Another Day of Running Rants

Some random stuff.

First, thanks for all the concern and well wishes. I took two days off from running  and did a short, easy run today and didn’t die, so I’m pretty sure that means I’m adequately prepared for a half marathon. I think I’ll just ditch the rest of my training plan. Or not. We’ll see how the next couple of weeks go.

When did workout clothes get so damn expensive? I went to Target last weekend to buy workout pants. I blindly put some items in my basket (checking prices is for losers) and made my way to the checkout counter (oh, but not before perusing the razor blade refills and having a slight heart attack. $23 for razor refills? Apparently, I’m too poor to shave my legs. Sorry for you, XFE).

But back to workout clothes. As I was heading to the exit, I thought to myself, “Hmmm, that tally seemed a bit high, even for tempt-you-with-other-stuff-Target. Lemme see here…. 40 US DOLLARS for a pair of running tights??”

How you like my sweat-xedo?

I’m sorry, but we’re talking Target here. Champion brand. Not the evil, Michael-Vick-supporting Nike. At least I know that with Nike, there’s a huge premium for all those flashy commercials and endorsements, so I don’t even bother looking at their stuff. When’s the last time anyone saw a Champion commercial? I think not, Target. I went directly to the customer service desk and returned those bad boys. Now I have hairy legs and old workout shorts. You are all welcome.

ALSO: because I’m a wimp and refuse to run outside in (a) anything under 50 degrees and (b) in the dark, which now descends at the ripe old hour of 4:30 pm, I have caved and joined a gym. This was an easy decision. The gym I chose wasn’t picked for its variety of classes (there are none); the delightful spa-like locker room (doesn’t exist. But there is a bathroom. Very basic though. I think you have to bring your own toilet paper), or the vast variety of the latest and newest equipment (there are like, 5 treadmills, a bunch of elliptical, a couple of bikes and weight machines, and some free weights.)

No, Crap Fitness was chosen amongst all the more glamorous selections because it is literally two blocks from my house and I walk past it every night on my way home. You’re right, that is convenient. And unlike many in my running brethren, I’m actually ok with running mindlessly on a treadmill. Yes, it’s boring, but nobody gets hurt. No issue there.

The thing is: this gym is hot as hell. It’s like I’m bikram running in there. No you guys, seriously, it is HAWT. Really, really hot. Like two rats humping in a wool sock hot. Like so hot hens would be laying hard boiled eggs. What I’m saying is: the gym is a might bit overly warm.

Dang y'all, it is hot up in here.

I recently asked the girl manning the front desk if other people have ever mentioned it being hot, and she looked at me like I had two heads. Perhaps because I was bright red and sweating all over her counter? I dunno, but she said, “nope.”

I do not believe her. I have eyes and I can see other people getting really red and sweaty too. I can also see that there are no air vents near the treadmills whatsoever, so that’s probably part of the problem. But apparently, no one else in the entire world is prone to complaining except me.

I guess I should have taken advantage of Crap Fitness’ whole “one week free trial period,” but I thought that was merely putting off the inevitable since I had to join a gym at some point, why be picky? But now? One super sweaty month into it, I’m really starting to wish I’d been picky. It is nice to just walk down the street to the gym though. UGH.

I bought a fan to clip onto the treadmill but it is incredibly weak and ineffective against my Extreme Radiating Heat (ERH). I think it gives me more of a mental boost than anything else. Maybe I should tape some ice packs to my forehead and temples. What? I’d cover it with some sweet headband.  

Knees up! And happy as hell!

 Y’all seem real fond of the Gold Rush post, so there’ll be another one coming tomorrow, you’ll be happy to hear.

Three Weeks Till Certain Humiliation

It’s three weeks until the Las Vegas Rock N Roll ½ Marathon and I am pooping one of those small, rectangular units of building material, often made from fired clay, and secured with mortar. I’m shitting bricks is what I’m trying to say.

You have to love Google Images. Everything you're looking for is there. Unbelievable.

I don’t know if I’m ready. Or if I will be ready. I’m afraid I’ll make a fool of myself. Or worse, injure myself. I actually may already be a success at that second one.

A few weeks ago, the balls of my feet started hurting anytime I would run over an hour, especially the left foot. Now, the smart, reasonable thing to do would be to not run for over an hour. Alas, alack, I’m not fast enough to complete a half marathon in an hour. Or, maybe even two hours.

So last Monday, thinking that perhaps the newish pain was caused by old shoes, I stopped by the running store and purchased new shoes. New, same shoes. As in, the brand and style I’ve been using for the past two years or so. Mizuno Nirvanas, which are oh so ironically named since there is nothing “Nirvana”-like about either the price of those shoes or training for a half. But, those were the shoes recommended by the running store when they analyzed my gait and whatnot, so those have been what I have used.

The old shoes on the right are looking fairly busted.

New shoes always have the same initial issue: blisters. I’m quite blister-prone. Especially when breaking in new shoes. And, of course, I had blisters on my right foot all last week. But the bigger issue was the continuing ball-of-the-feet pain. And, in the mornings, I noticed my feet would hurt for the first few minutes after getting out of bed. I had tender feet and had to pad around carefully.

I ran 6 miles on the treadmill on Saturday (acquiring this lovely new chafe mark – seriously, I do all kinds of contortions to make sure I get Body Glide ALL OVER and the one place I have never had any issues and therefore don’t lube up, gets chafed.) My feet definitely hurt, but I figured I’d just stretch it out.

Please ignore my awesomely flabby white arm and let's just focus on the red angry welt caused by my shirt sleeve. Apparently.

I started out on my 10 miler at around 3 yesterday, fortified by a waffle and side of bacon ingested at 10:30 and a celebratory glass of champagne with newly-engaged running buddy Amy at around 2:30. I’ve heard that this is how running dynamo Skinny Runner fuels. Oh wait….she drinks Prosecco AFTER a race, not before? Hmmm.

Sure enough, right around the hour mark, my left foot started to throb. It’s like running on a very deep bruise. It almost feels like a bone spur or something, it’s so localized. And, I’m MILES from home. I have no choice but to keep going, or lay down on the side of the trail like a wimp, which was my first choice, but since it wasn’t that busy (ie: no audience), I had to keep going.

I ran 8 miles, then hobbled/ran/walked the last two. And went straight to the running store. They think it might be plantar fasciitis. I got fitted for some new inserts, bought this cool new spiky ball to massage my feet and spent the evening icing and stretching. Fun, glamorous times at my house last night, let me tell you.



So that’s how I spent my weekend. Anyone else do anything fun?

Also: final note. XFE reminded me that the term “soy sauce” came about the other day after he almost bit it on the exact same two steps while clearing dishes. After almost taking a dive, he said, “whoa, I almost soy sauced.” Which is waaaaay funnier than my lame story. And which just proves that (a) he’s funnier than me, and (b) I’m not really “a revisionist” when it comes to my stories, I just have a crappy memory. Because seriously, why would I leave that out if I had remembered it?

Run Review: Run for the Water 5k, Austin, Texas

I’m back! OK, what did I miss? I mean, Kim and Kris are still happy young newlyweds, right? And Jessica Simpson is totally not preggers, right? And Rick Perry gave an amazingly awesome speech in New Hampshire that’s going to help him regain the top of the polls, right?

Oh, so…..none of those things are accurate?

Well, I wouldn’t know, because I was eating and shopping my way through Austin. Yee-haw!

Also: I ran a race. So let’s start with that.

I’m right up there in the front somewheres. Not.

I ran the 2011 Run for the Water 5k, which helps the Gazelle Foundation secure access to clean water in the small African country of Burundi. There was also a 10-miler and a kids run. There were about 3,000 participants between the 10-miler and the 5k. They also had barefoot divisions in both categories, to which I say, hell to the no thanks. I don’t know if they cap the number of race participants, but they seemed pretty pleased with the numbers. I registered kinda late, September 13 and the fee was just $17.

The race took place at 7 am on Sunday, October 30 and it started and ended on the First Street bridge right in front of RunTex, a popular Austin running store. It was cold and dark when we started (I think the temp was around 50 degrees), but it was nice to watch the sun coming up as you ran back to the bridge at 7:30 am.

We were staying at the W Hotel on Lavaca and 2nd, so I had a short walk over to the start. Interesting note: the course went past the (fairly sparse) Occupy Austin folks who are camped out at the City Hall, but there were no comments or heckling or anything like I might have expected. The police had cracked down the night before and arrested 38 of the occupiers, so maybe that had something to do with the silent treatment.

Bag and tag pickup was pretty easy. You could pick up bags at RunTex beginning on Friday. I went on Saturday and there was no line or anything. The swag bag had the assorted promos for upcoming races, a voucher for a free Whataburger with purchase of sides, a pretty nice 2012 calendar featuring water projects in Burundi, and a sweet bright blue tech shirt. As we all know, I only care about the tech shirt.

Tech shirt
I did not wear my shirt at the race. That’s kind of lame. But I did wear it to the gym last night. So, here you go.

The race was supposed to start with the 10 mile runners at 7, but I don’t think it actually started until about 7:08. After both the Burundi and U.S. national anthems, the race started. Then the 5k participants were called to the start line. We started a tad bit late as well, but I don’t remember the time. There were no corrals or pacers, you just kinda started wherever.

Which brings me to another important point: The main thing to remember if you are planning on running in an Austin race is that folks are way more chill about this whole racing biz. Some folks were running, some were walking, some just wanted to show their support for their running buddies by bringing their kids in a red wagon onto the course. Nobody seemed very competitive or like they were going for a personal record. So, you might have to bob and weave around some pretty laid back folks, their kids, their dogs, their grandparents. It almost seemed more like a parade than a race at times. It was definitely a less “runner” vibe than I get at a lot of the DC races. Don’t get me wrong: everybody’s very nice, they’re just not in a big hurry to get this race thing going.

The course was an out-and-back. I would not call it a flat course: there was a long uphill portion near the halfway point, but I’ve seen worse. The course support was provided by Keller Williams Realty and was pretty good. Lots of folks were out there to direct, which became pretty important when the two races split. I think there was one water station that you hit on the way out and back, and I saw Porta Potties at one point. No VIP potties though, so I didn’t stop.

My goal in all races is generally the same: don’t walk. I always try to run the whole race. This was a good race for me. I did not walk, and I finished in 30 minutes, 21 seconds, which is respectable. I came in 147th among the 5k women; 322 overall place in a field of 813; and 55th within my age group.

There were 493 women in the 5k and the average women’s pace was 37 minutes, so I did better than the average, which is great. Hell, I even did better than the average man, who came in at 31 minutes. Of course, the first place women’s finisher came in at 20 minutes, 38 seconds; and the first place man crossed at 16 minutes, 41 seconds. But, who’s counting.

The after party was pretty great as well. Whataburger was giving out breakfast taquitos and I saw several local businesses giving away breakfast tacos and coffee as well. No Juan in a Million though.

I almost never hang out after a race and this one was no exception. I grabbed a banana, a granola bar and a water and left since I was (a) cold; and (b) I planned on being back to the hotel by 8 am. By the way, I did not bring my camera and take any pictures, which I know is kinda lame, but I was just focused on getting the race done. Sorry. I’ll try not to be so lame in the future. Also: race pictures still aren’t available.

Oh, by the way, the first place finisher for the 10 mile race was Scott MacPherson from Cedar Park, TX. And he was hitting the finish line as I was walking back to the W. Turns out, he finished the whole race in 48 minutes, 49 seconds. That is INSANE. Much props to that dude. I take longer than that just getting ready to go for a run.

This guy is kinda fast. But I’m sweatier, so I think that means I’m working harder.

Fighting for Equal Potty Access for All Since 2011

Apparently, this week is all “lookie what came into my inbox” week at the PoeLog (week name trademark: pending).

But seriously: Look what came into my inbox from the fine organizers of the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Race Series (I’m training for the half-marathon). Right between a cleverly titled Yelp round up of the best taco places in DC (“Nacho Average Taco” in case you were wondering) and an Urban Daddy promo of a new restaurant called “Meatballs.”

(Sidetrack: I wonder if there’s any correlation whatsoever between the sheer number of food-related content I receive in my inbox and my continuous, daily struggle to pummel the treadmill with my increasingly heavy-footed gait?

(Sidetrack explained: Why yes, I’m a little frustrated with the number on the scale these days. How can I have gained five pounds when I run All. The. Time. I don’t expect to lose weight. That has never happened in my multi-year history of running. But how can I have gained it? And if even one person pipes up in the comment section with, “Oh, you’ve probably gained muscle, and muscle weighs more than fat,” I will go on a rampage. A pound is a pound. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pound of muscle or a pound of fat. They both weigh a pound.)) End of rant.

Anyone still with me here? Wow. You are persistent.

Anyway, the item I wish to draw attention to is this one (all emphasis mine)

Brooks VIP Porta Potty for a Super-Deluxe Start

Take your pre-race potty break in luxury with the Brooks VIP Porta Potty. As a thank you for choosing Brooks and Moving Comfort gear, Brooks is setting up tricked out toilets on race day at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon and 1/2 Marathon starting line.

Enjoy a spacious, climate-controlled restroom with running water, flushing toilets, and some Run Happy® surprises. To claim your VIP access you must do ONE of the following:

Head to a participating retailer October 31 – December 1, 2011, and purchase $100 in Brooks or Moving Comfort apparel or Brooks shoes. Offer valid at listed locations only (see list online).

– OR –

Come to the Health & Fitness Expo presented by Power Balance on December 2-3 and purchase $150 in official Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon merchandise, Brooks apparel or running shoes, or Moving Comfort apparel.

You’ll receive a special sticker for your race bib that gives you access to the Brooks VIP Porta Potty staffed by Brooks employees and volunteers from participating Las Vegas-area retailers.

Please note: Passes are available while supplies last. To maximize your enjoyment, the total number admitted is capped. The Brooks VIP Porta Potty will be available on race day from 2:00 to 5:45 p.m., and we strongly recommend arriving early.

Holy Club Honey Bucket (that’s the name of a popular porta potty company for those of you who don’t know. Don’t ask me how I know that). Is this now “a thing?” And is it only for the Las Vegas Rock n Roll ½ (which I’m currently training for)?

Wait, is there a BUTLER??

Alas, no it is not. I looked on my Twitter feed and there was a tweet from my favorite local running store touting their Brooks VIP Porta Potty for this weekend’s Marine Corp Marathon. Apparently, this is, indeed, “a thing.”

Now, my first instinct, like any girl who enjoys the finer things in life, is hellz yeah. I want to “potty like a rock star” and “take my pre-race potty break in luxury.” I want to sit in a “spacious, climate-controlled restroom with running water and flushing toilets.” And I’m beyond intrigued by what “Run Happy® surprises” might be mine for the taking. Are we talking special toilet paper here? I’m very suspicious of surprises in general (I mean, it could be an unpleasant surprise) but still, incredibly curious.

Plus, I need that access! Have you seen the porta-potties at a race? They’re not very nice. And there are a lot of people waiting to use them. And, I have the World’s Smallest Bladder®, so the idea of instant and frequent bathroom access is quite attractive to me.

running pee
Or maybe I should sell porta potties aimed at runners.


Plus, plus, I need new running shoes at some point before the race and if I am spending the money anyways, I might as well get a “special sticker giving me access to the Brooks VIP Porta Potty staffed by Brooks employees and volunteers” – (sidenote: eeeewww. That has to be the suckiest volunteer job ever. Can you imagine showing up on race day, ready to hand out water or cheer on racers and finding out that instead, you’ll be manning the porta potty? Uuuuuh, no thanks.)


But after quickly perusing the list of participating retailers and determining that I could not buy my shoes here in DC in the next month or so (which I desperately need to do) and get my sticker for the RnR event, I became righteously indignant.

Suddenly, I became one of the great unwashed masses, denied entry into the best bathroom. Instead, I’ll have to slum it with all the other runners at the non-exclusive porta potty. No Run Happy® surprises for me.

And so, my fellow LVRNR runners, I suggest that we mobilize. We have to show those elitist that we’re not going to take any of their crap (PUN: INTENDED). We must start a (bowel) movement that will be heard across the country.

We must Occupy the Brooks VIP Porta Party.

Let’s take a (toilet) seat for democracy. We are the 99% and we have to go to the bathroom.

guy pooping pants

Rock n Rolling My Way Towards Vegas

A couple of weeks back, a tall, wily Texan talked me into signing up for my second ever half marathon. The Las Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon, to be precise. (Ugh. Warning: There is a super large and incredibly annoying pop up ad for Transformers currently dominating the LVRNR site. Just skip it.)

There were a couple of things that made this particular half marathon attractive. For starters, I’ve always wanted to do a Rock N Roll half. I hear they’re well organized, have great swag and are a lot of fun.

Second, thanks to my travel-planner-for-life’s work schedule, XFE was already going to be in Vegas at the same time. So he could actually come out and support me. Although, who am I kidding? It’s Vegas! Who’s going to leave the craps table to go watch a bunch of sadistic idiots huff their way through 13.1 miles? Also: I already know that running is not a spectator sport and I would never ask anyone to stand by the side of the road trying to find me out of a bazillion other people for 2.3 seconds of pained recognition. Then there’s the whole cluster-mess at the end of the race in which it is virtually impossible to find your loved ones. So, no, I don’t really expect XFE to come out and support me. And if he’s on a hot streak at the tables, he better not leave. Just meet me at the nearest buffet and pay for my very large meal. (side rant: Vegas is also the desert and as such, it gets pretty cold there. Really, really cold. Another reason why people aren’t going to go outside to watch crazy people run.)

But my name isn't even Kim!

Third, the above mentioned wily Texan has a real pistol for a wife and this is going to be her first half marathon. And I really don’t want to miss out on that. Plus, since she’s kinda new to running, I should be able to smoke her, right? Actually, probably not: she’s all official and stuff, with an actual trainer. I ran 7 miles yesterday and 6 today and almost died on both of them. If this is the sign of things to come (hey, I’ve got 7 more weeks to prepare, get off my tail.), personal humiliation is assured.

Fourth, redemption for this debacle, which, while a pretty awful experience, is also one of the races I’m most proud of because despite the miserable conditions I (a) finished, and (b) did not stop to walk even once the whole damn race. Even though I really, really wanted to. But since I didn’t see a single medic the whole 13 miles, I figured no one would pick me up if I collapsed in a loser heap. Ergo: keep running. How’s that for a training plan?

Fifth, two of my favorite running bloggers (ok, the only two I read) are both going to be doing the LV marathon! Yes, I will be spending a lot of my marathon trying to stalk this crazy Texan and this California speed demon. What I’ll do if I see them, I don’t know. But I’m sure it will involve embarrassing myself.

But what really sealed the deal was this awesome article I found online. It’s got some of the most excellent quotes I’ve ever run across in my news reading career. I’m totally jealous of the interviewing skills of this reporter. What questions could he possibly have asked to elicit such pumped up responses?

“Instantaneously, this becomes the largest night race in the world. This is gonna be a gargantuan race,” he said. “This will have a bucket-list effect around the world. It becomes a must-do race.”

A bucket-list effect around the world? A must-do race? Holy sore Achilles, sign me up! And where is my bucket list? Why the heck wasn’t this on it? Ah, that’s right. Because NO race is on my bucket list. Other crap like, swimming in a pool of chocolate mousse, or taking off to Paris for a romantic trip at the last minute — these are things that are on my bucket list. Nevertheless:

“The dynamic of the race has changed,” said Adam Zocks, vice president and general manager of the race. “Our whole directive (when Competitor took over) was to make this a city-wide event, and we’ve done that very quickly. It’s tremendously exciting for us. This was the way to take it to the next level.”

Hmm, my definition of “taking it to the next level” is having hot male models piggyback us all across the finish line, but ok, dude. I get it, we have different definitions of “tremendously exciting.”

I'm not in love with the positioning here, but I couldn't find a picture of a hot model carrying someone across a finish line. Oddly.

But the guy who really sells this whole LV race is none other than the mayor himself:

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman was on hand and typically bombastic about how the race — nearly on its deathbed four years ago — reinvented itself.

“Look what happened to it. It blossomed into maybe the greatest running event in the history of the world,” said Goodman, who said he wasn’t surprised by the event’s progress.

“Nothing surprises me ever in Las Vegas. It’s a can-do place, and with the right ideas, the cream always rises to the top. And that’s what it’s done here.”

That’s right! I’m participating in one of (ok, maybe one of….the jury is still out) the “greatest running event in the history of the world!” And like cream, I’m going to rise to the top, baby! Or….limp painfully across the finish line, silently begging my lungs not to jump out of my mouth. Here’s another good quote:

“This will be a better experience for the runners, the race of a lifetime on the Strip, and it’s better for the spectators — it’s a show with a cast of 35,000.”

Hey, wait a minute, if I’m in a show, I better be getting PAID. I’d even consider payment in the form of chocolate mousse. Or, since the race is being put on by Zappos, how about some shoes? Lots and lots of shoes! And I don’t care what time you hold this thing, it’s still boring as hell to watch a loved one run for over 2 hours. No way to make that interesting, sorry. Unless, again, and I hate to keep bringing it up, but unless you incorporate some male model Sherpa-ing, schnoresville.

Yes, please come and try to find me among the 35,000 participants. Otherwise, I won't love you anymore.