Monday, May 24, 2010

Hurricane Trails River Run

I wanted to tell you about an awesome race coming up July 3rd - the Hurricane Trails River Run! I have run the course many times and it is beautiful. Here is a picture I took from one of the trails on the course:

The cool part is that the race is only $15 and includes a nice shirt and swag bag. You can sign up for this fun 4 miler at or at Classic Sports in Hurricane or St. George Running Center. Also, click HERE to join the adventure on Facebook. I hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

3 Weeks To Marathon (Again)

Monday, May 17th 2010: I still felt sick from last weekend's marathon debacle. (I need to use the word "debacle" more often. That's a funny word.) All I wanted to do was lay in bed.

Tuesday, May 18th 2010: See above.

Wednesday, May 19th 2010: 4 miles @ 9:23 per mile pace. I happened to run with my friend Darrel for the first mile. He's speedy so I ran the first mile in 8:27. I told him about the "colorful" people we met in the hot tub after the marathon on Saturday. You'll have to ask me about that one because it's not exactly appropriate to put on the website.

Thursday, May 20th 2010: 3 miles @ 9:12 per mile pace. Holy Moses, it is hard to drag my carcass of a body out of bed to run early in the morning. Once I got going though, I felt pretty good and was able to go a little faster.

Friday, May 21st 2010:
Rest. Since getting my appetite back, my sweet tooth has returned with a vengeance. And my self-control has been lacking.

Saturday, May 22nd 2010: 12 miles. I ran the first 5 miles with Mel @ 11:46 per mile pace, then another 7 miles myself @ 10:18 per mile pace.

Mel and I went to the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and I took her on a few trails that she hadn't been on before. There were quite a few hills, and I think our pace was a little slower because she had to stop around 79 times to get rocks out of her shoes. But we had fun together and will definitely go back.

Then I ran another 7 miles on the road. I was surprised how good I was feeling, and was able to keep a fairly steady pace despite getting a bit worn out. When I got back home I cooked my favorite post-long-run meal: A Totino's Pizza. Not exactly the epitome of health, but it was a delicious reward for a long run.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Utah Valley Marathon

After the disappointment of the Ogden Marthon on Saturday I was anxious to register for a marathon soon so that my training wouldn't be wasted. Fortunately there is another race coming up in three and a half weeks:

So last night I registered for the Utah Valley Marathon coming up on June 12th. I think this will be fun. I will be sure to keep you updated on training progress over the coming weeks leading up to the big show!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ogden Marathon 2010 (Almost)

Four critical problems happened in the days leading up to the Ogden Marathon:
1) I invited bad karma by avoiding germs with my No Kissing Policy.
2) My six year old begged to go on a date to McDonalds. The serpent beguiled me and I did eat. A Big Mac Combo meal. Very dumb.
3) The aforementioned six year old started barfing. I panicked.
4) Then, the day before the race it hit me. I'm not sure what IT was. Food poisoning? The flu? An ulcer? I don't know what it was that hit me, but it hit hard.

I knew I was in trouble when it felt like I swallowed a Gremlin. I couldn't eat or drink anything or else I would upchuck. I felt so sick that I almost didn't drive up to Ogden. This was not looking good.

We went to the marathon expo Friday which was exceptional. My favorite part was listening to a presentation by Bart Yasso of Runner's World. He told some amazing stories and showed a cool slide show of some of his experiences. It was a privilege to meet him.

We also bought his book "My Life On The Run" which he signed for us.

I still had a shred of hope that I would get feeling better and be able to race, but the night before the race I still felt disgusting. I hadn't eaten or drank hardly anything all day. I knew based on how I was feeling that a marathon was out of question. My whole body had that yucky weak, achy feeling.

At that point I wasn't discouraged about not being able to do the marathon. When a visit from the Grim Reaper sounds like a good idea, a marathon is the least of your concerns.

Although I knew it was a foolish decision medically, I decided to at least try the half marathon. This was a really special race and I didn't want to miss it. Picture below: brother Kenny, me, Mel, sister Hollie, and brother-in-law Kelly. This was Kenny, Hollie, and Kelly's first race ever.

The weather in Ogden was PERFECT the day of the race (although the downpour of rain the day before worried us). Just looking at the pictures of myself, I can see how miserable I felt. Honestly, I felt like I had hit the wall before the race even started.

There was a big crowd at the beginning as we headed toward the starting line like cattle.

The half marathon started with a few slight uphills before reaching this point where it was a steady downhill for the rest of the race.

We reached the first water station and I told Mel and Hollie to keep going because I was going to walk for a little bit. I didn't feel good.

A few miles later (around the point of the next picture), I came across Mel who was stretching her leg. Apparently her IT band and hip started acting up and she was sore. I was thankful to see her, if only for a minute.

I told her to keep going because this was her chance to beat me. Her leg was hurting though so she had slowed down. Then she told me to keep going and leave her. I told her I wouldn't and we finally agreed "I'll stay with you if you stay with me."

The support for the race was incredible. Maybe the best of any race I've done. There was never any shortage of Powerade. Obviously.

Not only was the support great, but the course was absolutely amazing. The canyon was beautiful. If I could design the perfect course, perfect scenery, perfect elevation changes, this would be it. I felt sad that I didn't have it in me to haul down that road.

The last few miles follow along the river on a bike path under a canopy of trees. It made things a little more congested at times, but the scenery was well worth it.

An area along the last mile was lined with artistically painted horses. They were interesting to look at, and gave us a good chuckle. Clearly we weren't overly concerned with our finish time.

I am so thankful I was able to run with Mel. I think she helped me get through some rough patches, and I helped her get through some. I am so thankful I was even able to run the half marathon. Judging by how I felt the day before and day of the race, I shouldn't have been able to do this. I feel so blessed.

I'll admit, I felt discouraged that after seven months of hard work I wasn't able to do the race I trained for. I had to remind myself that there will be plenty of other races in the future, and in the grand scheme of things, this isn't that big of a deal.

And just in case I did start to complain or feel sorry for myself, we came across this fellow runner in the last mile of the race:

I was so happy to cross the finish line holding Mel's hand up in the air. It was a great experience. I love her so much. We finished in 2 hours & 29 minutes. I think I still look like death warmed over.

Hollie was on FIRE! She cruised through the race, ended feeling strong, and is planning to get another race on the calendar right away. Kelly is incredible. He has had serious knee problems for months. He was in so much pain that I didn't think he would be able to do the race. But he did! I felt so proud. Kenny KILLED the race! He paced well and had lots of juice to speed through the last few miles. And then that night signed up for his first marathon, the Top Of Utah Marathon! These guys are amazing.

In a cruel twist of fate, the finish line was RIGHT BY a Hostess thrift store. It was the first time in days that I felt hungry. But we had no money with us. WHYYYYYYYYY! I considered panhandling.

Despite the disappointments, I was happy with our experience at Ogden. I CAN'T WAIT to do it again next year. (Hopefully another exciting announcement will be coming in the next few days.)

"The distance race is a struggle that results in self-discovery. It is an adventure involving the limits of the self."
~ Paul Weiss

Friday, May 14, 2010


We are heading out for Ogden, Utah. I am really excited about tomorrow. Mel is running the half marathon. My brother Kenny, sister Hollie, and brother-in-law Kelly are also running the half marathon! For them this will be their first race ever!

The speaker at the expo later today is Bart Yasso who has been at Runner's World forever. I can't wait to hear his speech. I'll pack my camera along with me during the marathon so I can take you along for the journey. See you in 26.2 miles!

"When people ask why I run, I tell them, there's not really a reason, it's just the adrenalin when you start, and the feeling when you cross that finish line, and know that you are a winner no matter what place you got."
~ Courtney Parsons

Thursday, May 13, 2010

2 Days To Marathon!

Forty one thousand, two hundred and eighty.

41, 280

That is approximately how many steps it will take me to get from the starting line of the marathon to the finish line of the marathon.

One day while I was running I counted how many steps I take per minute and concluded that it is about 172. That night I multiplied 172 steps per minute times 4 hours. 41,280. Piece of cake. I. Can. Do. This.

"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

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

3 Days To Marathon!

4 miles @ 9:26 per mile pace. I also ate a Big Mac combo today. Probably not the smartest meal a few days before a marathon. Kylee wanted to go on a date to McDonalds. My five year old beguiled me, and I did eat.

Consider this little nugget of wisdom by Tim Noakes from the book Lore Of Running:

It takes probably four to eight weeks to prepare mentally for a marathon “because the degree of discomfort experienced after 18 miles in the marathon is the worst that most men, and most women outside of childbirth, ever experience. In order to cope with this, the mind needs to understand fully why it should drive the body through that pain barrier.”

I think that statement is incredible. And true. And incredibly true. During my first marathon, the pain WAS that bad. Which rationally makes the thought of doing it again seem ridiculous. But the association to childbirth makes sense. It hurts really bad (I'm assuming, based on observation.) You look forward to it for months. You're nervous. And scared. And excited. It hurts really bad. You want to die.

But then you hold that baby in your arms and all the pain was worth it (I'm assuming, based on observation.)

"We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves...The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, 'You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.' The human spirit is indomitable."
~ Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

4 Days To Marathon & Best Running Music

Tonight is an important night in marathon preparation: making sure my mp3 player has good music to get me through 26.2 miles. There are definitely some slow songs I need to delete. Here are a few of the songs I enjoy when running:

Marching On - OneRepublic
Dental Care - Owl City
Politik - Coldplay
Higher Place - Journey
Saving Grace - Tom Petty
I So Hate Consequences - Relient K
More Than Useless - Relient K (actually, anything by Relient K - happy, positive, energetic music)
All The Right Moves - OneRepublic
Crossroads - John Mayer
It's A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll - ACDC
Help! - The Beatles
The Hardest Part - Coldplay
Further On Up The Road - Bruce Springsteen

Do you have any songs to add?

"We run because it makes us feel like winners, no matter how slow or fast we go."
~ Florence Griffith Joyner & John Hanc, Running for Dummies

Monday, May 10, 2010

5 Days To Marathon!

3 miles @ 9:52 per mile pace.

I have been thinking a lot about my goal time for this marathon. I ran my first marathon in 4 hours and 25 minutes. But I also committed the cardinal sin of running: Starting out too fast. Because of that, the last 13 miles were miserable and it slowed me down lots.

I think I'll do better with this marathon because I know better what to expect, and the importance of pacing. My best-case-scenario goal has always been to break 4 hours. And then I saw this quote by Michelangelo:

"The greatest dander for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."

That was all the incentive I needed to shoot far. But under four hours means 3 hours and something. And 3:Anything seems maybe too hopeful. I needed to make my brain able to visualize 3:something in a marathon. So I put a little visual reminder on my hand over the last few days which I will keep until the race:

I'd be lying if I said I was 100% positive that I'll reach that goal. Lots of factors come in to play. But I ultimately decided that I would feel better if I pushed myself and didn't hit that time, instead of holding back and being conservative because of insecurity. Besides, shooting for 3:57 gives me a little leeway. Even if I'm slower by a few minutes I'll still be okay.

Eleanor Roosevelt said "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.

I'm ready to look fear in the face. My 3:57 Sharpie-tatoo is my way of giving fear a wedgie.

"Marathons are about tenacity as much as talent."
~ John "The Penguin" Bingham

Sunday, May 9, 2010

6 Days To Marathon!

Ah, the taper: That period of time when you cut back your miles to give your body a chance to recover and store energy a few weeks before a race.

I love, love the taper. AND....I hate the taper. This is best explained by coach Jack Daniels:

"Usually the last week of tapering is hardest - you know, those five to seven days before a race where you start questioning every facet of your training, lifestyle, sanity, and reasons for getting up in the morning."

THAT, my friends, is me. I've questioned everything that has happened over the last seven months during my preparation for my second marathon.

Did I run enough miles? Did I run them too slow? Will my knees hold up? Does my religion permit 4-letter words IF it's during a marathon? (I'd lean toward....yes. Okay, I'm kidding kids. You should never say 4-letter words. But I'm not making any promises during the marathon.) Have I consumed too many Hostess products over the last seven months? Is my stomach going to revolt after too many Gu packets? Do these socks make me look fat?

The week before the race is what I LOVE. I love the apprehension and excitement and nervousness and wondering and fear of the unknown. I love knowing that I have worked hard. And I love knowing that experts say it's okay to be lazy during the week before the race.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Monday, May 3rd 2010: 3 miles @ 9:18 per mile pace. Late night at work = late night running. Dear Late Night Running: You aren't my friend. I don't want to play anymore.

Tuesday, May 4th 2010: 30 minutes on exercise bike. This was as entertaining as getting paper cuts on your eye balls.

Wednesday, May 5th 2010: 4 miles @ 9:59 per mile pace. I just wasn't feeling it for this run. Maybe it was just too early in the morning, but my legs felt like slugs.

Thursday, May 6th 2010: 20 minutes on exercise bike. Yawn.

Friday, May 7th 2010: Rest. Thank you, Hostess Donuts, for my feeble excuse at "carbo loading".

Saturday, May 8th 2010: 6 miles @ 10:11 per mile pace. You have got to be kidding me - the Ogden Marathon is 1 WEEK AWAY!!! I am nervous and excited. Do you want to know the part I'm dreading the most? It's not the 26.2 miles. It's the hour+ wait at the starting line before the race in the 34 degree early morning. That part sounds, um, not so fun.

Today Mel and I headed out together. She is running the half marathon next week and will rock it. ALSO... on her own accord, she signed up for her first full marathon, the St. George Marathon, coming up in October!

During the run I convinced her to have her first experience with Gu. She was apprehensive. I don't know why she was so squeamish about eating a pack of toxic-waste-sugary-slime-flavored-like-vanilla. She popped some in her mouth - and nearly blew chunks. Lesson learned: don't waste one of your $1 Gu packets on Mel.

I sprinted the last mile by myself. It was weird how I felt so good, yet so bad. I finished the mile in 7 minutes and 38 seconds! I think that may be the fastest I have ever run a mile. But when I was done I felt so close to blowing chunks myself. This was the closest I have come to running-induced vomit in a long time. It took incredible self-control to not make a mess on the sidewalk. It felt really good to push myself and go fast.

Over the next week leading up to the marathon, I'll be making a post everyday. I'll include some of the tidbits of mental preparation I have been making for the marathon. I guarantee it will be more exciting than riding an exercise bike.

"I ran to be free; I ran to avoid pain; I ran to feel pain; I ran out of love and hate and anger and joy."
~ Dagny Scott

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ironman St. George 2010

I was so excited to watch the inaugural year of the Ironman St. George Triathlon in our home town. These incredible athletes swam 2.4 miles in Sand Hollow Reservoir, biked 112 miles over steep red hills, then ran a full 26.2 marathon.

Jackson was my companion for the morning swim. We arrived at the shuttles around 5:45am, and got to the reservoir with plenty of time before the 6:50am start.

One of the canoes on the support crew was in a perfect spot to be part of a beautiful sunrise.

The start of the race brought a frenzy of splashing water. One athlete told me it was like trying to swim in a mosh pit.

We moved to the area where athletes finish the swim, then grab their supply bag with their bike helmet and change of clothes.

It was an amazing thing to look into their eyes following the swim. I saw some fatigue. I saw some nervousness. But I also saw fire: their eyes were full of passion and determination. It was a really cool feeling to be cheering for them or yelling "Good job!" and then have one of them look up to say "Thank you!" I know how much the fan support helped me when I ran a marathon.

Just one of the amazing athletes was this man who cruised by with a prosthetic leg. I thought about what he must have felt in that dark hour when he lost his leg. And then to see him now competing in an Ironman triathlon was such an inspiration.

There was a specific moment when I realized just how challenging this swim was. It was when I saw my friend Ashley collapse and lay under a space blanket for a long time. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Ashley is one of the toughest, strongest, fastest people I know. So to see how much she was struggling after the swim was an eye opener.

The water was so cold that the athletes just stood there quivering. They seemed to be frozen solid. I heard people saying that their hands, feet, and faces were completely numb. I could see the goose bumps on Ashley's legs when her body finally agreed to start moving again. I felt so proud of her.

There was a huge area of bikes that athletes had to weave through, then find their bike before heading out on the bike course.

We moved again so that we could watch the athletes head out on the bike course. I talked with many athletes who said the steep, continuous, constant hills of the course were absolutely brutal.

Later in the day Mel and I went to downtown St. George where the race ended.

It was hard to imagine what these athletes must have gone through over the last twelve or fifteen or even seventeen hours (the time limit for completing an Ironman).

The announcers at the finish line said this was the most community support they had seen at an Ironman. They also said this was the largest volunteer crew that had been involved in an Ironman. The finish line was absolutely PACKED.

Mel and I were able to be part of the best volunteer crew for the whole race: we were "Catchers" at the finish line! We worked from 7:00pm until nearly 12:30am. Our job was to help each athlete who just finished the race. We met them right at the finish line, put a space blanket around them, and walked with them to get their medal, a drink, and escort them to the medical tent or meal area. This was our work area for five hours:

I felt truly privileged to be part of their journey and to help provide support after what they had accomplished. When we grabbed each athlete, their skin was so cold and clammy. They were dehydrated and completely exhausted.

Over the course of our five hours, I saw three women completely pass out right at the finish line. It was a little scary to see them collapse unconscious. It proved to me how much the mind is involved in an endurance event like this. Once they got to the finish line, their brains had accomplished the needed task, then shut down.

One young lady I caught at the finish line seemed okay physically but not mentally. She kept telling me that she ran the whole way. Except for some parts. But she ran the whole way. She had really big eyes with that Dear-In-The-Headlight look. She said she felt spacey. I wasn't surprised. I said "Do you want to stop at the medical tent?" She said "Well, I don't know. What do you think?" I said "Um, yea, I think that would be a good idea." She said "Okay. I do too."

We worked hard. We walked a lot. We worked with urgency. We knew we had lots of people to help. Mel got thrown up on twice but didn't mind because it was part of the experience and it was part of helping someone else. I admire her. I got lucky to have the wife I have. She also had the opportunity to help this man:

The thing I loved the most is that the athletes were so appreciative and kind. They kept saying over and over how thankful they were for my help, and said that all the volunteers they met along the way were amazing. I really cherished the few minutes I was able to spend with each athlete to get them where they needed to go.

One lady I helped was 51 years old and said that this was her 21st Ironman! And she added that this was the hardest course that she has ever done. One guy who looked just like Jonny Fairplay from Survivor was so happy at the finish line. He kept thanking me and giving me hugs. I admired his enthusiasm.

Being part of the St. George Ironman was such an amazing experience. I didn't want it to end. I'm so thankful I had this opportunity, and I'm glad I could share the experience with Mel.