Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Runner 4 of 12 Aching Up to Vegas

The weekend's Las Vegas Ragnar could be summed up into the following:

  • A long stretch of incredible anticipation
  • The runs
  • Wet dreams
  • Ultimate climax...finally!
I'm sure the search engines will love this.

A Long Stretch of Anticipation
Several months ago, a friend invited me to join his Ragnar team after several other members dropped out. I wasn't going to let another Ragnar opportunity pass me by so I immediately, announced it to the family, put it on the calendar in big bold letters, hired a marketing company to remind family and co-workers regularly, burned it into my lawn accepted the invitation. After my utter failure at the SoJo marathon, I needed something to get the desire back. I needed time with fellow running enthusiasts who wouldn't roll their eyes at another running story, who knew the value of carbo-loading, that didn't mind a little sweat on the car seats. I needed a relay! Last Thursday, we loaded up the van and headed to Mesquite.

The race started in the Valley of Fire. Staying in Mesquite offered us a cheap place to stay and a decent buffet. The hotel was definitely cheap, but a new coat of paint had been slapped on the walls and the room seemed relatively clean. The buffet was surprisingly good. There was a fresh pasta bar where a cook prepared the desired toppings on the spot. Combined with some decent protein options, a little fresh fruit and dessert, the buffet was a good choice for the night before. Our team was "Aching up to Vegas."

The Runs
We chose which leg we would run at a pre-race meeting we held two months ago. I chose to be runner #4 which meant I ran a 6.4 (52:46/8:17 pace), 3.1 (23:09/7:28 pace), 6.9 (55:27/8:03 pace) mile legs during the course of the race. My goal was to be under 8:00 on each leg that I ran and to see if I could get under 7:30 for the 3.1 mile leg at night. It worked out to be pretty close to that.

We couldn't have asked for better weather. The skies were overcast with highs in the low to upper 60s the entire race. The course was very easy to follow during the day and more difficult to follow at night. 

My second leg was at 10:30 pm in the dark. The course was probably really easy to follow during the day, but at night it was extremely difficult. After the initial turn, there were no makers on the road and no one to follow. I passed one person and asked if we were headed the right direction. He shrugged and said "I hope so..." I continued on until finally I came upon a sign telling me to turn. 

In order to fully appreciate
this photo, you must click
the link to the right.
Again, the directions were a little sketchy, but I made it to the trail portion and found a good strong rhythm. At the end of the trail was a 4 foot drop. I'm glad I had studied the course beforehand and was away of the drop or it could have been a disaster for me. I celebrated my outstanding run with a Jack in the Box Sirloin burger combo....I attribute this and my secret Mundungus training strategy to my last leg of the race and 29 "road kills".

Wet Dreams**
During the course of the runs, we all experienced the wet dream portion of our race. After we all finished our second leg, we passed off the baton to van #2 and then drove to where they would meet us. We had approximately 6 hours before they arrived which would allow us time to get to the exchange point and hopefully get some sleep. We parked, found a nice patch of grass, put down our tarp and crawled in our sleeping bags. I remember warming up, starting to drift off and then all of a sudden I hear a noise and people shouting "SPRINKLERS".... I grabbed my gear dragged it down the hill to a non-sprinkler spot, crawled into my bag again only to hear "SPRINKLERS"... the lower set now were on. At this point, I'm wet, my gear is wet and i'm now settled onto the cold, hard cement. A few minutes later, Annie from our van told us we could sleep in the little community center if we had gotten wet. I knew it had to be better than the cement. The volunteers in the center were nice and loud, but there wasn't much sleep to be had.

The Ultimate Climax...Finally!
Being van #1, we finished our last leg several hours before the other van was ready to meet us so we could cross the finish line together. We made our way to our hotel, got showered, picked up some food and had time for a short nap before meeting our team at the finish. It was an awesome experience to run through the finish together and receive our finisher medals. And talk about a medal...this monster is bigger than any other finisher medal I have "'s got it's own solar system!"***

* Road kills are runners that team members pass during the course of the relay. 
** If you're looking for something more–you perv.
*** Name that quote and maybe i'll send you a ShotBlok snack. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Runner's World New Marketing Strategy-Repaying the Bailout Plan One Subscriber at a Time

Last night as I was having a conversation with myself about ways to avoid working out pondering my new training regimen that I started yesterday, my iPhone ping'ed. The sound meant that I had received a new e-mail which at the time of day meant  only thing....either an invitation to increase my manhood, a nigerian businessman who has chosen me to assist in the rescue of his cash, or a solicitation to buy something. It was the latter and from Runner's World.

My subscription lapsed about a year ago and i've missed getting something in the mail that wasn't a bill, adding more photos of Kara Goucher to my wall the hard-hitting up-to-the-minute technological breakthroughs in running that only Runner's World offers. I opened the email and saw that they were offering a 12 month subscription for only $12. That seemed like a pretty decent deal so I clicked on the link and it took me to a sign up page that explained the offer. Even better, they were offering a 24 month version for $24. If I wanted the 12-month option, I had to pay an additional $3.95 for shipping charges. Looking for the deal, I opted for the 24-month value plan.

I contentedly skipped through the ads and additional offers and got to the checkout. I clicked on the "bill me later" option. It processed the order, came back with a confirmation code and a pseudo invoice saying that they would bill me for $39.64!! WOW! The world came to a screeching halt at that moment. I examined it a little closer to see the neat little "*" sign which in the marketing world signifies "we've just screwed you and here's where you get to go find out why."

Clicking on the link takes me to a new screen that tells me that my state requires Rodale to charge sales tax. Being the bright mathematician that I am I called my kids down to solve this  I ran the numbers and discovered that Rodale tacked on 60.5% sales tax to my order! That is some fine marketing! I haven't been swindled that good since I was newly married and we bought a Geo Metro from a slick-talking used car salesperson. I haven't seen numbers that smooth since reading up on how the bailout plan would be repaid or how the healthcare bill will actually save me money. I've got to hand it to Rodale and give them the Slick Salesperson Salute for today.

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Fall/Winter Training Plan

With the marathon finished, I'm at a crossroads. I would like to redeem myself from my poor outing at the SoJo Marathon by running an upcoming marathon in Mesquite, NV late November. On the other hand, a part of me would rather just sit back let fall/winter pass by and not think about running or training.
Alas, I'm opting to choose door number one and add in some cross training to a running regimen. I dusted off the P90X dvd collection that I bought last winter and inserted the Ab Ripper X dvd this morning. I had a long conversation with myself before pressing play. It went something like this...

Self:"ok, we've got to build our core back to the superhuman level is was at, right"

Self 2: "Right!" (Notice the enthusiasm)

Self: "Good. The best way to do that is via the P90X system."

Self 2: "Wait...whoa..hold on a sec. When I agreed with you, I meant we should take some time to look at our options, maybe get a second opinion. We should definitely go to lunch and discuss this."

Self: "I get the our relationship with the P90X system is the same as when we go to the dentist to get a new crown. We hate the process, but like the results."

Self 2: "Ok, I agree with you on that, but what are we going to start with? Can we start with the X Stretch or maybe just the last part of the Yoga X where we get to do corpse pose? We should ease into this."

Self: "We're starting with Ab Ripper X..."


Self: "Stop your whining. You got us into this position. Now I have to get us out." (notice how good my ego's are at blaming each other? That took years of developing.)

Then I proceeded to hit play. At the time of this writing, the pain from the 300+ ab exercises hasn't hit yet. There will be a whole new level of blaming that will go on tomorrow as I go running. Maybe we should have gone to lunch first to develop the plan...too late now.