Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Long Run - with Blisters!

This past Sunday, I had 16 miles on the schedule. With my two latest runs ending in a literal and figurative shit-fest, I was bound and determined to set myself up for the best run possible. You know what that means: Hydration.

Looking totally sober here

I actually did limit my booze intake** and went to bed super early – 9:00 or 9:30. Finally having a pregnant wife with her early bedtimes is starting to pay some dividends (cookies in the house all the time!).

The run started out great however at mile 3 I realized that I wasn’t going to make it the entire 16 without having to stop and drop a deuce powder my nose. Fortunately I was able to find a McDonalds and zip into the bathroom without anyone noticing me - an impressive feat considering I run without a shirt on and by that point was dripping wet***. A short 5 minutes later and I was no worse for the wear. I decided that I wouldn’t stop my Garmin and would just see what the pace was...including the time contemplating Lady Gaga’s latest hairstyle****:

I had convinced my wife that bacon IS a food group she could meet me at the house at 7am and bike the last 5 miles with me. It was really fun. She was there to encourage me when it started to get hot and I started to get cranky. As much as it may come as a surprise, I DO get cranky after running for 2 hours. I’ve found that I do best when I focus on the time remaining and what I normally do in that period of time:

  • 1.5 miles left: 12 minutes….Only have the time left that it takes to take a shower
  • 3 miles left: 24 minutes…Just an episode of the office left
  • Etc

I ended up running the 16 miles at a 8:30 pace including the bathroom break and 8:13 pace not including it. Score. Right where I wanted to be.

Unfortunately when I got home, jumped in the pool mostly naked, I saw that I had a bit of a blister on my foot - either that or my massive callus was falling off. It doesn’t hurt in the slightest so I’m thinking that it is just my foot molting. You know, sort of like how a snake loses a layer every so often. So, just like I always scream when someone says they are trying to have a baby: “this story would be better with pictures” Behold.

Is my foot turning into some sort of reptilian baby?

Stay tuned tomorrow for a special Wednesday edition of Try it Tuesday - complete with a 3 case energy gel giveaway!

** Two beers and a martini….literally. Moderation is a relative term :)
*** I ordered a big mac with a side of swamp ass
**** The spikes make her more aerodynamic

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Beat the Heat 5K Race Report

Time: 28:33
Pace: 9:13
Place: 134/265; 7/30 age group

On Friday night, I ran the Beat the Heat 5K.  It is a fundraiser race that the local high school XC team hosts.  I'm not sure who in their right mind thought that it would be a good idea to have an Arizona race in August at what is usually the hottest time of the day....but they must have some connections with the big guy (John Candy - RIP) because the race has had rain the last two years and had 20 degree cooler than normal weather this year.

I was running this race with the normal Phoenix Runner Crew: RunningLaur, Rio, and JeffG.  Unfortunately, Jeff txted me 55 minutes before the start with "WTF? The race is tonight and not Sunday???"  I honestly thought that he was joking and was going to pop around the corner and de-pants me.  (That was what normally happened to me when I was in High School)  Turns out he wasn't kidding or going to de-pants me.  That didn't stop me from looking for him for 30 minutes.

I hate night races.  HATE HATE HATE.  Before a race, I'm usually nervous enough to create a diamond between my clenched butt cheeks.  As it is, with night races, I "get" to stew about the race all day long.  I'm bad about hydrating, resting, and my stomach is always a little off.  Fortunately, for this race, Lauren took me up on her offer to pace her.  To say that I jumped at Lauren's request would be like saying that Bozo the Clown was a 'happy' and 'just a little bit creepy' guy.  Check out her report here.

So, my race report is primarily from a pacers point of view.  This was her race - I was just there for the free T-Shirt, the free Fuze juice drink (along with Fuze drink girls!), and to run 9:15 min miles.

Mile one was a combination of dodging elementary schoolers who sprinted the first 400m and me doing my best to sprint ahead and get a picture of Lauren while we all had enough oxygen in our brains to know which was was forward.  My pacing strategy for this mile was to just act like it was a normal run.

I was only moderately successful in taking good pictures

Mile two's pacing strategy was to take her mind off of the oxygen debt that was starting to occur.  I did this with listing off the top 10 things that she should visit in Kansas City.  Random, yes.  Fortunately she is going there on Tuesday - but honestly that wouldn't have mattered.  (For the record, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Modern Art was on the list)

Mile three was spent one of two ways.  First, I continued to do all of the talking.  No more questions, just statements.  "10 minutes left.....you can do it" etc.  Lauren had previously said that she is a pretty good follower, so I spent around 1/3 of the mile about 10 feet in front of her pushing the pace.  Every 60 seconds or so I'd let her catch up, would tell a witty antidote (check the dude in the jean shorts!), and then would continue with the 9:15 pace as requested.

The result?  A new PR!  She crushed her "all time" PR by 25ish seconds and killed her "recent" PR by 1:30.  I can honestly say that this was one of the most fun races to date.  I was able to help someone achieve their full potential - which is what running is all about.

I will most definitely pace again - in fact, I think that I am going to look into pacing a full marathon.  If you know anyone who is a race director in one of the states that is white in the right bar let me know! How could I argue with these results?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Funny Foto Friday: Perfectly Timed Photos

Ouch. Do you think these are real??

Something tells me this one isn't real.  Did the guy bike over a landmine?

This one is probably real.  Tastes like 60 psi.

I went to a romantic comedy and a hockey game broke out!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Traveling Consultant

Yes. I’m one of “those” people. If you work in an office environment, I’m one of the guys that your company brings in to “isolate synergies”, “transform the business”, and “foster a can-do attitude”….all with a smile on my face and well pressed Dockers. In short, I’m one of the ‘Bob’s’ from the movie Office Space. In doing so, I travel 4 days a week. Spend lots of time in hotels, even more hotel bars, and collect too many frequent flier points to count.

I just started a new project on Monday and am admittedly a bit overwhelmed. There are dozens of names I need to commit to memory, processes that I need to learn, and coworkers I need to confuse as I duck out for my daily 10 minute “break” with the toilet. (“hey guys, I’m going to go…..call my wife….from the bathroom…don’t come looking for me”)  Although, being stressed makes me constipated.  Score!  10 more minutes in the day.

While I’ve been working 13 hour days with no end in sight, I still have been getting my runs in. Honestly, I wake up, run, go to work, grab something to eat on the way back to the hotel, eat, and then go to bed. Rinse, repeat. In fact, I’ve only had time to call my wife while I have been in the car. It wasn’t legal talking to her on the phone while in the car, but not much I do with her is I do what I gotta do.

  • Monday: 5 miles @ 8:15 pace As per schedule
  • Tuesday: Rest (hacking up a lung) Couldn’t force myself to run with the burning when I pee in my throat
  • Wednesday: 5 miles @ 7:08 overall, 4 @ tempo of 6:55 Run was tough, and I cut it 2 miles short, but I got it done.
  • Thursday: 12x400 @ 5:49 pace with 200 recovery in between Solid effort but I cut my cool down a bit short due to time

This week, it has been a struggle to keep up with my life – and honestly a lot of things have fallen between the cracks. Fortunately, running IS a part of my life and I'm willing to do what it takes to make my 2010 running goals a reality. I know that the fact that I am traveling makes putting running as a priority easier, it is still hard to put it ahead of sleep - which this week I have been doing.  (and I'm REALLY not sure that I'll be able to make the same decision when I have kiddos.)  While my job is the way that I pay my bills, and I love what I do and work very hard to get ahead, it is just something I do between the things are my true passion.

What is YOUR passion? Writing? Running? Photography? Your Family? Work?!?!

I'm no preacher, but I ran across this picture a while ago and it really rings true right now FOR ME.  A lot of you are even busier than I am and are still getting in done.  And for that, I salute you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Run the crap off a cold, starve the flu

A quick bullet-point update of my goings on

  • Much to my wife's surprise, I didn't die over the weekend. Was I injured? No.  Was there some sort of blunt force trauma**?  No.  I was sick.  I am pretty sure that there is something with having male genitalia that makes being sick much much worse.  I sure do seem to have a worse time of it than my wife.
  • Even though I am sick, I am still running - or at least trying to.  I ran on Sunday after an inch of rain fell making the normal 90 degrees quite a muggy and buggy nightmare.  I ran 13 miles on Sunday, 5 miles on Monday.  Even though I have a bit of a cough, it honestly isn't bad enough to slow down (I feel).  Even though the "golden rule" is above the neck: run.....below the neck: don't run.....my golden rule has always been: "if it is yellow let it mellow, if it is brown flush it down"
  • I'm starting a brand new project at a brand new client in Silicon Valley.  That means that I'm putting in TONS of hours and my head in spinning - and not just because of all of the cold medicine.  Unfortunately, even though I'm at a software company, I have to share internet with the person that I am replacing.  No blogs, no twitter, no fun.
  • The word "bromance" was recently added to The New Oxford American Dictionary. Other additions? "Microblogging" and the turkey, duck, chicken delicacy of "Turducken". So, either I am the head author of the prestigious dictionary or whomever decides new words is VERY cool. Anyone who would want to officially recognize blogging, delicious food, and a little heterosexual man on man love is just fine by me.
  • Finally, and I cannot make this up, a woman in England got caught on camera THROWING AWAY a live cat.  (Rather, trying to - cat is fine.)  The best part is how friendly she was to the cat at first.  Take a look below.  Let this be a lesson to you....if you are cute and cuddly, old ladies in England will throw your ass away.

**That's what she said

Friday, August 20, 2010

Funny Foto Friday: Silver Lining

Since I was a little bit of a Debbie Downer earlier this week, I thought that my funny foto Friday would try to show that you really can find the silver lining in every situation.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Track Workouts and Cherry on Top

Thursday, in addition to being the day of the week I take my shower, is track day.  This is the day that I pretend I am a NASCAR driver and make only left turns for 45 minutes.  On tap today was 12x400.  400 meters, 12 times (with 200m of jogging in between).  Lots of thinking at 5:30 am for a guy who at one time has laced up his shoes for a run....without putting on any pants or running shorts.

Since I was having a piss-poor running week, I decided early on to really let 'er rip and see how fast I could do these.  I probably did them at 3K speed or just a click faster.  In short: I rocked the face off of the track.  I cranked out each 400 in an average of 86 seconds - 5:46 pace. Giggity. Giggity.

In addition to loving the cool guy Google satellite pictures that running track work creates, I lurves me some graphs.  I used to use RunningAhead to track my miles, but since I was tracking them in an excel file as well as the Garmin software, I thought that the third place was just a bit too much.  Of course, as irony would have it, I've since started using the arguably less featured DailyMile.  But, I digress...  RunningAhead has, by far the best graphing options of any I've used, and track work makes the most fun graphs to look at.  Bada-bing, bada-boom.  Behold: Today's run.

What do you use to track your miles?  Website?  Logbook? Carrier pidgin?


I'll admit it, that itching you've been having was me I'm a fan of Internet Memes. (Click that link if you are in the mood for a laugh...full discloure, it is a bit of an earworm song).  I'm always good for 20 random things about myself or tagging a bunch of other blogs.

A few days back, BerryFine tagged me for the Cherry on Top Award.  From what I gather, this award is given to bloggers who like pink and cupcakes - sometimes together.  What can I say, BerryFine has me pegged.

Rules are as follows:
  1. #1: Answer this question: If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?
  2. #2: The second thing you have to do is, pick 6 people and give them this award. You then have to inform the person that they have gotten this award.
  3. #3: The third and final thing is, thank the person who gave you the award.

  1. #1: Would I change anything?  Honestly?  Nope.  Things really have worked out pretty well so far.  Since this is a running blog, it may sound a bit cliche, but the only thing that I would change would be to go out for track or cross country in high school.  I wonder how fast I could be, given a little bit of semi-professional training.  Well, also I guess if I had the possibility to go back in time to change something I would either buy one of those Back to the Future style sports scores books or maybe make off with a hover-board.

  2. #2: Propagating (triple word score!!) these lists is always hard.  I was ALWAYS the last person picked in every sport so I hate popularity contests.  But, rules are rules.  I decided the most democratic way would be to tag the people who gave some of the best advice on registering for babies.

    -- Alma @ The Average Woman's Running Blog not only feels my overwhelming pain, but also gave me boatloads of good advice - including a website that I can use while shopping in my underwear.  In fact, my wife ordered some things off of the Diapers.com website that she suggested and they came the next day!
    -- Zaneta @ Runner's Luck basically offered to knit me a blanket.  I would like my blanket shaped like a poncho and sweat wicking so that I can wear it while running in the cold cold Arizona mornings. You know, 60 degrees.  Burrrrr.
    -- Pam at Thirty Schmirty reminded me that I forgot the beer.  Touche Pam, touche.
    -- Andrew @ Running Man Wannabe: Andrew reminds me a lot of myself when I first started running.  His first EVER 5K is in 6 weeks!  He suggested my new baby boy should play with garbage.  Also, I am pretty sure that he recommended that I get breast implants.
    -- Jeff @ Running through Phoenix: Reminded me that if you get the right pump, it can suck milk from river rock.  Of course, I will listen to this because my entire front yard is FILLED with rocks! (Update, not sure where I learned how to count but I only had 5 when I first posted this.  Added Jeff to round out the 6!)
    -- Finally, I'll tag Jamoosh, but I honestly don't think he does these types of deals. He not only turned a casual email exchange that we had into a Internet sensation, but he was the catalyst for my most favorite post in recent memory.  (Scroll down, pee your pants, rinse, repeat)

  3. #3: Thanks BerryFine for tagging me!!  When I read your blog I constantly say ugg, this adult content warning makes me feel dirty "you always post exactly what I am thinking".  I'm not sure if that is a good or a bad thing, but it is definitely something.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baby Registering

First, the heavens parted, the monsoon rains cleared any sidewalk bird/dog poop, and The Fonz gave a boisterous "Eeeyyyyy" of approval during my run today.  The slogfest running streak is over.  I agree with most people that the new shoes helped, but honestly it was just a matter of time before I finally had a decent run again.  Did 7 miles of marathon pace-ish running at 7:35 pace.  That puts me at 19 miles for the week thus far - on my way towards 40ish miles for the week overall.


This weekend, my wife and I registered for all of the various baby paraphernalia that we'll need to raise a happy, healthy, productive producer of poop and spit-up.  Registering for anything, babies, weddings, sweet 16s, whatever, is a very interesting occurrence.  Essentially what you are saying is:

"Something special is happening to me.  Oh, you're going to buy things for me?  Well here, take this list and buy me EXACTLY these things."

As if I wouldn't be appreciative of a ball of yarn and some chopsticks. (Build your own blanket!!)  But, I manned up like a little sheep of society and registered. Just like all of my role models say:  "Don't hate the player, hate the game....and don't buy me any of those ugly baby clothes with the pictures of bizarre dump trucks on them. (kidding kidding...they're on the registry)"

Registering for the baby was actually both really fun and terrifying at the same time.  On the positive side, you get to use a gun...that has lasers(!!) and you get to pretend like you're a gun slinger in some very strange B movie:
Saving the world from high prices
One arched eyebrow at a time

Also, probably one of the most fun things was terrorizing my wife by registering for things that were in no way related to the occasion at hand.  For the baby, it was TVs and candy.  For our wedding, it was little kid's spider man underwear.  Both times, I thought that I was HILARIOUS.

Hello - price cut!  
Our friends would be stupid if they DIDN'T buy this for me.

Unfortunately though, after a while, registering for baby things gets a little bit frustrating and a LOT overwhelming.  There are just so many things that my little man is going to need!  I think that my wife and I were both very overwhelmed at various stages in the process.  How many undershirts does he need?  What about burp rags?  Do we actually need a running stroller and a regular stroller?  What about 3 different kinds of teethers?  It is enough to make a guys head spin.

I'm going to need to be more hydrated.  Not even a drop came out!

The stores that we went to were really good about providing some lists of all of the things that they feel that you'll need.  Of course, those lists were overinflated with basically everything in the 4 baby isles.  But, even in spite of the huge lists I did find a few things that were not on the list that, as a germophobe, I felt were absolutely necessary.

Babies are dirty.  I registered for 3 gallons.
You can dip kids in bleach a-la flee dip, right?

Eventually though, we did figure out everything that we needed...hopefully.  After two trips to both of the places we registered at, we both think that we're pretty well covered.  If anything I'll use our registry list as a good "things to buy" list once the baby is a bit closer.  Until then, I'll continue to freak out just a little bit every time I see anything in the shape of a teething ring.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Running woes, dinners, and baby updates

Momma said there would be days like these - and to wipe that silly grin off of my face.

  • I posted on twitter this morning that ”Two bad runs might be a coincidence, three bad runs is a pattern. Need to find my mojo.” I ran 7 miles this morning, 5 of which were supposed to be tempo of 6:55. My splits were instead 6:53, 6:59, 7:42 (took a break at the half), 7:23, 7:31 (!!). My legs felt tired and I just had no go-juice. I am pretty sure the summer heat is starting to take its toll. I’m going to rest up, drink plenty of beer water and continue plugging away.
  • Even though my runs haven’t been like I would like, I do know they will get better – I just need to continue to get out there and get them done. Like I am VERY fond of saying: Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while….and so too shall I find my legs.
  • Since I am in a bit of a running slump, I am really glad I needed new shoes.  I picked some up via RunningLaur this weekend.  For a someone like me, there is nothing like Saturday night - new underwear! the smell of new shoes.    They just SMELL fast.  My old shoes (on the right) however, smell like a mixture of zombies and failure.  Out with the old!
  • Last night I met up with Jeff and RunningLaur for a “non running clothes dinner”. I initially thought about showing up in a spandex cycling outfit, but thought better of it. We had sushi in a pretty trendy sushi bar called Ra – which was horribly ironic because it is in the middle of a ghost town/wild west part of Scottsdale, AZ. It was fun to see the crew without sweaty hair and rosy cheeks.

  • Did core this morning. Ouch.
  • Finally, my wife has been hard at work growing a baby while I have been hard at work freaking out about the possibility of another mouth to feed. As evidence of all of her efforts, here is her 23 week picture.  My little man doesn't look a day over 22 weeks.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hard CORE Club

A few weeks back, Jamoosh and I were emailing back and forth, trying to figure out how to hold each other accountable for completing our core work.  Lightning must have struck, because Jamoosh pulled a great idea out of the hat.  Behold the Hard CORE Club.  Where, instead of a "no girls" sign on our treehouse, we have a brass "45 second plank required to enter" spit bucket....because after doing this work out, you'll want to spit.

Jamoosh is organizing a 13 week, 13 exercise virtual class to get us all sitting up straight, running faster, and crushing walnuts between our abdominal muscles.  Since I am always looking for an edge to be faster and fitter (horse steroids), I dove in head first.  I've decided to complete the core workout 3x a week - Tues, Thurs, Sunday.  Since my workout week starts on Monday, today was a rest day.  Starting the training off right.

On The Hard CORE Club blog, Jamoosh posted a few before pictures to show that he is "not a member of the Twilight cast" and  does "not (obviously) have a beach body". (His words)  To hold myself accountable, I took the same two pictures that he took proving that I too am not a member of the Twilight cast (but am on team Jacob).

Figure A: "Joe Cool" 
(Complete with Jamoosh style "smile")

Figure B: Reality - loads of teeth! 
But only 2 nipples - and less hair

I assume that, after 13 weeks of CORE SHREDDING workouts, I'll be lean, mean, fast, and more sassy than ever.  Anything less will be failure.  This is my best artists renditioning of what I expect that I will look like.  As you can see, I not only have taken to showing off my newly found ripped abs (and my downward pointing nipples?), I also have a weee bit of an addiction to the "bronzer". Because, half of the battle is looking good.

The final stage, and I am only assuming here, will be to morph into a full on RIPPED umpa lumpa.  What do you get when you guzzle down sweets?  PUNCHED IN THE FACE AND A WONKA BAR SHOVED DOWN YOUR THROAT!!!!!!

Guzzle on, friends.  And then join the Hard CORE Club!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

MIA: Long Run Endurance

Yesterday I ran 15 miles in 2:04:39 which was a 8:18 pace.  The first 10 or 12 miles went by just fine, but the last few were a total slugfest.  I felt like I had been punched in the face by some sort of cruel Japanese reality TV show....or the hilarious show Wipeout.

Around mile 13, as I was panting like a dog in heat.....waiting for the green light to turn red so I didn't feel bad for standing there...I got to thinking about the last time that I had ran over 10 or 12 miles.  I knew it had been a while, probably too  long.  When I got back home, I dug out my running excel "log" and verified what I feared: Since June 26, I've ran over 12 miles a paltry 2 times. Opps!

To be fair and not send myself into a self deprecating shame spiral**, over that time I have ran mostly 35+ mile weeks. The focus of the summer was to increase my speed and pull back the long runs - even if that cost me a bit of the long distance endurance.  In the back of my mind I was hoping that I would be able to keep up the speed AND the endurance, but I think that I was lying to myself.

Honestly, I can't help but feel I'm a bit like those competitive hotdog eaters on ESPN - hyper-focusing on a goal.  They are the ones who eat 40 hotdogs in 30 seconds or something crazy.  Their trick of massive mystery meat consumption is to dip each of the hotdogs in water to help them slide down their gullet faster.  They focus entirely on one goal - eat meat "product" FAST.  I can only assume that they will sit down to a fancy dinner and have to consciously force themselves to not start dipping their steak in their wine and not chewing their baked potato.

Runners, myself specifically, focus entirely on one goal or another.  Go long....go fast...break a time goal...break a distance goal.  While I can have multiple distance races on the calendar, I always have "THE RACE" I'm training for.  All of my effort goes towards that one goal.  This summer it was a sub 19 5K, this winter, it will be a sub 3:20 marathon.

This means I'm in a transition period.  I'm still focusing on speed, but I need to start getting the long runs in.  Honestly, I'm going to try to do both for a while, but eventually I will make the transition.  Hopefully my body will hold up.  But, if it doesn't, at least I can switch to dunking my morning FrootLoops in water...helps them slide down the gullet.

Do you ever feel guilty about focusing on one thing or goal so much *cough cough* running that you let other priorities slip *cough cough* personal hygiene?

**Happens every time wine goes off sale

Friday, August 13, 2010

Funny Foto Friday: State Fair Time!

Mmmm, tastes like truth in advertising.  

(Catching up on blogs as I type this!!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Running While in Iowa

Turns out, much like blogging while in Iowa and pooping while in Iowa, running while in Iowa can present a few challenges.  I'm not at all used to the humidity or the intense rain delays.  Including the last time I was here 3 weeks ago, I've had 2 tornado warnings, and 3 severe thunderstorm warnings.  From what I am told, just like eating 6 energy gels in 10 minutes, running during a tornado is not as easy as it sounds.

As much as I am used to running while traveling (as in, 4x a week) for some reason this trip has been giving me fits.  Mostly due to the weather and lack of available treadmills.

Sunday: 6 miles (14 planned), 9:13 pace
Turns out, running in 92 degree heat at 11:30am with 85% humidity ("feels like" of 114) isn't a good idea.  Who knew!?  (Yeah, I'm not bright....but there is a story)

I'm a pretty dedicated runner.  When I found out that Sunday morning would be filled with church, after church socials for 60th wedding anniversary's, coffee, donuts, and visiting with the locals, I decided that my run would have to happen after all of the fun.  Seemed simple.  Little did I know that I would be running in one of the hottest days of the year.  By mile 2 I had decided that all 14 wouldn't happen and by mile 4 I decided that a run/walk strategy would be best.  Running in that kind of heat was NOT going to help improve my fitness.  Lesson learned.  Donuts win, 114 "feels like" loses.  Every.time.

Monday: 11 miles, 8:00 pace
My redemption run.  I decided that since I came up a lot of miles short on Sunday, I would turn my 5 mile recovery run into a honest to goodness long run.  As much as I wanted to make this the full 14 miles, I decided to not push it an just turn it into 11 miles.  A solid 90 min run.

I ran from my dad's farm to the town where I went to elementary school.  When running through the corn and the rolling hills, I couldn't help but notice all sorts of things that I had never noticed in the 18 years that I lived in the area.  I never realized how many dead roadkill frogs there were, how steep the hills into town were, and how SMALL the town was end to end.

Tuesday: Lightning, rain, followed by more lightning
Today, I had 7 miles of tempo goodness planned, however when I woke up all that I could hear was nonstopped thunder and all that I could see was nonstopped lightning.  Since, as long as I am taller than corn, the tallest thing around would be ME, I decided that I could use the extra rest day and take it easy.

Of course, as much as I complain about the heat, humidity, lack of non-fried food, constipation, and lack of internet....I do really enjoy my time back.  Like I posted earlier, I am always a bit sad when I leave.  This time, I am sure, will be no different.

While I have been back I've been able to do a lot of fun things including, go for a private plane ride (no Cristal Champagne....or mile high club), do some Iowa Wine tasting (didn't taste like corn!), ride my dad's Harley (no tattoos...yet), and do lots of visiting with family (did you hear who died?).

Here I am, with my brother in law, tasting some of Osceola Iowa's finest.  It was made out of a type of grape that I had never heard of before, but it didn't taste too bad.  My only compliant was that it made my teeth red/black and made me dance on tables without my pants on.  Stupid Iowa Wine.

I was at the right place at the right time to go for a private plane ride from my hometown to previously mentioned winery.  I tried to throw in as many Top Gun quotes as possible.  "Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full."  Immediately followed by renditions of the song "Great Balls of Fire".  (Note, this picture was taken by the pilot.  Eyes on the...err.....sky.  Ha!)

I-80 and Des Moines from 5,000 ft.  Seems very very small.

Monday, August 9, 2010

That Dam Skunk 8K - Race Report!

First, apologies for being behind on blogs (like 200+ blogs behind).  I've noticed that I've received a ton of new comments from new readers whose blogs I want to check out.  I'll get caught up as soon as I am sober enough for the computer to stop spinning soon.  I'm visiting family and Internet access has been a bit spotty.

On Saturday, I ran an 8K (4.98 mile) race near where my dad lives in northwest Iowa.  The Humboldt, Ia "That Dam Skunk 8K".  I couldn't make that name up if I tried.  Shelly the Fire Runner was totally right.....with my recent smelly clothes issues, I would fit RIGHT in with a race with skunk in the title.

Time: 33:45 (33:58 accd to official gun results...but I trust mine more)
Pace: 6:41
Place: 16/131
AG Place: 3/10

Since I am always one to trick people with offers of free candy to take a ride in my van get people moving, I had mentioned the race to my wife's uncle and cousin who have ran a number of races in Phoenix.  Much to my surprise, after a night of drinking that lasted through 1am (for the girl in the black), they both showed up on the starting line!  I was pretty pumped to see them.

I decided ahead of time that I'd wear my free Sony shirt and Walkman as a test run during this shorter race because I will be forced to wear them during the Rock and Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon.  They both performed great (no chaffing....music in my ears).

Since 8K is a pretty random distance, I wasn't quite sure how fast I should run it.  I knew that it would be somewhere between 5K (6:20) and 10K (est 6:50) but I wasn't quite sure where.  So, I went to the trusty McMillan Running Calculator, put in my recent 5K time of 19:42 and it spit out a 6:30 pace.  Whoa.  I honestly would never have thought of running it that fast, but since I love to put blind faith into African Princes, people selling Viagra online, and any website that uses math, I decided to shoot for pretty close to what McMillan said @ 6:35.

Here I am at the start, zoomed in to show how many REALLY young kids at the race.  Unfortunately, the race was littered like a Justin Bieber concert with high school and Junior College speeders.  In fact, one college even brought a bus load down.  I had lined up right on the line at first but nudged back a few rows once I heard a few of them talking about throwing down miles in the 5's.

I started out a little bit slower than I wanted to and, as I look at my splits, actually held a bit slower pace throughout the first 4 miles with 6:43, 6:52, 6:49, 6:48 for the first 4.  The 5th mile, I really kicked it in, clocking a 6:17 minute mile to close down the race.  Part of the reason I ran a bit slower I think is because the high school and college kids didn't really pace themselves very well.  I started passing them around mile 1.5 and didn't stop until the finish.  I'll bet I was around 25th place at one time but kept pushing and picking them off one after another.

Looking back, I am pretty sure that I could have actually ran the paces that McMillan said that I could have.  Lesson learned - always trust the Internet.  Solid advice, right?

In spite of my early fears, the race went really well.  In fact, I think that 8K/5miles may be my most favorite distance to date.  It isn't short enough to be an all out sprint like a 5K, but it isn't so long like a marathon that you are sore for weeks afterwards.

Here I am running at about the half. (Probably my most favorite running picture) Since my dad literally knows all of the gravel roads around this area like the back of his hand, during the FIVE mile race, him, my wife, and my grandpa were able to see me 4 times.

Putting on the breaks after finishing the race......after just getting passed by the kid in the T-Shirt with about 10 feet left to go.  (Totally complained about this during my latest Podcast Episode.)  Luckily, he was 18 so not in my age group.  Like I told my wife, he might have passed me at the end, but I can buy beer. So there.

Whenever I've done small (150 people or less) races (two times) four three things have always happened:
  • Watermelon was served
  • I've won Age Group awards
  • Booty short clad cheerleaders cheered me on at every mile
  • There has been a crap load of stuff given away
Check out the picture below.  I've numbered the FIVE tables worth of stuff that they gave away.  I am pretty sure that quite literally every single person received a prize.  I won a sleeve of golf balls and a notebook from a local insurance company.  My favorite prize was a 20 pound sausage that was 3' long and 4" around (that's what she said) won by a college student.  I can only hope that lots of phallic jokes were made on the bus ride back home.

Probably one of the most funny things at the race was when my wife's uncle finished.  He, of course, wasn't planning on running the race so he decided to walk the entire thing.  Well, he came in *ahem* last. (not the funny part...kudos to him for finishing)  Also, since my dad knows about everyone within a 50 mile radius, he knew the parents of the kid who won in 28 minutes.

So, behold, a  picture of the first and last finishers.

This is a picture of the dam that the dam race was named after.  Damn.

Finally, here is my age group medal. I tried to blow it up as much as possible without going to a ton of work. Luckily I didn't know before I started that the age group medals had a picture of a Skunk wearing sunglasses on them. If I did, I think I would have lied, cheated, and hitched a ride to the finish to ensure that I won one!