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

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

(Another) 11 Days To Marathon

Sorry, my bad. I was a day off in my marathon count-down.

3 miles in 45 minutes.

I had a rough time dragging myself out of bed this morning to go run. I tried every excuse I could think of to go back to sleep:

  • I re-sprained my ankle yesterday so I need to give it some rest.
  • That enormous piece of cheesecake I ate yesterday will slosh around my stomach. Ugh.
  • It’s dark outside. Maybe someone will kidnap me and force me to wear a dress and high heels. (I’m sorry about that mental picture. I promise, I won’t do it again.)
  • The middle school kids waiting at the bus stop will make fun of my bird legs.
  • Someone must have played a practical joke in my sleep because if feels like my legs are wrapped in duct tape.
  • My brain needs the sleep. If my brain is tired and not working properly I may try to eat sticks of butter for breakfast.

I convinced myself that I wasn't going to go running. Instead, I figured I would jog around the neighborhood with my camera and take sunrise pictures. It was nice to have a slow run with lots of stops, and no purpose except to have fun. Here are a few of the pictures I snapped:

"The feeling you get when you finish a marathon can’t be bottled up, put in a pill or anything-there is no other feeling like it in the world and the only way you can get it-is by doing it."

Monday, September 21, 2009

11 Days To Marathon

Exercise for the day: Recess At The Elementary School

Today I had the opportunity to meet Danica at her first grade class and eat lunch at the elementary school cafeteria. It was fun to see her face light up when she saw me walk into her class.

Lunch was stellar. I don't know how they recruited chefs from the nation's premier eating establishments, but trust me, they did. The firm chicken sandwich was scrumptious. The floppy fries were tantilizing. The squishy grapes were mouth-watering. The sarcasm is thick enough to eat with your plastic cafeteria-provided spork. But seriously, the tripple chocolate cookie was good enough to make a grown man cry. THAT was good.

After lunch I went out to play with the kids at recess. If you ever need an ego boost, go hang out with a bunch elementary school kids. There were so many kids bunched around me that you'd think I was handing out Dairy Queen Blizzards. Kids from a few grades were outside and almost every one of them joined in the fun.

During one game called Ghost, the whole gaggle of kids was chasing me around the field. There must have been 40 or 50 little people in this swarm. I was bobbing and weaving like an NFL linebacker. Then suddenly....crunch. My bum ankle turned and hit the ground. But I wasn't about to be caught by the kids.

By the end of recess I was sweating and out of breath. I was proud that I had successfully dodged as many kids as I did. I waited for the group to heave me over their heads and carry me off the field while simultaneously chanting "Cory Is Our Hero!" Cue the "Rocky" music. I had an absolute blast with my 50 new best friends. This was the most fun I've had in a long, long time. Now that's exercise!

"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

Sunday, September 20, 2009

12 Days To Marathon


I forgot to tell you about something funny that happened when I was running my 5.5 miles yesterday. It was almost as funny as when I was running and someone drove by and dumped water on me.

I was jogging along minding my own business when a car pulled up beside me. I could see that it was a fairly large man with his wife in the passenger seat and his kids in the back. He rolled down his window and said "You're doing pretty good if you can speed it up a little faster."

I was sure that I didn't hear him right. I turned off my music and said "What?" He said again "You're doing pretty good if you can speed it up a little faster." At first I thought he was kidding. But there was no sly grin. No wink. No thumbs-up. He was being serious. Some guy I've never met in my life put his destination on hold for a minute, pulled up beside me, and told me to speed up. I'm not sure if he was trying to be encouraging or trying to be a punk.

I hesitantly muttered "Um, okay." And he rolled up his window and continued down the road. I looked at my watch and saw that I was doing 9:20 miles. For me on a longer run, that is a decent clip. Hmmm. Peculiar.

On a different note, I have a confession.

I sometimes have a guilty feeling when I say I'm a runner. I feel deceitful because saying you're a runner implies that you have some idea of what you're doing. And I don't. Experienced runners would scoff at my speed.

To tell you the truth, I love everything about running. Except running.

I don't like dragging myself down the road or having my knees ache incessantly. But I love the feeling of accomplishment afterward. I love feeling like I'm in the best shape of my life. I love pushing myself. I love having the freedom to consume large amounts of sugar. I love the challenge.
I feel like if I were a real runner, it wouldn't be this hard. It shouldn't hurt this bad. Strangely, despite the hurt, running has become a part of me. And I'm okay with our love/hate relationship.

"Frustration is the first step towards improvement. I have no incentive to improve if I'm content with what I can do and if I'm completely satisfied with my pace, distance, and form as a runner. It's only when I face frustration and use it to fuel my dedication that I feel myself moving forwards." ~ John "The Penguin" Bingham

Saturday, September 19, 2009

13 Days To Marathon

5k race in 24:30 then 5.5 miles in 52 minutes.

My friend Karrie organized a 5k race to benefit the Alzheimer's Association. She worked hard and coordinated a great race. Here's the group of friends who ran:

This was my first time to run a 5k (3.1 miles), but not my first time to participate in a 5k. A few years ago I walked/jogged a 5k with Mel and Aunt Kaye. I pushed my girls in a stroller. We would have been among the last to finish if it weren't for a sprint at the end to make sure a pack of grandmas didn't beat us.

My very first experience with a 5k was around age 12. My friend told me he was going to the race the next day and asked if I wanted to come. Big mistake. I remember being so, so far behind the group that I soon lost track of any other runners. The course wasn't very well marked and I had no idea where I was going. I eventually found my way to the finish line. I may have been the last one to finish.

Thankfully this one went a little better. A few minutes into the race I realized I was in third place behind Matthew and Liz. I didn't want to look behind me for fear that the rest of the pack was on my tail and would breeze by me any second.

A frightening thing happened after the first mile. I had no idea how it was happening, but I realized that my lungs were quickly filling with molten lava. I could not seem to get air in and my chest was burning. Fire. Ouch. Lava. Suffocate. Want to cry.

Eventually I looked back and saw that I was still holding my ground in third place. There was one guy not too far away and I was afraid he'd make a break for it. I was so surprised when I turned a corner about 1/2 mile from the finish and realized he wouldn't be able to catch me.

Granted, this was not a huge race. There weren't thousands of people running. But the excitement of finishing a race in third place felt like a big accomplishment. My time for Mile One was 7:52, Mile Two was 8:30, and Mile Three was 8:06. Among the prizes were a sweet water bottle and pedometer.

After the race I ran another 5.5 miles to complete my 8.5 mile long run for the week. Needless to say, I was pretty tired and the 5.5 wasn't too fun. I was so hungry. I just kept thinking about how I wanted to eat me some flapjacks or McGriddles.
I'm going to tone it down over the next two weeks until the St. George Marathon to give my body a chance to rest up and get rid of soreness. I will also eat me some McGriddles.

"Racing teaches us to challenge ourelves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about." ~ PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

Friday, September 18, 2009

14 Days To Marathon

20 minutes pulling my girls around on the bike trailer then 20 minutes on exercise bike.

I have been thinking a lot about why a marathon is such an amazing feat. When I first started running, I thought the accomplishment came on marathon day when you actually finished running 26.2 miles.

I see things differently now though. I think the amazing thing about running a marathon is the dedication, time, effort, and will-power needed to prepare for those 26.2 miles. The amazing thing is the sacrifice needed to prepare the body for running 26.2 miles.

The personal things that have been amazing to me along my journey are:

  • Those mornings when the alarm goes off at 5:00am to go run. And my body is begging to go back to sleep. But I drag my weary body out of the sheets, put on the running shoes, and go.

  • Being a little (emphasize the world “little”) more conscious about what I eat. At the risk of sounding like a complete lunatic, I have been amazed that I actually don’t crave junk food as much as I used to. For me that isn’t just amazing. That is a miracle.

  • During a run, feeling my body sore and exhausted, but somehow I’ve been able to train my body to force through it and keep going.

  • Being so busy during the day that I have to go running at night after the family has gone to bed. There is a strange satisfaction in running at a time when you know most sane people are asleep. I like the sense of knowing that I’m pushing myself to do something most people wouldn’t do.

I can’t wait to watch people cross the finish line at the marathon. Knowing that each of them has a story is fascinating. I now have a sense of the endless hours and miles that came before their final 26.2 mile push.

I am convinced that the accomplishment in running a marathon isn’t race day amid the energy and cheering of the crowds. The accomplishment is all those lonely sacrifices that nobody ever sees.

"I don't think jogging is healthy, especially morning jogging. If morning joggers knew how tempting they looked to morning motorists, they would stay home and do sit-ups." ~ Rita Rudner

Thursday, September 17, 2009

15 Days To Marathon

4 miles in 48 minutes.

Mel and I went together on our run today. We didn't push it too much. It was dark outside so we decided to run on State Street where the road is better lit. The problem with State is that the slope to the gutter is very steep. That results in more twist on the knees. Which results in achy knees. Which makes you question why you ever started running.

I had one motivation for getting the run over with: I knew that a carton of Cookies and Cream ice cream was waiting in my freezer. In fact, I'd swear I heard it call my name a few times while I was running. "Cory", it said, "please, please move your legs a little quicker. I am anxious to get in your belly." I listened. And obeyed.

"There will be days that I don't know if I can run a marathon, but there will be a lifetime of knowing that I have!" ~ Unknown

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

16 Days To Marathon

30 minutes on exercise bike.

This morning I had an opportunity to do my long run of the week (planning to run 8 or 9 miles). I can't do it Saturday because I'm running in a 5k race.

My plans were derailed when my 5 year old Kylee asked a question as they were getting ready for school. She said "Dad, can you come and help in my class today?" I told her I didn't think I'd be able to today. Then she asked why. Suddenly I felt like a dirtbag. I almost said "Because I have to go run." Ugh. I can't believe that almost came out of my mouth.

Fortunately I caught myself. Then I said "Actually, I will be able to come to your class today!" I want to make sure that running never comes before family.

Helping out at the school turned out to be awesome. My job description today was to help kids glue macaroni noodles to their names. In actuality, my purpose was to limit, as much as possible, the amount of noodles each child ate. Apparently the dry, green macaroni noodles "are really good!!!"

This is what the kids will look like in 30 years:

I'm glad I rode the exercise bike today. Otherwise I would have missed seeing kindergartners eat noodles like they were Skittles.

"I believe that the Good Lord gave us a finite number of heartbeats and I'm damned if I'm going to use up mine running up and down a street." ~ Neil Armstrong

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

17 Days To Marathon

I can't fathom the fact that the marathon is two and a half weeks away. I'm excited and nervous and apprehensive about the unknown. I'm planning to write a post everyday from now until then leading up to the big day.

I received an email today that I thought I'd share with you. Anything that involves bacon is certainly worth sharing:

"I recently stumbled on to your blog while looking for videos similar to the Brooks "Super Fans", they are the greatest.

As I read, I laughed and cried as so many of your experiences were the same as mine as I "trained" for my first marathon which I completed in February 2009 at age 40. I was having my mid-life crises and could not afford a convertible sports car or a 20 year old blond so I ran. I was slow but I finished and it was an amazing experience, somewhere in the mid to bottom of the top ten all time. I ran a second 4 months later....I can't stop, I really need help! Runners World is the devil with all the Ads for such cool runs.

Some of the things that come to mind from your blog that I experienced was the driving the course. In San Diego, it took us almost 5 hours to drive the course cause of traffic. Really depressing to think that the winners of the marathon would run it in half that time. In Sedona, we drove the course and had to put our truck in four wheel drive in some areas. Yeah, that's not good.

In San Diego, we ran though some neighborhoods and there were folks handing out bacon. It smelled so good but we feared the barf. The next morning, we ate bacon like crazy people.

Bring your camera! Have fun and enjoy the moment for what it is. There will always be another opportunity to run faster and for a better time but you can't do it for the first time twice.

I look forward to reading your post for the final days of training and a full report of the race day experience and the post race recovery.

Thanks for your blog and run strong,

Two time very amature marathoner, but I did by golly and you can never take that away from me!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Newspaper Story About Charity Team

The Spectrum newspaper ran a story in today's paper about the marathon fundraiser.

Friend Decides To Make Marathon A Run For The Money
By Patrice St. Germain

Running 26 miles in a marathon gives a sense of accomplishment to the runner, but Cory Reese decided to give his run on October 3 extra meaning by putting together a charity team.

Reese, Karrie and Shane Nielsen and others will be running to raise money for Reese's friend Paul Cardall, a recent heart-transplant recipient through Intermountain Donor Services.

Reese said originally he planned on running and raising money on his own and the plans just got bigger.

"Other people thought running for a cause was a good idea," he said. "It makes it more meaningful to have all your training and hard work benefit somebody else."

Reese said he got to know Cardall 10 years ago when he was trying to get into the music business. He became friends with Cardall who just had a CD, The Christmas Box, make it to the Billboard charts.

First a mentor, then a friend, Reese wanted to help Cardall who was waiting for a heart and received his transplant, after waiting a year, on Thursday.

Money raised by Reese and the other runners on the team, with the help of sales of a CD Reese, Cardall and other pianists put together, will go to help Cardall and Intermountain Donor Services.

Karrie Nielsen said she felt running on the charity team was a great idea and knows the importance of organ donation because one of her cousins donated a kidney to the cousin's sister.

Dixie Madsen, public education/public relations coordinator for Intermountain Donor Services said as of Friday morning, there were 103,497 people on the waiting list for organ donation. Last year, Madsen said, 27,900 people received transplants.

"The need there (for organ donation) is great and that is one of the points of fundraising - to increase education and get people thinking about it," Madsen said.

Madsen said there are many misconceptions about organ donation including costs to the donor or donors family, of which there is none, and people self-excluding themselves because they can not donate blood or have a condition that requires medication. Madsen said people think the doctors may not try as hard to save their life because they are an organ donor which is also not true.

"We never want something to happen. We are all about encouraging the use of seat belts and helmets but if something does happen, a lot of good can come from that decision to donate," she said.

Running the St. George Marathon?

Are you running the St. George Marathon? Join my marathon charity team, Team Run Life!
All proceeds will go to benefit recent heart transplant recipient Paul Cardall, and Intermountain Donor Services who provides education and awareness about organ donation.

How You Can Help
  • Talk to your friends and family and ask them to pledge money to support organ donation and education.
  • Add information about your team to your blog.
  • Hang up a flier at work (we'll provide this for you).

What You Get

  • A specially designed shirt from Intermountain Donor Services.
  • The exclusive piano CD "Road of Hope"
  • A special catered pasta dinner the evening before the marathon.
  • The satisfaction of knowing all your hard work and training are going to benefit a good cause.

Any contribution people make over $26.20 will receive an exclusive piano CD featuring Paul Cardall, David Tolk, Jon Schmidt, Cory Reese, Michael R. Hicks, and Marshall McDonald.

Join The Team!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

3 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, September 7th 2009: 7 miles in 69 minutes. Our family camped near Kolob Reservoir so I thought I'd take advantage of the cooler temperature and go running. Unfortunately the cause of the cooler temperature is higher elevation. My lungs were not thrilled with the idea.

Tuesday, September 8th 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike.

Wednesday, September 9th 2009: 30 minutes on exercise bike. FYI: it's impossible to find anything semi-amusing about riding an exercise bike. Consequently, here is a semi-amusing picture:

Thursday, September 10th 2009: 5 miles speedwork at track. I did 5 800's (twice around the track. My times were 3:35, 3:46, 3:45, 3:43, and 3:41. They were mowing the lawn at the high school track so I had to dodge the riding lawnmower a few times. I'm thankful I lost no limbs.

Friday, September 11th 2009: Rest.

Saturday, September 12th 2009: 20.25 miles in 3 hours and 15 minutes on St. George marathon course. The running buddies and I headed over to the marathon course where we were spoiled. Amber's dad was a true angel of mercy. He set out a table full of drinks, energy chews, and Band-Aids every two miles. After we passed him, he packed up then drove two miles down the road to do it again. It was a HUGE help.

Around mile 11 I nearly stepped on this big muther arachnid who was crossing the road. I kept running, but turned around a minute later to go take a picture of it for the blog:

This was an unbelievable run for me. It felt like my training over the last year finally came together and things clicked. Don't get me wrong - it still hurt. My feet felt like they were being smashed in a George Foreman Grill. My knees felt like they were being pecked by angry ostriches.

Despite the aches and pains, I had a feeling I wasn't accustomed to: I felt strong. I had endurance. I had kick. I couldn't believe I was feeling so good after 17 miles. I averaged under 9 minutes per mile almost the whole way. Even though the last few miles were harder and I was getting tired, the run really boosted my confidence. I pray that I can feel that good during the marathon.
When I was having my Zen running moment, I thought of one of my favorite quotes:
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, But rather to skid in sideways, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, WOW, what a ride!!!"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Runner's Guide To Injury Prevention

My first marathon is coming up in three weeks. I have learned valuable tips on injury prevention during my year of training:

1) If you call “vomiting” an injury, avoid speed work. “Speed work” is defined as a) driving to a high school track, b) running around it as fast as you can, then c) focusing every ounce of remaining energy on not launching your dinner onto another runner’s shoes.

2) Avoid running up or down hills. Should you attempt this, you will walk around for the next two days looking like someone dropped a bookshelf on your legs.

3) Don’t run in the heat. Your blood will thicken like maple syrup. Your legs will feel like cream cheese. Your family members will move to the opposite end of the house when you walk inside.

4) Keep bags of ice handy to apply to any sore spots. I go through ice as quickly as Snoop Dogg goes through expletives.

5) Eat healthy. I hear this is helpful, but don’t have any actual experience in this area. I maintain a steady diet of frozen pizzas, Hostess products, and cookies.

There is a vital truth I have come to realize during my marathon training: SOMETHING IS ALWAYS GOING TO HURT. ALWAYS. Trying to avoid pain is like trying to get some quiet time to go to the bathroom when a three year old is in the house – it’s just not going to happen.

So when the aches and pains come (which they definitely will), prop your feet up and eat enough Hostess products to make yourself sick. At least it will be your stomach hurting instead of your knees.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

4 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, August 31st 2009: 5 miles in 47 minutes. I went out at about 10pm and it was still pretty hot outside. Despite this I felt pretty good and was able to keep a decent pace without spontaneously combusting.

Tuesday, September 1st 2009: 40 minutes on exercise bike. This was the epitome of thrill and excitement for the day. My family had to beg me to get off because I was enjoying myself so much. The amount of fun I had defies description.

Wednesday, September 2nd 2009: 20 miles in 3 hours and 25 minutes. Due to some last minute changes with me and Mel's work schedules I decided to get in my final 20 miler before the marathon.

I tried something different for this long run. To get my mind off of pain I decided I'd try listening to an audio book during the run. I chose the book "Complications: A Surgeon's Notes On An Imperfect Science". It was okay for the first few hours, but eventually I reached my limit on crazy medical stories.

This run was pretty boring and lonely. There was nothing along the route to keep my attention except for this cool bright leaf laying on the road:

I averaged a 10:15 pace but that doesn't take into account the rest breaks I took to get drinks and stretch. By the time I finished I felt like someone had locked me in a clothes dryer. I was spent. At the time I finished the run it was 90 degrees. If it is that hot during the marathon I shall surely die.

Thursday, September 3rd 2009: Rest. I have reached a glorious point in my marathon training: THE TAPER!!!! Common marathon training recommends doing a 20 miler about a month before the marathon, then decreasing your mileage over the last month so your body is recovered and ready for the marathon. I am thrilled with the idea of tapering down my training. Hallelujah.

Friday, September 4th 2009: Rest. I'm going to say I "carbo-loaded", but really it was just bad eating habits. Breakfast: 4 pieces of toast. Snack: a baggie of trail mix. Lunch: 2 frozen burritos and a cookie. Dinner: Little Caesars Pizza. "Healthy" is likely not a word someone would use to describe my diet.

Saturday, September 5th 2009: Peach Days Race: 7.4 miles in 1 hour and 8 minutes. The Peach Days race is unique: you guess your time before the race and the winner is the person who gets closest to their time. You can't use a watch and they don't tell you the course until right before the race starts. I really enjoyed running with my friends Darrin, Amber, and Shane. It was fun to talk about casual stuff and hang out (except for the fact that we were running 9 minute miles).

Mel ran too and did well. We tried to take a nice picture after the race but our friends Alex and Cherie had other ideas. It's just downright rude that we try to take a serious picture but then they pop their inconsiderate heads in. You would need an incredibly thick skull to not realize we were trying to take a serious picture. I don't know how they live with themselves.

Aside from a few minor aches I felt good during the run, except for one wardrobe malfunction. I wore a new shirt which was supposed to "wick away moisture". I have other shirts that are great at this. The new shirt, on the other hand, was a failure. And any runner will attest to what happens after running lots of miles with a wet shirt:

By the grace of God I was able to avoid blood, but had I run a few more miles I may have been in trouble. This picture very likely could have been me.

I averaged a 9:12 pace which I was happy with. I was only two minutes off my guess which put me at 20th place in the whole race. So guess how much money I won........$9.00!!!! This should cover the expense of buying Band-Aids and Neosporin for my nipples.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New Piano CD - Road of Hope

Drum roll please......introducing the cover of the new piano CD "Road of Hope" available October 3rd 2009. I've been listening to the music from this album over and over again. The songs here are simply amazing.

Check out this track list:

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

You'd be hard-pressed to find a finer collection of piano music. The best part is that you can receive one of these CDs by donating to a cool charity! Click HERE to order.