Sunday, May 31, 2009

Story In The Spectrum Newspaper

This story ran in The Spectrum newspaper on Saturday. I appreciate reporter Patrice St. Germain bringing more attention to running. Here is her story:

Group finds fun, support in club

HURRICANE - When Cory Reese set a goal to run in the St. George Marathon, one of the things he decided to do was join a runner's group.

Reese, Hurricane, said he may have been able to train on his own, but it would have been a lot more difficult.

Since December, he has been training with the Hurricane Runners' Club and said the people behind the formation of the group, Tom and Elizabeth Dansie, are excellent coaches and motivators.

"They (the Dansies) have been running for so long, and they have helped me out and provided support," Reese said.

Elizabeth Dansie said the group started last winter with an affiliation with Classic Sports and Over the Edge for runners and triathletes, but the group is a little less formal than originally planned.

"Anybody is welcome," Tom Dansie said. "We have workouts two to four times a week."
Reese is right about the experience that the young couple with three children have. Tom has been running since he was young and more formally since high school. He has run the St. George Marathon a few times and, most recently, the Boston Marathon.

Elizabeth has also been running since high school and ran in the Boston Marathon, coming in with a time 10 minutes over her St. George Marathon run.

She's also a triathlete and hopes to compete in an Ironman competition once her children, Porter, 6, Eliza, 5 and James 18 months, are all in school.

Knowing that workouts are important and having support is helpful. Elizabeth keeps up with the group's blog and posts workouts weekly.

Even though he's been working out since December, Reese said he has to work to make his body get up early or go out late at night to run. Tom and Elizabeth also said it's still a struggle to get out for workouts but both admit that if they miss a workout, they know it. "It's a stress reliever," Tom said.

Tom said he knows when he has missed a workout and, laughing, Elizabeth said she knows when her husband has missed one as well.

Elizabeth said she is obsessed with working out, and Reese said likes the challenge and feeling of accomplishment.

While Elizabeth said she dreads the long runs up to two weeks before the event, she loves the track workouts; Reese said he likes the longer runs.

"My moment of glory was keeping up with Liz for one lap," Reese said. "She (Liz) makes it look easy, but I saw my life flash before my eyes."

Tom and Elizabeth said the group isn't just for experienced runners, and the key is working together and gaining experience from others in the group.

In the couple's neighborhood, where Reese also lives, quite a few people run. "It's like this neighborhood HOA rules say you have to run," Reese said with a laugh. "But it's great to have so many."

The Dansies' love of running has already rubbed off on their son Porter, who plans on running in the kid run at the Washington County Fair and wants to beat his time from last year. The group also will have a 5K run on July 24 in Hurricane, which is how many people get interested in running - by participating in fun runs.

"Once you do the first race, you're hooked," Tom Dansie said.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

100 Mile Month

I realized a few weeks ago that my running schedule for May put me about 16 miles short of running 100 miles for the month. I decided to add some extra days and extra miles to reach that number.

With the conclusion of my 15 miler today I reached the 100 Miles In A Month goal. Aw yea! Sweet! Boo yah! Rad! And any other exclamations from decades gone by.
Speaking of exclamations from decades gone

18 Weeks to Marathon

Monday, May 25th 2009: 4 mile hike + 8 miles in 1 hour 28 minutes. Matt and I hiked to a place called Elephant Arch and saw this cool lizard:

In the evening after gorging at a family barbecue I headed out for 8 miles. It was pretty warm outside and the run wasn't what some might call "enjoyable".

Tuesday, May 26th 2009: 5 miles in 57 minutes. I woke up early and intentionally went very slow because I didn't want to risk hurting myself after just running 8 miles the night before. I didn't take my mp3 player and just thought about each of my family members, and some of the things that I could improve on to be a better husband and dad.

Wednesday, May 27th 2009: 2 miles with Kylee. My four year old Kylee likes to run. She's fast and has what seems like a lot of endurance for a 4 year old. We walked about half the time but had a lot of fun together.

Thursday, May 28th 2009: 4 miles in 36 minutes at track. I met the running group gang at the high school but didn't work on speed because I was sore from a few days before.

Friday, May 29th 2009: Rest. Watched the Lakers move on to the NBA finals. Grrr.

Saturday, May 30th 2009: 15 miles in 2 hours 47 minutes. Mel and I headed out at 5:00am. She is registered for the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon in July and has been really diligent about training. I really admire the effort she has put in, and it's fun to go with her on runs when we're able.

We ran the first 5 miles together and took it easy, running about a 12:30 pace. We separated at that point and I was feeling good. My route included about 3 miles on a really rough dirt road with hills and my feet did not appreciate the pounding.

Last night I set a Snickers bar at the half-way point, partly to give me something to look forward to, and partly to give some extra fuel for the last half of the run. When I got there, my water bottle was there BUT THE SNICKERS WAS GONE!!!! Oh, I was mad. I wanted to make key chains of whatever rabbit jacked my candy bar.

Later in the run I met two enormous white dogs and an enormous black dog who thought it was funny to taunt me. I wasn't in the mood to be bit my those annoying creatures. It's a good thing I didn't have Uncle Mace with me.

I went slow enough during the run that by mile 14 I was still feeling okay. Of course I was sore and tired and hurting, but it wasn't excruciating. I went fast the last mile and finished strong. While I'm not going to beat any speed records, the slower pace seems to work much better for my body on the longer runs. And I had no bite marks as souvenirs from the run.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


In a totally unrelated matter to running, click here for a free music contest that will last 1 week:

19 Weeks to Marathon

Monday, May 18th 2009: 5 miles in 49 minutes. I ran in the morning before work which is becoming the only option because it has been ghastly hot. I still feel groggy that early and my body frequently reminds me that I should be in bed.

Tuesday, May 19th 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike. This is mindless exercise as long as there is a basketball game on.

Wednesday, May 20th 2009: 4 miles in 35 minutes. I ran later in the day which was utterly miserable. I also tried to run too fast for my britches which encouraged a strong nausea sensation.

Thursday, May 21st 2009: 3 miles at track + 17 mile bike ride. I went on a bike ride with Tom Thursday night. It was long and challenging and exhausting. But....I didn't feel sore and beat up like I do after running. That was nice.

Friday, May 22nd 2009: Rest.

Saturday, May 23rd 2009: 10 miles in 1 hour 55 minutes. Me and Running are friends again after last week's brutality. The run today went great. Mel and I left at 5:30am and tried an experiment. We went slower, and stopped every mile to stretch and walk for 1 minute, whether we felt like it or not.

This worked perfectly. I wasn't hurting and exhausted and was able to get into the zone where I'm thinking about other things besides assessing which part of my body hurts the most. I planned to just run 9 miles but felt so good at that point that I ran one more.

I'm really going to work on slowing down for my long runs and doing more stretching during the run. I think this will help reduce the possibility of wanting to stop, curl up in fetal position, and spend the rest of the night sleeping on the side of the road.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

20 Weeks to Marathon

Monday, May 11th 2009: 14 miles in 2 hrs 15 minutes. Due to a busy weekend coming up, I knew I'd have to do my long run Monday, and left the house at about 8:15pm. I now realize:
a) This is too late to go running when you have to work the next day
b) This is WAY too far to run when you have to work the next day
c) It is still really hot outside at 8:15pm

I felt unbelievably good for the first half of the run. At the turn-around point I was shocked at how fast I had gone and how good I was feeling. Then I did something dumb: I stopped for a few minutes to call Mel and ask if she'd put a pizza in the oven in 30 minutes. Big mistake.

By stopping, every muscle completely locked up and started yelling in pain. My feet were killing and my knees felt like they were going to snap. If running were an actual person, this is the conversation we would have had at that time:

Me: Ugh. I feel miserable. Please let me get home.

Running: Suck it up you big wussie! Are you wearing a skirt under those shorts?

Me: Shut up fatso! You are by far the STUPIDEST hobby ever been invented. I wish I never met you!

Running: Oh yea? Well, your mamma dresses you funny.

Me: I know you are but what am I?

I eventually made it home, and have walked like an old man ever since. Me and Running still aren't on speaking terms at the moment.

Tuesday, May 12th 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike. Even though I was still miserable, I wanted to stretch out my legs to see if that would help a little bit. Unfortunately, not much.

Wednesday, May 13th 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike. Thank you NBA play-offs for making this time bearable.

Thursday, May 14th 2009: 3 miles at track. I ran a mile warm-up, then did a fast lap, then slow lap and alternated for two miles. My times on the fast laps were 1:36, 1:41, 1:41, and 1:36. My legs were not too thrilled about the idea of running again.

Friday, May 15th 2009: Rest.

Saturday, May 16th 2009: Rest. Kind of. I went 4 wheeling with some guys to plan the route of a youth activity, so I hiked up a few big hills. I'm excited for tomorrow when I plan to do nothing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Spirituality In Running

Today I talked with Jackson's awesome school teacher from last year, Mrs. McCombs. She is in her 50's and is still running marathons which is a phenomenal feat in my book. We talked about training and I tried to leach from her every insight I could gain from her.

She talked about what it's like to "hit the wall" during a marathon where you feel that every ounce of energy, strength, and will-power has evaporated, and you feel like you can't go anymore.

Then she said something that took me off guard. She said she kind of looks forward to this moment in the race because that's when she starts to truly rely on God. She depends on prayer. She focuses on not listening to the negative voice that is telling her to stop. She said "the wall" is a spiritual experience for her.

I have thought about her insights a lot. It seems like this is a pretty good metaphor also for the marathon that is our life:

We are going to have times that will be incredibly hard. There will be times when we want to stop and give up. Challenges will happen that we won't think we can handle. But....those are the times when we need to pray. And keep going. And be strong. And trust that God knows what he's doing and will help us.

Thanks Mrs. McCombs. That's how I want to hit the wall.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

21 Weeks to Marathon

Monday, May 4th: 30 minutes on exercise bike. Boring as all get out.

Tuesday, May 5th: 4 miles in 41 minutes on treadmill. I paused my run five or six times due to child interruptions. I was okay with that though because I seem to get tired quicker on a treadmill, so I welcomed the interruptions.

Wednesday, May 6th: Speed workout at track. I’d guess I ran maybe 4 miles total. I planned to do a faster mile, then an easy lap, then fast mile, etc. Things didn’t go as planned. Mainly because it was HOT outside. I'm talking HOT. I ended up doing two or three laps fast, then a slower one. Hot.

Thursday, May 7th: Rest.

Friday, May 8th: 30 minutes on exercise bike. NBA playoffs help to pass the time a little quicker.

Saturday, May 9th: 6.3 miles in 72 minutes. Mel and I had a chance to run together today which was fun. Mel hasn’t been running quite as long so she’s a little slower, but she is able to run farther than I could for the amount of time she’s been at it. It makes me happy when I catch her reading the Runner's World magazines I check out from the library.

Later in the day I went on a hike in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve with my brother-in-law Matt. I’d guess we covered 4-5 miles. During the hike we came across a desert tortoise and a huge snake that could have eaten one of my children for a light snack. We guessed it was probably 4 feet long and was about as thick as a racquetball.

Stay tuned for some exciting news in preparation for the marathon. There are some big partnerships developing. This will be huge!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

22 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, April 27th: 7 miles in 63 minutes. I got up really early and ran before work. The rest of the day involved a conscious effort to not walk around like I'd just been hit by a VW Bus.

Tuesday, April 28th: 30 minutes on exercise bike.

Wednesday, April 29th: 4.5 miles at the track. We did speed work that night: a warm-up mile, then a fast lap, followed by an easier lap, followed by a fast lap, etc. I was able to see the gradual progress I'm making by the fact that I was able to keep up with speed demon Elizabeth for two of our four fast laps. I think she said the two laps I stayed with her were 1 minute 26 seconds around. Only a few chunky burps.

Thursday, April 30th: 20 minutes on exercise bike.

Friday, May 1st: Rest / carbo-load. The term "carbo load" is often used by runners to stock up on carbs the day or two before a bigger race. I just looked at it like a good excuse to eat lots of food.

2 hours & 3 minutes

I could not sleep the night before the Half. I kept thinking about how absolutely crazy it is that a grown adult would pay $30 to run 13 miles, and be so excited about it that he couldn't sleep.

The bus ride to the start of the race was, well, intimidating. Everyone looked so experienced and fit. I felt like a 7th grader sitting in a college class. I sat next to a guy named Brian, who had never run a marathon before, because he usually does 50 mile ultra marathons. I wasn't sure what I had gotten myself into.

My body wasn't feeling it the first few miles. I had a hard time getting into the groove. Then we passed an ostrich farm and these beasts were running all over the place. Those animals can book it! I was wishing I was an ostrich.

Around 2.5 miles in I caught up to my friend and neighbor, Mel. We seemed to get a good pace going on and I got into the swing of things. I had a stretch where my back really tightened up and hurt. But it eased up. I had another stretch later where this little cartilage bump on my knee felt like it was going to pop out. But that eased up too.

I remember most of the run, but there were a few stretches where it was like I was in a trance. I wasn't thinking, or paying attention to what was in front of me or on the sides of the road. I was just going.

Mel and I ran all the way to mile 11 together and I really, really valued having that running partner with me. It helped a lot. For some reason I caught a second wind at mile 11. I told Mel I was going to go ahead a little and would meet her at the finish. We were at a decent hill coming in to Hurricane. By this point people were hurting and I passed a lot of people between mile 11 and 12.

By mile 12 I had finished the hills and then started to feel tired again. I managed to keep my pace though and finished well. I was surprised at how good I felt afterward. Granted, I was sore and tired, and my knees really ache. But, I felt good. The sense of accomplishment is definitely worth some soreness. It felt so good to see my family waiting at the finish line. I felt energized again.

We took some pictures with our running group and neighbors before heading out. When we were driving home we saw people still running the race. One lady really sticks out in my mind. She was limping and crying, but she was still jogging. It was humbling and inspiring.

I was so impressed with the people who ran the race. There were no slackers. Every person I saw put their whole heart and soul into the race. I truly think the people who finished in 3.5 hours worked just as hard as the people who finished in 1.5 hours.

The race was fun, painful, hard, challenging, excruciating, invigorating, and amazing. I feel like after finishing a half marathon, I can now officially call myself a runner.

To the Dansie's: Thanks for the training, encouragement, and scrumptious carbs!
To the Santiago's: Muchos gracias for the post-race breakfast.
To the lady who pushed a stroller the whole way: Um, you made the rest of us non-stroller-pushers look like weaklings.
To Mel Cowden: I loved running with you. Can't wait for you to do the St. George Marathon with me!
To Mrs. McCombs: You're amazing. I hope I can do what you do in 20 years.
To the 11 year old who darted past me at the finish line: Dude, not cool. What, your parents never taught you to respect your elders? If I'd known you were behind me I can assure you your time wouldn't be .03 seconds faster than me.
To God: You could not have picked better weather. Seriously. It was perfect. I'm thankful for my body that carried me 13 miles.
To Mel and the kids: Thank you for your patience, love, and support. I love you!