Tuesday, November 29, 2011

You're a Runner. Be Proud!

Photo from Active at Altitude

As a runner, it's sometimes easy to lose sight of the big picture. We're constantly chasing something: a new PR, qualifying for a big race such as Boston, trying to move up to a longer race like a marathon or a ultra. Always trying to grab the next gold ring.

I'm guilty of it as well. I mean, I love to talk about my own running exploits, but if I'm talking about other runners, it's usually someone like Max King, or Kara Goucher, or Shalane Flanagan. The NW runners that have made it big. Like most "average" runners, I like to look at the elites and think, "Wow, what would it be like to run that fast? How would it feel to hit the tape first?"

Well, back up for a moment. Take a look at what you've accomplished. Yes, you. Not the elite runners in the magazines, but you. And me. The normal runners out there.

Around 13 million of us finished a road race of some distance in 2010. Yes, 13 million. Are you thinking, "why should I be proud to be one of 13 million?" Well, remember that there are over 310,000,000 people living in the United States. And only 13 million ran a race last year. You're one of the 4% of Americans that ran a race. Be proud!

You're out there training. Daily? Maybe. Weekly? Definitely. Are you in shape? I'm guessing you're in better shape than most. Almost 70% of Americans are overweight and/or obese. Yes, 70 freaking percent! You're out there running, biking, swimming, doing whatever you can to be the other 30%. Be proud!

So you didn't get a PR at your last race? So what? Did you finish? Did you beat someone? My daughter did her first 5k last week on Thanksgiving day. She didn't break any age-group records. But she was out there running. And she finished in front of quite a few people. And she's nine years old. Nine. Be proud!

Ignore the individual trees once in a while. Step back and check out the whole forest. It's beautiful. You're a runner; maybe not elite on the clock, but definitely elite in a bunch of other ways.

Be proud.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cross Training at Wings and Waves

Did a little cross training workout yesterday at Wings and Waves Water Park in McMinnville. If you're looking for a good workout, just grab your children (borrow some, if you don't have any of your own) and hit the waterslides. According to the signage at the park, it's exactly 111 steps to the 747 sitting on top of the building where you jump into the four main slides. I went up those stairs 13 times. Yes, 13 times. If you don't have your abacus sitting next to you, that's 1443 steps.

That's a workout.

Let's race!


December 17th / YMCA Christmas Run 6.1m and 2.5m / Boise, ID

December 17th / OAC Holiday Multisport Classic 5k, Aquathlon and Swim Meet / Corvallis, OR

December 17th / Frozen Trail Runfest 50k, 13m, 8m, 6m and 5k / Eugene, OR

December 17th / Holiday Fun Run 15k, 10k and 5k / Seattle, WA

December 17th / Santa Runs Tacoma 10k and 5k / Tacoma, WA

December 17th / Cable Bridge Run 10k and 5k / Pasco, WA

December 18th / 12k's of Christmas Holiday Run 12k and 5k / Kirkland, WA

December 18th / Winter Solstice Run 5k / Eugene, OR

Thursday, November 24, 2011

OAC Turkey Trot 5k Race Review and Results!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wow, I'm impressed, Corvallis. On a cold, but not raining, Thanksgiving morning, at the early hour of 8am, over 500 runners braved the elements and toed the line for the OAC Turkey Trot 5k and 10k. Nice work!

Let's get right to the action!

So the entire R's family ran this one. Everyone decided to run the 5k. Payton and I wanted to see how fast we could go and Carson and Jen and Jen's Knees wanted to see if they could finish in front of someone.

Missions accomplished!

The 10k was supposed to take off at 8am sharp, but because of the huge crowds (unexpected?), they started about 10 minutes late. Only about 75 or so people in that race. Check out the results right here.

And the 5k. A whopping 446 runners for this one. Nice.

Somehow, this little Corvallis 5k was the first race I've done with the disposable chips that are attached to the race number itself. Seemed to work well. My online results looked to be correct and they got them up super-fast. I like it.

So my last words to Payton before the start gun were, "don't go out too fast. I'll check my watch and let you know how we're doing." Holy moly, can you say "foreshadowing?"

You'd think after 25 years of running competitive road races, I would know how to pace myself in a race. That I would know how to NOT go out too fast in any length race, even a 5k.

You'd be wrong.

See, I have this new problem. I'm actually in decent shape. Not amazing shape, but decent. I can run fast for short bursts and not pass out. And that's a problem. After we had gone around the first two corners (and there are a lot of corners on this course), I knew we were going sort of fast, but I didn't check my watch because I didn't feel that bad. When I did check my watch after about a half-mile and we were well under a 7:00/mile pace, I knew we were just being silly. There's no way Payton or I can keep up that pace for even a 5k. I told him to slow down and tried to notch it back myself, but we still hit the first mile at 7:17. Not that much faster than I was hoping for the first mile, but it was only because we had slowed up considerably after the first half-mile. I knew there would be a price to pay later.

The second mile was at about the pace I was looking for, 7:26, but by the end of that mile, I was starting to feel a bit tired. And my stomach. Oof. If there had been a Honey Bucket sitting around, I would have been in there without a second thought. That's not a good thing in a short, little 5k, but something was just not sitting right. The second mile was also where I got a reminder that runners are horrible at paying attention while they're racing. We were coming up to an intersection. We were clearly turning left. There were runners just in front of us turning left. You could see them going around the corner. There were also 10k runners coming from the left and turning left up ahead of us on the same street we were currently on. It was all pretty clear.

The two runners just in front of me didn't turn left. Didn't even think about it. They just kept going straight, right into the back end of the 10k pack. I yelled, "Turn! Turn!" and they got it back around fairly quickly. It always amazes me. People just get locked in and don't look around at what's going on.

So, mile three. Stomach not right. Lungs feeling that first half-mile a bit. Definitely slowing down a bit: 7:41. Still, I headed into the Linus Pauling Middle School track looking like I had a pretty fair shot at breaking my Master's 5k PR of 23:11. Just had to get around one lap of the track to the finish. No problem.

Holy crap, that was a long lap. As Maxwell Smart would say, "missed it by that much." A 23:18 - seven seconds off the PR. I wish I had felt a bit better in the second half of that race, because you won't find a flatter 5k in Corvallis. An total elevation gain of six feet for the race. Shoot-fire. Check the results here. I did manage to snag 8th place in Masters and 29th overall in a slow T-Day crowd, so that's not too bad. Payton did quite well with a 3rd place out of 33 runners in his age group, and 67th overall. And Carson and Jen did, in fact, beat a few people, so it's all good!

Ah well. I guess the 5k record will have to wait for number 28 in the EPIC schedule: the OAC Holiday Multisport Reverse Aquathlon. Pow! See you there.

Here's the shirt. Like most Turkey Trot races, it has a cute cartoon Turkey. I mean, that's almost a guarantee, right? And it's white, so I've got no issues with it.

One left. See you on December 17th.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Draft Legal Triathlon? In the Northwest?

Apparently so. Check it out right here.

The Tri Monroe, in Monroe, WA, on June 12, 2012. It's got a pretty small limit capped on the race, so if you're interested in a draft-legal tri, get on it fast.

I'm not sure if this would help sub-par bikers, like me, or help the elite bikers. I think it would probably bring big groups to T2 together, then it would just be a running race.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Best Running Song for November!

I've been taking it way too easy on you guys lately. It's time for some good old-fashioned rock! Some rock that will get your feet moving. Some rock that will get your legs pumping. Some rock that will give you an bitchin-awesome white guy afro like the main guy in this band!

When you name your band Wolfmother, really, what can you do but rock...and rock hard. This song is called Joker and the Thief. Just turn it up.

Here's a great live version.

Here's another great live version.

And here's one put to the Joker from the Batman cartoon!

It's amazing that this song can rock so hard with just three guys playing, and no bass, but hearing is believing! Strap this one on the iPod for your next run - you won't be disappointed.

Past Best Running Songs:
October: Phoenix / "1901"
September: Matt and Kim / "Daylight"
August: Collie Buddz / "Holiday"
July: Pretenders / "Tattooed Love Boys"
June: The Wombats / "Moving to New York"
May: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros / "40 Day Dream"
April: Foxy Shazam / "Unstoppable"
March: Pharrell / "Fun Fun Fun"
February: Puff Daddy / "Come With Me"
January: We Are Scientists / "The Great Escape"
December: Cee Lo Green / "F**k You"
November: Tokyo Police Club / "Breakneck Speed"
October: Two Door Cinema Club / "Something Good Can Work"
September: Stone Temple Pilots / "Cinnamon"
August: Louis XIV / "Guilt by Association"
July: Devo / "Fresh"
June: Saliva / "Your Disease"
May: Metric / "Gold Guns Girls"
April: OK Go / "This Too Shall Pass"
March: The Hours / "Ali In The Jungle"
February: Los Fabulosos Cadillacs / "El Matador"
January: White Rabbits / "Percussion Gun"
December: Deftones / "Knife Prty"
November: The Kooks / "Always Where I Need To Be"
October: At the Drive In / "One Armed Scissor"
September: Silversun Pickups / "Lazy Eye"
August: Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros / "Johnny Appleseed"
July: Deathray / "I Wanna Lose Control (Uh Oh)"
June: Raconteurs / "Salute Your Solution"
May: Tea Party / "Save Me"
April: Bloc Party / "Like Eating Glass"
Ever: The English Beat / "I Confess"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Clif Bar Seasonal Flavor - Peppermint Stick

It's energy bar review time!

First, let's start off with the two Clif Bar seasonal flavors that I'm not reviewing this time around: Spiced Pumpkin Pie and Iced Gingerbread. I'm really not a Pumpkin Pie type person, so I wouldn't be crazy about that one anyway, but the fact remains that all three of these seasonal flavors are acquired tastes. And barely energy bars. They're really more like a slightly healthy dessert than a pre-race snack.

But let's take a taste of the new guy - the Peppermint Stick Clif Bar. Pow! It's really peppermint-y! This has a super strong Peppermint taste. If you like candy canes, you'll absolutely love this Clif Bar. If you don't enjoy candy canes, then don't even bother with this one. I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed that there was no hint of chocolate in this guy. I mean, who doesn't love peppermint bark? Even a few chocolate chips thrown into this one would have made quite a difference. For the better. I believe it does have white chocolate chips in it, but as we all know "white chocolate" is just another word for "not chocolate."

Good, but not great. A tad boring. If you're looking for a mint fix, I'd stick with the Cool Mint Chocolate. You know, this one right here.

Peppermint Stick Clif Bar: 6 Bonkers

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Get Out That Ugly Christmas Sweater!

Wow, break out the ugly holiday sweaters and hit the Ugly Holiday Sweater Dash in West Linn. Yikes!

Let's Race!


December 10th / Jingle Bells Run 8k and 5k / Eugene, OR

December 10th / Puddle Scuttle 8k and 5k / West Linn, OR

December 10th / Ugly Holiday Sweater Dash 1m / West Linn, OR

December 10th / Mac's Run 10k and 5k / Charleston, OR

December 10th / Solstice Run 5k / Bainbridge Island, WA

December 10th / Christmas Rush Fun Run 10k and 5k / Kent, WA

December 10th / Deception Pass 50k and 25k / Oak Harbor, WA

December 10th / Birch Bay Ghost Marathon / Birch Bay, WA

December 11th / Holiday Half Marathon and 5k / Portland, OR

December 11th / Ho Ho 5k / Tigard, OR (Free Hostess Ho Ho's and Snowballs - Woot!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Race Ryan Hall...Virtually

Yeah...he's fast.

December Destination Marathons!

Looking for a December marathon? Preferably in a warmer climate? The R's is here for you.

First up, The CIM. Otherwise known as the California International Marathon. December 4th. Super-flat course in Sacramento, CA and well known as a great course to try to qualify for Boston. Usually dry and mild weather. Road trip!

Same date, just across the desert, we've got the Las Vegas Marathon. At night. On the strip. Cool.

Then on the next weekend, December 11th, 2500 miles away, we've got the Honolulu Marathon. Ah, Hawaii. How can you go wrong? This one can be muggy, but it starts early, 5:00am early, to get you out and back before it heats up too much. And it's Hawaii, how much are you going to complain, really?

If you're really looking to escape the cool Northwest weather, there's always the Panama City International Marathon on Dec. 4th. Yeah, not Florida...Panama! Trust me, you won't be cold...the average temps, year-round, are highs of around 90F, with 80% humidity. Woot!

And you thought you wouldn't get a hot, dry run until next July...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Marathon Training Plans!

Perhaps everyone in the world knows this already, but I just realized it, so pretend to be interested...

If you're like me, and why wouldn't you be, and love to run, but are basically broke at all times, you may need to get creative when trying to find decent training plans. You can always just Google "Marathon Training Plans" or "Half Marathon Training Plans" or "Marathon Training Schedule" or whatever, but that usually gives you a million links that are a)hard to sort through to find what you want, and b)often have a price tag attached to them.

But wait!

If you enter in those terms and then craftily click on the "Images" button...


Hundreds and hundreds of free training schedules.

Now I'm not saying they're all quality schedules, or really, even mostly quality schedules, but they are easy to browse and pick out one or two that might work for you. And of course, it works for any distance, or sport, just replace "Marathon" with "5k" or "Olympic Triathlon" and there you go.

Give it a try. Like this.

Plan up top brought to you by Elizathon's Blog!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lucky Number 7

Yep, only seven races for this race calendar. We're getting deep into the Winter Running Season now, and the races are dwindling quickly.

Time to bundle up, strap on your jingle bells and hit the trails! Or the road. This time of year, they're both just about equally hard, so whichever you prefer...

Let's race!


December 3rd / Jingle Bell Run 5k / Bend, OR

December 3rd / Shellburg Falls Trail Run 10k / Lyons, OR

December 3rd / Reindeer Run Half Marathon, 10k and 5k / St. Helens, OR

December 3rd / Holiday Fun Run 10k and 5k / Ridgefield, WA

December 3rd / Minuteman 10 and 2 Run 10k / Eugene, OR

December 4th / Red Stocking Run 5k / Seattle, WA

December 4th / Jingle Bell Run 5k / Portland, OR

Awesome "Lucky Number 7" artwork from jayve1 - a homeboy from the homeland. Check out his cool stuff here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Christopher McDougall and Barefoot Running

So Christopher McDougall, the Born to Run guy, has a new article in the New York Times about barefoot running.

Titled, with great restraint and understatement, The Once and Future Way to Run, McDougall rambles off five pages of anecdotes and questionable facts about why barefoot running is the only way to run. Ever. Period.

Again, before you hit the "comment" button and yell at me, let me say this: I'm not against barefoot running! I am against people that say barefoot running is for everyone and is the end-all for running injuries.

I have to show a couple passages:

So how did one of our greatest strengths become such a liability? “The data suggests up to 79 percent of all runners are injured every year,” says Stephen Messier, the director of the J. B. Snow Biomechanics Laboratory at Wake Forest University. “What’s more, those figures have been consistent since the 1970s.” Messier is currently 11 months into a study for the U.S. Army and estimates that 40 percent of his 200 subjects will be hurt within a year. “It’s become a serious public health crisis.”

Oh boy. First, 79 percent? Wow. I don't buy it, but OK. Second, why does it say a couple lines down that only 40% of his subjects will be hurt? I thought we just said it was around 80%? That's a pretty big difference. And finally, running injuries = public health crisis? Somebody is looking for more grant funding.

And this beauty:

Nigg now believes mistakes were made. “Initial results were often overinterpreted and were partly responsible for a few ‘blunders’ in sport-shoe construction,” he said in a speech to the International Society of Biomechanics in 2005. The belief in the need for cushioning and pronation control, he told me, was, in retrospect, “completely wrong thinking.” His stance was seconded in June 2010, when The British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that a study of 105 women enrolled in a 13-week half-marathon training program found that every single runner who was given motion-control shoes to control excess foot pronation was injured. “You don’t need any protection at all except for cold and, like, gravel,” Nigg now says.

I'd like to see this study's methodology. First, were all 105 given the motion-control shoes? And if not, how many? And were the motion-control shoes only given to women that had problems...such as previous injuries?

The comments section is actually more interesting than the article itself, and has better information, both for and against barefoot running.

Here's the APMA's position statement on barefoot running, in case you're curious.

Look, I don't care if you run barefoot or not (I don't have a book to sell), but if you're going to proselytize barefoot running like there's no other conceivable way, please do it away from me.

Flame on!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A New Corvallis Race? In December? Really?

Apparently, EPIC 2011 will not be finished on Thanksgiving Day, after all.

A new race, a first year debut, has appeared. And it's a "Reverse Aquathlon" of all things! Check it out here. Officially, they're calling this event the Holiday Multisport Classic and it takes place on December 17th.

There's also a plain old 5k, if you'd rather. Personally, I'm all about the swimming, thanks.

So...the pain train rolls on! Event number 28 on the EPIC 2011 list.

Holy schmoly.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Running! Acting! Be a Movie Star!

Well, sort of. An advertising agency is looking for female runners for a video shoot. They'll pay you $100 and give you running swag! That's all good, right?

If you're in Portland, check it out, and let the R's know how it turned out. I mean, free running stuff! How can you go wrong?

Of course, if it's some kind of Craigslist scam and you end up selling knives door to door, please don't blame me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Runs and Races!

Wow! I know Turkey Day runs have been popular for a while, but I've never seen anything like this year!

When did Thanksgiving Day runs get so HUGE?

I mean, huge-massive.

I mean, massive-large.




Fat-Turkey Day.


Let's race!


November 24th / Huffing for Stuffing 10k and 5k / Bozeman, MT

November 24th / Oregon Mid Valley Road Race 5.2m and 3.75m / Albany, OR

November 24th / Benton-Franklin Turkey Trot 5k / Kennewick, WA

November 24th / Bend Turkey Trot 10k and 5k / Bend, OR

November 24th / Bainbridge Island Turkey Trot 5k / Bainbridge Island, WA

November 24th / OAC Turkey Trot 10k and 5k / Corvallis, OR

November 24th / Turkey Trot Eugene 4m / Eugene, OR

November 24th / Turkeython 10k and 5k / Tigard, OR

November 24th / Seattle Turkey Trot 5k / Seattle, WA

November 24th / Turkey Trot 5k / Stevenson, WA

November 24th / Southern Oregon Turkey Trot 12k / Medford, OR

November 24th / The Oly Trot 4m / Olympia, WA

November 24th / Norpoint Turkey Trot 5k / Tacoma, WA

November 24th / Twin Tunnels Turkey Trot 8k / Hood River, OR

November 24th / ORRC Turkey Trot at the Zoo 4m / Portland, OR

November 24th / Turkey Trot Clark County 10k and 5k / Vancouver, WA

November 24th / Holmes Turkey Trot / Gig Harbor, WA

November 24th / Turkey Trot 3.5m / Longview, WA

November 24th / Turkey Trot 3m / Cheney, WA

November 24th / Gateway's Run for the Hungry 5k / Washougal, WA

November 26th / Seattle Marathon 5k / Seattle, WA

November 26th / Winter Wonderland of Lights Run 6m, 4m and 2m / Portland, OR

November 27th / After Turkey Day Trot 15k, 10k and 5k / Seattle, WA

November 27th / Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon / Seattle, WA

November 27th / Hot Buttered Run 12k and 5k / Vancouver, WA

November 27th / Methow Valley Off-Road Duathlon / Winthrop, WA

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

McDonald Forest 15k Trail Run Review!

So after missing out on running the Corvallis 5k earlier in the morning, I had to quickly clear my head, and my irritation, and get ready to run a tough trail 15k at the McDonald Forest Trail Run.

We arrived at McDonald Forest with the rain coming down pretty good and the promise of mud awaiting us on the course. Which was fine by me. Really, I haven't had a muddy race all year and with only this race and one more to the end of EPIC 2011, I was sort of hoping for a little mud!

This race was looking like it would start right on time, so a quick trip to the Honey Bucket, then I lined up in the starting chute.

And POW! Off we went. The 5k runners quickly went left, around the lake, and the 15k runners went right, around the other side of the lake, and that was the last I saw of the 5k folks. The first two or three miles of this one is pretty nice. Mostly flat or downhill, with nothing too steep up or down. But as soon as you hit that three mile mark...OOF. This race goes up.

This is an interesting course in that there are a couple spots where you can see the runners ahead of you, but then you take a quick turn and don't end up back where you just saw the other runners for a number of minutes. Tease!

At one point, just past four miles, and going up a nasty hill, my Garmin told me that it lost satellite reception. That's the first time its ever done that to me. It was very cloudy and raining, and we were deep in the middle of McDonald Forest, but it's still annoying to know that your trusty Garmin isn't keeping track of where you're going any more! And if you look at the pace chart above, you can see where it loses it - right where my pace goes to a spiffy one minute per mile pace!

Eventually the Garmin came back online and we were finally nearing the top of the brutal, never ending climb. And then came the part that feels so good the day of...and so bad the next day. The screaming steep downhill section. It's all you can do to keep up with your feet through miles six and seven. You're just flying through the woods! And strangely, even though it was still raining, there were very few patches of mud. The course was actually pretty solid.

So after one last uphill at the nine-mile mark, we were back to the lake and then downhill to the finish. Yes!

I crossed the line with a 1:24:21 time. Not stellar, but hey, that's one steep course. Over 2900 feet of elevation gain, according to my Garmin. I finished dead on in 100th place. Woot! Check the results here.

You might notice that World Champion Mountain runner Max King finished in second place. What?! I know, right? One Chris Reed beat him to the finish line, in an upset for the ages. But as you can read here, young Mr. Reed does in fact know how to run. Still, that's quite an upset. Congrats to Chris!

Also, note the winner of the 5k: Case Regan, a 7th grader from the cross country squad at Linus Pauling. Go LP!

And of course, we've got the always cool McDonald Forest 15k shirt. This year, it was a quality tech tee in a sweet purple color!

And the back, as usual, shows the pain!

Well, as far as I can tell, the EPIC 2011 train has but one race left. Oh noes! And that would be the OAC Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving morning. Be there!

Corvallis 5 Race Review!

Or not, as the case may be...

So this was the first of a race double header for me on the 30th. The Corvallis 5k, at 9:00am, was to be my 25th race of the year and the McDonald Forest 15k Trail Run, at 10:00am, was to be my 26th.

Didn't happen.

Hey, I was ready and willing, but the Corvallis 5k wasn't.

All of the runners were literally lined up in the starting chute, at about 8:55am, when the race director announced, "Looks like we'll be a couple of minutes late. The 5 mile race will start a few minutes after nine, and the 5k will start at 9:15."


I mean, WHAT?!?

Hey, it said in the flyer that the race started at 9:00. It said at the website that the race started at 9:00. I was on a tight schedule, with no room for error. I had to start at 9:00!

So I stood there and talked it over with my manager, otherwise known as my wife. Even if the 5k started right at 9:15, which was debatable, it would only leave me about 15 minutes to drive from downtown Corvallis to McDonald Forest and find a parking spot and get to the start line. Too tight. We came to the conclusion that I had no choice but to call this one and take off for the McDonald Forest 15k.

Not happy about that. I'll probably run the course later this week just to make myself feel better, but it's not the same. Here are the results. Yeah, I'm not in there.

Shirt is pretty boring, except for the fact that the back says, and I quote, "Spread the love like you spread butter! Mad Love!" Um, ok.

On to the McDonald Forest 15k!