for him. So, stay tuned for those!

All in all, I had a good time watching the race. I'd totally do it again. Although, I wish that I could have been running, I will admit that watching wasn't a bad alternative.

My wife was totally right (I hate it when that happens). It doesn't seem like the elites are running any faster than anyone else (11 mph vs 7mph doesn't seem like that big of a deal....it is trust me), cheering is nearly as much fun as running, and time flies when you are running around trying to beat your friends to the next meeting point. Gosh, you'd think that Nick could have slowed down a bit and made it easier on us!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Olympics

I'm feeling like a rant today....

This weekend the IOC votes on who should get the 2016 Olympics. A lot of fuss has been made on Obama going or not going to Copenhagen to lobby for Chicago’s 2016 bid. My thoughts? Why shouldn't he go?

Let’s think about this logistically. Sure, he is a busy guy. He’s got wars, depressions, and a (arguably self created) healthcare bill mess to clean up. Cleaning all of those up involves lots of working the phones, meeting with important people, singing lots of documents, meeting with David Letterman, etc. No time for Olympics, right? Mmm, maybe. The United States present to the IOC at 0645 GMT – which is 2:45 AM EST. I doubt that much work would normally get done from 2am to 5am EST during the presentation, even for the president.

Additionally, the flight time to get there is around 6-7 hours each way. It would seem that he would want to head out 8 or so hours beforehand which would put him at wheels up around 9:00 pm. Not even the TSA gets to rifle through the president’s bags so no slow down there. No productive time lost so far….. On the flight back, he will lose some ‘work’ time, but I can’t help but think that the most advanced plane in the world has an in flight phone that the Commander in Chief can use for a conference call with Bono or something. Shit, on Monday morning, I caught up on blogs while on my way from Phoenix to Atlanta via in flight WIFI!

Am I biased? Absolutely. Not about politics, about the Olympics! If Chicago does win, I am totally planning on going. I have never been to an event that large, and from what I hear the Olympics in Atlanta were quite the party. In fact, when I am in Atlanta, people STILL talk about the 1996 games and how fun they were. Watching a track meet / shot put / marathon race / table tennis etc is fun by itself, but merge the fun of one of those with the world’s best people in their sport? If you can pardon my pun….That, my friends, is golden.


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Going to cheer for the Twin Cities Marathon runners this weekend. I'll be back next week with all sorts of posts to share (and hopefully a guest post race report)!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Girl Stretches

One of the things that I am trying to do now that I have a bum leg is to be more diligent about my stretching. I was always pretty good about stretching but from what I read I could always be better. When I was reading through the current issue of Runner’s World I noticed a section called “The Body Shop”. It proceeded to display, in cute cartoon fashion, 6 yoga poses that it claimed would help you stay injury free and leap small buildings with a single bound. Who am I to argue.

So, as my wife was getting ready for our house warming party this past weekend and I had just completed a bunch of yard work, I decided that it would be a good idea to sprawl out on the bedroom floor and try some of these fancy yoga moves out myself. I tore out the page that had the cartoons on it and went to the bedroom for ready for business.

To be fair, I made a number of mistakes while performing my first ever yoga session:
-- I was within eyeshot of my wife
-- I grunted more than an 80s softcore porn
-- Most of the stretches were done with one eye on the tore out sheet to make sure that I was doing them correctly – usually meaning that I was straining my neck

Well, sense I was within eyeshot of my wife, she decided to provide color commentary on my little adventure. She would give me encouraging comments such as “Why are you doing girl stretches? All of the cartoons on this sheet are girls”. Of course, to which I would respond with something to the effect of “I can still beat you up!” (Or some other threat of domestic violence). Another time when I was doing something that Runner’s World called “The Triangle”, or as I affectionately call ‘death pose’, I was greeted with the quip, “Boy, you sure are grunting a lot for girl stretches!”.

What did I learn? Yoga isn’t all that bad. Can’t hurt, right? But, from now on, it is going to be referred to as “Manly Stretching”. If you don’t think I’m serious, check the tags on this post! :)