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RunOregon has my recap of the Run for Boston 5K race from this past weekend, which resulted in a Pr for me -- but a kind of frustrating one, since it was 21:00 flat. Just one lousy second faster and I would've had the sub-21 minute 5K that I was chasing last year. Oh well, it was all for a good cause.
Knowles is renting her image to a product that may one day be ranked with cigarettes as a killer we were too slow to rein in. From saying, as she once did in referring to Let’s Move, that she was “excited to be part of this effort that addresses a public health crisis,” she’s become part of an effort that promotes a public health crisis.
"[R]anked with cigarettes"? Maybe it's because I don't smoke and I do drink soda (it's my vice), but I see a substantial difference between the two. The primary harm from soda, it appears, is the empty calories from the sugar. Too much sugar = too many excess calories = weight gain. But a can of regular soda has about 150 calories, which is equivalent to running 1.5 miles or so. So if I drink a can of soda a day, that would take 15 miles of running a week to burn off. Since I run ~30 miles a week, I'm 15 miles ahead!
Now, would I be healthier if I skipped the soda and took in 150 calories of, say, chocolate soy milk? Undoubtedly, but the point is that the primary harm from soda can be neutralized. I'm not a smoker, so I have no first hand experience, but it doesn't seem like the harm from smoking can be so easily neutralized by running.
Today was the second year of the Zombie Apocalypse 5K race, a fun event where people could choose to run as "survivors" or as "zombies." Survivors were given a flag football-type belt with two velcro-ripaway red flags and a two minute headstart before the zombie horde was let loose. Last year's event took place at Lee Farms in Tualatin; this year, it was a much longer trek down to Heiser Farms in Dayton (about 30 miles away, but an hour's drive because no freeway went there directly).
Okay, first, here's my racing bib:
I was worried that it would be pretty miserable weather during the race, because that's what it was during my son's soccer match this morning: cold, damp, drizzly. But the sky sort of cleared up as I drove down highway 99 from Portland.
Race time was 5:30, but I arrived just after 4 pm. Like last year, the race organizers had really gone out of their way to create an apocalpytic atmosphere:
The military vehicle pictured above didn't move, but the tank below did!
Meanwhile, I found fellow Uberthon runners Eileen (who was running as a survivor) and Brent (who was watching). We chatted a bit about running and strategy, like where to arrange the survivor flags. (In front to make it more difficult to grab? In back, as a sign of confidence in one's speed?)
We also checked out this, which was something I haven't seen before: pumpkin firing cannons (what a waste!):
Okay, well around 5:20 or so, I headed over to the starting area of the course. Last year, it was just a gun-timed race, which given the large number of participants, was kind of dissatisfying. This year, the organizers got the excellent folks at Uberthons to do the timing. Yea for chip-timed races! Not only that, the organizers actually tried to arrange it so that the fastest people were at the front.
5ish mile pace? No, not me. 6ish? Uh, not quite. Still, even my estimated 7 minute/mile pace put me near the front:
The starting signal was a big boom from one of those pumpkin launching cannons. The first stretch was downhill, and I had to thread my way through some runners who'd started in front of me. Among the more notable costumed people I passed were a guy in a suit carrying a briefcase (but at least wearing running shoes), and two high school or college kids who had started off wearing gas masks. By the time I caught up to those two, one had already taken his mask off, and the other was in the process of doing so. "Man, it's so hard to breathe!" he gasped.
"What were you guys thinking?" I asked as I ran past.
The first 1/4 mile took me 1:26, according to RunKeeper, which was too fast, but what can you do about the combination of needing to get past people, and adrenaline, and fear of the zombie horde?
Half a minute later, the pumpkin cannon boomed again. The zombies were coming on the course.
A two minute headstart sounds pretty good. I mean, if I can run 7 minute miles, then at the two mile mark, 14 minutes will have elapsed. For a zombie to catch me by that point, he or she would have to run two miles in 12 minutes. Certainly doable, but not easy. On the other hand, when you consider that in those two minutes, I covered only 1/3 of mile, it doesn't sound like so much.
Anyway, the race course was filled with volunteer actors: some zombies hanging on tree branches, hiding in bushes, or hanging on the side of the trail; some military personnel armed with (fake) weapons. I wanted to tell the soldiers that they should go waste zombies just behind us. There was also a helicopter overhead that boomed through its loudspeakers, "Attention survivors . . . " and something about zombies.
My second mile was considerably slower. Some of that was the trail terrain -- soft, squishy dirt/mud in spots -- and some of it was probably just not having my best mental edge. It's been a couple of weeks since I've done real speedwork, and that week off to rest my foot didn't help on that front.
Part of the course had us doubling back a long straightaway that we had run earlier. When I hit this part, there were still zombies on the course headed out. Some of them were trying to steal our flags -- not cool. I had to speed up to evade one of them. (Others were just pretending to try.)
I got passed by a few runners, and every time as he or she was approaching, I had to turn to see if it was a zombie. It wasn't until just shy of 2 1/2 miles that a zombie finally caught up to me. Since I had two flags, I didn't bother trying to outrun him. (Good thing too, as it turns out that it was the guy who holds the Uberthon's 5K record!)
So he took the flag on my left side. I still had the flag on my right side, and I kept to the right side of the trail to make it more difficult for any other zombies to grab it.
At 2.47 miles, there was a 90 degree left turn, and a soldier who told us we were almost at the end, just 1/4 mile or so. Huh, I thought, how can we be almost done? But in fact, I could see the end of the course up ahead. I took a look back and didn't see any zombies nearby, so I picked up the pace a little (from 7:30ish to 6:45ish), and yes, crossed the finish line with my remaining flag intact! Chip time was 19:24, which sounds really awesome for me, but RunKeeper said the distance was 2.65 miles. Of course, I started RunKeeper a little late, as it clocked me in 19:08, so maybe the total distance was 2.7 or so miles. Anyway, far short of 3.1 miles.
There I am, holding up post-race proof of my survival! I finished 19th overall out of 580, which is my best percentile finish, but of course, this race attracted a lot of people who weren't in top running attire (i.e., some of those costumes were impossible to run in), so I wouldn't put too much stock into that result.
Four zombies ran faster than I did, but only one of those beat me by more than two minutes, so I did earn my survival. (There were survivors who ran slower than I did who finished with both flags; as I had surmised, running fast could subject you to being picked off by an even faster zombie, whereas running with a crowd could get you skipped.)
Anyway, all in all, a fun time. Looking forward to next year. I may run as a zombie.
UPDATE (10/15): Here's the race recap by the zombie who mauled me.
Paul Ryan is a pretty fit dude, but his best marathon time is just over 4 hours, not just under 3 hours, as he claimed on a radio show, only to correct his misstatement later. A number of my Facebook friends have linked to the New Yorker article that I've linked to, with comments ranging from "What a SCUMBAG" to "Paul Ryan even lies about his marathon times. At least he's consistent."
First of all, speaking as a hardcore runner, I find it pretty hard to believe that Ryan just misremembered his finishing time, especially when he ran only one marathon. Misremembering your time as 2:50ish instead of 4:00ish is sort of like if I told people my 5K PR time is 16:00 instead of 21:27 (shaving ~25% off the time). 21:27 is pretty decent for local races, but it's nothing special. 16:00 isn't Olympic caliber, but it's damn fast.
Okay, so assuming he lied, is he a scumbag? Does the fact that he lied about his marathon time predict or demonstrate anything about his performance as a politician?
I don't know, but it seems to me that for those who believe that he is a scumbag, or that he's inherently untrustworthy as a politician, I'm curious whether they held the same view of President Clinton as a result of his lies about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
After all, both could be said to have lied about "personal matters" -- that being Clinton's primary defense. But now consider the differences:
(1) Clinton's lie hurt someone else's reputation: Lewinsky. She may have been the aggressor in pursuing the relationship, but she was not lying about it, and she was not a deluded stalker. (I mean, she may have stalked him as prey initially, but she caught her prey.) Ryan's lie, on the other hand, did not harm anyone else.
(2) Clinton's lie was not solely a private matter, as it ultimately came about in a civil lawsuit. One can argue that the lawsuit was politically motivated (whatever that means), but there is no "my litigation adversary has bad motives" exception to allow you to give false evidence. If there were, defendants in employment lawsuits would always claim the right to lie because their opponents were financially motivated. One can also argue that the Lewinsky affair was consensual and thus not relevant to a sexual harassment lawsuit (a fairly persuasive argument, to me) -- but the district judge overruled this objection. There is no "I disagree with the judge's ruling" right to lie in civil litigation. Ryan's lie has nothing to do with any lawsuit or any other matter, legal or otherwise.
(3) Clinton's lie was, at times, under oath.
Now, I should say that I don't think politicians -- particularly Presidents -- should always feel obligated to tell the truth. President Carter dissembled when, on the eve of Operation Eagle Claw (the Iran hostage rescue mission), he was asked by Senator Byrd whether the U.S. was going to take any military action against Iran. Carter said that before mining the harbor or bombing Tehran, he would consult Congress. Technically true (he didn't lay mines or drop bombs) but very misleading. Yet, given the overriding need for mission secrecy, this lie seems to me not only acceptable but most likely called for.
But those are lies made for the perceived benefit of the nation, not for the individual politician's reputation or image. Both Clinton's and Ryan's lies were made with the apparent intent to benefit themselves, not the country. They are a similar species in that sense. But on the three key dimensions I identified above, Clinton's were worse.
To be clear, I don't mean to suggest that "OMG Clinton lied, impeach him, remove him from office!!!" is called for. Not do I mean that Ryan's lie is aboslutely irrelevant. As a runner, I certainly view it as a negative. And one could acknowledge that Clinton's lie was bad without seeing it as overriding everything else that one might admire about his accomplishments. My point is just that people who are out to denounce Paul Ryan as a liar, but who attempted to excuse Clinton's lie (as opposed to placing it in some kind of balance against his positives), should perhaps reevaluate their previous lack of outrage.
According to a study conducted at the University of Westminster, stronger men make awful boyfriends. The study surveyed 327 straight British men, more than a third of whom were single, and discovered that the more muscular the participant, the more likely he was to have sexist beliefs and hostility toward women. Yikes!
Well, I am happily married, so this is of no use to me, but single male runners out there can rejoice!
Today was the Uberthons' Run for Kyron race. For those not in the Portland area, Kyron Hormanis a little boy who disappeared 2 years ago on a school day, when he was 7 years old. It's a story that's been in the local news quite a bit, with a resurgence yesterday after Kyron's birth mom sued his stepmom based on allegations that the stepmom is responsible for his disappearance.
Race time was 8 am for the 10K and 8:10 for the 5K. I had gone to bed early last night (well, early for me -- 11:30 pm or so) and got up today at 7 am. Breakfast was cherry yogurt, and then I headed out to Cook Park in Tigard.
There was a good sized crowd present: race volunteers, Kyron-cause volunteers, Kyron's dad Kaine Horman, a 3-person musical band, and even a news crew from KATU (the local ABC affiliate). I picked up my racing bib and then did a short interview about Uberthons and racing with my friend Eileen, who's a consultant with them.
It's a familiar race course; I ran it back in late April, and an earlier variation of it in March and last November:
Knowing that I've run positive splits (not a good thing) the past few races, I had in mind that I wanted to go out slower at first and then speed up. I even positioned myself near the front of the 5K group. Yes, it's chip-timed, but I don't like having to keep huffing "pardon me, excuse me, pardon me" as I pass people.
The first mile felt okay, and I thought I was going slower, but I hit the first mile marker in 6:37. Definitely not slower! Predictably, it took its toll on me. Since my goal was to go under 22 minutes, I figured I could let up a bit and try to speed up for the last mile. Mile 2 was kind of miserable. Even slowing down, I felt that kind of running-discomfort -- not injury-pain -- and this segment had a short but steep uprise.
Finally, I hit the mile 3 marker. Mile 2 had taken 7:20. I was still on pace to ge tunder 22 minutes at least, but I didn't feel recovered at all. Mile 3 ended up being slightly slower, 7:27, but I had enough saved up that I was able to race the last 0.11 miles.
According to my watch, my time was 21:59. According to the initial race results, it was 8 hours, 32 minutes(!). Ha ha, chip glitch of some sort obviously. It was later corrected manually to 22:09, which is quite a big difference from my watch.
Anyway, I finished 4th overall out of 75, and 1st in my age group.
I am not a morning person, but I'm sort of used to getting up around 7ish because of my son's elementary school schedule. Voluntarily getting up at 7 am on the weekend, though, is a different matter. Yet, I did it for the 36th annual Lake Run around Oswego Lake. I signed up for the 5K race; there was also a 12K race. Here were the courses:
Millenium Plaza, the site of the race and the festivities, is the place in Lake Oswego that hosts the farmers' market and various summer events. I picked up my racing bib and race T-shirt there yesterday afternoon, just as the various vendors were getting set up. Blast Burgers was there, and I was sort of tempted to suggest that the family come back for dinner.
Anyway, parking wasn't too bad this morning, even with the local merchants having put up "No Lake Run Parking" signs in their lots. I ate yogurt for breakfast, left home around 7:20, and parked by 7:30. It was pretty crowded (over 600 5K runners, and almost 500 12K runners). I was wondering how jammed the race route was going to be, but the race organizers know what they're doing: we ran on the road, which was blocked off from traffic.
Before the race started, someone from one of the local gyms led us on a warm-up routine, which consisted of bodyweight squats, pogo jumps, and some other kind of stretches. I went along half-heartedly, keeping in mind what I'd read in Born to Run (and other sources) that pre-running stretching doesn't do anything useful.
The horn sounded the start of the race, and we were off. I was much nearer to the front than the back, but there was still a slow mass in front of me that I threaded through for 50 yards or so, before settling into a position behind the really fast runners.
Now, the grim part of the recap. I had expected the course to be more or less flat, since it's a LAKE RUN. That's where I was wrong. We started on State Street, heading south, and then turned right on Northshore Road, which is when the course became hilly. Rolling hills, not the brutal steep slope of the Mt. Tabor run I did back in February, but several more hills along the way.
I must have missed the first mile marker, or there wasn't one. I did see some pink line spray-painted on the road somewhere around 7:15; maybe that was the marker. There was a mile 2 marker that I crossed at 14:37ish. That sounds about right, since mile 2 had more hills, and I eased up a bit on the uphill parts.
I got passed by a bunch of lean young teenaged guys who seemed like they part of the Lake Oswego High School cross-country team or something (checking the results, there were a bunch of 14- to 16-year-olds, all from L.O., who finished ahead of me).
I'm not sure what time I hit the 3 mile marker, but it was downhill from there to the end of the course, which I could see. I went into fast mode - at least, as fast as I could muster, except when I heard someone (two?) behind me, I poured on the speed and sprinted to the end. It turns out there were two 18-year-old females catching up to me (I must have passed them early on, since they hit the start line 3 seconds ahead of me). Our "gun time" was the same, but my chip time was 3 seconds faster.
I finished in 22:59, which was 44th out of 629. I was 4th out of 26 for my age/gender group (4th out of 67 for age group). I got "chicked" by four women, including two 50+ year olds(!). In fact, the 52-year-old woman was the fastest woman in the entire race with a seriously good 6:40 pace (20:44 overall).
By the way, it doesn't bother me to get beaten in a road race by women; I'm not like that private high school in Arizona that forfeited a baseball championship game rather than play a school with a girl playing second base. I'm actually kind of surprised it doesn't happen more often, since middle distance running would seem to be an athletic event in which physical size/strength differences between men and women should matter less. I'm a reasonably good runner but far from being elite, and I would have thought that many 20- or 30-something women who run a good amount would be as fast or faster than I am.
Subsidizing exercise and fitness-related lifestyles in middle age could significantly reduce the ballooning cost of health care in later years, a new study of more than 20,000 people suggests.
Running has certainly done wonders for my blood lipid profile and the like. I had not-so-good cholesterol level and blood pressure during my early 30s (hmm, when I was a law firm associate -- coincidence?), but I had better numbers across the board at my check-up last year than at any other time in my life.
I especially like this part of the news report:
Exercise affects "so many chronic conditions leading to major health care costs," said [Dr. Suzanne] Steinbaum, who also is the hospital's director of women and heart disease. "We should have financial support for people to go to gym facilities."
People who are more fit should "get some benefit" from insurers, Steinbaum said. Society should "give them the ability to become fit," and then "give people a reward when they demonstrate" fitness, she added.
Well, I certainly won't complain if my health insurance plan is going to help pay for my running gear, gym membership, race entry fees, and the like! Come to think of it, I'd like a stationary rowing machine for the home, too.