Sunday, September 24, 2006

Lessons Learned

After having completed the Top of Utah marathon yesterday, I have come to several conclusions:

1. Something magical happened on my first marathon, which allowed to be over 20 minutes faster on it than the other two. I think it is due to the fact that the 5 of us worked so hard, not missing a single day in the 18 week program. Also, we had no illnesses, injuries or even bad weather. It was truly a once in a lifetime event.

2. I simply am not meant to run marathons. I can run hard for around 15 miles, fight my way to do 4 - 5 more, then that's it. I hit the wall, and I simply have no more to give.

3. I look forward to doing more half marathons. There are so many available to try out. Plus, the training demand is not as high as preparing for a marathon.

4. For those of you who wish to run a marathon, I suggest following an 18 week program to the letter. There is wisdom in full preparation.

5. The elevation chart for Top of Utah has to be wrong. I swear we ran uphill for almost the last 12.2 miles. It was a hard course for me.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

School is back in session!

Ah, school is back! That means it's time to start tracking Braden's clothes again.

9/14 - Braden - Brown monkey shirt, silver shorts

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bryce Canyon Half Marathon

This was my fastest half marathon ever. It was an awesome course. We basically ran from Bryce down into Cannonville. It was mainly downhill, and I loved it! The scenery was awesome, the race was well done, and the weather was perfect. I'd definitely like to run this one again.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Wasatch Back Relay

Wasatch Back Relay

I put together a team for this race, and we had an awesome time! In Suburban #1, we had me, Gary Gillilan, Erik Gillilan, Terry Wong, Scott Shepherd and Jason Neuwirth. In Suburban #2, we had Nate Jensen, Allen Frost, Peter Maughan, Ryan Cluff, Jason Harmon and Kory Child.

Since we had to be at Hardware Ranch at 9:00 am, the members in #1 went up Thursday night and stayed at the Super 8 hotel. We were so excited and nervous. We were all up early, and got up to the start line at 8:30 am.

At 9:00 am, Terry started us off. He was like a rocket at first. I had leg #2, down Blacksmiths Fork canyon. Man, I felt great! 3.65 miles in 33:57, for a 9:17 mile pace. I handed off to Neuwirth, and off he went. We all had great first runs, and handed off to #2 ahead of our projected pace.

We had lunch at Subway, then drove up to Huntsville. We tried to get some rest, but basically we just waited nervously. It was hot, and we were worried about the guys in #2. They came in ahead of pace as well! Kory didn't look too good from running in the heat, but he did it. Terry took off, smiling from ear to ear again.

Terry had no idea what lay in wait. He had the climb from Huntsville to the top of Trappers Loop. What a climb! He battled up it, and kept us on pace. He was a stud!

I had the run from the top down into Morgan valley. It was hot, and I was cramping up, but I just kept after it. My knees hurt from the sharp downhill. I did 5.33 miles in 47:25, for an 8:53 pace.

Neuwirth had a long, hot run through the valley, as did Scott. I tell you, Scott was one strong runner. He was impressive. Gary did a great job starting us up to East Canyon. Erik was like a caged animal, waiting to finish the climb to the top. He cruised up the hill, and we arrived about on schedule.

We had a pasta dinner at East Canyon, then drove down to Rockport to try to sleep. We got about two hours before #2 called saying they were on their way in. I quickly woke up the team, then walked Terry up the exchange. We got there late, and in the confusion Terry took off the wrong way! He ended up running close to an extra half mile!

I started running at 5:20 am. I had the run from Kamas to Oakley. It was basically a straight road from point to point. I could see the finish from miles out. It was mentally hard, and I thought I would break. It had some long climbs and some downhill. Pretty much an even split between flat, up and down. I did 6.5 miles in 1:05:30, for a 10:05 pace. I was happy to have battled through it and kept a good pace.

Scott had the climb up Jordanelle. Man, he was awesome! He trimmed 4 minutes off his projected time. Gary was like a gray rocket bringing us into Heber, and Erik was a bolt of lightning. Finally, we were done with our part!

We showered, got some breakfast, met up with Terry, Gary and Erik's families, then split up for a bit. Scott, Jason and I went to the finish line to watch the other teams come in.

And finally, after close to 29 hours, we were done! It was one of the most funs things I've ever done. We are planning on being back next year!

Things to do differently:
1. Get a hotel room in Coalville for Friday night, and get it early on before they sell out! That would cut down on the amount of clutter in the Suburban.

2. Budget things more evenly. Have one or two people buy all the supplies, gas, etc., then split the costs when done.

3. Get some cool, matching running shirts for the team.

4. Decorate the Suburbans.

5. Come up with a new team name.

Provo River 10 mile race

13 days after the San Diego marathon, I ran in the Provo River 10 mile race, along with Gary and Terry. It was a great course, from about 3.5 miles up South Fork down to the Shops at Riverwoods. I felt great. I set a PR for 10 miles, coming in at 1 hour, 35 minutes. Gary and Terry both had PR marks for that distance as well.

San Diego Marathon

It's been a few weeks, but the memories are still fresh. The San Diego Marathon was such a hard run for me. I think several things contributed to this disaster.

1. We went down to California on Tuesday. We spent two days at Universal Studios, and Saturday we spent at Sea World. It was so hot that day. I went into the marathon tired and not well rested.

2. I was unable to eat correctly, while vacationing with the family.

3. The humidity was a killer. The morning of the marathon it was 85 percent.

I ran a great first 16 miles. I was even ahead of my St. George pace. Then, I bonked like I had never bonked before. I ran/walked for a bit, then walked a lot. It was miserable. I just had nothing left to give. I ended up finishing in 5 hours 20 minutes, just glad to be alive.

The interesting thing is that my recovery has been faster than from St. George. You'll need to read the next two postings for the details.

Wong ran a great race, although he cramped up at the end. I think his time was better than St. George, but not what he had hoped for.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Running Status

The 18 miler went well. My time was close to last years, but I felt like I finished strong.

The 20 miler started well. Gary ran with me for about the first 9 miles, which really helped. He and Jason Neuwirth really went out of their way to help Terry and I in our training for the day.

I ran well for 17.5, then hit a wall. I walked for a half mile, then finished running. I'm excited for San Diego, but nervous as well. Will the change in altitude offset the change in humidity?

I've been using Gu for my gel, which seems to work ok. I'm also taking orange slices to help the Gu settle in and not make me sick.

This weeks running has been very hard. I don't think I've fully recovered from the 20 miler.

Monday, April 17, 2006

16 miles of agony

First off, I'd just like to say that following the Hal Higdon 18 week program with complete devotion has its benefits. After today's run, I know for sure I am not nearly as prepared at this stage of training as I was leading up to St. George last fall.

I started my run about 1:00 pm. Afternoon running has always been a weak spot for me, so I was very nervous.

A little over a half mile in, I meet up with Terry running the opposite direction. He says something about the trail being out at the tracks. I do not remember what tracks he speaks of, and figure I'll just deal with it when I get there. Two miles in, and I check my watch. I'm at 19:52, which is a bit faster than I wanted for this long of a run. Terry has caught me again, which as me confused. How did he catch up so quickly? I thought he was running from 8 down to 0 and back. Turns out he was running 8.5 to .5, which explains how me got back so quickly. Of course, I haven't figured this out until after the run. He says he'll run with me to the tracks. What tracks, dang it?

Oh, those tracks. We go around a fence, up a dirt hill, cross some tracks. I look back, and notice that the trail is not closed here! I'm questioning Wong's sanity at this point. Then I look ahead. There is another set of tracks, and the trail is gone. Not closed, but actually gone. We have to squeeze through a gap in the fence and a concrete wall. Terry goes through, then looks at me. Of course, he's wondering if something so wide can fit through such a small gap. I suck it in, and make it through. This is one muddy, rocky pass right here. I decide to stop my watch until we make it over. Once we are back on the trail, it's getting hot, and I stop to take off my long sleeve shirt. I decide to leave it there. Dumb idea it turns out.

Now I'm running again. I hit mile #3 at 31:01, #4 at 39:16 and #5 at 49:39. I just can't seem to slow down to where I want to be. #6 at 59:19. I hit what I'd call a mini-wall, and take a short walking break. #7 at 1:10:54. 2nd mini-wall, #8 at 1:21:53. It's now cold and blowing, and my long sleeve shirt is about 5 miles away. Crap!

Somewhat larger wall.....#9 at 1:34:14. Decide to run again, #10 at 1:44:55. #11 at 1:55:17. 4th wall, #12 at 2:06:59. I'm out of water, which sucks. But then I see a drinking fountain right by the trail. Sweet! I'm filling up! Phone call from wife, telling me Braden's team has made it to the championship game, and it is at 4, rather than 6 like I had been told. She is thinking I should be finishing up by now, and is amazed that I am over 3 miles from my car. I try explaining to her that I'm doing the best I can, but it's going to be a while before I'm done. #13 at 2:19:40. Crap, that's about 2 hours, 20 minutes for a half marathon. And I have 3 miles to go? I'm stopping my watch while I clear the obstacle course again. I have to crawl through one part of the fence. In my mind, I'm wondering what will happen if I can't get back up? Do I just crawl to the nearest park and call for help? But I stumble back up and manage to get back on the trail.

Lots of walking now, but my pace is actually not so bad. My feet feel like they are blistering. Cursed Asics shoes and non-blister socks! I'm going back to Mizunos and my cheap socks!

#14 at 2:31:11. Major wall, #15 at 2:44:39. I've decided I might just be seeing the last quarter of Braden's game. Ah, but in a bit of inspiration, I cheat! If you go onto the road around mile marker #1, you can make that last mile go quite a bit quicker - no big old loop, just a straight shot to the car! Hey, no ones there, I'm doing it! Reach the car at 2:53:39. With my cheat and watch stops, my pace was probably closer to 3 hours.

10.2 more after that? I think not!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Rex Lee Run 10k story

I thought you all might appreciate my racing duel with someone's's how it went down.

I'm running well Saturday. I'm running under 10 minute miles, even with the two big hills that we started with. I'm happy with myself. Then, at mile #4, I notice someone passing me on the right. He's hunched over, looks more like he's about to fall over, and appears to be 80 to me. He says something to me like "it sure is a long way", then off he goes.

Of course, I'm stunned. The fact that I'm running way back in the pack didn't matter - I was the man up to that point! But now, Grandpa is kicking my butt. I decide to be patient, rather than try to run him down now. But in my mind, I've decided it's a matter of life and to beat the old man.

He never pulls too far away. Grandpa and I are at about the same pace now. He's slightly ahead at mile #5. Yes, I'm watching him closely now. He doesn't know it, but I own him!

As we near the track, we mingle in with the slower, 5k racers. For some reason, everyone is running slowly on the sidewalk. I blow by them on the road. Grandpa is on the sidewalk, and once again I am the man! At least in my mind, anyway.

I'm on the track now, feeling good to be about done. As I round the last corner, Grandpa is kicking it into high gear and trying to pass me! I'll have none of that. I go into sprint mode, and reach the finish line before Grandpa! My first instinct is to talk some smack with the old man, but then I come to my senses.

Running is truly an interesting sport. Where else can you feel a sense of victory, when you narrowly avoid getting beat by a 69 year old man and finish 2nd to last in your age group?

Just for the record, I did set a PR, with a time of 1:00:18 on my watch! That's a sub 10 minute per mile average, which is a good pace for me!

Anyway, I hope my adventure at least puts a smile on your face for the day!