Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lehi Roundup Celebration 5k/10k

What have I been doing since the Utah Valley Marathon. Here are some stats:

Days running: 1
Distance run: 4 miles

Pretty impressive, huh?

After the Utah Valley Marathon, I have been consumed in getting ready for the Lehi City celebration. I race direct the 10k/5k races for the celebration event. Here is just a glimpse into what the past few days looked like. If I do bullets, it will make the list look even more impressive.

  • Wednesday June 26: shirts finally arrive at 5:00 pm. I take all the packets and shirts to Fleet Feet in anticipation to the packet pickup June 27-28. We've exceeded our numbers from last year and I'm a little nervous that I didn't order enough of everything. 
  • Thursday June 27: I have bribed my son to be in charge of packet pickup all day at Fleet Feet. I'm at a client's all day. We've decided that we'll do a second order of t-shirts if we run out. This in turn is a blessing in disguise because a lot of people who registered late asked.
  • Thursday June 27: I picked up 650 cartons of chocolate milk, brought them home and put them all in my freezer. Next year, I'll plan the chocolate milk storage better.
  • Friday June 28: I got enough volunteers from the high school kids to cover packet pickup for the day. The HS Cross Country team is volunteering at the race in exchange for a contribution from the city to their team. My son and I spend the rest of the day doing all the small things in an effort to not be as swamped on Saturday morning. We packed up the leftover packets/t-shirts and dropped off all the other supplies at the starting location and were finished about 8:30 pm.
  • Saturday 3:00 am. I drag myself out of bed and get in the shower. I debate it, but decide I may not get a shower until late and the temp is supposed to be in the mid-80s before 11:00 am. The countdown clock starts. 
  • Saturday 4:30-5:30 am. We need to be completely set up by 5:30 am. I'm stuck on the course getting last minute directional signs up and I'm not back until 5:30 am. The city is supposed to be dropping off my tables and stuff by 5:30 and they don't come until 6. 
  • Saturday 6:00 am. Registration and packet pickup is finally up, but its rather chaotic.
  • Saturday 6:30 am. We get the music started and things start to chill.
  • Saturday 7:00 am. 10K starts. 15 minute countdown to the 5k start.
  • Saturday 7:15 am. 5K starts. I have a few minutes to chat with some of my vendors who came before it's time to get the post race food out, tables set up for awards, etc.
  • Saturday 8:30 am. We're giving out awards, prize giveaways, awards, etc.
  • Saturday 9:30-10:30 am. We clean up fast, pack the jeep
  • Saturday 10:30 am - 11:30 am. We watch the parade as it goes by. We'd rather leave, but we're boxed in at our location.
  • Saturday 12:00 - 3:30 pm. Finish tearing down the course, dropping off supplies, picking up our table, etc.. It's been almost 13 hours.

Here is a list of what we had for 600 runners.

  • 600 runners
  • 25 gallons of water along the course
  • 900 cups of water
  • 1200+ Fat Boy Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Smoothie King samples
  • 50 pounds of bananas
  • 25 pounds of oranges
  • 900 bottles of water
  • 650 pints of chocolate milk
All in all the race was awesome. The participants had a great time. It's been an exhausting time and I feel as though I just finished a marathon. I'll do it again an instant. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Utah Valley Marathon...Pain You Enjoy!

Here's my recap of the Utah Valley Marathon. I had set up a A, B, C goal.
A: 3:15:00 or better finish thus qualifying me for Boston
B: Under 3:30:00 for a rocking new PR
C: Finish the race in one piece because if I am pushing for C, something seriously wrong happened.

In a nutshell, I missed A, but hit B. My finish time was 3:28:14.

Now, you can either click on to something else or read my marathon of a race report. I figure after 6 mos. of training for this thing, I have the right to be a bit long winded.


To an outsider, running must be one of the ultimate forms of self-torture. I must be doing some serious penance for the amount of time I put on the road and the pain involved in that process. And yet somehow, I keep returning again and again to this process. My wife has commented that she thinks I lose more and more brain cells the longer I am involved in running because I keep returning to it.

She may be on to something......wait, what were we talking about?

It's been long in coming, but the Utah Valley Marathon is now behind me.

A little background on my training.
  • Miles ran in preparation for this day: 1000+ I don't have an exact figure because my Garmin died at the first of the training and I had to ship it off to get the battery replaced*.
  • Pairs of shoes that succumbed to my many miles on the road: 2
  • Number of discussions I had with the wife about where my priorities are: 2 
  • Number of other races I have done in preparation for this one: 3
  • Likelihood that I'll return to run this course again: High. Although next time I'll just pace it.
  • Number of days after a long run that I waddled around pretending that I was purposely walking slow to enjoy the scenery: Too many to count.
Yes, I stole this off their website, but this gives
you an idea of how packed it is.
3 weeks prior to the race, a group of us ran 21 miles of the course just so we could get a sense of how to best prepare for the race. We were not a lone in our idea. We passed (or were passed) by many different runners along the course of the run. It was a good mental prep for what was in front of us.

The days leading up to the race involved the following:
  • Stressing about and checking the long range forecast for the weather at least 5 times a day
  • Chatting with various elite runners that I know about race strategy
  • Talking to running store owners about hydration, nutrition, strategies, etc.
  • Waking up in the middle of the night thinking that I had missed my wake-up time for the race that was days away
Here's what it was like:
  • Temperature at the start of the race: 48-50 degrees. This normally would a pre-cursor to a hot day, but a cold front was moving in so it kept things from getting above 70 at the finish line.
  • Number of runners crammed into a small side street in a small town up a canyon: About 3,000
  • Time I needed to qualify for Boston: 3:15:00
  • Number of hills: A helluvah a lot more than I remembered. There was the "roller coaster" at mile 8-10, another at 12, another and another and another at 16 and then another after that...
  • A headwind of anywhere from 10-25 mph for about 10 miles of the course
The weather was gorgeous and the run through the canyon is very scenic and nice. Unfortunately my mind was focused on keeping pace and wondering where these new hills came from. I had a strategy to take a GU every 5 miles and suck on some Stinger chews periodically.

I originally started with the 3:15 pacer, but realized after about 2 miles that I just wasn't up to the pace knowing that many runners start way too fast and then crash at the first set of hills from 8-10. I backed it off and kept my pace at about a 7:30 pace. The pacer was running about 20-30 seconds faster knowing that the hills would slow things down. It's a common strategy. My strategy was to just maintain the 7:30 pace as often as I could and keep my cadence steady up the hills. 

I kept the pace as long as I could knowing that 3:15 wasn't an option, but maybe 3:20 or 3:23? At mile 22-23, the 3:25 pacer passed me. Looking back, I probably could have kept up with him, but I felt rather deflated when he went by. Coming into the finish chute knowing that I was under 3:30 was an incredible feeling.

So, what's next? I have a couple ideas. For now, it's try to rest and recover.

Note: If your Garmin battery every dies, don't ship it to Garmin. I found a place that does it for 1/3 as much and the turnaround is a couple days. Just search on ebay.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mission Accomplished

Everyone has a bucket list. Even the people who claim they don't have a bucket list secretly do. I didn't realize until this last Saturday that I had checked one off my list.

With the completion of the Provo City Marathon, I had just completed two marathons and a half marathon in a 3 week period of time. My bucket list item wasn't necessarily to complete this multiple, but there was always a longing to see if I could do multiple races in a row. The answer is a definite YES. I learned a lot from these past three weeks which I'll share in another post, but first here is a recap of the race.

The Provo City Marathon was a good finale. My pace time was a 3:55 finish time which was much closer to where my current level of fitness is compared to the 4:30 finish for the Salt Lake City Marathon two weeks before. I was a little apprehensive about the race, but it all turned out good.

We boarded the bus to go to the start line around 4:00 am. They were giving out some free swag to people who took the bus early. I ended up with some free coupons for Yogurt and a 2XL shirt from another race the group sponsors. The best thing about getting to a race start early is that there is no waiting for the honey buckets.

The weather was cool, but the wind was calm unlike the 30 mph wind at my house when I left. The race started 7 miles up the canyon with the marathon start time at 7:00 am and the half marathon at 7:15 am. The course started on the road, but after a mile it turned onto a bike path that wound down to the bottom of the canyon. My group was about 5 miles into the race when the top half marathon finishers past us.

From the bottom of the canyon until mile 13 the course was a gradual downward run. At the 13 mile mark, the race changed. The marathon and half marathon started at the same spot and ran together until the half marathon finished and the full marathon continued. The rest of the course was relatively flat. From 13 until 18 the course was uninteresting–just roads. At 18, the course turned onto a trail that followed the river which was a nice change from the boring road. At 23, the course looped back onto the road until the finish.

Overall the race was good. It was nice to put this race behind me so I can focus on the Utah Valley Marathon.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Marathon Pacing Anxiety

I'm pacing the Provo City Marathon tomorrow. After tomorrow, I will take a short break (a few days off) and then make my final push for the Utah Valley Marathon. I've worked to keep up my training while at the same time pacing some races. My mileage went as follows for the weeks of each race.

Salt Lake City Marathon: 56 miles
Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon: 48 miles
Provo City Marathon: 38 miles (26.2 of that comes from the marathon itself)

It has been harder and harder to keep my miles up and still do a big race at the end of the week. Without any context, my desire to keep putting in the long miles flies in the face of traditional marathon training. Normally, I would take  a two week taper leading up to the marathon and at least 5 days off after the marathon and then build back up slowly for the next 4-5 days.

In pacing however, I have treated each of the races as training runs. The Salt Lake City Marathon I ran a 10:17 pace. Thanksgiving Point I ran a 9:32 pace. Both of these are slower than what I would have run these had I not been pacing. I am however, slightly nervous about tomorrow. Why?

Because I am pacing the 3:55 marathon finish time. This equates to a 8:57 pace time. While I have been training to run at a faster pace than this and the course is mainly downhill, it still has me nervous. Why?
Last year, I ran the Salt Lake City Marathon in 3:55. Of course the Salt Lake City Marathon was more hilly and my training sucked.

I'm playing mind games with myself. The ones that go like:

• Should I wear my fuel belt or not?
• Will I burn myself out on the downhill despite the fact that I ran a 1:50 half last year on practically the same course as a pacer?
• What if you burn out and finish slower than 3:55? Will they kick you out of the pace group?
• Which GU should I bring?
• You only ran 12 miles this week before the race. Will it be enough?
• etc..

The best I can do is run, stay steady and finish in 3:55. My training has been strong, i'm in better shape than ever. This will be a good prep for Utah Valley though.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

An Unbelievable Feat with Photographic Evidence

If I was going to list of the best and worst photo categories, here is where I would put them.

Glamor photos
Nature photos
Classic once in a lifetime sport photos
Candid shots of the family that are timeless no matter how often you look at them

Mug shots
Driver's License
Passport photos
High School Year Book photos

Where would you put race photos? 

After the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon, I'm wondering when there are great race photos. 

Probably the best photo I've ever had
during a race.
The closest that I have ever had was at the Salt Lake City Marathon a few weeks ago. I was at a comfortable enough pace that I could enjoy giving high-fives to the kids and prep for the camera.

On the other hand, at Thanksgiving Point I was having wardrobe issues that got caught on camera. Here's how it went down with a little pre-story so you get the full picture.

Race Day Temp when I left my car: 36 degrees warming up to low 60s for the day
Skies: Clear and sunny
Race Day Apparel: Long pants with my shorts underneath, long sleeve top with pacing singlet on top, gloves, running jacket that I tossed into the clothing bin at mile 1.

Race Strategy: Thanksgiving Point is generous in their aid station and GU. They have 4 aid stations with GU for the course of the half marathon. I'm a 1-2 GU type person and I ALWAYS bring my own so that there are no surprises. I will usually grab a couple and stash them for when I am training. Thanksgiving Point is a great race to grab a few extra. I planned on this, but forgot one simple shorts (which have pockets with zippers) are under my pants. 

I'm running along, chatting with runners and doing my pacer thing when we get to an aid station with GU. I grab a couple and just have them in my hand for the next mile or two.  They got hard to manage after a couple miles so I opted to put them in my short's pocket.  Had I been thinking, I would have stopped, put them in my short's pocket and kept going. Instead, I thought I could manage getting the GU in my pocket, while holding a sign, while running without stopping. 

I wonder what runner 821 is thinking when
she looks at her race photos?

I even have the photo to prove it!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Runners' Stories

I've been pondering on some of the conversations I had with runners during the Salt Lake City Marathon. I asked the question of why people started running and what their goals are.

One runner commented that this was his way of letting go of the past. He had recently gotten divorced and then a few days before the race, he was laid off from work. He told me that he'd had 26 years of a crappy life and he was letting go of each year with each mile he passed. He had battled a bunch of injuries in training for the race and was ready to move on. He finished the race just a few minutes after me.

Another runner in our group had run more than 10 marathons and was from Texas. He told me that he considered making a goal of running 100 marathons, but then decided it was easier to do the 50 marathons in 50 states.

Another runner was running his first marathon. He was just hoping to finish. He started running on a whim and it stuck.

It got me thinking that every person has a reason to run. My friend who is training with me for the Utah Valley Marathon in June trained with me for my first marathon in 2009. When we finished the race, I was excited and ready to sign up for another. He finished 10 minutes before me, but felt complete. He didn't have a desire to do more. 3 years later, he's back on the road.

I started running because of a conversation I had with a vendor who took us to lunch. He was training for a marathon and it got all of us who were at lunch excited. Our vendor never ran the marathon, but many of us at lunch that day took up the charge. I've wondered why I continued running when other around me have let it go. For me, it boils down to enjoyment.

I enjoy the way my body feels as I am running consistently (aside from the aches and pains of course). I like crossing the finish line and knowing that I accomplished something that most people will never experience. I like getting a medal at the end of a big race. I like being fit enough now that I can pace people who are working to get a new PR or wanting to finish without injury.

Since I have the opportunity to pace more and more, I will be asking the question of what motivates people to run and why they continue to do so. I wonder if there are patterns in the responses I get.

I'll post their responses on my blog. I'll have the opportunity to visit with a few more runners on Saturday as I do the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon and then on the following Saturday when I pace the Provo City Marathon.

I'm interested and excited to see where this lead. Feel free to share why you started running and why you continue.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pacing, Pacing, and more Pacing...

Remember how a few months ago, I was wallowing in my desire to race without anything on the books until June? That changed with the email from my pacing group asking if I wanted to pace the Salt Lake City Marathon. took me exactly 1 nanosecond to respond. Yeah!

Gotta give the high fives out! 
Shortly after that email, I received another email. Do I want to pace the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon the following weekend after Salt Lake City. Then answer? Yeah.

Then about a week after that, I received yet another e-mail. Do I want to pace the Provo City Marathon the week after Thanksgiving Point? The answer? you think my legs will fall off if I do? The pacing leaders reply: "I don't know, I'm running 3 marathons and a half in a span of 4 weeks, but I think you're in good enough shape to pull it off." So, of course I agreed.

My mileage has been between 50-60 miles per week which is the most I have ever done...ever...ever. A few times in the past, I topped out at 40+, but never hit 50.

Last Saturday was the Salt Lake City Marathon. This is the marathon that almost didn't happen. The previous owner of the race was in hot water with all former vendors, many former racers, upset police agencies and city officials over the way he has handled the past races. I guess some people don't like it when you don't pay them...go figure.

When the previous owner announced the sale of the race, everyone waited to see what would happen. The new owner took over vowing to make the Salt Lake Marathon great again. They pulled off a marathon in 60 days and overall it was a great race. You could definitely see where the organizers were working to be frugal this year, but the essentials were in place and even better than in the past.

I came upon this runner just before the
finish chute. No way am I going to let him
fall behind. 
I was assigned the 4:30 finish group. The pace was set to be 10:17 which is slower than I would normally run. Pacing though, is not about personal bests or PRs. It's about being the support system so others can accomplish their dreams.

The race was good. I had a group of about 6 that stuck with me throughout the first 18-20 miles and then they slowly dropped off. The last 6 I had people off and on that would finish with me. In the end, I finished in 4:29:51. I treated the run as a training run, but with a medal at the end. I finished the week with 56 miles which is about average.

Next up is the 2:05 finish group for the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon followed by the 4:00 finish time for the Provo City Marathon.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fantastic Mileage Week

Do you ever have a perfect week in running? This was a perfect week in terms of overall mileage on the road and my overall perception of the week. Since being selected to Pace the 4:30 finish time for the Salt Lake City Marathon i've been extra motivated to meet my BQ goal in June. This past week we added our 4th day to our training.

We've been working on building our endurance to the point where we could comfortably add a 4th day to our training regimen. A lady in our neighborhood asked if she could join us on our long runs for the week. Up until this point, our long run was on Monday. This worked best because of schedules. It was easier to take off mid-day on monday for a 3 hour run then working one in on Saturday. The guy I run with is also a Boy Scout leader and he's gone at least one Saturday a month on a camp out.

Here's how the week went:
Monday: Long run of 18 miles. It was quite a change from the week before when we ran 16.5. One thing we both noticed was how important some sort of caloric intake is needed during a long run. We didn't take a GU until about mile 13 which was probably 5 miles later than we should have. By mile 14, we were both struggling.

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: 8 mile suncrest hill. This is the hill that make novices wet themselves. It's a steep climb up and a fast down. If you want a long climb to prep your calves, this is the hill. We parked toward the start of the climb so we wouldn't have all the preliminary miles to go before starting the climb. It was hard. I was dying. It was worth it.

Friday: 8 miles flat. The goal was to stay close to an 8:00 pace the whole time. I don't know if I was still recovering from suncrest or if I was just off, but it was awful. My shins burned the whole time. An 8 min/mile seemed to be near impossible. I wasn't thrilled with the run.

Saturday: 18 miles with an additional runner. After Friday, I was wondering if I would make it even 5 miles. It took about 4 miles to get the muscles stretched out and ready for the run, but it turned out well. We added a lady from our neighborhood who is running the same race we are in June. She asked for something between 16-18 for this run. We chose 18 thinking that it might be a stretch for her, but not too bad. About 6 miles into the run, we found out that her longest run in about 4-5 months has been 12. Oops! By the end of the run (which turned out to be 19 because we dropped her off and then ran back home) she was pretty spent.

53 miles for the week! That is a major accomplishment. I used to wonder what it would be like to hit 50+ miles and now I know. It requires a lot of time on the road.

As a reward for my massive miles, I picked up a new pair of shoes. The ones I had for the 19 mile run are looking more and more like racing flats. I probably won't retire them, but they will get significantly less miles. Welcome Brooks Launch to my running regimen.

This week, my running friend is in Cancun. I'll pull back on my miles a little, but still get in four days. I'm actually really excited for the next few months to see what I can do to increase my miles from here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Something is different in the air. Can you smell it? Feel it? Taste it? It's not the same type of smell you'd discover walking into a room full of toddlers. It's not the smell/feel associated with a 75 lb dog coming up and welcoming you home. What could it be...........?


Sort of.....

I'll explain.

On April 21, 2012 I will be participating in the Salt Lake City Marathon. The group I paced with last year offered me a spot to pace either full or the half. Of course, this means I get in for free. BONUS! 

In the past, I've only paced the half marathons, but since I am in training for the Utah Valley Marathon in June and am putting in close to 40 miles per week I'm going for the full monte. The key to pacing is to choose a pace that is comfortable to run. As a pacer, I am not out to get any PRs. Instead, my whole goal is to encourage all those with me to get their PR. I'll be pacing the 4 hour 15 min group. Last year I ran this marathon and finished in 3:55. It wasn't a stellar race and I didn't feel great about it. This year, I'll be aiming to finish 20 minutes slower so I'm not overly concerned. I will make sure that I follow all my normal pre-race routine (get their early for the honey buckets, drink plenty days before the race, eat well the morning of the race, use the honey buckets again before the race starts...). I will probably pack my own water though so that I don't have to take from the aid stations as often.

Can you tell that I'm already excited about this? The only potential hang-up is that the company who put on the race in the past sold the race to another company. The previous company hadn't been paying its bills to their vendors and had earned a pretty bad reputation. The new company seems to be more on top of things, but because the sell happened so late, they may not get their permits in time for the race. That would be the only draw back.
They did send out an email showing off the new medals for this year. That is at least a step in the right direction.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I definitely need a race

I thought that after I finished the New Year's half marathon that I would be good for a while. I had high hopes that the cravings would go away. I anticipated enjoying other people talk about their running accomplishments. I expected that I would coast to the Utah Valley Marathon in June and be a pleasant well-rounded runner.

Alas....NO! I'm considering a post in the personals section. Maybe it'll go something like this.

MPWMR (Married Pasty-White Male Runner) looking for IHM (Inexpensive half marathon). MPWMR likes PRs, nice medals and plenty of post race food. MPWMR promises to speak kindly of HM up to and after the event if the t-shirts are decent and the medal good . If interested, please send application.

I was anticipating being able to pace a few upcoming races, but so far that well has dried up. In my delirious state of mind, I even considered signing up for the Salt Lake City Marathon again this year. Yeah, the very same race that threw me off so badly last year that I postponed my June 2011 marathon 'til this year. I must be delirious, but not quite to the floating on air stage that this guy is.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year Half Marathon

You know that saying about the road to hell being paved with good intentions? I think I built a 4 lane highway over the month of December in my posting. I had this really cool idea to do various unique Christmas gift ideas and yet nothing happened. Here's a brief recap.

1. We got a dog. I'm taking her running a couple times a week and my wife will walk her a couple times also. She's almost to what her ideal weight should be.

2. Christmas was good. I got some new running gloves. My last pair had a hole in them.

3. I ran a half marathon this morning. Details to follow.

Marathon Maniacs New Year Half Marathon
Last year, the race was a bitter 5 degrees. This year, the weather has been wacky. All week the weather has been in the 50s. January is the coldest month of the year in Utah. 50 degrees is unheard of.

The race this year had more participants, but it was still a bare bones event. We did get a local running store to offer free gatorade and GU at their store which was about mile 7.5 on the course. I talked my brother in law into joining me. He hasn't run since November and I haven't done much in the past two weeks. When I got up this morning, it was snowing! Of all the days to snow and it decided to finally snow on race day. It tapered off though so we only had to contend with some wind.

The race started and finished at the race director's house again, but he offered better medals and had more food so the cost was a little more. Overall, the race was good and fun. I didn't have any goals in mind, but I felt really good so I just found a pace and went for it. My Garmin died around mile 6. I'll have to buy a new one or send it to Garmin to have them replace the battery. I'm bummed about that.

My finish was 1:43:30 'ish. We all timed ourselves for the race and I had to estimate my time based on who finished in front of me. They were at 1:41 and I was just a couple minutes behind. This time equates to a new PR in the half marathon. This makes me hopeful to break into the 1:30's for the half this year.

At the end of the race, there were big pots of chili, rice, yogurt, chocolate milk, bread, biscuits, gatorade and water available. That was probably the best part. Oh yeah, we also got a cool medal.

I have two marathons on tap for 2012, but would like to add a couple more. It will depend on timing, finances and my training.