Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for February, 2009

Published February 26th, 2009

Just call me Dane

I’ve been meaning to post my race report from my very first 50K, but recovery has taken a higher priority. However, procrastination has its rewards, as I can now weave the Biggest Loser marathon debacle into the report (gotta keep this blog topical, ya know).

So what does the Biggest Loser have to do with a 50K? Not much, really. But if you watch the show, you probably know it also doesn’t have much to do with FINISHING a marathon. At least not in Dane Patterson’s case.

I was tipped off about the alleged cheating soon after the race (the Arizona Desert Classic on January 31). It’s a relatively small Maniac-centric race; most of the runners know each other, and given it’s an out-and-back course you know where you place throughout the race. One marathon finisher posted her account of what happened on the Biggest Loser forum, stating she saw Dane and his wife behind her at the turnaround. Imagine her surprise when she saw them again in FRONT of her at Mile 23. Turns out they were picked up by a van at Mile 17 and driven for several miles (according to Carli Patterson, they were “only” driven 3 miles; I find that suspect).

After I read about this on the Maniac forum, I was curious to see how they would portray it on the show. Sure enough, last night Dane was voted off, and during the “Where are they now?” segment they showed him “finishing” the marathon, along with his wife. The real shocker? They claimed he ran a sub 4-hour marathon (3:53:xx). The clock actually states 5:53:xx, but the caption underneath clearly states 3:53. In addition, both Dane and his wife talk about the elation of running “an entire marathon.” I’d point you to the video, but NBC has since removed it from the site. (BTW — the Desert Classic race director was tipped off and Dane and Carli were disqualified).

I’ve been a fan of the show for several seasons, although I’ve been getting turned off by the product placements and back stabbing. It used to be a very supportive show, and now not so much. With this latest charade, I think my BL viewing days are over. Mind you, I do think Dane and his wife ran at least 17 miles, which is indeed impressive given he’s still a big guy. But it’s irresponsible to claim he was able to run a full marathon in under 4 hours. I just think that’s a slap in the face to anyone who has trained for — and ran — the entire distance. (And yes — the fact they claimed he ran the marathon a minute faster than MY marathon PR really chaps my hide!)

Granted, I realize this is television and they’d have red faces if they couldn’t show them getting their medals. They probably realized by mile 17 they wouldn’t be able to finish within the 6-hour time frame, so the gave them a ride. In reading comments on other blogs, forums, etc., a lot of people say that it’s still “inspirational.” Perhaps, but to me it would have been MUCH more inspirational if they either showed him NOT finishing, or finishing well after the time limit, then having him acknowledge what an incredible feat it is to run a marathon and that he’s going to train even harder for the next one in order to earn his medal.

But again, what the heck does all this have to do with my 50K this past Sunday? Well, while my “official” time states 5:45:00, there should be an asterisk next to my name. I can’t in good conscience rail against Dane and not fess up to my own deceitfulness.


Published February 16th, 2009

I (heart) running

Forget flowers, diamonds and boxes of chocolates; when it comes to celebrating the Hallmark holiday that is Valentine’s Day my darling and I do what we like best: we go running.

First up was the Valentines Marathon on February 8.  We had no intention of running it, but when we saw several of our Maniac friends were signed up, we figured we might as well too.  (I never imagined I’d be at a point where I could sign up for a marathon at the last minute).  While I intended to run it extremely slow, my darling offered to pace one of our Maniac friends to a 3:30 PR.

This race, along with other “holiday” themed races put on by the same race director (Halloween, Christmas, Leprechaun, Easter) has quite the reputation among the Maniacs.  It’s basically a love-hate relationship; while many appreciate having such races available, the organization leaves much to be desired.  Although most are touted as being Boston certified, apparently the director has been known to change the course at whim.  There are no road closures, so runners must be on the lookout for cars whizzing past at 50+ MPH.  The t-shirts are old-school cotton and the timing at the end is suspect (there may or may not be a teenager there to mark your time; typically you have to hunt down the director to record what your Garmin states).  While this wouldn’t be a problem if the race was inexpensive, for $65 I expect more.  Still, we decided we’d have to run one and form our own opinion.


Published February 5th, 2009

How to qualify for Boston

This week the Runner’s Lounge asks us to let you in on the secret of how to qualify for Boston.  Why on earth would I want to do THAT?  I can put up with you stopping by my blog, but that doesn’t mean I want to rub sweaty elbows with you in Hopkinton.

I kid!

Frankly, even though I’ve managed to qualify for Boston twice, I can’t say I have the secret.  So many factors come in to play — some you can control, others you can’t — there’s no guarantee what works for one person will work for another.  While I worked hard to get my BQ, I was also blessed with a bit of luck.  I may not have the secret, but I’m happy to share my road to a BQ.

The following factors are what I consider to be the most important in my BQ quest:

Obviously, this is one you can’t control.  There are many folks who argue BQ standards favor older women, especially those in the 40-49 age group, and I just so happen to fall into that category.  The standards account for bodies that get creakier and less responsive with age, yet perhaps I’m in that sweet spot where my body isn’t so decrepit I can’t pull off a 4-hour marathon.  Compare that with the 3:15 my darling needs as a 38-year-old man.  As many of you may know, he missed his time by a mere 18 seconds in the same race where I first BQ’d.  But was my age/gender the only reason?  Maybe, maybe not.  My training was more regimented than his, and I believe I got in a couple more long runs.

The race
Here’s something you can control.  There are hundreds of BQ course around the country from which to choose — some with a reputation for being a fast course (CIM, St. George, Tucson), others not.  I chose the North Olympic Discovery Marathon in Port Angeles for my first BQ attempt.  It’s a scenic, small race (about 600 marathoners) on a relatively fast course.  Even though I missed my BQ there (you can read about it here), I do think it’s a great course on which to BQ.

Not wanting to leave things to chance, I chose the Light at the End of the Tunnel for my second attempt as it’s an all-downhill course (you can see the elevation profile in part 1 of my race report).  Some running Nazis may claim it’s a cheater course, but if the USATF certifies it, then it’s good enough for the BAA.  Still, even though I was ecstatic after the Tunnel Marathon, I wanted to challenge myself on a more difficult course.  While I wasn’t sure if I had it in me going into the race, I BQ’d again at Royal Victoria with a 4:00:26.