Saturday, July 30, 2011

Enquiring Minds Want To Know

Nelly asked: How do you get such good running pictures?
I’ve found that the only way to get good running pictures is to stop for a minute so that I’m not moving when I take the picture. Otherwise they get blurry. Of course I’d probably have faster races without the camera, but I love taking the pictures.

What is your dream race?
I would love to do a marathon in Hawaii or the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler in Texas.

What major injuries have you had? and What is your favorite running moment?
Great questions. I'm going to come back to these and write a little more.

Julia asked: Out of all the races you have run, which one is your favorite and why?
My first marathon, the St. George Marathon was probably my favorite. But the Red Mountain Ultra was probably my most meaningful. I started the race with major knee injuries and the course completely beat me up. The last 20 miles were pure agony and it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I think I will always look back at that race and say "If I can do that, I can do anything."

What is the secret to such amazingly awesome jumping pics??
The key is to lift your legs up during the jump so it looks like you’re catching more air.

Christina asked: What is your ultimate favorite Hostess product EVER?!
Can I pick 3 favorites? I’d go with Crumb Donuts, Cupcakes, and Snowballs. Pardon me while I wipe the drool off my lip.

What is your go-to meal before a race? How about after a race?
I prefer pizza or pasta but I’m not too picky. When I was training for an ultramarathon I practiced eating while I ran. Since then my stomach has been pretty tough and I've never had any GI issues. My favorite post-race treat is a Slurpee.

What motivates you on days you just don't feel like running?
I really like the motivation of having a race coming up in the future. Then each run has a purpose. Following a training plan also helps me keep some structure.

Matthew asked: Why did you start jumping in your races?
It started earlier this year when I wrote an article for Runners World Online. I wrote that since I am not fast, I have to have different goals for races. One of my goals at the time was to get a good jumping picture. Since then I’ve kept trying to perfect the running jump.

Why not Little Debbies?
I’m not anti-Little-Debbie because I like almost any form of sugar. But I think Hostess just has a better taste. I’ve just never met a Hostess product I didn’t like. (Hostess….if you’re listening….I know this marathon runner who would let you sponsor him.)

Does your family think you're as hilarious as I do?
Only when I'm showing off my insane dance skillz (or lack thereof).

More responses coming soon....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Deseret News Marathon Review 2011

I headed to Salt Lake for the Deseret News Marathon with my friends Darin & Shelly Thomas. It was only a short nine days ago that we all ran the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon. We woke up at 2:45am (2:45am!!!!) to get to the bus loading which was at 3:15am (3:15am!!!!). Ouch.

At the starting line before the race started, this awesome bagpipes player started playing. I've run lots of races, but that was a first to have bagpipes at the starting line. Usually you hear bagpipes at a funeral, so it seemed fittingly appropriate to have them at the starting line of a marathon.

With a 5:30am start, it was too dark to see the scenery for the first few miles but once the sun started coming up I saw the amazing rolling mountains we were surrounded by.

Mile after mile ticked by and I was feeling surprisingly good. After the last few months where my knees and I have not been on speaking terms, I was so thankful to be running without anything hurting.

I got to know these runners later on in the race when we ran a bunch of miles together. From right to left, I met Scott, his wife Rachele, and their friend Nate (don't know the other guy). I found out that Scott has done around 104 marathons (you read that right, 100+!!) with more than 30 of them being ultras. I loved hearing his training tips and wish I could have kept up with them longer.

The absolutely highlight of the day was seeing this crazy guy that I originally met at the Park City Marathon. Please read this post called Why I Run. I described him in full detail. But now I have a picture with him to prove it!! You will see from my description in last year's post that I wasn't exaggerating about him one bit.

I heard from someone that they thought the Deseret News Marathon was hard. I found exactly the opposite. There was a hill at mile 7 that was tough, but you can see that the majority of the race was downhill. Total ascent was 1670 feet and total descent was 4584 feet. I think this could definitely be a PR course.

The one thing that I think could be hard about this race would be the heat. Being in July I was worried that it would get hot toward the end of the race. Fortunately the Running Gods smiled on us (I bribed them with brownies) and the weather was perfect. We had overcast skies all day! It was still warm but very tolerable.

After leaving the canyon you spend a couple miles going through neighborhoods and I liked having families sitting out on their driveway cheering for runners. It wasn't just the canyon that was beautiful. Even the neighborhoods were pretty.

Reaching mile 20 in a marathon is when you are truly challenged mentally and physically. You are tired, sore, and ready to be done. At that point you find out what you are really made of. There are a few critical things that must happen at mile 20:

1) You take two minutes to whine and feel sorry for yourself.
2) You promise yourself that you will never, ever run ever again.
3) You decide to suck it up and stop being a baby.
4) You turn your iPod up to the Make-Your-Eardrums-Bleed volume.
5) You put your head down and just go. Just GO!

I had a very good thing happen after I turned my mp3 player to the Make-Your-Eardrums-Bleed level. I got to Kashmir, a piano song by William Joseph. Check it out - this song rocks! Air guitars are for sissies. Real men play the air piano while they are running marathons next to a line of onlooking traffic.

In the last few miles of the marathon my worst fear came true. Not leg cramps. Not digestive problems. Not bleeding from my eardrums. Worse than all of those. We ran past a 7-Eleven! I was horrified. I needed a Slurpee with every fiber of my being.

There was a section toward the end where we ran on the parade route of the Days of 47 Parade, the largest parade in Utah. It was huge! I had so much fun as the parade spectators were cheering for me. This is one of my favorite pictures of the day - giving high fives to everyone as I ran by.

At the end of the parade route I heard a few people yelling "Go Fast Cory!" I didn't even know who they were. That made me smile. They came over to the finish line afterward to say hello. This is Erin and Betsy. They said they follow the blog. They ran the 10k then waited around for a few hours until I finished to say hello. They definitely deserve to be on the blog.

I felt surprisingly good for the whole race. I was so, so thankful that nothing hurt. I really loved feeling good in the last six miles and being able to run strong. I passed a lot of people in the last six miles. As is tradition, I jumped across the finish line with a time of 4 hours and 45 minutes! That is 39 minutes faster than last month's Utah Valley Marathon. I was happy to meet up with Darin and Shelly at the finish line with medals in hand.

Remember how I told you that I was discouraged when I couldn't stop and get a Slurpee during the marathon? Fear not. I got myself a cup of pina colada heaven on the way home.

I have now done a half marathon, full marathon, or ultra for 16 consecutive months. The Deseret News Marathon was an awesome way to finish out July!

"Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through to obstruction" ~ William James

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bike Injury and Attack Of The Mosquitoes

I took it easy this week to recover from the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon.
Monday, July 18th 2011: Rest
Tuesday, July 19th 2011: 16.5 mile bike ride with Mel in 1 hour 8 minutes (14.4 mph)
Wednesday, July 20th 2011: Rest
Thursday, July 21st 2011: 2 mile run @ 10:33 minutes per mile.
Friday, July 22nd 2011: 17.7 mile ride with the wife in 1 hour 20 minutes (13.3 mph)
Saturday, July 23rd 2011: 3 mile run @ 9:39 minutes per mile.

We had a scary incident during a bike ride last week. Me and Mel were riding on a small one-lane road and we saw some cyclists coming from the opposite direction with a car behind them. Right as we were about to pass each other the car swerved out to pass the other cyclists but it was coming right toward us!

I veered off the side of the road into the dirt and Mel, who was right behind me, swerved over to the dirt too. Unfortunately the dirt and rocks caused her to wreck. She fell and got a huge bruise on her hip, and scraped her elbow and her knee.

I was livid. The driver just sped past and didn't even stop. It's scary to think that if we had been a second later in swerving off the side of the road we would have been hit. Grrrrrrrr.

A few days later we went on an early morning ride. There was an amazing sunrise, but also an amazing amount of mosquitoes. I made three quick stops to take pictures and later in the day I felt my whole body starting to itch. I asked my wife to write a summary because if I told you, you'd think I was exaggerating:

"My poor, poor husband has the sweetest blood known to mosquitoes. While on one of our bike rides he got eaten alive (literally). That night after he got home from work he showed me the mosquito buffet. His body was covered in bites. I think we counted 56. He even had tons on his back....and he was wearing a shirt! These are not typical mosquito bites. His bites swell up like the size of Texas! Well not really, but probably the size of a lima bean.

I felt so bad for him. He couldn't keep his legs still when we tried to go to sleep. He felt like his skin was crawling. We tried every treatment but nothing worked. He learned his lesson. Today when we went out the first thing he did was go spray insect repellant. I still love him even if he smells like DEET!"

Here are the sunrise pictures I sacrificed my body for. You decide if it was worth it:

Then the sky really lit up:

Pardon me while I go back to itching my legs until they look like Mel's bike injury.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Questions And Answers

You should visit Rachelle at Running For Trevor. She is fast, funny, and motivational. She suggested I participate in......

An all-access question & answer session where any questions you ask me are welcome.

So here it is. Post your questions about running, life, preference of Hostess products, or any other random thing and I'll answer those questions in the next few days.

I would also love to see these people join in (Can't wait to hear from Lance! Riiiiiiight.)
Janice @ Run Far & Strong
Amylee @ Run My Guts Out
Tricia @ Endurance Isn't Only Physical
Lisa @ Eat, Pray, Run
Matthew @ Go, Smitty, Go!
Lance Armstrong @

On your mark. Get set. Go! Ask away!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bryce Canyon Half Marathon Review 2011

Bryce Canyon 2011: The Year Of The Jump

Keeping with last year's tradition, we drove to Bryce Canyon with our friends Darin & Shelly Thomas. We got stuck in long road construction and I got the boredom munchies. I went though some cookies like they were going out of style. We also had more than enough time to pull out the camera for a self-portrait. Bonus points to Shelly for joining me in a Do-I-Have-Any-Broccoli-In-My-Teeth smile.

We picked up our packets in Cannonville where the race finishes. I saw this cool flag near the finish line after we picked up packets:

We stayed at the Best Western which is PERFECT because you walk out the front door and you are practically at the starting line. Thankfully we didn't have to wait too long outside for the race to start because it was COLD. We could see our breath and my fingers felt like popsicles. From this picture, it looks like my face had been frozen ever since our drive to Bryce Canyon the day before.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I planned to run the race with Mel and not overdo it so I didn't punish my legs too much before the Deseret News Marathon coming up in eight days. One of my favorite parts is the first few miles of the race where you are on top of the canyon and can see to the bottom where you'll be in just a few short miles.

Along the way we met up with our friend Braydon. I ran up ahead so I could get a jumping picture of them as they came down the road:

And then I got a brilliant idea: Set the camera on a cone in the road and start the self-timer. A jumping picture with all three of us would be sweet! Unfortunately my plan turned out to be a miserable failure because we jumped too early. In the picture we caught exactly zero inches of air. You might as well have told the kitchen table to jump. Our awesome jumping picture turned into this:

Forunately I think race photographers got good pictures of a few of my jumps. The Bryce Canyon Half Marathon has some unique mile markers:

Mel, Braydon and I ran together for eight or nine miles and Mel was still feeling good so she went farther ahead and my goal became Help Braydon Get A PR. He was keeping a steady pace but I just tried to give encouragement and keep him going. I loved seeing the runners weave through the canyon like ants.

I was so thankful I wasn't pushing too hard. I didn't have any crazy leg cramps. I didn't have any chunky burps. I didn't feel like my skin was melting off my bones. I didn't want to curl into fetal position on the side of the road and start crying. I was enjoying the experience and having fun!

We were in the home stretch with only a few miles to go and I knew Braydon was within striking distance of getting his half marathon personal record. He kept pushing and I hoped we would be able to make it.

Remember the bright idea to try a self-timer during the race? And remember how I was just taking it easy and having fun? Well, I decided I'd see how many jumping pictures I could get along the way. You'll notice that these are all at different locations. Unfortunately they are all in the Lift-Off phase instead of Mid-Flight, but I guess you can't be too picky when using the self-timer during a race.

Braydon and I made the final turn for the finish line and he was moving good. It was awesome to reach the point when we knew he would make it. We crossed the finish line in 2 hours and 42 minutes and Braydon got a new PR!

I had so much fun and unlike last year I actually felt good. I didn't feel sore or have the desire to use a wheelchair to get back to the car. I enjoyed being part of helping someone reach their goal. It was nice to see so many friends at the finish line:

No matter how fast I finish a race, I always feel that sense of accomplishment when I reach the finish line. The finish line was especially enjoyable this time without the feeling that my legs had just gone through a meat grinder. 8 more days until the Deseret News Marathon!

"Experience has taught me how important it is to just keep going, focusing on running fast and relaxed. Eventually pain passes and the flow returns. It's part of racing."
~ Frank Shorter

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Want To Wear This!

I desperately wish I had one of these suits for the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon on Saturday.

Would that not be the most awesome thing ever to see someone do a race in one of these costumes? (Of course it could pose some obvious challenges to the person actually running in the suit. I think I could pull it off though.)

Want to see the Green Men in action? I beg of you, watch this little clip from ESPN. I laughed until I cried. This is what I want to be when I grow up.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Downhill Races = Ouch

Exactly one year ago I got my half marathon PR: 1 hour & 51 minutes at the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon. The course has PR written all over it. It is a steady downhill almost the whole way and is tons-o-fun. I still can't believe I averaged 8:28 per mile.

This steep downhill is so fun DURING the race, but not so fun AFTER the race. Your knees and quads take a serious beating. For about a week after the race, it hurts to walk. Actually, for about a week after the race, just thinking about walking hurts. Imagine having Chuck Norris drop filing cabinets full of cement on your legs. Then setting the filing cabinets on fire. This is how your legs feel for at least a week. I wish I was exaggerating.

I am running the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon again in a few days. Even though I'm itching to try for a PR, I've decided I'm just going to take it easy and have fun because I'm running the Deseret News Marathon a week later. Going hard at Bryce would make Deseret News impossible.

So I'm going to take it easy, take my camera, take lots of pictures, and do my best to avoid a Chuck Norris attack.

What are your thoughts on downhill races?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chasing Lightning and a Nerdy Smile

Monday, July 4th 2011: 4 miles @ 11:38 minutes per mile pace. We had a busy day scheduled for the 4th of July and I knew the only time I'd be able to get a run in was early. Is there something morally wrong with waking up at the crack of dawn on a holiday to exercise?

I felt so good during the run and enjoyed an awesome sunrise in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. I got some good pictures but after comparing them to pictures from later in the week, none of them made the cut. Every week I have a hard time deciding which pictures to post here. For every one picture I put on the blog, there are 10-15 more that don't make it on here.

Tuesday, July 5th 2011: 3 miles @ 10:45 minutes per mile pace. I went back to the Desert Reserve. Even though I'm slower on a trail, my body is so much happier when I get to run on dirt.

Wednesday, July 6th 2011: 4 miles @ 10:13 minutes per mile pace. Either it's hot outside or I've developed smokers lung because I couldn't breathe! I was huffing and puffing and disturbingly sweaty by the time I got home.

Later in the day the kids asked to go on a hike to the top of a cinder knoll near our house. I reminded them that this is a big hill to climb, but they wanted to go anyway.

Stats from the hike:
1 = child who got poked in the eye and started crying
.17 = miles traveled before we heard the first whine of "I'm tired."
397 = degrees outside
1 = child who was too grumpy to have a picture taken
0 = fatalities
Great fun was had by all

Thursday, July 7th 2011:
Got to spend some quality time with "my brother" (who isn't really my brother), the dentist. It was one of those days when dentures didn't seem like a bad alternative.

Friday, July 8th 2011: 5 miles @ 11:27 minutes per mile pace. I went out with Mel which was fun because we hadn't run together in a while. We were planning to go farther but it was so miserably hot and humid outside that we cut it short. We even went early in the morning while it was still dark outside. And it was still unbearably hot. It was funny to see her running through the yard whenever we came to a house where the sprinklers were on.

911 Operator: How can I help you?
Home Owner: It's dark outside and this crazy lady just ran through my yard!
911 Operator: Interesting, we just got four similar calls.

That night I stayed out too late chasing lightning with my camera:

Saturday, July 9th 2011: 4 miles @ 10:34 minutes per mile pace. I did the last mile in 8 minutes 46 seconds (slow for many but fast for me). The clouds in the sky that morning were absolutely incredible. It was hard to choose which pictures to post.

This is one of my favorites:

Instead of going with minimalist shoes, I got a minimalist haircut this week. I'm guessing that my more aerodynamic head will take 8-12 minutes off my marathon time. And the award for Cheesiest, Nerdiest Smile of the Day goes to.........Cory Reese!

I actually felt like a runner this week. Bryce Canyon Half Marathon coming up in 6 days - bring it!

When exhaustion gets tired.
When agony doubles over in pain.
When defeat waves a white flag.
I will still be out here.

~ Reebok

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I Am A Runner

I haven't been running as much over the last few months. With the busy race schedule I've been doing, it seems like I'm either tapering for, or recovering from a marathon. It's hard to get too many miles in with the taper/recover thing going on.

But....I have been riding my bike a lot. I logged around 260 miles in June, by far my most miles in one month. It is great cross training and it is 100% pure fun. Running is hard, but cycling is so awesomely fun. I love it.

Let me be honest with you: bike riding is more enjoyable than running. It just is. But I can't get past this feeling I have inside:


Over the last two and a half years I have come to truly love running. Running has opened so many doors for me, and taught me so much, and it has made me a better person. Time on the bike is some of the most fun I have all week. But in my heart, I am a runner.

This is the first time I have biked more miles than I've run in a month. I kind of feel like I'm having a secret affair with biking. I want to give Running a phone call and say "Don't worry! Me and the bike - we're just friends! I will never leave you!"

I plan to bike many, many more miles. I want to continue to get better at it. I have a blast every single time I'm on my bike. But nothing can compare to how I feel when I'm only being carried by my own two feet.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pictures From Our Nation's Capital

I love the 4th of July! I consider myself patriotic, plus I love fireworks nearly as much as I love my wife and children. On the 4th of July I thought about our trip to Washington DC a few years ago. Here are some highlights of the trip:

Udvar-Hazy Center of the Air & Space Museum
This lesser visited division of the Air & Space Museum houses the ultra-cool space shuttle Enterprise. This is a ridiculously enormous beast and pictures don’t give a good idea of just how huge it is.

George Washington’s Home – Mt. Vernon
It was interesting to tour Washington’s mansion and see his tomb. I became a bigger fan of Washington during our trip for one reason: his teeth. I learned that he had lots of problems with his teeth all his life which caused infections and constant pain, yet he was still able to do everything he did for our country. Relating to George on a constantly sore mouth, George and I developed a close kinship. I managed to snap this picture of his dentures made partly of hippopotamus teeth. The photo isn’t great because, well, you’re not supposed to take pictures.

US Capitol

We took a tour of the capitol with a congressional aide which was fascinating. On the side of the rotunda I spotted this scene of a Lincoln statue next to a bright hallway. I liked how it made the same scene look both black & white and color at the same time.

National Archives
We waited 45 minutes in pouring rain to get inside the National Archives. For me it was worth every minute. I couldn’t wait to go to the rotunda which has the original Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and US Constitution. I felt privileged to see these documents with my own eyes (and my camera lens).

Arlington National Cemetery
During our visit to the cemetery the weather was absolutely beautiful. Perfect. We visited John F. Kennedy’s burial site and the eternal flame.

We then headed to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and saw the indescribable Changing of the Guard. This whole ceremony which lasts about 10 minutes is fascinating (and happens every half hour). It was a photographer’s heaven. Here are just a few of my pictures:

Biking / Running the Mt. Vernon Trail
There was a beautiful paved path along the Potomac River that was only a mile from our condo in Alexandria, VA. One morning Mel and I went running on the path, and another day we rented bikes and rode all the way to the Jefferson Memorial. We figured we rode about 20 miles on the bikes which was so fun.

Memorials and Monuments
I took lots of pictures during the day, but my favorite was seeing everything at night. The only trouble was that I stayed so long to take night pictures that when I finished up at 11:30pm the whole mile and a half between the monuments and my Metro station was dark and empty. I didn’t like the idea of being alone in Washington DC at night with nobody around. Fortunately I avoided being stabbed, shot, or even worse…forced to hang out with politicians.