So as many of the 6 of you know, I love Halloween. I think it's a great holiday and I think, even though it's one of the bigger ones, it is still not getting the credit it deserves. Young and old, black and white, this holiday is for anyone and everyone. Even with a root in religion, you obviously can (or should be) able to celebrate no matter your creed or belief system. All you need is some imagination.
And, as it so happens every year, I wait until the last minute to make a costume, and then try and do something that nobody else is going to be. In the past I've been Kanye "White" (I held a sign that said "George Bush Hates White People"), the "Don't Taze Me, Bro" kid from Florida, Siegfried (of Siegfried and Roy, with Zero, and Brennan as our White Tiger), and Ace of Ace and Gary, the Ambiguously Gay Duo (with Zero). I try to figure things out on the fly, and spend as little as I can get away with. This year, I went to run at Fed Hill where we all "dressed up" as bandits. At least 6 or 7 of us were wearing race medals on the run, which was pretty funny after an episode from the weekend. After the run, it was after 8pm and I had to get a real costume. Ed and I traveled to the Eastpoint Mall, one of the shittiest malls on the planet, and hit up the stores to see what we could come up with for me.
My initial options were:
1. Chuck, from the TV show "Chuck"
2. Steve Carrell from The 40 Year Old Virgin
3. A character from LOST
4. Wilfred, the dog from the TV show "Wilfred"
5. Jennifer Garner's "Sidney Bristow" from Alias
I'm proud to say that I'm one of the 8 people that watches Chuck. I don't think anyone would have gotten the costume, and despite being the easiest on paper to do, I couldn't find the necessary stuff at this ghetto mall. Steve Carrell was going to require me to wax or shave my chest into a man-o'lantern, I just didn't want to do it. Nobody would have gotten the Lost character. Wilfred was my favorite summer show, but I didn't know how to make it.
So my options were now "Hanging Chad" from HIMYM, Ted's costume back in the 2005 episode "The Slutty Pumpkin", or Jennifer Garner.
I found a pink wig at Party City, 5 minutes before they closed, and went with Jennifer Garner. Of course, I haven't shaved in a while, and didn't have time, so I looked like this:
As you can see, not quite as feminine as Jennifer Garner, although probably not far off - she was, after all, pretty jacked in that show. The dress was actually from college, when I wore it for another costume, so this thing is 9 or 10 years old now. I bought it for $1.98 at Valu City in Greenbelt. I hiked up the skirt a bit when I got to Fells Point, and I was immediately accosted by women and men alike. I guess I was asking for it. A lot of pictures were taken with me. I told people I was Jennifer Garner's male stunt double, but I could also have been an undercover transvestite police officer/prostitute, which we actually have here in Baltimore up on The Stroll.
Fells Point is normally the jump-off for Halloween, even when the night falls oddly on a Monday, but this year was really, really quiet. Awkwardly so. I didn't mind, I didn't want to be out late as I had to be home before midnight to sign up for this:
Survival of the Shawangunks
I have wanted to do this race for many years now, and there was momentum when OJ and Benda said they would be in for next year's race. The race is an 8 leg triathlon, consisting of an initial 30 mile bike ride, followed by alternating run-swim-run-swim-run-swim-run. The total amount of running is 18.7 miles and swimming is 2.1, but the kicker is you have to swim across lakes WITH your running shoes. Doesn't matter how you do it, whether you swim with them on, carry them, or shove them in your shorts - you just have to get them across the water. I'm looking forward to this unique event. The date of the race coincides with 70.3 WCs, however, so if I were in a position to earn a spot to that, I'd have a decision to make (although since I'm not a fan of spending money to not do races, it would probably be a no-go on Las Vegas!).
The other thing about SOS is that they have a midnight registration, so we had to be at our computers right at midnight, as the race sells out in a matter of minutes. The field is capped at something small, like 300, and in order to compete you must have completed a half iron in the past 18 months. This year's race was shortened due to the damage from the Hurricane, so no telling if it will even be patched up by next year, but it'll be fun no matter what.
So that started framing out my 2012 season. Obviously, because I'm a bitch, I signed up for Columbia and Eagleman again. My tentative plan is to do Philly Tri at the end of June, and then call it a season. I raced too much this summer, so I don't want to do that again. Philly Tri just looked cool because everyone went so fast there, aided by a downstream swim and a perfect day.
Prior to Columbia, I have a couple of races on the radar but most will focus on running. I will not be going back to Rumpus, that's for sure. Then next fall it will be NYC Marathon. I'm excited to get to watch my friends race there this weekend, and I hope to make next year a much better experience for myself than when I did it in 2008.
Since October is now finished, I'll do my typical grading:
Swimming - A+. I have been really rolling since Louisville. I finished with 52,000m in the pool this month, with some really great workouts. I don't think I had gone above 39k any month this year, so it felt good to get back in for a decent amount. Like I said in my previous post, I feel pretty locked in for swimming well at Arizona. I have swam 1:02:20 basically the past two years, and that's been with a few pussy moments at the beginning that have undoubtedly slowed me down, not to mention my prior inability to breathe bi-laterally in open water. Now that I've changed that, I feel much better and more comfortable. I'd like to think I can actually go under an hour, but anything up to 1:02 will be acceptable.
Cycling - A. Coming along. 715 miles in October, the most of any month this year, but still far below what I was hoping to get in. I initially thought I'd be close to 350 for the last week, which would have put me in the 850 range, and if my first two weeks hadn't been light, I should have been over 900. Mileage isn't the end all-be all, but for me, I've found that if I'm keeping on top of volume, I'm riding well. I didn't have any one great ride that stands out, but I didn't have really any bad rides. I got in three 80+ milers but none above 90, and had a decent race at Waterman's. My goal for Louisville was to ride 5 hours, that was well within reason, and I was on pace for 60 miles before my day went a little south. Arizona is a friendlier course, although it is horribly boring, and I feel like even if I'm not in as good of shape, I should still ride about what I would have in August. So 5 hours is the goal, but again I'm more concerned with feeling good to go off the bike, so I'll accept up to a 5:10.
Running - A. With 190 miles, it's the most I've run since the month before I got hurt in 2009, and Sunday's 21 miler is the most I've run since Boston Marathon 2009 (I will not include either Ironman as I did not really run those). It was a great confidence boost, but also a reality check. Going out at 6:45 pace just can't be tolerated. My first three miles last year at AZ were 6:47, 6:47, 6:45. Just too fast. I backed off from there to 7min for the next two, but then it turned quickly. I'm a firm believer in getting that money in the bank, because nobody can honestly say they expect to negative split an Ironman marathon, so if I go out at 7:30 pace hoping to average 7:30 pace, I'm probably going to slow down no matter what. I think 7:15 pace = 3:10, 7:27 = 3:15, 7:38 = 3:20. I am not going to say I'm going into this race expecting a 3:10, or even 3:15, but there is absolutely no reason I can't run 3:20. At that pace, it's not like you even need to be fast - it's just about attrition and energy management. My 1:18 half marathon doesn't mean shit come IM day. Either you can run it, or you can't. Maybe if I go out a bit slower, like 7:10-7:20, I can actually hold that and run that for longer before slowing down. My biggest concern is always how the time trial bike leaves my knee feeling, which ultimately gets tight on the run and starts to really give me pain. Lately, with the weather getting colder, it's already showing me signs of not wanting to cooperate. But I deal.
October was a good month, but it was a trying one. The weather was definitely not as kind as it was October of last year, and I have felt a lot more nagging stuff than I have all year. My right piriformis/sciatic, in particular, is giving me discomfort. As long as I can get through the end of this week, I think I have some time to work those things out, and I'll be glad to rest up a little before race day.