Sunday, June 27, 2010

3 Weeks To Bryce Canyon Half Marathon

Monday, June 21 2010: Ran for 50 minutes. I didn't take the Garmin watch so I'm not sure how far I went, but it was a slower pace. I found some new trails over by Widowmaker which were fun.

I ran early in the morning before work. And, might I add, this is the only possible time to run these days. With afternoon temps reaching 105 degrees, you must run in the morning, lest your skin melt like a Popsicle onto the road.

Tuesday, June 22 2010: Ran for 25 minutes. No Garmin again today. Mel and I did a familiar loop past the Maverik gas station. I never take any money with me, lest I stop mid-run at the gas station for a pink frosted sugar cookie.

Wednesday, June 23 2010: Rest. And a pink frosted sugar cookie - lest my body forget the importance of having sugar pump through my veins.

Thursday, June 24 2010: 5 miles @ 11:01 per mile pace. We ran to LaVerkin and back. Mel was thankful there was a bathroom at the turnaround point.

On the way back, we went up a big hill that gains 100 feet in 1/5 mile. I had to laugh when we reached the top of the hill and she asked in complete sincerity "Have you ever thrown up when you were running?" We slowed down the pace a little bit, lest she need to clean vomit off her shoes.

Friday, June 25 2010: Rest. And donuts. Lest any Hostess products sit on the shelf long enough to reach the expiration date.

Saturday, June 26 2010: 11 miles @ 10:46 per mile pace. I headed out bright and early with The Mels (my wife Mel and our friend Mel Cowden). For some reason I only slept a few hours the night before, lest insomnia think it's losing a grip on my sleeping habits. So I think I was delirious during the whole run, and slept for at least six of the miles.

We experimented with Jeff Galloway's run/walk method so we ran for five minutes then walked one minute for ten miles. Let me tell you something: I'm a convert. Doing the run/walk, I didn't hurt anywhere, I never reached the point of exhaustion, and we were still able to keep a good pace.

Our plan was to go 10 miles, but when we finished the run, I was still feeling so good that I kept going for one more mile which I ran in 8:16. I felt MUCH less sore and worn out this week doing 11 miles than I did last week only doing 6 (although I'm sure part of that was due to only being a week out from the marathon.)

We had fun and will probably do all our Saturday long runs like this in the coming months leading up to the St. George Marathon. Feel free to join us any Saturday for a slower, funner (I say it IS a word), and hopefully pain-free run!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Register Now

This past Saturday, with my incredibly manly gas weed eater in hand, I headed to Confluence Park with Tom and Logan to clear a few sections of trail for the upcoming Hurricane Trails River Run on July 3rd.

I wanted to remind you to REGISTER NOW for the race. There will be a sweet raffle at the end with prizes such as Great Harvest gift certificates, Classic Sports gift certificates, St. George Running Center gift certificates, some nice clocks from Boulevard Home Furnishings, and more. More! Plus your $15 registration will get you a cool shirt.

Rumor has it that some big celebs will be doing the race: Lance Armstrong - Oprah - Will Ferrell!

Okay, I'll admit: I started those rumors. And they are based on absolutely no evidence. They are complete and utter lies. Lance, Oprah, and Will won't be there. But those guys aren't NEARLY as cool as this race.

Pick up a registration form at St. George Running Center, Classic Sports, Hurricane City, CLICK HERE for online registration or CLICK HERE for the Facebook page. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

1 Week After Marathon

My legs felt SO incredibly sore on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday this week following the marathon. I felt like Jose Canseco had loaded up on steroids (more than usual), then bashed my legs with a baseball bat. But by Wednesday they were starting to feel better. And by Thursday, I was able to go out for a slow 30 minute jog and felt good.

Yesterday I ran six miles with Mel, and other friends Logan, Shelly, and Mel C. I felt really sore afterward and think I went a little faster than I should have. I need to take it easy for another week to give my body a chance to recover.

I keep thinking about how difficult the last six miles of the marathon were. It felt like I was on a treadmill: I was running as hard as I could, but I wasn't moving anywhere. My legs were so tight that it was hard to move. To give you an idea of how I felt, check out this video.

Warning: this will inspire you and make you cringe.

The difference? These guys were finishing an Ironman! They had already swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles, and ran 26 miles. I had only done a sissy marathon. But...the fact remains - this is an idea of how my legs felt.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Utah Valley Marathon 2010

26.2 miles. I. Ran. 26.2. Miles. It is inconceivable (I watched The Princess Bride yesterday after the race.) I truly believe this is a miracle. With my terrible, achy knees, I feel so blessed that my body was able to carry me this far.

I was looking forward to the Utah Valley Marathon as my second marathon. We had a great day before the race. We started with a carbo-loading breakfast at Einstein Bros. Bagels. Mercy. I have never eaten a better bagel.

Then we headed to Provo to drive the course of the marathon. It's helpful to know what you're getting into. I spotted a 7-11 along the route and immediately slammed on my breaks to stop and grab a Slurpee. Coming across this sweet, holy, pina colada nectar was surely a good omen.

The marathon started far up the Provo Canyon and we were able to run past the beautiful Bridal Veil Falls:

The girls loved seeing such a pretty waterfall.

There were a few parts of the course that were simply amazing. My favorite part was this bright red barn nestled against the mountains:

We finally reached the starting line of the marathon – which would be a completely different scene a few hours later:

Overall, the course seemed nearly perfect. There were a few semi-intimidating hills, but nothing I hadn’t done before so I was feeling optimistic. Then again, when you have a pina colada Slurpee in your hand, it’s impossible to feel anything except happy. I saw one more thing worth stopping for as we finished driving the course – this cool old truck:

There WAS something I was feeling nervous about: RAIN. It had been raining all day. And the forecast for race day: RAIN. The dark clouds and downpour were daunting.

The day of the race, June 12th 2010 was a special day for another reason: it was me and Mel’s 12th anniversary. I thought it might be fun to surprise her with a little sign on my shirt (which led to many spectators yelling “Go Mel!”). I could understand how having your name on your shirt could give you an emotional boost.

My alarm went off at 2:20am. Yes, 2:20am!!! (Not that it mattered, I couldn’t sleep anyway). I loaded the bus at 4:00am and somehow managed to get on the same bus with the only other person I knew doing the race: my friend Renee. She is CRAZY and INSANE spontaneous and signed up for the marathon the day before. I really loved having someone to talk to in the time leading up to the 5:30am start.

I brought a poncho. But before the race started, it stopped raining. It seemed like it might be clearing up. So I put the poncho in the gear collection truck. I’m not exaggerating – two minutes later it started raining again. By then my bag was buried amid hundreds of other bags in a U-Haul. Ugh.

A gun went off and the race started. My body was feeling good, except for my knees which were a little tight from the cold. Not bad though. It kept raining. And raining. It was mile 7 when the water started soaking through my shoes. I felt some hot spots on my feet but amazingly managed to finish the race without a blister or black toe nail!

Finally at mile 13 it stopped raining. I took off my long sleeved shirt which I later regretted. It was completely soaked, but at least it was protecting me from the wind. Around mile 14 we reached one of the bigger hills on the course – and my wheels fell off. I didn’t feel like I had hit a wall, it just felt like I was starting to run out of gas.

“Marathoning is like cutting yourself unexpectedly. You dip into the pain so gradually that the damage is done before you are aware of it. Unfortunately, when awareness comes, it is excruciating.” ~ John Farrington, Australian marathoner

I was really cold the last half of the race. At one aid station I grabbed half a banana. My fingers were numb so I had a hard time getting the peel off. My brain was maybe a little loopy too because I looked down and realized that I was eating part of the peel.

At some point I realized I was not going to make my goal time. That’s a weird feeling. A part of me felt a little discouraged. And a part of me didn’t care. I just wanted to get to the finish line. I thought of possible excuses (I only got an hour and a half of sleep … it was raining … they didn’t have Slurpees at any aid stations) but to be honest, none of those are valid excuses. The course and the temperature were actually perfect. I would MUCH rather be too cold than too hot. I felt like my skin was melting off during the St. George Marathon but didn’t feel like that at all during Utah Valley. I just happened to be a little slower than I'd hoped.

The last six miles were really hard. My legs were in knots and tight as violin strings and I was completely out of gas. I was in good company though. Everyone else around me was doing the marathon death shuffle too. Watching everyone trudging along made me laugh out loud (mainly to keep myself from crying).

Along those last six miles, there were two guys that I passed and was passed by at least 4,729 times. We just kept going back and forth. We were trying to push each other to the finish line. At one point, I had a heart to heart talk with one of them. We made a promise to each other that if one of us died before making it to the finish line, we would call their wife and kids to tell them that we loved them.

Seeing the mile marker for mile 26 is one of the most INCONCEIVABLE things a human can ever lay eyes on. The pride in knowing your legs have covered twenty six miles is hard to explain. (PS: I hate the British for adding that extra .2 of a mile.) Mel met me at the last half mile and I had fun talking to her as I trudged to the finish line. Having her support meant so much to me.

I crossed the line in 4 hours and 37 minutes. It felt like someone had dropped a television on my legs. But I felt so happy. All those countless hours and miles of training had paid off.

"The pride in finishing a marathon is much greater than all the pain endured during the marathon." ~ Hal Higdon

The finish line had some great food. I enjoyed a Creamie and some Pizza.

I was also happy to find Renee who did awesome at the race.

The marathon was extraordinary. I wouldn’t change one thing about it. It was an experience I will never forget.

(And to top it off, I finished the weekend with a few more Slurpees.)

I run because it's so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can't. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you're capable of so much more than you thought.
Arthur Blank, American businessman and a co-founder of Home Depot

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

3 Days To Marathon

I've done an easy week preparing for the Utah Valley Marathon in a few days.

Monday, June 7th 2010: 4 miles @ 9:08 per mile pace. Times for each mile were 10:06, 8:36, 8:57, and 8:35. Dragging myself out of bed at 5:00am after a late night was challenging.

"When you run in the morning, you gain time in a sense. It's like stretching 24 hours into 25. You may need to sleep less and get up earlier, but if you can get by that, running early seems to expand the day."
~ Fred Lebow, founder of the New York City Marathon

Wednesday, June 9th 2010: 3 miles @ 9:43 per mile pace. My friends Darrel and Logan caught me during the run so I did one hill repeat with them (although probably not technically a "repeat" if you only do one.)

One potential area of interest is the weather forecast for the marathon. Over the course of the next few days, the high temp is projected to drop more than 30 DEGREES with a high of 61 and low of 48 with scattered thunderstorms. I don't mind a little rain, and I'd MUCH rather be colder than hotter, so the forecast sounds perfect to me. Hopefully we won't be drenched.

We are heading for northern Utah tomorrow. I'm sure I will be exhausted after the race. I may look like I got ran over by a train. But hopefully I won't look as bad as this boy/girl/thing:

"When you put yourself on the line in a race and expose yourself to the unknown, you learn things about yourself that are very exciting."
~ Doris Brown Heritage, 5 time World Cross-Country Champion

Saturday, June 5, 2010

1 Week To Marathon ! ! !

Monday, May 31st 2010: 4 miles @ 9:29 per mile pace. It was refreshing to get out and stretch my legs after being in the car for 8 hours driving home from California. I am happy to report that no child abuse occured during our 8 hours in the car with grumpy children. Although we did consider investing in some duct tape for children's mouths.

Tuesday, June 1st 2010: 30 minutes on exercise bike. Not exactly top on my list of fun things to do.

Wednesday, June 2nd 2010: Rest. This was the worst day ever for healthy eating in the week before a marathon.

Breakfast: two bowls of Sugar Puffs.
Lunch: I was at a social work converence where they served greasy Mexican food and a sugar cookie for lunch.
On the drive home: a Diet Mountain Dew and huge Maverik peanut butter cookie.
Dinner: lasagna and birthday cake and ice cream. I'm sure all the sugar in my blood stream was making my arteries crystalize. Bad Cory! Bad! Bad! Go to time out!

Thursday, June 3rd 2010: 3 miles @ 9:29 per mile pace. I went out early in the morning and felt terrible. My legs felt like sheet rock. The combination of little sleep and a truck load of sugar the day before definitely caught up with me.

Friday, June 4th 2010: Rest.

Saturday, June 5th 2010: 6 miles @ 10:18 per mile pace. Mel and I went on a new road being built behind Hurricane Elementary. It was fun and challenging. The whole run was either up or down some whopper hills:

Mel snapped this photo of me near the top of one of the hills. She said I looked like an ant.

And here is Mel at the top of one of the hills:

When we were half way through one of the hills I stopped to walk. It felt like my legs might ignight. But Mel kept trucking up, wanting to reach the top before taking a break. She is strong and determined.

With a week before the marathon, it's so hard to know if I have trained adequately. Or if I've been tapering too long. Or if I've run enough miles. Or if my achy knees will hold up for 26.2 miles. It's easy to have insecurity and doubt creep in.

"I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we're all cowards."
-Alberto Salazar, three-time winner of the NYC marathon

Then I have to remind myself that I HAVE worked hard. Of course, there's always more I could have done. But I did the best I could with what I had to work with. I know that in one week, I will give 100% and cover those 26.2 miles as fast as my chicken legs will take me.

"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." ~ John Bingham

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

2 Weeks To Marathon (Again)

Monday, May 24th 2010: 3 miles @ 10:21 per mile pace. My stomach wasn't feeling very good for some reason, so I was surprised I finished with that pace because it felt like I walked half the time.

Tuesday, May 25th 2010: 7 miles at the track. I went to the high school track for the first time in many moons. I wanted to see how I could do with some Yasso 800's.

The Yasso 800's were conceptualized by Bart Yasso (who we met a few weeks ago). His theory is that if you can run ten 800's (two times around the track, with a slower recovery lap between each 800), this would give you an idea of your possible marathon finish time - because each time for the 800 should coincide with your marathon finish time. For example, since I want to run a marathon in 4 hours, I should be doing my 800's in about 4 minutes.

I actually felt pretty good at the track, and kept an eye on my pace during each 800 since I have a tendency to start too fast then fatigue by the end. The more I did, the better I got at keeping an even pace. The times for my 800's were 3:42, 3:47, 3:56, 3:51, 3:51, 3:49, 3:48, and 3:42. I was still feeling good enough that I think I could have done two more if I had the time. Hopefully this is a good sign for the upcoming marathon.

Wednesday, May 25th 2010: Drive to San Diego. Accompanied by large quantities of Diet Mt. Dew.

Thursday, May 26th 2010: 2.2 miles @ 10:40 per mile pace. Mel and I made a jaunt around San Diego and happened to come across the LDS San Diego temple. It's beautiful. Or so I hear. We saw more scaffolding than temple.

Friday, May 27th 2010: Lots and LOTS of walking at Sea World.

Saturday, May 28th 2010: 5 miles @ 10:25 per mile pace. I didn't want to get lost in an unfamiliar California neighborhood so I made sure to stay on the same road and not make any turns. This was a miserable strategy because I arrived at a hill big enough to bring tears to my eyes. I'm certain that the previous day's Mountain Dew and Hostess Donuts did me no favors in getting up the hill.

The only thing I saw worth taking a picture of was this freeway overpass that I ran across as my legs burned and I fought back tears. It's highly likely that my tears would have been green. And carbonated.

"A marathon is like life with its ups and downs, but once you've done it you feel that you can do anything."