Saturday, April 24, 2010

3 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, April 19th 2010: Rest.

Tuesday, April 20th 2010: 4 miles @ 9:14 per mile pace. I headed out early in the morning. There were some cool-looking clouds in the sky that I thought might make for a cool sunrise when the sun started to come up. So I went back inside to grab the camera for my running companion.

I was cruising along at a pretty decent pace when the sun finally started to rise. I had to stop to take pictures. The beams of light shooting out of the sky were amazing.

This incredible sunrise lasted only a few minutes before the clouds covered up the sun. I was so thankful I brought my camera.

Wednesday, April 21st 2010: 4 miles on the dreadmill @ 10 minute miles. Pure misery. I'm convinced that in Hell people just have to run on treadmills all day.

Thursday, April 22nd 2010: Rest.

Friday, April 23rd 2010: Rest. We had a carbo-loading party at our house with lots of friends. I even tested my stomach with Powerade which is remarkable considering last week's near-vomit experience.

Saturday, April 24th 2010: Hurricane Half Marathon - 2 Hours & 8 Minutes!!

Our alarm went off at 4:45am (ouch!). After getting to bed late (thanks to NBA Playoffs) and getting 5 hours of sleep, I'd imagine this is what a serious hangover feels like. We were on the bus for the starting line at 5:40am.

The new course for the Hurricane Half started near Sand Hollow Reservoir. It was chilly as we waited for the race to start, but lots of friends were there which helped to distract from the shivering.

The race started at 6:30am. You could not have asked for a better day to run a race. The sky was clear and the temperature was perfect. I ran the first four miles with Mel. We had an incredible view of the sun rising over Sand Hollow. I was happy I brought my camera with me.

At mile 4, Mel and I paused for a quick self-portrait, gave each other a fist bump, then I headed out on my own.

Soon I arrived at the hardest hill I've ever run up. This beast has been nicknamed "Nemesis".

I slowed my pace and took a few short walk breaks but finally managed to get to the top. The hill is brutal and should be reserved as a punishment for convicts and creators of bad music from the 80's (Yes, Michael Bolton, I'm talking to you.)

This hill is insane. It's a mile long and feels like a vertical climb. Here's the elevation map from my watch. Even looking at this picture is painful:

But in mile 7 I got into a groove. I just put my head down and ran. I knew I was going faster than my normal race pace, but I felt so good that I didn't want to hold back. It was freakish. I was going fast but didn't feel exhausted or worn out like past races.

My last mile was the fastest and I ended feeling strong. My time for each mile was:
Mile 1: 9:47
Mile 2: 10:34
Mile 3: 10:07
Mile 4: 9:35
Mile 5: 9:50
Mile 6: 12:29 (My amigo Nemesis)
Mile 7: 10:09
Mile 8: 9:13
Mile 9: 9:12
Mile 10: 9:33
Mile 11: 8:35
Mile 12: 9:11
Mile 13: 8:25

I averaged 9:43 minutes per mile. This race was a whopping 12 minutes slower than my fastest Half, but I felt better after this race than any other. Being able to pick up the pace at the end gave me some much-needed confidence for the Ogden Marathon in 3 weeks. I could not have asked for a better outcome from the race.

Jackson did the 5k race, so now we all have another running shirt to add to our closets. It was a great week for running!

"Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. 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

Sunday, April 18, 2010

4 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, April 19th 2010: 30 minutes on exercise bike. And....I'd like to introduce you to the newest members of my closet: some Saucony Guide shoes. I've had a few Guides in the past that have worked well so I decided to stay with tradition. (I love the smell of new running shoes!)

Tuesday, April 13th 2010: 4 miles @ 9:47 per mile pace. I went to a moderate hill in the neighborhood and ran up and down it ten times. Incidentally, the level of fun seemed to take a gradual decline each time I started the hill again.

Wednesday, April 14th 2010: Big Mac Combo. Sweet mother of all things holy, Big Macs are so good.

Thursday, April 15th 2010: 20 miles @ 11:21 per mile pace. Due to some work changes, I did my longest pre-marathon training run on Thursday. For you locals, I started at the Chevron in LaVerkin, ran to the private Sky Mountain Airport, then back.

I stocked the course every three miles with some snacks to keep me going. Notice the colorful cornucopia of high fructose corn syrup, raisins, pretzels, and a banana. It didn't take long to realize that my stomach would not appreciate anything in this kaleidoscope of sugar.

The major problem of the run was that I started in the afternoon when the temperature was 84 degrees. Very, VERY dumb idea. I ought to be shot. By the third mile I was already starting to feel overheated. By the time I reached the half-way point at the airport I was fried. My body felt like a Big Mac sitting on a grill. I felt yucky. My legs were tired. My stomach felt gross.

The last half of the run was a challenge. I felt like I was melting. By mile 14 my stomach was feeling really bad. I felt like if I had one more sip of warm Sour Melon Powerade I was going to puke my guts out. Fortunately my mother-in-law's house was around mile 15 so I stopped and filled my bottle with ice water. It was a Godsend. Otherwise I have no doubt that I would have launched. But I wasn't sure it had prevented my head from igniting.

The last five miles were really hard but I was still able to do some bursts of running with the walking. I was so thankful to get back to my car, but my stomach felt even worse. I drove home with a grocery sack on my lap because I was sure I was going to puke. An hour after I got home we had dinner but I didn't eat much because I was so nauseous. I even turned down homemade Oreo ice cream cake because my stomach felt disgusting. I desperately didn't want to see fluorescent green sour melon shooting out of my mouth.

I bought myself a reward for the run: a tub of cookie dough. Lest you be confused, the cookie dough was never intended to last long enough to actually make cookies.

Friday, April 16th 2010: Rest.

Saturday, April 17th 2010: 6 miles @ 10:33 per mile pace. Darin & Shelley invited me and Mel to run the first section of the Hurricane Half Marathon. Those two are quick. Mel and I had fun running together. And there was no way I was going to bring Sour Melon Powerade with me. Just the thought makes me queasy.

You know what is so awesome? I have finally reached the taper before the Ogden Marathon in one month!!! Tapering your distance before a big race gives your body a chance to recover from training and get ready to haul.

I'm excited and nervous to run my second marathon next month. I have a few minor aches, but overall my body has bounced back from the injuries pretty well. We are running the Hurricane Half Marathon NEXT WEEK! I'm planning to have fun and not overdo it because I want to save some of my energy and strength for the Ogden Marathon. Happy tapering!!!

"It is a sublime thing to suffer and be stronger."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saturday, April 10, 2010

5 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, April 5th 2010: Rest.

Tuesday, April 6th 2010: 4 miles @ 9:52 per mile pace. It was a rough week for me. Every night I stayed up too late. And every morning I woke up too early to squeeze a run in before work. I hate early mornings with every cell I have. I feel like I have earned a Dairy Queen Blizzard just for dragging my stiff, rigor mortis body out of bed each day.

Wednesday, April 7th 2010: 13 miles @ 10:45 per mile pace. I did the usual route toward the Hurricane Airport and back. I downloaded a bunch of talks from LDS General Conference and listened to them during my run. I really enjoyed it. The talks kept my mind distracted. I felt good after the run.

But then I got clumsy. After I got home and had stretched, I was walking into the kitchen and somehow banged my knee on the door frame. There is nothing worse than a really painful self-inflicted injury. I don't know which was hurt more: my knee or my ego. Note to self: watch out for door frames.

Thursday, April 8th 2010: 3 miles @ 10:23 per mile pace. Just a slow recovery run. But it was done dreadfully early in the morning.

Friday, April 9th 2010: 4 miles @ 10:09 per mile pace. I ran to LaVerkin EARLY in the morning (GRRR!). I was cruising along pretty good and did the 3rd mile in 8:53 but my knee started to act up a little bit so I backed off.

Saturday, April 10th 2010: 6.3 miles @ 9:21 per mile pace. (Not counting picture-taking time). I made my weekly visit to the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. I did the 3rd mile in 8:32 which wasn't the greatest idea. That is too fast for my current fitness level. I wanted to barf. There were some cool flowers blooming along the trail:

But the best part of the day happened in the morning. Jackson, along with Mel's mom Marie, Aunt Kaye, and cousin Krystal ran the Run 4 Kids 5k! Jackson and Marie ran with each other the whole time. It was so great to see them cross the finish line together.

I am so proud of those guys for running the race. This was Marie's first race ever and she placed 3rd in her age group and won a medal!! I think she may be a convert to the Church Of Running. Way to go!!!!!!!

"So many people crossing the finish line of a marathon look as happy as when I won. They have tears in their eyes. This sport is full of winners."
~ Gary Muhrcke, champion of the inaugural New York City Marathon in 1970

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ironman St. George Volunteer

Want to be part of the First Ever Ironman Triathlon in St. George, Utah?

Mel and I are going to volunteer on the support crew. Our team is working at the best spot of the course - the finish line!

The race is May 1st, 2010. Send me an email at if you want more info on joining our volunteer team.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kangaroos Are Funny (And Mean)

I came across the funniest story on Runners World Daily. Apparently a runner in Australia was knocked unconscious by a grumpy Kangaroo. It is a sobering mental image. The following video must be a taste of what the runner former runner likely experienced.

This short clip made me bawl. I was sobbing with laughter. Mel actually got out of bed to come and see why I was laughing hysterically. I haven't laughed this hard, to the point of hyperventilating, since I watched The Money Pit for the first time when the bathtub crashed through the floor.

Note to self: Avoid kangaroos while running.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

6 Weeks To Marathon

Monday, March 29th 2010: 30 minutes on exercise bike. Yawn.

Tuesday, March 30th 2010: 7 miles @ 10:05 minutes per mile pace. I headed to LaVerkin and back for this early morning run. The temperature was splendid (that was the first time I've used the word "splendid" in years). My legs felt good.

Then when I got home from work I ran another 4 miles @ 9:15 per mile pace. I was feeling speedy, although by the time I got back home I was certainly pooped. To give you an idea of how I looked, my marathon-runner friend Darrel happened to drive by as I was standing on the driveway gasping for air. He rolled down his window and yelled "Don't throw up!"

Despite my near-vomit experience, I felt good. I felt strong. Like I could accomplish anything.

Wednesday, March 31st 2010: Planning committee meeting for the upcoming Hurricane Trails River Run on July 3rd. This is one you won't want to miss. More info coming soon.

Thursday, April 1st 2010: 5 miles @ 9:48 per mile pace. I did an evening run in the Desert Reserve again. Before I left, I noticed some crazy clouds in the sky. It seemed like there were 100 shades of blue, gray, and white. I made sure to take my camera for the run.

Once I got there I was so thankful I brought it with me. I spent the whole run scrambling around the hills to get different vantage points on an approaching storm. Here is the view I had looking down the trail:

There was a brief period where the clouds opened up and the sun lit up one mountain in the distance. It was a beautiful thing to see.

Friday, April 2nd 2010: Rest. And shaved ice from Honolulu Grill.

Saturday, April 3rd 2010: 10 miles @ 11:07 per mile pace. I did the first 10 miles of the upcoming Hurricane Half Marathon. Mercifully, it was not nearly as windy as last week's torture. For some reason I just couldn't get into this run. I never felt very good. I never got into a groove. I felt like a slug.

One positive accomplishment did occur though. I challenged myself to run all the way up Nemesis: the 1-mile long, seemingly vertical hill along the course. I definitely don't plan to run the whole thing during the race. I figure the energy I save by walking up part of the hill can be used to make up a little time after the hill. For all you peeps running the half marathon in three weeks, here are some lessons I learned:

Tips For Running Up Nemesis Hill
1) Keep your eyes focused 4 feet in front of you. If your eyes stray any farther up the hill to see what's ahead, you will positively burst into tears.
2) Disregard the feeling that your lungs are filling with molten lava.
3) Remind your knees that you would appreciate if they didn't buckle.
4) Ignore the sweat spraying into your eyes. As much as it might FEEL like sulphuric acid, it really isn't.

"The more I thought about what I get to do, the less I realized I had to do. It was just a shift, just a new perspective, just a new and more grateful method for labeling the things in my life. Think about it - if you stopped yourself every single time you were about to say 'I have to' and changed it to 'I get to,' it might change your entire perspective."
~ Kristin Armstrong,