Thursday, December 31, 2009

Born To Run Book Review

I have had my mind blown. I just finished reading Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. It is one of the most incredible, informative, fascinating, entertaining books I’ve ever read.

There are so many elements that make this book amazing.

1) The adventure and excitement of the story. McMillan relates his experience in spending time with members of a super-tribe of Indians in Mexico. Just for the fun of it, they go out and run 40, 60, 100 miles. The kids run. The adults run. The grandparents run. His story culminates in a 50-mile race among the members of the Tarahumara tribe and elite ultra-runners from the US. The adventure aspect of the story makes this book a fast page-turner.

2) The humor. McMillan is just plain funny. A few nights ago I saw midnight on the clock as I sat in bed finishing the book. There was an experience at the end which made me burst out in laughter. The kind of unstoppable laughter that makes your eyes water. I was scared that I would wake up my wife because my laughing was shaking the bed so much.

3) The anatomy, physiology, and science behind running. These little tidbits are woven throughout the story and are, for me, the most valuable part of this book. There are incredible insights into form, diet, training, and motivation. These aspects alone make the book worth reading.

4) What we can learn from the Tarahumara Indians. The fascinating thing is that these people have absolutely no running injuries. The book delves into why they run, and how they run which provides the key for why they never get hurt.

Born To Run has changed the way I run and the way I think about running. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Click on the cover for a link to Amazon where you can read more about the book and order it. Prepare to have your mind blown.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

20 Weeks To Marathon

I took nearly a week off of running after my knee problems from last week. (Was I asleep when they developed their conspiracy to be big jerks?) Over the course of the week I spent some time on the treadmill, and slowly jogged one mile barefoot on the treadmill.

Over the weekend we had a family get-together in Salt Lake. My only regret is not having a Cousin Eddie in our family to park an enormous RV in front of the house.

On Saturday, December 26th, Mel, my brother Kenny, my sister Hollie, and I went for our first ever run together. Kenny and Hollie have been so dedicated in preparing for their first half marathon, the Ogden Half Marathon coming up in May. I'm seriously impressed. This was also Mel's first run in a few weeks since nursing a stress fracture in her foot.

We ran 5 miles in about 55 minutes. It was a bit brisk (COLD!), but good running weather. Our run together gave ample time to discuss the technique and value of utilizing snot rockets in cold weather. I whole-heartedly admit: snot rockets are just absolutely disgusting. But when you're panting like a Schnauzer, your lungs are begging for oxygen, and your nose is so stuffy that it feels like ground sausage has been inserted into your gotta do what you gotta do.

We had a great time together, which more than made up for my evil knee pains.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

21 Weeks To Marathon

Saturday, December 19th 2009: 13 miles took a LONG time.
Saturday was my 32nd birthday. I considered running 32k to celebrate my birthday, but I didn't think my legs would hold up for almost 20 miles. Turns out that was the smartest decision of the day. Instead I went for 13 miles.

I felt okay for the first few miles. I brought my camera with me and saw a pen full of baby pigs. This ended up being the only photo op of the run:

I like this picture with the pig's dirty snot running down his nose. (Coincidentally, I'm sure I looked very similar.)

After a little while the outside part of my knees started to hurt really bad. That part of my knee has never hurt before. (Right now running experts are smirking at my crappy IT bands.)

The pain was debilitating. It hurt to move. By mile 9 I was not doing well. I had my phone in my hand ready to call Mel to pick me up. But I couldn't bring myself to surrender. I didn't want to give up. The last 4 miles I didn't take breaks to walk. I took a few breaks from walking to jog.

Then bad karma came tumbling down on me. My worst fear....happened. I was standing on the side of the road reminding myself how dumb running is. And then.....on my mp3 player....the song "Born To Run" by Bruce Springsteen came on. I LOVE Springsteen music. Love it. But at that moment, I wanted to grab Bruce by the shirt collar and box his lights out. I wanted to karate-chop his Adam's Apple then yell "I don't see you out here RUNNING you big jerk!"

Then I felt guilty for being mad at The Boss. But I felt REALLY guilty for encouraging my wife, brother, and sister to register for the Ogden half-marathon. I felt as though I was responsible for their addiction to crack cocaine.

I managed to hobble home, finishing the 13 miles in exactly 3 hours which put me at 13:50 per mile average. It was one of the worst runs of my life. But I'm really glad I didn't quit. I want to get better at persevering when things get tough.

I don't think I caused any major injuries. I think I just need to take a few days rest, take a few Advil, and make friends with the ice packs. I am currently in negotiations with Running to see if we can become friends again. I think we'll be able to work something out.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Behold.....our electronic Christmas card:

We have had an incredible year at the Reese house. Looking back at 2009, I’m surprised at how much we were able to pack into the year. Here are a few journal entries and a recap of our 2009 adventures. You’ll notice that the theme of barf pops up just a little too often. My apologies. It’s just that barf is pretty funny.

January 8, 2009
We hung out at Mel’s mom’s house for New Years Eve. The festivities and fun of the evening ended promptly when Kylee launched barf all over the floor. Then she launched again. Then as I was helping her move toward the bathroom she launched again, all over me and my leg. I felt bad for her. I don’t know what got into her.

February 10, 2009
This morning when I was getting ready for work Kylee came into my room with a church dress, tights, shoes, and a matching flower in her hair. She was so proud to tell me that she chose her clothes and combed her hair. I told her how beautiful she looked and she said “You should marry me when I get bigger.” I had a smile on my face and she said “You’ll have to buy me a white dress though.” I said okay. Then she got an excited look on her face and said “You can get it at Wal-Mart!”

March 2, 2009
In the evening Mel ran in to the living room laughing hysterically. It took a few minutes before she could say what she was laughing at. Apparently when she was tucking the girls in to bed, Danica climbed up on her bunkbed and said “What the helllllll happened to my bed? (very drawn out).

August 17, 2009
Kylee said something funny to me yesterday. We were sitting at the table eating breakfast and she said “Dad, when we go to heaven will we have to eat our food storage?” I told her I didn’t think we’d have to do that in heaven. I told her I thought there was every kind of food we could ever want and we could have as much as we wanted. Her eyes got so big and she was really excited. Then she said “Ooohhh! I want to die right now! Then I can have as many candy corns as I want!” More proof that she’s my daughter.

August 27, 2009
When I got home from work Monday evening, my stomach felt terrible and I told Mel I wouldn’t make it through the night without throwing up.

So at 9:40pm the barfing began. I threw up a ridiculous amount of vomit. I was kind of surprised my stomach had that much in it. As I was walking to the bathroom to empty my garbage can full of barf, Danica came running in from her bedroom and launched right into the garbage can before I even had a chance to empty it. It was miserable and funny at the same time. We spent the rest of the night on the couch taking turns upchucking.

In March Jackson and I went to Las Vegas to watch two Cubs spring training games. The first night we enjoyed $18 worth of nachos, popcorn, and soda at the game. I dearly regretted that decision. I was so nauseous a few hours later. I spent the rest of the night with a nasty Vegas motel garbage can on my lap begging to throw up, but to no avail. Grrrr.

In April Kylee got her tonsils out. Thank goodness for the barf basins at the surgery center. Otherwise I would have been wearing stomach acid.

Also in April, Mel and I spent a week in Washington DC with my parents and my brother’s family. We had an incredible trip. We saw the White House, Smithsonian museums, all the monuments, the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, and George Washington’s house. Over the course of that week I ate an absolutely obscene amount of Dunkin’ Donuts. God bless the USA. And Dunkin’ Donuts.

Mel and I were put in charge of Youth Conference this year and took the kids on a Pioneer Trek in July. We had an amazing experience and couldn’t think of anything we’d rather do with sweaty teenagers. Our feast on the final day was a true celebration of our rich heritage: large amounts of Little Caesar’s Pizza and countless boxes of Twinkies and Ding Dongs.

Jackson got baptized in August. We also got a phone call from the school district in August. They said that Jackson read the most books of anyone in the school over the summer. Because of this, they asked him to throw the first pitch at the St. George Roadrunners baseball game. It was a Proud Father moment. I’m hoping someone from the Cubs organization will call next.

Mel and I have taken up the hobby of running over the last year. In July we ran the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon. For those of you who haven’t experienced the pain of a marathon or half marathon, let me explain how it feels. Imagine the most painful things you can think of. For example, 1) Getting paper cuts on your eyeballs, or 2) Reading Shakespeare, or 3) Listening to Celine Dion music. Now…put them all together. Celine Dion is giving you paper cuts on your eyeballs with pages from Shakespeare while she sings the National Anthem. Now you have an idea of the torture of running a long race.

In October I ran my first marathon, the St. George Marathon. I can’t think of a logical explanation for why someone would willingly pay $75 to suffer through something like this. It’s as puzzling as why some people like Celine Dion music. Despite the pain, it was an incredible experience and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. I plan to do it again. To read about the experience visit (FYI: I have no Celine Dion music on my iPod.)

We feel so thankful for our family and all of our blessings. We sometimes have to pinch ourselves and wonder why we got so lucky. We hope your family has an awesome Christmas and New Year. And we pray that no Celine Dion CDs will end up in your stocking. Sincerely, The Reese’s

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Inspiring Marathon Experiences

I wanted to share some great marathon stories with you. They were written by my web buddy Kristin Morris who runs with her husband Kevin. Her marathon experiences are very funny and very inspiring.

Click Here to read about the Tucson Marathon they ran just a few days ago. (There is a part about gummy bears that made me laugh so hard I cried.)

Click Here to read about the 2009 San Diego Marathon.

Her writing gives a perfect picture of the pain and triumph that is running.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

22 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, November 7th 2009: 4 miles in 37 minutes. Mel said she needed some frozen broccoli for dinner the next night. It was snowing pretty hard outside which happens nearly never so I thought I'd truly experience the weather by running to the grocery store for the broccoli. Holy Moses, it was so cold outside. I was soaked. But now I can say I've run in a blizzard.

Tuesday, November 8th 2009: 20 minutes on the exercise bike.

Wednesday, November 9th 2009: 2 miles in 20 minutes. It was a busy day so I only had time for 20 minutes on the treadmill. I'm thankful for the strategic placement of our treadmill right in front of the television.

Thursday, November 10th 2009: Rest. And Taco Bell. And a huge cookie from the gas station.

Friday, November 11th 2009: 11 miles in 1 hour & 52 minutes. We were supposed to get a big snow storm on Saturday so I decided to do my long run on Friday. I still managed to have a few snow flurries along the way.

I wasn't able to leave until later in the evening and didn't want to be running that far away from home in the dark. So.....I ran around the block again for 11 miles. I thought the muscle in my thigh was getting better, but it started to act up again during my run. Grrr.

Something bad happened over the last two miles. My calves got the really painful cramps / charley horses that I experienced for the first time during the St. George Marathon. It hadn't happend before the marathon, or since then. But it happened on Friday. My legs knotted up and it was impossible to run.

That was the most helpless feeling during the marathon when my legs started doing that. I so vividly remember being so close to the end that I could see the balloons at the finish line. But my legs were cramped so tight that I couldn't walk. There was a lady in the crowd next to me to had already finished the race. She yelled "You can do it! You are almost there!" But my legs wouldn't move.

I eventually managed to trudge the final stretch to the finish line. The last .2 of the 26.2 marathon was a killer. I regret that I didn't ask that lady from the crowd if she would mind carrying me to the end.

Saturday, November 12th 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike. I helped pass the time by watching the Jazz beat the Lakers.

The Painter's Half-Marathon in St. George is coming up on January 23rd. Mel has been training for it too, but hurt her foot last week and the doctor thinks she may have a stress fracture. She has an MRI scheduled for tomorrow to check it out. I hope she gets feeling better soon enough for the race. Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Usain Bolt on SportsCenter

I just found this hilarious commercial with Usain Bolt. (FYI - My wife won't realize how funny this commercial is.)

I came across the video at . Be sure to check it out. Mike is a great writer, and his site will give runners a good laugh. Enjoy!

23 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, November 30th 2009: 3 miles in 32 minutes. I had a crazy week ahead of me and thought I'd get my long run done before work. I was planning on ten miles. It was dark outside. It was freezing. I ran about a mile and a half before I grew a brain and realized that my body was not going to go for ten miles. I wanted to give running a swift kick in the crotch.

Tuesday, December 1st 2009: Mel worked Tuesday night. I got the kids to bed then set out for my long run. I wanted to stay close by so I could check on the kids regularly.


You read that right amigo. I ran around the block for 1 hour and 40 minutes for a total of 10 miles.

The "big block" by our house is around .86 miles. It was a beautiful full moon and, in a rare freak of nature, it wasn't windy. As mundane as it sounds to run around the block for 10 miles, it actually wasn't too bad. It was strangely comforting to know that I was never far from a bathroom. Or Twizzlers. The only bad part is that it felt like I was out running for seven hours.

Saturday, December 5th 2009: 3.5 miles in 35 minutes. At 10:30pm I got home from 11 hours of piano playing at the Dixie Center. I put on some warm clothes, applied two Band-Aids, and headed out to run around the block (again) for a few miles.

It was incredibly windy. It was a blatant reminder of why our city is named Hurricane. I expected to see Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz fly by. When I was running into the wind, it was blowing against me so hard that I couldn't hear my mp3 player. It felt like I was running in a swimming pool. And it was SO, SO, SO COLD. Like the bone-chilling cold.

As I was running into the wind with my frozen snot clogging up my nose, I had to laugh at the sheer insanity of what I was doing. Honestly. It was crazy. Maybe I was dropped on my head too many times as a child.

Next week shouldn't be nearly as crazy so hopefully I can get back into my normal routine.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

24 Weeks To Marathon Part Deux

It’s official. I’m registered for my second marathon, the Ogden Marathon, coming up on May 15th 2010. The most awesome thing is that runners of the half-marathon will include my old lady Melanie (sorry, that sounded derogatory, albeit funny. For the record, I have never called my wife “my old lady”. Even though it does sound funny.) And…….my sister Hollie, her husband Kelly, and my brother Kenny. I am really excited that they have joined the life of pleasure and pain that is running. This is very cool.

The big muscle at the top of my right leg is still acting testy. I’d smack it around and throw it in the dumpster if it wasn’t connected to me. I didn’t run for a few weeks which drove me nutz. I got antsy.

Finally on November 20th I went out for a 6 miler. My leg was a bit sore but I felt like a jungle lion that was just let out of a cage.

Tuesday, November 24th 2009: 7 miles in 1 hour & 14 minutes. I left while it was still dark outside. The temperature said 29 degrees outside. Granted, I had to fight my eyelids from freezing together. But I LOVED running in the cold. My body didn’t get tired nearly as quickly.

Thursday, November 26th 2009: 6 miles in 1 hour & 11 minutes. Mel and I went out on our own little turkey trot Thanksgiving morning. It was warmer on this morning: 33 degrees. I’d take running in that instead the 90+ degree days of southern Utah summer any day.

My leg is still sore, but back to about 70% of where it was pre-injury. I’m keeping my pace slower and not doing a ton of miles so hopefully it will continue to improve. I’m giving my leg a few more days before insisting that it stop this little temper tantrum.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Butch Cassidy 10k 2009

I ran the Butch Cassidy 10k race on Saturday with the mountains of Zion National Park on the horizon. The course started in Springdale and ended at Grafton ghost town. You could not ask for a more beautiful place to run. The leaves were changing and all the trees were glowing yellow.

I started the race running with my friends Shane and Melanie. We reached a big muther hill around mile three and I was so tired that I wanted to cry like a school girl. My friend Tom helped coordinate the race (and did a fine job by the way). I sent him a message after the race letting him know that the devil called and wanted that hill at mile 3 back.

Melanie Cowden has been a good running buddy for me in the two races we have done together. We finished in 56 minutes. At the end I gorged on bagels, a banana, and lots of cookies. I strained my right hamstring a few weeks ago, so by the end of the race my leg was really hurting.

But somehow cookies seem to ease the pain.

Dear cookies: I love you. I don't care what race you are. Chocolate chip, peanut butter, snickerdoodle - I love you all. You make me happy. You make the shooting pain in my leg go away. I love you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Losing A Toe Nail

I think my arrogant bragging about never losing a toe nail has finally caught up to me. I knew I might be in for trouble about three hours after the marathon.

I'll spare you a picture since, generally speaking, toes are pretty gross to look at. But use your imagination and envision this: Long Toe. Left Foot. Getting Black. Darker By The Day. I don't know what to expect but I'm thinking one of these days it's going to just pop off.

In other running news:

Monday, October 19th 2009: 3 miles in 28 minutes. My legs still feel rusty.

Tuesday, October 20th 2009: 30 glorious minutes on the exercise bike.

Wednesday, October 21st 2009: Snicker's Bar.

Thursday, October 22nd 2009: 4 miles in 34 minutes. This was a golden run. Very, VERY rarely I have an effortless, painless run. It felt amazing. My legs felt like feathers. I averaged an 8:47 per minute pace which is fast for me.

These rare outings are the reason running becomes an addiction. It's like gambling. You lose money on 29 pulls of the slot machine. Then on the 30th pull, you win some money. You are happy. So you keep dumping your paycheck into the machine hoping for another jackpot. One time when the gamble pays off and you're hooked. Elusive runs like this keep me going.

Friday, October 23rd 2009: Nothing.

Saturday, October 24th 2009: 10 miles in 1 hour and 40 minutes. The first two miles were great. During the last eight miles, I felt like I'd just been hit by a station wagon (and wished I would just get hit by a station wagon). I was completely exhausted. My body was out of gas. My legs were lead. While I was running, I tried to figure out why I was so miserable. Was it...
  • The 44 ounce Diet Mountain Dew I drank yesterday?
  • Not getting enough sleep the night before?
  • Not having enough fuel in me (I had a bowl of cereal in the morning then nothing else until I ran 7 hours later)?
  • Running in the afternoon when it was warmer outside?
  • Too soon after the marathon?

I definitely think all of those things played a part in the train wreck. But I think there's another, more simple reason the run was so hard: 10 miles is just a really far distance to run no matter how you look at it.

I was discouraged considering that I had run 26 miles four weeks earlier. 10 miles should be nothing. But 10 miles was something. Hard.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Want To Come??

There are a few races we have on the running calendar:

Butch Cassidy 10k: November 7, 2009. Our friend and Boston runner Tom is involved in planning this race in Springdale near Zion National Park. I'm really excited for this one.

Painter's Half-Marathon: January 23, 2010. I haven't done this race before, but I hear it's a beautiful course on the trails along the river in St. George.

Hurricane Half-Marathon: April 24, 2010. Rumor has it they may be changing the course this year. Hmmm.

OGDEN MARATHON: May 15, 2010! I'm itching to do another marathon to try and get a better time. This seemed like a perfect race between now and next year's St. George Marathon. They have a full and half marathon. If all goes as planned, I'll shoot for the 26.2.

What I'm most excited about with this run is who will be joining me. Mel will be running the half-marathon along with my sister Hollie and brother-in-law Kelly!

Kelly and Hollie are just beginning the insanity that is running. There is nothing like the excitement of your first big race. Here is a training calendar I made for them. Feel free to make use of it if you're just starting. I am very far from being an expert, but this gradual build-up seemed to work for me in preparing for my first marathon. (Click picture to expand.)

I think it would be a blast to have a big group of friends, family, rookie runners, and running pros all get together for this one.

Want to come????

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Our Daily Marathons

You know, running 26.2 miles in a marathon was really, really hard. The pain was excruciating.

But lately I've been thinking about how sometimes life can be really, really hard too. Sometimes the pain is excruciating. I think many people are in the midst of running their own personal marathon.

Over the last few days I've looked into the eyes of people who are fighting their way through a marathon:

  • The little girl at school who gets teased by the boys and doesn't have any friends.
  • The dad who isn't able to sleep at night because he lost his job and doesn't know how he is going to put food on the table for his family.
  • The mom who feels like she is being swallowed by depression and can't seem to break free.
  • The man who has failing health and is tormented by constant pain.

Seeing these struggles makes my heart hurt. I think our own daily marathons are much more difficult than running 26.2 miles.

In a real marathon, crowds line the street and cheer you on. When you feel like you can't put one foot in front of the other, the cheering gives you strength. But most of the challenges in life are quiet, inward, personal battles. We don't have screaming crowds to get us through.

In an actual marathon, you know where the finish line is. But in our life challenges, often we don't know how much farther until the finish line. Sometimes we're not even sure there is a finish line.

While I was running the race, I could feel the love and support from my family. It helped keep me going. I have to think that God is watching from the sidelines, loving and supporting us too. When life gets hard, I have to believe that God will give us the strength we need to get us to the finish line. He knows us and will be with us as we run our daily marathons.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hitting The Wall

I don't know what mile of the marathon I was at. It was far enough that my brain had stopped functioning and my legs were in complete revolt. I was not aware of anything around me except for how bad my legs were hurting. I know there must have been other runners around me but it felt like I was the only one on the road. My music was playing loud in my ears but I don't remember hearing a thing.

Then something strange happened. I was on the top of a hill just starting to descend. It was a steep hill. I looked down and saw lots of other runners toward the bottom of the hill. What I couldn't understand was why everyone was running up the hill toward me. They looked like ants scampering up the road. I thought someone must have gotten hurt behind me and they were running up to help.

After a minute I realized.....they weren't running up the hill. They were trotting along the marathon course just like I was. Looking back on the situation now, I'm sure that I was right in the thick of "hitting the wall".

I remembered this experience after reading THIS ARTICLE today. In the story, one guy said that during a triathlon he saw little purple people along the cliffs. He knew this was a hallucination but he stopped anyway to look at them.

What have you experienced when you "hit the wall"?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Marathon Recovery

"To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who's never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind." Jerome Drayton

Two days have passed since the St. George Marathon. Holy Tylenol - my legs are sore. Judging by the way I move up and down stairs, you'd think a gang of thugs made me their pinata.

Today I was tempted to steal one of the many wheelchairs available at my work.

I posted this hilarious video a few months ago but it bears repeating. Have you ever wanted to know what your legs feel like after a marathon? I can attest that there is absolutely no exagerating in this clip.

"I was unable to walk for a whole week after that, so much did the race take out of me. But it was the most pleasant exhaustion I have ever known."
Emil Zatopek's description of the Olympic Marathon win in Helsinki

Sunday, October 4, 2009

St. George Marathon 2009

St. George Marathon – 4 Hours 25 Minutes

I got 4 hours of sleep before the alarm went off at 3:15am. Ouch. I rode the bus to the starting line with the Dansie’s, Nielson’s, Shelley, and Darrel. That bus ride seemed to take FOREVER!

We arrived at the starting line amid the chaos of thousands of people, bright lights, and loud music. I was nervous and excited and cold. We took a few photos before heading to the bonfires.

The guy on the loudspeaker would come on every once in a while saying it was 39 or 40 degrees. We were cold, but in terms of racing weather, you could not have picked a better day for the marathon. The starting line had long rows of bonfires that we huddled around to try and stay warm.

A horn sounded and the marathon began. A mile or two into the race, the sun started to come up. I had to pull over to the side a few times to take some pictures. The sunrise was beautiful.

It was a crazy feeling to be among a sea of thousands of runners. It was a little claustrophobic to not be able to speed up or move around. I was praying that I didn’t step on someone or have someone step on me.

Early in the race I glanced over to the left and my jaw dropped. I’m being totally serious – running right to the left of me was Abraham Lincoln! I ran the St. George Marathon with Lincoln. I felt too sheepish to pull out my camera and take a picture of him, but trust me, this guy looked exactly like Lincoln. If this happened at the end, I’d attribute it to a hallucination, but this happened at the beginning. When race pictures are posted, I’ll scour the photos to see if I can show him to you.

By mile 8 we were in the midst of the dreaded Veyo Hill. One of the best signs I saw was in the middle of the hill. It said “Don’t you wish you were a Transformer right now?” The wave of people heading for the hill made me need to stop again for a few more pictures.

Before the hill started a guy named Andrew asked if we new each other. We talked for a while but concluded that even though I looked familiar to him, we didn’t know each other. It was nice to talk to him for the next five miles and have a bit of a distraction from the pain.

It was his first marathon too and we both didn’t know what to expect. We were trusting the pace group leader to get us to the end. But somewhere in the craziness of a drink station we lost each other and I never saw him again.

My plan was to stay with the 4 hour pace group. The pace group leader was experienced and I trusted that he knew what he was doing way more than me. I paid for this decision later though. When he came to a drink station he would grab a drink and then sprint ahead. I didn’t want to lose sight of him so I’d speed up for the next few minutes to catch up to him. I was right next to him until each drink station when he would dart ahead.

At the mile 15 drink station I decided this wasn’t working for me, but I think by then it was too late. It was disheartening when I grabbed a drink, then looked ahead to see his balloons way down the road.

I committed the cardinal sin of running a race – going out too fast. Comparing the suggested pace chart to my actual miles makes this blatantly obvious. If I had stuck with this chart instead of the pacer I might have had more strength at the end. Notice the yellow area where my wheels completely fall off the cart:

By this time I wasn’t feeling so good. My legs were starting to cramp. But we were coming up to Snow Canyon (and another stop for a few quick pictures). I was pushing myself to Snow Canyon at mile 16 because I knew I had visitors. My awesome mom and sister came down from Salt Lake to cheer me on. They had Jackson with them too.

I was so happy to finally see them, with balloons and signs in hand. I stopped for a minute to say hello and they gave me a bottle of water which I desperately needed. I felt dehydrated. Hollie encouraged me to be a winged liger. Then I set off again.

Shortly after that I got a choked up, although I didn’t have the physical strength or fluid to cry. I thought about all the support my family has given me over the last year. I thought about how thankful I was that my mom and sister drove down to support me. All the cheering from the crowd touched me. I was happy.

A few miles later I saw my grandparents who were waiting at Winchester Hills. This gave me another boost. They were so excited. My grandpa who has the funniest sense of humor yelled “You’re In First Place! You’re In First Place!” That made me smile and laugh.

Around the same time, there was a little girl that was handing out Otter Pops to runners. I wanted to give her a big hug and tell her this was the most welcome gift I’d ever received. Instead I just took one and kept moving.

At one point in the race a guy ran up by me and said “Hi Cory!” I think I gave him the “Hmmm, am I supposed to know you?” look. He said “You have some amazing music! I have your songs on my iPod.” I felt sorry for him if he was actually trying to run while listening to my music. That stuff can put you to sleep. But I appreciated the boost he gave. I wanted to give him a big hug and tell him this was the most welcome gift I’d ever received. Instead I just kept moving.

The last ten miles of the race were truly excruciating. I’ve done three 20-milers and never felt close to this bad. My legs remained cramped continually. When I was 19 years old I had a charley horse that woke me up out of my sleep and hurt so bad that it made me throw up. This is what my legs felt like for the last ten miles.

At the drink stations there were people rubbing Bengay or Icy Hot on runners. I took advantage of this at 4 stops. But when someone touched my calves, it felt like they were rubbing my legs with curling irons. My legs were so cramped up that they were as hard as baseballs. This was my view as a volunteer whipped me around and started working on my legs. I was so thankful for his curling irons. I mean....hands.

I can’t describe how bad my legs hurt. I tried to stretch them out, but then another part of the leg would shoot with pain. Sometimes I had to walk because I knew I would fall if I tried to run. I thought it was possible that my legs would give out and I would be eating concrete for lunch. For a few miles I was woozy and worried I would pass out.

Around mile 22 I became emotional again because of the pain I was in. The emotion wasn’t at all about the fact that this was the worst pain I’ve ever been in. The emotion was because of the fact that I was in such pain, but I was still moving forward. I was proud of myself. I knew that even though I had to slow down, there was nothing that would keep me from crossing the finish line.

By mile 20 I knew I was not going to beat 4 hours. But I truly didn’t care. I knew that I had given absolutely everything I had. I had obviously made tactical mistakes the first half of the race, but it wasn’t worth dwelling on. I knew I had worked hard over the last year and worked hard at the marathon so the finish time became unimportant.

The last three miles were indescribable. All the runners around me were suffering. I wanted to help them but had nothing to give. The crowds were cheering, but at some points my legs just refused to go fast. My friend Ben met me around the last mile of the marathon. He had finished in 3:01 (Crazy!!!) and was going back up the course to look for his brother. He walked/jogged with me for about a half mile as I got closer to the finish line. He reminded me of the ice cream waiting at the finish.

Finally I saw the balloons and finish line ahead. My legs slowly plodded ahead and carried me across the line. I had never, ever been so exhausted. I was feeling worse than I thought I would.

A volunteer put a medal around my neck, and another volunteer was handing out ice cream to the runners. I ate a huge ice cream sandwich. Then I ate another. I felt famished and dehydrated. My watch said that I burned 3005 calories. I felt honored to have that medal around me neck.

Eventually I met up with my family. They showed me more signs they had made. Mel had another surprise for me. She made a shirt for each of the kids that said MY DAD RAN 26.2.

Sometimes runners make specific goals for a marathon: an Ecstatic, a Happy, and a Satisfied goal. My Ecstatic goal was under 4 hours. My Happy goal was under 4 and a half hours. My satisfied goal was to finish a marathon. I was thrilled to have even completed a marathon. After all, the first guy who ever ran a marathon….died.

Now I know what “The Wall” feels like when you run into it. I happened to hit that wall way too early in the race. I’ll know better next time. I heard that you get an adrenaline rush with the crowds cheering you on. That never happened once. I can identify with a runner from Spirit Of The Marathon who said “I’ve never had a ‘runner’s high’. The only ‘runner’s high’ I’ve ever felt was when I stopped running.”

The awesome thing about my first marathon is that I set a Personal Record. I also have some leeway so that I can cream that record the next time I run a marathon. 26.2 miles is an absolutely obscene distance to run. It was excruciating and painful. It was challenging mentally and physically. It was rewarding and exhilarating. It was a hard-earned triumph.

I can’t wait to do it again.

“The pride in finishing a marathon is much greater than all the pain endured during the marathon.” Hal Higdon

“The miracle isn’t that I finished; it’s that I had the courage to start.” John Bingham

Friday, October 2, 2009


I went to the marathon expo today to pick up my packet and race number. The Dixie Center was PACKED. I truly felt like a kid in a candy shop. At one point as I was walking down an aisle it hit me. Oh. My. Gosh. I am running a marathon IN THE MORNING. And all these crazy freaks around me are doing the same thing. I got goosebumps.

The speaker at the First Timers Clinic gave a helpful tip for the clothing retrieval location at the finish line: "if you get to the finish line quicker you can usually find some pretty good stuff!"

Intermountain Donor Services (IDS) held a dinner tonight for the runners on our charity team. I have really enjoyed being involved in raising money to promote organ donation. When the miles get hard, I think about how I'm running for a bigger purpose. They made up a cool shirt for all the runners:

We had some special guests at the dinner. Paul Cardall's parents came to thank the runners on the team. Here is a picture of me with his parents. It was fun to talk with Duane about his marathon experiences and the documentary that was filmed of his first marathon.

Allow me to make a disclaimer that the full marathon report may not be posted until Sunday. It is likely that I will spend the rest of the day tomorrow in my bed whimpering.

St. George I come!

"When people ask me why I run, I tell them, there's not really a reason, it's just the adrenalin when you start, and the felling when you cross that finish line, and knowing that you are a winner no matter what place you got." ~ Courtney Parsons

Thursday, October 1, 2009

2 Days To Marathon

I have decided on a goal time for the St. George Marathon.......4 hours. Things will have to go nearly perfect to make this happen based on my recent training times, but I think I can do it.

I feel optimistic because of my farthest long run around three weeks ago. The 20 miler on the course route went extraordinary and it was one of few times where much of the run felt effortless. I keep telling myself that this is how I'll feel during the marathon. We'll see.

There is a pace calculator for the St. George Marathon. I compared the calculator pace per mile to my pace per mile when I did the 20 miler (we started at mile 4). Leave it to my math teacher friend Shelley to suggest a comparison. Here it is:

I wonder what it's going to feel like to "hit the wall". Every runner dreads this point where the body simply runs out of gas and you feel like you can't go one more step. I hope that when I hit the wall I start hallucinating and see Steve Martin show up to carry me the rest of the way.

"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement." ~ Steve Prefontaine

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Running Pictures

My friend Jeremiah Barber is an incredible photographer. I'm impressed with his photo taking skills, nunchuck skills, and bow staff skills. He took some running pictures tonight for a side project. Check out his Flickr site as well as a few of the pictures he snapped:

3 Days To Marathon


I've had a single sheet of paper hanging prominently on our kitchen cupboard for almost a year now. I think this piece of paper will soon find it's way to a scrapbook.

Almost a year ago I made a calendar to plan my training for the marathon. The plan came from a mix of lots of books and programs I had read about on the internet. I wanted to tailor something that would fit my schedule and hopefully prepare me.

Hanging on the cupboard has been a daily reminder of where I was going and how far I have come. It seems crazy that these hours of running and hundreds of miles were all to prepare for a single event which will only last around 4 hours (hopefully).

Click on the image for a larger view of my worn piece of paper.

"Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don't have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up." ~ Amby Burfoot

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Marathon Movie

My goal of running a marathon has been 4 years in the making. Three years ago my (former) knee doctor told me there was no way I could do it. I'm excited that I'm only three days away from proving him wrong.

One of the turning points happened a year ago when I saw the movie The Spirit Of The Marathon. I knew I had to find a way to make it happen. I get choked up everytime I watch it. I'm pretty sure that if you rent the movie, the same thing will happen to you.

If you use Netflix, click HERE for the link. In the mean time, here is the movie trailer to get you started.

4 Days To Marathon

3 miles in 27 minutes.

There aren't too many things I miss from the 1980's. I don’t miss New Kids On The Block, Pee-Wee, or Vanilla Ice (although I do miss Alf).

But there is one fashion trend from the 1980's that I'm trying to bring back......the fanny pack! I remember owning a fluorescent, bright green fanny pack as a youngster. It served a dual purpose: hold my belongings, AND make sure I never got lost in the dark.

These days, my fanny pack serves a more important role....carry my belongings while running. Generally, my pack includes my camera, some GU packets, my mp3 player, and occasionally my cell phone if I believe there is a reasonable chance I may be abducted by UFOs.

I like to think of the fanny pack as my "man purse". Unsurprisingly, man purses are hard to come by. No matter how bad you want one, you aren't going to find one of these bad boys at Walmart. I've seen fancy running belts with pockets but they are too small and expensive.

The only place I've been able to track down a fanny pack is the local second-hand store, the DI. And until recently, the only one I was able to find displayed the logo for the Eureka Casino, and wreaked of cigarette smoke. This was marketing genius. I'd bet there were countless people who went right from the slot machine to the running track.

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion." ~ Muhammad Ali

Monday, September 28, 2009

Running Essentials

There are a few items that have become necessary in my marathon training:

Garmin 305 Watch
My left arm has become significantly stronger than my right, thanks to my running watch. Wearing the watch resembles having a grandfather clock strapped to your wrist.

Honestly though, this little gem has been one of the biggest helps in my marathon training. It’s a GPS watch that shows the amount of time I’ve been running, the distance I’ve run, and my average pace. It also tells my astrology, and that I love candle-lit dinners and long walks on the beach.

My muscle soreness is very unpredictable. One day it’s my calves. Next day it’s my hamstrings. Next day it’s my spleen. This $19.99 Walmart special seems to help rub the ache out of weary muscles.

This little packet contains some of the most putrid science-experiment-gone-wrong material ever invented. GU (appropriately pronounced Gooo) is the kind of stuff that should be used in interrogation techniques for terrorists.

The purpose of GU is to give your body a little refill of carbs and sugar while running. Understandably, after a few hours of running, the body starts to run out of gas a little.

I only consume these little packets of slime on longer runs. Experts advise taking one every 45 minutes. They also advise that you not start using GU the day of the marathon. The first few times, your stomach feels like you swallowed an angry wolverine. Fortunately my body has moved past the Wolverine stage.

Try this one next time you need to discipline the kids: Instead of threatening that they are going to get a spanking, threaten that they will have to taste some GU.

5 Days To Marathon

30 minutes on exercise bike.

"What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the day gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate." ~ John Bingham

Sunday, September 27, 2009

6 Days To Marathon


A month or two ago I recorded an Ironman Triathalon. It was really inspiring to see what those men and women were able to do. The heartaches and triumphs were piercing.

They showed everyone anxiously waiting for the race to start. Then the announcer said something that gave me goosebumps. He said:

"How many of us can truly treasure the experience of a single day that didn't include a birth or a marriage for the rest of your life? For 1,731, today is that day."

I am so, so excited for my "That Day".

"Happiness is pushing your limits and then watching them back down."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

7 Days To Marathon

6 miles in 56 minutes.

4:58 AM. I did not appreciate my body deciding it needed to be awake at that hour. Grrr. Over the last week I've noticed that the anxiousness and excited feelings about the marathon have had a negative impact on sleep. Grrr.

I ran on the Porter Rockwell path again. It was so nice to have a paved trail that was level and prevented needing to dodge any cars. I loved it. I also saw a few drinking fountains along the way which is sweet. Next time I won't bring a water bottle with me.

I was running as the sun came up and it was a beautiful morning.

I have very few reasons to brag, but I thought of one while I was running today: over the year of training for the marathon I HAVE LOST NO TOENAILS! Read it and weep suckers! Some of my friends have lost enough toe nails that they could make a little charm bracelet. I have been lucky enough to avoid that misfortune. week from today when I'm running the St. George Marathon, I may have my best chance to join the missing toenail club.

"Top results are reached only through pain. But eventually you like this pain. You'll find the more difficulties you have on the way, the more you will enjoy your success." ~ Juha Vaatainen

Friday, September 25, 2009

8 Days To Marathon

3 miles in 32 minutes.

Mel and I went running on the Porter Rockwell bike trail behind my parent's house. We went running after dinner (which happened to be barbecued hot dogs). There were a few chunky burps where I almost left some hot dog surprise for the next lucky canine that came along. Fortunately I managed to not barf them up.

We came to a really cool archway that looked awesome in the dark night. I wanted to make sure I didn't pass up that golden opportunity to take a serious photo worthy of passing on for many generations.

My ankle didn't feel the greatest, but it definitely could have been worse. I am determined to not let a little sissy sprain alter any of my plans. Sometimes I need to remind my ankle who is boss.

"The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed." ~ Jacqueline Gareau

Thursday, September 24, 2009

9 Days To Marathon


My ankle isn't feeling so swell. I decided I wasn't going to do any exercise today to try and give it some healing time. Hopefully some junk food will help with the healing process.

Our family drove up to Salt Lake for a few days and had some jump roping tournaments going on. Here is the undisputed champion:

In the evening Jackson and I drove toward the mountains to take a few sunset pictures. Here are a few:

A few days ago I saw a funny shirt that someone was wearing during a marathon. It said "This Seemed Like A Good Idea 3 Months Ago." A friend of mine is a distributor for electric wheelchairs. I suggested having him hook me up with one of those bad boys at around mile 17 of the marathon.

I'm bound and determined to get in a short run tomorrow. My kids will not be anywhere near me during the run...just in case some foul words happen to pop out.

"Act like a horse. Be dumb. Just run." ~ Jumbo Elliott

Road of Hope - Coming Soon!

I wanted to remind you about the new piano collection CD "Road of Hope" coming out next week. All proceeds from the album will benefit recent heart transplant recipient Paul Cardall. (I've suggested to Paul that we run the St. George Marathon together next year.)

The album contains stunning music from Paul, Jon Schmidt, Marshall McDonald, David Tolk, Michael R. Hicks, and myself.

Click the album cover to pre-order before the October 3rd release date. I guarantee you will love it!

1. Our Love - Paul Cardall
2. Autumn Road - David Tolk
3. My Little Girl - Jon Schmidt
4. You Will Soar - Cory Reese
5. Heavenly Hands - Marshall McDonald
6. Muir Woods - Michael R. Hicks
7. Return To Eden - Paul Cardall
8. Cherished Moments - Jon Schmidt
9. Believe - Cory Reese
10. Last Jerusalem Sunset - Michael R. Hicks
11. For Lisa - David Tolk
12. Morning Light - Marshall McDonald
13. The Release - Paul Cardall

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Charity Team Update

Team Run Life is doing an awesome job raising money to promote organ donation. I'm excited to announce the amazingly spectacular official team members to you! They are:
  • Shelley Thomas
  • Ben Ashcraft
  • Tom Dansie
  • Elizabeth Dansie
  • Shane Nielsen
  • Karrie Nielsen
  • Ivan Ashcraft
  • Don White, and
  • Me

Thank you guys for your hard work and dedication in working for this good cause!

When I hang out with these people, the conversation seems to inexplicably turn to topics like nightmares of sleeping through the alarm on race day, favorite music on the iPod, chafe prevention, and competing for whose knees hurt worse. Keep up the good work!

10 Days To Marathon

Rest. My ankle is not feeling swell after re-spraining it yesterday. I'm going to take it easy for the next week and a half.

Most training programs recommend not going farther than 20 miles before the marathon. My longest run so far was 20.25 miles on the marathon course. The uphills and the downhills were dramatic.

I've heard St. George Marathon runners say that by the end of the race your legs are pounded to a pulp by the last half of the marathon with the steep downhills.

I've had the pleasure of running up the Veyo Hill twice now. It seemed to extend up into the clouds. I expected Jesus to greet me at the top of the hill. My legs felt like Cool Whip. Although the second time was much better, on my first attempt I thought I'd never reach the top. See if you can find the Veyo Hill on this St. George Marathon elevation chart:

"The marathon is kind of like the Ph.D. of public fitness accomplishments. There are very few times as an adult that you can go out and do something that's authentically difficult and be publicly lauded for it." ~ Cate Terwilliger