Humor — Top Ten Reasons You Didn’t Run On Easter Sunday (Ancient Times Edition)

running-advice-bugHappy Easter runners. Today we present our latest top ten list. Enjoy.

Top Ten Reasons You Didn’t Run on Easter Sunday (Ancient Times Edition)

10. The run last weekend up to the hill overlooking town pretty much took it out of you.

9. Loin cloth continues to chaff your inner-thighs. Goat butter just isn’t working as well as BodyGlide.

8. Not quite clear what Roman Soldiers mean about a post-race party up on the hill, but you’ve only heard bad things about the way those guys party.

7. Although you’re typically up for a good urban challenge, the whole cross dragging, crown of thorns wearing, piercing thing seems a little too extreme for you.

6. Tax collectors raised the entry fee again. Who can afford the Jerusalem Marathon these days? They’ve been raising the entry fee since way back in 0005.
Read more…

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Video — Marathon Thoughts (Humor)

A reader shared with us her comedy group’s homage to the Boston Marathon. The video is called “Marathon Thoughts” and, well, you’ll have to watch it see if you think it gets the many stages of marathon running right. I think the section in which the male runner laments not being able to nurse his future children because of nipple chaff, is just about priceless.

Thanks to ImprovAsylum for sharing this video with us.

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Friday Fun: Hey, how you doin’?

I was reminded this week of a game that I used to play with my friend Steve Harper.

Steve is an extremely friendly guy – the nicest guy that you’ll ever meet most likely. He liked to say “hi” to people when he’d run by them. We traveled a lot together and when we’d run, he’d be jogging along saying, “Hi”, “Hey”, “How are you?” to the other runners going the opposite direction.

We noticed something funny though. In some cities, people would return the greetings. In others they wouldn’t. It was very strange.

So we came up with a little game that we’d play. As we ran along, we’d take turns greeting each person that ran by in the opposite direction and then we’d give points based on their response. We could then figure out how “friendly” (or not) a city was.

Here’s how we scored the game.
5 points = runner enthusiastically smiles, waves and says “hi” back
1 point = runner returns the greeting
0 points = runner doesn’t respond
-1 point = runner looks away or turns head away
-5 point = runner scowls or tells you to get lost

We were surprised at the number of cities that ranked very low, or even negative numbers. Of course, if a city was on the low end of the spectrum, we would often start getting a little obnoxious trying to score some points (like getting right in front of them to make sure they saw us), which may have led to some -5 scores.

Try it next time. And send me some scores. I’d like to know how your city ranks.

Coach Joe

Running Wild with Coach Joe – a blog focused on marathon, triathlon and ultra-endurance racing, training and motivation. Bookmark us at http://coachjoeenglish.wordpress.com or use your favorite RSS feed reader to get the latest news and articles. Running Wild is also available on Yahoo! 360 and My Space.

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Friday Fun: Running of the. . . nudes?

Alright, so this post isn’t actually about running. I admit it. It’s been a strange holiday week with the Fourth of July plunked right in the middle. I even posted a “Friday Fun” section on Wednesday, not realizing that it was . . . Wednesday.

In any case, my news aggregator service often picks up stories about running that aren’t about running. They just have the word running somewhere in the title.

Now this is fine and I usually ignore them. But when I read the article below, I just couldn’t help myself. In the spirit of our Friday Fun column, I say that we all support these clever protestors and run naked tomorrow. (Note: I’m kidding and people better not show up to practice tomorrow morning sans clothing!)

Here is the story as reported by Reuters news service:

Protesters strip over Spain’s running of the bulls

The Running of the Nudes

July 6, 2007 – 6:31AM

Hundreds of animal rights activists took part in a “Running of the Nudes” on Thursday to protest the traditional Running of the Bulls ceremony in the Spanish town of Pamplona.

The demonstrators ran stripped to their underwear and sporting plastic horns, as well as the traditional red bandanna worn by those who take part in the famous Spanish event.

The Running of the Bulls involves the release of bulls every morning into the streets of the city in northeast Spain.

Daredevil revellers, including many foreigners, run ahead of the stampeding bulls as they are herded down the narrow streets towards the city’s bull ring.

Runners are sometimes caught and either gored or trampled by the running bulls and 14 people have been killed in the event since 1911.

The bulls that run in the morning are used in bullfights the same evening.

Thursday’s protest was organised by the animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), which said people from more than 30 countries took part.

Thousands of tourists are expected to attend the week-long festival of the bulls, which starts on Friday.

The running of the bulls was immortalised in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.

Have a great weekend out there running everyone!

Coach Joe

Note: Coach Joe does not condone public nudity (at least when anyone is looking). Please don’t run naked this weekend. But if you do, please tell us about it!

Running Wild with Coach Joe – a blog focused on marathon racing, training and motivation. Bookmark us at http://coachjoeenglish.wordpress.com or use your favorite RSS feed reader to get the latest news and articles. Running Wild is also available on Yahoo! 360 and My Space.

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Friday Fun: Ten surprises and activities for your next 40 mile run

I spent the day yesterday out running 40 miles. The run itself is a story that can be told late. But in the mean-time, here are some things that I found can keep your mind occupied for such a long time and a few surprises as well.

Activity #1 – Try to calculate the amount of water that you’ve drunk in gallons, quarts, pints, cups, ounces, liters, milliliters, and centiliters.

Activity #2 – Try to calculate the amount of water that you pee back out in the same measures.

Activity #3 – See if you can listen to the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies in one run.

Activity #4 – Award prizes for best owner/dog combination, nicest butt, best looking guy/girl or whatever categories you choose. The time spent comparing and contrasting can be almost unlimited.

Activity #5 – Listen to the first word of each song and try to collect a word that begins with every letter of the alphabet.

Activity #6 – Multi-task. When do you think this was written?

Surprise #1 – iPod batteries really do last a long, long time.

Surprise #2 – Every slow and emotional song after mile 25 is “the greatest song ever” and you may be prone to say things like “That is SO the truth!” a loud.

Surprise #3 – Walking five or six miles late in a run takes a really, really long time.

Surprise #4 – 40 miles is so long that you can walk 5 miles and still run a marathon plus 10 miles.

Surprise #5 – If you look up at a helicopter flying over you at mile 37, you may fall over sideways into the bushes. (I’m not saying this happened to me.)

Surprise #6 – The point that a 40 mile run seems ridiculous is mile 22. The point that it seems hopeless is mile 33. The point that you kind of want to cry is about mile 34. The point that you get over it and just want to finish is mile 35.

Coach Joe

Running Wild with Coach Joe – a blog focused on marathon racing, training and motivation. Bookmark us at http://coachjoeenglish.wordpress.com or use your favorite RSS feed reader to get the latest news and articles. Running Wild is also available on Yahoo! 360 and My Space.

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Friday Fun: What’s the worst that can happen?

I have been thinking a lot about the pre-race jitters that I wrote about two days ago. I made a comment in that post about the fact that much of the anxiety about races comes from worrying too much about things that can go wrong – things that are out of your control. We really don’t need to worry about these things, because there is essentially nothing you can do to prevent them.

Having said that, everything will, at some point, go wrong.

I remember doing an exercise at a running event where the speaker asked everyone in the audience to raise their hand if they had DNFed (did not finish) an event. Almost everyone raised a hand. “Yes,” he said, “something bad happened to each of you one time, but you are all still here. You’re back for more. And you’ve got a good story to tell.”

It’s true. Bad unplanned things do happen, but you just persevere and come back to try another day. And tell the stories to people.

So as I head for San Diego, I thought I would share some of my signature melt-downs, mishaps and screw-ups, to illustrate that things don’t always go according to plan. So if you’re asking, “what’s the worst that can happen?” before your next race, have some consolation that these are already taken.

Rock N Roll Marathon – my prescription sun-glass lens pops out of its socket and breaks on the group two minutes before the start, making me run the race with correct vision in one eye and the other all fuzzy.

Portland Marathon – being bitten by a spider on the cheek a few days before the race and having my face swell up to twice its normal size. (This one I wasn’t able to run.)

Hood to Coast Relay – choking on a packet of chocolate gel in the dark and emerging from the run segment with chocolate completely covering my face. It looked like an outhouse had exploded.

Ironman Arizona – stepping on a cactus needle two days prior to the event, thus having to go to the ER for the infection in my heel, and needing to spend almost two days lying in bed before the race.

Tucson Marathon – having my legs completely seize up after 15 miles of running downhill, producing excruciating pain, and forcing me to walk for about the last eight miles.

Pacific Coast Triathlon – Not being able to find my prescription sunglasses on the special needs table coming out of the swim, making me very dangerous in the bike section of the race.

Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon – Having the pace setter go out WAY, WAY, too fast, forcing us about four minutes ahead of pace in the first 10K and six minutes in the first half. Complete melt-down ensued in second half.

Rock N Roll Marathon – Trying out a new “Fuel Belt” and finding out the hard way that my arms knock the little bottles out of their holsters, causing me to lose essentially all of my gel in the first three miles of the race.

Mazatlan International Triathlon – Taking a wrong turn on the run course and ending up so off course that a motorcycle from the event had to come and get me.

Hood To Coast Relay – Discovering that a Porta-Pottie was out of toilet paper about 30 seconds before our runner came in to the exchange to give me the baton – and it was already too late if you know what I mean.

Yes, I could go on and on. But the point is that when things don’t go as planned. You should just keep on doing what you love. Keep on chasing your dreams. You may not have that perfect new PR to talk about, but you’ll have some great stories to tell.

Keep at it.

Coach Joe
PS – I’m off to San Diego to attempt to run 2 marathons in the next two days. Crazy? Yes. Are we able to do it? You’ll just have to come back and find out in my San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon coverage coming the next few days in Running Wild with Coach Joe.

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Friday Fun: Champions of Everything, Everywhere II

Coach Joe and the Man in Black at the turn

[This story is dedicated to my friend Coach Dean Hebert who inspires so many runners in the Phoenix area and has been my personal mentor and inspiration. The Lake Tahoe Relay will be held this year on June 9th 2007, but I will be running the Rock N Roll Marathon the weekend before and unable to compete with him.]

It’s time for a good story.

A couple of years ago, I was part of a relay team at the Lake Tahoe Relays. My very good friend and mentor Coach Dean Hebert put together two teams to run in the round-the-lake race. Our teams were set up to be competitive with one another, meaning that there were both faster and slower people on both teams.

Coach Dean wanted to make things interesting, so he put something on the line. A trophy and bragging rights to become “Champion of Everything, Everywhere II.” This might at first seem like a trumped up designation, but we all bought into it. Not only were we attempting to win this Championship – it wasn’t even the first time he’d done it. This was apparently the second iteration of the challenge, as denoted by the “II”, since Dean and his brother had conducted the first championship years earlier as kids.

Nothing like a good challenge to get a bunch of runners all hopped up and ready to beat each other into the ground.

In this particular event, each person only runs one leg. It’s not like some of these other races where you alternate and everyone runs multiple times. Tahoe is about leaving it all on the table, because there’s no tomorrow. There’s just the thought of being crowned “Champion of Everything, Everywhere II” – and having bragging rights over all of your running friends.

My leg assignment was the anchor leg, meaning I would have to run the last section of the race. And also meaning that if the race was close it would come down to me and the other runner. The distance of the leg was 10 ½ miles, but really it could have been 50 yards the way this story unfolds. The terrain was unbelievably hilly, the day was hot, and the race was being run in the thin air of high altitude.

The day started to unfold predictably with our teams changing leads back and forth, gunning for each other, mooning each other, doing the typical stuff that runners do. At some point, one of the runners on the opposing team had a melt down of some kind and a substitution had to take place. The whole thing sounded sketchy to us, never knowing whether Dean may have planned this whole thing. We heard that the person was named Paula and we became convinced that Dean was about to substitute Paula Radcliffe into the mix to keep us on our toes. Somehow though our team pulled well ahead after the swap. Apparently it wasn’t Paula Radcliffe from London, but rather some other Paula that wasn’t that fast.

Anyway, as the race started to draw to its close, we weren’t quite sure how far we were ahead of the other team. Lack of intelligence (data, I mean) is a killer in a race, because it’s hard to know how fast you’ll have to run to stay ahead. But again, this race could have been 50 yards if it were a mile.

The afternoon was baking and I stood at the top of a very, very large hill waiting for our runners to come into the exchange zone. The relay was running counter-clockwise around the lake and there was a Harley-Davidson rally going the opposite direction. I stood watching the Harleys roar by as I waited in the 80 degree afternoon sun.

As with all relays, one minute you’re standing talking to someone, telling them your best Porta-potty story, and the next minute, you’re flying down the road at far too fast a pace with a baton in your hand. That’s exactly what happened here.

My leg started by going down an enormous hill toward the lake and then it promptly went back up a hill just as large. I don’t know exactly how much elevation we’re talking about here, but for the sake of the story, let’s just say it was at least 5,000 feet (it was more like 1,000, or 500, but it felt like 5,000). By the time I had over-run the downhill and struggled up the uphill, I was about 2 miles into the run and was already completely gassing it. I was sucking the oxygen-light air, like a smoker trying to get the last puff out of the last cigarette in the world. I was starting to cough and wheeze like a smoker too.

After sputtering and choking along for awhile, I finally got back into some kind rhythm. Sure it was more waltz than tango, but I was moving the right direction. I knew this was going to be about survival more than anything else. At this point, I had no idea how far the other team was behind me, but I knew that I was already hurtin’.

The miles passed and as I came to about one mile to go, I heard Coach Dean’s brother yelling at me from the side of the road. “You can catch that guy ahead of you,” he encouraged, “he’s dyin’!”

‘That makes two of us,’ I thought to myself. Frankly, I had nothing left. I was just trying to keep the motor going. My bottles were empty. My tank was dry. My mouth felt like I had licked a bag of cotton-balls.

Then I saw “him.”

It had been a quick look of desperation over my shoulder to see if the other team was coming up on me. But I saw something else instead. “He” was a guy behind me about ½ mile down the road. He wasn’t just back there either, he was flying toward me like a Labrador Retriever going after a Frisbee.

I took another look, and I kid you not, he was already 100 yards closer than the last time I had looked. This time I made a more careful inspection of him. He was wiry thin, wearing black shorts and no shirt, and running in a wild, crazed, tumultuous manner. He looked like some crazy combination of the Tasmanian Devil and the Man in Black.

I was now maybe ½ mile from the finish. I looked over my shoulder one more time; I could see that if I didn’t pick up the pace, he was going to catch me at the line.

Our team motto was “nobody, but nobody, beats us in the last mile.” And certainly, I was not going to let some crazed black-shorted, shirtless, Tasmanian Devil beat me, whomever he was.

I pulled my hydration belt off, throwing it into the grass, like a steam-ship dumping its cargo in order to keep afloat in a storm. Sure, if I was comparing myself to a steam-ship at this point, my engine would be out of gas and I would have hole in my hull. You get the picture: I had nothin’ left.

But somewhere, deep down inside, I was finding just a bit of momentum to keep going.

And then I saw it. On the ground, ¼ mile from the finish, was a bright, shiny, copper penny. I admit, I’m incredibly superstitious. Under any other circumstances, I would have stopped and picked it up. I briefly had the thought that if I didn’t pick it up, I was going to be cursed with bad luck and fall on my head. But if I did stop, there was no way I’d beat the Man in Black, who was still roaring up from behind me. I made a promise right then. I looked up at the sky, briefly closed my eyes, and promised God that I would come back and pick up the penny later, if he just gave me the good luck right then and there that I needed.

I opened my eyes, after my brief conversation with the almighty, and I had reached the end of the road. Here the course turned sharply left into a parking lot, for a final 50 yard sprint to the finish line. There were crowds of thousands (or maybe at least two dozen) lining both sides of the street and all along the finishing lane in the parking lot. Right as I hit the corner, the Man in Black was upon me. Like a big thrashing salmon, he was out of control and barreling right up next to me.

Time stopped.

I planted my left foot firmly on the ground and made the turn toward the line. I rotated. I set my body straight toward the finish, and then I hit the gas. I exploded forward with the force of a missile.

Heading for the finish line

As time resumed, the Man in Black had taken the corner wide. He was out of position and tilting badly to his outside. He recovered and hit the gas, but it was too late. There are very few people that could have out sprinted me from that position. We were like dragsters shooting toward the line, complete with fire coming out of rears. The crowd was going insane.

The two of us, me and the Tasmanian Devil, barreled across the line. I couldn’t stop. I ran out of room at the end of the parking lot and had to jump over some bushes at the end.

When I wound myself down, I turned and saw the Man in Black on all fours, throwing up. He was surrounded by my teammates, who were jumping up and down, yelling “you made him puke! Dude you made him puke!!!!”

Yes, I had conquered the Man in Black.

I left my team behind and jogged back out onto the course, this time, to pick up that magic penny just as I had promised to do. I still have that penny today.

The moral of this story is a subtle one. Never let a crazy, shirtless, man in black, from another relay team, whom you’re really not competing against, pass you in the last mile of race, because even if there is absolutely nothing at stake, you will have one hell of a story to tell if you beat him.

I don’t know what happened to the Tasmanian Devil guy. He lives on in my memories and in the photo shown here on my website. What I do know is that I beat some guy by a mere 1/100th of a second and kept our team from moving from 72 to 73 place.

Ah the sweet taste of victory.

Oh, and we were crowned Champions of Everything Everywhere II and I have the trophy to prove it.

Coach Joe

Running Wild with Coach Joe – a blog focused on marathon racing, training and motivation. Bookmark us at http://coachjoeenglish.wordpress.com or use your favorite RSS feed reader to get the latest news and articles. Running Wild is also now available on Yahoo! 360 and My Space.

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Friday Fun: Photo of the month May 2007

I love capturing the scene from races in photographs and I have thousands of images from marathons around the world. I thought that I might try posting a favorite image here and there that would not otherwise make it into one of my columns. Below is one of my favorite new images.

The image below was taken April 15th, 2007 at Portland’s Race for the Roses Half-Marathon. The sign in the front of the image was not aimed at runners in the race, but rather cars that would, on a normal Sunday, be dropping off merchandise at an outdoor market.

Click on the image to enlarge.

No stopping

Running Wild with Coach Joe – a blog focused on marathon racing, training and motivation. Bookmark us at http://coachjoeenglish.wordpress.com or use your favorite RSS feed reader to get the latest news and articles. Running Wild is also now available on Yahoo! 360 and My Space.

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Friday Fun: What’s on the radio?

I love the way music can set the mood and stimulate us while we’re running at times. I’m not a big fan of running with music in many circumstances, but a rainy Thursday evening run is certainly one of those times that I use it to get by.

Last night I was wearing my iPod Shuffle, which selects the songs randomly. I was rockin’ out to some live music when one of the lyrics jumped out at me. It was ironic how it fit with my run. Then I started paying attention and it seemed like one after another something jumped out at me as being very appropriate in each of the songs. What was going on here. Was it karma? Was it just a random coincidence? Are there random coincidences?

I don’t know, but here are the words that were speaking to me last night. Can you name the artist and song? They’re all listed at the end of the article.

1. “No one knows where you are, how near, how far. . . No one knows how far you’ll go.”

2. “Gravity is working against me; And gravity wants to bring me down”

3. “Where are you going? Where do you go? Are you lookin’ for answers to questions under the stars? Well if along the way you are growin weary, you can rest with me
Until a brighter day, you’re ok.”

4. “Fill ‘er up son; with unleaded. I need a full tank of gas where I’m headed”

5. “Running, running. As fast as we can. Do you think we’ll make it? We’re running, keep holding my hand”

6. “If I had boat, I’d go out on the ocean. And if I had a pony, I’d ride him on my boat.
And we could all together; go out on the ocean. Me upon my pony on my boat.”
[OK, so that may not have much to do with running, but I just love the line.]

7. How far can you go; Make me glow glow glow glow.”

And just as I finished the run, this came on:

8. “I’m bringing sexy back.”*
[Oh, how I wish.]

Have a good weekend runners.
Coach Joe

* 1. Pink Floyd, Shine on you crazy diamond; 2. John Mayer, Gravity; 3. Dave Mathews, Where are you going? 4. Sting, Fill her up; 5. No Doubt, Running 6. Lyle Lovett, If I had a boat; 7. Nelly Furtado, Glow; 8. Justin Timberlake, Sexy back

Running Wild with Coach Joe – a blog focused on marathon racing, training and motivation. Bookmark us at http://coachjoeenglish.wordpress.com or use your favorite RSS feed reader to get the latest news and articles. Running Wild is also now available on Yahoo! 360 and My Space.

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