I can has Elvii

Personal,Running by on December 6, 2007 at 7:41 pm

I ran the Las Vegas marathon on Sunday with Jeff and 207 other people dressed as Elvis.

Two Elvii

We apparently broke the record for number of runners dressed as Elvis (this is tracked?). The marathon organizers recruited people to dress as Elvis and provided a number of Elvis-specific events including a separate starting carrel, pasta dinner and get together the day before.

All of the Elvii stopped at Mile 5 for a while to witness couples getting married at a run-through wedding chapel. This 20-30 min stop made chip times meaningless, but from Mile 6 on we ran a 3:43 pace.

Many Elvii

The costume was so cheaply constructed that it was pretty easy to run in although I made a few safety pin modifications to keep my pants up, I barely noticed the costume was there (other than the glasses that wouldn’t stay up).

The race was well supported and organized this year (although the bag drop apparently sucked). According to reports, the marathon was poorly run in prior years.

However, this race confirmed my opinion that Marathons at vacation destinations are weak. Runners were secondary (or worse) at both the Las Vegas and Disney World marathons. The entire goals of the organizers seem to be to get the runners out of the way of the tourists as soon as possible. This means 6 am starts and shitty finishes.

While the Vegas marathon started out on the strip, it finished with two miles along a service road behind the casinos (construction areas and parking lots).

Compare this to Boston, London and other major marathons where you finish in the center of the city, running down the most scenic roads in the city.

Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon

Personal,Running by on October 14, 2007 at 11:04 pm

I ran the Leavenworth Marathon on Saturday. The entire event was a tremendous amount of fun. The weather was perfect (50s and sunny), the scenery was gorgeous and the course was fun. The marathon consisted of two laps of a half-marathon course. There was a long hill at mile 2/15, but the course was mostly flat after that hill. Aid stations were a bit sparse and I definitely wanted more water over the last 10 miles.

The marathon was small (90 finishers), but a simultaneous half marathon (500 finishers) made the race feel larger. Much of the course was on regular roads and since the race was so small, the roads were rarely closed. I’m not a fan of running with traffic, but it wasn’t too much of an issue.

Saturday marathons are a rare but brilliant concept. Most marathons are held on Sundays, so you typically eat light, stay away from alcohol and go to bed early on Saturday. Sunday is for travel back home. Leavenworth was a Saturday run, so we went directly from the race to the Oktoberfest celebrations in Leavenworth and ‘celebrated’ late into the morning.

We rented a cabin (Brunner’s Lodge: highly recommended) outside of town with a group of 12. There were only 4 runners in the group, but others went rock climbing or hung out in Leavenworth while we ran. Matt ran the half-marathon and posted a few pictures on Facebook.

Finishing time was 3:44:59. 15 minutes off of my PR, but definitely a time I’m proud of.

Chicago Marathon Runs out of Water

Personal,Running by on October 8, 2007 at 11:59 am

My sister tried to run the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. She was not allowed to finish.

Of the 36,000 runners that started the race, 24,000 were allowed to finish. According to official sources, The Chicago Marathon was canceled due to high heat.

One runner died and over 300 were treated, many for heat related conditions. The conditions were undeniably hot, however when the race was canceled around 11:30, it was about 84 degrees. The peak of 88F didn’t occur until 4PM - well after the race would have ended. The high temperatures were predicted throughout the week, so organizers should not have been surprised.

Race organizers insist that there was plenty of water available for runners, but my sister had a very different experience. She found no water at the mile4 water stop and consistent shortages throughout the first half of the race.

Canceling the race was the correct decision at the time, however the water shortages are inexcusable. The shortages most likely played a huge role in the hospitalizations that occurred and necessitated the canceling of the race.

Incredible Airline Customer Service

Business,Personal,travel by on September 17, 2007 at 8:40 pm

An oxymoron? I’ve traveled United and USAir extensively, and don’t have a single story like either of these:


Several weekends ago, I booked two one-way flights from Seattle to Reno. Yes, both in the same direction. I probably had the cheapest tickets available as I had booked the flights way in advance.

I realized my error at the checkin counter in Reno airport. I thought I was either: Not flying to Seattle that night; or buying a really expensive ticket.

Instead the Southwest agent smiled warmly, commented that I looked like a ‘nice young man’, invoked a little known privilege and put me on the flight with no ticket.


Last week my wife attended an American Marketing Association meeting that was supposed to feature a Sonja Hagen, a Jet Blue Sales Manager, on brand management during a time of crisis.

Unfortunately, Sonja missed the event. Entirely. And didn’t let anyone at the AMA know.

Several days later, Sonja sent this personalized note to my wife (and presumably all the meeting attendees).

It is to my understanding that you attended the Puget Sound AMA monthly meeting last Wednesday, September 12th in Seattle. This email is my opportunity to sincerely apologize for my absence from the event. I was scheduled to give a presentation on brand management during a time of crisis. Last week was a time of crisis for me, since I have never in my professional career not followed through with a scheduled commitment. I am truly and deeply sorry for my absence at your event, as well as any inconvenience that my absence presented to you, AMA leaders, and membership.

I would have loved to have shared the JetBlue story with you and the things that we have learned over the years regarding our brand, marketing strategy and customer loyalty. Unfortunately, I did not get that opportunity and would love for you to experience our product first hand. Please accept my apology and this complimentary roundtrip travel certificate on JetBlue Airways. It is my hope that you will allow JetBlue the opportunity to serve you in the future.

Mistakes and errors are unavoidable. Nothing tells you more about a company or an individual than how they handle their mistakes and yours.

Mt Adams

Personal by on July 15, 2007 at 9:29 pm

Van and I climbed Mt Adams on Saturday. As the second highest peak in the Northwest, the climb involved 6,700 ft of vertical ascent.

The best part was the glissade down (glissade is a French term for slide on your ass). One uninterrupted slide took us down 2700’. 10 mins down, but an hour and a half up.

Photos and travelog are on our website.


Back from Alaska

Personal,travel by on July 3, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Awesome, awesome trip. Still sorting through photos. I hope to have them up by the end of the weekend.

In the meantime, 2 photos:

Camping at Grewingk Lake across the Kachemak Bay from Homer.

grewingk glacier

Our first-ever fishing trip. All told the four of us came back with 80+ pounds of Halibut fillets. Guess what we’re grilling for the 4th?


Update: Photos are now online.

Off to Alaska

Personal,travel by on June 22, 2007 at 5:38 pm

Not that I’ve been posting terribly regularly, but I’ll be traveling for the next 9 days and expect intermittent connectivity. In the meantime, have fun with the newest version of Desktop Tower Defense.

Why are LOLcats so funny?

Personal by on June 9, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Maybe because we’ve all gotten way too many emails with cute cat pictures and cheesy captions…

Maybe because they’re rumored to be based on ‘Caturday’ a Saturday cat forum tradition that involved, well, cat photos. Caturday has since been co-opted by forums on topics as broad as WoW to Auto Enthusiasts, and guitar players.

Maybe because they’ve been taken way too far. You can now program in LOLCODE.

Maybe it is just the juxtaposition of geek humor and cat photos.


Or maybe we all just secretly love cute photos of cats.

I couldn’t sleep and just burned 30 minutes looking at cat photos. Have fun!

« Previous PageNext Page »
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. | Dave Naffziger's BlogDave & Iva Naffziger