Would you like me to stop?

<joke>

I was driving through Iowa on a two lane highway in the middle of miles and miles of corn fields.  I came to a 4 way stop in the middle of nowhere.  Like most people I slowed down, looked both ways and went through the stop sign without stopping.

Of course there is a cop hiding in the corn.

Cop pulls me over and comes up to my car. I say “Come on officer; I slowed down”

Cop yanks me out of the car and starts hitting me with his billy club. <wham> <wham> <wham> <wham> <wham>

Cop says, “Now would you like me to stop, or would you like me to slow down?”

<not joke>

I withdrew from Javelina Jundred. I have a laundry list of reasons why my training isn’t what it needs to be for me to stand a shot of completing a 100 miler, but in the end I guess I didn’t want it bad enough to overcome the obstacles in my path.  To be honest, it sucks to admit that to myself.  I drafted this blog post about 15 times, and finally decided I would tell a joke and then lick my wounds (wow, that sounds even dumber than it did in my head).

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the joke and I hope everyone has a Pigstatic weekend!

Later,

Marsden

Bright lights, Crystal City Nope has nothing to do with this post.

Bright lights, Crystal City
Nope has nothing to do with this post.

Stepping Up

Counting your steps it all the rage these days (well having a device do it is all the rage, nobody wants to count to 10,000 (OK, REALLY bored people might)).  Given my Garmin tracks my step count, I too have joined this obsession (which is a sure sign interest is about to fade).

An important part of this obsession is seeing how high you can get your step count. Many even are part of groups to see who has the highest count. Unfortunately my desire to have a high step count runs up against my desire to watch baseball on the couch while drinking a Shiner Bock.

So instead of the standard way of getting steps like walking and running I researched (OK, made up) less obvious ways to jack up my step count.  Here are a few ways I tried and what the results were.

Getting Out Of Bed

Zero steps. You actually have to go somewhere to get steps out of this activity. Another reason to stay in bed if you ask me.

Taking a Shower

This got me 30 steps and I didn’t even have to march in place to get the 30 steps.  I think I will keep showering after all.

Getting Dressed 

This also racked up 30 steps including getting clothes out of the closet.  I might have picked up a couple of extra steps if I hadn’t gone commando. That was TMI wasn’t it?

Using the Remote

Zero steps unless you pick up and use the remote like 10 times, then you will get 20 steps for your effort.  Who knew channel surfing could be an aerobic activity?  Maybe I can get it into the next Olympics.

Playing Grab Ass With The Pig

Zero steps. Ha! this was a trick one, I don’t play grab ass with The Pig. I do have to chase him to get my credit card back sometimes and that averages about 476 steps in case you were wondering (or even if you weren’t).

Writing a Blog Post

Zero steps. This does not including dissatisfied blog readers who might chase me down when they see me.  Now that is a quick way to get to 10,000 steps.

Later,

Marsden

My Garmin performs a public service by trying to give me a good excuse not to go outside and work out

My Garmin performs a public service by trying to give me a good excuse not to go outside and work out

Thoughts While Running

One of the great things about running is that it gives a person time to think about stuff.  Well, it’s great for most people, but not for all of us (read people like me (OK just me)). Here is a set of multiple choice questions to help you determine what your thought patterns while running say about you.

  1. When you wake up early for a run your first thought is:

A. I’m glad I set out all my running clothes the night before.

B. Coffee.

C. Crap, I’m going to have to buy a new phone after throwing it across the room to stop that stupid alarm.

2. You are doing your dynamic stretching and warmup and you think:

A. This is going to be a great run.

B. Coffee.

C. I can’t access my playlist now that my phone is in 22 pieces.

3. You start your run and think.

A. Focus on form and cadence.

B. I need to pee from all that coffee.

C. Every body part screamed “STOP” all at once.

4. It’s now the end of your run and you are thinking:

A. Just push it and it will be another great run in the books.

B. I can’t wait to get some more coffee.

C. Please make this stop. Please make this stop. Please make this stop.

OK, so give yourself 4.2 points for each A answer, 3.5 point for each B answer and 1.64 points for each C answer.  Got you total? So what does it mean? I don’t know.  You can think about it next time you go for a run.

Later,

Marsden

I wanted to caption this "Taxi (it is a large metal hand scupture)

Of course you have the right answers.

Muskrat drugs

Worst Running Songs III

When I wrote my Worst Running Songs Post back in March of 2014, I got about 10 hits on the blog post (which at the time was actually above average for me. )  The post is now is #6 on the all-time list of number of reads for this blog.  This is because, for some reason I don’t totally get, people search for Worst Running Songs and every month I get a few hits on that post.  It seems there is a burning desire to listen to bad songs while running (or maybe it is a matter of sabotaging an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend right before a big race).  Either way I created Worst Running Song 2 and like most sequels, it didn’t do as well as the original (though far better than Three Things Throwback Thursday which is my least read post and I suspect that post is so bad that even I won’t go back and read it (or provide a link)).

But since my creative well ran dry somewhere around 1983, I return to the topic of bad running songs. What makes a bad running song?  Well it’s pretty simple, it is a song that isn’t easy to run to.  This usually requires one or more of the following elements:

  1. The song sucks
  2. The song speeds up and slows down a lot.
  3. The cadence of the song is lower than your resting heart rate.
  4. It is by Kenny G

So there are plenty of running songs that are perfectly good songs, that don’t lend themselves to bombing a downhill or pushing for the finish line.  There are also plenty of perfectly bad crap that is fine to run to (my ipod shuffle has an embarrassing number of these songs).

I guess you can’t have too much of a bad thing, so for those about to not rock, we salute you (and point out that you should let it go and not mess with your ex’s iPhone.)  Here is Worst Running Song III. These songs are so bad they didn’t even make versions 1 and 2:

Bob Dylan, Forever Young

After listening to Forever Young, you will feel like a senior citizen by the time the song slowly meanders to its end.  Not a good interval song for sure.

Captain and Tennille, Muskrat Love

Boys and Girls the 70s were full of drugs.  Watch this video and you will understand why.  You will also see the worst keyboard solo ever (if you can manage to get that far).  Best case scenario if this on your playlist you will get a good laugh.  Worst case scenario you will stop your run and look for some of the aforementioned drugs to dull the pain of this song.

Little River Band, Lonesome Loser

This song isn’t bad the way Muskrat Love is bad (a fact we all can be thankful for) but the song lurches fast to slow to slower and when you are trying to push up that hill in training, do you really want to be reminded of “he’s a loser but he keeps on trying”?  I thought not.

Gordon Lightfoot, If You Could Read My Mind

It’s hard to determine which of the Gordon Lightfoot corpus to include since the man excelled at writing bad running songs (and I am going to pause a few seconds while you google “corpus” and you curse my penchant for putting words like corpus in my blog).  I picked this song over Edmond Fitzgerald because that song at least captures your attention with the story (until you realize everyone dies in the end (and so I wasn’t going to put a spoiler alert on a song that is older than you are)).  This song just slowly saps your energy until you are standing in the middle of a sidewalk having lost the will to move.

Eric Carmen, All By Myself

I debated which version to use for this song (Celine Dion covered it). I went with this version because not only does the song suck, the cadence is slow, the speed increases and decreases, and the song is somewhat depressing, frankly Eric is not the best of singers (sorry Celine, you can sing). That is what makes this song truly worthy of being called a worst running song.

So what would you add to this list (and would you admit to knowing the song in public)? Have you ever sabotaged your ex’s playlist (and don’t admit that in public).

Later,

Marsden

P.S. Kenny G still sucks.

 

Muskrat drugs

Muskrat drugs

Another Random Thoughts Post

I don’t have a real topic for today’s post (and I would like to disagree with those out there thinking “you have topics in your posts?”).  So I have strung together some random running thoughts that don’t exactly command their own posts.

I’m thinking about crowdsourcing my race schedule next year.  It might be a way to pick some races that I otherwise would never run (or think to run).  As an alternative I could say I will run certain races and see what communities would pay to have me run elsewhere. This might be a way to pay for my running addiction.

You have read before “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”. Now it is “It’s not the humidity, it’s the dew point”.  Either way it is kicking my butt big time.  How I survived running when I lived in Houston in my 20s is beyond me (back in the dark ages with corded phones and dinosaurs roamed the earth).

My next race is the Army 10 miler in September. This will be interesting because I think I have forgotten how to run shorter distances (I was going to say I have forgotten how to run fast, but you can’t forget what you never knew).  This will be the shortest race distance I have run since April 2015.  I am running the race for the fun of it, so I don’t envision doing a lot of speed work (or PRing for that matter). Maybe I will wear my Canadian Army Run shirt just to confuse people.

Maybe someone will pay me not to wear it (I take Paypal).

Hope everyone has a Pigtastic weekend!

Later,

Marsden

My Army Run shirt with finshers dog tags.

My Army Run shirt with finshers dog tags.

Going for the Gold (and ending up with recycled aluminum)

Like many of you I have been watching the Olympics over the last week.  I started to wonder what it would be like to win an Olympic gold medal.  Unfortunately my odds of ever winning an Olympic gold medal are on par with the odds of my going to the Academy Awards to pick up my Oscar with a supermodel on my arm (there is a term in statistics which summarizes these odds— zero). So if I can’t get a gold medal in the current set of sports, what new sport could I bribe the IOC to add so I could have a shot of bringing home the gold.

Excuse Making

Long time readers of this blog (which probably deserves a medal right there) know what making excuses is one of my core strengths (unlike my core which is not a core strength (funny how that works)).  When NBC does the human interest story on me, my Mom would be glad to tell them I started making excuses at a very early age.

Triathlon

No, not the one that is already in the Olympics, but the eating pizza, drinking wine, and sleeping kind of triathlon. That is more in my wheelhouse.  As an added bonus, I would be stoked to train for once.  Is stoked still a thing?

I was serious about the entire pizza idea

I was serious about the entire pizza idea

Aid Station Delays

Almost everyone  can get in and out of an ultra aid station in a timely fashion—almost.  Maybe my slowness can work for me for once.

Snooze Alarming

I had a roommate who once hit the snooze alarm for 8 hours so the best I could hope for is silver.

Partying with The Pig

This takes more stamina than most Olympic sports. The problem is that the intensive training can lead to problems with the law.

Random Blog Tags

For the three people who read my blog tags, you know what I’m talking about.

So what Olympic sport would you bribe the IOC to add?

Later,

Marsden

More Searching

It is interesting to see what search terms people use to find my blog.  By interesting, I mean mostly frightening.  That being said, it is probably just a scary for the person who by some cursed fate ends up on this blog due to some stupid search engine.

In the days where Google let you know what search terms got people to your site, it was a real hoot (yes, I’m from the 1800s, stop judging). Google doesn’t do that anymore, but there are still some interesting searches that people are making to find their way to the site.

My racekit gaiter breath– I’m not entirely sure exactly what racekit gaiter breath is, but for the record, I keep tic-tacs in my drop bad for that very reason.

Sexy Ottawa runners- You can only imagine the severe disappointment that person felt after going through 100 pages of search results and ending up on my blog since I don’t really qualify under any of those terms.  Teach them to use Bing.

How to fake going slow in a race- Hey, I don’t have to fake it.

How to serve as a warning to others- OK, you came to the right blog for that.

Worst road songs for runners- It always cracks me up that there are people looking for bad songs to listen to during their runs.  Maybe they are trying to screw with the ex’s playlist?

Boston marathon running blogs- Go home search engine, you’re drunk.

Sanuty slippers- Even by the standards of this blog, this is a bit of a head scratcher.

Wazoo and injury – I hate when my wazoo is injured

How to do wazoo when you have injury – Hmmm, I sense a theme here.

Mashed potatoes for runners – Oh great, now I’m hungry. Maybe if I get something to eat it will help prevent a wazoo injury.

Later,

Marsden

Just a random old Philly photo to try and sucker people into reading this blog

Just a random old Philly photo to try and sucker people into reading this blog

Downward Ho

 

I watched a movie called “Slamdance” when I was younger (so it was a silent movie as you can guess).  The movie had the following joke which is all I really remember from the movie:

Person 1: Knock Knock

Person 2: Whose there?

Person 1: <silence> <long pause>  See, it’s a minimalist joke.

The movie didn’t get any better from there.  I drafted today’s blog post but ended up deleting most of it.  I am still struggling with whether to run Javelina Jundred or not. I went into why I was struggling, but in the end it was drivel. Thus, you got the world’s worst knock, knock joke.  Much like the movie, it only is going downhill from here (and not in the good running way).

I got a comment about my Endless Summer race blog post that I didn’t really talk about how I felt about the race itself. I thought about it and basically I felt about that race pretty much the same way I feel about most of my races–mildly disappointed but basically OK with it. I still thought it was an unusual question for a blog that mostly features porta potty jokes and a talking, flying pig.

This weekend I’m going to think more about my race schedule and probably start looking at marathon plans that lend themselves to jumping in the middle of (since I am signed up Marine Corps from my deferral last year) or how to get my 100 miler plan back on some sort of track.

Downward Ho?

Hope everyone has a Pigtastic weekend!

Later,

Marsden

Dawn during Springtime. Much cheerier than this post.

Dawn during Springtime. Much less stupid than this post.

 

Performance Reviews

Where I work we have a yearly ritual of performance reviews.  The goal for the employee is to make yourself sound wonderful and a gift to humankind (in a vain attempt to get more $).  Management on the other hand wants to cut you down to make you feel lucky to be gainfully employed (thus saving them $).  It got me thinking (always a scary thought) what if running had similar race performance reviews.

Me: Marsden exhibited initiative to go the extra mile to get the job done.

Management: He only went one mile further because that was where the doughnuts were.

—————————————————————————————————-

Me: Marsden overcame obstacles to make it to the finish line.

Management: He can trip on the breeze.

————————————————————————————————–

Me: Marsden researchs training plans to create a plan of “best practices” to optimize his skill set.

Management: His training plan is better known as “winging it”.

————————————————————————————————–

Me: Provided support and encouragement to other runners through multiple social  media platforms.

Management: He was a smart ass on Twitter and his Instagram account is the photographic equivalent of water boarding. If ignorance was money, he would be a lottery winner.

Management: A picture to try and distract you from the fact this blog piece is total crap

Management: A picture to try to distract you from the fact this blog piece is total crap

Me: Provided mentoring to newer runners.

Management: Made crap up for people who didn’t know any better in a blog that fortunately is only viewed by bots and people who make poor choices in their Google searches.

—————————————————————————————————————

Me: Through hard effort and perseverance Marsden exceeded race result expectations.

Management: He set the bar so low it was buried 10 feet under ground.

————————————————————————————————————–

Me: There is The Pig.

Management: OK, we’ll give you that one.

Maybe next time I’ll let The Pig handle my performance review.  So how would your running performance review look?

Later,

Marsden

 

 

Endless Summer 6 Hour Race (2016)

Back in 2014 I ran Endless Summer 6 hour race having no idea what to expect. I hadn’t raced more than a half marathon my entire life, I was just coming off a knee injury and my longest run for the race was 8 miles. Stupidity works for me and I managed to have a decent race.

Fast forward to 2016.  I have run 8, 12, and 24 hour races and 50 miler to boot. I didn’t taper for this race (and had a long run of 20 mile last weekend) but I was hoping that stupidity would save the day once again.

So I arose at o’dark hundred to load up the car to make my way to Quiet Waters park in Annapolis, MD.  Knowing it would be warm, I brought my cooler loaded with 7 frozen bottles of Tailwind, 4 change of shirts, spare pair of sock, my drop bag with 20 gels and more unnecessary crap.  Personally, I’m surprised I didn’t bring my foam roller (OK, I forgot it, but I didn’t want to admit that).

I arrived and unpacked my stuff on a chair right by the trail and told The Pig not to eat all the Sport Beans this time. He said OK, but I think he had his hooves crossed when he said it since by the end of the race they were missing.  I guess that is his price for crewing me.

After a well done version of the National Anthem, we all lined up to start the race.  The person behind me said, “I’m going to be back here and not up there with the ultra beards”. Maybe I shouldn’t have trimmed my beard for the race.

The course. Note lots of trees but no quiet waters.

The course. Note lots of trees but no quiet waters.

So we were all off, and given the number of people it was a bit congested for the first mile.  The first mile came in at 11:45 and I had three thoughts simultaneously (yes, you are thinking that is a week’s worth for me and I appreciate you keeping that to yourself.)

  1. Darn that was a slow mile.
  2. Hey, I didn’t start too fast for once.
  3. I have sweated through my entire singlet.

The last one was the one I was concerned with since I had planned on swapping shirts every couple of laps but I didn’t have 6 singlets, so I was going to have to figure something out.

Yes, I realize that everyone is hoping for an early fall in DC so you can stop reading about me sweating.

The next mile I started to get in the rhythm and the field started to thin out.  I was around the last of the runners so I was basically going to be running the next 6 hours alone.  Although this race doesn’t allow headphones, I have to admit I didn’t miss them much.

Each lap was 4.15 miles (though my Garmin was showing them shorter).  I came into the aid station in 45:30 and stopped by my chair to swap shirts, get a new frozen bottle and put new safety pins on my bib number because two of them came off during the first lap.  Fortunately I had spares and The Pig quickly passed them to me (though in retrospect the idea of either of us having a sharp object in the middle of a race probably wasn’t all that bright).

I was off on my way, but the transition took longer than I wanted and the next mile split was over 12 min/mile which I wasn’t looking for that early in the race.  I picked the pace up (it’s all relative folks) and was feeling OK about the race so far. Sure, I was sweating Niagara Falls off me, but the sun was still behind the clouds and as far I was concerned it could stay there.

I stopped again to get a new bottle at the end of the 2nd lap.  My bottle had frozen into the ice so I had to pull out a block of ice and bang it against a convenient log to free my bottle.  I looked around for The Pig to determine why he hadn’t taken care of this for me, but I saw he was talking to one of the female relay runners. I just hoped she didn’t have a jealous boyfriend.

So I went off on my 3rd lap and the humidity was getting to me and I was having to slow down to keep from over heating.

If only this were true

If only this were true I’d be People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive

Along with slowing down I noticed that my shoes were starting to squish.  I thought about swapping socks at the next lap, but I knew that would take a while.  I also put some thought into what I was going to do about my shirts since only had two left and had 4+ laps left (I hoped). I pondered this as I trotted along the course (it wasn’t like I had much else to occupy my mind). In the end I made a decision to do something I had never done in a race before.

Those who get ill easily may want to stop reading

I decided to run a lap without a shirt.

Normally I would NEVER consider this. The list of reasons stretches from my abs of jello to the screams of terrified children.  However, desperate times call for desperate measures so when I hit the end of lap three (49:31) I took off my shirt, re-applied my sunscreen, got another bottle and took off before anyone noticed.

For once I was glad I was running alone. By now the sun had come out and so on top off all my other problems, the glare off my pale white body was probably blinding anyone within sight.  As it got hotter I started to walk anything that resembled a hill.  It slowed my pace, but kept me cooler.  I finally got back to the start/finish area.  On the other laps there were people cheering as you went past.  On this shirtless lap, there was stunned silence. I am going to assume that everyone was in awe of my studlyness (hey, I’m running a 6 hour race and given my running skills, self-delusion is a requirement).

Lap 4 (52:39, and there is a theme here of slowing down) I put on my next singlet, grabbed a new bottle, got some Sport Beans from The Pig (grudgingly) and was off again.

Running Lonely Central (aka mosquito central) Fortunately I had bug spray.

Running Lonely Central (aka mosquito central) Fortunately I had bug spray. I only accidentally shot it in my eye once. 

By this point I was walking at increasingly frequent intervals but I tried to think of this as an exercise in hot yoga and embrace the heat. It didn’t work, but hey, it was worth a shot. It was around this point that my stomach started to rebel and didn’t want to take in liquid. I slowed my Tailwind intake (I was going through 20-25 oz a lap). It seemed to work because after a couple of miles my stomach settled down (maybe it was upset that I wasn’t showing it off by going shirtless).

The lap ended and The Pig gave me a pep talk as I changed into my last remaining singlet, grabbed a bottle and went out again.  It was around this time that my calves started cramping whenever I tried to run.  By mile 24 I was basically just walking, but at least my race walking skills kept it under 14 min/miles.

Finally the horn went off and the race was over. They give you a flag to plant in the ground when the horn goes off, so you can get partial lap credit (and including college I LIVE for partial credit).  In the end I had 28.45 miles.  44th out of 123 runners.  Better mileage than my last 6 hour race, so I’ll take it.

As I walked back to the start/finish it started to rain. Sure, wait until after to cool me off. Thanks Mother Nature.

After the race I met Ray, , from Twitter. Ray was running his first ultra and in fact was so dedicated to the idea that he ran extra mileage after the race. Totally badass and a good guy to boot. I also got to see Felicia, @12for1200, who had a good day and got top military female honors. 

Ray and The Pig. This is before The Pig scarfed down three hamburgers.

Ray and The Pig. This is before The Pig scarfed down three hamburgers.

Ray, The Pig and I post race. Yes after complaining all blog about the heat I am wearing long sleeves (it actually is a cool shirt)

Ray, The Pig and I after the race. Yes after complaining all blog about the heat I am wearing long sleeves (it actually is a cool shirt and provides sun protection). No idea what the pink blob in the corner is.  Picture credit to 

I started to get overheated so I figured it was best to go back home and celebrate with The Pig and some beer. Which makes 6 hours totally worth it.

Later,

Marsden