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.