Sunday, March 31, 2013

Vampires Are Cool Again

I may have spent the better part of this weekend reliving the magic that is BtVS seasons six and seven, and I may have picked Nancy Holder's Buffy: The Making of a Slayer

Complete with replicas of props!
I'm a proud member of the Buffy generation -- you know, back when vampires were scary.  Even if a human girl fell in love with one, they could still instill fear.  You know, back before vampires sparkled in the sun and were worried about pre-marital sex.  (Okay. Technically, very bad things happened when Buffy and Angel got intimate.  It's totally bogus that even a show about a kick-ass female superhero was so sex negative.)

I'm rambling again.

So, with lame vampires, zombies became the new trendy Big Bad -- and there are plenty of post-zombie apocalypse, survival-themed races to prove it.  What's a fan of vampires to do?

Why the Vampire 5K, of course!

Participants choose one role: citizen or vampire.  Starting at dusk, citizens toward finish line.  Meanwhile, vampires try to convert citizens by taking away flags from their garlic belt.  There's even fog, a red powder zone, and a finish line party!

The DC race is scheduled for April 26th.  Anyone in?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quoted: The Barkley Marathons

Figuring out how to enter the race is an achievement in itself.

 “There is no Web site, and I don’t publish the race date or explain how to enter,” said Cantrell, an accomplished ultrarunner who has never come close to completing his own race. “Anything that makes it more mentally stressful for the runners is good.”

(The start of the race involves a curious tradition in which participants try to refrain from letting Cantrell see them run. They will walk the first few hundred meters, until they turn a bend and begin running once they are out of his sight.)

Because so few participants are allowed, the details of how to apply are a closely guarded secret. The first step is to figure out where and when to send a required essay on why one should be allowed to compete.

“If you send it in five minutes early, he’ll delete it,” said Beverly Abbs, a 48-year-old environmental scientist from Red Bluff, Calif., who completed three loops in last year’s race. “We had to send the application at midnight on Christmas Day in Gary’s time zone, and you have to figure out which one it is on your own.”
From The Barkley Marathons: Few Know How to Enter, Fewer Finish in The New York Times

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Around the Interwebs: Zombie Story

I'm not going to lie: sometimes, I like to think that all of the running that I do is going to prepare me for an impending zombie apocalypse.  After all, zombies hate fast food, amirite


Anyway, speaking of zombies, Redditor JimmyLegs50 noticed strange similarities between The Walking Dead and Toy Story.  And, it's amazing.  (Heads up: if you're not a fan of spoilers, you won't want to look at the gallery.) 

The story continues here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Visualizing 2000 Calories

Buzzfeed compiled a video to visualize the daily caloric needs of an average adult, using various types of food.

Mmmm, bacon.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Thoughts on Fall Races

I'm done sulking and being hard on myself for not setting a PR at this year's Rock 'n' Roll USA.  In fact, I find it very easy to be done sulking when I know there are dozens of races at which I can set a PR.  Next month, I'll be running the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run and, in May, I'm doing the DC Color Run with a lovely group of people.

Thinking ahead, I want this fall's schedule to be as intense as my running in 2011.  Looking back, I was in amazing shape and ran a lot -- including one week during which I ran a 10-miler and a half-marathon and set personal records at both. This might sound crazy, but I want to train as hard as I did that summer.  I want to see my hard work pay off at races.  I want to update my About Me page with new records.

I've come up with a tentative plan and have one very important marathon decision to make. Registration for most of these races won't open until April or May.  Many of these races are also very popular so it'll take me being on the computer right when registration opens and a lot of page refreshing.

September 15, 2013 - Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon: I've already registered, and Operation Sub-2:00 Round 3 is on!

October 20, 2013 - Army Ten Mile Run, Washington, DC (General registration opens May 15):  I ran this race once before.  It's a little on the crowded side, but the crowd support is spectacular and the course is mostly flat.

October 27, 2013 - Marine Corps 10K, Washington, DC (Registration opens April 17): My dad has expressed interest in running a 10K, and I think this would be a great race for the two of us to run together.  

In November, I'll focus on small, local races and find a Turkey Trot wherever I spend the holidays.  As for marathons, I've got my eye on two.  For budget reasons, I plan to choose one.

Option 1:

December 8, 2013 - Honolulu Marathon (Registration opens in April): I've never been to Hawaii, and this seems like a great winter get-away.  Of course, this is the little matter of this elevation chart.  A hill at Mile 24 sounds...terrible.


Or, Option 2:

January 12, 2014 - Walt Disney World Marathon (Registration opens April 9):  When I was a kid, my parents planned a trip to Disney World for my birthday -- except that at some point during the car ride from Connecticut to Florida, I came down with a terrible illness and spent most of my time in our hotel room while my older brother and cousin enjoyed the parks. Tragic, right? I haven't been back to Disney World since, so I owe it to my eight year-old self to plan a trip and have the time of my life.  Plus, I'll finally have a legitimate reason to order this.

Truth be told, I'm leaning toward Disney.  It's an expensive race, but it's probably worth it to run in Disney World!

Daily LOL: Cousin Sal at the L.A. Marathon

Cousin Sal stationed himself at Mile 11 of this year's L.A. Marathon.  Needless to say, hilarity ensued.
Next year, I recommend that Cousin Sal hangs out around Mile 19.  If my marathon experience has taught me anything, that's when laughter (or a jello shot) is needed most.  But, no water pranks. That would not end well.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Daily LOL: Thug Kitchen

I'm giving all of the credit to an amazing sometime chairman for this, the most amazing thing I've seen on the internet today.

Ladies and gentlemen: Thug Kitchen:  (By the way, if you don't like naughty language or are in a place where naughty language is frowned upon, I suggest not clicking the link.)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rock 'n' Roll USA Race Recap: 2013

Two words: Womp. Womp.

I didn't reach my time goal, folks.  I've been oscillating between being completely okay with that and being completely disappointed.   I had a lot of fun, don't get me wrong, but I wish that I had it in me to run faster.  (Being sick probably didn't help.) 

I've run this race twice now - once when it was still The National Half-Marathon and last year when Competitor group took over and gave it the Rock 'n' Roll branding.  One of the best things about the race is that it takes runners through DC neighborhoods and, pre-Rock 'n' Roll, residents seemed to come out in full force to cheer.  Last year, people still came out but, with the bands and the designated cheer areas, the race didn't have the same feeling.

This year, instead of starting at RFK, the race started on the Mall, took runners across the Memorial Bridge, before taking Rock Creek Park to Woodley Park.  I felt good during those miles but, to be honest, I missed being able to run from RFK through the neighborhoods east of the Capitol.  And, while I generally don't mind running through Rock Creek Park, there's not much crowd support.

Once through the park (small victory: I made it up Shoreham Drive without stopping), the crowds were much bigger.  This was good news because I probably would have stopped to walk if not for so many people watching.  It took me about half a mile to recover from the trek through the park but once I was in Adams Morgan, I tried to pick up my pace.

I started to cramp up and slow down around Mile 8, and by Mile 9, I knew that a sub-2:00 race was unlikely but I figured that I could at least try for PR. Steve and Ned were out on the course at Mile 10, and it was so wonderful to see friendly faces!

I powered through the last bit of the race and, sort of angrily, turned off my Garmin when it hit 13.1 miles at 2:09 -- about a 10th of a mile before the finish.

My official time for the race was 2:11:38. (Current PR: 2:04:31 - Rock 'n' Roll USA 2012)  Totally fine but I really wish that I could write about how I totally crushed my PR and finally ran a half-marathon in under two hours. Hopefully, I can do it at my next half.

Until then, it's time to get ready for my third Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Managing Expectations

Tomorrow's race is going to be a wet one. 
Now that I've refreshed the hourly weather projections to the point of insanity, I've come to terms with the forecast of rain -- a 60% chance of showers starting at 7 AM (line up time) and increasing a 70% chance of light rain through the rest of the day.  The projected high? 42 degrees. 
Okay, actually, tomorrow's weather isn't that bad for running. You wear a hat. You wear gloves. You use Body Glide like it's going out of style.  I've run in the rain before, and it's fine. Of course, the few times that I've run in the rain were training runs so it didn't matter how long it took me to finish.  Tomorrow, I want to finish in 1:55:00.  I've come so close to a sub-2:00 race before and I want tomorrow to be the day that it finally happens.  I've trained hard, you know.  I want to prove to myself that I can do this.
But, I might have to be okay with not reaching my time goal tomorrow -- given the conditions.  If the roads are wet, or the rain gets all up in my grill, I will have to adjust my goal pace and plan to run a fast half on another day.
Then again, weather forecasts in DC are sometimes completely off. (Snowquester? More like Noquester...wocka wocka wocka!) Who knows? It might turn out to be a beautiful day.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Operation Sub-2 (Redux) - Weekly Round-Up (10)

The race is this Saturday! Holy cow!

I plan to take things easy this week in preparation for the race: Monday is for cross-training, Tuesday and Wednesday are for easy runs, and then that's it.  With any luck, the weather next Saturday will be as gorgeous as this past weekend.  I'm getting pumped!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Operation Sub-2 (Redux) - Weekly Round-Up (9)

I think I might be ready for something new. 

I never thought that I would say this, but I don't feel the same about running as I used to.  It could just be that I've been doing the majority of my runs on the treadmill and that running on cold, windy days isn't exactly pleasant, but I haven't looked forward to a run in weeks.  Training is starting to feel like something that I have to do not something that I want to do. 

I don't want to stop running.  There are days when all I want to do is run, and running has helped me in so many ways over the last three years.  But, I guess I'm starting to feel...stuck.  Hopefully, my upcoming race will reignite all of the warm fuzzies that I used to have toward running.

(In other words: whine, whine, whine, first world problems, whine, whine.)

So, with the race 11 days away, I guess it's time to taper.  I took yesterday off from running and did a 25-minute hill workout on Tuesday.  Here's the plan for the rest of the week:

Wednesday - 4 miles
Thursday - 4 miles
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 6-8 miles

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Daily LOL: News Anchor Wants to Know if Mo Farah Has Run Before

Mo Farah: you might remember him as the distance runner who won gold medals at both the 2012 Olympic 5K and 10K races.  You probably remember the image of him crossing the finish line (which led to a hilarious meme) or his signature pose.

But, let's say you're a news anchor and your station manager tells you that you're going to cover a race in your city and interview the winner. You would probably learn something about the person you're interviewing and what he did (or at the very least make some poor intern research this for you) before you went on the air, right?


Friday, March 1, 2013

Quoted: The Hidden Eating Disorder in the Black Community

One of my favorite bloggers has a piece in the most recent issue of Ebony Magazine about disordered eating in the Black community.  I think The Root's coverage of her essay said it best: "We cannot heal what we refuse to recognize as a wound."
Whenever an article is written about disordered eating behavior in the Black community, it's always written in the context of anorexia or bulimia. It's discussing bingeing in conjunction with purging, or the kind of severe restriction that results in the exceptionally thin, wiry frame attributed to anorexia [even if the alleged sufferer is actually anorexic or not.]

The binary that we create when we discuss eating disorders, coupled with the myth that eating disorders are "White girl problems," harms us more than it helps us. It erases the existence of Black people who binge, and it dismisses the problem before any real attention can be drawn towards it so that people can get help.

But, what's most damaging about the rhetoric surrounding eating disorders, specifically among the Black community, is the inherent denial of the existence of a problem that might require actual psychiatric care in our community. We cannot continue to perpetuate the ideal that psychiatric care cannot and will not help us uncover the tools we need to overcome our battles. This mentality cannot persist.
-The Hidden Eating Disorder in the Black Community by Erika Nicole Kendall