Monday, July 30, 2012

Sweat Your Thorns Off Giveaway PRIZES!

I'm back!  You can bet your buckaroos when I go on a blogging hiatus for more than 3-4 days it is because of something very very important those orange booty shorts at Hooters went on sale life, work, blah, blah, ran out of toliet paper, OLYMPICS! The good news is that I am still running - and you'll get a boring post all about that soon enough.  But first.....

Don't forget that the Virtual Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K is this weekend!  Run 3.1 miles as part of another run or all on it's own and you're in! I'll post a custom bib for you to print off on Thursday and any/all details then. Sign up on the original post here and be entered to win some wicked awesome prizes.  You don't have to run to win.

Prize number one!!! A free pair of shoes from!  Running shoes? Yep! Granola cruncher shoes? Yep! Jellies? Yep! (Do people still wear those?)  I'm buying them myself with a coupon, so I'm going to restrict it to $100 bucks.  No Jimmy Choo here, thank you very much.  But, I'll ship them to Tasmania if you want me to (thank you Olympic ceremonies for reminding me of that place!)

Prize number two - SALT!  More specifically, deliciously flavored electrolytes in the form of a 4 pack of Nuun and a Nuun water bottle!  I actually don't drink Nuun while running, but do ALL the time afterwards.  Mmmm, taste the rainbow.

Prize number three - a Clean Bottle with iPhone "runner" attachment!  I did a review for it a while back and I LOVE it.  Seriously, I've put literally hundreds of miles on mine (and am sort of bummed that you're getting one and not me....this one might get "lost in the mail". Kidding!!  Sort of).

Prize number 4 - Rock Tape! Rocktape, Rock Sauce, Phast Legs. I've honestly never tried it, (sounds like I will - let the body hair shaving begin) but not only is it meant for injury prevention, but also recovery.  Sign me up!

Prize number 5 - 110% Compression sleeves or socks!  When I posted that I was giving a pair of these away on twitter people went BONKERS about how awesome they are.  That has to be good, right? BONKERS!

Finally, Prize number 6 - Infinit Napalm (A gel for your fuel belt for long runs and races.) Brilliant!

So seriously, if you're wanting in on a chance for some of the loot - go sign up!  You don't have to run to have a shot at the prizes.....but come on.... running is fun!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Good runs and Nuun All Day Review!

After my failed 50k this past weekend, I was not in a good mental running place.  I moped around for the rest of the day like a middle school kid who didn’t get asked to the sweet heart dance.  Looking back, it was totally cramps and not a “real” injury which means that I probably could have pushed through the pain.  The reason I am almost certain?  Because I’ve since had 2 pretty stellar runs.

Yesterday was a 10 mile run with 4 miles of tempo at 6:25/mile.  It was hotter than the hubs of hades, but I got the miles in.  One thing that I found was that I had a really hard time keeping the tempo miles at the pace that I wanted to.  I was either way too fast around 6:15 or was hovering around 7:00.  The result was that I felt MUCH more tired than I should have at the end.  Maintaining a consistent pace is important.  It is the same exact thing as how I feel gassed after an interval session vs just plowing through some miles at the same overall pace.

Today was a 12 mile run (13.1 miles cut short because of time) that was 6 miles easy, 6 miles marathon pace of 6:50.  It actually turned into a progression run with the first mile starting at 7:20 and each mile getting faster and faster until I was running 6:30. Opps.  All told I ended up with a 7:01 average overall.  Not too shabby and only mild hip discomfort.


Here is the deal.  Day in and day out, I’m thinking of one thing and one thing only - Booty Shorts.  Running.  The fact of the matter is I’m only looking at booty shorts running for 8 or 9 hours per week – tops. The rest of the time I’m pooping, working, watching trashy reality TV, making sure my son doesn’t kill himself with scissors (seriously, HOW does he reach those?!), and blogging about running while I should be working.  While I’d like to think I work up a killer sweat pooping chasing after my son, more often than not it just makes me thirsty.  So, while I am running and some time thereafter, I do need extra sodium/potassium/unicorn powder/etc. But, when I am watching reality TV, all that I need is something that doesn’t taste as bland as Snookie’s personality.  Enter Nuun.

Nuun realized that we’re not running ALL the time but still needed something that tasted good during the periods between workouts.  Nuun All Day!

Nuun all day is similar to regular Nuun in that it comes in the sweet effervescent tabs and the easy to tote around tube.  How it differs is that it is less about replenishing electrolytes (even though it does that a little bit) but is more about flavoring water so that it doesn’t taste boring and getting a few extra vitamins at the same time.  Maybe like....17 vitamins.  Say them with me!!  I created a song to the tune of Devo’s Whip it.  “When a problem comes along....Vitamin A!! When a problem comes along... Vitamin C! Vitamin D! Vitamin E, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Manganese, Chromium, Sodium, Potassium.”  Yes, my song has a lot of verses. The tabs are 100% natural, have no sugar, and have only 8 calories.  (It took more than 8 calories to type that.)

Over the last few weeks, I’ve drank two full tubes of the stuff – Grape Raspberry and Blueberry Pomegranate. I really like how it is easy to flavor boring water with a few little tubes that fit easily into my bag.  Honestly, I’ve never worried about getting “too much” sodium or anything so had been drinking the ‘full strength’ stuff before.  But, I could see how All Day would be a good replacement for someone who just wanted a bit more Selenium.  You can’t have too much of that stuff. 

All day is work... 
(Ignore the pop tarts and the Lean Cuisine... if you want to win, you gotta fuel like a winner)

All day is dinner at home....

All day is sitting around the house doing some coaching
(creepy, yes that is my hand on the cup, but it is upside down)

All day is giving in when your son whines that he wants some
(checked the ingredients, it's fine - no worse than the "go-gurt" he eats)
(and yes... I like my old Jimmy John's cups)

Unfortunately, to everyone’s disappointment I’m sure, I did not try to mix it with beer or wine like I’ve done in the past.  I assumed that some sort of Nuun After Hours beverage cocktail is almost certainly in the works so I didn’t want to tarnish the daytime perception.  Mixing something with “day” in the title with booze would sort of be like those people who say “you can’t drink all day unless you start in the morning” or “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!”.  Wait, I guess I say both of those things!!!  That’s it, I’m totally boozing it up when I get home!

Monday, July 23, 2012

My 50k attempt – DNF

We all know people who do that thing that literary muckity mucks call “burying the lead”.  They’ll go on and on while telling a story, never really getting to the “point” of it. Usually, by the time they do, you’ve already started to look around the room and sort people into the “yep, I’d have sex with him” and “yep, I can kick his ass” categories.  (Or, am I the only one who does that?  Wait, who am I kidding? Everyone always ends up on only one of the lists.)  Well, let me cut to the chase.  On Saturday I set out to run 31 miles.  I ran 22. 

With anything that has never been done before, success or failure can rarely be pinpointed to one thing or another. Usually it is a series of unfortunate events that are set into motion days or weeks before that are to “blame”.  For me, my running has been a bit ‘off’ for weeks now.  It would be easy to bitch about the heat and humidity, but if I am being honest with myself it was the god damn unrelenting soul sucking heat I think that was only part of the issue.  Honestly I’ve been in one of those funks that doesn’t completely take you out of the game, it just takes the edge off.  In a sport of seconds, the edge is all I needed to feel like I wasn’t myself.

But, in spite of feeling off, I set out to run a mile for every year of my life thus far.  Because it was something that I had never done before, I actually did a fair amount of planning for this run. I froze bags of water and used them as a poor man’s fridge to keep spare water bottles cool, I made sure that I was fully hydrated the day before, and I lubed up every.single. part of my body.  Man, I was ready.

Ice bags? Check.  Bottle of wine? Check. Crock Pot recipes? Check.

I started out on my 4 mile loop course nice and steady around a 7:30 pace.  It instantly felt hot but more importantly humid.  Either way, I was bound to get the miles in – not running all of them had never crossed my mind.  I had planned on starting out with my 40oz water belt, run the first 15 miles or so, and then start refilling it as necessary from my nice and cool water bottles that I had stashed on a corner.  The logistics totally worked out!  I was looping around and had access to water essentially whenever I wanted it. (Or so I thought)

You spin me right round baby right round..... like a record baby

Around the 10 mile mark or so my shoe came untied and as I bent down to tie it I realized that the reason it came untied was because my shoes were SOAKED with sweat.  Not the normal “oh wow, that is a little damp” kind, but instead the “eww, this little piggy went to the swimming pool” feeling.  I was able to shrug it off and continued to plug away along my 7:30ish pace – my feet squishing with every step. Some of the miles were a bit faster, others a bit slower but overall all systems were a go.  That is, until I refilled my bottles at mile 17.

This seemed like such a good idea at 3:50 in the morning...

At mile 17 when I refilled my bottles, I had this intense thirst that caused me to chug 30oz faster than if it were in a funnel at a frat party.  I’m sure I needed the water, but a little bit of restraint / gradual consumption was probably warranted (actually, that is probably good advice regardless of what I am drinking).  The next mile was a strange feeling of a horribly sloshy stomach while still being thirsty.  It is sort of the feeling that you get when you’ve already ate Thanksgiving dinner and had a full bottle of wine but your body just yearns for another glass of glorious delicious wine.  So, I had a tire that was leaking air for sure, but the wheels hadn’t completely fell off.

Ah, but at mile 20, the wheels fell off in the form of hip cramps.  I have been battling a bit of hip tightness for a few weeks now.  Nothing that even garnered a mention on this blog, but it was certainly there.  Ah, but at mile 20, it decided to squeeze tight like a retired woman to a 90s era Beanie Baby and stop me in my tracks. Literally.  At mile 20 of my 31.07 mile run, I stood in the middle of the sidewalk wincing in pain, stupid garmin watch running all the while.  I tried to stretch it out, but honestly I didn’t get down on the ground to stretch it out like I SHOULD have so it never really went away.

Long story much longer, I hip hop and limped the next 2 miles in 10 minutes and 13 minutes respectively and then called it. I was done.  BLEH.

"Lubed every part of my body" my ass..... battle scars abound

As I look back, I think that I could have done a few things differently that could have helped.  First, including during the run and the hours after, I drank 200oz of water w/out peeing.  While not good, I think that some additional electrolytes would have helped avoid the sloshy feeling and help my body actually “use” some of the water that I was ingesting.  The heat played a huge role as well, but I’m not comfortable blaming it on that.  Fact is, I just didn’t have it in me this time.  If it would have been a race and I would have had money on the line in the form of a race fee, I would have finished.  I have no doubt. But, I didn’t feel the need to risk hurting myself on a training run that I made extra long.

But, as much as I know that I made the right choice, as I moped around the house after the run, I really wish I would have finished.  My son did too as we were hanging out and I was hydrating.  Can’t you just tell by the disappointed look on his face?

You did what today?  Whatever, turn on Mickey Mouse

So, what now?  I’m still 31, it is still hot out, and I still haven’t ran 31 miles.  Unfortunately for my sanity, I’m not one to let unfinished business lie for very long and have already found a window for which to try another attempt.  3 weeks.  August 11th will be the new attempt.  I’m sure it will be just as hot before, but I figure that I’ll just run twice as fast as I did before so that I don’t have to worry too much about the heat.  Perfect logic, right?  In all honesty, I am going to actually focus on training for the thing a bit and will have my sub 4:00 revenge soon enough.  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Funny Foto Friday: Always Wear a Banana Suit

Ok, seriously.... Why do I not have a banana suit???  This is SOOO true!  Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Another Year Older

Me, 31 years ago
Today is my birthday.

Today I celebrate 365.25 more days of proving my mom wrong that if you keep doing that you’ll grow hair on your hands and go blind eating as horribly as I do will turn my blood to gravy.  Sweet delicious gravy.

Now that I am no longer just 30 and am “in my 30s” I have officially started to dread birthdays.  No 80 year old ever says:  “Man, being 30 sucked, 80 is where it is at! I can poop, watch TV at volume level 9000, and complain about gas prices all at the same time!”  Thankfully though, I’m a guy and I don’t have to worry about maintaining a flawless completion as I age. As long as everything works like it should I’m just fine and dandy.  It’s a double standard but what can you....OH MY GOD I just caught my reflection and I think I have a new wrinkle.  Anyone have a good Groupon for some botox?

While I was obsessing over new body hair that wasn’t there 3 years ago and wondering if those lines were wrinkles or pillow marks, I got to thinking about my running.  Truth is I WILL slow down eventually.  But, until I do, I’m going to bust my ass squeezing as much speed out of my body as I can.

I really have come a long way in the last 6 years

I read an article a while back, that I cannot find for the LIFE of me, which stated the average adult runner has 6-7 years of hard trained progressively faster race times in their legs.  At that point, they will level off and any “gains” will only serve to hold back father time’s parachute and the grim reaper’s sickle.  Essentially, given consistently intense training you have 6-7 years of big PRs in you after which you’ll be clawing seconds.  Of course, with any study there are lots of things to take into consideration.  For example, if you run 10 miles a week for 7 years and then start running 60 miles a week, you’re going to set some massive PRs no matter your age. Same for losing weight. If you drop 50 pounds you WILL get faster. I’d also like to think that this general formula likely doesn’t apply to people who ran in school but instead only applies to “later life” runners like myself.  But, caveats aside, generally speaking I believe it.

As I type this, I’ve been running seriously for around 5 years.  My first marathon was in 2007 and I really dove in head first during the spring of that year.  So, based on my completely non MLA-sited source, I only have a few years left...and then I get slow (Or, at least I don’t get any faster) – unless I do something about it.

If I use the Boston marathon as my measuring stick, they might seem to back me up.  When I turn 35, I’ll get an extra 5 minutes for which to qualify for the race.  They seem to recognize that the average runner starts to slow down when they hit 35.  Again, if you START running when you’re 33, based on my 6-7 year rule, you likely won’t slow down, but someone who has been running their whole life is likely going to start to lose some go-juice.  Same goes with “masters” world records.  There are separate world records for people who do events when they are older than 40.

Fortunately, I’m rarely one to accept the status quo as gospel.  So, I’ll continue to further intensify my training to continue to get gains.  After all, for every study there are always outliers.  And I guess I’d like to continue to see how far the endurance speed rabbit hole goes. I’m not ready to make year 31 of life my victory lap of ever faster times – at least not yet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Skin is in – or is it?

First, don’t forget to register for the 3rd annual Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K! Free shoes? Free Gu?  Free Clean Bottle? How could you go wrong? That’s right. You can’t. GO!

The other day a friend that I coach sent me a picture on Facebook that a guy had posted.  Of course, being the social media super stalker that I am I immediately went to his profile and checked him out (doesn’t everyone do that?).  No sooner did I click on his profile that his two massive pecks slammed me upside the face and my head bonked all the way down his abs.  You see, his profile pic was a shirtless, shiny, and had more muscles than an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.  I kid you not, looked something like this:

Screw you Magic Mike! And put on some deodorant!

I responded to my friend that having a profile pic like that is a lot like a chick having a bikini profile pic or a cleavage twitter icon.  It seemed like he was showing off.  Turns out the guy is just a meat head well built runner who runs without a shirt on all the time.  The picture was of him running in a race, sweat dripping off of his well chiseled abs.

When it was explained that he was just a runner and that is the way he runs during races, it got me thinking to how I am a bit of a race prude.  I honestly don’t think that it is kosher to run without a shirt on during an official race.  For that matter, against my 100% corn-fed man brain, I don’t think it is appropriate for girls to run in sports bras during races.  I suppose that part of my argument is that it is probably much cooler for me to run completely naked during a run too, but I somehow seem to manage wearing shorts.  (Thanks a LOT Eve... before you at the apple running naked would have been just fine...)

To be clear, I train without a shirt on for 9 months out of the year. For that matter, I've had race pics as my profile pic on Facebook just like that muscle guy did.  Part of it is comfort, but the other part is because not wearing shirts means that I have half as much laundry to do.  In fact, here I am this morning!

It was 4:55am. Leave me alone

But, even though I rarely wear a shirt when I train, no matter how miserable or sticky, I put a shirt on during group runs and races. I guess I just feel strange with my nipples out for everyone to see while waiting at the starting line 6 inches away from someone else.  Posting my nipples on my blog? Totally OK  I honestly use elite runners as my measuring stick for this - which provides mixed results.  Men always have tank tops on but (long distance) women have sports bras about half the time.

So, what do you think? Do you think that it is normal for people to go shirtless/sports bra at races?  What about during group training runs?  Running alone by yourself?  What if I were to tell you that the well muscled guy was actually 50 years old?  Does that make a difference?  

I actually posed the question to twitter earlier today and found out that I was well within the minority.  A few (guys) admitted to believing in a double standard that it was OK for women but not for men, but probably 75% thought that shirtless was totally fine – even if they wouldn’t do it themselves (which makes me rather skeptical).  Either way, let me know what you think with my swanky survey thing.

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Birthday 50K Preview

Mmmm, cake
Thursday is my birthday.  True to middle aged** guy form, I’d rather the day pass by with as little fanfare as possible.  (Pro tip for all the guys: This is NOT the case for females. Make it an event.  Birthday weekend? Great.  Birthday week? EVEN BETTER.)  Usually, I’m okay with treating the day like any other by going on a run in the morning, going to work, and then hanging out in front of the TV with Chinese takeout watching reruns of CSI: Miami. This year however, will be a little different.  This year I turn 31.

Everyone knows that some birthdays come with major perks. 16 you can drive (or you used to be able to... now they’ve made it confusing as hell. When you turn 16, you can now drive only if it is sunny, your mom is sitting on your lap, and your cell phone is in the trunk.), 18 you can buy nudie magazines vote, 21 you can drink, and 25 your car insurance rates go down (SCORE!!).  After that, from what I can tell, it is basically a slippery slope to a trashbag full of Depends adult diapers with a few pit stops around 40 for some black “over the hill” balloons and birthday cards that make fun of how forgetful/gassy you now are.  No one associates anything with turning 31 – unless you are a crazy ultra runner.

Turns out, 31 miles*** is 50K!  While the baby distance of ultra marathons, it is still an ultra marathon in the true sense of the word. (That is, you're ultra-idiotic if you run that far) What better than to “celebrate” surviving another year by running a mile for each year of my life? the desert...when it is 85....and sunny...with no shade....oh god, I’m going to die.

Hmmm, steak might be worth it....
As I was thinking about where I would run 31 miles, I thought about trying to find an ‘official’ 50K and trying to blast through it.  Unfortunately, those races are traditionally on trails.  Also traditionally on trails? Poop from ultra runners.  SNAKES! I’m not sure what scares me more, the thought of twisting my ankle on a random rock or stepping on a snake and having him sink his inch long fangs into my leg.  Since I haven’t done much trail training, I figured that it would be silly to assume that I could run that far on unfamiliar ground.  So, roads it is!  Punishing, soul crushing roads.

Essentially I’m going to run a long run and then run another long run afterwards. I'm not going to run it ultra marathon style with strange food as fuel but instead will essentially run it like I would a marathon. Also, since it will be so hot, I’m going with a loop course.  That way I can freeze a bunch of water and leave it on a corner and swing by every 4 miles or so. Some of the water will be for drinking, but I've actually been told that the true ultra runners stick it down their pants to really "feel the burn".  Who am I to argue with frozen naughty bits****? I actually tested this course out 2 weeks ago and it worked better than a 6 year old in a Nike factory.
The course. Loop baby, loop.

I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have any "goals" for this run.  While I'm not going all out like I would a race, I'm certainly going to push the pace more than I would for a normal run of the mill 7 miler.  I won't stop my watch for stoplights (which should be minimal) and I'll keep it going while I refuel.  Since my normal long run pace is 7:30/mile, I think that I could probably hold 7:45 for the duration.... which would be a 4:00 50K.

So, that is the plan this year.  I know I can do it, in fact, I’m pretty certain I could likely do it 20 minutes faster, but this time it is just a matter of how fun it will be.  But, I guess if I really don’t like it, I can just stock up on depends, black over the hill balloons, and birthday cards about how much I fart. That would be a Happy Birthday indeed.

What else should I do to celebrate turning 31?

**Now that I will be 31, am I considered middle aged?  Bleh, I think that I just made myself depressed.  Off to buy a convertible, a leather jacket, and some of those gloves with holes in the knuckles.
*** Ok ultra nerds, I know it is 31.07 miles. Yes, I will be doing the extra just like I did 1609m during my mile run.
****What does the training plan look like for freezing your man bits off?  Do I work up to ice cubes? Start with warm tea, then cool water, etc?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Funny Foto Friday: 50 Shades of Grey

Really quick Funny Foto Friday today because I'm trying to wrap up a few things at work and get to the weekend.  Calgon take me away!

Ok, look. I’m going to tell you a secret. Come in close, because I’m going to whisper.  Turns out, there is a super popular book about bondage.  BONDAGE!!  Like, sex bondage!  And do you know who is reading it!?  HOUSEWIVES!?  Oh. My. God.  As if leather wasn’t expensive enough already....

Anyway, if you can’t make jokes about that, then you need your funny bone examined.  (Get it? Bone? Bondage? Hilarious!) So, here are a few funnies poking fun at the book. Happy Friday!

If I owned a bookstore, I would look for opportunities to do stuff like this ALL the time

Is that woman wearing a fur coat in bed?

Magic Mike is about strippers.  This shit is funny, people.

Ha ha, books are dumb.

Please, those Fabio books existed a loooong time ago

Bonus!!  A puppy!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

3rd Annual Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K!

For me, summer usually means a few things:

  • Drinking margaritas before noon....because..... you know, it is summer! Par-tay.
  • Burning the back of my legs on my leather car seats while wearing my shorty shorts
  • Lighter traffic - because obviously teachers and other non-summer workers are crazy drivers and clog up the streets!
  • Sweating my neither regions off while trying to maintain ANY level of fitness during the hot, oppressive summer

Three years ago I wanted some summer motivation to maintain my fitness.  Since no one is actually dumb enough to schedule a race in the middle of the summer, I got 3 of my runner/blogger buddies together and scheduled a race of my own! The Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K. Nobody actually knew which part of their body were “thorns” but it had just enough innuendo to catch on like herpes wildfire.  The race gave me motivation to actually train through the summer without the hassles of actually paying for a race or fighting through race day traffic.

Well, it is that time of year again!!  Time to announce the 3rd annual Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K Virtual Race!! 

For those of you new to the blogging world, running world, or my incoherent ramblings, a virtual race is a “race” that you do on the same day as a bunch of other people but not necessarily in the same location.  It is sort of like a cult without all of the hassle of donating your life savings or eating applesauce spiked with poison. If you want to treat the virtual run as a stand alone “race” and run 3.1 miles as a single run, GREAT!  If you want to just think dirty nice thoughts about me during 3.1 miles of a long run, that’s awesome too!

What do you get for your efforts?  Prizes. Sweet, glorious, prizes!!

Who: You and 100s of your closest Boring Runner readers
What: 3.1 miles (That can be ran as part of a longer run)
When: Saturday August 4th, 2012 (Loads of time for you to prepare and me to figure out prizes)
Where: Wherever the crap you want!  Outside, treadmill, on the track in spikes, naked on the beach, wherever!
Why: Because basically everyone is doing it and if you don't you'll be a huge loser (probably not, but let's roll with it)

Oh yes, there will be prizes. Shoes!  Water Bottles! Gels! Yes yes yes. At a minimum, there will be (Self Funded) prizes, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve for some other goodies as well.  No strings here (like shipping to the USA only).  I'll ship the goods to Siberia if you want me to.

How to Enter:
Just leave a comment on this post saying that you are in!  As long as you are a follower of my blog you're entered for the prizes as well (best to tell me that you follow in the comment).  Easy peasy.  Then, once the 4th rolls around, hop, skip, and naked shower dance your way cross the 5K finish line, write up a quick report, and email me the link - theboringrunner (at)

I'll post a link to your race report (not required to be entered into the contest) and fame and fortune will most certainly come your way.

Past race reports can be found here:
2012 Freeze Your Thorns Off
2011 Freeze Your Thorns Off
2011 Sweat Your Thorns Off
2010 Sweat Your Thorns Off

Results pages can be found here:
2011 Freeze Your Thorns Off Results
2011 Sweat Your Thorns Off Results
2012 Freeze Your Thorns Off Results

Monday, July 9, 2012

Trail Running - My Thoughts

What a week!  After not having gone out of town for a race or work in far too long, over the past 7 days I’ve found myself twice in the mountains. (Not to be confused with having my head in the clouds or having junk in the trunk)  I was previously in Heber, AZ and over the past few days in Colorado Springs.  This time instead of hanging out in a cabin I would be serving as butler for my post-op sister. Well, and maybe I’d try to get some running in too.

Fortunately for me, my sister is on loads of pain meds so she did a lot of trying to not swallow her tongue sleeping and resting.  That offered me plenty of time to get the runs in that I needed.  The first day I was there I went on a normal boring 7 miler that had moderate ups and downs.  Of course, by “moderate ups and downs” I mean:  holy hell, where is a ski-lift when you need it?!  What was supposed to be an easy run turned into an all out hill session. Good for my legs, soul crushing for my morale.

But, on the second day I was there, I decided to hit the trails – I ran 8.5 miles in the Garden of the Gods park.

To be clear, I’m not a trail runner. I don’t like to eat potato chips while I run an easy 5 miler, I don’t own any gaitors, and I’ve never even puked while running! It’s like I haven’t lived.  In fact, I’ve only done “real” trails a handful of times.  The reason isn’t because I don’t like nature or I don’t like getting dirty but instead because I am LAZY.  I can walk out my front door and find literally miles and miles of sidewalks that I can run on.  From the moment I put on my running shoes I am running in 30 seconds.  But to go trail running? That requires driving. It likely requires at least 30 minutes of driving from where I currently live.  To me that is time better spent watching reruns of House Hunters: International. Ding dong!

But, since there wasn’t much on TV I had few responsibilities and was within 5 miles of one of the prettiest places in the USA, I decided to suck it up and hit the trails.

The run was half on traditional “trails” that were frequented by tourists looking at the rock formations in the park.  They were pretty up and down with lots of stairs built into the natural environment.

As I was running along the trail, I found myself constantly wondering how fast I was going.  My pace would jump around like crazy.  At times I’d be running 6:30s, but other times I’d have to slow down to a near walk to skeeter (that’s a word, look it up) down washouts or over big rocks.  Overall the trail portions averaged 9:00/mi or so, but it felt MUCH faster than that.  The trees seemed to be wooshing by at breakneck speed but I never seemed to be covering much ground.  3 miles on the trails seemed like 5 on the roads.  I think the reason might be because I wasn’t able to zone out while running like I do on the roads. I was always thinking to myself: “Is that a snake??  No, curved rock”.... “Oh, that is pretty secluded, I’ll bet I could totally poop there”... etc.

One thing that was nice about a rather relaxed run was that I didn’t feel bad about stopping and taking some pictures at the major touristy rocks.  Which is good, because the trails were very hard to follow at these major intersections.  More than once I found myself next to a beautiful red rock with my hands on my hips thinking... “well shit, where the hell do I run NOW?” In fact, I actually opened google maps on my phone at one point to see which way the trail went from my current location.

Rocky trail

Eventually I’d find my way and I’d be off – all the while staring at my pace and looking for good spots to poop. (Not that I even had to know...just in case.)  Eventually I got to one side of the park and found myself at the bottom of a fire road.  Since I still had lots of miles to run, in my oxygen deprived state I decided that it would be a good idea to run straight up it.  1.75 miles and 700 feet later I decided that I had tortured myself enough.  6850 feet is high, and running down the hill was fun. Likely what I imagine being a bobsledder is like – without John Candy or any dread locks.

Top of the mountain!

Overall elevation. (Read: ball busting)

So, overall I liked getting out into nature and getting my ankles dirty.  However, I doubt that I will become a full time trail runner.  I turn 31 in a few weeks and I am all too conscious of the fact that my ass jiggles now more than it ever has the handful of years I have left to get faster.  By my estimation I probably have 3-4 more years of running to which to get faster – at which point I’ll likely try to maintain.  Maybe more years than that I suppose, but certainly no more than 5-6.  I’ll do an entire post on that soon, but essentially I am not sure that I want the challenge of hills, roots, naked campers giving each other “love hugs”, and rocks right now.  Right now, I want SPEED. I think trail running has it’s place in any training plan but going full time trail running would be like going full time Triathlon.  In my mind, it’s just a different sport.

Has anyone else tried trail running?  Do you like to be able to poo in the woods and not have to worry about someone coming out of their house and realize that you’re poo’ing on their front lawn?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Funny Foto Friday: Track and Field Fail

For the last few days I've been vising my sister and mom in Colorado Springs.  This morning I went on a trail run in the Garden of the Gods.  It was pretty sweet.  Full details in a post very soon!

Future so bright, I wish I had shades


I'm friends with Ryan Hall on twitter. By that, I of course mean that I'm one of the 40,000 people who follow him and not one of the 200 people he follows. Ryan is currently the fastest American marathoner and has a really good shot to medal at the Olympics. So, he's basically pretty fast.  His tweets are 50% religious and 50% running.  That's a mix that I can handle. So, Ryan will tweet something like:

RyanHall: Just went to a great Sunday service today!

and I'd reply

TheBoringRunner: @RyanHall: that is awesome! Did you see my tempo run on DailyMile?! Basically kicked just as much ass as God.

We're basically best friends.  I mean, he hasn't ever replied, but....I mean... I know he is looking.  Why wouldn't he!?

Recently however, Ryan posted the following video with the tagline: "Still laughing over this video about these trail fails". Well, he was right, they ARE hilarious. So, if you like watching hurdlers faceplant into a hurdle, enjoy!

Finally, since I know everyone doesn't like videos in blog posts, here are a few random pictures that I've ran across over the last week or so.  Happy Friday!

Even google knows when people are stupid
Bad grammar is like herpes, that shit sticks around

Beats sitting on her ass watching her stories while eating cream puffs!