Sunday, July 25, 2010

4 Weeks To Park City Marathon

Monday, July 19th 2010: Mercy. I was SO, SO sore on Sunday and Monday following the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon. Those steep downhills give the legs a pounding.

There was a precise moment when I realized how sore I was. It was early Monday morning. I got out of the shower and realized that I let out a whimper when I tried to lift my leg to put my underwear on. Now that is sore. (And embarrassing.)

I've seen senior citizens with hip replacements get in and out of the car with less groaning than I made. Ouch.

Tuesday, July 20th 2010: 30 minutes on exercise bike. My legs were still very tender but I figured that a little movement may loosen things up a little bit. Aside from the extreme boredom, it actually wasn't too bad.

Wednesday, July 21st 2010: 5 miles @ 10:28 per mile pace. I planned to go do a very slow couple miles to help my legs start functioning again. I decided to go to one of my favorite places - the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. Sore muscles appreciate dirt trails. Considering how achy I had been feeling, I was happy to get in five miles. Last year I waited a few days after the Bryce Canyon race before I tried running again. I made it three houses away before I turned around to come home.

Thursday, July 22nd 2010: Long drive to Salt Lake City.

Friday, July 23rd 2010: 12 miles @ 10:28 minutes per mile pace. Mel and I ran on the Porter Rockwell Trail in Draper, Utah which was a blast. We also saw a wide variety of wildlife, including:
A Deer

At least 6 gazillion grasshoppers,

And even one Tyrannosaurus Rex in someones backyard!

I ran the first 5 miles with Mel then headed out on my own. Something really freaky happened: I felt SO good. I just kept going and going and it was the first time I have ever felt like I could easily run all day. I followed the trail one direction until it ended, then turned around and followed it the other direction until it ended. It was an incredible feeling.

Saturday, July 24th 2010: 6 miles @ 11:20 minutes per mile pace. Mel and I ran again on the Porter Rockwell Trail. At one point Mel froze. Then she said "Oh shoot!" (Or another word very similar to "shoot".) "There is a skunk!" Sure enough, right ahead of us sat a skunk. Fortunately we avoided being sprayed, ran back home, and lived happily ever after.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bryce Canyon Half Marathon 2010

HALF MARATHON RECORD: 1 Hour & 51 Minutes

We drove to Bryce Canyon with our friends Darin & Shelly Thomas. I have an incredible amount of respect for Shelly who somehow manages to put up with someone as obnoxious colorful as Darin on a daily basis.

On Friday we drove the race course from the start at Ruby's Inn to Cannonville. The scenery along the road is amazing. With views like this, it's no wonder that the race sells out.

The night before the race we met up with the entire neighborhood who was also up at Bryce Canyon for the race. We had a big spaghetti dinner with French bread, fruit, Dutch oven potatoes, peanut butter bars, salad, and Rice Krispy treats. I ate so much that I made myself sick. This is classic Darin as we were preparing dinner:

At the Ruby's Inn campground there was a raised water drain that I jumped off a few times to get a mid-air photo. This was my favorite:

Our friend Liz came up with the idea to make a pyramid for the group shot. Fortunately no spines were snapped during the production of this photograph.

I love the whole process of racing. I have absolutely no expectation of winning anything, but I love the excitement of pinning my race number on my shirt and feeling the anxiousness of wondering what is going to happen during the race.

The ONLY thing I DON'T like about racing is the lack of sleep on the night before the race. We went to bed at 10:15pm and I woke up at 1:50am. I'm usually too excited and anxious to sleep. Racing on 3.5 hours of sleep adds to the challenge. Why does this photo at the starting line make me look like I'm half asleep? Because I am.

The Bryce Canyon Half Marathon is a runner's dream. It's fast and beautiful. I wasn't able to find a Bryce Canyon Half Marathon elevation chart before the race.'s my own elevation chart from the race:

The mega downhill starting at mile 2 is so fun, but also dangerous because it's easy to push hard going down the hill and then the gas tank is empty later in the race. I felt like I did a good job of pushing down the hill but not overdoing it. My times for each mile were:

Mile 1: 8:35
Mile 2: 8:30
Mile 3: 7:11 (which included a quick bathroom break)
Mile 4: 8:17
Mile 5: 8:33
Mile 6: 8:09
Mile 7: 8:18
Mile 8: 8:47
Mile 9: 8:31
Mile 10: 8:43
Mile 11: 8:57
Mile 12: 9:19
Mile 13: 9:11

Starting at mile 4 I started doing a walk break every half mile. Sometimes I walked for 30 seconds and sometimes a minute. Before the race I was really nervous about the pain I've been feeling in my foot. I usually use the male approach to medical issues: If You Ignore It, It Will Probably Go Away. I am so happy it didn't bother me too much during the race. My calves did start to cramp up in the last mile. They become really tight and get shooting pains like a German Shepherd just took a bite of flesh. Fortunately I was close to the finish line.

I was reminded about the importance of the mental aspect of racing. While I'm running, it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the physical stuff that is going on:
  • Sweet mother of all things holy, my knees are going to buckle.
  • It's so hot that my body might run out of water and start sweating blood.
  • Hmm, I don't remember stepping on an ice pick. Why does it feel like one went through my shoe?
  • This blister growing on my foot is going to be big enough to need a birth certificate.
  • Oh boy, it's going to be embarrassing if I throw up Gatorade all over the road.
The fascinating thing is that these thoughts and many others are constant and come all at the same time. So mentally, it is critical to learn how to tune out these thoughts and focus on something different. Sometimes I can do that well, but I still have a lot of room for improvement.

In both of the marathons I have run, I reached a low point where I realized that I wasn't going to meet my time goal. So during this race, it was such a good feeling to be at mile 8 and realize that I could run 10 minute miles for the rest of the race and still beat my record.

I was ecstatic to cross the finish line in 1 Hour & 51 Minutes to set my half marathon PR (personal record), beating my previous PR by 5 minutes:

I ended up finishing #289 out of 1141 who ran the half marathon. My crazy fast friend Tom finished 16th in the whole race, and our friend Ty finished 22nd. Incredible! This is a picture of Ty - I wondered if it was her gold shoes that made her so fast.

The best part about this race was spending time with so many good friends. Here is a picture with Liz, Renee, Mel, and Cherie.

Mel did awesome finishing in 2 hours 24 minutes - without any injuries. This was way faster than her time last year.

The Bryce Canyon Half Marathon was a great experience and I loved the feeling of accomplishment after working hard to progress toward a goal. Next on the list: Park City Marathon in about a month. Bring it!

"People can't understand why a man runs. They don't see any sport in it. Argue it lacks the sight and thrill of body contact. Yet, the conflict is there, more raw and challenging than any man versus man competition. For in running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies within him, in his ability, with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions."
~ Glenn Cunningham, Olympic Games medalist

Friday, July 16, 2010

1 Day To Bryce Canyon Half Marathon

Monday, June 12th 2010: Bike ride with Mel. It was getting dark so we only went 4-5 miles. I loved going fast and feeling the wind. The ride renewed my interest in getting a decent road bike. Right now I just have a clunky mountain bike.

Tuesday, June 13th 2010: 30 dreadful minutes on the exercise bike. Sitting on the exercise bike for 30 minutes after doing such a fun ride yesterday was about as enjoyable as licking the floor of a gas station bathroom.

Wednesday, June 14th 2010: 1.8 miles @ 15:04 per mile pace. My 6 year old Kylee asked me if we could go on a run together. With my foot hurting, I planned to not run at all for the week to give some healing time before the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon in a few days. But I'll never turn down a chance to run with the kids. Jackson joined us too. Great fun was had by all.

Thursday, June 15th 2010:
8 mile bike ride with Mel. I nearly died. Literally. I was going down a hill on the side of the road minding my own business when a car pulled up behind me and laid on the horn. I thought it must be one of my friends being obnoxious. But after 10 seconds of honking I turned around to see this punk kid who then sped past me.

I was slightly irritated. Then I saw him pull into the gas station a block ahead. I decided to pull in too and let him know that wasn't very cool. Well it just so happens that as he was pulling into the gas station, he honked at someone else because their door was opened and he couldn't get by (FYI: he could get by). Thankfully some other patrons saw him being a punk too.

So I pulled up behind his car and waited for him to get out. But when he did, a bit of my bravery evaporated. I realized maybe I bit off more than I could chew. It was a punk teenager with six earings and an attitude. I said "Why were you honking at me?" He said in a mega-sassy voice "Cause you were in the middle of the road!" (FYI: I wasn't in the middle of the road.)

The other people who saw him honking chimed in, nearly matching the punk's sassy voice and said to him "The world doesn't revolve around you!" Then a bunch of 4-letter words started flying and I figured that was my cue to leave.

Sooooo.....if I mysteriously die one day in a hit and run accident, look for a white car being driven by a punk kid with lots of earings and a "little man complex".

Friday, June 16th 2010: In a few hours we will be heading for Bryce Canyon with our friends Darin and Shelly. Optimistically, I would love to beat my time from last year: 1 hour 56 minutes. That is an average 8:36 per mile pace which is my half marathon PR.

A burglar would be wise to come to our neighborhood this weekend. Because seriously almost every single person within a mile radius will be doing the race on Saturday. I'm sure that great fun will be had by all. Stay tuned for the full race report!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Marathon Number Three

In Recent News - I signed up for my third marathon:

The Park City Marathon coming up in about a month on August 21st. My wife is in also - this will be her first full marathon.

In one sense, this may not be the brightest idea: I ran a half marathon in April, half marathon in May, full marathon in June, upcoming half marathon in July, full marathon in August, and the St. George Marathon in October.

The logical part of me (which in this case was smaller than the spontaneous part) tried to reason with Mel that this might not be wise. Neither of us will be fully trained for a marathon. But I loved Mel's response which was basically - lets do something a little crazy and spontaneous. She didn't have to twist my arm.

We are planning to do it SLOW. We will do the race together. We plan to keep a strict run/walk schedule during the race. No goals for time. Our goal will be to have fun, see some beautiful scenery (planning to take my camera for the race), and be part of a cool experience.

Even though the big hills of this marathon will make it hard, one of the big selling points for me is that around 9 miles of the course is on dirt roads or dirt trails. My knees will appreciate that. Plus, I need all the excuses I can get to eat lots of Hostess products carbo-load.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

1 Week To Bryce Canyon Half Marathon

Monday, July 5 2010: 5 miles @ 10:48 minutes per mile pace. Mel and I squandered our opportunity to sleep in, and instead ran really early in the morning so we would be home in time for the Hurricane 4th of July parade.

I also learned that I very narrowly avoided being convicted of murder. Read the full gruesome story HERE. I met Derek AFTER the Hurricane Trails River Run. And fortunately for me, he wasn't in a hearse. I'm thankful I avoided being charged with manslaughter.

Tuesday, July 6 2010: 4 miles @ 9:10 minutes per mile pace. I ran by myself in the evening, and the temperature outside was at least hot enough to bake bread. I ran to Widowmaker and back. I think 9:10 per mile is a little too fast for my fitness level right now. I didn't feel good.

And now.....time for a trivia game! Question: what is this a picture of?

Answer: Me on the side of the road hunched over ready to blow chunks!

Wednesday, July 7 2010: Rest.

Thursday, July 8 2010: 4.5 miles speedwork at track. I ran three 800's (3:45, 3:45, 3:48) and one 400 (1:24).

Friday, July 9 2010: I went to the track Friday morning with one sole purpose: run my fastest mile ever. Mel came with me to run a few miles too. I wanted to do it at the track to keep it honest. I'd feel like I cheated if I ran my fastest mile down a hill. I asked Mel before the run what she thought my chances were of throwing up. She gave me a 98% chance of barf.

After 3 warm-up laps, I began the miracle mile.
My thoughts during the first lap: "Boy, I'm feeling really good!"
Second lap: "Okay, getting a little harder but I'm okay!"
Third lap: "Uh oh, my lungs feel like they are full of V-8 Juice. Why does it feel like someone broke a board on my back?"
Fourth lap: "How have I lived my life? I guess I'll find out soon because I'm about to meet my Maker."

I crossed the finish line and collapsed onto the grass in fetal position gasping for air. After a few minutes I looked at my watch and realized that I had indeed run my fastest mile ever: 6 minutes 50 seconds!!!

Saturday, July 10 2010: 7 miles @ 11:35 per mile pace. But this isn't at all accurate. That doesn't take into account all the stops I made along the way to stretch, readjust my shoes, or rub my foot. In all, running these 7 miles took almost two hours. I've run a half marathon that fast for crying out loud!

The problem was my dumb right foot. Somewhere along the way maybe I strained a tendon or something. All I know is that it hurt. I don't think it was a stellar idea to do two speed days in a row then a long run. Duh. I don't think it's anything that some ice, and a few days rest won't cure.

After the run we had a birthday party at the park for all three of our kids who have birthdays this week.

In retrospect, this wasn't a very fun week of running. Mainly because I've been trying to go too fast for my britches. I've been thinking a lot about this quote:

"Slow-but-sure has always worked for me, in running and in most other arenas. I wouldn't mind being a Carl Lewis or Usain Bolt, but I've found little payoff in attempting to be what I'm not." ~ Amby Burfoot, Runner's World Editor At Large

I'm not a speed demon. I think I prefer to run farther but slower and avoid injury at all cost. I had been doing good with the "slow-but-sure", but just got a little off track this week. This coming week, I'm going to take it easy and rest my body for the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon next Saturday. Me and running will be friends again very soon.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ironman St. George Volunteer Video

I just tracked down this video shown to the finishers of the Ironman St. George as well as the volunteers.

I am at the end of the video helping someone who just crossed the finish line.

Volunteering at the finish line was such a special experience for me. I admire the people who are able to complete an Ironman so much. This video does a good job of capturing the excitement of the day.

2 Weeks To Bryce Canyon Half Marathon

Monday, June 28 2010: Nothing.

Tuesday, June 29 2010: 7 miles @ 11:20 minutes per mile pace. Mel and I took a new loop which was fun. For you locals, we headed down Widowmaker, hung a left at Sky Mountain Golf Course, ran up State Street, then back home. My Jet Blackberry Gu along the way was scrumptious.

Wednesday, June 30 2010: Not a thing.

Thursday, July 1 2010: 13 miles @ 11:09 per mile pace. We knew we wouldn't be able to do our long run on Saturday and instead decided to do it REALLY early before I went to work. My knee was a little testy a few times but all in all it wasn't too bad. It gave me a sense of accomplishment to know that I had run the distance of a half marathon before work.

Friday, July 2 2010: I went out with Tom and a few youth to prepare the 4 mile course for the Hurricane Trails River Run the next day. My job was to use large bags of flour to make arrows to point the way along the course. Toward the beginning, my arrows more closely resembled blobs. But my arrow-making skillz seemed to improve as time went on.

I loved the patriotic theme of the race. Another thing we did was to put wood posts into the ground to guide the way. We tied red, white, and blue ribbons to each post.

The course was challenging, but beautiful. There was an awesome view of the Virgin River for much of the course.

Afterward, the Dansie's provided me with my first meal from Alberto's: carne asada cheese fries and horchata. There is a part of me that loathes them right now because I have had serious cravings ever since.

Saturday, July 3 2010: The inaugural Hurricane Trails River Run! Tom Dansie directed an awesome race. I volunteered to be the "course sweeper" and follow along behind the back of the group to make sure everyone got through okay. I had fun walking with the lady at the back of the pack. She was in her 70's and I admired her persistence and dedication to stay active. I learned that she even ran the Boston Marathon in her younger years. (See more pictures here.)

I also had another companion along the way: my son Jackson joined me and we had lots of fun talking and enjoying the scenery.

After the race I ran another 4 miles @ 9:34 per mile. It was 90 degrees outside and I wondered if my internal organs were melting into goo. Later in the day my self-control was tested. And I failed.

Mel was at work so I didn't have any spousal support to resist my desires for dinner. I made another stop at Alberto's for carne asada cheese fries.

The whole time I was eating, I was just waiting to clutch my chest as every artery in my body clogged up. Meals like this should be illegal. I guarantee that a dromedary camel does not eat this many calories in one day. And although this meal is begging for a heart attack, it was scrumptious.

Which leads me to my need to make a public declaration: I will increase my self-control. I vow to not eat carne asada cheese fries again for at least one month. Well, I probably won't. I will try really hard not to.