Saturday, April 30, 2011

My First Official Race Pacing Experience

This is a good example, kids, of why you shouldn't
drink and design a half marathon course.

Up until Friday morning, I was going to be at an aid station for the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon. I didn't want to run the course because it looked like a confusing maze and I get dizzy easy was short the money needed to sign up. My sister and her husband were running and I felt it would be great to be able to cheer them on.

I never was very good about matching.
Thursday night I received a message from a friend looking for pacers for the race. He had a 1:45, 2:10 and 2:30 finish time available. Having spent the week blaming my lack of running on my shins spent the week recovering, I needed to get a run in before attempting this. By the morning he only had 2:30 left and I would rather slit my wrists felt this pace was too slow for me to hold the whole time. I told him if he had a time closer to 2:00 I would be interested. When I finished my run, I had a message telling me there was a 2:05 open. I accepted.

The price was perfect–FREE! We met Friday night to register, go over some pacing tips and then where we'd meet the next day. Saturday morning, we woke to 2 inches of snow on the ground and overcast skies. We met at the race start, got our signs and made our way to the starting line.

My sign was modified from a faster time. On the front where it has the per minute pace, it says "I Am A White Kenyan." That phrase got a lot of people laughing and seems somewhat ironic.

Makes a father proud! 
My son went in my place to the aid station out of the kindness of his heart  and because he is full of unconditional love toward his dad because I promised I'd buy him replacement ear buds after the race. His station was handing out GU so I told him to save me some. He did!

I finished the race in 2:04:44 and have been invited to participate with the group again. I'm going to spend some time working on my half marathon pace to see if that will also translate into a better marathon time also. It was a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Video Thursday

How could I pass this up? I'll be anxiously waiting at WalMart at the nearby fragrance counter for this to come out. I knew I was always missing out on something at the office.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bank President for a Day

When I started college, I had a dream career. My dream was to be an architect. I loved to see building constructed, liked the design aspect of it, enjoyed drafting and art. I felt like this would be a perfect fit. Reality struck me fast and hard when I failed College Algebra twice before passing it. I received a C+ in Physics 101 and graciously bowed out of Physics 201 while I still could. Math and Science are not my strong points. My career path changed from Architecture to Graphic Design and here I am today. Graphic Design Professional with my own business.

The benefits of being my own boss is that I can work when I want and go for ice cream whenever I want. If I feel like running at 11:00 am then I can. Of course, the downside to being my own boss is that if I don't work, I don't eat. I have no built-in benefits. The absolute biggest boon to my career is that I am available to my kids. I've been on a plethora of field trips where I get to run wild down the halls be chaperone. In this instance, I got to be the Bank President.

It's a smaller branch, but were were
plotting the takeover of the rival bank.
Apparently, there is a little known city called "JA Biztown" right in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. In fact, I ran right by it as I finished the Salt Lake City Marathon.

The fifth grade at my daughter's school have been learning all about business and they got to go to JA Biztown for the day to get some hands-on experience at being a "grown up." I on the other hand being the tallest kid in the fifth grade was given the opportunity last Thursday to oversee the kids working in on of the banks of JA Biztown. Although my pay was only one JA Biztown Dollar and an all-day parking validation, I did get to experience the joy of having minions be the chief for a day.

The CFO was obviously
strategizing how to wring
more money out of the
The bank employees consisted of a CEO, CFO, 2 Tellers and a Savings Manager. First thing we did in the morning was lock each other in the vault approve loans to the various businesses. Our CEO was a real watchdog. If the paperwork wasn't in order, she rejected the loan and sent them packing. The CFO caught on quick and had the bank payroll in the employees hands. We decided our motto was "At Zion's Bank, we pay ourselves first."

The daughter (right) as
she promoted her business
via the local tv studio
With my one dollar in hand, I went and bought a package of cookies from the JA Biztown store. At the end of the day, we earned back all our loan money plus interest.

At the end of the day, I decided that I liked having people to boss around being the bank president, but it was a lot more work than what I am willing to invest. I'll stick with design.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Salt Lake City Marathon Recap

On Saturday, I finished the Salt Lake City Marathon. After months of training and anticipation, I was ready for this race. The only concern I had was whether or not my being sick for a week would put a serious dent in my plan.

I'll sum of the race rather than doing a play by play.

What went well:

  • Starting slower and giving my legs some time to warm up.
  • Using the Honeybucket before the race even though the gun had gone off.
  • Focusing on continuing to run even when everything said "stop".
  • Having my wife there at the finish line and supporting me in my efforts!! 
  • Feeling the sense of accomplishment from finishing.
  • Hydrating well the week of the race.
What didn't work so well:
  • Getting to the starting line later than planned. This happened because the light rail shuttle had mechanical problems.
  • Having a slightly upset stomach that didn't allow me to fuel well before the race.
  • Drinking so much that I had to pee during the race.
  • Slowing down rather than pushing it to the max. 
In the end, the race course was a lot more hilly than I anticipated. My 13 mile split was 1:50 which was exactly where I wanted to be for my time. The last 13 however was 2:05 which put me way over. A couple  of the factors that led to the long second split included:

  • Lack of being able to eat well before the race. 
  • Stopping to stretch my shins and mile 16.
  • Stopping for Honeybucket at mile 17. 
  • Slowing down before I really needed too. 
  • In part...not being able to taper very well. I went from a stellar last week of training to nothing because of sickness. 
I finished the race in 3:55:50 which was better than my 4:30 performance last fall, but off of my 3:40 goal. 

The post-race offerings were good and the race medal was the best of the three years I have participated (either in the half or the full).

I doubt I will ever do the SLC Full Marathon again, but it was a nice to have it done. Because of a not-so-great finish, I get to revisit my training plan for my next race in June.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pre-Marathon Thoughts and Expo Review

I've decided that the Salt Lake City Marathon must be the black hole of all marathon Expos. I read about all the cool Expos around the country and the ton of free swag that people get even in the small marathons. So why can Salt Lake City not get a decent Expo? I'm a bit perplexed. They have the participant count to put on a decent show, but it's mediocre. Here's what I picked up at the Expo today and my thoughts on the gear.

  • Shirt: Decent shirts. I rarely wear the shirt on the race, but will use the shirt for day to day running.
  • Bib with chip: The chip is embedded in the bib so I don't have to worry about returning a chip. PLUS
  • Miscellaneous flyers: typical fair for a race
  • Bag for the gear: Looks like they forgot to tell Dick's that if they put in a decent bag, I'd think more of their company. It's a lousy bag that is supposed to double as my drop bag. I'll be bringing something different along.
I think I got more gear at my last 5K...lame.
That's it...not even a sample sun screen, body glide or chap stick. In addition to the High Quality gear, I did pick up the following and what it costed me:

  • Sports bottle by the local Mega Medical Giant IHC (cost me my email address)
  • Shoulder bag from GMC Buick. This is probably the best item at the expo and it only cost me my soul contact information for a local dealer.
  • Timer from Minute Rice. I spun the wheel, won the timer. They asked if I wanted a box of rice instead and I declined feeling the value. 
  • T-shirt from the Cedar City Half Marathon. These people are super nice and gave us a 2 for 1 coupon. The downfall is that their race conflicts with another fall race I have.
In the end, the Expo was lame. I also was looking forward to buying some shorts from Nordic Track, but they sold out of them during the past season and didn't have any available. Guess I'll have to shop around.

Marathon Goals
I've been reading about the marathon and deciding on a race strategy. I'm determined to get a PR out of this race and not just a minute or two minute PR, but a Smashing under 3:40 minute finish PR.

To do this, I must be able to go out strong and steady,  not overly fast yet not too slow. This equates to the following: Mile 1-3: Start slower and maintain my long run/easy run pace of 8:45. Miles 4-20 pick up the pace to 8:15. Miles 21-26.2: Keep going and maintain a 8:30 or faster pace knowing that I'll be feeling the weight of the miles at this point.

I've done a good job of staying hydrated this week and keeping my carb intake at an all-time high respectable but slightly higher amount. 

My taper has not been stellar, but it hasn't been non-existent either. I spent a week sick with a chest cold and only got in a 8.5 mile run on Saturday and a 3 mile run on Tuesday. I've been rolling the shins and stretching daily. I also plan to do a little more warm up than I usually do at the starting line.

I've considered slipping a $20 bill in one of my socks in case I need to pull the "biggest loser marathon" maneuver which would include me bribing the SWAG and feign injury in exchange for them dropping me off 5 miles further down the course. I haven't ever had to do this, but it's good to be prepared.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Green Jello with Carrots

Tasty...growing up, this was my moms choice
of desserts. 
My legs are feeling wobbly tonight...kind of like a big old mold of green jello with bits of peeled carrots scattered throughout. I took on my twenty mile run today.

I set out to vanquish the course that has plagued me twice. The first time, I almost froze to death on the course. The second time, I gave blood the day before and that wasn't a wise decision. I was out for pay back.

I almost postponed my twenty to next week because I have had this chest congestion and cough that are related to allergies. I knew however, if I postponed the run, I probably wouldn't get it done. I donned my running clothes first thing this morning, took the kids to school and headed to the starting spot.

Instead of parking at the top of the hill at the point of the mountain, I parked at the 6 mile spot at the bottom of the route. This was going to be my midway point. I chose to run up to the top of the mountain first thing while my legs were fresh. The weather was perfect. It was a little chilly to start with, but once I got out in the sun, I warmed up really quick. I'm glad I left the jacket in the van. About two miles into the trail I passed by the dinosaur. It had been decorated with Easter Eggs with some large ones underneath. I wondered if this was the Prehistoric Easter Bunny. Maybe the Prehistoric people didn't have bunnies so instead of bunnies pooping out easter eggs, they had dinosaurs.

At mile 5.5 I reached the end of the gate. I was planning on running another 1/2 mile past the gate to where I usually park, but they had some pretty big signs blocking the gate. I turned around at this point and headed back down the hill. Another trail splits off this one and since I was a little a head on my projected distance so I took this alternate route to see if it would add a little length by the time it looped back. It only added a 1/4 mile. Arriving back to my starting spot I explored a few other roads to get the distance in before connecting up to a trail that continues north.

I turned around at mile 17.75 to go back to the van. I got back with a little more than 1/2 left so I zig zagged a little and ran around the park to get in the last 1/2 mile. In the end, my time was 2 hours 50 minutes putting my average pace around 8:30. I'm pushing for an 8:11 average at the Salt Lake City Marathon so this was encouraging.

Tomorrow I'm meeting up with some friends for a casual 7.5 to 8 mile run.