Sunday, August 29, 2010

Running Another Marathon

And now for an announcement: I SIGNED UP FOR ANOTHER MARATHON

The Top of Utah Marathon in Logan, Utah in less than three weeks on September 18th!

I felt so good after the Park City Marathon a week ago that I decided to be ambitious and sign up for another marathon. And then....I will be running the St. George Marathon with Mel two weeks later. Wowsers.

I recognize that this is not really adequate time between marathons (3 marathons in 7 weeks) but I think if I take it easy on each of them and not push myself to the absolute limit I will be okay. My motivation for this marathon was to be there for my brother who is running his first marathon. (I hope he's okay with waiting at the finish line for me.)

Here's my problem: I LOVE RACES. I love them. I love the pit in my stomach I feel for weeks leading up to the marathon. I love the butterflies in my stomach. I love the anxiousness the night before the race when I'm so excited that I can't sleep. I love the nervousness of wondering how the race will go. I love standing on the starting line with thousands of other crazy people who will all be sharing this experience together. I love the feeling at the finish line knowing that I accomplished something that was really hard. I LOVE RACES.

Monday, August 23rd 2010: Rest. I didn't feel sore at all on Saturday after the Park City Marathon. I felt more sore on Sunday. And even more sore on Monday. Not nearly as bad as previous marathons though. In fact I felt more sore after the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon than I did after running a full.

Tuesday, August 24th 2010: Gave Jackson his first experience playing racquetball. We had a blast. I fell off the wagon with eating. During the day I had Hostess donuts, candy, Coke, and a gut-full of garbage at Golden Coral.

Wednesday, August 25th 2010: Rest. Warning: yucky picture coming up. Mel was brewing a pretty nasty sunburn from the Park City Marathon. These are not droplets of water from the shower. This is her sunburn. Blah.

Thursday, August 26th 2010: 2 miles slow. I did a 2 mile loop around the neighborhood to get my body back into the swing of running.

Friday, August 27th 2010: 30 minutes on exercise bike. While I rode, I watched the 2009 Kona Ironman. I should not watch these shows. It makes me feel really tempted, especially with an Ironman right in our backyard.

Saturday, August 28th 2010: 6 miles @ 9:52 per mile pace. I drove to the LaVerkin overlook to run on some dirt roads. I wasn't really sore, but have felt pretty sluggish over the last week. The scenery on the run was too beautiful to pass up. Courtesy of the self-timer:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mel's Park City Marathon Review

Mel's Summary of Her First Marathon:

First of all, I can’t believe I actually signed up to run a marathon, let alone the hardest course in Utah. I put in my longest run of 17 miles before race day, which felt good, but then something bad happened. I got sick. Really SICK! Flat in bed for 4 days sick. I was so nervous I wasn’t going to be able to run, or that I wouldn’t finish, or worse to not even start. I recovered after a reluctant course of antibiotics & some well needed rest.

We were fortunate to have a beautiful sunny day. I didn’t even think about sunscreen, hence I feel & look as though I was thrown in a turkey fryer. One of the volunteers asked me at mile 22 if I wanted some sunscreen. By then the damage was already done. As Cory mentioned in his post we had to take a bathroom break at mile 1, & that we were dead last after the break. I did not want to be the last person to finish. Little by little we started passing people & I was feeling better about not coming in last place.

Surprisingly I did not hurt anywhere the entire race except for a little ache in my ankle, but nothing serious like in previous races. I will attribute this to the many many hills we ran up. Apparently my body likes me to run uphill, but my mind likes me to run flat or downhill. Cory told me I couldn’t start hurting until about mile 10. I told him I wasn’t hurting at all. I just felt like someone was grasping my lungs like they were being milked like a cow. I was wheezing like an asthmatic & breathing like an 80 year old chain smoker.

We made it to about mile 14 where we saw a breath of fresh air. Cory’s sister, Hollie was a volunteer flagging people the right direction. Her cheerfulness helped get me through the next 3 death miles which went to the top of Deer Valley. We reached Hollie again, got another bottle of refreshing cold water & gave a hug goodbye to hopefully see her at the finish. We kept trucking on having a little relief with a few flat/downhill areas, but more hills came our way. Mile 20 was the “Oasis” with juice, donuts, muffins, even champagne if you wanted. I didn’t partake of the bubbly.

Cory gave me pointers throughout the race which was very helpful. He kept me in good spirits. He kept telling me “light & easy”, which one of our good friends Shelly always says. I pretty much chanted “light & easy” the last 6 miles of the race. It helped me remain focused on finishing. And believe it or not, we were still passing people!

I am so grateful that I have the physical capabilities to run & be a good example to my kids. What an amazing experience to have with my best friend. Thanks for all of your love & support! Also, thanks to all of you for your encouraging phone calls, texts, & emails. They mean more than you know!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Park City Marathon 2010

I was excited to run the Park City Marathon for my third marathon. Mainly because I planned to run it with Mel who was doing her first. We stayed with her sister and brother-in-law Angie and Gary who were awesome to let us crash their pad and watch our kids while we ran.

I had fun jumping on their trampoline the night before the race. Mel got this photo which looks like it had a long appointment with Photoshop but it really didn't.

One of the things I REALLY liked about Park City was that it was a big loop which started and ended at the same place. It was so nice to not take a 30 minute bus ride to the starting line.

There wasn't a cloud in the sky so it was a little cool at the starting line but everyone knew it would be a hot day.

We made a little pit stop at a port-o-potty before even reaching the first mile marker. By the time we started running again...we were in last place. LAST. Like - we looked behind us and there was nobody there. It worked out okay though because we had fun seeing how many people we could pass over the next 25 miles.

Without a doubt, my favorite part about this marathon was the dirt. I'd guess 9-10 miles were on dirt roads or dirt trails. I was in heaven. My feet were built for dirt. Mel, on the other hand, didn't love the dirt quite as much because she got lots of rocks in her shoes. Around mile 7 we passed through this tunnel and I got my favorite picture of the day:

Around mile 10 I started to get worried. We were doing the regular walk breaks but Mel was already breathing heavy. I think maybe the altitude was getting to her. I had my mind on other things. We were on a long dirt road scattered with cool rocks. My eyes were focused right in front of me to look for rocks I could stop and pick up to add to my pack. The miles floated by and I was feeling in the zone.

The hills in this marathon are absolutely CRAZY. We heard people joking that somehow the course seemed to be "uphill both ways". This is the elevation chart from my watch. Especially from miles 13-16, check out how the hill is almost vertical.

My sister Hollie was a volunteer at the race. She helped with packet pick-up the night before, and directed traffic at an intersection during the race. We met up with her right in the middle of the ugly hill and it was a welcome relief to talk with her for a few minutes. I am so thankful she was able to come and be part of the day. She was the best cheerleader of the whole course.

By mile 14 it was getting HOT. It's hard to estimate temperature while running, but I'd guess it was at least 672 degrees. Either an atomic bomb exploded and my skin was starting to melt off....or we were in the middle of running a marathon.

The scenery along the course was beautiful. Surrounded by the beauty of Park City helped take our minds off the pain. Okay, not really. But it gave us something nice to look at. I really liked this huge tree full of shoes hanging from the branches.

Around mile 18 I heard someone talking. I thought maybe my mind was playing tricks on me. But I kept hearing a voice over and over. I turned off my mp3 player and realized what I was hearing. Mel was saying over and over again "Light and easy. Light and easy." We wished we were as happy as these people:

Because of the fact that much of the race was on trails or dirt roads, there weren't too many spectators. But in the middle of a particularly hideous hill we saw some needed encouragement.

At mile 20, there was an aid station called "The Oasis". They had lots of different drinks, Hammer Gel, and pastries. There were chocolate cake donuts which looked heavenly. It turns out this wasn't very smart. My stomach immediately felt sick (duh!). I'll put this decision in the category of "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

A few miles later we reached a highly energetic aid station. People had water misters and misted runners who needed a cool down. All the volunteers looked like beautiful women. ALL of them:

I was surprised how well Mel did especially during the last 6 miles. I think she ran more than I have run in the last 6 miles during my previous marathons. I was feeling really good. I was feeling REALLY hot and tired, but not nearly as bad as previous races. The greatest thing was that I never had the paralyzing leg cramps that attacked during previous marathons. I never felt like I "hit the wall" and I think I could have run a few extra miles if I wanted to. I think it was the walk breaks and slower pace that left me feeling so good.

It is a surreal feeling toward the end of the race when you see a mile marker saying "25 Miles", then a marker that says "26 Miles". I just can't comprehend how a human body can go for 26.2 miles. I was so proud of Mel for what she had accomplished and I was so happy I was able to be with her during her first marathon.

We held hands and gave each other a kiss on the finish line with a time of 6 hours and 1 minute!

"It's not like somebody else can run a marathon for you. It's all you out there. Finishing means you can say 'There's not a lot I can't do.'" ~ Kenneth Feld, Owner of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

Mel's race report is coming soon!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Monday, August 16th 2010: 5 miles @ 9:13 per mile pace. Ugh. That is too fast for my current fitness level. Didn't feel too good.

Tuesday, August 17th 2010: Rest.

Wednesday, August 18th 2010:
4 miles @ 9:32 per mile pace.

Thursday, August 19th 2010:

Friday, August 20th 2010: We will be leaving for Park City in a few hours. I will be honest with you, one of the things I'm most excited about with going to northern Utah is finding the closest 7-11 and satisfying my craving for an enormous Slurpee.

My preparation for the Park City Marathon has felt different from my previous two marathons. I'm doing this race with Mel so we're just going to take it easy and have fun. (Well, "have fun" doesn't quite seem to be an appropriate phrase.) Whereas on my previous races, I was really focused on going fast and achieving a certain time. I was nervous and scared during the race.

But I haven't felt too anxious or nervous with this one. I'm sure that's partly because I know we'll be doing it slower, and partly because I know I'll have someone there to keep me company the whole time. I think for us, this marathon will feel more like an experience than a race.

I'm taking my camera during the race so you'll see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Please keep your fingers crossed that Pina Colada will be in the Slurpee machine today. That would most certainly be a good omen.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tips For Running A Marathon

In less than one week my wife will be running her first marathon, the Park City Marathon. I am excited that I will be running the race with her. And my brother is running his first marathon in one month. I am far from being an expert on the art of marathon running, but based on my limited experience, allow me to provide a few tips for people preparing for their first marathon:
  • Just know: THIS IS GOING TO HURT. Really bad. I experienced pain like I have never felt before. Your legs will HATE you. Every cell of your body will probably revolt. But I think it's helpful to know it's going to hurt really bad so when it hits, you won't be surprised. Then you can just accept it and keep going. You'll be okay. Odds are that you probably won't die.
  • Never, EVER eat anything from McDonalds any closer than one week before the race.
  • Especially for a first marathon, don't be too overly ambitious. I recommend doing it for the experience, and having your goal be to finish instead of going for a certain time. I know, if your brain is anything like mine, "just finishing" isn't as much of a challenge. Um, yea. You won't be thinking that "just finishing" is so bad around mile 22.
  • You know the old adage that the first 20 miles is the first half of the race and the last 6 miles are the second half of the race? If you ask me, that is completely true. I believe the last 6 miles are as hard as the first 20. So plan accordingly. Make a conscious effort to conserve some of your effort and energy for those last 6.
  • Get a drink at EVERY aid station, even if you don't feel thirsty. When you're running that far it's hard to stay hydrated. You need all the help you can get.
  • Don't be afraid to walk. I'm a firm believer in Jeff Galloway's Run/Walk method. I recommend that every runner check out Jeff's website (you can Click Here) to get training tips. My running, recovery, and amount of injuries has changed significantly since I started using his method.
  • Make a sincere effort to not throw up on somebody's shoes. At my first marathon I saw a lady launching bright orange Gatorade everywhere. Gross. It's okay if I stain my shoes orange, but I don't want anyone else doing it for me.
  • Be prepared for that moment when you realize that running is the WORST hobby ever and you just want to give up. Remember to think about your family, and the people you love, and how incredibly awesome it is that you are running a marathon (!!!!) and that you CAN do this.
  • Give a high five to every spectator you see. Granted, this expends a little energy, but the boost of moral support more than makes up for the little bit of effort it takes to raise your hand (which becomes progressively more challenging toward the end of the race).
  • Crossing that finish line for the first time is an unforgettable experience. You will feel exhaustion greater than ever before. But the pride will immediately erase the pain you had been feeling for 26.2 miles. You have just accomplished something that nobody can take away from you. As you cross that finish line, you will realize that there is NOTHING you can't do. Nothing.

One Week To Marathon

Monday, August 9th 2010: I simply could not drag my carcass out of bed to run. I'd imagine this is what a severe hangover feels like.

Tuesday, August 10th 2010: 5 miles @ 9:42 per mile pace. Fellow runners will understand the fact that it is completely possible to go on a run early in the morning and still be asleep. It's like your eyes are opened and your legs are moving, but your brain is still asleep. This was one of those mornings.

Wednesday, August 11th 2010: 5 miles @ 9:46 per mile pace.

Thursday, August 12th 2010:

Friday, August 13th 2010: 4 miles @ 9:34 per mile pace. I don't know why I've been feeling so tired lately. But I realized the true extreme of my tiredness after one mile into this run. My right foot felt a little weird. Then I looked down and realized that my left foot had a Saucony brand shoe and my right foot had a Mizuno brand shoe. Sleep? Who needs sleep.

Saturday, August 14th 2010: 8 miles @ 9:46 per mile pace. I felt surprisingly good the second half of the run which was encouraging. But before I did my 8 miles I had an awesome experience. My son Jackson signed up for the Washington County Fair race coordinated by the awesome Shelly Thomas. There was a 5k race and a mile race. Jackson did the mile.

As we were driving to the race Jackson said "I just want to go out there and run as fast as a jet." The race started and I waited at the finish line for him. Pretty soon I saw a black shirt coming in the distance but it was too far away to see who it was. They were in first place. After a minute I realized it was Jackson!

He ended up winning the mile race with a time of 8 minutes and 55 seconds! I felt so proud of him.

Mel has been sick all week and hasn't been able to run so she is nervous about her first marathon coming up in a week. I told her to look on the bright side because at least she got in a good taper. We received some great news that my sister will be volunteering at the race! Seeing her will be a welcome relief when we are in the midst of wanting to die. Stay tuned for my Tips For Running A Marathon.

"I think there is too much emphasis placed on the distinction between the people in the front and the people in the back. I happen to feel that the sensations are exactly the same for all of us."
~ Kenny Moore, marathoner and writer

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Two Weeks To Park City Marathon

Monday, August 2nd 2010: 5 miles total. I ran the first 2.5 miles @ 13:47 per mile with Jackson, then did another 2.5 mile loop at 10:04 per mile.

Tuesday, August 3rd 2010: 5 miles @ 11:02 per mile pace with Mel in the morning. Then 4 miles @ 9:39 per mile pace by myself in the evening.

It was dark when I ran in the evening, but still hot outside. I stopped at the Main Street park to get a drink from the drinking fountain. It tasted like drinking warm bath water. Ugh. I got a mouth full of water, then bent down to touch my toes and stretch. Apparently this was NOT a good idea to be breathing heavy, and bend over with a mouth full of water. Immediately the warm bath water came out of my nose. Gross. And ouch. It felt like I had been huffing battery acid.

Wednesday, August 4th 2010:
5 miles @ 10:14 per mile pace. I went to the Desert Reserve for my weekly jaunt through the hills. When I left for the early morning run, there were some cool clouds in the sky that I figured might make for a cool sunrise so I went back inside to grab my camera for the run. This is what I got:

Thursday, August 5th 2010: 5 miles @ 10:37 per mile pace. I stayed up too late the night before and woke up too early. My legs felt like Laffy Taffy. In retrospect, maybe I should have filled up my water bottle with Red Bull.

Friday, August 6th 2010: Rest

Saturday, August 7th 2010: 20 miles @ 10:36 per mile pace! We went to do our first training run of the year on the St. George Marathon course. FYI: you never, EVER want to see this on the alarm clock when you wake up to run:

A group of 11 friends piled in the SUV like clowns at a circus and headed to the start of the course. Mel and I took a little bit slower pace which allowed me to take a bunch of pictures along the way (Mel is running in the distance):

About mile 7 we reached the Veyo Hill. I was not tremendously thrilled.

The weather during the whole run was absolutely perfect. You couldn't have asked for better. It was overcast, a little cooler, and we even had a few sprinkles toward the end.

I had been a little concerned about how Mel would do on the run. This was the farthest she had ever gone. But I figured she must be doing fine when she still had the energy to dance to Beyonce at mile 14.

Another glorious thing happened at mile 14. Right on our path we came across a baggie of bite-size candy bars! It wasn't on the side of the road where other runners leave their water and supplies. It was right on the road. To me it reaffirmed the fact that God answers prayers. With the Divine placement of candy bars right on our path, I thought it would be disrespectful to pass by the gracious offering without partaking. So I had one bite-size Butterfinger. It was possibly the most delicious candy bar that has ever crossed my lips.

We planned to do 17 miles and ended feeling pretty good. Well, as good as you can feel after running 17 miles. We were still in good enough shape for the traditional self-portrait.

When I got home I was still feeling okay so I did a 3 mile loop to bring my total to 20 miles for the day. But I'm even more proud of my weekly total: 44 miles! That is by far the most I have ever run in a week. I love the sense of accomplishment I get from running. I also appreciate the justification to eat Butterfingers.

Of all the races, there is no better stage for heroism than a marathon.
Dr. George Sheehan

Sunday, August 1, 2010

3 Weeks To Park City Marathon

Monday, July 26th 2010: 5 miles @ 12:11 minutes per mile pace. Mel and I went out early in the morning. Maybe it was too early and we were still half asleep. Or maybe it was just too hot outside, but we ended up walking the last mile.

Tuesday, July 27th 2010: 5 miles @ 10:39 minutes per mile pace. I couldn't bring myself to wake up early and figured it wouldn't be too bad to run in the evening. Boy was that a dumb decision. When I got a chance to leave, it was still 97 degrees outside and the run wasn't very fun. Actually, the heat made this 5 mile run harder than a 15 miler a few days later.

Wednesday, July 28th 2010:

Thursday, July 29th 2010: 15 miles @ 11:47 minutes per mile pace. When Mel and I walked out the door at 5:00am it felt like walking into a sauna. The storm clouds trapped the heat so it was warm and muggy. A few miles down the road we reached this sign which caused Mel to scowl in disgust:

A little while after the half-way point, we saw a glimmer of the sun. It turned out that this would be the last time we'd see the sun. Right after this picture it started to pour rain which continued for the rest of the run.

I appreciated the rain even more than the Hostess donuts I left as treats along the route. The dramatic drop in temperature was a welcome relief. We didn't push the pace and did a 5/1 run/walk ratio and both of us ended up feeling great at the end of the run. I never felt tired or exhausted. Hopefully this was a good trial run of what we will do at the Park City Marathon in three weeks.

Friday, July 30th 2010: 4 miles @ 10:00 minutes per mile pace. We went up to the Uinta Mountains for a family reunion and the tree-lined dirt roads made me anxious to strap on the running shoes.

I was having a grand old time until I came across a big, angry-looking black cow. He looked like the kind of cow that was just waiting to retaliate against a human being for all the injustices his species has been a victim of. He looked like he was preparing to avenge all his friends who have become part of a meal at McDonalds. He didn't take his glaring eyes off me. I prayed for safety and nearly wet my pants.

I decided I better take a picture of the angry bovine just in case I ended up dead on the road, smushed flat as a pancake. Then at least my family would have evidence of who the murderer was. I'm happy to report that he kept his distance, and I didn't end up as road kill.

Saturday, July 31st 2010: Hike to Grandaddy Lake in the Uintas. We were fortunate to avoid any encounters with moose. Or bears. Or cows.