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:

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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....