Friday, July 31, 2009

The Marathon In 5 Minutes

This is a 5 minute clip of the pain, glory, and 26.2 miles of the St. George Marathon. Just watching the video is enough to nearly induce charley horses.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Running The Marathon Course

Howdy gang - I'm planning to run the first half of the marathon course next Saturday, August 8th, then the second half of the course a few weeks later on August 22nd and wanted to invite you along for the fun.

I'm thinking to leave Hurricane at 5am and we can carpool up. We can drop water along the way. Feel free to bring along any other friends who are crazy enough to do the marathon. I wouldn't have my feelings hurt if we stop after the run at Emerald City Smoothies.

Give me a call or send me an email ( if you're interested. Thanks!

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

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why Run A Marathon

I changed my mind.

When I started this whole quest to run a marathon, that was my goal. Run a marathon. I've been diligent with my training and noticed my endurance and speed slowly increase. Then somewhere along the way I changed my goal to "Run A Marathon.....Fast." Try to finish in less than four hours. I thought (and still think) that's do-able.

But something clicked a few days ago when I was running. I realized that focusing so much on speed was taking a little of the fun out of running.

I thought to myself that I wanted to actually enjoy the whole experience of running a marathon. I don't want to reach the finish line so exhausted that I didn't enjoy the journey. I want to suck everything I can out of the marathon and I think I want to slow down a little bit to do that.

I've started running with a little pocket camera. My pictures at the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon prove that I need some more practice getting decent pictures while running. Lesson learned: you actually have to STOP for a second to take the picture. Here's a shot from my run on Saturday morning:

I want to take the camera with me when I run the St. George Marathon and take some pictures along the way. I don't plan on this being my first and last marathon, but just in case, I don't want to waste the chance. I'll keep training hard and continue to develop speed and endurance, but not to the point that I risk injury.

So I changed my mind. Instead of running the marathon to go fast, I'm going to run a marathon to experience the journey of the marathon.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

10 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, July 20th 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike. My legs were insanely sore from the half marathon. I think this was due to 1) the insane hills, and 2) me being a fool and not stretching after the race. It hurt to move. I was actually looking forward to riding the exercise bike to stretch out the legs a little.

Tuesday July 21st 2009: Walking 30 minutes on the treadmill. I woke up early to run a few miles before work. My legs had different plans. I got 4 houses away and my legs hurt so bad that I had to come back home. I ended up just walking that evening. WHY DIDN'T I STRETCH AFTER THE RACE?!?! That was as foolish as this guy's haircut:

Wednesday, July 22nd 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike. By Wednesday night my legs were barely starting to ease up.

Thursday, July 23rd 2009: 4 miles in 44 minutes. I just went slow, and thought about how those 4 miles justified the scrumptious Very Berry Sunday I ate from Costco earlier in the day.

I also thought about how cool Mel is. Before I left for my run she asked if I'd make her a training calendar for the next few months. Despite her mishaps at the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon, she said she wants to run the half marathon through Snow Canyon in November. I'm proud of her.

Friday, July 24th 2009: 20 minutes on exercise bike. The Dansie's coordinated their second annual Pioneer Day 5k run. My legs still hurt so I was happy to help them with timing instead of actually running.

Saturday, July 25th 2009: 9 miles in 1 hour and 30 minutes. The run went okay except for my right ankle that is still achy. My legs held out okay though. Holy deodorant, it was sure warm and muggy in the morning. Nobody would have wanted to do this to me:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

11 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, July 13th 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike. Ugh.

Tuesday, July 14th 2009: 5 miles in 49 minutes. This was my first run after twisting my ankle over the weekend. It was sore and tight and it made me worried for the upcoming half-marathon.

Wednesday, July 15th 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike. Double ugh.

Thursday, July 16th 2009: 3 miles slow. Mel and I went out for our last run before the Bryce Canyon race. We planned to take it easy and did 11 minute miles for the first two then walked the last mile.

Mel's foot, hip, and knee have been hurting and started acting up. Over the last eight months I've learned something important about running: something is always going to hurt. Always. We are always nursing and babying some part of the body that isn't performing up to standards. The pain or soreness seems to travel from one body part to another, but it's always somewhere. Always.

Friday, July 17th 2009: Rest. We drove with the Cowden's to our KOA campground in Cannonville where the Bryce race ended. There was a pretty cool sunset:

Saturday, July 18th 2009: Bryce Canyon Half Marathon: 13.1 Miles in 1 Hour 56 Minutes!

We stayed in a little cabin with the Cowden's which consisted of a bunk bed and twin bed. And a little table fan. It was, um, cozy. We woke up at 4:15am to get ready to catch the shuttle to the beginning of the race at Ruby's Inn. Obviously thrill and excitement were brightly radiating from my face. Yea, I can make my face show the opposite of how I'm really feeling.

This race was very well organized and supported. There were lots of drink stations and a hefty supply of Port-O-Potties at the start. There was nobody who had to make this move at the starting line:

I ran the first 7 miles with Mel Cowden. There were some huge down hills which helped us go faster but our legs paid for it later. Around mile 7 there was a moderate up hill so I pushed hard up it and gained a little time.

I was tired by mile 8. The magical moment happened at precisely mile 8.8. The magical moment when I start to question my sanity. I realized that no sane human being in their right mind would ever do this to their body. This should be illegal. There were a few points where I wanted to quit. I wanted to just walk to the finish line. I wanted to give up. I wanted to curl up in fetal position and suck my thumb.

Then I saw a sign that somebody had hung up on a road post for their family member. It said something like "Keep Going Brittney! No Pain, No Gain." For some reason that gave me a boost. It made me feel good to think about all the many family members who are such a strong support. So I kept going.

I was able to keep a good pace for the last mile and was so relieved to finally see the finish line. I was able to achieve my goal of finishing under 2 hours with a time of 1 hour 56 minutes, and beat my last half-marathon time of 2 hours 3 minutes. I was happy. My parents left their motel to be at the finish by 6am before the road was closed. That really meant a lot to me and Mel. The minute breakdown for each of my 13 miles was:

Mile 1: 10:17 minutes
Mile 2: 9:36
Mile 3: 8:00
Mile 4: 8:16
Mile 5: 8:31
Mile 6: 8:22
Mile 7: 9:18
Mile 8: 8:07
Mile 9: 9:40
Mile 10: 9:12
Mile 11: 8:43
Mile 12: 8:58
Mile 13: 8:30

This was Mel's first race ever and she hasn't been training very long. She hadn't reached the finish by the time we expected and I started to get nervous. I knew something wasn't right. I ran back up the route to find her. When she saw me she started crying. She said she was crying because she was happy someone came to "rescue" her, and because her knee had started hurting really bad in the first mile and she struggled through the rest of the race. I felt so sad for her. She is doing a little better now and said that still said it was a good experience that she'd do again because of the sense of accomplishment she felt. I am so proud of her.

There was a big gang of friends who ran the race also. It was kind of like being at a big block party. We missed the Dansie's and Darrel Humphries, but here is the rest of the gang at the finish line:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Running Superfans Sell Ice Cream

This ice cream man isn't nearly as creepy as the one who drives around our neighborhood:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Uh Oh

I may have myself a little problem considering that the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon is coming up in four days. During a hike on Saturday I twisted my right ankle a little bit. It hasn't been excrutiatingly painful, but has been a bit uncomfortable.

I've taken it easy since then and I've been icing it a few times a day. I'd been doing lots of hiking over three days and rode the exercise bike, but hadn't actually run for a week. Then I went out for a five mile run this morning to see how it felt.

Um...not so good. It still feels tight and achy. But my ankle isn't black and blue so I'm determined to kick butt. I'm shooting for under two hours.

This quote makes me happy and thankful for my challenges. They will make the finish line of the St. George Marathon even sweeter:

"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 the Curel Vaatainen

Sunday, July 12, 2009

12 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, July 6th 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike.

Tuesday, July 7th 2009: Around 5.5 miles at track. I went to the speed workout Tuesday with Elizabeth and "track guru" Dennis. Dennis does wierd things. He has strange exercises and methods. But the fact is that he is an older guy and can still run long and fast so I figure he must be doing something right.

I timed a few of my 800's which were 3:35, 3:32, 3:38, and 3:44. I was pretty happy with those times. I want to work up to between eight and ten of the 800's (two laps around track) before the marathon.

Wednesday, July 8th 2009: 2.7 miles in 24 minutes. I went a little later in the morning and didn't feel so hot. I think the heat zapped me and my body still didn't feel totally recovered from the 18 miler last week. Ugh.

Thursday, July 9th 2009: 9+ miles hiking at Pioneer Trek. Mel and I helped coordinate a pioneer trek for our ward youth which was a great experience. The first day we hiked around 8 miles as a group. My feet were a little achy but nothing too bad. Our base camp was around 1/2 mile away from the rest of the group so I did that walk back and forth many times over the three days.

Friday, July 10th 2009: 5 miles at Pioneer Trek. Not quite as far on the second day of the trek but the hills still got my blood pumping.

Saturday, July 11th 2009: 4 miles at Pioneer Trek. By the third day my body was feeling weak and run down and my walking got sloppy. I was walking down a really steep hill and not paying close enough attention and rolled my right ankle.

I think it's just a moderate sprain, definitely not extreme. I've had much worse sprains. It just feels sore and weak and tight and I think if I run on it over the next few days I'm sure it will make things worse. I plan to ice it a lot today and ride the exercise bike on Monday to give it a few days rest.

1 week to Bryce Canyon Half Marathon!

"In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that."
-Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

Saturday, July 4, 2009

13 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, June 30th 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike.

Tuesday, June 31st 2009: 4 miles in 35 minutes. I went on a dirt road that had some pretty good hills. By the time I got home my body was sweating like it was going out of style.

Wednesday, July 1st 2009: 4 miles. Mel wanted to get a run in but we didn't have a chance until 10:30pm. It was still ghastly hot outside so we ran the first two miles, but then decided we didn't want to be on a run anymore. We wanted to be on a walk.

Thursday, July 2nd 2009: Rest. And got some new shoes! My first pair of shoes crossed the 400 mile mark which is the recommended usage. The Saucony Guide seemed to work well the first time so that's what I got again. I'm not a fan of the $95 price tag, but I figure it's still cheaper than a gym membership.

Friday, July 3rd 2009: 18 miles in 3 hours 4 minutes (+1 mile cooldown). Ever since I started running, I planned to run home from work as one of my long runs. Finally Friday was the day.
I work at the dialysis center in St. George across the street from the hospital, so my route home would take me through 3 cities (St. George, Washington, and Hurricane) and cover some ginormous hills. I brought my water belt, and set water at the 5, 10, and 15 mile mark to refill.

I started the run in St. George at 4:30am, and the temperature was already 77 DEGREES!! Ugh. I started sweating my guts out by mile 2. All in all, I was feeling okay for the first 5 or 6 miles. Then I reached the hill going up to Coral Canyon. Mercy, that's a big one. I took a few walk breaks up the hill and just went slow.

Eventually I reached SR-9: the busy road that leads from Hurricane to the freeway. Initially I was a little worried about running on such a busy road. But by mile 10 I wouldn't have had my feelings hurt if a car accidentally swerved and put me out of my misery.

The sun came up making it even hotter and I felt like I lost track of time. Is it 7:30am? Maybe. Is it 2:30pm? Could be. I was getting tired by mile 13. I was hot and thirsty, and decided to drink the rest of the water I had with me since there was more coming up in 2 miles.

But then something terrible happened. Suddenly I was at mile 16 and had passed the water spot! I had been so thirsty for two miles before that point that the only thing keeping me going was that water spot. And somehow I ran right past it, not realizing until a mile later!

Logically, I can not conceive of how this happened. The only possibilities I can think of are:
1) I was too busy suffering to think about what was going on around me
2) I had heat exhaustion and my brain wasn't working too well, or
3) Complete and utter stupidity.

Either way, I wasn't feeling too great. Thankfully Lin's grocery store was a mile or two ahead so I stopped there to partake of cold, nectar of the Gods from their drinking fountain. I was in the store less than two minutes, but being in the air conditioning and getting some cold water helped me feel much better.

I finally made it to the 18 mile mark in 3 hours and 4 minutes with an average 10:12 pace per mile which I was happy with. According to my watch I burned around 2200 calories. And here's the kicker: Total Ascent: 1944 feet, Total Descent: 1122 feet. The uphills on the elevation map are frightening.

I can assure you I will never miss a water spot ever again.

Saturday, July 4th 2009: Rest. Eat. Cake. Cookies. Fireworks. Cake. Ice cream.