Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Win A Pair Of Arm Warmers

I had never used arm warmers while running because I thought they looked, well, sissy. But then I actually tried them during the Mesquite Marathon. They quickly became my favorite running companions. Previously I thought "Well, duh. Why don't you just wear a long-sleved shirt?" But then I realized that arm warmers are actually warmer and not nearly as bulky. They make your arms smile (if your arms happen to have lips and teeth).

Because of a gracious gift from an arm warmer manufacturer, I am giving away a free pair of cozy arm warmers! Yes amigo, you could be the proud owner of warm arms while running in the cold weather.

I hear you asking yourself "Cory, how can I win myself a pair of them fancy arm warmers?" All you have to do is post a song you listen to on your iPod while you run. You get one entry for each comment so knock yourself out. The more song comments you make, the more chances you have to win.

Winner will be picked at random one week from today on December 7th. I wish you luck fellow runners!

(An un-Photoshop-enhanced image of my fantastic arm warmers)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Why Do You Run?

I haven't done much this week since the Mesquite Marathon. In this week of Thanksgiving, I am very thankful that I quickly forget just how much my legs hurt in the days following a marathon. Holy ouch. Here are some exciting tidbits for the week:

1) I am going to sign up for my first ULTRA-MARATHON!!!!!!! Originally I planned to do a 50k (31 miles) but decided to go big. I'm going to shoot for the Buffalo Run 50 MILE race on March 26th 2011! It is on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. I am so excited about this. I wish it was next week.

2) You only have ONE WEEK to register for the Hostess Half Marathon! We need a count to order medals. The race is Saturday, December 18th. CLICK HERE for more information and to download the registration form.

3) The last time I won something, I was old enough to believe that Care Bears were real. I was at a grocery store and won a pineapple cake. I was not thrilled with the idea of sharing my loot with the rest of the family.

And then....recently I won something even cooler than a pineapple cake! I was the lucky winner of a marathon photo contest held by the awesome St. George Running Center. My prize: a sweet St. George Marathon jacket. I ain't kidding. Pure bliss. And for your viewing pleasure, behold these flashy jacket photos taken by my 9 year old:

(I likely will not quit my day job to become a jacket model.)

The peeps at St. George Running Center will fit you with the most comfortable shoes your feet have ever had the pleasure of walking in. So go check them out right now. Seriously. Go. I'll wait.

4) Check out this race review of the Mesquite Marathon from author Dane Rauschenberg who wrote the book One Man: 52 Marathons, 52 Weeks. He gives a good description of the crazy wind, and you'll see a picture taken by yours truly.

5) Anyone who runs will be able to relate with this short video clip called Why Do You Run? I think it's pretty sweet.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mesquite Marathon Review, 2010

Mesquite Marathon 2010: 4 hours & 32 minutes!

We drove down to Mesquite, Nevada the afternoon before the race and thought it would be helpful to drive the last section of the course just to know what to expect. There were some uphills toward the end of the race which nearly made me whimper like a school girl.

We snapped a few photos along the road while our friend Darin buried some Gatorade at the halfway point. It was deceptively beautiful outside.

Mel was particularly fond of this sign near the beginning of the half marathon which she ran.

One cool thing about the Mesquite Marathon is that you run through 3 States! You start in Utah, run most miles through Arizona, then finish in Nevada. Packet pick-up at the Casa Blanca Casino the night before the race was simple and easy. Those cheerful, cheesy smiles are because the weather was still deceptively beautiful outside.

Our shuttle to the starting like Saturday morning was a nice bus with the most comfortable chairs my rear end has ever had the pleasure of sitting in. Part of me wanted to just stay on the bus, even if it meant a prison-style brawl with the bus driver.

We saw an incredible sunrise as we waited for the race to start. There was only a gentle breeze, but storm clouds were on the horizon.

I maintained my tradition of wearing horribly mis-matched thrift store clothing to the race. I'm not kidding you - my son asked if I was wearing a Snuggie.

Hanging out with my friends Glenn, Jason, and Darin helped pass the time and alleviate pre-race jitters.

And then the race started. The Mesquite Marathon does their mile markers differently than other races. Instead of saying what mile you are at, signs tell you how many more miles to go. This is a great idea toward the end of the race, but when you see something like this, it can trigger waves of uncontrollable crying:

I started out feeling good, although within a few miles it started getting pretty breezy. The vast expanses of desert were beautiful in a weird sort of way. I brought the trusty camera and took around 60 pictures during the race.

Around mile 5 or 6 I saw some yellow flowers that deserved a stop for picture-taking. It was around this time when things started to get ugly. You can see the dark clouds overhead. The wind started to get insane. And suddenly I wasn't having a ton of fun anymore.

By mile 10 the winds were at full force. And as luck would have it, we were running RIGHT into the wind. One weather report said the wind was consistently at least 35mph, but gusts were up to 50 MILES PER HOUR! We certainly felt those gusts. Water was streaming out my eyes, and if I could have scraped all the dirt out of my eyes I could have filled a sandbox. Or at least it felt like it. I tried to figure out a way to show just how windy it was. And then I saw some flags in the distance.

I also took a short video clip where you can hear the wind howling:

Despite the wind, I was still feeling okay at mile 16 and had my second fastest mile of the race (9:03). This little downhill into a canyon was the last section before meeting some of the ugliest hills I have seen in a race.

The Mesquite Marathon is a steady downhill course. Riiiiiiight. And I have a pet unicorn named Debra in the backyard. I actually felt good going up the first hill. I felt okay going up the second hill. The third hill was tolerable. But after many miles of hills I wanted to yell at the pavement and say "STOP IT! Enough already!" I heard so many swear words from other runners that it would make a sailor blush. For all I know, they buried the bodies of countless marathon runners who met their Maker on the side of those hills.

Around mile 23 I realized that I was miraculously within the grasp of getting a marathon PR (4:25) if I just kept a moderate pace. (Spoiler alert: I didn't.) The hills and wind had beat me into submission and I just didn't have the juice to keep me going at that "moderate pace".

Finally I reached the last mile. At this point, you can actually SEE the finish line. Even though it was only a mile away, it might as well have been in Detroit. I was spent. The volunteer saw me trying to take a picture of the "1 More Mile" sign but it was blowing so hard that the sign was laying flat against the ground. She came over and held it up for me:

I finished the race in 4 hours and 32 minutes. As the guy on Princess Bride would say, it is "Inconceivable!!" that I was only seven minutes off a PR considering the course and the wind being insane in the membrane. I felt proud of myself for making it through something so hard. I felt so deeply grateful for the body my Heavenly Father has given me. After six marathons, I still find it Inconceivable(!) that my legs can carry me 26.2 miles.

At the finish line I saw a race photographer and tried to get a Jumping Jack picture. I managed to jump. But when I came down my legs were a little wobbly and I almost crumbled. A few people said "Whoa! Don't hurt yourself!" In retrospect, that would be pretty bad to say my running injury came from trying to jump at the finish line.

The race volunteers were excellent. Post-race food was excellent. (I inhaled a few bagels and a scrumptious cheese Danish.) My only injury was a blister on top of a blister on my foot. (I'll spare you the gory details, but trust me when I say this is possible.) After running this race, the next marathon will be a breeze (no pun intended).

"I've learned that finishing a marathon isn't just an athletic achievement. It's a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible."
~ John Hanc

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why I Run

To stand at the starting line of a marathon is a spectacular thing to behold. I love the feeling of anxious excitement. The air is filled with nervous energy. Everyone is wondering “Should I line up with the crowd, or wait another 20 minutes in the Port-O-Potty line?” And then the gun goes off! Everyone yells with excitement! And then you stand there for another ten minutes waiting like cattle for the rest of the herd to start moving forward.

The incredible thing about the marathon is that it isn't a race. It is an event. According to the National Institute For Fake Statistics, only 3.8 % of people actually “race” in a marathon. I am certainly with the 96.2 % of people who just show up for a good time.

You may ask yourself how running for 26.2 miles qualifies as a “good time”. I will answer that question for you: I have no idea. For most people, their idea of a good time doesn’t include:
  • Losing toenails
  • Curling up on the side of the road in fetal position with leg cramps
  • The inherent possibility of soiling your drawers
  • Hallucinations of Oscar the Grouch at mile 23
But for some people, this really is their idea of a good time. And it’s those people who fascinate me. I have learned that you absolutely can not judge running ability based on appearance. Because as soon as you start to get arrogant about your running ability, you will surely be passed by someone wearing a hamburger costume.

I gained this respect of others after the Park City Marathon. After the race I got trapped by this crazy guy wandering around talking to anyone he could trap. If you were looking to make a movie about the Unibomber, this man would be cast as the lead actor. He had a scraggly black beard, dark sunglasses, and he was a close-talker with smelly breath. He ran in socks and sandals. At first glance, you’d think Mr. Crazy could NEVER run a marathon. And yet he beat me. My wife witnessed the whole exchange and can verify that he looked exactly like this (except Mr. Crazy had a longer beard):

Side note: I saw him wandering around at the finish area of the St. George Marathon. I hurried (as fast as cramped legs can hurry after running 26 miles) in the other direction.

To date, I have never been passed in a marathon by anyone wearing jeans or cowboy boots. Yet. But my fastest marathon time ever is still slower than George W. Bush (3:44), Will Ferrell (3:56) and P. Diddy (4:14). I think Will Ferrell is very funny, but I can’t fathom the fact that my time was slower than his by almost a half hour. A half hour!

This is what I love about running. It is the great equalizer. Everyone is on the same playing field. You just never know what’s going to happen on race day. Unless you were foolish enough to eat Mexican food for dinner the night before the race. Then you do know what’s going to happen. For 96.2 % of us, just crossing the finish line is a personal accomplishment. Nothing can match that sense of accomplishment. And if you can do it wearing socks and sandals, you have my utmost respect.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Hostess Diet

Looking for another reason to register for the upcoming Hostess Half Marathon on December 18th? Look no farther than THIS article from CNN.

My brother forwarded me this story of a NUTRITION PROFESSOR (!!!) who lost 27 POUNDS (!!!) over two months on a Hostess diet. I ain't kidding you! Read the story. If it's on the internet, it must be true.

Feel free to start your own Hostess diet during the race. To earn a medal, runners must eat a Hostess product at each aid station spaced approximately two miles apart. Pick your poison: we'll have Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and bite-size donuts.

The deadline for race registration is December 4th. CLICK HERE for the link to the registration form. Bring your shoes. Bring your speed. Bring your appetite.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Seven Days To Marathon

If I could summarize this week of running into one word it would be COLD and WINDY. Wait. If I could summarize this week of running into two words, they would be COLD and WINDY.

Monday, November 8th 2010: 8 miles @ 9:24 per mile pace. I had one of those rare Haley's Comet experiences where I felt so good that I ran farther than planned. I originally intended to do 6-7 miles but kept going, despite the rain which made me smell like a wet dog.

Tuesday, November 9th 2010: 7 miles @ 9:18 per mile pace. I was really hoping to have another experience like they day before when I felt so good. That didn't happen. I had a faster pace because it was insanely cold and I just wanted to get home.

Wednesday, November 10th 2010: Rest.

Thursday, November 11th 2010: 5 miles @ 9:54 per mile pace. It was so cold and windy that I would have traded my firstborn for two Band-aids to put on my chest. If you know what I mean. While I was running I had one of those "This is the absolute stupidest hobby in the entire world!!!" moments. It was so cold that I actually even contemplated the treadmill. (Gasp!)

Friday, November 12th 2010:
3 miles @ ???? per mile pace. This run had DISASTER written all over it right from the beginning. First, my wife and I went on a date: dinner and a movie. We had a gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse that needed to be used so we went all-out. I ate:
  • Some bread
  • Mango lemonade
  • Salad
  • A large steak
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cheesecake
I felt so sick I was about to burst.

I had to do my last pre-marathon "long run" Friday night because we had stuff going all day Saturday. So we got home late from the movie, I changed clothes, then headed out. This is going to come as a shock, but....I felt miserable. I kept having Outback burps. To take my mind off my steak dinner I decided to challenge myself to take some unique night pictures. First I took this one:

And then I took a bunch more pictures which grew progressively worse. They were just ugly. So I decided to take the ugliest picture of the night, and then get on with my run:

I had a lightbulb moment after running around the block for 3 miles:
"What in the world are you doing you fool?!?!? Running nine miles at 11:30 at night after just eating 19,000 calories for dinner is not going to help you ONE IOTA at the Mesquite Marathon next week. So just go home and go to bed dummy!" And so I did.

Saturday, November 13th 2010: Aviation Nation air show in Las Vegas.

I am excited for the Mesquite Marathon next week. I drove the course a few weeks ago and was a little nervous about the uphills. I think it will be a challenging 26 miles. But then again, there is no such thing as an "easy" 26 miles.

It's unnatural for people to run around the city streets unless they are thieves or victims. It makes people nervous to see someone running. I know that when I see someone running on my street, my instincts tell me to let the dog go after him. ~Mike Royko

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2 Weeks To Mesquite Marathon

Monday, November 1st 2010: No running. I pushed myself in October and I don't think I really gave myself a chance to recover from the Top of Utah Marathon and the St. George Marathon. My legs haven't lost that feeling that they just met a meat tenderizer. So I decided to make this a lazy recovery week. I suspect it will be hard to stop being lazy next week.

Tuesday, November 2nd 2010: 5 miles @ 9:58 minutes per mile pace. I ran up and down the biggest hills in the neighborhood. The Widowmaker hill was just....ouch.

Wednesday, November 3rd 2010: Rest.

Thursday, November 4th 2010: 6 miles @ high school track. We had a good group of friends come for a mild speed workout. We didn't overdo it with races coming up on the weekend. On an 800 I ran hard and finished in 3:18. My friend Tom ran too but had a grumpy child in a baby stroller so he pushed the stroller around the track. And guess what.....he creamed me. CREAMED me. I ran as hard as I could, and Tom floated by like a care-free gazelle pushing a baby stroller. (Apparently gazelles do push baby strollers.) If Tom is a gazelle, I am more like a, well, a caterpillar. If I hadn't known better, I'd have thought this was Tom:

Friday, November 5th 2010: I have fallen off the wagon over the last few weeks. Pumpkin pie. Coconut cream pie. Halloween candy. Soda. Hostess. Maverik cookies. Running may be hazardous to my health. My brain constantly says "You ran this morning (or yesterday). Go ahead and have that pack of donuts." This day was no exception.

Saturday, November 6th 2010: Butch Cassidy 10k - 51 minutes. (8:12 minutes per mile pace)

I ran this race last year and loved it. The changing autumn leaves and scenery are incredible. I also hoped to beat last year's time of 56 minutes. I started running with my friend Will who hasn't run a race in nearly a decade. (He did awesome!)

I got some looks from runners who seemed to think I was NUTS when I pulled out a camera to take pictures. But on a course like this, I couldn't help it.

I felt it was worth sacrificing some of my finishing time to take some pictures. We crossed this bridge in Rockville heading to Grafton:

I felt like if I was going to be an advocate for the run/walk method, I needed to practice what I preach. I was happy that I was able to keep a fast pace (for my caterpillar abilities) even with frequent walk breaks. Actually, I really don't think I could have run this fast without the walk breaks. I value that little break to regroup and recharge.

I ended up finishing in 51 minutes, and beat last year's time by five minutes. I was pleased with my average 8 minutes 12 seconds per mile because I knew I pushed as hard as I could. I was tired but had lots of fun. Shelly, Darin, and Will who rode to Springdale with me each earned a medal for placing in their age division! Spending time with friends is one of the things I love about running.

"I ran and ran every day, and I acquired a sense of determination, this sense of spirit that I would never, never give up, no matter what else happened."
~ Wilma Rudolph, US Track Star

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hostess Half Marathon

When was the last time you GAINED weight while running a half marathon?

What: Hostess Half Marathon - Innagural Year
When: December 18th 2010 @ 8:00am
Where: Main Street Park, Hurricane Utah
Entry Fee: $10
Registration includes: Engraved race medal, post-race treats, every finisher guaranteed to win their age division
To earn a medal, runners MUST eat one Hostess product at every aid station.

The race is not a closed course and only bathroom will be at the park (Start and Finish line).

The race will be an out-and-back course starting at Main Street Park. Aid stations every 2 miles will have water, Gatorade, and Hostess.

Question: Why the Hostess Half Marathon?
Answer: I want to run a half or full marathon every month for a year (8 months done). The problem is that there isn't a half marathon in December - so I made my own. The perfect blend of two things I love: running and junk food.

This is sure to be the most fun you will ever have running 13.1 miles!

Click this picture to print the registration form: