Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year's Day Half-Marathon

A few weeks ago, I was mulling over my race plans for the next year and wondering why there wasn't anything more than 5K or 10K's until March. Then the heavens opened and I received a tip via Facebook about a New Years Day Half-Marathon. I checked it out and sent in my check for $15.

It's the first time the event has been held and they are going "bare-bones" this year just to get the word out and cover the cost of the finisher medal. There won't be any official race timing and no aid stations, although they have convinced the city to open restrooms and turn on the drinking fountains at various parks along the course.

On the flip-side to this is the massive snow storm that is occurring as I type. This will be followed by arctic air on Friday and Saturday. Race time temperature will be somewhere around 12 degrees...making for a cold race. My wife told me the other day that she would normally be at the finish to cheer me on, but that this time she's going to pass and she'll be at home with hot chocolate when I come home.

I'm wondering if my choice in races needs some adjustment. I do have cold-weather gear and I go out regularly in the cold, but not when it is that cold.

Despite the weather conditions, I'm excited to be running something more than the 6-10 miles i've been doing on my long runs lately. I also sent in my money so I'm not starting 2011 off by paying for a DNS. I planned on ramping up my training starting in January so this is a perfect start...if I don't freeze.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Great Shot Blok Experiment: Granola Bars

What better gift than a homemade one? My mother always told me that it was the "thought" that counts not how well it looked or tasted. I think that was her kind way of saying that I should never go into a food related field of study.

My Shot Blok Experiments would probably fall under that category in her mind, but as a runner I consider it a worthy challenge. Besides, what else would I be doing during the winter...?

Homemade Granola Bars (Take 2)
I say take two because I attempted these before with a "chewy" granola bar recipe. I followed the recipe meticulously, yet they could have chiseled down used as shrapnel.

I did another search and came across yet another "chewy" granola bar recipe. The author of this recipe raved about the "chewiness" of this recipe and how they were the "favorite" in her family. I took this as a hopeful sign.

In one bowl I measured out my ingredients.

On a separate cutting board I took out several Shot Bloks.
Interesting note. Shot bloks are much easier to cut into small pieces when they are fresh out of the package. I had a few that had been in a half-opened package that were very hard. 

Also, the recipe called for mixed nuts, chocolate chips and dried fruit. The Shot Bloks became the dried fruit (Crann-Razz flavor). I was out of nuts of any kind except for some Jerk flavored peanuts. I stuck them in a strainer and rinsed them until the water ran clear in an effort to eliminate the Jerk Flavor. They only had a small aftertaste left...I figure that was ok.

I scattered the Shot Bloks throughout the mix and mixed all the ingredients together paying special note to get the Shot Bloks coated so they wouldn't clump together.
After mixing all the dry ingredients, I added Peanut Butter, Corn Syrup and a little water. Then I pressed the mixture into a well-greased baking pan.

The finished result after cooling was this. The dark bits in the granola bar are a combination of chocolate chips and Shot Bloks. The final test came after allowing them to cool. Would I be scheduling a dentist appointment or offering them out to my friends at races? 
My children were noticeably absent when they saw me pull out the Shot Bloks. I guess they have had enough with being the first to taste them.

The Jerk seasoning combined with peanut butter offers an interesting flavor combination. Probably not something I would recommend. The Shot Bloks are still chewy and compliments the chocolate chips that are scattered throughout.

They texture is significantly more chewy that previous efforts, but they do harden up when refrigerated.

I'm going to call this latest experiment a success.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Emergency Morning

"I was this close (holding thumb and finger close together) to have to call 911." The 911 call would have gone something like this...

911: 911 what's your emergency? (Maybe they don't say this...i've never called)
Me: Yes...I've got an emergency....(almost in tears and breathing rapidly)...I've.. run out of Ho...ot Choc...olate...
911: We're dispatching a team right now. Do you prefer the Swiss Miss with mini-marshmallows or Regular?
Me: (breathing more regularly now)...marsh..mallows...thank you

OR

If this were an OnStar moment it would go something like this:

My phone: Ring, buzz, ring buzz, ring
Me: wondering what the ringing and buzzing is and thinking it's my ears again...oh wait, it's my cell phone.
Me: (breathing shallow and rapidly)..he..ell..ooo....
Onstar: Mr. Hawkes
Me: u...u....I th..ink...you have...oh wait, yeah..that..'sme..not..my dad...
Onstar: We noticed that you're Hot Chocolate emergency supply has run out...is everything ok?
Me: um...you're Onstar and you're calling me about my hot cocoa?
Onstar: Yes sir, it was the optional feature you signed up for last year that you've paying $19.95 extra per month to get....
Me: Wow....well, ok. Yeah my hot cocoa.stash.ran.out.and.its.snowed.and.I.went.to restockanditsall OUT!
Onstar: We've called the Albertsons delivery service and they're on the way. Do you want me to stay on the line with you?
Me: No..I'll be ok..I hear the doorbell now...thank you...


This totally took me by surprise. I knew we were out of the regular supply, but I thought the emergency supply was still in place safely behind the "In Case of Emergency" glass. Costco was out. They didn't even have the crappy Sugar-free junk**

I ran 4 miles yesterday and figured we'd make it through until the weekend.

It was a cold winter's night. Yesterday, the temperature hit 53 degree and I got a good four miles in. Today,  we received 2 inches of snow. It was definitely time to get the Cocoa going for a cold morning after clearing the walks. I went to the garage to get the cocoa and .......

THE EMERGENCY SUPPLY WAS GONE

Good thing we had some Alpine Cider or there would have been a full-on panic.

***It's hot chocolate. Sugar-free? Like no-sugar is really going to make a difference. It's not a health food drink. Like my doctor is going to say, "eat more vegetables and lay off the hot cocoa." It's kind of a no-brainer...hot chocolate is not a V8. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reasons to be Thankful

I could have posted this on Thanksgiving but I was too busy stuffing my face enjoying the company of family and an opportunity to relax and gear up for Black Friday shopping.

Do Intervals Pay Off?
ABSOLUTELY. 4 weeks ago I signed up for the local Turkey Trot that someone in our family has run since it started 3 years ago. Last year I was sidelined with an injury and then added a kidney stone to the mix. This was my year to PR in a 5K. The only way I was going to do that was to get faster. I took to the local rec center for a one to two day a week interval or tempo run. The Saturday leading up to the race, the running store that created the race (and who I run with on a regular basis) held a pre-race run to see the course. A few of us showed up and did an easy run to see the course and then 3 of us took off and did one more lap at as close to a race pace as we dared. I finished pretty close to what my previous PR time was which meant that with a little adrenaline a new PR was in sight.

The Saturday before the race, the weather topped out at 40 degrees for the day. The day of the race, the weather topped out a 19 degrees for the day. At 7:30 am as I headed to the start, the temperature was 8 degrees. By race start we had warmed up to a roasting 10 degrees. Needless to say, it was cold, my fingers couldn't decide whether to stay frozen or thaw which meant they hurt the whole race. I had a hard time breathing in such cold weather. I didn't look at my Garmin until 100 yards before the finish. I finished my race in 21:43 which put me a little more than 20 seconds faster than my previous time. I'll take it. I ended up 4th in my age group, 27th overall (out of 700 registered) and a new PR. A great way to start Thanksgiving. Thank you intervals even though I still don't like you much.

Does Turkey Taste Better After a New PR?
ABSOLUTELY. We chose to avoid the cooking, cleaning and just go to the local Chuck A Rama for dinner. We waited for an hour to get into the buffet, but after getting a new PR, I was in such a great mood that waiting in the cold didn't bother me.

Is Watching a Movie on my New TV More Enjoyable After a New PR?
ABSOLUTELY. Setting a new PR makes the world a much better place. So does a Sony 40" LCD tv.

Thanksgiving was fabulous. It would still have been great even if I hadn't hit a new PR, but it definitely made it that much sweeter. Spending time with family and friends, eating good food and getting a tip on where I can pick up on some high quality bathroom and kitchen fixtures for cheap, is what matters. I am now shifting my focus a little to tone up, do some core strengthening and decide what my goals are for 2011. One idea is to do 3 marathons, at least 3 relays and a variety of 5k-half-marathons with a sprinkle of two races I get to direct.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Run Down

With the weather in the low 40s I decided it was time to break out the winter gear and go for a mid-afternoon run while there was a break in the storm. The run itself was uneventful 7.5 miles, but it did feel good to get outside for a longer mid-week run. I'll hit the track tomorrow for some speedwork as I prep for the Thanksgiving Day 5K. I'm looking forward to a new 5K PR. With my relay 5K being in the 23 minute range, my PR of 22:02 is within sight. Getting a PR will mean I am close to my pre-injury strength. I also need to get something better for my head during the cold runs. I generally have a wool blend cap that I wear, but by mid-run my head is boiling while my ears stay cold. I'm thinking one of those ear wraps.

One thing i've noticed is that after a run of more than 5 miles, I am utterly exhausted. I get home from the run and fix myself a recovery drink that has a good protein/carb mix then I shower. After getting dressed I will generally have something light to eat like a hamburger with fries sandwich or a couple nutrition bars and then a regular meal a few hours later. It doesn't seem to matter what goes in, my body is determined to mark the energy tank as empty.

Does anyone else have this problem? I find it difficult to focus on the rest of the day when my body is screaming sleep. Maybe my post-run nutrition is off.

Monday, November 8, 2010

You Know You're a Runner When...

You know you're a runner when . . . you speed up at the sight of a Honeybucket. 

All I can say about my run on Saturday is that for all my complaining and grumbling about all the construction that is going on (seriously, the interstate, the major state rode that goes up by my house, the section of one of my favorite trails, etc..) I was extremely grateful for the abundance of the Honeybuckets.

What have I become? Many years before I started running, I would never believe that I would be writing a blog post praising the Honeybucket brand. It has become a standard at races. It has become a convenient and somewhat cramped changing facility on overnight relays. It saved me a potential embarrassing moment on Saturday's run.

My pre-run routine got thrown off Saturday when I got to drop my wife off to a meeting before meeting up for the run. I was fortunate enough to remember my Garmin and my iPod, but forgot to handle business.

So that's the story. I'm moving into the winter maintenance. I have a 5K coming up on Thanksgiving that I hope to break my 5K PR and end the season with a new PR. The weather last week was in the 60s and this week we're expecting snow. Good thing I got the snowblower prepped for winter and moved from the shed to the garage. I plan on doing more running outside this winter so I'll be out looking for some good deals on winter gear.

Yeah, this post has definitely hit an all-time low in content for this blog.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Runner 4 of 12 Aching Up to Vegas

The weekend's Las Vegas Ragnar could be summed up into the following:

  • A long stretch of incredible anticipation
  • The runs
  • Wet dreams
  • Ultimate climax...finally!
I'm sure the search engines will love this.

A Long Stretch of Anticipation
Several months ago, a friend invited me to join his Ragnar team after several other members dropped out. I wasn't going to let another Ragnar opportunity pass me by so I immediately, announced it to the family, put it on the calendar in big bold letters, hired a marketing company to remind family and co-workers regularly, burned it into my lawn accepted the invitation. After my utter failure at the SoJo marathon, I needed something to get the desire back. I needed time with fellow running enthusiasts who wouldn't roll their eyes at another running story, who knew the value of carbo-loading, that didn't mind a little sweat on the car seats. I needed a relay! Last Thursday, we loaded up the van and headed to Mesquite.

The race started in the Valley of Fire. Staying in Mesquite offered us a cheap place to stay and a decent buffet. The hotel was definitely cheap, but a new coat of paint had been slapped on the walls and the room seemed relatively clean. The buffet was surprisingly good. There was a fresh pasta bar where a cook prepared the desired toppings on the spot. Combined with some decent protein options, a little fresh fruit and dessert, the buffet was a good choice for the night before. Our team was "Aching up to Vegas."

The Runs
We chose which leg we would run at a pre-race meeting we held two months ago. I chose to be runner #4 which meant I ran a 6.4 (52:46/8:17 pace), 3.1 (23:09/7:28 pace), 6.9 (55:27/8:03 pace) mile legs during the course of the race. My goal was to be under 8:00 on each leg that I ran and to see if I could get under 7:30 for the 3.1 mile leg at night. It worked out to be pretty close to that.

We couldn't have asked for better weather. The skies were overcast with highs in the low to upper 60s the entire race. The course was very easy to follow during the day and more difficult to follow at night. 

My second leg was at 10:30 pm in the dark. The course was probably really easy to follow during the day, but at night it was extremely difficult. After the initial turn, there were no makers on the road and no one to follow. I passed one person and asked if we were headed the right direction. He shrugged and said "I hope so..." I continued on until finally I came upon a sign telling me to turn. 

In order to fully appreciate
this photo, you must click
the link to the right.
Again, the directions were a little sketchy, but I made it to the trail portion and found a good strong rhythm. At the end of the trail was a 4 foot drop. I'm glad I had studied the course beforehand and was away of the drop or it could have been a disaster for me. I celebrated my outstanding run with a Jack in the Box Sirloin burger combo....I attribute this and my secret Mundungus training strategy to my last leg of the race and 29 "road kills".

Wet Dreams**
During the course of the runs, we all experienced the wet dream portion of our race. After we all finished our second leg, we passed off the baton to van #2 and then drove to where they would meet us. We had approximately 6 hours before they arrived which would allow us time to get to the exchange point and hopefully get some sleep. We parked, found a nice patch of grass, put down our tarp and crawled in our sleeping bags. I remember warming up, starting to drift off and then all of a sudden I hear a noise and people shouting "SPRINKLERS".... I grabbed my gear dragged it down the hill to a non-sprinkler spot, crawled into my bag again only to hear "SPRINKLERS"... the lower set now were on. At this point, I'm wet, my gear is wet and i'm now settled onto the cold, hard cement. A few minutes later, Annie from our van told us we could sleep in the little community center if we had gotten wet. I knew it had to be better than the cement. The volunteers in the center were nice and loud, but there wasn't much sleep to be had.

The Ultimate Climax...Finally!
Being van #1, we finished our last leg several hours before the other van was ready to meet us so we could cross the finish line together. We made our way to our hotel, got showered, picked up some food and had time for a short nap before meeting our team at the finish. It was an awesome experience to run through the finish together and receive our finisher medals. And talk about a medal...this monster is bigger than any other finisher medal I have "...it's got it's own solar system!"***

* Road kills are runners that team members pass during the course of the relay. 
** If you're looking for something more–you perv.
*** Name that quote and maybe i'll send you a ShotBlok snack. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Runner's World New Marketing Strategy-Repaying the Bailout Plan One Subscriber at a Time

Last night as I was having a conversation with myself about ways to avoid working out pondering my new training regimen that I started yesterday, my iPhone ping'ed. The sound meant that I had received a new e-mail which at the time of day meant  only thing....either an invitation to increase my manhood, a nigerian businessman who has chosen me to assist in the rescue of his cash, or a solicitation to buy something. It was the latter and from Runner's World.

My subscription lapsed about a year ago and i've missed getting something in the mail that wasn't a bill, adding more photos of Kara Goucher to my wall the hard-hitting up-to-the-minute technological breakthroughs in running that only Runner's World offers. I opened the email and saw that they were offering a 12 month subscription for only $12. That seemed like a pretty decent deal so I clicked on the link and it took me to a sign up page that explained the offer. Even better, they were offering a 24 month version for $24. If I wanted the 12-month option, I had to pay an additional $3.95 for shipping charges. Looking for the deal, I opted for the 24-month value plan.

I contentedly skipped through the ads and additional offers and got to the checkout. I clicked on the "bill me later" option. It processed the order, came back with a confirmation code and a pseudo invoice saying that they would bill me for $39.64!! WOW! The world came to a screeching halt at that moment. I examined it a little closer to see the neat little "*" sign which in the marketing world signifies "we've just screwed you and here's where you get to go find out why."

Clicking on the link takes me to a new screen that tells me that my state requires Rodale to charge sales tax. Being the bright mathematician that I am I called my kids down to solve this  I ran the numbers and discovered that Rodale tacked on 60.5% sales tax to my order! That is some fine marketing! I haven't been swindled that good since I was newly married and we bought a Geo Metro from a slick-talking used car salesperson. I haven't seen numbers that smooth since reading up on how the bailout plan would be repaid or how the healthcare bill will actually save me money. I've got to hand it to Rodale and give them the Slick Salesperson Salute for today.

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Fall/Winter Training Plan

With the marathon finished, I'm at a crossroads. I would like to redeem myself from my poor outing at the SoJo Marathon by running an upcoming marathon in Mesquite, NV late November. On the other hand, a part of me would rather just sit back let fall/winter pass by and not think about running or training.
Alas, I'm opting to choose door number one and add in some cross training to a running regimen. I dusted off the P90X dvd collection that I bought last winter and inserted the Ab Ripper X dvd this morning. I had a long conversation with myself before pressing play. It went something like this...

Self:"ok, we've got to build our core back to the superhuman level is was at, right"

Self 2: "Right!" (Notice the enthusiasm)

Self: "Good. The best way to do that is via the P90X system."

Self 2: "Wait...whoa..hold on a sec. When I agreed with you, I meant we should take some time to look at our options, maybe get a second opinion. We should definitely go to lunch and discuss this."

Self: "I get the our relationship with the P90X system is the same as when we go to the dentist to get a new crown. We hate the process, but like the results."

Self 2: "Ok, I agree with you on that, but what are we going to start with? Can we start with the X Stretch or maybe just the last part of the Yoga X where we get to do corpse pose? We should ease into this."

Self: "We're starting with Ab Ripper X..."

Self 2: "NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

Self: "Stop your whining. You got us into this position. Now I have to get us out." (notice how good my ego's are at blaming each other? That took years of developing.)

Then I proceeded to hit play. At the time of this writing, the pain from the 300+ ab exercises hasn't hit yet. There will be a whole new level of blaming that will go on tomorrow as I go running. Maybe we should have gone to lunch first to develop the plan...too late now.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

SoJo Marathon–The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Remember how i've been debating whether to do this marathon or stick with the half? On Monday, I decided to go for it and sign up for the full marathon. I did 14 miles on Saturday and felt really good. I was a bit concerned going into the race that maybe the fact that my training has been spotty since the first of August would be a factor. Hmm....when will I learn? I should have brought my Twinkies.

The race. The race begins in a small township called Copperton, Utah. It is town that was created because of the Kennecot Copper mine. The mine is one of the few things on earth that can be seen from space and is a very active mine still. The race directors sent out many pleas to runners to take the busses up because the town just can't accommodate a lot of traffic. Everyone headed the words so I'm sure that next year we'll start there again. There were some bus and other minor snafu's and some runners didn't even start until 30 minutes after the gun. I was on one of the first buses and had no problem.

The course was a lot downhill and proved to be my doom. I wanted to hit a 8:00 pace and score a big PR for the marathon. Looking back, I would have been better in the 8:30-9:00 pace. The downhill portions I was consistently at a 7:45 pace which was way too fast. The result? By mile 13, I was spent...

The remainder of the 13 miles were pure Hell. I knew it was going to be interesting when by mile nine my calves and shins were burning. I couldn't keep a solid pace and even had to walk...a lot. I finished the race with a 4:35 time. An hour off of what I wanted and 45 minutes off my PR time.

The course was good, the aid stations were plentiful and the traffic control was really good. The food at the finish was good and there was sufficient. Some races that have 5k's and half marathons run out of food. They were well-stocked. I also got a free massage at the end of the course and that made my aching calves feel really good.

For a first time race, I'll give this a solid B+. Will I sign up for it next year, absolutely. Will it be the full marathon? Ask me next week.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

World Renowned Athlete's Training Tips

A friend sent me this link as I prepare for the Ragnar Las Vegas race in October. It has some great tips on energy and endurance. He's revolutionizing the industry.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Coming Up...

Has it really been two weeks since I last logged on and wrote anything? Lately, it's been hard just to get out the door and go for a run. My work has been extremely busy which has led to many late nights and many early mornings. Running has kept me sane. Missing the marathon took the wind out of my sails. All of that is changing though.

This week I'll have 4 solid running days by the time it is finished. In addition, there is a community 5K on Friday evening. The course goes right by my home so if I collapse they won't have to drag me too far to drop me on my lawn.

On the 25th, there is the SoJo marathon. It's the first year, but it looks really well organized. Saturday is a 14 mile run. It's been almost a month since I've put in that distance and it will determine whether I will do the marathon or stick with the half.

In October, however I will be participating in the Las Vegas Ragnar Relay. I am very excited for this. Two of the people in the relay participated in the Epic Relay in August. Another person is a good friend who I run with regularly. It will be a fun race with great people.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Words to the Person who Cut off the Person who Caused the 6 Car Pile Up

The Pocatello Marathon is tomorrow and I won't be there.

Yesterday morning, my wife was involved in a 6-car pile-up thanks to a person who cut off the person 3 cars in front of my wife. She stopped in time, but the 3 cars behind her didn't.

I am grateful that she is ok. My wife and I grew up in the same neighborhood for a few years, lost touch in High School, met up again at our High School Reunion (the only one i've been to) and just celebrated 15 years of marriage. She's banged up, but will be ok. In speaking with her this morning, she wasn't comfortable being here banged up with the kids and me being 4 hours away. She's more important than the marathon.

There is a marathon in two weeks just a short twenty minutes from here. It starts at the Kennecot Copper mines which happens to be one of the few locations that can be seen from space. Maybe they can get the International Space Station to give us some words before the race...that'd be cool.

Alas, our van wasn't so lucky and I don't know if it will recover.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Running the Gap Marathon

It's finally come. The marathon that I signed up for in the spring is this Saturday. It's turned into a family event. My father and Aunt are doing the 10k, my sister and her husband are doing the half-marathon and I'm doing the marathon.

When I signed up for the race, I had grand plans of possibly getting qualified for Boston with this race. Today, I just want it to be over and to be faster than my previous marathon time of 3:49. I have no plans for a BQ with this race. In fact, my training over the past 3 weeks has been dismal with my miles for the week barely hitting double digits.

I have a whole list of excuses why I haven't been running...weather, school starting for my kids, work, etc. but it really comes down to a lack of commitment. I want the results, but haven't been willing to put in the effort to get the efforts. I make some grand plans to put in 5-6 day a week runs only to throw it out the window.

I'm hoping that finishing the race will give me that boost to train for something more. I'd like to get another marathon in during the fall. I've wondered if I planned my race too far out. Should I have done one sooner? I'm considering signing up for a Spring marathon for next year instead of doing all the half's again.

My goals for the race:
1. Finish
2. Finish under 3:49
3. Finish without ever walking any of the course

I'll let you know Monday how this went...have a great weekend.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Continuing the Clif ShotBLOKS Experiments

I'm back in business! What? You didn't know I was ever out of business?

Technically I wasn't, but my selection of ShotBLOKS was dwindling to warning levels. I was dreading the day when I would have to resort to actually purchasing mine to continue my efforts to utilize ShotBLOKs in every day living. The very thought kept me awake at night made me pause. It was like one of those "If you had to escape your home in a rush, what would you take with you?" moments. If I had to stop my efforts to become rich and famous work on inventing new uses for these, what would I create?

Thankfully, the Clif company has come to my rescue. They have never seen such a strange use of their product seen the value in my efforts. When I arrived home on Wednesday after taking my wife away for an anniversary celebration I was given a package. I eagerly opened the package and peered inside. The heavens parted and light descended upon the contents of the package. There was no note, no invoice, no collections notice, just a rectangular box. I pulled out the box to behold a fresh case of Clif Cran-Razz ShotBLOKS. My request had been answered.

A little more than a week ago, I sent off a request to Clif requesting new supplies for my creations. It was via their "contact us" form on their website, so I had no idea if a live person even saw them. Apparently the fine people at Clif got my response and have restocked me enough to continue my work.

What next? Here are some ideas on the list.


  1. Granola Bars-I attempted these ones before with limited success. I think I have figured out how to truly pull this one off.
  2. A simple waffle/pancake syrup
  3. A syrup that be added to drinks
  4. Ice cream?? Would you buy a pint of Clif Cran-Razz Recovery Ice Cream? 
I'm open to additional suggestions...feel free to post a comment.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Epic Relay Recap

Epic Relay
Van 1 prior to race start. Notice the fresh looks
on everyone's faces.
Last weekend I spent a glorious Friday and Saturday running with a group of crazies like me like-minded individuals in a 195 mile run from Logan, UT to Jackson Hole, WY. I've never participated in a relay, but all the people are doing them now so I figured why not. I missed out on Ragnar, but when I heard that a few of my fellow Saturday run group members were organizing a team for Epic, I jumped at the chance.

30 hours later with an 9:05 average pace we arrived
in Jackson, WY.
You know you're a
Redneck when....
Friday at 6:30 am Van 1 of team "Remember the Tetons" met for the 2 hour drive to Logan. We started our race at 9:55 am. We were team 34 out of 50 teams. The race was a blast, the scenery was nice, but the company was outstanding. We were pushing for the "best decorated" van, but in the end we were beat out by a van that had a giant blow up monkey attached to the back door. Our team has already started making plans for next year...picture a float traveling down the highway with the Tetons on them with an occasional runner popping out of it...yessir...best looking van 2011...take that monkey team.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This Weekend Will Be Epic

Cache-Teton Race
Tomorrow....6:30 am I leave for my race. 2 vans, 12 people, lots of Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches and plenty of water. Tomorrow is the beginning of the Cache-Teton Epic Relay. We'll cross through several states during the relay and end in Jackson, WY. I'm sure some of you were beginning to wonder if i'd hung up the running shoes and instead was focusing solely on my ShotBlok research program. Not the case my friends. I'm teaming up with some of the people from my Saturday running group for this relay. I missed the Ragnar because of some family commitments, but this one is locked in and ready to go. We're planning on staying the night in Jackson rather than tackling the 5 hour drive back home after finishing the relay. I'm runner #5. The course map describes my three legs as very hard, mild and very hard. My ability to walk may be described as very difficult after the race, but I do have my recovery socks packed so maybe  it won't be bad.

More ShotBloks Please
My supply of ShotBloks is getting lower and lower. My kids asked what I'll do if I run out. Will I still work on creating bizarre food items new and inventive ShotBlok recipes or will I stop. The answer to that problem lies solely on the Clif company. I've sent off my request for additional samples of ShotBloks so that I may continue my journey. I'm sure the fine folks there will see the value and untapped market. If I run out, I may be forced to stand on the WalMart corner with a sign saying "Will Work For Accept ShotBlok Donations."

Upcoming ShotBlok Post
I'm know you're anxiously anticipating my next ShotBlok post. Stay tuned. Coming up...ShotBlok granola bars with a chocolate Cran-Razz ShotBlok topping. I've almost perfected the recipe and if the past two recipes didn't get your mouth watering, these will. I've been snacking on the not-so-perfect trials and i've even got the stamp of approval from a product taster one of my kids friends. This one takes my creating to a whole new level. Maybe I'll box some up and send them to the Clif people as an incentive to send me more.


Have a great weekend everyone....


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Great ShotBlok Experiment: Filled Cupcakes

"Chef Blaine, tell us about your dish.." The Chairman says as my dishes are laid out before him and the panel of judges.

I respond, "My inspiration for these dishes comes from running. Runners are passionate about what they do so I wanted to bring that passion into their every day life. I call this first dish, 'Cran-Razz Filled Cupcakes.'" A collective murmur of appreciation overcomes the studio audience. The judges look appreciative at the mini cake presented before them.

"Dad, did Grandma really drop you on your head when you were a baby?" My daughter asks after I finish my intro to our latest experiment.

With my resounding success with the ShotBlok suckers have inspired me to bigger and better uses. I've had mixed reviews in my experimenting. My youngest daughter thinks I'm really weird, but is more than willing to assist me in my efforts. Those who know me well, just shake their head and remind themselves never to drop their kids on their heads. Others have told me that they "train with their Shotbloks."

My response to that. Where's the adventure in that? Training with them? But what about all those times you aren't running? If they are good enough to get you from mile 10 to mile 15 then wouldn't they also be good enough to get you through that 3:00 p.m. slump that hits? Wouldn't they be the thing that keep you awake after 12 long hours of driving?

I think a not so moist
cake mix would be better
With newfound genius passion in place, my next step is to see what happens when ShotBloks combine with other ingredients. Visions of a Top Chef Quick Fire Challenge come to my mind or maybe even an Iron Chef America episode with a tribute to all things running. The secret ingredient is "Cran-Razz Shot Bloks." With the time ticking away, I grabbed my packages of ShotBloks and headed to the kitchen.

Mmmmm...homemade GU
Todays experiment with ShotBloks is to see if I can turn them into a filling for cupcakes. I picked up a cake mix from the store the other day with some frosting. They diligently sat on my kitchen counter for almost a week with a sad little "why are you ignoring us" expression while I was busy surfing the web, running,  working. Finally, my guilt overpowered me and in a moment of downtime between projects, I tore into the box I delegated the messy work to my lovely assistant.

While she worked on the cake mix counting the seconds it said on the box while mixing the cake, I worked on the filling. I had two ideas: 1. See if a whole ShotBlock would melt into the cupcake as it cooked. Or 2. Create a thinner filling that would spread out more in the cupcake.

Creamy Chewy center
According to my assistant, I was only allowed to mess with use three cupcakes as my test and NOT the blue wrapper ones (her favorite color.) The first test was to see what a full blok would do. Unfortunately, the blok was so large that it just sank to the bottom of the cupcake while cooking.

The second batch I melted the ShotBlok with some water to create a syrup consistancy, added a little flour and then added that to the second batch of cupcake batter. The second batch turned out better. It still sank to the bottom, but it dispersed more so you do get the impression of it being a filling. The filling is lighter and less chewy than the big Blok. I'll call that a minor success.

So, I probably would have won on originality and taste for the Iron Chef competition, but lost in presentation. Makes me wonder...what would ShotBlok ice cream taste like? Hmm...a scoop of Wild Cherry sounds good right now. Wonder how you'd make that.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The GreatShot Block Experiment

Remember my box of ShotBloks? I've been debating what to do with them. Some of them will go with me on my relay next week. The rest? The corner of WalMart is still an option. I was pondering on them the other day and I was struck by lightening, by a car, by a 10 year old on a bicycle inspiration. What if I used the ShotBloks as an ingredient in making something else? I ran this idea by the household committee and got mixed responses ranging from rolling eyes, shaking head, laughing hysterically or just a "you're weird" comment. I felt this was a definite go ahead response.

Thus is born The Great ShotBloks Experiment.
Here's how the
ShotBloks look like in the wild.

The Plan:
Utilizing a package of ShotBloks, I will create various creations. Currently, my ideas tend to the edible kind, but I am open to the idea of some sort of commercial use.

1. Suckers
2. Home made granola bar with cut up ShotBloks added
3. A surprise filling to cupcakes or brownies
4. Pancake syrup
5. Added to chocolate for a glaze over something.
6. Use ShotBlocks instead of Chocolate Chips
Thick goopy mess

I'm rather excited about this idea. Who knows, maybe I'll get some sponsorships out of this.

For My First Act
For those of you who haven't tried these, they are rather chewy like a gummy bear. This morning as I fixed breakfast I wondered how long it would take a ShotBlock to melt in the microwave. It takes about 7-8 seconds for it to melt and start boiling. After it had cooled a little I was able to pry it out of the bowl and taste it. The edges had gotten crisp, while the center still was chewy. This fueled the inspiration. Could I get the Shotbloks to melt and keep it in a syrup form. I used my 7th grade Home Ec knowledge to work and added a little water to my next ShotBloks. It took two 5 second bursts and a 7 second burst to completely dissolve the ShotBloks. 2 additional squares later and I had a thick syrup.

Sucker and triangle shape
I don't have any sucker molds so I dug through the cookie cutters to find something that would hold the syrup. Voila! I came across a triangle shaped object. I think it is actually part of a pumpkin carving kit. Perfect. Once I had poured it into the shape I then created a semi-round circle just on the wax paper and added a couple toothpicks.

It was so tasty my girls were
fighting over it. Who can resist a nice
chewy sucker. 
I let them cool for a period of time and then stuck them in the freezer. They are really sticky and they stuck to the wax paper. With a little work, I was able to pry them away from the wax paper.


Conclusion:
ShotBloks have a high sugar content and melt well. I think this is a great beginning. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'm Hungry...Where's a Cow When I Need One

"I'm so hungry I could eat a cow. If one wandered into my yard, it would be like a scene from a vampire movie." Those were my words Friday night. It didn't matter that I had had 2 recovery drinks, plenty of water, 2 big bowls of homemade chicken noodle soup, some birthday cake and ice cream and a steak chimichanga—I was withering on the vine. My body was craving more protein. This happens to me every time I have a long run over 10 miles and then it just gets incrementally more demanding the longer the distance. Friday's run put my body into full fledged protein binge mode.

I planned my route on Thursday so I could get my run in on Friday. I had a meeting at 8:30 am on Saturday morning and there was no way I was getting up to go run at 4:00 am although after Friday's run at 5:00 am I am considering the possibility of more runs at that time. My route called for 22.4 miles. I designed a course that would take me from my home to my parents home. They don't live 22 miles away, but with some creative mapping, I was able to get a route that would give me that distance.

Thursday night I put everything out where I could get to it. I stuck my hydration bottles in the freezer–one with Powerade and one with water. The Garmin and iPod were on the counter next to the hydration pack which contained a couple gels, a Larabar and some Shotblocks. I put a copy of the map of the route on the counter for my wife and gave her an estimated time to pick me up or recover my body in case I didn't show up in a reasonable amount of time.

The alarm went off at 4:20 am and surprisingly I was wide awake and ready to go. I fixed 1/2 PBJ sandwich and a super concentrated Instant Breakfast drink that has a good carb/protein mix. I was out the door by 5:00 am and on the road. My route took me away from the cities for the first 12 miles. I was hoping to average a 9 minute pace. I encountered a few road construction areas that caused me to detour, but for the most part I stayed on pace. At mile 13 I hit the hill...why I chose this hill is a mystery. I think I thought that after I got the hill conquered it would be a downhill stretch the rest of the way. The hill was quite a bit steeper than I thought it would be and by the time I was at the top, my energy was spent.

Miles 16-20 were a blur. The sun was up by then and starting to warm up. I was in the city and the traffic was distracting. At mile 22 I realized I was nowhere near the end of my run. The detours had added mileage to my plan. I stumbled into my parent's yard at 23.5 miles. My long run was over–I don't have another one before the marathon.

I threw on the recovery socks when I arrived home and spent the rest of the day doing work, assisting with my daughter's birthday party and EATING. Any cow that might wander into our yard today has about a 50/50 chance of surviving.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Friday's Run

It's been a good running week for me. I've been able to get in 3 runs with one of them being an interval session. My thigh has been sore, but nothing serious. I've snacked on a few of my shot blocks, but I'm going to save for them for the Epic Relay in a couple weeks. I'm sure I'll have plenty of leftovers for the art sculpture that I'll sell on the corner of WalMart. I'm hoping to get some inspiration on the relay. Maybe a bust of my runner physique.

Tomorrow I am doing my long run for the week. Saturday is packed from 8:00 am until late at night, so getting a long run in is next to impossible. So Friday will be a 22 mile run. It is going to be my last long run before the marathon in September. I'm booked in August on the weekends so I may be able to get a 15 mile run in before I taper, but nothing long. This is it.

I created a route that takes me from my home to my parent's home where hopefully my wife will be there waiting to give me a ride home. Or I'll be hocking shot blocks to pay for bus fare home.

Send some vibes my way if you read this...even if they are post run vibes they can count toward recovery.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pimpin' the Shot Blocks

"Hey Runner...want some cran-razz Shot Blocks?"
"No?"
"How 'bout some Tropical Punch or maybe even some Black Cherry?"
"I got what you need...just trust Blaine here, he'll hook you up.."

Yep, that was me at the Deseret News Marathon. I teamed up with Get Fit––a local running store–– to man the aid station at mile 16. My job was to stand about a hundred yards before the water table and hold out Shot Blocks to the runners. I was hustl'n the Shot Blocks. There were a total of 4 of us out there sweating it out, offering our wares to the runners as they passed by. The only thing missing was my white suit and cadillac.

The elite runner men passed by without a glance. The elite women came by and I knew the girl in third place. She's run in the Renaissance Academy race that I put on every year. She's super nice and way fast. She ended up taking second place. Of course she was so focused on the course that she didn't recognize me...maybe it was because of my rico suave style of passing out the Shot Blocks. We were working to get a sign put together so one of the little kids working with us could dance with the sign attracting the runners to us.

The experience of volunteering for a big race like that was fun. Getting up at 4:20 am so I could be out the door by 5:00 am was not fun. I did walk about with some fabulous parting gifts. I got a new Get Fit tech shirt and the grand prize...a box of Shot Blocks. I'm in Shot Block heaven right now. When we were cleaning up, we asked our crew chief what to do with the Shot Blocks (we had already decided to split it between the three of us, but felt it was worth mentioning.)

I'm thinking of ways to make these work in my favor. Some ideas I've considered.



• Going to the various WalMart's and returning them for in-store credit...combined with my tv fund, maybe it would put me over the top.
• Head to some popular running areas on Saturday morning armed with Shot Blocks and water and sell them to runners in the area...again possibly enough for my big screen tv.
• Horde them and see what the half-life shelf life is of a Shot Block. Will they go bad or just get better with time?
• Give them out as Halloween candy come October. I'm sure parents would appreciate the 50 mg of caffeine that is in the Tropical Punch flavor.
• Create a modern work of art and sell it on eBay...maybe making enough for my big screen tv.
• Combine them with old socks, belly button lint, a half used stick of body glide, old size 9 running shoes some other fabulous prizes and hold a giveaway.
• Put a sign up saying "Shot Blocks for Sell" and park myself at the local Wal-Mart next to the lady selling the Beagle puppies.

I'll have to spend some time pondering on what to do with my new found treasure trove.

Anyone have any ideas?

Until then, if you see someone standing on the street corner in a white suit with a cadillac (there is a guy down my street who owns one...maybe he'll let me borrow it) with Shot Blocks, you'll have to stop by. Blaine 'll make you a deal...

Friday, July 23, 2010

My Boat Has Come In

In the mail today, I received a free entry to the Cedar Canyon Half Marathon.  It looks like all my hard work, multiple race wins, Runner's World cover material efforts to get a free race has come has come in. Could it be that i've hit the big time? Is it possible that my half-marathon status has moved into the elite territory? Will I finally get my name printed on my race bib without me having to use a marker? Am I delusional?

That last question is correct. Back In April, as I was picking up my gear bag for the Salt Lake City Half Marathon there was a booth for the Cedar Canyon Half-Marathon and I know that I filled out my name and information on a card and turned it in. Maybe this will turn the tide on my contests. Adam is giving away a $40 gift card and Tricia is giving away a Go Lite hydration system. This could be all the Karma I need to get back on the "win" board.

Now, the downside to this is that the race is on September 18 and is a 4 hour drive. This normally wouldn't be a big deal, but I also have a marathon on September 4 and then a relay on September 11. My racing budget will be pretty lean at that point and my legs may not be functioning.

So for this year, I will have to pass on the FREE offer. Wonder what that will do to my Karma.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Six Feet Under

It's a sad day in running for me. A faithful companion has passed away. We started this running journey together over two years ago. It has been there for me in my highs of PR and my lows of 20 mile crappy runs. My earbuds have died.

I knew something was wrong last Saturday when I was finishing my 20 mile run. I noticed at mile 10 that I was having to turn the volume up really high to get enough sound. By mile 15 only one earbud was working. I actually thought maybe this was a good thing. After all, if I only have one working then I can still hear traffic or people commenting on my superior form saying hi when I pass them on the road. I could become a more polite runner because I could respond in kind.

This morning though, it all changed. I got about 1/4 mile from my house when the sound was cutting in and out. I thought maybe my McGyver fix from long ago was finally catching up with me and I had erased all my songs. I stopped to look it over and the display readout was fine, I could move through songs ok and it looked like they were playing fine. I had this sinking feeling that maybe my faithful blue earbuds had moved on to that great big iPod in the sky.

I finished my easy 4 miles, but it wasn't top form because I was preoccupied with the thoughts of whether the earbuds were truly dead or maybe they also needed a McGyver treatment to them and also thinking about what I could have done different to prevent this. I came home and plugged the iPod into the stereo and it played fine. I was stunned into silence for a moment then I told my daughter that my earbuds had stopped working. Her response? "Great Dad, now you can go get new ones for both of us because mine stopped working two days after I got them."

This younger generation has no respect.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Dinosaur, A 20 Mile Run, A Life Saved and A Toenail Lost

Remember how excited I was for my 20 mile run?

Friday afternoon
My wife and I signed up to give blood. In our area, there are a couple organizations that are authorized to draw blood. Generally, the Red Cross is the one that has come, but this time a different company came. I'm a proponent of giving blood and I'm a big fan of the snack table that they have for after giving blood. Most of the time, you can expect to see some snack crackers, a variety of juice and water and maybe some Oreos. This company, however, knew how to win my heart. There were chips, cookies, Oreos, multiple juice choices, Swedish fish, etc.. It was snack heaven.

As I wrapped up the blood draw, I'm given a pamphlet and the lady said to refrain from heavy lifting or exercise for the rest of the day. I asked her about Saturday and that I run. She laughed and said "As long as you're not planning on a marathon or a really long run, you should be ok." I laughed with her thinking "I'm ok, I'm just doing 20 miles." Looking back, maybe I should have seen that as a train wreck waiting to happen.

Saturday morning-5:15 am
If I'm going to get 20 miles in it's going take me about 3 hours at a easy pace which means I've got to beat the heat. The temp was scheduled to break 100 for the first time this summer. My run incorporates the trail that has haunted me since the last 20 mile run in March where we ran through a blizzard. I started closer to home so I wouldn't have to juggle side streets to get in the full 20. At 5:45 am, it is already in the low 70s outside. At 6:00 am I'm on my way.

By 6:30 am, I'm noticing that although I'm at my easy pace, it's a little more difficult than normal. I'm wondering if maybe it's the weather or possibly the blood giving from the previous day. I keep plugging along. At mile 4 I start on the trail. The first 4 miles is relatively flat and the next 6 are slightly downhill. At mile 9, I see three women running my direction. We know each other from previous races. They are all wearing race numbers, but they are casually running (they are usually the top finishers) so I'm wondering what race is happening. When I get to mile 10 at the turnaround there is a park filled with booths and police and lots of signs. It's a city festival with a 5K race. I get a quick drink, use the restroom and turn around. I've kept a pretty steady 8:30/mile pace.

The next mile and I start feeling the heat of the day. The sun comes out in full force by mile 13. At mile 14, I encountered the dinosaur. I don't know why I missed it before, but on the other side of the fence is a giant sculpted T-Rex. If it were real, I would have been a snack. I had nothing left in me to push may pace. By mile 15, I'm wondering if I'll even make it to mile 20. My stamina is not what it was two weeks ago when I did 17 miles with a 3 mile hike after...I'm beginning to realize that maybe giving a pint of blood the day before a run wasn't the best idea. My feet are starting to really hurt.

Between mile 15 and 16, I had to actually stop take some deep breaths and walk a little as I'm starting to feel a little dizzy (I'm plenty hydrated and my electrolytes were fine, it's just hot and the energy tank warning light has gone on). The last 4 miles was pure agony. I took off my shirt from miles 15-18 then put it back on for the last 2 as I ran through a residential neighborhood (I have an excellent runners tan and self-conscious about running without a shirt) and didn't want to scare any little kids that might be out. My pace has slowed to a jog with bursts of running. I made it back to car and my Garmin registered 19.8 miles...WHAT?!! I am not going to round up or go home with a 19.8 mile run...so I wandered around the parking lot so I could get the full 20. I would normally just pass my car then turn around and run back. I figure my time sucked so there was no point in pretending...end time was 3:33 minutes..

I made it home, laid in the sprinklers for a few minutes before going inside for a recovery/protein drink and a cold bath. I gave the recovery socks a good test and I'm a Huge fan. I wore them the rest of the day. That evening, I took off the socks and evaluated my feet. As expected, I had a blister on the same toe I always get, a few other rubbed areas and a toenail that has seen better days. You'll see by the photo which is which. I have yet to find a solution to the blister on that toe. I've done Body Glide, changed socks, changed shoes, worn a band aid...nothing works.

I'll give this weekend's long run a solid C. I got the run in which is important, but it wasn't pretty.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Here a Hill, There a Hill

Hill training in my neighborhood is not a problem. In fact, I struggle at times to find a run that doesn't involve hills. I live at the top of the hill which is actually the top of the top of many other hills. Many thousands of years ago, my hill was under water. A giant lake covered the land. Giant sea creatures swam in what has become my backyard and finding seashells in the area is a pretty common occurrence.
The other interesting fact is that because this was once a lake our whole area is built on sand.

Have you heard the "wise man, foolish man" story? If you haven't, in a nutshell the wise man built his house on the rock. The wise man had great construction and a man cave.  The foolish man built his on the sand, had a hallway that bows and wonders what the construction people were smoking when they built his home. Winds and rain came along and the foolish man lost his home, hadn't kept his home owner's insurance up to date to include flood insurance and consequently had to keep paying his mortgage on a home he no longer had....something like that....you get the picture. The wise man on the other hand, had calculated the annual rainfall in his area, built his home with a solid rock foundation and had a terraced yet gently sloping landscape that led the water away from his house. His weather monitoring device in his back yard kept him apprised of the conditions. Because he was prepared, he sat back enjoying the Cubs game on his 60" LCD HDTV with a frosty drink by his side and his wife making some fabulous Guacamole dip right before the 7th inning stretch.

Our house is on a hill, we don't have flood insurance because it would take a flood on the scale of Noah  to take out our home, but we do have earthquake insurance—thanks to the fault line that goes right across the mountains that we can see from our home.

With the Epic Relay approaching in a month, I felt it was time to actually run a hill workout rather than just have hills in my workout. When I told my kids the plan this morning, my oldest grinned–because he knows our neighborhood. Our street is nickname "suicide hill" because the kids like to ride bikes, skateboards, etc.. down it. With my plan in place I headed out. It's a completely different run when I am purposely looking for a variety of hills to run. I put in 4 miles of ups and downs that included some longer 1/2 mile climbs and some short 1/8-1/4 mile steep climbs. The short steep hills are all in my neighborhood so I ran them a few times after I had done the longer hills. I returned home a very sweaty and tired mess.

I'm glad I got out early because we'll be close to 100 degrees today. The mornings warm up fast. Saturday I am planning on my first 20 mile run since that blizzard run back in March. I am slightly tempted to run the same route just to show it who is boss. I get to map it out today. The good news is that there is no rain in the forecast.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Reward for a Job Well Done

I've been evaluating my training/reward ratio for my training and I think I've gone awry right on track. I've always been a firm believer in the concept of rewarding myself for a job well done. With my work, I set loosely followed goals to accomplish before I do my blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc. For my running, I'm following the same pattern. 

I have a chart with my training schedule for my September marathon. The first few weeks, I was very diligent and excited about checking off my runs. I was careful in having a good recovery drink with the proper carb to protein ratio, I made sure I was drinking a sufficient amount of water, etc. 

If I accomplished a good long run, I rewarded myself with a trip to local burger place—a great source of protein, carbs and sodium. 

I've done some tweaking to my schedule and thought I'd share it with everyone.

1-5 miles = chocolate cookie, bow of ice cream, brownie, etc. If all else fails, then a handful of chocolate chips will work. Of course this is after I have properly rehydrated, had a recovery drink.


6-10 miles = Stepping up from the previous list. Ice Cream is stepped up to Ben and Jerry's, Brownie is now a brownie sundae,  recovery food is now leftover pizza, generous helping of Dr. Pepper, etc..

Are you with me now?

11-15 miles = Wendy's or McDonald's. If the run is closer to 15 then it is perfectly acceptable to tack on a couple apple pies or maybe a hot fudge sundae.

16+ miles = favorite burger place (the wait is long, but the food is good), maybe taking the family, possible trip for pizza

I could reward myself with a bowl of granola or a nice juicy banana...yeah that sounds as exciting as sticking to a training schedule. After a while, it just gets old. Now, take that same granola, add a scoop of Cherry Garcia and now you've got something going. Take that banana and stick it in a pot of melted chocolate and you've got a reward worthy of the 5 mile run you just put in. If you're coming toward me with oatmeal, it better be wrapped up in cookie form or you can take it back.

It's all about rewarding yourself for a job well done.






Friday, July 9, 2010

Freedom Festival and 10K Freedom Run

In my family, I am the only runner. My wife has said she would "rather be drawn and quartered" than become a runner. Months ago her family decided it would be a "bonding" experience to participate in the 5K. My sister-in-law who works for one of the festival sponsors got us a pretty sweet discount. My wife put her feelings for running aside and signed up. I signed up for the 10K.


Packet Pick-up
Packet pick-up was on the 3rd of July. I was curious how the race shirt would fit after the diagram they supplied. The shirt wasn't too bad. A little short in the length, but overall surprisingly good. The additional race materials were mediocre, but I wasn't expecting much. They had a few vendors available, but the most interesting vendor was the Recovery Socks people. 
I've been interested in getting a pair for some time and at the urging of my wife I picked up a pair.



Race Day
Another 5:30 am morning. Did I mention how much I dislike mornings? This was a family event so everyone got to be up. I grabbed a gel just in case I needed a boost during the race. The family was all walking the 5K while I did the 10K. The starting points were at two different locations. My starting location was at the finish for both the 5K and 10K. I dropped the kids off at the finish and gave them instructions on where to meet at the end of the race. With over 4000 people running the race combined with spectators, I was a little nervous dropping them all off, but they did great.

The 10K started right on time. They had dividers for the various paces which made it much easier once the race began. I settled in at the back of the 7 min section. My plan was to maintain a 7:30-7:40 pace in the hopes of getting a new PR. While there were no sharp climbs like my last race, but there were still a few long uphill climbs. I felt stronger throughout the run. At mile 3, I turned onto the street where the Grand Parade following the race would be held. I came upon the rest of the family at their 1 1/2 mile mark and cheered them on. Coming into the last mile of the race, I still had the possibility of a PR...just a little more. The race turned onto the remaining incline and my energy level hit zero. Pulling into the finish, I saw my time of 46:12. Alas, no PR this day, but still a good race. My energy and stamina levels felt good. The rest of the family finished about 20 minutes later.

Following the morning festivities, we headed up to a family dinner and pool party—A nice finish to the weekend.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jam Packed Fourth Startin with a 17 mile run

The past fourth of July weekend was jam packed of adventure, intrigue, hair-raising and spine tingling moments. There was definitely some romance and mystery involved mixed in with a lot of sweat, heavy breathing and definitely some groaning. It would be a shame to cram all this information into one post, so this may be a two or three parter..there is a lot that occurred.

Holidays in our home have different events that take place. For instance, Memorial Day means weeding the gardens, mowing the lawn, making an annual trip to the cemetery where we will wander around for 20 minutes saying things like "I remember it was right by a tree" before we go and get a map. 
Christmas means we get up about 7:00 am with the kids (no way am I getting up at 3:00 am), lounging around the house until I get in the shower about noon and then maybe a family dinner or sledding.
Father's Day means I get to sit in my favorite chair and read a book while the kids and my wife cook dinner. 
Fourth of July: This is probably the busiest holidays in the year. I feel like we have got to get our money's worth out of this holiday. Just like shopping for the best deal on fireworks, it's a matter of importance to squeeze every ounce of juice out of this holiday. This fourth of July was no exception.

July 2-5:30 am
"I really really don't want to go running this morning...." I groan as I turn off the alarm and look down at my running clothes. I know I set them out last night as my reminder that I am running 17 miles this morning. I pull on the shorts, throw on the shirt, rummage through my myriad of running socks to find the "right pair" for the day. I get myself a peanut butter sandwich and a thinner mix of protein drink. By 6:00 am, I'm leaving the house. I've left a map of my run so in case I'm not back, my wife can direct the police on where to pick up my body. I really am looking forward to the run, I just don't like running in the morning..come to think of it, I don't like getting out of bed in the morning either.

The cool air of the morning was fantastic. By the second mile, I'm glad I got up and out the door. I hit a good groove and my pace stayed in the 8 min/mile to 8:30 min/mile. In order to avoid the road construction going on, my route looked like and EKG, but I enjoy going through new areas. There are a few hills during the course of my run with a long uphill climb at the end (that's what I get for living at the top of a hill).

I arrived home in time to refill my bottles, eat something quick and down another protein drink then we were off to meet my sister-in-law and her family for a hike up to Timponogos Cave (a popular attraction in the area). The hike is 1 1/2 miles each direction with a climb of 1,250 feet. At the end of the hike, my legs were definitely feeling like Jell-O.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Price of Giving Feedback

In the majority of the races I have run, I have given feedback on the experience to the race organizers. I have always felt like if the race was well put together, then the organizers should know that. Same if the course sucked or had problems. I focus on what went well, what didn't and keep it constructive vs slamming or name-calling.

I felt that I had done this effectively when I sent a note to the race organizer of my recent 10K. I listed about 5 areas that I felt were lacking. At the end of my e-mail, I mentioned that I am open to being a volunteer next year if they need people with running experience who can offer insights.
I received an e-mail back from the race organizer yesterday thanking me for my note and in a nutshell telling me that the race sucked because of poor volunteers and not all of them are passionate about running, etc...

At the end of the e-mail back, she told me that she has submitted my name to the city committee in charge of the city festival recommending me to be the race director for next year. Ummm....wasn't expecting that! I guess there is a price to pay for giving feedback. I'll know in August if I'm going to be the man-in-charge next year. If so, then that means that I'll be organizing a 5K for May (kids school) and then a 5/10k in June.

Open mouth, insert foot.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lehi Roundup 10K Race Report

I mentioned in my post the other day, the frustrating information I received in regard to the 10K. I debated whether to even run the race or just do a long run without a 10K race in the middle. In the end, I opted to run the race. Here's how it went.

5:30 am: Up and having breakfast. The 10K doesn't start until 7:15 am, but I want to run to the course (3.5 miles) as part of my mileage for the day. This way I can run down, do the 10K, run home and depending on my legs do an alternate longer run home to get 15 miles for the day.

6:10 am: Out the door and on my way. The route down is a gradual downhill so I purposely take it easy.

6:40 am: Meet up with my sister, brother-in-law, nephew and my dad who are all running the 5K.

7:00 am: The 5K starts. I take a few minutes to visit with the owner of Smoothie King who is always one of the sponsors for the 5K that I put together for my kids school. I find out that they didn't know about the race until last Saturday.

Start 7:15 am: The race starts on time and we're off.

mile 1-2: I look at my pace and see that I am going about a minute/mile faster than what I should be. I tone it down a little. There are plenty of inclines in this course so I know I need to conserve my energy especially since I will be visiting it again on the second lap.

mile 3 right before the finish/turnaround: I've passed my sister and dad and saw my brother-in-law on a cross street. Starting so fast was a bad idea and i'm starting to pay for it. The inclines suck, but I'm on the downhill slope. As I close in on the turnaround, I see that the course is short of a 5K by .1 miles.

mile 4: I have to walk for a few steps after that last incline to catch my breath. 1 more incline and then it's downhill to the finish. The police presence that was there for the first lap is no longer around. I get to watch out for cars now.

mile 5-finish: Those hills took it out of me. I know I am in the top 20 and I'm pretty sure that I will place in my age group. I'm not going to PR, but it won't be a Personal Worst. I look at my Garmin just before entering the finish and it shows 47 minutes and change. The finish clock shows 48. I'm puzzled by this because I was right on the start when they said "Go".

Post-race: The timing group usually gives a printout as runners finish that shows the finish time, place, age group, etc. Nothing was handed out this time. I have no idea where I placed. I got one of the last of the sample smoothies, a water bottle and a piece of bread. I see a few other people from the neighborhood and find out that they too were frustrated by the race organization. We wait around to find out when they are doing awards. I finally ask the volunteers and they tell us that they are only doing 1-3 of the top finishers in Youth, Adult and Senior categories and these were awarded as people finish. No age division awards. Also, there were no raffles for prizes like they have done in the past.

Results: I finished in 48:11 according to the race clock. This puts me in 12th overall for the men, 1st for my age group. No Age group awards this year! I feel that giving feedback on a race is important whether the race is good or bad. I sent off an e-mail to the race organizer giving my thoughts on the race. Next year, I will hold off on registering until I see more information regarding the race.

Next race: Freedom Festival 10K. This is a much bigger race. I don't know how many are registered for the 10k. It may be a crowded course.