Monday, March 26, 2007

International Crankiness

Dontcha just love traveling? A loaded question, we guess. Well, when it includes missing a transfer between surly Paris and smoky Amsterdam, it’s no fun, and when it also means your luggage misses the flight, too, that’s not fun either. We wonder why it took several extra hours for the one piece to make it through, though. Next time we should pack everything into 750 tiny ziploc bags just to annoy the screeners at Barney Fife International Airport; anyway, when it comes to airline travel, it looks like the terrorists have already won.

And winter is still raging in the old country. A biblical hailstorm in Paris on Wednesday made us stop and check for pesky ‘666’ scalpmarks. Next time we cross a finish line maybe we’ll yell ‘Damian, I did it all for you!’. See, there’s no problem coming back to that ‘5k For Evil’ concept.

Anyhoo, time to really get our asses into DuPont polyester blends for the spring races, ‘cause as Carol-Ann said, they’re here. Got a frickin’ 10K on Sunday (April Fools indeed) and a half of a marathon or something in a couple of weeks in what the Dutch called Breukelyn (and still do, the original is way over there). And we’ll wished we’d done more speedwork, happens every year. Sorry to open the whine so soon, but just remember to check your calendars so you’ll be ready for the onslaught of sold out cool-weather races that you just heard about. And remember to check the tires, those rubber treads don’t last forever.

It may be time for some... Shopping Therapy!

P.S. OK, it's been out a while, but we do laugh at Kelly's (Shoes) video. We'd like to go to a Foot Locker and go off on some 'betch', too.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Far and Away

Well, we’ll be out of town for the week, back next week this time. Going here and later here, and here. Traveling and jet lag just kills our weekly total running mileage, always has.

Well, going across the pond gets one thinking about European runners. They’re not so different, but they have many of the attributes of American runners, but much more so. Yes, we’ll elaborate on that later. Anybody who’s done or seen the NYC Marathon knows all about European runners, there are thousands of them, 40% of the runner total, something like that… they sure do love gritty (and sometimes not so gritty) New York.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

From The Desk of Cranky Runner

Now that spring, or at least the promise of spring, has arrived with a psyche-out ‘extra’ hour (yeah, at the cost of an hour of sleep Saturday night, and extra darkness now in the morning), it’s time to think about… how fast you run.

We get really tired watching folks strolling on treadmills doing 13.5 minute/miles while they talk on their cell phones. Seriously, this is going on. One of our favorite segments on the local news once was an interview with a personal trainer who said that most people don’t challenge themselves enough (run fast enough) on treadmills to get any good aerobic benefit. She said do this: ‘pick it up’!

We sure liked her!

So do this. Figure out your current comfortable, normal (not speed or tempo) pace, either on a treadmill or on a measured course outdoors. Lop off 10 seconds per mile, and get out there and do it. Not for superlong hour upon hour runs (just yet), just pay attention to your pace, and try to cut ten seconds per mile off the average. Does it take you 34 minutes to run 4 miles (8:30 m/m)? Try running it in 33:20, and maybe more than once. Now, is that so hard? Hey, you might get used to it, and might run faster in your next race.

Gee willikers, we’re not so cranky after all!

No, YOU shut up!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

All Temp-a-Cheer

We went to Palm Beach, Florida, for a wedding over the weekend. The world’s smallest treadmill resides at the West Palm Marriott Courtyard in case you’re ever in the neighborhood… Saturday’s morning run was along the supremely flat ‘Lake Trail’ in 87-degree/80% humidity. Saw maybe four runners over two hours, so we don’t think Palm Beach will be hosting the next ‘Runners Without Borders’ convention. Pretty, but boring, kind of like Paris Hilton.

And then it was back to NYC on Monday, only to find out it was 12 degrees with a wind chill of -6. High winds delayed the landing by about an hour, so that meant sitting on the plane in FL for over an hour (one guess: Jetblue, apologizing every five minutes) and circling NYC for a while once we got here. Lotsa fun, especially as the quads and hamstrings froze in a non-upright, locked position.

Anyway, enough about you. This Florida running got us to thinking, always a bad thing. What was the worst course you ever ran? Race, fun run, short run, you call it, as long as it sucked out loud.

As for your Cranky Runner, it would be the 14th St Bridge/Pentagon City/GW Parkway route/area in D.C. It’s the last few miles of the Marine Corps Marathon, and there’s no shade, few spectators, and the best sights are behind you; and then there’s that frickin’ hill at the end so you can recreate the assault on Iwo Jima. We’re not joking.