Monday, December 28, 2009

I Actually Ran During the Holiday

I took my running clothes with me on my trip. The kids didn't believe that I would actually run at all while I was down there. Hah!! I showed them. I put in 3 miles at the hotel on the day we arrived and then put in another 6,000 miles walking in Disneyland. I'm glad I packed the running shoes because I wore those the whole time I was at the park vs my casual shoes that look nice but don't have a lot of cushioning.

Going from temperatures in the low 20s to the low 70s was a nice relief. Coming home to be greeted by 3 inches of snow on my driveway was not pleasant. I was in an even less grateful to be home mood when I was finished running the snowblower with just my jacket and no gloves. I don't think we were in California long enough.

I am back and planning my 2010 running schedule. The Salt Lake Marathon is in April and Ogden is in May. I'm thinking probably the 1/2 for SLC and the full for Ogden. Then there is St. George. Do I submit my name again this year or just stick with the Top of Utah? Decisions, decisions....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Running blahs...

My running hasn't been stellar. Sure, I'm still in recovery from my injury, but I also have been cleared to run for 2 weeks now. How much have I put in? Twice. I could give a list of reasons, but fact is I haven't really been motivated. The weather has been cold and snowy and I just haven't felt any desire to go to the track.

I went last night and it felt really good. I still have some stiffness and the muscles are a little tender, but I was able to get up to a speed where I was able to hold my own with the little old ladies speed walking. I pushed it a little for the last 1/2 mile enough so that I could actually feel a bit of sweat breaking was a nice change.

I am planning on one more day this week and then we're off to sunny California until Christmas. I doubt I'll get much running in, but walking all over will be good for me. I am also looking toward 2010 for the many races I would like to do. I'm definitely planning on the Salt Lake City Half-Marathon and the Top of Utah Marathon. In between those two there are a bunch of options for me. I'd like to tack on another marathon and half, but I also get to play it smart.

If I'm not back on until after the holidays, have a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 4, 2009

On the Road Again

YES! I hit the track last night with a little trepidation. Part of me was very excited to have the green light to run again and another part of me was saying "what if it still hurts? Then what are you going to do?" I am happy to report that other than a little tightness there was no pain and I was able to put in a 30 minute run. It was slow and I was working on implementing some of the changes the doc said, but overall it was good. A few minutes before I was finished I starting feeling that "sweet spot" again. The point where your mind shuts off, your body gets into a natural rhythm and the run becomes like a meditation.

Anyway, a day of rest, a day of cross training and then I'll be able to run again. It's nowhere near the pace I was at, but the doctor reassured me that if I take it easy it will only be a month before I am back to my pace.

I'll leave you with my video tribute of the day.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009-The Agony, The Pain Pills and The Follow Up

My plan for the holiday weekend was as follows:
• Avoid work Wed-Sun
• Make a couple pies for Thanksgiving Dinner with my parents
• Volunteer at the 5K
• See a movie as a family, see a movie with my wife
• Paint the basement
• Relax and enjoy the weekend

Here's the recap. Wednesday my son and I got the pie dough made and in the refrigerator. My wife had some books to get from the library and we picked up a few dvds also. Things were looking pretty good. While we were out we picked up the race packets for the 5K. The shirt is a sweatshirt and since we ran last year we opted out of the shirt. When I went to pick up the packets, they had upgraded the sweatshirts this year to a hoodie...bummer.

Thursday morning I woke a little sore and achey. It felt like the muscles all around my thigh/grown/back area were all just stiff and sore. I stretched out a little, took some ibuprofen and took my kids to the 5K. Since I was volunteering, I directed the runners where mile 1 1/2 and 3.0 cross. It was fun to see my son running and having a good time. We hung out at the race until they had given out most of the prizes and done the raffles. There were about 400 runners this year and the winner of the race ran with a sport stroller (he passed it on to his wife at about mile 2.5) in a 16 minute finish....WITH A STROLLER!

My achey side didn't improve and instead decided to get worse. I stretched and tugged and grimaced and nothing worked. I headed back to the van thinking maybe if I reclined the seat it would relax...nothing. The kids arrived back at the van to see their dad debating whether he should just drive home or just drive to the ER. I opted for the first, the wife jumped in, I moved over and she drove with fury to the ER. I've been to the ER a few times in my life and I have to say that I found the perfect window of opportunity for the ER. We arrived, I was writhing in pain, there was one person already being evaluated and the nurse quickly went and got someone to attend to the man who looked like he was in labor (that would be me). They took me to the back of the ER got me on the bed, took some information, blood pressure, etc. and then pulled out the pain meds. It was nice to hear the nurse tell me that if the pain didn't subside in the next 3 or 4 minutes to hit the button... 2 buttons later and things were much, much better.

The diagnosis...kidney stones. WHAT?! I'm too young for this stuff. Kidney stones are supposed to happen to overweight men in their mid-50s who drink way too much soda and have no sense of exercise. I'm the water poster child, my soda consumption is minimal and up until a month ago I was a pretty active in the exercise arena. They verified with a CT scan, doped me up, gave me some more meds and wished me well. They also mentioned that a lot of people passing Kidney stones end up back not too long after the first visit. I went home and slept until 8 pm, woke up, ate a little turkey dinner that my parents sent, sat down and started watching a movie with my wife...10:30 pm and I was paying the ER a visit. I have broken a bone, had a herniated disc, suffered from seizures, but this topped the charts.

After being re-drugged and pumped full of fluids I returned home and slept until Friday afternoon. We finished the movie Friday night that we started on Thursday.

Saturday we bought paint for the basement and went to a sis-in-laws birthday party. The holiday weekend was a blur.

Today was my weekly doctor appointment for my leg. I told him that I was finished with this whole "no running plan" and asked how soon I could begin to get back on the road. After he poked and prodded, he told me I could start on some slow smooth surface running for a few weeks. He put me on the treadmill and worked with me on some of my gait and stride positions to show me what I get to change. It looks like part of the problem has been that my stride has been too long and combined with heel striking it is actually putting a lot of strain on my hips and thighs. The good news is that I can actually run again. I'll hit the gym tomorrow. I get to take it really easy and do 1 day run, 1 day complete rest, 1 day bike or cross train and then repeat. After 2 weeks if things are still well then I can increase the tempo. I am so excited to go run tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turkey Trot 5K

As I sat in the doctor's office on Monday going over my recovery progress I mentioned this little 5K that I signed up for this Thursday. The doctor gave me two options. Option 1: I run the race and try to keep it easy, but tack on another 3-4 weeks in my recovery or bow out and be back to running in 2. Despite the blow to my ego, I am going to sit this race out. I anticipated blowing my last 5K PR out of the water, but that will have to wait.

On Monday I was able to do some easy running on the treadmill for the doctor and get some advice on why this occurred. According to the doc, my running form was causing all the strain to be on my hamstrings and abductor muscles rather than it being balanced. The good news is that this is off season. It's my opportunity to build my core, work on some speed and be more efficient for the spring.

Instead of running in the race, I will be volunteering and cheering on my son and father.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Adversity to Working After Lunch

Since my running has bit the dust for now (cross my fingers for a Saturday or Monday run), I'd like to discuss a few things that have made me wonder. Since bullets seem to be the new trend and I don't want to be left behind, I'll add mine.
  • Combo Meals. One of my favorite burger places sells the homemade type fries. The ones where you can see the skin of the fry (or it is a really good fake). I hate cold fries. I hate cold hamburgers. If I get back to my desk, I have to go for the fries first. By the time I finish the fries, the burger is either cold or luke warm. Someone should really invent a way of keeping everything warm while I finish my fries. 
  • My Productivity Levels. It seems that my productivity levels are high between 8:30 am and 1:00 p.m. From 1:01p.m. (about the time I am having lunch) until the end of the day, my levels drop about as fast as my burger gets cold.
  • Running Points. With all the talk and hype about the health-care plan that is moving through the government right now, why isn't there a running amendment to the plan. It's a simple solution. Everyone signs up for the plan and buys the government approved GPS watch that records their mileage. Points are accumulated for the distance run and add up. I then can log on to a website and renew my subscription to Runners World, get some new shoes, order pizza, etc. It's a win/win for the everyone. Those who start running, get healthier, they see the doctors less, end up taking less medications thus saving the cost of health care. 
  • Twitter/Facebook/MySpace/LinkedIn. Back in the day, there was this thing called networking. You got involved with a group, went to some meetings, handed out your business card with the expectation that eventually you'd be able to get something financially rewarding out of it. Where did that go? I am signed up on everything but MySpace and I'm still waiting to see the benefits. A friend got me hooked on LinkedIn and told me if I joined this one group that I could download like 5000 names and everyone who was on the list would agree to be in my group. I did that. I've yet to get anything from it. I went back to the friend and he said for me now to start calling them and getting referred to other friends. On Facebook, I've been hit by so many pillows, been kidnapped, been sent joyful enlightened messages and been asked to join at least 20 farms. I have yet to see the value. I joined Twitter (horizon_design) as my company to see if it will yield other results. If this doesn't work, I'm going to go find a meeting and start handing out my business card.
  • Home Improvements. Want to know what i've been doing since my running injury? My family room remodel. Before the injury, we tore apart the family room because the previous owners were smoking something and thought that only having one plug in the whole room and a hardwired light connection (with no switch) was a good idea. I ripped it out, re-wired it with plugs all over, put in 12 recessed lights and added insulation to every wall. I started the sheetrock, then got hurt so I hired out the hanging and mudding. Who ever said home ownership was cheaper than renting? I am now seeing the value of retirement communities.
There you go...end of my deep pondering. Once I finish the family room (we're going carpet shopping this weekend because Costco hasn't called us back) I'll post pictures.

Have a great weekend, I hope to be back on the road this weekend or first of next week. I am signed up for the Thanksgiving 5K and I am defending my age group title.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I bought this book called Caffeine for the Creative Mind. It has 250 different exercises to "wake up the brain." Today's exercise was all about creating my own tombstone message. The only catch was that it had to be relatively short and rhyme. I took it a step further and put it on an actual tombstone.

I'm also in less pain today. Sleeping last night was easier than it had been in 2 weeks so maybe I am on the mend.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Letting Go and Picking Up

It's been a frustrating past week with my running. The fact that I haven't been able to get out and do any running (even a light jogging hurts) has made me a bit down and grouchy. I think of all the things I am supposed to be doing with my training. My goal is to build my base miles and get my body used to running longer distances without fatigue. I came across this post by Ryan Hall. Even the elite's have bad days and I just get to keep it in perspective.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Construction and recovery

A little over a week ago I started developing some calf and thigh pain. It wasn't anything I considered out of the ordinary. I have been working on slowly increasing my weekly mileage. The goal was six days a week with 10 miles average each day. To accomplish this, I have been slowly working up to that. I started at 4 miles/ 6 days a week for two weeks and then add a mile, etc.

Last week was my first week of 7 miles/day. I made it through Monday, but Monday night I started in with some really bad pain in my upper thigh area. I rolled it and took some ibuprofen and opted to do a Tuesday evening run instead of a Tuesday morning. I made it through about 3/4 mile on the track before I couldn't move. After some research, it looks to be the back upper thigh muscle that connects to the hip. The only solution is to stop running and let it heal. This was not in the cards and i'm a bit pissed about it. I missed a Saturday group run and the weather has been perfect and unusually warm for November. I'm giving it two more days before I schedule an appointment to have it checked out.

The good news is that my downstairs is getting completed. We finished a room in the spring and then we gutted the other room that the previous owners had thrown together. I re-framed much of the room, re-wired the whole thing and insulated every single wall in the room. I started the sheetrocking myself until my little injury put a stop to it. I had two options...wait for the leg to heal or hire someone. I went with the hiring someone plan. As I type, the melodious sounds of sheetrock being put up, screw being put in and the satisfaction that by the end of this week, I should be able to paint. That's one room down, one bathroom and one laundry room/pseudo-office to go. The office area just needs the sheetrock (after we take everything and put it in storage).

Ideally, I'll be back on the road by the end of the week.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween 2009

Another Halloween has passed and now the seasonal sugar high has begun. I was looking forward to some deeply discounted Halloween candy at WalMart, but no such luck. They had it listed for the same prices as before, but they just stuck them in carts with the words clearance on them. Sneaky!

The events of the day started with a sort of Halloween party at a clients office (I used to be employed by them so I am still invited to their events). Several weeks before the plan was that everyone would dress up and we'd have a pot luck lunch. By Friday it had turned into a "everyone do their own thing and dress up as you'd like". I dressed up and another person at the office did and that was it. Cafe Rio was the pot luck location. I'm glad they start taking orders early because by 10:30 am I was starving.

The kids went to school in costume. The e-mail sent by the school saying "no makeup" initially ruined the kids costume ideas, but upon clarification it was "no gory makeup" (amazing what a comma will do). I did enjoy the looks I received as I was driving around town and picking up the kids.

This year, the kids all went their separate ways so Friday night the wife and I hit the local Hollywood Video for our Halloween hits. She wanted to watch "Fire in the Sky" even though I warned her it was a freaky show. She agreed with me after that it was freaky. We then proceeded through "My Life in Ruins" starring some of the people from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (a favorite of ours) and ending with "The Matrix".

Overall it was a successful Halloween.

Billy Mays showed up to give us an OxiClean demonstration (Thanks Jo for the contest info...we'll know Thursday if he won)

Our local Nascar driver showed up. She recently got in a severe crash and had the wounds to prove it. Don't let the barrette fool you. She'll kick your butt and tell you that she "she likes your shoes".

Running can be hazardous especially in a race. If you're not careful you may just get run over and have some severe road rash.

Alice being a vampire and all didn't show up in the photo we took, so you'll just have to imagine the surprise at the school when she showed up.

One thing to note. Liquid latex is awesome, but it also pulls out hair. I have two sections of my arm that have no hair...a small price to pay.

Oh and Saturday morning I got in a nice easy 5 miles with the Saturday group.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Barefoot Running, Halloween Candy, Pain in my leg, Halloween Costumes

I've a lot of ideas today so I'll just spew out what's on my mind.

Barefoot Running
It seems that this topic comes around from time to time. I've wondered if barefoot running would be of value to me. The Vibram footwear looks really interesting but I'm not sure if it is of any value. There is a NY Times article about this issue. It seems the jury is out. I've read a few blogs where the runners swear that their stance and gait is better when they run barefoot on occasion. I've wondered if it is just psychological or if it would really be effective.
I was at my favorite running store the other day with my wife getting her some good running shoes. I saw the Vibrams, but I wasn't willing to pay the money to test out something that may be a day whim and that's it. So, I bought me a new pair of Mizuno Waveriders. Does anyone run barefoot or tried the Vibrams?

Halloween Candy
I bought more Halloween candy yesterday. This is one more reason why running is good. It offsets the Halloween candy that I consume before Halloween. I could wait and pick through my kids candy, but I find it easier to just buy what I like throughout the season and then stock up for all the kids in the neighborhood. I've wondered if I have a mini snickers bar before a race if that would accomplish the same thing as a GU would. Maybe I'll test that theory out at the upcoming Thanksgiving 5K. Yesterday was National Chocolate Day and I bought stuff to celebrate the day and didn't. I guess we will honor it tonight. Far be it from me to miss and important holiday.

Leg Pain
My leg is hurting today. I've come up with a few possibilities. 1. I ran 7 miles last night with two at a really fast pace 2. I ran last night with new shoes with two at a really fast pace 3. I've been pushing too hard and last nights 7 miles with two at a really fast pace did me in. 4. It's the weather, I've now got arthritis in the middle of my leg and I should stop running now because eating Halloween candy is much more fun than working off the Halloween candy.

Halloween Costumes
What's everyone doing for Halloween and what are your costumes? Here's the breakdown for my family.

Myself: It's been a struggle. Back in July my thought was to go all out and be "Teen Wolf" (yes, from the 80s movie...look it up if you're too young), then it was Professor Snape from Harry Potter (but my hair just doesn't grow fast enough and I'm not into doing a wig), then I was going to scrap the costume idea until I came up with the great idea. I'm going to go as a runner who has been run over (by other runners). I found this great website on making fake wounds so I found an old tech shirt and will have some foot prints going up the back of it with road rash on my arms and face. I'm looking forward to it.

My wife: Thanks to the above mentioned website, she is going as a zombie

Kid 1: No idea...he's 18, moved out and probably won't do anything.
Kid 2: He's going as Vince the Shamwow guy from the infomercials. He gets a kick out of them and was saddened when Billy Mays died. We found him a bunch of cheap kitchen gadgets that he is coming up with new names for them. He's got a Halloween party he'll be.
Kid 3: She's going as Alice from Twilight...her favorite series every (our copies are trashed from her reading and reading and drooling and drooling). The school sent out a notice saying no face paint so she's rather bummed about it.
Kid 4: Nascar driver the day after a horrible accident. She found a small leather jacket (like 4 sizes too small, but it works), has cut out various logos, found a arm sling, a walking boot brace for her leg (goes up to her thigh) and then will have various scrapes and wounds. We did her costume for her dance class last night and she freaked out a few people with the wounds.

That's it for today. Have a great day. I'll see if I can get some pictures up once Halloween is over.

Monday, October 26, 2009

All Synced Up

A few weeks ago I bought an iPhone. I have been coveting one since they first came out but the features of the phone didn't measure up to the cost. I have had a blackberry for the past two years and have been pleased, but hated the tiny screen. The iPhone kept calling to me "....big screen, touch screen, cool factor..." and I now have one.

Now my problem seems to be that I am out of sync. I have my desktop computer which holds my main files, programs, etc. with the external hard drive. It also contains my itunes. I have my laptop which I run next to my desktop and use when I visit clients or travel. It also contains itunes. I have an ipod which holds the songs from my itunes. Now, I have a iPhone which has itunes and is synced to my laptop. Unfortunately my laptop, desktop, ipod and iphone are not all friendly with each other. It is like all my computers and accessories are all from a very co-dependent family. My desktop spawned all these creations, but they have shunned the parental figure and gone off on their own.

I won't even get into the fact that my desktop computer has multiple accounts on it for the kids and they too have added to my itunes collection (thus the reason why Miley Cyrus is on my ipod).

How am I going to get these devices to all speak to one another again. I fear it may have to resort to me sitting down and centralizing everything. For now though, I'm just going to stay the co-dependent parent of several hi-tech devices.

Tomorrow we're in for rain and snow. I'll see if I am sufficiently dedicated to run in the non-pristine conditions.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New shoes

My son decided about a month ago that he would get more serious and train for the upcoming Thanksgiving Day 5K. Last year he ran the race and did well for his first 5K. This year he's anticipating a better finish. I told him that I would cover 1/2 the race entry if he could show me that he can do 1 1/2 miles (by the early registration deadline) without stopping otherwise he was on his own for the race fees. He's 13 and earns enough that asking him to pay $6 for his registration fee is not asking too much.

He hit that mark on Tuesday and did 1 1/2 miles. It also happened to be time for him to get some new shoes. He had some asics that he wore down to nothing over the summer (a week long scout trip killed them off). I had a $10 off coupon to Fleet Feet from the 10K on Saturday so we headed down to the store.

Low and behold he has now wearing a size 7 mens shoe. I was a little surprised that he had grown that much. I also had a bit of sticker shock knowing that he is now wearing a $100 shoe instead of a $45 shoe. At first he was leaning toward the asics like he had before, but then he tried on the Mizuno's and made that instant connection. He's only 2 sizes away from my shoe size. He's decided that he's built for running and wants to eventually run a half marathon with me. I think I better start training harder so that he doesn't pass me by too soon.

I also get to make an addendum to my previous post about the family not desiring to come. My wife reminded me that she was driving our daughter to her class and I didn't give her any detailed directions on the start/finish.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oktoberfest 10K race

Fabulous race. The start was above a park so I did a few laps to warm up. It was definitely cold this morning. Frost on the ground and the sun not up yet at the start....brrr..

There were about 200 total runners. I saw a collection of various marathon and relay shirts. A few in the crowd were part of a 10K training group while others were experienced and had on their "game face". It looked to be a great race. I saw a few people in the race that were familiar and chatted with a couple that run on occasion with the Saturday group.

The first couple miles of the course were relatively flat with a slight downhill from miles 3 to 4.5 and then an incline the last mile and a half. The course ended in the park which had an extremely steep entrance.

My pace stayed pretty true between 7:30 and 7:15 pace throughout the whole course. By mile 5 I knew a PR was in sight. I just got to keep moving and give a little push at the end.

The first couple miles my hands were really cold and then my arms got cold. At mile 3 the sun got over the mountains and the houses and really warmed the area up. I debated wearing my jacket and I'm glad I chose to leave it at the start or I would have been too hot.

I finished the course in 45:39 which is more than 4 minutes faster than the 10K I ran in March. I must be doing something right to shave almost a minute off my pace. Alas, no raffle prize, but a medal and bragging rights. 1st in Age group, 15th overall.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fabulous Weather

The past two days, the weather has been fabulous. Highs in the 70s, cool in the morning. The race tomorrow should be a great one. I did a good 7.5 on the Treadmill at the gym. The kids have been working on training for a Thanksgiving Day 5K. I got in about a 1/2 mile on the track with the girls and then finished the rest on the treadmill. I'm looking forward to the race to see if I can get a new PR on a 10K. The first 3 miles is slightly downhill and then 4-6 is slightly uphill.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oktoberfest 10K

The 10K is this Saturday. I printed off the map a few days ago and ran the course. It is a flat course and should be a fun race. The sponsor is the running store that I visit regularly. They are also offering a 15% discount on anything in the store for racers so I may see if there is something on clearance that I could use.

They are also raffling off a couple pair of shoes. I'd love to add another pair to my current rotation. I pick up my bib and stuff today so I'll be able to see what the competition is like.

I should be able to beat my last PR. One nice thing about this race is that I am faster than I was when I did my last 10K which also happened to be my first 10K. Currently I am working on building my base mileage. I spent some time after the Top of Utah marathon talking with some elite racers. One common thread among them all was to build the miles. Until I am consistently running 6 days a week and in the 60+ miles per week it won't matter how much speed work I do. This week I am on track for my first week of 6 days. The past few weeks I have let other things get in my way of accomplishing it.

I have also hit that point in my running/racing where the family is no longer planning on joining me at the finish. There are pros and cons to this. Pro is that I won't have to worry about meeting them somewhere. Con, no one to hold my stuff.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Rewards for Running

I've been pondering on the current health insurance debate going on and I've devised my own strategy. I believe it is about time for the insurance companies/government should start a runner rewards program. The plan is relatively simple:

• Gain points for every mile run
• Use points for either reduced premiums or items

See, pretty simple. You purchase a Garmin (or other tracking system) tied into a database that can track your points. Once you accumulate enough points you then redeem the points for new shoes, shorts, reduced insurance rates, etc.

I'd love a new pair of shoes....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

St. George Marathon

I have a few friends running the St. George Marathon this weekend. In honor of their efforts, I found this great video.

Have a great race everyone.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rain, Wind, Hail...repeat

So, the weather has been doing it's own intervals today and I decided to let it have it's fun without me. It's typical this time of the year to start getting some cold storms come through, but to see snow in the mountains isn't always a pleasant idea. It's a harsh reminder that even though 1 month ago, we were hitting the mid 90's, one month from now and the highs will be in the mid 50s to 60s. I have a better running jacket on order that should be here soon. That will make the cold weather a little more bearable. Tonight I'll put in 5 miles on the treadmill. I signed up for the 10K yesterday at the local store. I was looking to see if they had anything on clearance worth picking up but they didn't. I've noticed that my pace has picked up since the marathon. I've done 2 rounds of 5 miles about 20 seconds faster than I was at a month ago. The first day I chalked it up to the fact that I took a week off. Yesterday though, my knee was a little bothersome but I was still running along...that's great to see.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Alpine Adventures on Friday

Here's a great little short film that was shown at a local film festival. There is a subtle link to running in this movie, see if you can spot it. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2 Lead Feet

Yesterday I felt like it was time to get out and run, but I wanted to give it one more day just to play it safe. This morning I got up and went through my typical morning routine. It's cooler now in the mornings and the sun is now in my eyes as I run. I can either start running later in the morning or get some sunglasses.

This morning's run was to be a nice easy casual run. I might as well have been wearing lead shoes. My body felt like I was dragging it along. I looked down to check my pace and it showed I was running a 9:30 pace, but it just felt sluggish. I'll probably run again tomorrow or do a slightly long run on Saturday.

Next week I will work to be ready for the Oktoberfest 10K that is in my area. I'd like to beat my previous 10K time. I also get to look around for some cool weather gear. I plan on running outside more this winter and would like to be prepped.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Race Photos

I just received an e-mail from the race photo people for the Top of Utah Marathon. I actually have to say that this time I around I was a little more prepared for the photos and was on my best behavior. I scrolled to the bottom of the thumbnail images to discover that I had changed my shirt, put on sunglasses and lost a significant amount of hair during the race. I remember being glad the race was over and standing in front of the race banner, but I didn't realize I had changed so drastically. Here's my new (I guess) look...oh, and I changed my number also apparently. I was 356 when I started the race and I changed to 556 when it was all done...I guess a lot happens during the 26.2 miles.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Top of Utah Marathon report

Going into this race, the majority of the people who have run it really liked the course and now I know why.
The weather was outstanding. Our hotel had a complimentary breakfast and they opened it at 4 am because of the race. It was a 20 minute bus ride up the canyon to the starting line. We got there in plenty of time to hit the restrooms and get warmed up. By warmed up I mean getting into the tent with all the other runners and the heaters. It took enough of the chill off to be ok.
The first 19 miles of the course was mostly downhill. A gradual 1-2% grade so it didn't shred the calves. The race started. For the first mile I was glad that I had done quite a bit of trail running because I ran along the side of the road to pass people. After that it thinned out enough to squeeze by people. I started off slow and steady not wanting to hit my stride too soon. In retrospect, I think I could have picked it up a little and still be ok.

The aid stations began at mile 3 and were every 2 miles after that. The canyon was fabulous. At times, we got a slight tail wind which felt nice. My upper body tend to take a little more time to warm up so I debated whether to wear a jacket and throw it in one of the clothing drops along the course or just go for it. I'm glad I opted to pack it with my other clothes as I was fine.

The first 14 miles there were no spectators. At mile 14 there were so many people there cheering on the runners that it felt like the finish line. The volunteers on the course were fabulous. There were so many people handing out water and gatorade that I almost felt bad not taking something. Everyone of the volunteers were cheering on the runners. EMTs were at every aid station and the police presence was really good. I saw more than one policeman double checking on a runner as they were stopping traffic.

At mile 20, my energy was shot. I was so grateful for a banana at mile 21. After that, it was one aid station to the next. I knew I could make it one more mile. I also had done a 23 mile run once before so I just kept telling myself that if I had done 23, I could do 3 more. I rounded the corner with 3 blocks left to hear some familiar voices screaming "DAD!!" and then three kids came running beside me telling me to "Keep Going" and "Pick up the pace". They ran with me for about a block and a half.

Finishing was incredible. I had three goals in mind. The supreme goal was a 3:20 marathon, the middle goal was 3:30-3:40 and the other was "finish the damn thing in one piece". I ended with a 3:45 so I am pleased with the time.

The post race was cool. They had a live band that was really good, there was plenty of food, chocolate milk, gatorade, water, fat boy ice cream sandwiches. They also had a full-blown Medical station set up with hydration stations set up. Again, the volunteers were everywhere.

We walked back from the race to our hotel which was about 4 blocks away. It was good to just walk and let my muscles cool down and stretch out. I showered quickly then went down to the pool and just waded and stretched out a little more. The water was cool, but not freezing. After a celebratory lunch I came back to the hotel and crashed for a few hours. That night, we took the kids to a movie and just relaxed.

Hats off to the organizers. They stay at the finish until the very last person comes through to congratulate them.

The question is "What's next?" I'll figure that out later in the week.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

POM Tea Review

The people at POM contacted me to see if I would be willing to try their new POM Tea. Since this falls right in line with one of my blogging mantras (free stuff is good..more free stuff is even better) I immediately said yes.

The 4 teas arrived a week ago and I've sampled 3 of the 4. The fourth one I never sampled because my wife beat me to it and drank it. I was a bit put out by that because it was the one I was looking forward to sampling the most.

I'm not much of a tea drinker. I generally don't like hot tea or ice tea. Mostly because they are too watery or way too strong. These new teas from POM are changing the way I think though. The flavor was really prominant, but they had a touch of sweetness to them so that the flavor wasn't overwhelming.

The four flavors I sent were:
Light Pomegranate Hibiscus Green Tea
Light Pomegranate Wildberry White
Pomegranate Lychee Green
Pomegranate Peach Passion White

My wife drank the Wildberry one and tasted the others and said that the Wildberry was her favorite.

I sampled the other three and my favorite was the Pomegranate Lychee Green. It had a sweet taste to it with a little of the Pomegranate coming through. The Hibiscus has grown on me. Initially I thought the Hibiscus was a little overwhelming, but after coming back to it, I found that it didn't bother me as much.

The one I didn't like out of the three I had was the Peach Passion. To me, this one had a bitter aftertaste that I just couldn't get used to. My daughter (who is 11) on the other hand loves the Peach Passion so I guess it all depends on your personal taste.

The day that the teas arrived I had just gone to the store and they had a big bottle of POM juice marked down so I picked it up. I still prefer the POM juice over the teas, but on days when I don't want a glass of water and a soda is too sweet, these teas would be perfect. One other thing I found out was that I prefer the tea a little warmer than straight from the refrigerator. It seemed that the flavors mixed together better and I didn't have any bitterness like I did when they were really cold.

Thank you once again to the wonderful people at POM. They were even nice enough to include a free coupon so I can go choose another flavor. They have a bunch of different flavors available.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sock Dilemma

The Top of Utah Marathon is this weekend. I've picked up some new shorts (with safety pins here), i've picked out the shoes I will wear and have worn them on enough runs that they have molded to my feet or my feet have molded to them. I'm pretty sure I will go with my long sleeve top since the weather at the start will be around 45 degrees and the finish will only be in the mid 70s. My new dilemma is with the socks.

In the past, I had my day to day running socks and then my super nice (meaning I had to pay more than $5 for one pair) socks that I saved for long runs or races. They were like the white shirt that hangs in my closet and only comes out on really special occasions unlike my other non-white dress shirts which come out on a regular basis—that and the fact that a white shirt really shows when it hasn't been ironed and a color one is easier to get away with not ironing. These were the "special socks". My kids knew that they were only reserved for special times. No one touched the "special socks". If I found that my socks were put in one of the kids drawers there was hell to pay (maybe not hell but I'm sure maybe heck was involved). They were like the lucky rabbits foot. I felt energized and ready for the race when they went on. Now, they've lost their magic.

Last month, the WRIGHTSOCK people sent me six pair of socks to test and guess what? I absolutely love the socks. Even the ones I thought were way too thick I wear now with my roomier shoes. I'm stuck now because I've lost my magic socks. Which pair will I wear now? Will it be the coolmesh ones that are ultra thin? Maybe the Running IIs which have the great arch ribbing so that my socks don't bunch? Maybe the SLX pair with their cool looking gray and red accent colors? I can't pack my gear until this has been resolved.

If I should choose incorrectly, it could blow my whole marathon strategy (I plan on having one by Saturday morning). I might be stuck with a Game Time Decision here. I may end up bringing the three pair that I like best and then choosing the morning of the race or if worse comes to worse, I could always safety pin the other two pair to my shorts so that I could just grab them and change. Although that has it's own drawbacks so that is out of the question. At least I have discovered where my limit is on how far I'll stoop in resolving this dilemma.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

State Fair Time

As a follow up to my poor decision to run down the canyon on Saturday, we went to the State Fair.

I haven't been to a State Fair since I was in High School when a painting I did for a competition won and was sent to the fair. I remember the fair was quite boring, but that was also 20 years ago. I have since matured and now enjoy walking through the various exhibits, seeing the animals (all the time wondering what the difference is between the first place cow and the second place cow), and enjoying the poor nutritional food choices available.

Make no mistake. If you go to the fair and expect to get a high quality meal, you may wish to consider getting some professional assistance. The fair is where all the taboo items on the runner's nutrition list can be found. Luckily, my fringe eating policy allows me to dabble in the dark arts of fair food.

One item that I have longed for since I first heard of its inception is a deep fried twinkie. It combines the two best food groups: the twinkie food group and the deep fried anything food group.

After an hour of wandering around the fair, we came upon the Holy Grail that I had been seeking. The deep fried twinkie booth appeared from the mists and was now in front of me. My mouth immediately started to water while inhaling the luscious odor of cooking oil and batter. Immediately my feet began moving and I shouted to the kids to join me in this feast.

Upon arriving at the stand, I noticed a large sign that had the words "New This Year: Deep Fried Brownie Deluxe" in big bold yellow letters. Next to the letters was the photo was a huge photo of a batter fried square on a stick covered in whip cream and chocolate sauce. How could I resist? Of course I couldn't. The whip cream didn't stay around long, but my first bite into the brownie was beyond words. The fried outside was perfect, the inside brownie was warm and gooey oozing with chocolate fudge. Heaven...

After the trip down into sugar high lane, we stopped in at the fine arts exhibits and low and behold there was a butter cow exhibit. A friend of mine recently went to the Iowa State Fair and bragged about the Butter Cow on exhibit. I saw her photos and I have to say that it was an impressive representation of a cow, but it pales in comparison to the ones on exhibit here. The artists took some artistic liberty and the result is in the photo.

Next year, I'll plan on the deep fried booth again. Maybe I'll go for the deep fried PB&J or the deep fried oreos.

Rewarded for a Stupid Idea

Looking back on this weekend, I definitely was having some mental reasoning issues. It started on Friday when we did our last speed workout until the marathon on Saturday. Basically we sucked at the whole thing, but we still were able to knock out two intervals of a 10 minute run at a 6:30 pace...sounds painful? It is.
The plan for Saturday was a 10-11 mile run. Ideally we wanted something downhill because we are both sick of hills. In order to accomplish this feet, we would have to take two cars. One to leave at the bottom of the hill to take us back to the top where we parked the first car. I don't know what came over me, but Friday afternoon I texted my running partner to see if he was open to running down the canyon like we did several weeks previous. I remember being sore, but not overly after the run. I just assumed that this time would be similar.
On Saturday morning, we met at 5:30 am to drive up the canyon. The idea was that if we got up there early enough, we would miss the majority of the traffic coming up or down the canyon. What we neglected to realize is that Saturday was the first day of the Elk Hunt. To give you an idea of how big a deal that is in this area. When I was in school, we would get two days off in the fall for the deer hunt. They've gotten more politically correct and now they call it "Fall Break". We were passed along the way by plenty of cars and trucks going up and down the canyon.
The idea of it being easier because we had a month more of intense training also turned out to be false. The first 5 miles weren't bad, but by mile 6 I was ready to throw in the towel. The other idea that contributed to our lack of judgement was when we decided to run down the canyon at our ideal marathon pace.
One day of poor judgement + one day of doing what was initially poor judgement = Barely able to move the next day
By Saturday night, my thighs were sore. When I woke up this morning at 4:30 because the cat decided that it was the perfect time to go out, my calves were hurting. By 7 am when I officially woke up, I couldn't move.
Sitting, laying, standing without any movement all feel good. Walking (especially going down stairs) and I am in agony.
The good news is that I have seen the last of that canyon for this season. The marathon course is a 1-2% downhill grade for the first 16 miles. That will feel much different than the 5-6% of the canyon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

One Week Left...

One week from tomorrow I will be completing the Top Of Utah Marathon. This morning we did a 8 mile run with some speedwork/tempo run involved. You might ask what this entails. Well, you see the plan is to run really fast for 10 minutes (a 6:30 pace which is kick butt fast for me) and then do a slow jog for a 1/4 mile then run another 10 minutes at the same really fast pace followed by a collapse and twitching as people either mock us or call 911. So far, we've only been able to accomplish the two 10s once. We did manage to do two 7s at this pace.
Today i was not feeling in my top form. It is a result of going against the good running angel on my right shoulder which said "get the chicken sandwich." Instead I went with the rebellious running angel on my left shoulder that said "mmm...the chili cheeseburger looks fabulous..." Suffice it to say that my energy level was not stellar this morning.
After the first 10, we were both ready to collapse so we walked for a few minutes and then slowly built back up to a decent run. 2 miles before the end of the run we decided we'd just run at what our ideal race pace will be which is 7:13. It was much easier than 6:30, but I was still beat when I arrived home.
I've been strategizing my race for next week. The bus leaves the park at 5:30 am to go to the start 14 miles up the canyon. The temperature at the beginning of the race will be in the 40s-low 50s, but by the finish we should be in the 70s. I've been thinking about what time I deserve to wake up so that I can get something to eat and then have something else light while on the bus to the race.
Either direction, I am glad that the race is finally here. The hotel we are staying at is only two blocks from the finish line so I can go back to the hotel and collapse if needed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gel Anyone

I stopped by the running store where I got my recent shoes to pick up a new pair of shorts and some gels for the upcoming marathon. I was examining a pair of shorts when a salesperson approached. I explained that I was looking for a pair of shorts with a pocket or two that could hold a gel or two for the race. I guess I triggered something, because what I got felt like something out of Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

The salesman said that instead of putting gels in a pocket, he pins them to the waistband of his running shorts. I thought this an interesting way of carrying them, but the idea of having them pinned outside of my shorts and flapping around while I run seems a little odd. I told him this and he paused with an odd look. This was one of "I never thought of this idea" coupled with a "obviously an amateur runner" look. He explained that he doesn't pin them to the outside, but instead pins them to the inside. When he needs one he just grabs it an the safety pin allows him to tear it while it is still pinned on. He demonstrates the ripping maneuver.

I was a little taken back by the maneuver and thought maybe he's be offering me some of his invisible Gel. Ferris Bueller moment... I'm a little distracted by this thought and wondering how I could possibly run, reach down the front of my shorts, grab a gel, rip it and take it all without tripping. I doubt I have it in me.

The salesman then informs me that I get to be careful where I pin the gels because the movement and friction can rip the gel while running and then there is a big mess. I think that is an understatement. I can see it now. I'm running along. It's now mile 9 and all of a sudden I'm starting to feel something creeping down my leg. It's a slight tickling sensation almost like a bug of grass or something lightly tickling the skin. I reach down to brush it off only to feel something wet. First thought–I'm bleeding. I look at it and it's not blood. I examine the contents further only to discover that it is one of my gel packets that has leaked out and down my leg. Miles 9-26 would be ones filled with horror, embarrassment and resignation over the whole incident. All I'd be thinking about is how soon can I hit the shower and what does Gel mixed with sweat smell like and what color is dripping down my leg. I doubt I'd be buying the marathon photo from the course.

I took his advice with the nod of understanding and chose the shorts with the pockets.
No leaking gels for never know what advice is waiting at the local running store.

Friday, September 4, 2009

New Book Friday

I have discovered a whole new selection of books that I never knew existed. I'm an avid reader. I'm on the library's preferred donor list. I keep asking them if I can just put down like $50 every January to cover late fees. Whatever is left over at the end of the year, they can keep. I have been turned down every year. Our local library isn't as large as some of the other neighboring cities, but it has definitely improved in the time I have lived here (coincidence that after I move in they decide to expand the library. I could probably have a wing dedicated by now)?

So the first book on the list is:
Is Your Dog Gay? by Charles Kreloff, Patty Brown, Victoria Roberts
This is not really a question that has kept me up at night. Maybe I'm a bit old fashioned, but I just figured the dog was straight and that was it. Now that i've read this title I'm beginning to think that maybe we have bit to do with it. I remember having more than one pet that I attached a boy name to only to find out it was a girl and then switch the name. I probably contributed to my pet's sexual preference. This could be a really good book. When I eventually get another dog, I will for sure pick this one up.

Next up:

Do-It-Yourself Coffins: For Pets and People by Dale Power and Jeffrey Snyder
Another book of high value for me. I am a person and we currently have a cat. We have had various goldfish and a gerbil who have all been buried somewhere along our property. This book may have been handy to have. I think I would refrain from building my own coffin although maybe it could save me a few bucks and my surviving family could use the extra cash for a really big party. It didn't get very good reviews so I think I will pass.


Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification by Julian Montague
I wonder if Julian spent some time as a homeless person? Here's an excerpt from the book listing:
Working in the naturalist's tradition, the photographs depict the diversity of the phenomenon and carry a surprising emotional charge; readers inevitably begin to see these carts as human, at times poignant in their abandoned, decrepit state, hilariously incapacitated, or ingeniously co-opted. The result is at once rigorous and absurd, enabling the layperson to identify and classify their own cart spottings based on the situation in which they were found.

I'm in the mountain west and out here we don't go out of our way to look for abandoned shopping carts.
This is definitely something that has me intrigued. Is it a growing problem in the East? I haven't seen any 20/20 specials. I haven't heard of any Senate bills designed to use my dollars to track down wild shopping carts. Does anyone have experience with this issue? Anyone been out running and come across a shopping cart? If so, were you able to identify it?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

WRIGHTSOCK Challenge Wrap Up

I finished the WRIGHTSOCK Challenge last night with a end of challenge conference call. Thank you to Runner's Lounge for giving me the opportunity to participate and a BIG THANK YOU to Tom and Pam at WRIGHTSOCK for providing the socks. I learned a lot about my sock preferences and how important they are for me as a runner.

I felt that I gave these socks a great test. They ran through short runs, long runs, hill training, speed training, wind, rain, mud, weeds, more weeds and everything in between. A few of the runs I finished expecting to have a blister or two and then to my pleasant surprise finding out that I was blister free.

There wasn't a single pair of socks that I really disliked out of the 6 pair I was sent. A few I will save for cooler weather or when I wear a different shoe, but in all they are great.

I'm not at a dilemma in my running. My running socks originally mingled with my day to day socks, but now my running socks are beginning to take over the sock drawer. Likewise the drawer that holds my running clothes is also at max capacity. I've got to either sort through the drawers and thin out my selections or I get to free up space elsewhere for my running clothes.

In other news, I decided to start my slow taper toward the marathon in 2 weeks. Originally I planned only a two week taper, but my desire to do anymore speedwork or hill work has completely gone out the window since last Saturday's run. I plan on just taking it easy, doing some shorter maintenance runs and then being in top shape for the marathon.

Tonight is the start of college football and I'll be going back and forth between watching the Utah game and participating in the live draft for the Half-Fast fantasy football league.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

No Chocolate Milk?!

In April as part of the swag that given out at the Salt Lake City Marathon were coupons for a free pint of chocolate milk. I love chocolate milk. The coupon has been hanging up on a bulletin board in my kitchen all this time. Last night, the wife suggested we go for a walk and redeem the coupon. She walks on a regular basis but goes to either the gym or her work. It was a cool night and the kids were in bed so I changed into some shoes and shorts and headed out with her.

The grocery store is exactly 2.5 miles from our home (we ran to it and back that morning) so I was eagerly anticipating the chocolate milk. We arrived at the store, walked right to the back and picked up a pint of chocolate milk. It was about 10:30 pm and there was no waiting at any of the lines. We walked up to the cashier, handed him the coupon and the milk and anticipated that we'd be out the door. I had that smug i've got a coupon for a free item on my face. The coupon knocked 30 cents off the price, but didn't give it to me for free. The cashier looked at it and rang it luck. He got his manager to come over. She looked at it, rang it up and same thing...balance due of 90 cents. After a minute we compared the coupon and discovered that I had grabbed the wrong brand.

So, having my running shoes on, I jogged back to the dairy and looked for a pint of Cream o Weber Chocolate Milk. To my horror, the store doesn't carry any of their products. I walked back to the cashier deflated knowing that my reward for walking to the store was crushed. Even the store manager felt bad...

You might be thinking...why not just go to another store? Well, you see the coupon expiration date was Aug. 31, 2009...

As I was posting this, I thought I'd look for a photo on the company website. Turns out, the convenience store 1/4 mile from my house carried Cream o Weber.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Those are the words that were uttered out of my mouth after a 20 mile trail run today. Make no mistake, I knew I would be feeling it because i've run part of this route before. There are some pretty steep inclines that the only way up is to powerwalk. We had a better knowledge of the trail this time so we avoided some of the really steep inclines. By mile 15 though I just wanted to lay down and die. I took a gel at that point and it took me to within 2 miles of the end and then I really just wanted to die.
We made it to the cars and we actually finished about 15 minutes sooner than I thought, but man was it grueling.

This is the last really long run until the race. Next week is 15, then 10 then we taper and I am looking forward to that.

I am still wearing the WRIGHTSocks and they have performed well. I thought for sure that I would end up with blisters after the various rocks and awkward running patterns, but to my surprise my feet made it through unscathed. I wore the SLR style. I've got say that these socks have held up nicely.

I am scheduled to mow the lawn today, but I think I'll hire the kid down the street. I just don't have it in me...

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Raving Lunatic Friday

It's finally happened. I've hit that point in my training where my days when I am running are blurring together. I can't remember if I ran hills yesterday or this morning. I'm getting the impression that my life right now is becoming like a multiple choice question on the many tests I took in school.

I'm tired today because:
a. I didn't get enough sleep last night
b. I'm running way too much
c. I'm not eating enough _______
d. Aliens are secretly taking me at night and doing experiments

My legs hurt because:
a. I'm running too much
b. I'm not running enough
c. I'm running and I should be lounging in front of the tv

My attitude toward my upcoming marathon is:
a. Excited
b. Nervous
c. Looking forward to being able to kick butt on the course and prove to myself that I am getting faster
d. Really don't care...just make the pain go away

My day to day clothing...
a. is slowing being pushed out of the drawer/closet to make room for more running gear
b. has virtually disappeared and is being replaced by running clothes
c. consists of name brand articles like mizuno, asics, brooks, pearl izumi

My kids enjoy my running because:
a. They can now run faster than me when leaving the store after a 20 mile run because I'm doing good to even be standing
b. When I get home from a long run they can basically get away with anything because I am too tired to follow up
c. They get bribed to join me in my running

My wife doesn't go to the grocery store with me now because:
a. I'm too slow of a shopper
b. I don't follow the normal shopping pattern that the evil store owners have set up in order to guide people into buying the most expensive items
c. Because I have to evaluate the carb/protein/calorie ration on everything I buy
d. I can't resist picking up a powerade on the way out....and oh and look they have a new clif bar flavor...

The list goes on and on...notice there is no selection of "all of the above"'s like my physics have to decide which one is "most right". I hated physics...guess that's why I'm a designer and not an architect.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Out of Gas

Almost 4 weeks until the Top of Utah Marathon. We've done all the 20s we're going to do, but we are working to build up our speed. After some consultation with a few running groups and store owners we've come up with a pretty good strategy. It involves lots of fast running and lots of hills. Today was the begging of our new training routine for the next 3 weeks to see if we can shave some time off our pace.

2-3 times a week

First 3 miles: steady run slower than we usually do
Next 10 minutes: Kick butt faster than I ever thought I could run (30 seconds per mile faster than our goal race pace)
Next 2 minutes: slow jog
Next 10 minutes: repeat above
Next 2 minutes: slow jog
Next 10 minutes: Drag my butt through another set and hope to survive
Rest of the run: walk crawl and drag myself home.

1 time a week: Hills....yeah like that's going to take a whole lot of effort. I walk out my door and there are hills. There are two hills that runners in the area call "suicide hill" and "hill of death". I run them regularly so why am I going to go out of my way to concentrate on them? Oh yeah, this little thing called a marathon I'm doing....I should have taken up Super Mario Galaxy instead. Oh, the kids in the neighborhood call where I live "death hill" just so you can compare.

My running partner was so inspired by this new routine. I just stared at him blankly and said "we're doing intervals?" He wondered why I would have such an unimpressed attitude about it. After today's run, he knows.

We'll see what it brings, but I am seriously out of gas today and we only went 10 miles with a stop at a local school to use the bathroom (man I'm glad school is back in session).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Seattle Breast Cancer 3-Day Lend Your Support for My Sis-in-Law

Several months ago, my sister in law felt called to join the Seattle Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk.
She's done a tremendous job at training for this. I used to think that my 10-15 mile runs would take forever. I then looked at her training schedule and she is regularly WALKING 6-10 miles to train for this event. It's not race walking, it's just walking.

It is 20 miles each day for 3 days.

In addition, she is committed to raising $2,500 for this event.

Here's my pitch. Take a moment, go to her link, read why she is doing this and then donate to the cause.


Welcome to the Seattle Breast Cancer 3-Day:

Posted using ShareThis

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekend Vacation and a Stupid Treadmill

This weekend my wife and I were invited to come be part of the staff for a marriage and commitment seminar. We attended the course several years ago and since the seminar was so close to our anniversary we opted to celebrate our Anniversary by being on the staff.
I normally bring my laptop with me on vacation so in case an emergency arises (aka there is nothing on TV worth watching) I can still stay in touch. But, I showed my wife that I was totally committed and left it at home. I did bring along my blackberry and I only had to call home once to walk my son through the process of sending a pdf to a client. I'd say I did pretty well.

On Friday morning, we got up and headed to the fitness center. I thought about just hitting one of the paved bike/run trails, but again this was an opportunity to be with the wife and the fringe benefits involved with keeping her happy were worth being indoors. Even though this hotel was nice, their fitness room seriously lacked.

I stepped on the treadmill and hit start planning on increasing the speed until I felt that I was at a good pace. The point of this run, was to just loosen up the limbs and remind my body that it does this sort of stuff on a regular basis. The treadmill starts and I hear this groaning creaking sound as if the bearings haven't been used in a long time or the team of hamsters running the machine haven't been fed lately. The increasing the speed was rather bland then the wife suggested I run one of the pre-programed training options. It's been a while since I did Intervals on the treadmill and I thought it would be interesting to see where I am at now compared to winter.

Have you ever noticed that on a lot of the machines, they don't actually tell you the speed. You can't type in that want to run intervals at a 7:00 pace and then a 9:00 jog? have to type in a number that has no correlation to your actual speed. On some machines I type in '6' and it's all I can do to say upright. On others, I'm hitting that same mark at '9' or '10'. After some messing around, I found that '8' gave me a pace that was faster than what I normally run. That is where I set the max speed to and hit start.

It started at a 3.5 and I'm thinking that this is just a little walking to get the muscles stretch a little. The display showed peaks and where I was in the process. The first peek was coming closer and closer and I was still at a 3.5. All of the sudden it peaks to '8' and I about lose my footing. I get into a rhythm and the display shows that I am done with the peak. I was expecting it to drop to maybe a 6.5 or 7, but it dropped back to 3.5. I find myself walking again. This wasn't working. I manually bumped the speed up to 6.5 and then it went to 8 when the peak came. At the end of the peak, it dropped back down to 3.5. I bumped it back up again. After 20 minutes and 3 miles I hit stop, kicked the machine and told my wife I was heading to the room to shower. She was having issues with the "all in one" weight machine and gladly followed me up.

I'm thinking about writing my local congressman to see if he can get some legislation in the works to standardize the numbering on all treadmill machines or maybe they can include a spot in the upcoming healthcare legislation that requires treadmill companies to post their number equivalent on the machine so that I know what the heck a '6' or an '8' are.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Running Photos: Where would I keep a camera?

I've been pondering over a comment I saw on another blog about running a first marathon. One bit of advice given was to enjoy the run, take pictures, talk with other runners, etc. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I thought the point was to get in, get it done, get the food, get the medal, feel the joy/agony of finishing, not walking faster than your average snail for two days after the race, etc.. In all my reading of Runner's World, reviewing blogs, speaking with fellow runners, etc. I have not come across this bit of advice. I did wonder how people could get photos a long the course, but figured they found someone they knew and got a few quick shots off. Now, I'm beginning to wonder if I've missed the boat.

Should I rush out and buy a small little digital camera or recorder? Yes, the performance anxiety is setting in. The little voice in the back of my head that says "what if everyone has camera's and video cameras and you don't? You'll stand out and people will point." It is an irrational fear, but one that has been troubling me for days. I have no idea where I would store a little device like that. It's not like my running shorts have pockets (ok, a couple pair that I got at ShopKo for like $3 on clearance do, but I don't race in them) and even if they did, where would I keep a camera? I've heard of women who have stuffed various items down their bras, but it doesn't transfer over to a guy stuffing something down his shorts. I pray I don't ever experience seeing it either.

I talked to my wife about the idea and she said she'd take some photos of me and others as we pass by. Unfortunately, the track record of her getting any photos of me at races this year has been dismal. Maybe I'll just find someone at the end of the race who brought their camera and I'll give them $10 to send me their photos, then I'll just photoshop me into them.

That sounds like a much better plan.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

23 miles and The CoolMesh WRIGHTSock

In continuing with my marathon training and WRIGHTSock wear testing, I ran 23.25 miles yesterday wearing the WRIGHTSock CoolMesh running sock. This sock was thinner than the Running II that I tested earlier in the week. One thing I immeditely noticed was that this sock didn't have the ribbing in the middle of the sock like the Running II did. I actually missed that feature. I liked the feeling of the compression that the other pair has. Other than that, the sock was smooth and comfortable.

A cold front moved into the area on Friday night dropping temperatures about 20 degrees from normal. Saturday morning, I got up at 5:00 am to temperatures in the low 50s. That is really cool for this time of the year when the low 70s is typical. The sky was overcast, the wind was blowing and we weren't sure if we could get the full mileage in.
We went about 4 miles up, stopped, stretched out a little and evaluated the weather. I told my friend that if we didn't do the full run today it would be two weeks before we could do it, but I also would have no guilty feelings about returning home and going back to bed (the jury is still out on whether I made the best decision or not). The weather looked like it was clearing up and the wind had shifted so we chose to continue on. At mile 12, I was exhausted. We stopped at a gas station along the way, used the facilities, chatted with the clerk a little and picked up a granola bar. I thought maybe something with a little texture would be better than the typical gels and gatorade/water combination. I should have gone with the cake donut. It probably would have done about as much for me as the granola bar (which is nothing), but it would have tasted better.

I brought some new Gel along for this run. I picked up some when I bought my new shoes. One difference in this gel was that it had 4 grams of protein. The texture was similar to other gels, but it was also thicker. I bought both the caffeinated and non-caffeinated versions. I took the one with caffeine about mile 12. 42 mg of Caffeine went raging into my already tired system. So, now I am a jazzed tired runner and the wind shifted to be in our face. Turning back meant running up a 3% incline for 6 miles which wasn't an option so we kept going. We got to mile 18, passed the golf course and there was a little burst of confidence in that there was only 5 miles left. We could do 5 more miles. The weather held out for another 2 before it started to rain and drop in temperature. With 1 1/2 miles left a lady (obviously a runner also) stopped and asked how we were holding up and if we deserved a ride. If we had been 5 miles out, I would have been singing praises to her name forever. With 1 1/2 left, we couldn't stop now. It would be like running a 23 mile marathon and claiming we did 26—NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! The block before my house, I parted company with my neighbor and ran/walked up the hill to my place.*

I took off my shoes to evaluate my foot condition. My feet held up really well. I thought I ended up with one or two small blisters, but it turned out to just be where my skin had wrinkled up a little after 3 miles of slogging though the rain. Zero blisters for the run. That puts the WRIGHTSocks at 2 for 2 on non-blister runs. I like the feel of the Running II pair more than the CoolMesh. I don't have sweaty feet to start with so I have never really seen a big difference in coolmesh vs regular running socks. I'm definitely sold on these new socks.

This upcoming week, school starts for the kids. I get to readjust my running schedule because the kid will all be getting up at 6:30 to be ready for school at 8. I may switch my running to a later start time or evenings. I'm glad we got this final long run in. We'll start tapering off toward our September race now.

*Here's another reason why I love my wife: She heard me coming in and had the kids get me a peanut butter sandwich ready and a hot bath going. I could have done the cold bath thing, but I figure I was already soaked and shivering there wasn't much a cold bath would do for me.

Running Shoes Aside

Today is my 14th wedding anniversary. I can't think of another person who I would have liked to have spent this time with. My wife and I met originally in 5th grade. She moved into the house up the hill from us and we ended up in elementary school together. Our friendship was casual throughout all our years. We have photos of us with friends at various events throughout high school, but we never dated. We reconnected at our 5 year High School Reunion and started dating. When she arrived on the doorstep to my college apartment in the middle of a February blizzard (she had to drive through one of the worst canyons in the U.S. to get to me and followed a snowplow most of the way) I knew she and I were connected. When I dated other girls I would be comparing them to her, when we walked and were together everything "just fit".

We start a new phase in our marriage this year with her returning to school to finish her degree. The kids are all settled into school and old enough to not need the constant parental supervision that little ones require. She's going to do awesome.

We are going to be staffing a couple's seminar this upcoming Thurs-Sat so we kept this weekend rather low-key. We saw The Time Traveler's Wife on Friday and Julie and Julia on Saturday. Both movies were perfect for an anniversary weekend. I enjoyed both movies for different reasons.

I'm excited to see what we create in our life. We definitely have learned a lot during our time and I love her more now that I did when we were first married. Thank You Shera for 14 fabulous years. I Love You.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Are these the WRIGHT Socks for me?

The Runner's Lounge sent out a request for all interested runners to take the WRIGHT Sock challenge for the month of August. The challenge is pretty straightforward. They send me socks, I run in them multiple times, blog about them, give my feedback and I get to keep the socks. Even if they only sent me one pair of socks, I'd be willing to do this challenge, but they sent six pair.

The challenge officially started August 4, but because of the some shipping issues, mine didn't come until yesterday afternoon. I sat on my couch last night reviewing the various styles they supplied. One thing that WRIGHT socks claim is to have a blister free guarantee on some of their pair. They've basically taken two running socks and put them together so there is less friction on the feet because the two layers rub against each other.

This morning we opted to do an 11 mile downhill course. We started at the summit of a nearby canyon about 8600 feet elevation and wound our way down to the mouth of the canyon. I've been interested to see how all my hill training would work on a continual decline. I'm still moving so all the work must be paying off. The next step will be to figure out how to get my pace up without killing myself in the process.

I took a fresh pair of socks out of the package. This pair was a blister free pair and it seemed to live up to its name. After 11 miles there are no blisters to be found. One item to note is that they have some stabilizing material right in the middle of the foot. When I put them on a first they felt a little odd, but once my shoes were on I never noticed it. My socks stayed in place, but that also could be attributed to the fact that they are new. We'll see how they perform after a few runs and several washings.

Next planned run: 23 miles on Saturday...then we start to taper...wahoo!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I've still got five weeks left....I'm ready for it to be over.

Last Saturday, the group I run with was doing a very straight no-nonsense 17 miles. Although I had only planned on doing 10, I opted to do the full 17. There were only three of us that turned out for the run and I'm glad I did the full set. We had a cold front that moved into the area on Thursday night, so Saturday morning the weather was in the 50s (a record low for this time of the year). It was cool enough that I threw on my running jacket.
Saturday afternoon everything hurt. My knees hurt, my ankle hurt, my heel hurt, my head hurt. I got up, got my son off to scout camp this morning and did a quick 3 miles—surprisingly. Last night I was ready to bag this whole marathon training and just sign up for a few half marathons coming up. I've got five weeks to go until the race and at least one more twenty miler. I'm definitely hitting that slump. Maybe I can find a little 5 or 10K that will be my boost to keep me motivated until race day.

Also, a quick shout out to Jess at 21 days (see link to the right). She's having a girl today. Congratulations!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Jillian've ruined my day

I'm a fringe nutritional eater. I'm neither extremely nuts when it comes to my nutrition nor am I completely on the couch potato, eat everything in sight eater. Thanks to Jillian Michaels book on Metabolism I am being pushed into the extremely nuts category.
It all started earlier in the week during an innocent trip to Costco. We stopped by to pick up some a few items and turn over the paycheck to them (like I've ever been able to leave Costco without spending less than $100...) as usual. We passed by the DVD and book section and the next thing I know my wife is putting in the Jillian Michaels book. I should have instantly recognized the impending doom to my nutritional standards. I felt a twinge in the stomach area, a dryness in the mouth and a craving for a pint of Ben and Jerry's. I would have been able to distinguish this sensation, but I was too distracted by the samples of chicken enchiladas that they had out.
Last night that all came to a screeching halt. I was innocently reading a book when my wife sat down next to me and started reading passages from the book. She sat in front of me so there was no way I could escape. I knew I was doomed. The next thing I know she is telling me about all the rotten awful horrible things in food. I followed along and silently prayed that maybe, just maybe a meteor would strike and we would have to leave the scene and this book would be consumed. Alas, no meteor. Instead, she got one of the kids to bring down the box of Corn Flakes so she could show me the many evils contained in that box. Yep, I'm doomed.
This morning as I took out the trash, she brought the almost full box of Corn Flakes and threw them away. There is no stopping this boulder now. I'll be checking for labels that contain words like "High Fructose Corn Syrup" and "Partially Hydrogenated" and "BHT"....the list is endless. Jillian've ruined my day.
It couldn't come at a worse time either. We're heading to the county fair tonight. I was looking forward to tasting the deep fried twinkie or even the deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Instead, I'll probably end up with a wheat grass smoothie.

And my socks still haven't come......

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sock Watch

According to the WRIGHTSOCK challenge, I was supposed to get my socks so I could officially start wearing them and give my official opinion as I wear them during this month. Alas, my mailbox is empty. I am as anxious as a kid on Christmas Eve. The mail comes around 11:00 am during the week. At 10:58 am I'm looking out the window to see if he has come yet. At 11:02 am if I haven't seen the mail come yet, I'll send one of the kids out to check to see if the mail has come. I have to be careful though because if they catch on that I'm really just using them to see if my package came, I'll never hear the end of it.

Tomorrow I am off to get a new pair of shoes to put into the rotation. There is nothing that goes better with new shoes, than new socks.

If the socks don't come tomorrow, I may end up frozen in place unable to move forward. I'll just be stuck in my running gear, holding my new shoes in my hand standing next to the mailbox with a glazed over zombie look to my face. It'll probably scare the neighbor kids.

Oh, did you hear. Kara Goucher kicked some major trash on Sunday. Her time was 1:08:05.

20 miles with a side of sprinklers

The skies were dark outside as we drove to our starting point on the Saturday run. This was the day I had been anticipating and dreading at the same time. The night before I dug through the "socks without a buddy" basket in the laundry room looking for my lucky pair of socks. I laid out my shorts and top next to my shoes and socks by the side of the bed knowing that at 5:00 am I wouldn't be too conscious of what I was doing. It was better to be prepared than end up halfway through the run realizing that either I had forgotten an essential item or that I had grabbed something of my wife's.
We pulled off to the side of the road, stretched out the hamstrings a little and off we went. The plan was to do 18 with a possible 2 at the end. We both knew that there was no way we'd stop at 18. It was 20 or nothing.
The nice thing about running that early is that there is little traffic on the road and generally no other runners. The other runners we saw were as loaded down with their fuel belts with water/gatorade as we were. The course we mapped out was a gradual decline of about 1% for the first 6 miles then flat with minor ups and downs until about 16 and then there was a couple hills we got to master. That's the hard thing about living at the top of the hill in a higher elevation area—it's all hills. There is no need for me to plan in a hill workout. Every day is a hill workout.
At mile 5 we came across the Hearts 66 station. I got the impression that their station gets visited often by runners because they didn't even blink when we came in and headed straight for the restroom.
The rest of the run was pretty uneventful. It was nice being on a different route and then connecting to routes we've visited in the past. Miles 10,11,12,13 passed by in a blur. Mile 14,15 I was starting to feel like I had added a pound or two extra to my weight. Mile 16 came along and I was cussing the fact that I live in a hilly area. At mile 17 we were given a bit of relief in that we passed a school with the sprinklers on....blessed relief. I've never been so excited to see sprinklers in my life. The mile 17 sprinkler got me to mile 19 when the miracle happened—sprinkler #2 turned on just as we were rounding the bend. Hallelujah!!
Upon arriving back home I turned on the outside sprinklers and just stood under them. The kids came out and told me they had started my ice bath for me (I have trained them well).
At the end of the day, we took on 20.74 miles...I have broken the 20 mile barrier with 6 weeks before the race. This week is all about taking it a little easier. I only have 3 runs planned and none go over 8 miles. We've got two more long long runs until taper time....

Friday, July 31, 2009


I am anxiously awaiting my WRIGHTSOCKs. Thanks the Runner's Lounge for the opportunity to test out some socks for the month of August. It's like Christmas in August...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

16 excruciating miles

2 weeks ago I ran 14 and had a great experience running through the weeds, roads, golf course, back of people's yards, etc. My knees felt good after the run and I was excited for 16 today. I'm glad I am getting up earlier to run because I didn't check the alarm to make sure the "weekend cancel" setting was off. I woke up in a panic at 5:30 thinking I had missed the run. Good thing I packed all my gear the night before.

The route for today connected to a trail I had run previously under the shadow of the mountain. It was overcast and cool (a first in over a month) at 6:00 am. There were only 4 of us running. One lady was only doing 10-11 while the other 3 of us were doing the full 16. About 3 miles into the run, the trail veered off in a few directions so we chose one that looked the most promising. Turned out also to be the most hilly and grueling. The weather gave us a break and even rained on us a little. But those hills were not fun. I have discovered that there comes a point in any trail run uphill where power walking is faster and more productive than running. There were several of those hills.

We finally got reconnected with the main hill and turns out we had gone more up into the foothills. The good news was that the first two miles back were mainly downhill. The switchbacks were tricky to maneuver, but I only lost my footing once and luckily didn't go over the edge. It gave me just enough pause to wonder how I would get out if I fell and broke something.

The end of 16 couldn't come soon enough. When it was all said and done, it took us just under 3 hours at about a 11:00 min/mile pace. A normal long run and we'd be at 9 so you can see it was a tough run.

One thing I have noticed after my long runs is that I can't get enough to eat and my energy levels are in the toilet all day. I get to figure that one out.

I took a picture of my shoes so you can see what shape they are in after today's run. My socks may not come clean.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Over the river....and through the weeds

I took up running with a buddy of mine down the street. We've been prepping for the Top of Utah Marathon and lately i've been wondering why I am going through all this torturous training. 2 weeks ago, we opted to go south on a favorite trail of ours. It's a popular biking/running paved trail that goes for miles and miles. The ultimate goal is to connect the major cities along the river and have over 100 miles of trail. We discovered that our trail south wasn't as well developed as we thought.
2 miles into the trail, it disappeared and we were running onto gravel, then weeds, then the street. We kept going then ran into a marker for the trail continuation. A mile after that, the trail became part of the golf course, then it disappeared. All in all the 14 mile run included a golf course, a gravel path, paved trail, pavement through a neighborhood and weeds as high as my waist. I'm still pulling stickers out of my shoes.

So, why am I putting myself through all of this just so I can say I've run a marathon? I've obviously lost a few major brain cells along the way somewhere because the thought of running 26.2 miles is daunting. Tomorrow calls for a 16 mile trail run with small hills...small hills! I run hills every my area there are no other choices and the group run organizer chose hills? Glutton for punishment.

This morning as my friend and I are pounding out a quick 4 miles, he starts telling me about hotel options for the race in September. He then goes on to tell me that he's reserved two rooms for us...i'm like, what the #$#$@@! He just laughs at me because he knows I'll do the race, it's the mid training slump I go through. Now that I have a hotel room, I guess I get to suck it up and do the race...dang!

Hey, the good news lately is that the Runner's Lounge sent out an e-mail asking for volunteers to test some Wright Socks and blog about them. Free stuff? Sign me up! I look forward to posting my reviews coming up in August.

I'll have a 16 mile run recap after the weekend is up and I'm able to walk again. Oh, the wife has painting scheduled for tomorrow post run. Nothing like standing on a ladder with a paint roller after a 16 mile run... have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What started as a great run week has quickly deteriorated

Last Saturday I went all out and did 14 miles. It was an awesome run. We started at 6:00 am because we are now in the heat of summer and it's unbearable to be out in the middle of it. The 14 miles were fabulous. It got me excited for the September marathon. Someone asked me if I was going to run in the SLC Deseret News 24th of July marathon and I actually paused. No, I have desire to see if I could do 26.2 when my longest run thus far has been 15.

This week started out fabulous. I took Monday off because my schedule was just too packed to put in 2 hours. Tuesday I did 8 1/2. It felt great. The schedule was to run this morning, then my running buddy texted me last night to tell me he had a 6:30 meeting and wouldn't be able to make it. I planned on going this morning for a short 5 miles with my iPod and a casual pace. Instead, last night we went to Home Depot to get the trim for my office and didn't get home until later. Then the wife still had some points left on the week for her Weight Watchers so a trip to McDonalds for ice cream happened at 11:00. The post McDonalds vegging in front of the tv went until 1:30 am...get the picture. My morning run didn't happen. Tomorrow I'll get in 5 then Saturday maybe 8. I guess this week is my off week.

On the good side of this...the wife's work is hosting a Harry Potter showing on Saturday. Free Movie!!!