Friday, December 30, 2011

Number 1 New Year's Resolution for Runners!

If you're a loyal reader at the R's, you know we don't pull punches here. We say it like we mean it, and we mean it like we say it.

So here is what I have to say to you:

You're too fat.

Harsh, right? But I'm serious.

As we head into the New Year and think about our resolutions and goals for 2012, as runners are wont to do, we need to think about the most obvious one first. Again, here it is:

Skinny people run faster.

Look, I'm no runway model. I am, when dumb and happy, a big guy. Exactly six feet tall and right around 175 pounds. So I'm here to tell you, getting skinnier has made a difference in my running and health and it can do the same for you. Since the beginning of 2011, I've dropped over 10% of my body weight. I feel that single fact has allowed me to run basically injury free while running 26 road races in 2011.

But now I want to be healthy...and fast. So in 2012, I hope to drop another 5-10% of my total weight.

The common rule is this: runners will get two seconds per mile faster for every pound they drop (assuming you have extra weight to drop, and again, most of us do). I'm sure you've heard this before, but let's study it just a bit. Just a second, let me grab my calculator...OK, let's say you're trying to get ready for a marathon. Let's also say you could stand to drop ten pounds. That's almost nine minutes off your race time. Fifteen pounds would net you around 13 minutes. Just from dropping the weight. And we all know, once you do drop some weight, the training becomes easier and the times get even faster.

I know, I know, you love the chocolate. Hey, I love the chocolate.

But look at the scientific facts:

From Frank Horwill and George Sheehan.

A nice video from Runner's World and Joanna Golub.

Some good numbers to think about from Ben Greenfield at

So let's spend these first few boring months of the year eating better, working out more regularly, and dropping some weight. When we hit June, I want us all to be ready: lighter and faster!

Finally, if you're serious about dropping 10-20, no matter how big you are, please talk to your doctor. That's a lot of weight, and we need to be smart about how we take it off.

Since it's been shown that consistent weigh-ins and making others aware of your plans and progress can help when trying to lose weight, I'm going to start writing down my most recent weight at the bottom of each blog post. If you see me going in the wrong direction, please tell me to get off my fat ass and chew on a head of lettuce or something!

Good luck!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Toughest Ultra in the World?

If it's not the HURT 100, than I'm not sure what it is.

Since we're down to two, yes two, races in all of the Northwest this week, perhaps we should plan a road trip. Since it's winter, perhaps we should go to Hawaii. Since we're insane, perhaps we should run the HURT 100.

No, this isn't my heart rate after a speed workout, this is the elevation profile of the HURT 100.

Here's a more detailed version, but remember, this is only 20 miles. Then the course starts over. And you get to do it four more times!

The photo at the top is of awesome runner, triathlete, and blogger, Frayed Laces, otherwise known as FL, running the HURT 100 last year. Check out her account of the race here. Yes, she's a stud. So to speak.

I doubt that you can get in this year, as it looks to be sold out, but remember this for next year, when we're back in the doldrums of January. Instead of boring training runs through the rain and wind, you could be killing yourself in Hawaii!


Let's race!


January 14th / MLK Weekend Runs 15k, 10k and 5k / Seattle, WA

January 15th / Cascade Half Marathon and 10k / Turner, OR

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Invention of Hugo Cabret...a Must Read!

And a must see!

First, thanks to my brother, who presented The Invention of Hugo Cabret to my son a year ago for Christmas. The book is a wonder; a masterpiece concoction of writing and illustration.

I should have realized that it was ready-made for the transition to the big screen. Martin Scorsese, of all people, took his talents and applied them to this magnificent story and the result is easily the best film I've seen this year. And many critics agree.

The movie is powerful and touching. And the 3-D is fabulous - well worth the extra few dollars.

This is the movie you should be going to see with your entire family before the holidays are over. You won't regret it - and it just wouldn't be the same on the small TV screen at home.

Then, on your way home from the theater, with the glow of the movie still in you, don't forget to stop off and pick up the book.

Friday, December 23, 2011

EPIC 2011 Review!

All good things must come to an end...and so it has come to pass that the EPIC 2011, Every Pursuit In Corvallis, has hit the finish line.

And even with the last race of the year canceled, EPIC 2011 consisted of a full 27 races (although I only ran 26 of them because of this one right here). So that's an average of a race every other week for a year. Of course, we know they were not actually lined up that nicely.

Let's check out the numbers:

Races Entered: 28
Races Canceled: 1
Races Skipped because of late start: 1
Races Run: 26

5k: 14
8k: 1
10k: 4
12k: 1
15k: 1
Half Marathon: 2
50k: 1
Triathlon: 2

Trail Runs Out of the 26 total: 4
Runs All By Myself Out of the 26 total: 1

A lot of shirts come along with 26 races. A lottttt of shirts. As you can see below. I've already tossed a couple and gave a away a couple, but I'm still wearing most of them. Let's take a closer look.

Best Cotton T-Shirt: Midsummer Nights Run (Basic Black and cool design)
Best Tech T-Shirt: Good Sam Challenge (Basic Red, cool design and nice fit, which definitely doesn't always happen with tech shirts - tech shirt sizing and fit is all over the board)
Worst T-Shirt: OSU Pet Day 5k (Sorry, but that lime green is horrid - my son wears it though)

Cost of Entry Fees for the Year: Over $800, and let's leave it at that

Busiest Month: October with SIX races
Next Busiest Month: April with five races
Slowest Month: January and August, the only months with no races scheduled (although December had a race scheduled, it was canceled, so I didn't actually run a race in December either)

Favorite Course: Habitat Run Half Marathon (a fantastic trail run, with a fun course: A+)
Least Favorite Course: Midsummer Night's Run 10k (up, down, up, down, up, down: brutal)

Race Numbers: One yellow, one blue, a whole bunch of white, one rubber bracelet, one with no ID of any kind, one with the timing chip attached to the back of the number, and almost every one of them sponsored by Five Star Sports.

Races Run, at least partly, on OSU Campus: 10

All Time PR's Set: 2
Masters PR's Set: 4 (although two were distances I'd never run before - sure PR's!)

Races planned for the first six months of 2012: 2

So there you go. It was a good time, no doubt. But we're moving on. I'm ready for my next challenge. And as you can see by the races I have planned, 2012 will be a whole new year and a whole new challenge. Don't worry, we'll discuss it soon.

Coming up soon: the Year in Review!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Seven Days of Freedom!

Yikes, we're truly into the dead part of the running year now.

Three races this week. Count ', two, three. And one of those is a duathlon. So no, you don't have a lot of options, but hey, no one said this running thing was supposed to be easy!

I do appreciate the Resolution Run on January 8th. I mean, that basically gives you a full seven extra days to fool around with all your bad old habits before you have to let the resolutions kick in and be good. I like it!

Let's race!


January 7th / ORRC Y2k12 20.12k, 10k and 2m / Forest Grove, OR

January 7th / Ft. Steilacoom Trail Duathlon / Lakewood, WA

January 8th / Resolution Run 10k and 5k / Battle Ground, WA

Monday, December 19, 2011

Shamrock Run 2012 T-Shirt Design!

This race always puts out a decent tech shirt - and this year is no exception.

Check out the official site here.

And then sign up! This one usually sells out.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Best Running Song for December!

I don't listen to a lot of rap when I run, but there are a couple rap tunes that always make my long run playlists.

I've been running to this first song for the last 15 years! That's right - 15 years! Most songs wear out their welcome with a lot of repeat listens, especially when running, but this one has never lost a single bit of its power for me. It still pumps me up, still gets me moving faster, still works, every time.

The song is "Luchini aka This Is It" by Camp Lo. And let me tell you, this is the best rap you'll ever hear by a guy with a toothpick in his mouth. Really though, these guys had a bunch of quality songs on this album, "Uptown Saturday Night," but Luchini was only a minor hit and they never really hit it big. Which is a shame. This is a good one. Give it a listen on your next run.

As the backup song, we've got the all-time champion song when you absolutely, positively must get pumped up for a race.

Yep, Eminem with Lose Yourself. Accept no substitutes.

Whether you like Eminem or not, the lyrics just take this one over the top. I mean, a whole song about taking your one shot and giving it your all. What more do you want?

"Opportunity comes once in a lifetime. Go!"

Past Best Running Songs:
November: Wolfmother / "Joker and the Thief"
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"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

EPIC 2011 Goes Out with a Whimper

That's right, the grand experiment that was EPIC 2011 is officially over, since race number 28 on the year, the OAC Holiday Multisport Classic, has been canceled.

Why the race website is still up and looking like there's a race? I couldn't tell you. I just know the OAC called me yesterday and said, "how do you want us to refund your money?"

Cash, please. Always cash.

Apparently, they canceled the race due to lack of participants. It's really too bad - I was sort of looking forward to this one. I mean, if I had to design a race for myself, it would pretty much be a sprint triathlon without that pesky bike leg getting in the way. Which is exactly what the OAC Aquathlon was going to be: a 5k run and a 400 meter swim.

That's money, baby!

Alas, it was not to be.

So, just like that, I'm done! No more races in Corvallis in 2011. Wow. I'm not quite sure what to do with myself.

Well, that's totally not true. I have big plans afoot for 2012. But that will have to wait for a little later.

So over the next couple weeks, look forward to:

-EPIC 2011 Review, Highlights and Lowlights!

-Year of 2011 look back: training, what went right, what went wrong, and where to go from here!

-Preview of the next huge goal the R's has on the block for 2012!

Thanks for taking the EPIC journey with me in 2011. It was good, clean fun!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Woodway Curve Treadmill Review

Before you ask...Yes, yes it is.

So I was at Dixon the other night, minding my own business, hitting the treadmill hard since it was in the upper 20's outside, and I noticed something very strange sitting over against the windows. Very, very strange. Why, it was a new treadmill! Two of them in fact! And it's...well, it's...not flat.

This crazy treadmill is actually curved at both ends! Why? Hell if I know. I assume it has something to do with the fact that this treadmill has no motor. That's correct. This thing is a George Jetson-style, let Astro take off after the cat, pull you under, self-powered treadmill.

Obviously, I had to try it.

So I hopped on and gave it a whirl. Hmmmm...

A couple of observations:

-I don't know if you can grease the bearings on these babies, but it seemed hard, as in difficult, as in Wow, I'm having to sprint to keep this thing going. I mean, you could walk on it OK, but if you wanted to run, you actually had to run. No kidding around - you had to move your legs to make it feel halfway like normal running. Also...

-It doesn't seem to work well if you run in the center of the treads (the dip). To keep it moving at a constant rate, you have to consistently be running up at the very front. So you're always running up a hill! It was a very strange feeling.

-If you're just trying to burn calories, I could see it working. But if you're trying to actually get in a workout, especially one where you want to move your speed around a bit (which, frankly, is one of the best reasons to use a treadmill), this just doesn't seem to work very well.

-Go ahead and check out the attached videos and you'll see what I mean. None of the folks they have running on the Curve in the videos look like they're running smoothly. They all seem a bit out of sorts and struggling.

Overall, a very odd experience. I mean, I only spent 15 minutes on the thing, so I'm hardly an expert, but it seems like you'd really need to work at this treadmill to get used to it.

I think I'll stick to the tried and true.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

New Year and Resolution Runs 2012!

Wow, quite a lineup of New Year's Eve Runs and New Year's Day Runs and Resolution Runs and Hangover Runs and Polar Bear Swims on the 31st and 1st!

Maybe not quite as many races as on Thanksgiving, but pretty close. You should be able to find something to run, that's for sure.

Let's race!


December 26th / Operation Jack Northwest Run 6 Hr. Run / Tigard, OR

December 31st / First Run 5k / Portland, OR

December 31st / Yukon Do It Marathon and Half Marathon / Port Orchard, WA

December 31st / Dash for Dance 5k / Auburn, WA

December 31st / Last Chance Marathon and Half Marathon / Bellingham, WA

December 31st / The Last Run 5k / Stevenson, WA

December 31st / Year to Year 5k / Longview, WA

December 31st / First Run 10k and 5k / Eugene, OR (Night Run!)

January 1st / Twenty12 Resolution Run 10k and 5k / Portland, OR

January 1st / Hangover Run 9m and 4m / Lewiston, ID

January 1st / First Run 10k and 5k / Eugene, OR (Day Run!)

January 1st / Hangover Trail Run 3k / Salem, OR

January 1st / Thunder Run 5k / Pasco, WA

January 1st / Hangover 5k / Vancouver, WA

January 1st / Capitol Mile / Salem, OR

January 1st / Lake Padden Run 2.6m / Bellingham, WA

January 1st / Resolution Run 5k / Seattle, WA

January 1st / Resolution Run 5m and 5k / Steilacoom, WA

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Free Entry to Portland Shamrock Run!

No, really.

If you're a member of LifeWise Health Plan, they'll pay for your entry to the Shamrock Run in March 2012! Hey, that's a good deal.

Do it fast, though. The LifeWise deal is for the first 500 to enter and the Shamrock Run as a whole always sells out.

So don't delay!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ryan Bak Makes It Three in a Row!

It's been quite a week for Northwest runners! To prove it, here's the third straight post about a Northwest runner hitting the big time.

Ryan Bak, from Bend, was just named the USA Track and Field Athlete of the Week after running a 2:14:17 at the CIM last week. Bak, who trains with the guy we just talked about yesterday, Max King, has always been fast at the shorter distances, but had never shown anything like this.

Bak easily qualified for the Olympic Trials with the time.

Go NW!

Photo of Ryan with a shoe that had a huge chunk cut out of it! by Billy Brown.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Max King Loves Hawaii, Dominates XTERRA!

For the fourth straight year, Oregon's own Max King has won the XTERRA Trail Running World Championships.

Now we all know how stinking awesome Max King is, but look at the top five finishers overall...go ahead, look...I'll wait. That's right, three out of the top five were from Oregon! With the fourth place finisher also from Oregon, but listed from Hawaii because he's going to school there! Wow!

Northwest Trail Runners Rule!

Fantastic Max King photo, running the Mac50, by Andy Cripe of the Corvallis Gazette Times.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jenn Shelton Qualifies for Olympic Trials!

Hey, congrats to R's favorite Jenn Shelton, from Ashland, OR, for running a 2:45:01 at the California International Marathon last weekend.

The time qualifies Shelton for the Women's Olympic Marathon Trials!

Nice job!

Friday, December 2, 2011$6.65?!? Really?!?

So I'm going to sign up for the Newport Marathon, a great Boston qualifier if you're interested (we'll discuss this more later). And I'm signing up online because that's just how I roll. I don't like it, but I'll usually pay a couple extra bucks for the convenience of online registration.

So the sign-up is through, and from past experience, I'm already getting a bad feeling. But nothing could prepare me for the the amount Active was trying to sneak on the bill for "processing." The amount was, seriously, $6.65. On an $80 registration fee. Almost 10% of the bill added on top. For "Processing."

Give me a break, There's no way I'm paying $6.65 for you to "process" my registration.

I closed the window and mailed in my registration. Snail-Mail. With a .44 stamp, thanks very much.

I encourage you to do the same.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Streakers Wanted!

Yes, I need to speak to a few, good streakers. Don't worry, my interest is purely scientific!

Actually, I'm writing an article for an upcoming RaceCenter NW issue about runners who have long racing streaks. So if you have run, say, 15, 20, even 25 years in a row of the same race, please give me a shout! I want to talk to you!

Let's race!


December 24th / Christmas Marathon, Half Marathon, 10m, 5k and Duathlon / Littlerock, WA

December 24th / Jingle Bell Run 5k / Tacoma, WA

(I know it's hard to believe, but I can only find two races for this week. Two! I think this is what happens when you put Christmas Eve on a Saturday and Christmas Day on a Sunday. People don't seem to want to run on Christmas like they do on Thanksgiving, that's for sure!)