Friday, February 25, 2011

Funny Foto Friday: Bad Race Photos / Getting Chicked

I like to think of myself as a pretty cosmopolitan guy wanting to touch in touch with my feminine side. I wear pink shirts, get my eyebrows waxed, and I have even been known to watch The Real Housewives of Orange County. However, as I was browsing through my Lost Dutchman Half Marathon race photos, I couldn’t help but notice that there was a disturbing trend: The photographer kept either taking pictures of me getting chicked by a little girl or looking like I was going to die!!!!

The term “getting chicked” refers to a guy getting beat buy a female. I know that quite a few females who despise the term, but as everyone knows, men have very fragile egos and therefore came up with the term as a way to classify their frustration. Personally, I could care less who beats me – unless they are in my age group – then I’ll trip, bite and pull hair to get ahead.

Here is how my race day went - in pictures. Happy Friday!

The race itself started out pretty good - Rock fist!!
However, if you look close, you'll see the #1 female getting ready to hand me a beat down.  Chicked.

But then, something went horribly wrong.  Enter, my nemesis.  I'm not even sure WHEN the pictures were taken.  Mile 3? Mile 10? Who knows.  Either way, apparently the little 2 mile/8K/10K runner below was kicking some middle aged white guy ass.  Probably while thinking about Justin Bieber or if after the race she was going to have a tea party or hoola-hoop.

Really photographer?  You thought I needed THIS many pictures???  Thanks....jerk.

She even had better form than I did.  Check out my horrible heel strike.  Chris K is cringing at even the sight of me pounding the pavement like this:

Me: Horrible heel strike, grimace, pasty white legs.

Her: Midfoot strike, quick steps, not even phased by my grunting and taunting

If you thought that would be enough embarrassing for one race, ohhh no.  There were many many other pictures that showed me either getting beat down or looking like I was trying to pass a corn cob out of my nether regions.

Trying my best to catch up.  No luck.

 ARGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Of course, 90% of this post was in jest. As everyone knows..... I love the ladies.  The other 10% that wasn't in jest?  I mean COME ON - do I really need that many pictures of me looking like I am racing a little girl?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

As if I need another hobby

Even congressmen like photography!
First, I was able to get out and get in 5 miles (7:50 pace) with no stiffness or soreness (That's what she said) this morning. I think that the extra day of rest after my race this weekend did a body good and put me on the right track towards recovery. I'll probably rest again tomorrow and then run 12 or so this weekend.  After that?  Full blown marathon training!!  

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Some people have said that running (or certainly triathlete'ing) is like having a part time job.  You have to make time for the actual running, but then there is the getting dressed (usually), stretching, pooping before the run, stretching after the run, foam rolling, and then pooping again after the run.  It is enough to make a guy weigh 5 pounds less tired just thinking about it!  I'd say that I put in a pretty solid 8 to 10 hours of "running related activities" each week.

But, even though I'm busy with a running hobby/lifestyle, every so often I can't help but have random thoughts of hobbies I'd like to start OTHER than running.  They vary by what color my mood ring is, but generally they bounce between taking showers more than once a week brewing my own home made beer and spending time with my family getting into photography.

A week or so back, my bother in law came by with his wicked-awesome new SLR digital camera. I think that it must have fueled my desired to get into it even more.  I dream of adult photoshoots taking pictures of flowers and my happy family. His camera looked like one of those that you see on the side of football games or what I imagine are at "magazine" photoshoots:

Not my bother.....or anyone he knows.....but I had to make up for that dude in the post below

He took a bunch of random pictures - all of which turned out great (even of me!!).  Here are a few examples:

My wife doing dishes.  Looks like it could be in the JC Pennies catalog

My son eating with his grandpa.  Hallmark card quality

Well, maybe the camera didn't make EVERYONE look good

Usually, it only takes a few late nights of getting caught up with everything to snap me out of my delusion and snap me back to reality.  But, just like I say to people when they start out running and don't think they have time: I suppose if I really wanted to do it all, I would MAKE time.  So, I must not want it bad enough - yet.  Anyone else have hobbies that you'd like to take up if you had the time?  Better yet, help me find some time and I'll let you drink my home made beer!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The hills are alive

With the sound of my quads screaming........

Apologies for the mental image of me in a denim dress spinning wistfully on a German hilltop. Truth is, I’m not sure I could spin even if a Tony Award depending on it. ( Actually, I totally could – and I would nail-it!!!!) After my half marathon this past weekend, my quads, arms(???), and core, are TRASHED. Here is a 100% anatomically correct depiction of where I am sore:
Like looking into a mirror
(At least in my head)

You see, Phoenix is flatter than a middle aged white guy’s ass. There are NO hills along the normal roads in town so doing any sort of hill work requires a 30 minute drive to anything not resembling Jeff Foxworthy’s backside. But, in spite of my lack of training, the race that I ran this weekend had a few pretty decently sized hills that I charged up and down. I was able to get them done, but when I finished my quads were on the verge of cramps for the rest of the race. Quite simply – I need to do more hill work.

Another issue is that I recover pretty slowly from races. So, what that means is that I took off Monday, ran 4 slooow miles Tuesday, and took off today as a precaution. I don’t want to hurt myself but at the same time I want to be able to eat whatever I want and keep my girlish figure……so, I need to get back on the road.

I’m thinking that I’ll get back on the road tomorrow with an hour or so slow and see how I do. And for my next major race, I’ll certainly work to get in more hill time BEFORE the race – not during.

Do you recover well from races faster than Charlie Sheen sobers up?  Or are you like me and need a few more days that normal to step back up to the plate?  I really don't think that I'm doing anything horribly wrong, but probably also need to reevaluate what I am doing after races to put myself on the right foot.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lost Dutchman 1/2 Marathon Race Report!

Trying to absorb oxygen with my tongue @ Finish
I've ran more marathons than any other race distance.  I've ran 11 marathons, eight 5Ks, and two 10Ks.....and only 1 half marathon - as a training run.  Today, I raced my first half marathon, with awesome results.

Time: 89:17 (1:29:17 - but doesn't 89:17 sound faster?)
Pace: 6:49
Place: 16/1069 (Top 1.5%!)
AG Place: 3/28

Since the birth of my son in early December, I've talked about poop more than I thought humanly possible pulled back my running slightly.  I've been running approximately 35 miles a week with two speed days and long runs maxing out at 18 miles.  You can finish a marathon with this running (and I have), but honestly it was probably half marathon training.  Fortunately, the only race that I had locked down after my virtual race was just that - the Lost Dutchman Half Marathon.

The Lost Dutchman marathon has received a bit of notoriety over the last few years.  In between articles about 6 pack abs and meals with ingredients I've never heard of,  Runners World has consistently rated it as one of the top 10 small marathons in the United States.  One of the key reasons is that runners are greeted with old men walking their dogs in slippers and RVs as far as the eye can see cactus, dirt roads, and beautiful mountain views.

I honestly had a "Race Preview" post half typed up but I didn't get it out in time.  In summary, my strategy was to run the first half at a 6:45 pace and the second half at anything under 7 pace.  My time goals were as follows:
A Goal: Sub 1:30
B Goal: Sub 7:00 pace (1:31:42)
C Goal: Set a new PR at 1:39

The night before the race I colon loaded with home made lasagna and took to twitter asking about race shoes.  I was going back and forth in my head on wearing my Brooks Green Silence racing flats or my normal Brooks Adrenaline stability shoes. Most people agreed that the stability were the best bet - so I celebrated my decision making decisiveness with a bit of Iowa distilled whiskey on the rocks.

Mmm, carbo loading with small batch Rye whiskey

The morning of the race, I got ready and got out the door as fast as I could before the baby woke up.  BUT, remember that colon loading with the lasagna? Well, not only did I goto the bathroom at home, but I also sampled the facilities at the race.  Fortunately, that didn't dampen my spirit!

My excitement was almost uncontainable
I think two drops of pee came out


Miles 1-3: Was that the gun? Shit, yep, run! In spite of the starters gun going off a few seconds late, the race started without a hitch.  I fell into 15th or so place and started cranking out my 6:45/pace miles.  However, instead of 6:45, they were closer to 6:30.  Fortunately, someone put a huge hill around mile 2 to slow me down......

Miles 3-6.5: Who the hell put THIS here!?  These miles were TOUGH - tougher than pooping after a cheese tasting.  Possibly the toughest of the race.  There was a massive hill around mile 5.5 that sucked the life out of me.  I saw my pace go from 6:38 to 7:15 in a hurry.  In fact, at the turn around which was the crest of the biggest hill, I took a 5-10 second walk break.  So, the people who say that walking in a race makes you not a racer, can kiss my sub 1:30 ass.

Miles 6.5-11: What goes up, must come down.  Fortunately, the race was an out and back so I was immediately greeted by a full mile downhill.  I used the time to lower my heart rate, dissect the Wisconsin budget issues and the merits of organized labor, and regain time lost while going UP that stupid, life sucking hill.

Miles 11-13.1: Outta the way!  The last few miles were mostly filled with mental calculations of split times and weaving in and out of the 10K, 8K, and 2 mile runners.  Fortunately, neither slowed me down too much. For some reason as I was weaving through increasingly slower runners I got to thinking about how for a 10K runner, having 2 miles left is a TON.  But, mental tangents aside, I was able to sprint the last quarter mile or so and ensure that I had my A goal - sub 1:30 half marathon.

After I finished, I staggered around like a drunk monkey and tried to catch my breath.  I got some water and some muscle milk.  I waited around near the finish hoping to see a few twitter buddies, but it started to rain and I had to get back to my car for warm clothes.

As I was walking to the car, I noticed that the race had huge flat screen TVs set up with live race results.  To my surprise, I found out that I had won an age group award!  Unfortunately, once I got into the car, I looked online and found that the awards weren't for another 2 hours, 15 minutes.  I needed to get back home, so I'll have to keep everyone posted on my prize!

Overall, I had a really good time at this race.  It was fun to finally see the results of the hard work that I've been putting in.  Furthermore, I'll admit that it got me thinking on how this race time would extrapolate to the full marathon distance.  Boston rule changes be damned, I may have to give them a run for my money!

Race medal - sparkle sparkle money pot (my nickname in high school)

Finally, since I wasn't able to stay around for my age group award, I though that I would let you use your imagination as to what it could be.  I'm hoping for a trophy with a little runner dude on it, but honestly I'm ok with a slip of paper saying "good job".

A mystery award everyone would love.  D in a box

CSN Winner!

And the winner is............. Nobel4Lit at the blog "A Case of the Runs" (which is a GREAT blog name).  Shoot me an email and I"ll get you the winner code!  If you didn't win, I've heard that a blogger buddy may be having a giveaway soon as well.  I'll keep you posted!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Funny Foto Friday: iPhone Auto-correct

There is still time to enter the giveaway!  Go here to enter for basically free money.  I've been burying money in my back yard to sprout a money tree, but all that grows are weeds and trees that shed Melissa Etheridge albums.....as if I hadn't wasted enough money on those.

This past weekend, I finally joined the 21st century and got an iPhone.  I’m actually a bit of a gadget guy, but for some reason I was still carrying around a 2006 version of the Treo smart phone. It was as heavy as a brick, and made my pants pocket look like I just saw Jessica Simpson naked, but it still made phone calls so I was just fine:
The old phone is totally jealous

However, with new found technology, comes new found problems. Enter: Auto-correct. For those of you still living in 2005 like me (bring back Kelly Clarkson!) auto-correct is when the iPhone completes a word that it THINKS you are typing. Both my wife and I have had our run ins with it (turns out we were having tator-tits last night instead of tator-tots……sounds great to me!) but the examples below really take the cake. Happy Friday!

Doesn't everyone ride one of those?

Obviously, someone is going to be sad at Christmas

Ha - the silence was deafening

Ditto

What does the iPhone have against Disneyland!?

If that is an app that I can buy, I'll take 4 please

.....no comment....

I KNEW there was a reason that place was so busy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Intervals: Boston Marathon, Egypt, and Oreos

Things that are top of mind other than sex at this very moment…

Thanks to everyone who entered my CSN gift card contest! If you haven’t entered I will be hiding under your bed until you enter enter by going here! There are quite a few ways to enter. I’m honestly pretty slack on creative entries. Tricia seems to have maximized her entries by saying my wife was attractive while Chris K said that she was too attractive for me. (He's right) Don’t MAKE me post another picture of me without a shirt on….

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Boston, Boston, Boston. What did you do!? The Boston Athletic Association changed the criteria and sign up procedures for the Boston Marathon. They’re going to lower the requirements across the board by 5:59 and implement a phased sign up based on how much you beat your qualifying time. (Beat it by 20 mins? Sign up a week early) As an aspiring qualifier, this was soul crushing news. Where are the analytics? It seemed a bit too arbitrary for me. Almost like the difference between men and women’s times – which the BAA even admits was arbitrarily decided at 30 minutes.

That said, I fully admit that the words above are someone who DOES desire to run Boston. But, cest la vie. I’m hoping that moving it from a 3:10 to a 3:05 (for me) will be similar to the mental barrier around 4 min mile. Scientists said that it couldn’t be done, but shortly after it was done dozens of people did it within a few months. Did a lot of people suddenly get faster? Nope, they just saw 4:00 as the goal/barrier. What would have happened if 3:50 was their goal?

So, until September (when the sign up for 2012 is), I’m going to continue with my current Boston marathon graphic:

But, after that, I’ve created a new one:


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What the hell were Egyptian police thinking rolling tanks into the square with all of those protestors? What is the option with those? Blow a hole in the side of a building or run someone over? Both seem like they would calm a SUPER excited mob, right? Riiiighhhht.

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Finally, to leave on a high note, the Oreo cookie company’s Facebook page recently tried to break a world record by getting the most “likes” on a post they made on their wall. They did!! 118,000 likes was enough to break the world record. That is, until the rapper Lil Wayne heard about it and had his fans “like” one of his posts. Sorry Oreo, you should have known that 5 year old fans of dunking cookies were no match against tween rap fans. His post received nearly 5 times more “likes”. Better stick to those horribly suggestive “Double Stuff Racing League” commercials.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CSN $50 Giveaway & Valentine's Day

My Valentine (taken by my bro-in-law)
Things have been busy around the boring household. You can use a number of measuring sticks for a lot of things: Shoe size for……..sock size, hand size for….….glove size, but for me the gauge of how busy I am is most easily calculated by how long I am in the shower the frequency of blog posts. I’ve been busy because this weekend was what I affectionately call the “weekend of the wife”. I have the honor, nay the joy of having my wife’s birthday in very close proximity to Valentine’s day. It is kind of like the chicken pox that way – good to have it out of the way early.

So, we did the normal dinner / night out along with gifts, etc. I actually like to do it right on her birthday and Valentine’s Day so we had a good time. We went to a very nice seafood restaurant and EVEN had a babysitter. Amazing. Unfortunately though, I found out that dinner didn’t sit in my stomach too well around mile 2 of my tempo run Tuesday morning. I ran/walk like I had an impending load in my pants the rest of the way back to the house. Not exactly a good “tempo” run – but I think I got bonus glute cross training points.

Do you “like” the Valentine’s Day holiday? Or, do you rise up burning bra / jock strap and Hallmark card in hand screaming “This is a made up holiday! It is only used to make single people feel shitty sell holiday cards!”

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To make amends for my lack of posts, I’m having a giveaway! But, not just any giveaway. This one will be cold-hard-CASH.…in gift card form. (Who carries cash now anyway?)

CSN Stores has contacted me once more about an awesome giveaway. Never heard of CSN? Well, they have just about anything you could ever want from over 200 stores. It is like shopping that you can not only do in your underwear, you don’t even have to do a ton of Google searches trying to find the right store. Laziness to the extreme! They have everything from cookware, bookcases, swing sets, and tons of other things. Quite literally they even have the kitchen sink. I have a blogger buddy who bought a COUCH from them. A real live 3 person piece of furniture.

One lucky (US or Canadian) person will win a $50 gift certificate to any CSN Store to purchase anything you'd like! Easy-peasy. All you have to do is drop a few comments below. I don’t have those STUPID word verification deals on it so it takes like 10 seconds each. I’ll draw the winner Saturday morning so get as many entries in as you can before then. Leave a comment for each you do.

  • Follow my blog
  • Retweet this: "Check out www.TheBoringRunner.com for @TheBoringRunner CSN stores $50 gift card GIVEAWAY!!"
  • Check out a few of CSN’s stores and let me know what you are going to buy. I REALLY would like a new gym bag
  • Post this contest on your blog, FB, whatever
  • What is your favorite/least favorite part about Valentine's Day? (I hate how hard it is to find reservations.)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Going Through the Motions

After 30 minutes of coffee drinking, an hour of baby playing, and 15 minutes of 'special personal time' getting ready, I ran my long run of 16 miles this morning.  It was actually a solid run.  No pain, no cramping, no poop.  WIN!  That is all it really takes for me to consider it a successful run.

Over the years that I've been running, my criteria of a successful run has changed slightly.  It has slowly gone from "don't die, just get in the miles" to "don't poop your pants and run on pace.....and don't die".  By that criteria, today's run went great!  However, I can't help but feel that I'm just sort of going through the motions - my own personal Groundhog Day.

What do I do when I am bored with my running?  I point myself to the closest straight road and run on it until it is time to turn around.   Check out the Garmin picture below. That is from todays run - 8 miles of straight line running in each direction.

To be clear, I'm not mailing in my runs.  The 16 miles this morning were still right on pace at 7:45/mile and I cranked out 12x400 at 5:27 on Friday.  I'm just feeling a bit uninspired. Fortunately, I'm just like any other guy - I just need to sleep on it and everything will be fine.  Because, even though I'm feeling a bit blah, there is an easy enough cure for that!  Google pictures of Kara Goucher in shortie shorts Sign up for some marathons!

I've decided that I'm going to at LEAST run the Oklahoma City Marathon, the Marathon to Marathon (30 miles from where I grew up), and the Rock and Roll Savannah marathon. (and possibly the Twin Cities Marathon)  Let me know if you're going to be running any of them. We'll hang out!  I promise that I won't poop my pants in front of you......but no promises that I won't constantly mutter "thats what she said" under my breath the entire time.

Anyone else feeling like they can't wait for spring race season to start?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Funny Foto Friday: TSA Follies

While my knees have been a bit sore (due large in part to sitting on the toilet for 5 min during my Sunday long run), my runs have been pretty solid lately. Tuesday 7 mile tempo, Wednesday 7 mile marathon pace run, and this morning was a 7.5 mile track session with 12x400 at 5:30ish pace. Tomorrow will bring an 18 mile long run, and then I’ll pull it back to get ready for the Lost Dutchman Half Marathon. 89 minutes or poop my pants bust.

The TSA (which is the American airport security force) is the butt of a lot of jokes as well as dirty looks from old guys with $4.55 in nickels clanking in their pockets. Normally the people that we see in the airports, wearing royal blue shirts with black pants that look like they were spray painted on, are just doing their jobs trying to protect travelers from nut-jobs with a grudge.

A few months back, the rules changed and the TSA was given authority to do full body cavity searches (or something like that – I’m not sure on the specifics). Either way, a few people got really bent out of shape about what turned out to be pretty minor changes. I was flying every week at that time and they were NOT a big deal. In fact, one person got so cranky that they invented a shirt that was printed with dye that glowed under xray. While their application of it was quite boring, I gotta think that I could have some fun with it. Happy Friday!


Honestly, I'd forget the legal words and just make it so that it looked like I had horse sized genitalia
(click to enlarge)

Be honest, if you worked for the TSA, you'd keep a list like this too:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Try it Tuesday: GU Brew Electrolyte Tabs

I’m very deliberate with my training. Any changes that I make are fast like a bikini wax very slow to be incorporated into my overall plan. So, even though GU sent me a super secret package a few weeks back, it might make sense that I haven’t posted about it now.

In the middle of January, a number of bloggers (I know of Frayed Laces, Iron Brandon, SUAR, Steve in a Speedo, and Endurance isn't only Physical...to name a few) were each sent 1 of 26 packages of GU's new electrolyte tablets.  Both the packaging as well as the letter attached, were a bit ominous, were kind of cool in a super secret James Bond kind of a way.

Photo courtesy of Tricia because I couldn't find mine

GU’s electrolyte tablets are similar to some of the other electrolyte tablets that you’ve seen on the market (Nuun, Camelback, etc) with a few key differences.  First, GU’s are all natural.  They don’t have any aspartame (that I’m pretty sure shrink your nads) or Sodium Benzoate (which I know I’ve sure been trying to cut back on).  They have plenty of sodium and potassium while still only having 8 calories.  Quite honestly, when you only have 8 calories, you might as well say zero – I think I burn more than 8 calories scratching myself.

I’ve tried them on runs and loved how they made my water taste (I have the Peach-Tea flavor), I’ve tried them in my water bottle at work and REALLY love how they make me drink more water.  However, up until this weekend, there was one way that I had NOT tried them.  In beer.

You see, while I tried Nuun with wine (blog post here), I thought that the Peach-Tea flavor of the GU Tabs would go best with beer.  A method to my drunkenness madness.  So, after I had already tried about 2/3 of the canister of Gu Tabs, I got all set up for my little experiment:

The tools of my trade.  Beer and GU.  Do you need anything else?

To my surprise, when I put the GU Tab into the beer, it foamed over like it had been in a girls bookbag at a Justin Bieber concert.  Fortunately, I was not only quick on the mouth suck, but I was also quick on the camera to capture the special moment in time.
Look at the focus in my eyes!

Foam is now under control

Overall, I have to admit – the beer and GU Tabs wasn’t all that bad!  It honestly made the Bud Light taste a little like a wheat beer…..  a peachy wheat beer.




Thumbs up for mixing two of my favorite things
Sitting on my ass and drinking beer  Endurance and beer!



The pros and cons to this one were very similar to the “other” zero calorie electrolyte tabs that you’ve seen before (and that I posted about before). But, for redundancy sake:

Pros
  • Zero calories. (or close enough to zero) You don’t have to worry about the drink adding to your waistline like you do with delicious beer
  • Similar flavors to GU. If you like the flavors of GU, you will like the GU Electrolyte Tabs. The peach-tea was very good – goldilocks style. Not too strong, not too weak, but just right.
Cons
  • Zero calories. Since there are no carbs in your drink, you'll have to get calories from GU or some other source like….delicious beer
  • Similar to the Nuun, the effervescence of the tabs does create some pressure in your water bottle if you throw them in there last minute and seal it tight.

That said, the GU Electrolyte tabs get my seal of approval. I’m not 100% sure that they are better or worse than Nuun, but I know that certain brands are better with some stomachs than others – and if you like the GU flavors, then you’ll love these!!


FCC Crap: I got this for free, blah blah, didn't get paid for my review, blah blah, why are you reading this, anyway?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Superbowl Sunday = No run Monday

Do you see those six bottles of beer to the left? Unfortunately, I drank 4 of them last night and didn't feel up to running this morning.  When did I become such a lightweight!?  Oyy.  I think that some of it had to do with the beers being not Bud Light - these packed a punch!  But, not to worry, I've got 7 miles on the schedule tomorrow with 5 at tempo.

Just like most guys, I have lots of habits and am big on traditions.  I run the same routes in the morning, I like to bat left handed, I make the fog-horn sound when I go #2, and over the past few years (this will be my 4th) I drink black and tans during the Super Bowl.  (Side note - do people up north in Canada or overseas watch the Super Bowl?  I know that it has a large audience, but it can't be broadcast everywhere, right?)

A black and tan is a beer that is Lager or IPA on the bottom (tan) and a stout on the top (black).  Two years ago, 3D was all the rage and I still lived in Kansas City.  Last year, I was in Phoenix and hung out at my new place in Phoenix.  Both times I posted about the super bowl and my beer of choice.  Why should this year be any different!?

The first time I tried to float the stout on the top, it didn't work and just mixed together.  Luckily, it still tasted delicious.


Finally - Success!


Other than the beer, the football was great, the halftime show was sucky, and the commercials were just so-so.  But, here were my two favorite commercials - one of them is even sort of running related! Score!  Which ones were your favorites?