How to Get Hot Women Runners to Notice You

MY WIFE WORRIES when I head out to a race, decked out in my neon shoes, tech shirt, and compression shorts. “What are you going to do,” she asks me, “when all those hot women throw themselves at you?”

Until now, oddly, this hasn’t been a problem.

However, at last week’s Hightail to Ale 5K in Detroit, it finally happened. And as a public service for the frustrated, lonely men out there, I will tell you how I did it.

Hey, baby, wanna have a look at my collection of ultra medals?

Hey, baby – wanna come up and look at my ultra medals?

Guys, we all know there are several “can’t miss” ways to get attention from the ladies. Which one of them did I employ that evening?

  1. Be rockstar-rich and famous. Nope, not quite there yet.
  2. Look like a Greek god (or better yet, be one). Never been mistaken for one.
  3. Hand out free beer. YES! And it COUNTS!
Readying for the onslaught.

Readying for the onslaught.

And how did I exploit this enviable situation? Read on for a key lesson I learned in relating to the fair sex and how I used it to my advantage.

I’d volunteered for the Hightail to Ale as part of my new interest in seeing how races handle all the trash they generate – food, water bottles, cups, and the like. At the Gazelle Girl half, I’d seen how careful planning and key partnerships resulted in the composting or recycling of 99% of what usually goes to a landfill. Now I wanted to see how a more typical event dealt with it.

But instead of the garbage detail, I was assigned to a central part of the event; the Atwater Brewery beer to be handed out at the finish. While this was a real race (the winner finished in under 16 minutes) most of the 4,400 runners were there for the fun of it. It’s amazing what people will do for a free beer.

The 5K starting queue. (This is about half of the runners.)

The 5K starting queue. (This is about half of the runners.)

Last year, the line for the post-race suds had gotten so long that people waited over an hour, and many gave up. So this year an entire parking lot had been set aside, with a long line of tables staffed by several volunteers each. All runners had to do was walk up, tear off and hand over the bottom tab of their race bibs, and get a beer. (Minors didn’t get the special tab.) It worked perfectly. The beer area filled up, but nobody had to wait.

I think Drunk 1 was under the table.

I think Drunk 1 was under the table.

Look at that form, that determination, that purposeful stride. She wants that beer!

Look at that form, determination, and purposeful stride. She wants that beer!

It was a warm and humid evening, so the runners were particularly eager to get a cold drink. From my spot behind a center table I was approached by many hot and sweaty women. (There were plenty of men too, but we needn’t go there.)

My lesson in male-female interaction occurred unexpectedly. While showing an ID was not necessary, some people, women in particular, had their driver’s licenses out and ready to show. The first time someone did that, I just handed her a can, smiled, and said I didn’t need to see it.

“Oh, so it’s that obvious,” she muttered.

Apparently I’d made some kind of faux pas. Did you know women can be sensitive about their age? Clearly, I would win no friends by being straightforward. So I changed tactics.

Soon a pair of women of obvious legal age approached my table. With the first I just took her tab and congratulated her on finishing the race. But I stopped the other. “Hmm,” I said, “I think I need to check your ID, young lady.”

As she walked away she said to the other, “That was awesome. I never get carded anymore.”

Success! From then on when a woman showed me her ID, I would toss out lines like, “That ID looks fake to me,” and “Are you sure that isn’t your older sister’s license?” Corny as hell, yes, but it never failed to get a smile.

But the best part occurred near the end of the rush. A woman walked up to me with stuff in both hands so she couldn’t tear the ticket off her bib. “You can take it off,” she said, leaning toward me.

“Best offer I’ve had all day,” I told her.

Meme - Keep Running My Friends

Cure for a DNF: Water, Shade, and Perspective

One week after the Glacier Ridge 50-miler DNF and feeling much better. Ran Saturday morning with PR Fitness, holding it to 8 miles per Coach’s direction (OK, 8.3 miles, but she wasn’t looking). About halfway out it began to rain. Some people grumbled, but I loved every minute of it. Man, could I have used some of that last week!

This would have been good, too! (From last year's Kona race.)

This would have been good, too! (From last year’s Kona race.)

Not finishing was a bummer, but it’s okay. I’d signed up to find out how ready I was to retry the 100K. By mile 40 I’d learned that I wasn’t, and the main reasons why. Going on would have been a miserable slog with nothing else to learn. And as a bonus, the whole thing was put into perspective very quickly. See below.

My biggest lesson was how much I’d underrated hydration. I’d gotten into the (bad) habit of not drinking anything before a race, because I hate standing in line at the porta-potties right before the gun. I can get away with this for short races, and up to 50K on the trail. Beyond that and the lack of water catches up with me.

I now drink at least 8 ounces of water when I wake up, and will on race days, regardless of the consequences. I also need to drink a lot more during the race, and start drinking earlier, especially on hot days.

My backpack has pockets for two bottles. I just need to use them both. The camera can go elsewhere.

My backpack has pockets for two bottles. I need to use both for that purpose. The camera can go elsewhere.

And I need to protect my head from direct sunlight. I hadn’t counted on such a long stretch of open road and trail late in the race. I should have put a baseball cap in my backpack just in case. I will from now on.

On the plus side, I recovered quickly. Just three days later I ran with the Tuesday night group, stretching a planned two miles to three. Yesterday I felt good enough for my usual 12 miles but didn’t push it. The Dexter-Ann Arbor half is in two weeks, so there’s no sense in doing too much too fast. After that, I’m looking at another 50-miler in late June or early July.

And from the Count Your Blessings news desk: Last week after I accepted the strong hints at the aid station and turned in my chip, I got a ride back to the start from a race staffer named Dan. We got to chatting and I asked if he also ran ultramarathons. “I used to,” he said. “But I can’t anymore.”

A few years ago Dan’s heart became enlarged due to a leaky valve. Surgery corrected the problem but his heart didn’t return to normal size as hoped. Now, he says, running even a short distance leaves him out of breath.

“I was devastated,” he said. “Running was my stress relief. My meditation. I had to come up with an entirely new way of coping with things.” He has, but it was clear how much he missed being able to run.

All that evening I did my best to feel sorry for myself, but the magic just wasn’t there.

For a wicked take on why self-pity is “dangerously comfortable” see this article on Cracked.com.

Note to self: he carried two water bottles. He finished.

Note to self: he carried two water bottles. He finished.

And I want to thank J.R., who ran with me for many miles, and who helped me out when I was sitting on that log at mile 36. He gave up a chance at a faster finish to walk with me to the aid station. His encouragement was a big reason why I was able to get there, and I made sure the race staff knew it. See you next year, my friend.

============================

Next up: Chatting up the ladies at the Hightail to Ale 5K. (Key to success: be one of the people handing out free beer.) Details to follow!

Melted at the Glacier Ridge

I slowly walked over to the aid station checkout desk. The nice lady there looked up at me. “What do you think, Jeff?” she asked.

“Well, I’m stupid enough to try,” I said.

I was hoping for a laugh. Instead I got a look of motherly concern that made my heart sink. “You have no color in your face,” she said.

I was at mile 40 and ten hours in. Only ten miles to go, and I had time to walk to the finish. But even that wouldn’t be easy. I was in trouble – and it was my own damn fault.

Glacier Ridge - first mileThe Glacier Ridge Trail Ultra takes place at Moraine State Park near Pittsburgh, in rolling farm country. Normally held in April, the organizers were getting tired of cold temps and ankle-deep mud. So this year they moved it to May, hoping for warmer and drier conditions.  Be careful what you wish for was never more true. The temperature at the 6:30 a.m. start was already in the mid-sixties and would reach 90 that afternoon.

The race staff had bought lots of ice and hired extra EMT units, and told us to be careful out there. I planned to run it nice and easy, in around 11-12 hours. That wouldn’t earn any awards, but I was there to prep for an upcoming 100K, not win anything. Let the ego go, I told myself. Just finish.

Ready to rock! Little did I know...

Ready to rock! Little did I know…

It was a small event, just a few hundred runners taking part in their choice of a 30K, 50K, or 50-mile individual or relay. Everyone was in good spirits as we took off, chatting about their longer races coming up later this summer.

The first half of the race was awesome. My new trail shoes were performing well, the woods were filled with white and purple wildflowers, and I felt terrific. Despite two face plants (&#%@$ roots), I cruised into the Route 528 aid station at mile 21 right on pace and after a bite to eat and a water bottle refill, I headed out into the Swamp Run section.

Yep, this was part of the course. Reminds me of the almond-shell hills in McFarland, USA.

Yep, this was part of the course. Reminds me of the almond-shell hills in McFarland, USA.

This 19-mile leg had long stretches of gravel road and double-wide snowmobile track. It was a nice respite from the rocks and roots of the first part, but open to the sun, which now beat down full overhead. When I began to feel its effects around mile 26 I wasn’t too worried – the aid station wasn’t far away. Except it was.

The Swamp Run aid station was 8 miles from Route 528, three miles farther than I had thought, and in the heat I ran short on water. I’d made a big mistake by not grabbing my second water bottle. I slowed down and finally reached the station, where the nurse there sat me down and put cold wet towels on my neck. I ate cold melon, took salt, and drank lots of water. I went on to the turnaround point, rested some more back at the aid station, and began the return feeling better. But it didn’t last; the damage had been done.

Halfway back to Route 528 (around mile 36) I knew I was in trouble. I went from slow jog to walk but was still breathing hard, and wetting down my face and head was no longer helping. This was bad – and I was at least an hour away from the aid station. Finally I did something I’ve never done in a race; I stopped, sat down on a log, and waited. After a few minutes a group behind me came up and I joined them. Everyone was suffering from the heat and we were all grateful to see the cars and hear the voices that meant we’d reached Route 528.

I sat with fluids and a large bag of ice for about half an hour, hoping I could recover enough to attempt the final ten miles. The volunteers manning the station were wonderful, making sure I had whatever I needed and checking on me frequently. All that time I debated what to do. Finally I thought I was well enough to try the finish. Until the nice lady gave me that concerned look.

So I went to the EMT technician, who looked me over and took my vitals. “It’s your call,” she said. “But you’re gray in the face, and you’re not sweating as much as I’d like you to.”

“We can give you a ride back to the start,” the checkout lady suggested, hope in her voice. “The truck’s leaving right now.”

As a final check I used the porta-potty. What came out wasn’t much, even with all my drinking, and it looked like a strong cup of tea. That clinched it. I removed the timing strap from my ankle and handed it over. It was the hardest thing I’d done all day, but the relieved expressions told me I’d done the right thing.

So I called it a day at 40 miles. My only goal had been to finish, and I hadn’t even done that. But it occurred to me that I had accomplished one thing. Ego? An attempt to finish would have soothed it. But stopping – that was truly letting it go.

.  .  .

Thanks again, buddy. (J.R. after finishing)

Thanks again, buddy. (J.R. after finishing)

Up next: What I learned, and a couple of stories from people I met on the trail. I also specifically want to thank Dan and J.R. for their help during the race. Details next time.

Running to Remember, and Save Lives

Happy Birthday Eli strollerLast week was Eli’s Run, an event hosted by PR Fitness coaches Marie and her husband Rob to remember and honor their son Eli, who was diagnosed with a genetic disorder in utero and unfortunately did not survive. As dedicated runners they decided on an annual race to celebrate his memory and raise funds to support lifesaving research for premature babies.

There were two events that evening at Gallup Park – a kid’s race of about a quarter mile, followed by a 5K for us bigger kids, with pizza afterward. And all the proceeds went to the March of Dimes to support their Prematurity campaign.

Here are some photos from the event. Rob and Marie may look a bit tired (for very good reasons, the best being their new baby daughter) but there were lots of happy faces. And what a great way to get kids fired up about running!

The little kids take off! Note the teddy bear race shirts.

The little kids take off! Note the teddy bear race shirts.

Charge to the finish.

Charge to the finish.

Ready to start the 5K. Marie is holding the clipboard. (She's happy. Really.)

Ready to start the 5K. Marie is holding the clipboard. (She’s happy. Really.)

Flying down the trail.

Flying down the trail.

Yep, we had all ages represented here!

Yep, we had all ages represented here!

And such professional service at the water stop.

And such professional service at the water stop.

Rob with Kacey June. (He's happy. Really.)

Rob with Kacey June. (He’s happy. Really.)

Hanging out post-race with Ironman Tracy and her family.

Hanging out post-race with Ironman Tracy (left) and her family.

Feeling Restless – At Last!

Hooray for energy!

This morning I ran seven miles with PR Fitness and went to the farmer’s market to pick out some plants for the back deck. I then spent the afternoon inside, preparing for an exam tomorrow. It was where I belonged, but I spent much time looking through the window at a beautiful day, fretting that I wasn’t out there doing something useful – like more running.

For some of you, the above will only confirm your opinion that there is no hope for me. But to me, this is a good sign.

Fired up at last year's Dances with Dirt - Hell 50K. That's the feeling I love!

Fired up at last year’s Dances with Dirt – Hell 50K. That’s the feeling I love!

The week before the April 25-26 Trail Marathon (recap coming) I also spent a good deal of time resting, hoping that by race weekend I’d be stir crazy and ready to rock. But the fatigue that bothered me all that week didn’t entirely go away, and I started Saturday’s half marathon still feeling a bit run down. But in the second part of that race my energy came back and I finished with a strong time. And Sunday’s 50K was even better, as I finished five minutes faster than last year and defended my age group title.

Now, after another week of light activity, that restless, “gotta run” feeling has returned. Today’s run felt too short and too easy, exactly as it should have. I’m grateful my energy has returned, because at next Saturday’s 50-miler at the Glacier Ridge Trail Ultra I’m gonna need every bit of it.

Coming up – I try out some new gear, including some shoes that are so exclusive, they don’t officially exist yet. But I need my rest for the exam tomorrow, so that’s all for now.

Great Event, But Where’s All the Trash?

Last Sunday was another “first” in my adventures in running – an early morning two-hour drive to Grand Rapids and the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon & 5K.

Photo from Gazelle Girl website

So, one might wonder why a manly man like me would be part of a female-only race. Well, I was not there to take part in the race, but to pick up after it. Yes, I was on the waste collection and sorting team. A minor version of Mike Rowe doing a Dirty Job. (Being called the “Green Team” didn’t mean we got to keep our hands clean.)

What kind of stuff gets tossed out at a race? Some of just about everything. But the main categories are food waste, cups, water bottles, and Gu / energy bar wrappers. Any large event generates a lot of all of that, and the Gazelle Girl had over 3,500 runners, plus spectators.

What made the job intriguing was that last year, a grand total of one 6 lb. bag was sent to the landfill. Yep, one 6 lb. bag. Everything else was either recycled, sent to a composting service (Organicycle), or (as with the Gu wrappers) sent to Terracycle, a company that turns the scrap into other products like children’s furniture.

Gazelle Girl waste bins 2How did this happen? Good planning and lots of information. One way of limiting waste, for example, is to tell people not to bring something that’s going to end up as landfill trash. Another way is to mark very clearly what goes where, and to staff the stations, which I did briefly before moving to the lovely sorting brigade.

So how much waste actually went to the landfill this year? See below. Enough of describing what happened – I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story. Enjoy! And many thanks to Chelsea and the other Green Team members for helping me learn how sustainable a race can be!

No one's going to steal this waste on my watch!

No one’s going to steal this waste on my watch!

I was so good at manning the station that they moved me to sorting.

I was so good at manning the station that they moved me to sorting.

A sample compost bag. Most of the cups and lids were compostable, but we had to sort out the others for recycling.

A sample compost bag. Most of the cups and lids were compostable, but we had to sort out the others for recycling.

Even with bins all around, there was still food waste scattered everywhere. Sigh. Grow up, people.

Even with bins all around, there was still food waste scattered everywhere. Sigh. Grow up, people.

The final tally. The truck has the compost and Terracycle bags. The bins and bags are for recycling.

The final tally from the start/finish area. The truck has the compost and Terracycle bags. The bins and bags are for recycling. Aid station bags were left on-site and picked up on Monday.

And here's what went to the landfill. Yep, that's all.

And here’s what went to the landfill. Yep, that’s all.

Gearing Up – Ultras Ahead! And a Trashy Update

My first ultra of 2015 is just a week away, and it’s time to start putting things in order for the big day. Actually, the big weekend, as I’ll be doing the Running Fit Trail Marathon “No Wimps” challenge again – half marathon Saturday, 50K Sunday. No guarantees that I’ll jump into the lake again after finishing, but we’ll see.

"No Wimps, Baby!" - 2014

“No Wimps, Baby!” – 2014.

I’ve done the prep work; from now until race day it’s rest and maintain, backing off on distance just a tad and slowing the pace way down. Today, for example, I cut down my long run from 16 miles to 11, and ran easy the entire way. I’m also working in some bike rides, which keep the legs moving without overstressing the knees.

But the tricky part of ultras for me isn’t sore legs, but other factors that cause discomfort. It’s these things more than fatigue that put me at risk of not running as well as I hope to. So I will be making a couple of adjustments at the Trail Marathon. If all goes well I can carry them over to my Glacier Ridge 50 miler, and onto my next 100K attempt later this year.

Lubrication. Chafing is a big problem when I go past 50K, and was one of the things that contributed to my DNF at my 100K attempt last year. Let’s just say that no man wants to experience skin rubbed raw where mine was. Two mainstays of ultrarunners, Vaseline and Body Glide, don’t work well enough for me. Skip at Body Specs recommended Cramer’s Skin Lube, and I just ordered some. That plus compression shorts instead of regular shorts should help a lot.

There are times... (Source: http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/in-print/2010/april-2010/21-april-2010/too-hot-to-handle.aspx)

There are times…
(Source: nzdoctor.co.nz)

Electrolytes. When I’m on the trail I sweat a lot. An awful lot. From learning the hard way I know I have to keep my salt level up. Until now I’ve been relying on salt-dipped potatoes at the aid stations, which work really well for me – but they don’t always have salt at every station. So salt tabs seem like a logical thing to bring along.

Stomach relief. So far I’ve been fortunate in that eating during an ultramarathon doesn’t bother me. But you never know. And this article explains why runners can get an upset stomach. So I will be packing a roll of antacids, just in case.

Followup: Race Trash and what’s being done about it

This is from the Berlin Marathon, but quite typical. (Source: Wikimedia Commons.)

This is from the Berlin Marathon, but quite typical. (Source: Wikimedia Commons.)

A couple of posts ago I talked about the amount of trash generated during a typical race, and the efforts made by some events to cut down on that waste. On Sunday I will be part of the “Green Team” at the Gazelle Girl half marathon in Grand Rapids – a race that last year produced one 6-lb. bag of trash. Everything else was recycled or composted. I’m going there to find out how they do this, and I’ll share what I learned with you next week.

And before I go, I want to give a big shout-out to the 21 PR Fitness runners who are going to toe the line at the Boston Marathon on Monday. Go get ’em, guys!

PR Fitness - Boston Marathon runners 2015