Saturday, July 9, 2011

Once were Warriors


A little late, but better that than never: 

Nik & I did our first Warrior Dash on June 26 in Amesbury, Mass. It was an unusual challenge, because neither of us is much of a fan of trail running. Give me solid ground any day.

The event was huger than I'd expected. Over the two days of Warrior Dashing, about 15,000 people tromped through the woods, got messy, slopped mud all over the obstacles, and stunk up the joint.

It's technically a run, although we couldn't do much running at all because the trail was ankle-deep through mud for most of it, and the rest was mud past your knees. 

Nik wore her new Brooks Cascadias and said they held her footing like a champ. She could actually move in those. If she hadn't had me dragging her behind, she could've actually done some running. 

I wore an old pair of Brooks Addictions with worn-out treads, which was a mistake. I slipped the whole way and fell about four times. I walked almost the entire course.

Though mostly I got stuck in mud.

The obstacles were somewhat intimidating because they were slopped by the muddy shoes of thousands of people before us. Nik walked up this balance beam and took her time with it. I walked onto it and saw the whole beam, maybe 5 inches wide, was caked in mud, like frosted over with pudding. I suspected that since I'm a major league klutz I would fall and crack my head open, so I jumped down.

I did most of the obstacles, like this series of walls and barbed wire. A couple, I skipped because I either wasn't confident enough (the cargo net) or fit enough (the Warrior Wall).

No question: We ended up pretty damn filthy by the end.

Which is why we mostly left our good clothes at home.

But it was worth it. Nik got to prove that she's strong like bull.

I mostly got muddy. There was mud in my eyes, beard, mustache, and in that cup of water I'm drinking. Also, I'm almost positive there was a little poop in the mud. You could smell it.

They offer some rather rudimentary cleaning services, which in our case involved high-powered snow-making machines misting cold water into your face at gale force. It's like trying to take a shower with a hurricane. We couldn't stand to be in front of it for more than a minute at a time, and it didn't really work all that well.

But we ended up getting cleaned off rather well.

From the front, anyway.

Nik's Brooks Cascadias performed admirably under the pressure. This kind of thing is what they were made for. They got a little mussed, but they washed off just fine.

Afterward, we were pretty hungry, so Nik bought one of those giant turkey legs. It tasted more like pork. In fact, a lot like pork. So much so that we're about 99.999% sure it was pork. It was also salty as hell -- tasted like a big heaping bowl of salt.

Meanwhile, I did unspeakable things to the hole in a giant inflatable bouncy ball.

Later on, in the parking lot, we changed into a fresher set of clothes. I left most of mine in a trash can -- couldn't bear to bring the stuff home. 

Overall, we both had a great time and it was a unique experience. We were both trashed afterward. Nik found a nice large bruise on her butt from this long, steep mudslide at the end of the race, but otherwise fared OK. I was less lucky. My hands and legs were cut up and bruised, and I sprained my left hand sliding down that mudslide -- which still has not yet fully healed. Oh, and a week later I discovered I got a dose of poison ivy rash on my left arm and both my legs. Nik's immune -- it's her one advantage over me, allergy-wise. But I'm not sorry I did it.

It wouldn't be the Warrior Dash without jumping-over-fire pictures, right? That's the whole reason why we did this. So here we go. Please excuse the giant watermark -- the actual photos are $20 each. Here's me jumping over the fire. It was quite easy and not very intimidating once you're next to it.

Check out the lift on Nik. Her Crossfit training served her well.

Check out our race reports on Daily Mile (Nik and Dan).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Video: Speedwork with Stanley


I tried to take Stanley on a quick 2-mile run. Stanley had other ideas. This is why we shouldn't run him the day after a rainstorm.

Blackstone Valley Half-Marathon


Sorry this is a little late: on May 21, Nik & I ran the Blackstone Valley Half-Marathon, part of the Cherry Tree Running Festival in Pawtucket, R.I.  Pawtucket isn't the nicest place on Earth, but this was the first year for this run so we figured we'd give it a shot. (Besides, most of the run isn't in Pawtucket.)

They put on a pretty good show for a small-sized half-marathon, complete with Chinese dragon dancers for some reason. What the hell, they make a nice addition to any event.

Not to be outdone by the dragons, they also had butterflies.   

Nik didn't have such a swell race -- she felt kind of fatigued throughout, and the weather was humid. The course was actually quite pretty in parts. We'll have to go back there someday. But the run itself was tough.

Not a great half, but another half under her belt, anyway, and another medal for her collection.

I was more tired. In fact, I think I'm all done trying to race half-marathons for a while. I'm all set, thanks.

It wasn't the greatest half we've ever run, but we did see some humongous inflatable things that look like female bits. So there's that.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Run Photo of the Day 5.13.11: New Brooks gear


Nik & I got some new footwear.  

At left we've got the Brooks Ghost 3 for me, which are a neutral shoe and lighter than the collosamundo Frankensteinian Addictions I normally use. I'm a motion-control shoe guy but I'm trying to put some lighter shoes into the rotation for shorter speedwork runs. I've tried Ghosts in the store and they're light, cushiony, and roll very nicely. I'm going to try my hardest not to injure myself.

At right you'll see Nik's new Cascadias, which are a trail running shoe. She was looking for a shoe she could hike in and possibly do some light trail running in, something sturdy and waterproof. They're extremely nice and lighter than I would've thought. They feel lighter than my Addictions. Jeez.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Run Photo of the Day 5.8.11: Happy Mother's Day


Nik, I, and my mom spent Mother's Day morning in Mattapoisett, Mass., running the Tiara Classic 5K. Friends of ours had told us this was a flat & fast PR-worthy course. No free T-shirts, but you can't have everything.

Mom's gotten strong. She warmed up before the race by knocking out a few burpees.

Then she & Nik did some squats to loosen up the ol' quads & hammies.

It paid off with PRs for both Nik & myself, and mom was just 2 seconds off. But it's Mother's Day -- I say she can have the 2 seconds as a gift.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New episode: Boston Mini-Vacation


Spend the weekend in Boston with 4 Feet Running! Known in the metro Boston area as Faw Feet Runnin. In this very special episode:

- Nik and Dan drive to Boston and get a wicked good paaakin space

- They get ready to run the Poco Loco, a 13-mile group run of Boston and Cambridge along the Chaaales Rivah, with Steve Runner, Zen Runner, Eddie Marathon, Chris Russell, Tim D., Tim C., Jay and Deb Kumar, Kelly, Jim, Ninjarunner, Kevin Z., Alett, and special guest appearance by John Ellis

- You will barely hear from any of those people because of technical difficulties

- Find out what Nik & Dan have been doing since December, and where they're going in 2011

- Dan's now unemployed. Will work for food (though I'd prefer to work for money)

- Talking skepticism with Steve and jazz with Zen Runner

- A walk through the park in the Fenway, and then a walk through Fenway Park

- Put on your mittens and long underwear, Satan: Nik attends her very first Red Sox game

- Dan gets super-excited while praying in The Cathedral of Baseball

- More of that appalling 4 Feet Running sound quality you crave

Thanks for listening! Enjoy!

[Direct download link]

Before we set out on the Poco Loco, we all heard a safety speech from Zen Runner. From left: Tim Doiron, Deb Kumar, Kelly Davis-Orr, Jim Snyder.

Adam gives us the lowdown on the course.

From left: Steve Runner, Eddie Marathon, Jay Kumar, Neal Bearse, who is clearly not paying attention to the safety seminar.

Steve gave Dan a pack of Phiten brand titanium stickers. You stick them on your body and there's some magical healing power that will, according to the pseudoscientific nonsense on the package, "increase your performance." So he put one on his brain. It did not work. 

At a brief rest break in Cambridge, Steve looks out over the Charles River.

Nik stands in front of the Charles, with the John Hancock Tower behind her.

John Ellis once caught a fish this big

Kevin Z., Adam, and Tim Cleary hang out during a brief rest break by the State Police barracks, about 3.5 miles into the run.

Jay Kumar and Nik were among the faster people in the group, so they helpfully waited for the slowpoke Poco Locoite (Dan).

After the Poco Loco, the whole crew went to the Sunset Grille and Tap in Allston. Check out this parking job. This isn't Nik & Dan's car -- this is Jim Snyder's. He drove us there and snagged this spot right outside the bar, parallel parking like a champion. It was truly a miraculous day for everyone's cars.

The day after the Poco Loco, we visited Boston again and walked through a rose garden on our way to Fenway Park.

Nik in front of a mural inside the stadium. Dan made her wear the hat.

Yawkey Way outside the stadium is packed with pedestrians, and it's one of the only places you can walk around on the street with a beer.

Our seats were in the right field bleachers and were actually very nice. Click the panorama to see it larger.

This cat was great -- he kept yelling orders toward the field, started several chants, and here he's singing all the lyrics to "Sweet Caroline." He was evidently 100% sober, too. 

The place erupted into ecstatic cheers after the Sox won, 3-2. And to think, this wasn't really an important game.

Dan was all set to come back the next day.

Afterward, we went down to the field and walked along the warning track. We got close enough to the Green Monster to touch it. It feels pretty much like a wall.

Dan was very excited, and wanted to steal various bits of the field including these signs.

Even Nik enjoyed it too, although she remains baseball-agnostic.
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