Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Marathon Before Work Challenge!

One of my running heroes is a man named Davy Crockett in northern Utah. Many years ago I read a blog post about how he wanted to challenge himself to run a marathon before work. The idea sounded crazy and foolish and difficult…..and awesome. (I remember Davy saying that he chose to do this while his wife was out of town so she wouldn’t be able to tell him how insane it was to wake up at 1:00am and run 26.2 miles before work.)

Inspired by Davy, a few years ago I ran my first Marathon Before Work. I decided to do the Marathon Before Work Challenge again recently as part of my training for the upcoming Zion 100.

My soul cried a little bit when my alarm went off at 1:00am. I dutifully put on my shorts, shirt, and Altra Paradigms and headed out the door, passing by my house every 5-6 miles for a drink and some fuel. (“Fuel” is a code word for “M&M’s”.)

I was fortunate to enjoy a bright moon, shooting stars, and perfect weather. The early miles passed by quickly, in large part because I was still half asleep. I enjoyed watching the city slowly come to life as the sunrise approached.

I managed to finish my Marathon Before Work with just enough time to shower, grab some breakfast, then head out the door for work. Many years ago when I heard about Davy, I was intrigued by how he broke the norms of how a marathon can only be done during a race. His approach to running is unconventional. And in my mind, unconventional is awesome.

I posted a challenge on Facebook for others to complete the Marathon Before Work Challenge sometime that week. And Altra was generous enough to donate two pair of shoes for a drawing for anyone who completed the challenge. The people who decided to accept the challenge were:

Avery Frantz (check out his report on the adventure HERE.)

Britta Rottschy

Carol Manwaring and Sunny Ellsworth

Crystal Boren

Dave Stephenson

Drew Adams

Jesus Garcia-Fernandez

Kit Brazier

Scot Weaver

Scott Hughes

Shannon Haus

Sheryl McMillan

And Peter Van Horn

My daughter drew two names to win the shoes from Altra. And the winners were.....Dave Stephenson and Peter Van Horn. Congrats!! (A quick shout out to Altra - I recently picked up the Altra Escalantes from the St. George Running Center. I took them to Death Valley this past weekend and they ROCK! They are light and comfortable and fast. I predict many happy miles together in the future.)

If you want to add something new and unconventional to your running, take the Marathon Before Work Challenge yourself! (And make sure you have some Dr. Pepper or coffee ready for your work day. I promise you’re going to need it.)

Monday, March 13, 2017

5 Easy Steps Guaranteed To WIN Your Next Marathon

I used to struggle with anything beyond mediocre finishes at marathons. When I wanted to find my name in the race results, I just needed to scroll toward the bottom. But that was then. This is NOW!

I'd like to teach you my 5 Easy Steps Guaranteed To Help You Win Your Next Marathon. I have used these tips time after time, and I have won 100% of the races I have used these tools. I used them most recently the Sand Mountain Marathon last week.

1) Find a 26.2 mile run and don't invite a single soul. If you consistently run with a training partner, lie and tell them you have the flu, then go run your own 26.2. Inviting anyone else significantly decreases your odds of winning. It's no accident why this tip is ranked #1. I chose to run on some trails around Sand Mountain in southern Utah.

Follow tip #1 and you should win the marathon. The following 4 items are bonus tips to help you have more fun as you crush your (non-existent) competition and earn a podium finish:

2) Your aid station can have anything you want, so make it good! I had snacks and water in my car, then came back every 8-10 miles to restock my pack. No more of the traditional nasty Gatorade and brown bananas you typically find at marathon aid stations!

3) Don't obsess over your pace. Stop and smell the roses. This is a marathon. It's supposed to be fun for crying out loud. You should probably stop and take a jumping picture. And then when you stop in the same place a few hours later, take another one. (I'm terrified of heights. There is a ledge right to the side of me so I'm not right on the edge of a cliff like it may appear.)

4) Choose a cool route. The views at the top of the mountain are absolutely INCREDIBLE. Take, for example, THIS video by The Piano Guys which has nearly 60 MILLION views. They filmed it up here.

I made a few trips up and down the mountain taking some different trails. Cool rocks like this were strewn around.

Near the end of the marathon I ran on some trails at the base of the mountain. This is what the cliffs look like from the bottom:

5) Don't forget to tip the race photographer. (I hear he accepts Zingers and will probably just set the camera on the ground to take a staged running picture.)

Not only are the costs of race registrations like this highly economical, but you can hold your head high in victory as you stop at the gas station on the way home to buy a Dr. Pepper. Now go for it! Go run, and WIN your next marathon!