Monday, May 30, 2011

ARR Summer Series #1 5K Race Report!

On Saturday, my wife, I, and 1000 of our closest friends ran the first in a series of five 5K races in the Phoenix area.  The big running club in Phoenix coordinates a series of short races throughout the summer that are meant to be pretty low frills (like me!) but also cheap (also like me!) during the rather slow (me again!) summer months. They are a steal at $35 for the set and offer everything that you'd expect from a 5K - with the exception of a shirt.  Considering that I don't wear pants 50% of the time, I figure one less shirt won't do me any harm.

This summer, these races are primarily going to be fun runs for me.  I'm not going to take them too horribly seriously - partly because my wife is going to be running all of them with me and I'd rather run with her vs put myself through 18 minutes of torture.

The morning started out with a mini Phoenix area blogger meet up:

Adrianne, me, DemiSuzanne, some random hobo Jeff
I seriously need to hang out with these guys more often - look how tall I look!!!

My wife and my son killing time before the race.  My wife has a blog, my son does not

Before we knew it, it was time to strap everyone into their respective running strollers and head to the starting line.  The first race in the series is a reverse age graded start.  Sort of like a skirt chaser race but with age instead of naughty bits deciding the starting time.  So, the older people start first and the youngest of the runners are some of the last to cross the start line.  I think the goal of this type of start is to have everyone finish at approximately the same time.  The actual result: mass confusion with a chance of an elbow to the side of the head.  To give you an idea of how poorly executed this was, the jogging strollers start FIRST. That is sort of like peeing into the wind - just doesn't make sense.

Here is a picture of us running about 1/2 of the way through.  As you can see, we were getting passed by quicker runners in the dirt while sharing the running path with other runners on the left.

Poor race design aside, the race went off like a hitch.  We finished in 44:01 using a combination of running and walking.  The course is the same as my Freeze Your Thorns Off / Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K so it was very familiar.

As expected, the first mile was rather relaxing - Jeff and I were able to crack middle school level jokes and push each other into the bushes while giggling about the word fart.  However, the second and the third miles were a joke - people were zooming past us which made me nervous to make ANY sudden movements or waiver from a straight line.

Once we finished and grabbed a water, everyone scattered.  Things to do, babies to feed.  However, as I was chatting with Adrianne about her KILLER 4 min PR, a glimmer of light caught my eye - not unlike a fishing lure, nudity on TV, or blinking lights.

One of these things is not like the other.....  Sparkle sparkle!!

This episode brought to you by the number: 1980!  If you noticed the chick rocking the purple leggings, then your 80s radar is pumping out more juice than a flux capacitor.  Honestly, I wasn't able to catch her to see what her story was without looking like even more of a stalker so instead I (literally) stopped mid sentence with Adrianne and started snapping pictures.  Hilarious.  Way to show those girls in the booty shorts who is boss!

Way to own it.  Now, lace up your high tops, hop in your Delorean, crank the Cyndi Lauper, and take some notes in your trapper keeper, because the 80s will NEVER die

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Favorite Race Medals & Scape Winner

As promised, I wanted to share everyone's favorite race medals.  But I didn't think that it was fair to ask everyone else to send over their favorites without showing mine.  I've played the "Show me yours and I'll show you mine" game before.  I always end up in handcuffs lose, but it is always fun to see what I can get away with.

Since I'm a bit of a race medal dork, I've actually collected quite a few along the way (see also my "races" tab above).  Here is my main display that contains not only marathon medals, but also medals that I've received for smaller races or age group wins:

Last year, 2010, was the Year of the Rock and Roll race for me.  I ran 7 of them - 6 full marathons and 1 half  marathon. The Competitor group that organizes the races have extra medals for each race you do over the first.  So, after the first, I received another sweet medal in the mail for every additional race I did - all the way up to 7.  Here they all are.  I'm going to do a separate post about them in the very near future, but I didn't think that it would be good to not include them here.

Finally MY favorite.  It is from the 2007 Kansas City marathon, my first ever race and my first ever marathon. While I've ran faster races, and probably received flashier medals, the Kansas City marathon was amazing.  After all, you know what they always say - you never forget your first.

Grace from How I Complicated my Life Today (love the blog name) said that her favorite was from Freedom's Run Marathon in Shepherdstown WV. It was made by a local jeweler and is a stylized version of John Brown's fort, which is just one historic site on the course. It's pretty enough for a key chain.

Rose from Eat Drink and Be Meiri  not only loves the mud, but she also likes eating her most favorite medal. No word on what it felt like coming out the other end. Probably a lot like sunflower seeds.

Stephanie from It’s All Happening  was convinced that Big Sur should have made the list. Actually, so were a few commenters as well. After seeing the medal, I am not sure that I could argue.
Picture courtesy of Aron @ Runner's Rambles

Madison (Nobel4Lit) from A Case of the Runs also agreed that Big Sur should have made the list. Also, she wanted to include Chicago – whose race last year was on 10/10/10. If that isn’t the sign that the Rapture is close, then I don’t know what does. (Is the Rapture too “last week” to still joke about?)

Kim from Girl Evolving said that her favorite medal was from the Presque Isle marathon in September 2010 - it's a small marathon in Erie, PA. Beautiful, flat course (two loops around a state park peninsula) and the race medal is really unique and matched the locale.

Brian at Earn Your Donuts said that his favorites were from the Baltimore Marathon Relay (the half marathon and marathon had similar crab designs) and the Shamrock Marathon. The Shamrock marathon because: 1) It's my only marathon so far. 2) it can be used as a bottle opener and is thus the only medal I'll take with me in the event of the zombie apocalypse. Good call, Brian. You can never be too careful.  I've heard zombies don't like beer breath.

Morgan at Caution, Redhead Running isn’t running right now because of a STUPID stress fracture. But, she still said that her favorite medal was the Gasparilla Marathon medal in 2010. But alas that was also because it was the final running of it.

Laura at Live Well, Laugh Often, Run Much reminisced about snowy Canadian winters with her local Boxing Day 10 mile race which she says is a fantastic event. She also said that she has both the Ottawa and Flying Pig medals as well. However, I did have to laugh to myself at the fact that there was a Boxing Day race (something very Canadian) that was measured in miles instead of in KM. Although, I suppose a 16K isn’t quite as fun as saying that you rocked 10 miles.  Maybe?

Finally ,Christina from Lazy Bones Running was certainly the blogger’s pet when she selected not one, but TWO Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K medals – organized in part by yours truly. However, I do have to say that her other suggestion, Ragnar Las Vegas, where she received 3 medals which double as bottle openers at the finish, was probably a better choice.

Finally, the Scape Sunscreen winner.  I'm actually glad that so many people said that they do put on sunscreen before long runs because, just like Wilford Brimley says: There is just no reason not to - unless you want to look like leather.

So, even though I REALLY would have liked to pick the winner a creative way, I went 100% random.  The winner is Pritch from Running in a World of Pink!!  Pritch blogs about how he is a good role model to his wife and daughters - THREE of them!!  Winning is good timing since Pritch is a veteran (Memorial Day) bad timing because Pritch is on crutches because of a surgery to remove scar tissue.  BLEH! Shoot me an email and I'll send you over the goods!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Funny Foto Friday: Yoga Pose Quick Reference Guide

In the US, Monday is Memorial Day. The day when we generally do “American Things” like remind other countries that we’re American grill burgers, have picnics, and drink watered down beer. The day is in memory of our current and fallen veterans – something that ALL countries have in common. So, while I’m drinking beer and cannon balling into the pool (at the same time), remember your veterans.

After my Bikram adventures, Chad from Iron Chad (or, more usually his Beginner Triathlete page) sent me this easy reference guide to all of the yoga poses.  I'm thinking about printing it out and handing them out to everyone the next time I go to Bikram.  That'd make me some friends. :) Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bikram Yoga - v2

It always amazes me what we do in the name of fitness. Each morning, I get up at 5am to hit the road and run. I literally sacrifice sleep to stay in shape – and I LOVE sleep. Other more extreme examples include those chili pepper colon cleanse diets and who can forget the vibrating rubber band dealie that were ALL the rage in the 50s. Seriously, in its time, this thing was just as credible as foam rolling my calves. I can only assume that both of which are equally excruciating:

The shower caps were a nice touch though

Something tells me that Bikram Yoga is likely somewhere between strapping a rubber band to my belly while the sucker vibrates like a porno movie…….. and a chili pepper colon cleanse. But, it is supposed to be good for me, so I do it. Or, at least I have twice.

For those of you that have never had the privilege, Bikram Yoga is a lot like regular yoga where guys try to get flexible enough to pleasure themselves you bend yourself in all sorts of self centering positions. However, it is done in a 105+ F degree room with 40+% humidity for 90 minutes. Joy. I honestly wish that I was able to say that this was my first experience with Bikram Yoga – at least I could plead ignorance. Unfortunately, about 10 months ago, I went for the first time. It was hot, and I sweat enough to fill a 12 oz cup.


Never the less, on Monday RunningLaur, RioRuns, and I decided that we’d throw caution to the wind and sweat like a hooker at church. Bikram actually is sort of fun (in a masocistic sort of way) and everyone is half naked which isn’t all that bad (including the hairy dude that RunningLaur put me beside – thanks!). This year’s session was a lot better than the first. I’m not sure if it was better because the instrcutor was a bit less of a yoga form nazi or if it was because the outside temperature was 30 degrees cooler. Either way, I only felt like dying once MAYBE twice – which for Bikram is considered a WIN!

Here we are after we finished. 
 I was running late (which is why I was beside the hairy dude) so I don’t have a before picture

About half way through, I couldn’t help but notice that the towel that I had laid down on my yoga mat wasn’t getting nearly as sweaty as the first time. I was dripping sweat with each movement, but it wasn’t forming slippery pools. That is, until the yoga instructor started giving us breaks by saying “kielbasa” (or something) and letting us rolling around / lie on our mats. Those were the best parts of Bikram.

However, unlike last year, I did NOT sweat enough to wring drops to the ground. The towel was heavy to be sure, but it was like squeezing brains out of Paris Hilton’s head.

Overall, Bikram is fun, but not something that I’d want to do on a regular basis. I could tell that I was using muscles that I don’t normally use like my brain…..ZING! – but it set me back an entire day on my running plan. I was just too tired/sore to run 10 hours after. Honestly, and I think I mentioned this the first time, I REALLY think that it would be a lot more fun if it was more acceptible for me to make wise cracks during the session. I had to bite my touge SO often that I tihnk it got sore. What does everyone else think about Bikram?


Speaking of getting hot and sweaty, head over to my Scape Sunscreen giveaway! You can win 30 bucks worth of pretty sweet sunscreen!


PPS: Also, send me the pictures of your favorite race medal!  I'll include it in a post this weekend. (Is it just me, or am I getting rather demanding of my readers?)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Try it Tues: Scape Sunscreen GIVEAWAY!

Before I get into my Scape Sunscreen review (spoiler alert - it is awesome) I wanted to speak a bit about my Tempo run this morning. First, let me say, I HATE tempo runs. I am not sure what it is about them probably the pressure on my colon but I am not a fan. This morning however I NAILED my tempo run. I did 8 miles with the middle 6 at 6:47 pace.

When I was training for a half marathon, I'd do less tempo miles (3 or 4) but would do them at 10k pace. Now that I am focusing specifically on the marathon, I'll do more miles (5 or 6) but at half marathon pace. This is why I am 100% a fan of naked 5K runs training for a specific race.


After I got up this morning and ran, I flipped on the news only to hear that the UV index today was 11. ELEVEN! Now, I don't know who the hell decided that the scale of how much the sun is going to burn your eyeballs out should be from 1 to 11 instead of 1 to 10, but either, Phoenix is pegging the shit out the that scale.

Turns out, during the summer, it is hot in Phoenix.  On a scale of 1 to 6, the temperature in Phoenix generally reaches 5.5. (Look at me! I'm a scientist.)  When the UV index is that high, you have to protect your skin.  If you don't, you'll turn into either a lobster or a leather faced cowboy.  Both awesome in their own right, but not when they are staring back at you when you look into the mirror.

This guy won't regret this at ALL

Enter: Scape Sunscreen. While most sunscreens are either greasy or slimy, Scape is neither. In fact, Scape is specifically built for athletes. While some sunscreens actually trap body heat in your body, Scape is formulated to let your skin breath (while still offering SPF 50).

Probably the best thing is that since it is made for athletes, you don't have to be dry/sweat free to reapply. So you can carry some with you while on a bike ride and slap more on while you're peeing in the bushes (at least that is what I do).

When I wrote a review last year, I mentioned that I was a bit afraid of my pretty baby face and if the sunscreen would give me any zits. I am happy to report that it didn't!  Not only am I able to put it on my face, but it doesn't run into my eyes, ears, nose or mouth.  (Which is good, because while the stuff protects your body, it tastes like a combination of limes and swamp ass.  Note: Scape not for human consumption)

To prove that I actually use scape, here is a picture under my guest bathroom sink.  You can see a few things:
  • I have a bit of a germ problem since there are 4 bottles of hand sanitizer in the back
  • Pepto is still pink, and still makes me gag thinking about it
  • The yellow bottle of Scape sunscreen is right up front within close range.

Overall I like Scape Sunscreen and really try to put this on before each of my long runs over 2 hrs.  So the Scape Sunscreen gets my seal of approval. I actually did buy this stuff when my free samples ran out and will continue to buy it as long as the UV Index goes up to 11.

So, since it is the start of summer for us northern hemisphere folks (sorry readers in Australia, New Zealand, etc - I know that there are a few of you!), Scape gave me an Athlete pack (pictured above) to give away to my readers! Here's what you do to enter to win some sweet sunscreen - a $30 value!!! Comment for each entry you do. Like I say for every contest I do, I don't have those freaking ANNOYING word verification dealies, so extra comments take you about 2 seconds.
  • Follow my blog +1
  • Follow me on Twitter Here
  • Retweet this: "Check out for @TheBoringRunner Scape Sunscreen giveaway!” +1
  • Post this contest on your blog, twitter, FB, Daily Mile, fridge door (picture required), call your mom, whatever +1 for each!!
  • Answer this question: Do you ACTUALLY put on sunscreen when you are running?  You should.
It is as easy as that!! Get as many entries as you can before Saturday May 28 - just in time for Memorial Day (in the US)!
Got these for free (and so can you! Why are you reading this down here?? You're seriously wasting time when you could be entering more times. Did you call your mom??)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Top 25 Marathon Medals of 2010

There are a select few things in life that solicit immediate satisfaction. The “gentleman’s club” is pretty immediate actually Meals take a long time to cook, vacations take a long time to get to, even training doesn’t have the instant feedback of a job well done. Hell, I pay taxes and sometimes never feel like I see the results of those. I’m a man – if it is going to happen, I want it NOW!

Races are different. When you run a race (marathon, half marathon, GOOD 10Ks/5Ks), as soon as you cross the finish line you receive a medal. Satisfaction. No waiting for results, no drug testing (thank god). Just a friendly, sometimes rubber gloved, volunteer saying “congrats finisher, here is your medal. Go get a free yogurt”. Better words haven’t been spoken. False. Better words include: “Kids eat free”, “Double coupon”, “Ladies night” So, it is no wonder that races have been putting so much effort into each and every medal that they put together for their races.

As such, each year the “magazine” Marathon & Beyond (which reads more like a Reader’s Digest for runners) puts together their top 25 marathon medals. Below are the ones that make the list. I’ve called out the top 10 specifically (because I am lazy) and the others that I’ve ran. If you are interested in what the remainder look like, head over to 26.2 medals. I’ve killed MANY hours pouring over their pages of runner submitted race medals.

Send me pictures of YOUR favorite race medals. I’d love to do a post showing off everyone’s race bling (I’ll include my own)!

Also, did you run any of these races in 2010?  Agree / disagree with the Marathon and Beyond folks on what should have been included??

#1 Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon
This medal is a clam shell that opened to reveal two sides of artwork.

#2 Surf City USA Marathon
The Surf City race is always a top 25, the medal is huge coming in at nearly 6" (that's what she said)

#3 Route 66 Marathon
Seriously, whom ever decided to make a medal out of some Sprewell DUBs is a good man/woman

#4 Running for the Bay Marathon
The editors felt that the Running for the Bay medal, with it's glass insert was worth the top 10

#5 Rock and Roll Mardi Gras Marathon
Mardi Gras! One of my faves, the beads instead of ribbon and sparkles make this one awesome.

Warning though, after drinking MGD64 and running a PR, this might be what happens:

#6 Detroit Marathon
Love all of the classic Detroit references in their medal.  Cars, records..big buildings?

#7 Quebec City Marathon
The Quebec City marathon's medal actually had light up LEDs (the lights towards the bottom).  This is VERY cool - not sure why this one wasn't any higher.

#8 St George Marathon
St George always has fast times (1000s of feet of elevation drop) and very cool medals.  Last year they had hand carved stone.

#9 Hartford Marathon
Looks like something that would have came out of Harry Potter

#10 First Light Marathon

......and now the remaining 25.  I've called out some notables!

#11 Flying Pig Marathon

#12 Air Force Marathon

#13 Ottawa Marathon

#14 North Olympic Discovery Marathon

#15 Napa Valley Marathon

#16 Wineglass Marathon
An actual glass medal!  I think the over/under on me breaking it would be 30 minutes.

#17 Portland Marathon

#18 Little Rock Marathon

#19 Newport Marathon

#20 Mother Road Marathon

#21 Lost Dutchman Marathon
While not particularly noteworthy when I ran the race in 2011, the editors still felt that this Arizona race deserved mention.

#22 Mississippi Blues Marathon

#23 Colorado Marathon

#24 Rock and Roll San Diego Marathon
I liked the San Diego medal when I ran it in 2010.  The runner dude was a bit cheesy for my style, but the sparkles in the ocean mostly made up for it.

#25 Tupelo Marathon

Friday, May 20, 2011

Funny Foto Friday: Bear Grylls - Beer or Piss?

There is a “reality” show in the United States (and maybe abroad?) called “Man vs Wild” that features a lovely chap named “Bear Grylls”. Seriously. That is his name. I’ve been told that he is pretty easy on the eyes by both female AND male friends. I gotta think that even a drunk hobo could get chicks with a name like Bear Grylls. It just sounds manly. But I digress…..

To say that Bear has a flair for the dramatic is a bit of an understatement. He is essentially the Marcia Brady of reality TV. Always clamoring for attention by doing outlandish things like sleeping with the high school football team. The show plunks him down in all sorts of random deserted places (desert, rain forest, arctic tundra, etc) and he proceeds to fight his way back to civilization – sort of (a bit of controversy about how "real" it actually is).

Because of which, he has gained a bit of a reputation for, shall we say, hydrating in strange ways. Happy Friday!