Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On the fly decisions

Two posts in a day.  Which is probably 1.75 posts too many.

But I would like to acknowledge and apologize to those who I offended in the last post. 

This morning, I thought writing about the NYC marathon would be an interesting topic because it seemed like such a hot button issue in the running community.  I thought it would make for a post that would generate discussion.

But in many ways my words came off as insensitive and uninformed.  It was not my intention to hurt anyone, but I clearly did.

Something I'm still learning is that this blog is a public forum and that expressing off the cuff ideas can be irresponsible.   And sometimes, I just have too big of a mouth.   Often actually :).

In the words of Anthony:  "It's probably better to stay away from disasters unless it is to acknowledge it was terrible."  Word.

So.  Please accept my apology. 

Why the Show Could Go On

I suspect this post may not be one of my more popular ones.  And I'm sorry, I still haven't gone through all the contest entries.  I'll try to announce by the end of the week.  

Unless you've been hiding in a bear cave for the past week, you know about the giant storm that hit the east coast.  You've seen pictures of the destruction, and you've possibly even seen footage of the first bi-partisan event in years (Chris Christie saying Obama has done a good job responding.  Whoa.).  And if you're a runner, you've probably seen an article speculating whether the New York City marathon will go on. 

There are different camps on this, with some saying that it's ridiculous to put on a marathon during this time, and others saying that the show must go on.

I believe that while there should be no major safety compromises in putting on the New York City Marathon (and I certainly don't approve of people badgering NYRR during the storm), if it at all possible, the show should go on.

Here's why:

Diverted Resources:  The most common argument I've seen is that the money of the entry fees and food should be diverted to people in need from the disaster.  NYRR isn't FEMA, and whether we approve of this use or not, using the entrance money for something else would be a gross mismanagement of funds.   Our federal government uses taxes for disaster relief, which I completely approve of, but they can't seize money from NYRR.

Personnel.  There has also been the argument that police officers, firemen, etc. should be doing more important things on marathon morning.  My understanding is that the extra personnel used for events like the NYC marathon was paid for by event entrants as well and is on top of the normal level of service.  Like...on marathon morning in any city, it's not like the rest of the city goes without a police force or firemen.  There's still the argument that the extra personnel should be put on disaster relief, which I agree with should the situation still be awful come Sunday morning.   I don't think anyone is saying that NYRR should pull firemen off a burning house  But if those most problems aren't addressed by this Sunday, the disaster relief program has major problems.   I believe in New York's ability to get people on their feet by then.

Additionally, I'd argue the same thing with the volunteers.  While there may be a small amount of people who would volunteer to clean up the streets if there were no marathon, I'd argue that most of the volunteers specifically wanted to be part of the marathon, not just a volunteer effort.  And just like NYRR's funds, people's free time can't be automatically diverted somewhere else.  
Personal Investment:  I have seen the argument that it is ridiculous to inconvenience those affected by the storm so that people can parade around New York looking for personal bests.   This minimizes the sacrifices (financial and personal) that many have taken to get to the marathon.  While my own personal investment is pretty small (my brother lives in New York so it's just the cost of the entry fee and plane ticket), for those who have spent thousands and planned for months trying to get to NYC.  For them it IS a big deal.   Not as big of a deal as a burning house, but it's ok to care.

Comparison:  This isn't 9-11.  Or even Katrina. This may be the point that may make me sound like the biggest jerk.  But I have heard comparisons in the NYC marathon debate to the time after 9-11 when baseball was trying to figure out how to change their schedule.    This is not to minimize the despair of the people who have lost loved ones or had property damage in this disaster, but to compare Sandy to 9-11 or even Katrina is kind of awful, in my opinion.  They are not the same and thus the aftermath should be considered differently.

Cash Money:  I hate to say it, but there is a ton of money that comes into New York for the New York City Marathon.  I am sure the city doesn't want to miss out on it (as is completely justified), and I'm guessing most small businesses will be happy to get the business of the tourists in town.  Also, cancelling or moving the New York City Marathon would surely have crazy financial consequences for NYRR.    And it wants to survive, just like any other business.  Can't blame them for that. 

The Triumph:  I think it would be cool for New York to show the world how quickly they can come back from Sandy.  If they can do it there, they can do it anywhere :).  

So...what do you think?  I truly don't mean to offend anyone by this post, but it is how I feel right now.   Educate me if you think I'm wrong! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Oh yeah I'm running NYC

First of all, thank you for all the entries into the Mizuno contest.  I really had no idea so many people would enter!  Crazy. 

The contest ends tonight (midnight PST) but it might take me some time to sift through all the entries and announce the winners.

Also, if you're on the east coast I hope your power stays on and your streets don't flood.   And I hope your twitter stays on for important updates:

(one among a number of Sandy spoofs)

I've barely mentioned it on the blog, but I'm registered for and am running the New York City marathon this Sunday.  And I'm excited for it in the "get to run with some of the best runners in the world in one of the coolest cities in the world" kind of way.

I'm not excited in the "holy shit I've trained so hard I want to get out there" kind of way.   Because I haven't trained hard.

And honestly I hate running races where I don't think I'm ready to give a decent performance.  I'm planning on moving back from corral 1 (which I probably didn't belong in to begin with?) and hopefully I can tuck and hang on with the 3:30 pacer.

"Hey Margot!  Wouldn't a 3:30 still be a PR?".

Yeah it would.  But I still like to think that on a good day, my eyes would be set on a faster time than a 3:30.   But who knows...maybe moving back with a 3:40 pacer would be more wise.  The problem is that I've pretty much put in seven weeks of marathon training.  Which is about 10 weeks too short.

The good news is that I've been able to be more consistent about weekly long runs than I ever was before when I was travelling all the time to visit Anthony.   So I've put in a few 20 milers. The bad news is that most of my serious training has been put in chasing after McDonald's.  Seriously.


 Paces like 7:15 - 7:20 that were around half marathon pace now feel like 10k pace.  And the frustration that I feel when realizing that I am pushing so hard for something that used to feel hard-but-relaxed is tangible.   Some of this I can blame on the sub-par new running routes I'm taking which somewhat resemble a steeplechase course, but that's not the only reason.

Regardless, hopefully this feeling magically goes away come Sunday.

That usually happens, right?  ;-).

So I guess I taper now.  Does a seven week training program even deserve a taper?  I'm not sure, but I think I'm going to be doing low mileage with a few marathon pace miles in there this week and a hell of a lot of electrostim therapy (which is a lot of fun!), carbs, sleep, water, and compression

So if you happen to be in NYC and see an extremely uncomfortable looking short-ish person wearing ears and cussing out the world on November 4th, put up your hand.  I will high five you.  And potentially steal your beer / ice cream cone.   

And then please tell me to run faster. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

The only thing better than Mizunos are free Mizunos

Remember a long time ago I gave away a Mezamashii run project invite ?

(An opportunity to order a free pair of Mizunos!)

Yeah that was awesome.  But what's even more awesome if that they are doing it again.  x10!!!!!

I have 10 invites to give away - all on the blog.  Which means that if you enter, you've probably got a decent chance of getting a free pair of shoes (I'm estimating chances at about 10% - edited to say: dammmnnn this contest is blowing up!  I'm gonna have to drop odds to 5% :(  ).   Time to try out that hot racer you've always been curious about. 

Next Year's Elixir.  Holy Crap Beautiful

Here's how you play: 

One entry: Leave a comment on this post.

Another Entry: Tweet to @mizunorunning and to me (@fasterbunny) about the giveaway and follow Mizuno running.

Another entry:  Leave (another comment) about what you're loving about running this fall.
Bonus entry if this statement is an alliteration.  (example: Frequent fall foliage falling freely). 

So it's possible to have your name in the pot four times!

Additional details:  You must have a shipping address in the US to win.  Giveaway ends a week from today (the 29th of October at midnight PST.).  If for some reason you are shy and don't want to publicly comment, you can email me as well and that can count for your entry.
*Also, if you don't have a blog, please leave enough of your name (or email) so that if you win, I can find you.

Cool?  So play!  I hope you enter!!  Obviously, I love these shoes and I hope you can try them and love them too!

*One more edit.  For some reason, Blogger is not publishing the comments beyond the first couple hundred.  I don't know why (trying to figure it out) but I am getting all of them through the interface and they will be counted!!  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Trolling Trolling Trolling

Can we talk for a minute about how every woman's race is guilty of the worst stereotyping in the world? 

According to the world of running women like:

1) Chocolate!!!!
2) Giant Medals or Jewelry for average level completion of a task.
3) Princess costumes!!!! 

Women don't like: 
1) Competition.  No pressure, it's all about the fun!  Yay you finished.
2) Logistics.  It's ok if they suck!   

Women don't care about: 
1) Money!  Charge me $150 for a half marathon!   Sounds good to meeee!

I mean what the heck?  Is this really 2012?

On the same premise, if people made a race just for Greek people they would serve us Gyros and bad economic principles.  

Stereotyping at it's best!

Anyways I'll stop for now :).   Here's the main post.

Beach Path Surprise Tempo

Today, I went running on the beach path again.  I'm really enjoying running on the beach path around Venice.  It's really pretty.

I decided I wasn't up for a workout so I took the pace pretty easy.   About 40 minutes into the run, I came up upon some dudebro running along at maybe 10 minute pace wearing cargo shorts.  

I internally chuckled about how uncomfortable his fashion choice must be to run in, and passed him on the left, maybe at around 8:30 pace. 

I was surprised to see that about 30 seconds later, he sped up, came back out of my left and passed me back. 


I try to keep my competitiveness to a minimum on easy days, but a huge pet peeve of mine are dudes who clearly almost never run, who speed up so I can't pass them.   It's obnoxious.

So I figured I'd mess with him a little bit. 

 Instead of letting him go, or even passing him back, I stayed almost exactly 10 feet behind him.  For the first couple minutes he didn't notice anything.  Then he started looking behind him, and speeding up more, as an attempt to lose me. 

I kept my 10 foot distance.  My stride behind him went "Tap tap tap tap".

He quickened his stride further and started running the tangents of the curvy beach path.  I refused to run the tangents out of principle as I didn't want to appear to be racing.  My guess is that we were running about 7:15 / mile-ish.  Things had gotten serious. 

About 8 minutes into my trolling, the dudebro veered off the beach path onto the straighter pedestrian path a few yards to the left.  I think he figured he had a better chance of losing me on the straight path. 

So I decided to run exactly parallel to him, keeping his exact pace.  By now I'm pretty sure I was running 6:50 pace or so.   I was getting pretty tired, but I was confident I would win our silent war (or die trying!). 

A couple minutes down the road, the paths went to intersect, and dude bro almost ran exactly into me.  I turned and looked at him, exasperated and said "Do you want to race?". 

He was all like "Nah, it's not like that.". 

Suuurrreee it wasn't

And finally....I passed him and ran home to start my Monday morning.  On the plus side, I got in a good workout.  On the minus side, I'm kind of an overly competitive jerk. 

Was it a little immature to troll this random dude on the beach path?  Sure...but...I maintain that it was fun. 

And he started it. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fire Up Old Sparky

I've had a tiring week, but pretty much only because I'm badly addicted to Downton Abbey and I've been staying up late watching it.  It is fantastic. 

Honestly, I'm pretty sure that Mitt Romney wants to cut PBS funding because he's jealous that Ann's got a major crush on the Cousin Matthew. 

I mean...I get it girl.  I have a crush on him as well.  I mean...hello?

Sorry.  I know that if you don't watch that show, that was totally boring. 

In case you were wondering, I have been trying to run more and I even put in a 55 mile week last week.  I'm still slow though.  I can't believe that taking only a couple weeks off (and a couple months of half-assing) has had such repercussions on my speed.  I probably shouldn't be surprised though.  Running doesn't lie.  And not working hard for a couple months doesn't lie either.

I'm going to try to regain as much as I can before NYC/Ragnar.  Fingers crossed. 

I've also managed to do several electricity / fire themed things in the past week. 

1)  Set My House On Fire.

You know that "storage area" underneath stoves?  Yeah.  Turns out for a gas stove, it's not exactly storage.   Or at least not for my gas stove storing a sandwich maker and a still unidentified additional now-melted appliance. 

There go my dreams of hot sandwiches at home. 

Last Sunday night, I wanted to bake a Butternut squash.   I started pre-heating the oven, like a normal human being would, and I noticed some white smoke coming out of the oven.  Since the place is new, I figured maybe there was something random down there that needed to burn up, so I turned off the oven and waited.

However, the smoke kept coming.  And there were some small flames at the bottom of the oven.  I figured they would go out.  Go out they did not.

I went next door to ask my neighbour what to do, and he didn't know either.   It didn't seem like an emergency just yet.  So we just stood there staring at the stove.  And then black smoke started coming out. 

"F it I'm caling 911!!!" 

My hands were shaking as I dialed 911 and as the fire in the oven grew bigger and bigger.  Then the alarms throughout my new complex started going off as the sirens of the fire-trucks approached. 

"Holy shit", I thought, as I frantically moved boxes out of the way of the growing flames. 

But thank god for emergency services - those firemen were there and putting out the flames in no time.  They pulled out the remains of the sandwich maker (with melted plastic everywhere) as I apologized profusely for my mistake. 

"If you wanted to see us so badly, why didn't you just come down to the station and say hi?".  

Haha.  All's well that ends well though, and nothing got damaged.  My night just ended with me feeling a little bit shaken and under a lot of ashes. 

Pretty crazy and embarrassing though.  A banner way to introduce myself to the new neighbours!  

2) The Gaslight Anthem I only mention this part because of the irony.  The night prior to setting a fire in my gas stove, I went to go see the band, the Gaslight Anthem at the Honda Center in Anaheim. 

They were pretty rocking and I love them. 

I mean... I guess it would have been more funny had the band's name been the "Gas Fire Anthem", but you get the idea.

3) Compex Electrostimulation Machine:  As you may have heard, our ultra relay is sponsored by a company called Compex (along with Pro Compression.  Woot!).  Compex makes electro stim machines that basically serve to help build muscle as well as to help recovery. 

Frankly, I'd never heard of a machine like this until I mentioned our sponsor to my boss (a former ridiculously good track athlete) and a couple other people who have gotten physical therapy.  They were all jealous that we each got a machine!   Apparently this method for recovery is legit.

But the thing is...I am too dumb to use it.  Tonight I followed all the steps in the manual and I'm still not sure if it worked.  I'm also kind of scared to put it on anything but the lowest setting (uh after I nearly burned the house down).  Here're some pictures of the attempt:

I don't know about you, but the cartoon of the naked man with socks on in the middle diagram is enough to make me keep using this machine. 

In all seriousness, I am really excited to learn proper usage because I don't recover well from workouts and this could be a great tool.  If you've ever used one of these, tell me about it!  I'd love to hear more.  

Also, if you've ever set your house on fire, perhaps you can tell me about that one too.  I'd like to think I'm not the only one who has burned up a sandwich maker in a cloud of black smoke.