Thursday, February 28, 2008

2008 TREK USA Charity Relay for Kids

You may recall my post about Trek II. I was lucky enough to help guide a bunch of running adventurers on their way through DC as they ran from Boston to Florida.

This year I was offered a spot on the 2008 TREK USA Charity Relay for Kids which I really wish I could have taken part of.

You see, the Relay a 10-day running adventure through the six New England states from May 9 to May 18th, starting and ending in Boston, MA. The purpose of the annual TREK event is to raise money for The DMSE Children’s Fitness Foundation (DCFF), which supports non profit programs that use running as a primary vehicle to promote physical fitness in children. And honestly, I can think of few better things to raise money for.

To read more, click HERE.

Because it is such a wonderful cause, I am sending out a message via my good friend Ron Kramer. Ron works for DMSE (Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprises Inc) which organizes TREK. Ron is hoping there might be some people who might want to be one of the fundraising runners. to see the certain levels and the commitments needed, Look HERE.

So, if you are interested, get in contact with them. I cannot think of better people to work with on such a wonderful cause.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

BBQ with friends

When I knew I was going to Phoenix , I looked up my friend Jennie Rowles. Well actually Jennie Zonneveld now. And probably not Jennie anymore but damn it I have known her since were like 7 so she is always "Jennie" to me. Jennie had moved to he greater Phoenix area years ago and I thought it would be great to see her.

Of all the ironies, Jennie and some friends were actually running the Del Sol! I asked her if she was free for lunch on Saturday before the race (which takes places this Friday and Saturday, giving these race participants the chance to be a relayer on a leap day!). She said would I rather go to a BBQ with her relay team. I jumped at the opportunity.

I was excited to see Jennie as well. It had been over three years since I had seen her and I remembered the exact day. It was an easy day to remember: my very first time qualifying for the Boston marathon. It is a long story of how I got out there but it was at our10 year high school reunion that I learned Jennie was training for this race. I was training for just my third marathon ever and mentioned that perhaps I would have an excuse to come visit her if things went right. Well, they did not but my fourth marathon gave hope (this is covered in greater detail in the book I am writing) and then in Phoenix I was fortunate enough to have the chips fall in the right place. You know what they say about a picture?

At the BBQ, Jennie introduced me to her running teammates but only half heard the part that I was with the race as an employee. I thought that this was going to be fun. People asked how Jennie and I were friends and Jennie recounted how she ran her first marathon in Phoenix and how, even though I had just qualified for Boston, had fought my way through the horribly crowded post-race meeting area to run back out to mile 23 and run back in with her.

(Yep I am carrying my post race goodybag with my water, bagel, pretzels and medal et. al. Yep, I am wearing biker-shorts underneath much longer basketball shorts. Yep, I have no excuse for either.)

To this day I haven't the foggiest idea how I ran 6 more miles that day (Or the 3 more miles back to the parked car with Jen and he husband Paul. Where did you park, Paul? Wickenburg?)

At the BBQ everyone was having a blast. When the team captain started going over the ground rules, people began joking about how many they were going to break and how many they were going to skirt. Everyone once in a while, if there was a question, the team captain (who knew I was with the race) would defer to me.

After answering many questions, a few which were ultra-specific, one of the runners named Sean (who was not only a pretty humorous fella but one of the biggest perpetrators of the faux rule breaking brigade) piped up:" Who the hell ARE you, Dane? and how do you know so much?!"

Jennie says: "He works for the race".

Sean got mockingly embarrassed looked over at the cooler and said: "Can I get you a beer, Dane? Footrub?"

After eating, a few of us spoke about races coming up. Sean spoke about his desire to better his marathon time from the Rock and Roll Marathon in Phoenix in 2006. Here he is running (and yes, Sean, I can find anything).

So I spoke with Sean some and said (well, to all really) if I could help them train at all with any advice, to please ask away. Well Sean took me up on it and I devised a training plan for his final 12 weeks before his attempt in San Diego to set a new PR.

Check back in a few months and I will update you on Sean's undoubted crushing of his old marathon time. in the meantime, send good luck vibes his way.

Sure, putting this out there can be a little embarrassing for Sean but no where near as much as this picture.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tim Lawson's Double 50k times two.

Recently a running friend of mine who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Ultra Centric 24 Hour Championships clued me into a little something he was doing. Back to back 50k races on the same weekend.

And then he was doing it again a few weeks later.

I will let his own words describe his first set of 50ks here. But for the brief gist is as such:

PigTails 50k
Lake Youngs Watershed (Renton, Washington)
Saturday, January 26, 2008 (7:30am)
Start 26°, End 36°, Overcast with late rain

First Half 2:29:27 distance 15.54 pace 9:37
Second Half 2:38:34 distance 15.54 pace 10:12
Marathon Split 4:15:05 distance 26.22 pace 9:44
Run Time: 5:08:01

Yours Truly 50k
Cedar River Trailhead (Landsberg, Washington)
Sunday, January 27, 2008 (7:45am)
Start 32°, End 38°, Mostly cloudy with sunbreaks and snow

First Half 3:04:21 distance 15.57 pace 11:50
Second Half 2:51:08 distance 15.57 pace 11:00
Marathon Split 5:02:39 distance 26.22 pace 11:33
Run Time: 5:55:29

what is most fun is that Tim ran the Yours turly on a skirt. his words:
"With 350 registered runners, the race filled up by the end of last month. Every year they have something they call the "skirt division." a bunch of guys show up wearing skirts, and before the race they get up on picnic tables and there is an "applause-o-meter" type voting on who looks the best in a skirt."

Tim was going for best legs division. He might have won!

His second set of 50ks included one run solely on a treadmill. Ugh!

Here is the brief synopsis:

Hagg Lake 50k- hilly, technical single-track trail, muddy,
35degrees at the start, 54 at the end.
I had injured a tendon in the arch of my foot stupidly the day before, 6:01:17

Yours Truly 50k- treadmill, fast, still injured, and now sore... my splits were:

5k 34:02 10:59 min/mile
10k 1:06:46 10:46 min/mile
Half Marathon 2:21:06 10:46 min/mile
25k Halfway!! 2:46:36 10:43 min/mile
Marathon 4:41:15 10:44 min/mile
50k 5:28:26 10:34 min/mile

4:46 negative split, most of which I made up in the last 3 miles averaging about an 8:30pace

You van read his own full write up on his OWN BLOG HERE.

Way to go Tim!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Up, up,up South Mountain Park

When I was running in South Mountain Park yesterday, I knew what I would be running today. I did not necessarily "want" to run it but I knew I was "going to" run it. It was the road up to TV Towers that service Phoenix.

Knowing this was going to be nearly as long a run as yesterday but much more difficult, I decided to drive the 3 plus miles from where I am staying to the park entrance. I parked my car, got out and started almost immediately going uphill.

The first 2-plus miles were exactly what I ran yesterday. But as I climbed, I looked to my left and saw what I was eventually going to be getting to. Hopefully, at least.

Even though Sundays in the park are "Silent Sundays" meaning there is no vehicular traffic, there was plenty of cyclists about. Runners and cyclists often simply "co-exist", each thinking they are never in the wrong and the other are a bunch of asses. Being aware there were some tight turns even on the parts I knew, let alone the winding trail to come, I stayed alert. More often than not I heard "runner UP!" in the foreground as they approached on their descent and they moved accordingly out of my way as I hugged the left side of the road. I thought this was a more than just co-existing and was pretty nice of them to do

I could not remember exactly how many miles it was to the top but I was thinking it was over 7.5 from where I started. So I put my head down and climbed. But not so much that I would not look to me left and realize that even just about 4 miles into my run I was already high above Phoenix below me.

As you can see from the twisty-turny route, the towers tease you (they are located on those white lines due north of mile 8 on the map below) as they look like they are close and then you veer away to run in a different direction.

With about half a mile to go, a cyclist passed me and said some words of encouragement which I returned. About 100 yards later an extremely steep part of the road had him back close to me. "Nice run," he said. "You are going about 7.5 mph up this hill making us all look bad." I simply smiled as I didn't have much energy to retort. One of the other cyclists looked back to see who his friend was talking to and said: "Where the hell did you come from?"

"Pennsylvania" I said.

The road flattened out and they left me in the dust as they climbed the last little hill to the top. When I got there a few seconds later, many of the other cyclists who had passed me on the ascent gave a few little whoops and a smattering of applause. Not too often you get that on a training run. One offered me a drink of water (I did not bring a bottle this time; Sorry, Christine) and remarked he couldn't believe I was running without one. I told him the sun wasn't out and it was only 15 miles so I was ok but I gladly accepted a swig.

I chatted with the group of guys for a few minutes and then clicked my watch to begin the run back down. If it had been sunny like it was yesterday, this is exactly what some of the turns would have looked like.

A few ascents on the the way back seemed to pop out of nowhere as I assuredly did not remember going down them on the way up. Within a few miles many of the cyclists flew by me at Mach 7 and shouted more words of encouragement. I crushed the hills as I love to do and in 8 miles was 10 minutes faster on the way back than I was on the way up. (1:06:22 vs 56:02).

Here's the whole route.

I turned around when I got to my car for one last look at what I had climbed, hopped in, and headed home for a drink and a shower.

Distance: 16.2 miles
Time: 2:02:24 (7:33 pace)
Elevation: 1573 feet up; 1573 feet down
Friends: About 20 cyclists

Saturday, February 23, 2008

My 20 miler in Arizona

When I mentioned in a previous blog that I was in Arizona for the week, two friends told me I had to check out the South Mountain Park area for a long run if I had the chance. Well, the chance presented itself and I jumped on it.

Saturday morning I got up, dusted off the shoes and headed out in the same general direction my previous two runs in the area had gone. However this time I hung a right and headed down Central Ave towards the Park.

even though the temperature was a brisk 48 when I started, I felt the clear sky would soon be making me sweat. SO I stopped at gas station to hopefully buy a thin bottle of power drink. Unfortunately, they only had the 32 oz honkers which was going to be a pain to carry. but since I did not know what lie ahead and I can hear my friend Christine in my head "You don't carry water for 15 mile runs?!", I decided to make the effort.

Now, I had looked at a few maps and plotted a course. My decision was to follow Central Ave to the park to San Juan rd until it ended. Then I would turn around and come home. Voila. 20 miles.

As I neared the entrance I saw an ominous sign flashing: "Park Closed until Saturday 2 pm". Well, sh*t. but cars were still going past the police officers so I thought I would eke by. With no problem I entered the park and began the winding part up the first major hill.

Soon I was in the midst of tons of people wearing purple shirts in varying sizes and shapes, all walking. I asked someone what was going on and they old me this was the Climb to Conquer Cancer Hike. Hundreds of people were snaking up the hill in front of me. I felt like an intruder for sure but decided to make amends later and plowed ahead. As I passed walkers, I heard statements like "He'll be walking soon." I smiled inwardly thinking "Not quite."

About 2 miles later, the hikers continued up the steeper part of the hill and I hung a right onto San Juan Road. Within seconds I was all alone. surrounded on either side in this canyon by cacti, underbrush and mountains. I literally came to a stop and uttered "Wow" outloud.

Here I decided to take my lightweight windbreaker off of my wait (it has lasted about a mile into the run before the sun got too warm) and tied it to my powerdrink bottle. I placed it on the side of the road and knew I would be back in 8 miles to pick it up and drink it. Heck, I knew know one else would be coming by to pick it up: the park was closed!

It was then I also decided that if the sun was going to be this awesome, then darn it I was just going to have to take my shirt off and enjoy it. If you know anything about me, you know I have to be REALLY secluded to shed the shirt. (There will be no picture; you are welcome). With the sun on my back and nothing around me I started to fly dwon the hills. It felt invigorating which was especially good as I have been dealing with that lingering shin problem (thank you Estes Park marathon!) more as of late. but here, as I wound down the hills, I felt like I was flying.

As I neared my turn-around I saw the only person who was also out and about. A female hiker with a kid on her back and a Doberman in front of her (named "Princess") she gave a friendly wave. She was hiking on the National Trail which I had thought about running on but since I was planning on a 20-miler, I figured the distace was enough. I did not need to add too much difficulty.

At the terminus of the San Juan Road, I had to crest a little hill. When I hit the top, again I was floored. I have always disdained taking pictures of beautiful vistas as I really do not think they capture the beauty of what I can see. but this one does a fairly decent job. As I had looped around the biggest part of the mountain, I was not staring, miles away, at downtown Phoenix.

Tearing myself away from this view and getting ready for the return leg, I turned around and was about 30 feet away from a coyote. Could this get much cooler?! I stared at it for a few seconds and said "Just passing through. Hope you have a good Saturday" and I swear it bobbed its head as if to say "No problem. Pretty day out, huh?"

I ran into the hiker a little way back down the road and told her she might want to leash "Princess" and was on my way. Down a slight hill then back up the last big climb I went. I grabbed my drink, put my shirt back on and then put my jacket in my hand. Joining the purple shirt wearers again, I began to soar past them on the descent. I am pretty sure I head "Hey, isn't that the same guy?!" It may have been the desert heat making me hallucinate but I thought it was funny anyway.

When I had stopped to get a drink earlier I had also taken $10 in cash back. Near the base of the hill, there was a jog to the right and tons of cars and a white tent set up. I ran over to the tent and grabbed the attention of what looked like a person in charge. I told her I felt bad crashing their walk and I hoped the $10 would make up for the inconvenience. then it was time to finish my run.

Out of the park, down the street, hang a right and then into my gated community (no gate jumping this time; I have the access code). Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. And by looking at the elevation of the way the hikers went I already have my shorter but far more difficult run planned for tomorrow.

Distance: 20 miles
Time: 2:24:45
Pace: 7:14

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'm planning something.

Right now it is on hold due to an initial "No" from someone concerned about safety issues. But it may happen. May not happen for months but I have good people helping me.

Sorry to be so vague. Let's just say it involves the Great Salt Lake. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Running in Phoenix

For the next two weeks I get to enjoy the wonderful sun of Phoenix. I did not even bring a jacket. If I am going to be cold, well then damn it I am going to be cold. But I refuse to wear a jacket. I will be like Phil Collins in 1986.

Why, just two weeks after I moved to SLC am I in Phoenix?, you ask. (I heard you. Don't lie). Because I am here for work! I am getting my feet wet and I am extremely excited. To finally be part of the race directing business is weird and exhilarating. I have never even watched a race I wasn't running in (couldn't stand to be there and not run) let alone just race direct. Heck, I even directed the Drake Well Marathon as I was running it!

Most of all I am enjoying the weather. Speaking of which, it just hit me the lunar eclipse is happening in like 7 minutes. Excuse me while I go check that out!

I am back. Damn you cloud cover! Most of the Phoenix night sky was rather clear. Except to the east and the south. You know, where the moon would be. Drats. Luckily, I have friends in cloud free areas. (Thank you Anne! Of course, without completely verifiable documentation certified by NASA I know that some of the readers of this blog will doubt this is actually what it is. I am a big liar, you know.)

So where was I? Oh yes, the weather. with a one hour break in the action, I decided to grab a quick run. Nothing fancy, just out of the subdivision we were staying in, down the street and back. Only problem is that once I got to the gate of the subdivision I realized there was no way through. While I am a fatty I am apparently not heavy enough to trigger the doors leading out of the complex. And the pedestrian gate is locked. From both sides. Hope there is never a fire!

Well, I am too lazy to run back and get the gate opener, so I decided to just scale the fence. I figured the cameras on either side of the fence would not mind a person trying to LEAVE the premises. So down the road I go. I run for a bit thinking about how I am going to get back in. I know there was another entrance that pedestrians could enter in but am unsure if it is locked. I also notice that the cross streets have LONG red lights. SO when I get to one of them after about 2.5 miles, I figure I will not bother with waiting and just head home. Who knows how much longer I will have to run to find the entrance to into Castle Grayskull anyway?

But lo and behold, as I came upon the DMZ entrance of my home for the next fortnight, I noticed a car exiting. Sure enough, the gates stood gaping open. I began my sprint. With visions of dismemberment dancing in my head, I escaped the closing maw of the gates unscathed.

So a little shorter than I previously wanted, I was till able to enjoy a 5.25 mile run in the warm 69 degree weather of Arizona.

Then it was back to work. And for those wondering, I have been keeping up on my promise to read a book a week. I just haven't had the chance to write recaps yet. They are coming I swear.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Twas a good weekend for my friends

First Katie got her new PR of 3:16:0x and what appears to be a 6th place finish overall for women at the Myrtle Beach Marathon.

Now I learn that, on Sunday, multi-marathoning friend Rob Toonkel continued his blistering pace of running great times (his last 10 marathons have featured his best, third best, fifth best, sixth best, ninth best, 12th best and 16th best times ever) by running his first sub 3:20 ever in a time of 3:19:56!

Rob is known for shooting out like a rocket far too fast for what is his usual pace. I know I am not the only person to yell at him for doing so. but with a man with 120 marathons under his belt, it is hard to say I know more about his body than he. but with even splits throughout, split times from the Austin Marathon website indicate that he improved from 390th place at the 5.6 mile mark to 367th place by the 10 mile mark, to 333rd at the 15 mile mark and finished in 327th out of 5,134 marathon finishers.

So three cheers for my buddies! I am sure there are more stories from this weekend for me to tell. In fact, I am pretty sure my friend Holly Koester, (a wheeler from Ohio who I must admit I was shocked to learn her age as her demeanor, appearance and exuberance made me think she was 15 years younger and that's a compliment) was also at Myrtle Beach. But enjoy these tidbits for now!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New Headphone Logo

My brother decided to help out.

Words for those who can read. Symbols for those who can't.

(Lest you cannot figure out the tone, this is meant in jest).

Sunday Long run

My plan for the day was to check out the City Creek Canyon again. But this time, since I did not have to meander around for a while, I could cut right to the chase and hit the read Canyon part. As such, I was planning on testing myself by running 5 miles from the gate leading into the canyon straight up. Mother nature had other plans.

As I got through the first section of my run, the 3 plus miles to the Canyon Road itself (which included probably the hardest section (including about 300 feet of climb in .85 of a mile) pretty well and was pleased. It always takes me 4 miles to warm up at least on a long run and when you have this sort of beginning at the start it can make it difficult.

As I entered the gate I heard this whooshing noise. To my right there is a huge pipe sticking out of the ground about ten feet. I remembered seeing this last week and laughed. Underneath this pipe, in a 6 foot pile, is a stalagmite of frozen water. Apparently this pumps water out of the creek and the frozen temperatures have either forced the frozen water out in chunks but air is still coming through or some other oddity. I'd like to know the real reason for this and will find out soon. This will call for a phone call to the City Creek Canyon people tomorrow.

So, I start the climb and before long hear a beeping in the distance. It is a construction vehicle clearing out the snow( no wimpy regular trucks for Utah, baby). Not a backhoe or a bulldozer it is the one on the far right. Anyone help me out here?

Anyway, it is clearing snow leftover from last week's snowstorm. As the road seems pretty clear I am not worried. It looks like it is mainly doing clean-up duty. I figured it is plowed to where I want it to be and keep trekking.

As I near the water treatment plant I notice a huge wall of snow. Earlier I was thinking it was so nice how the city plows this road so runners and cyclists can use it. I was wrong. they plow it so workers can get up to the water treatment plant. Because exactly where the entrance to the plant is, about 15 feet later is the huge wall of snow where the road's contents were deposited.

I have not gone nearly far enough yet, so I trek over this wall of snow and see some other hardy souls have done the same thing. For about 100 yards the snow is hard packed and the footing, while not ideal, was ok. Then the footprints stopped. the snow gets deeper and fluffier. For the next quarter mile or snow I trudge though this shin deep snow. I fall a few times. I keep running. Uphill, mind you. (look below).

Finally, I decide enough is enough, I am going to have to stop about a mile short of my turn around point and call it a day.I turn around after 7.55 miles and head home.

Here are two other views of just the City Creek 3.75 miles or so.

Final stats:
15.1 miles
1427 feet of uphill in 7.55 miles (189 feet a mile)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Let's try a new park

I love Liberty Park. When the snow finally melts (sidebar: I jinxed myself by, on Tuesday wearing shorts for the very first time in Utah on a run. It proceeded to dump like 6 inches on us here on Wednesday. Sorry about that, SLC)I am going to love it even more.

But like I mentioned before, I know I have to venture out. I need to explore the running routes as much as possible. Especially since I have put together my work, travel and speaking schedule (tentatively) during he past few days and it shows me going from one corner of this country to the other. Literally. I go from Washington state to New England to Florida to Texas. I might just sublet my apartment. ( I am kidding).

So after a nice evening by myself Friday where I went and checked out the Gallery Stroll I called it a night early.

(While I would have preferred to do this with a friend, I don't know when or if I will be here on the third Friday of the month again and I like to carpe noctem; one of my rules is to not count on tomorrow. When I moved to DC, I wanted to see all the sights. While I missed many of them mostly b/c there is so much to see and I technically lived in Arlington making it a little more of a pain to do so, I did see much. I made it a point to go see something new every weekend. And good thing too since before I knew it, I was running FIDDY2 then 2007 came and now I am in Utah. I never want to be one of those people who live somewhere and never see the wonders of their own backyard.)

I was woken in the middle of the night by a banging on my door. I thought it was my neighbors door at first (they are about 2.5 feet apart) and that hopefully soon someone would answer. Mostly I wished for this because my neighbor has a barking dog that has one of those very annoying barks. And it barks a great deal. I don't blame the dog, mind you. I blame the owner. Something is going to have to be done about that. But I digress.

More banging and now I realize it was my doors. Searching for clothing in the dark, I make it to the door. I realize I do not have a peephole. Oh well. I open the door and police are standing there.

"Did you dial 911?"
"Um, no?"
"Well we received a 911 hangup and the last time that number had an address it was here."
"You are welcome to look around"
They come in and do a quick perusal of my place. All I can think about is I am going to end up on COPS! : SLC solely because I am shirtless. That seems to be the rule. Don't wear a shirt; Get on COPS!

After the realize I am truthful they let me be. Unfortunately, the dog barks often during the night. So much for a restful sleep. Damn it. I was planning a long run.

Which leads me to this morning. Well, almost. The other night I was doing some loops at Liberty Park. A chap pulled up next to me. I was a little pissed. Rarely am I caught from behind. But the fella, Dean was his name, was just looking for a lap partner and had spent the past loop trying to catch me. As we both had 3 more loops to go, we both made a new friend. A recent transplant to SLC himself, Dean is originally from Nashville and at one time had ran a 32:xx 10k PR. Asking him why the hell he was running with my slow ass, he said it had been 20 years ago (give or take).

We chatted and he suggested I hit Sugarhouse Park soon. Well, I had been planning on it since I got here but this cinched it. Saturday I would run Sugarhouse Park's Loop. Now, Liberty Park's Loop is just a hair under 1.5 miles (I run on the outside of the loop so I am saying it is an even 1.5) but very flat. Heck if there is even as much elevation chance as this picture shows below I will be surprised.

While I was putting the final touches on my planned run for the day, I got a call from my great friend, Katie. The diminutive red-head was running the Myrtle Beach Marathon (which hired the same marketing people to do their website as the guy who created the No Headphones logo...ha!) this morning and I told her to call me when she had finished.

Prior to last October, Katie had consistently run very good marathon times but could not get over the hump to PR again. Well, at the Ridge to Bridge Marathon, she not only set a new PR but did so by 4 minutes, knocking her time down to 3:17. A huge accomplishment. Of course, being she is so damn humble (all my friends and and it is maddening! But then I get to write about them here and it makes me happy) she did not mention she WON the friggin race for the women.

Well, Katie did not do as well as she hoped (a 3:15 is what she was hoping for) but another nearly 2 more minutes felt to the wayside as she ran a 3:16:05. YAY Katie!

So with newfound enthusiasm, I prepared for my run. It was cold (24 degrees with a "feels like" of 15) but no matter. Time to put on my OH-So flattering tights (men should really not wear these) and get out the doors. Route in mind, I took off.

Ironically, in my run to the Salt Lake Running Company (who sent me a nice card congratulating me on my recent PR; which makes me assume they are reading this too. Hi guys!) I passed within two blocks of the park. But I took a different way this time to see some different streets and saw some very cute houses.

As I entered Sugarhouse Park, I could see it was much more rolling than Liberty Park. The elevation profile on this does not seem to show it but I can assuredly attest , while far from "hard" it is indeed hardER than Liberty Park. Ironically, the loops of each park are probably only 1/100th of a mile in difference. Good planning SLC Park Loop Planning Committee!

After that, it was just a matter of heading home, climbing a sizeable hill, and then screaming down the other side of it (look at miles 7.5 to 9; I will probably NOT run this course in reverse!) hitting the watch and calling it a day. Another run done and another tour of SLC in the books.

Distance: 9.75 miles
Time: 1:14:27
Avg: 7:38

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Universal NO HEADPHONES ICON Unveiled

I just read this:

"Arlington, VA - As race directors struggle with the RRCA guideline against the use of headphones in RRCA insured events along with the USATF ban on headphones at sanctioned events, the RRCA is encouraging race directors to adopt the new universal NO HEADPHONES symbol on race entry forms and race materials. Created by veteran race director, Jim Gerweck, the goal of this universal symbol is to send the message that event directors are serious about the headphone ban at the events they manage."

Let me be 100% clear. I can rationally understand both sides of this argument and have actually spoken to the Exec Dir of the RRCA (albeit briefly) about the matter. But have you seen the logo they unveiled? Get ready.

If you sat in stunned silence, welcome to the club. I am not the most artistically inclined chap in the world but this logo is atrocious. THIS is what they came up with?! My brother made three separate and uniquely cool FIDDY2 logos for me while he sat in traffic one day. He could have used the money they paid Jim to come up with "Frosty the Snowman Wearing Green Muffs" logo.

Not trying to be too harsh here but some people do not take this ban seriously at all. When your logo looks like something you can't wait to replace on the refrigerator door when Johnny actually gets the cast off of his hand and can draw again, it does not help your cause.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Enough of this park running!

For the first time since I got here a week ago, I had both the time and the sunlight to go exploring on a run. Quickly looking at maps, I figured I should go check out the City Creek Canyon Road everyone has been telling me about. I wasn't disappointed.

I knew it was going to take me a few miles just to reach the trailhead. Normally, I dislike driving somewhere to then run and today was no different. Now that I know the whole trail is about 8 miles long, chances are, when the snow has melted and the whole trail is clear, I will drive to the trail, park and do the run. But today I just wanted 12-13 miles so running there was fine. Plus, I wanted to see at least a little of SLC in the daylight. I know of few better ways to get to know a city intimately than running it.

So I took off from my Liberty Park area and headed north. I got a little confused at one point and had to back track to get to City Creek Canyon Road. The sign only said Canyon Road, and I did not want to tempt it. It ends up that I could have stayed on the road I was on (NE Capitol Blvd)and it would have taken me to the same place (City Creek Canyon Road) that Canyon Road did.

However, if I had I would have missed Memory Grove Park. While I did not run amongst the monuments nearly as often as I would have liked in DC, they were always there. I knew one of the things I would miss most about DC would be running in the shadows of these great tributes. Now, Memory Grove Park isn't going to make me forget any of them anytime soon, but it sure is quite a nice little park in and of itself.

At this point I make it to City Creek Canyon. I have been going steadily uphill (including a 45 degree angle hill as I entered "the Aves". I decide I will do about 2 miles from where the trail begins and call it a day. As I climbed and climbed, I occasionally would grab a handful of snow. It is one of the warmer days I have encountered since I have been here (close to 40 degrees at 10 AM or so) and with the bright sunshine overhead, I was a little parched.

Here is where the real beauty begins. I thought about calling some friends but looked down and noticed my cell phone had no reception. That's probably better anyway as my words could not describe how pretty this area was. If it wasn't the elevation gain taking my breath away, it was definitely this Canyon.


I was chasing a guy in the distance and was hoping to catch him before I turned around at the 2 mile marker. (I was quite pleased they have mile markers on this part of the course). I ran into a few people coming back down the hill which meant they had been up earlier than me (which was not hard given this was the first day I have "slept in" in quite some time.) The guy I was tracking down stopped about 100 meters ahead of me. He was standing at the 2nd mile marker. When I got there I greeted him and we exchanged pleasantries. Tommy was originally from Germany but had lived in Utah for quite sometime. I asked is he was heading back down but he told me he was waiting for his girlfriend. Figuring it was a girl I had passed a little ways back I remarked that I felt she would be along soon and headed back down the hill.

As I left the park entrance I decided to try the road which ran above the canyon. Sure enough it led into the Aves and then onto the main city streets. With no detours and much more downhill on the way home, I ran much swifter second half.

I can't wait to explore even more. 12.3 miles and 1:37 minutes later I was home.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Winter Running Series 2008 - 10k Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 3; 2nd Edition
32.4 miles raced in 2008
Race: Winter Running Series 2008 - 10k
Place: Great Salt Lake State Park, UT
Miles from home: 16 (first race from new home area)
Course Difficulty: 2.5 out of 10
Course Enjoyability: 4.5 out of 10
Weather: 30s. Overcast
Finishers' Medal: N/A

Earlier this week, I wanted to check out a slightly different running route. Given my moving in, starting a new job and all that entails, I haven't had the energy to search out a new running route just yet. As I chronicled earlier, Good Ole Liberty Park has been my trusty go-to when it came to mileage.

So, I decided to check out some of the local running stores and thought I would start with the Salt Lake Running Company. I figured a run down there, check out the store and a run back would be good for the night. Well, it wasn't the easiest place to get to given where I live (and some road construction going on on the road it is located), but I made it. Not a bad store really. It is rather expansive and there seemed to be more space than goods (which if you know anything about shopping means you usually will be paying more for a product than you should have to) but the prices were decent. Not really in the market for anything, I saw some books were on sale. So I bought two to keep up with my need to read a book a week this year, got some running gloves and chatted up the attendant as he rang up my sale. Asking about the local running clubs, he handed me a flyer for the Salt Lake City Track Club.

I lugged my books home (yep, I carried two books in a bag with my older running gloves for 4 miles) and grabbed a shower. All squeaky clean, I checked out the flyer for the SLC Track Club. I noticed they had a winter series of running consisting of a 5k, 10k, and 15k. Well, I had missed the 5k, and was going to be out of town for the 15k, which was quite a bummer. When I lived in DC, they had a number of these series where you earn points by competing, but I always seemed to be out of town or running another more important race during the same days. As such, I never competed. I knew if I did well in one race but couldn't run the others I would have been angry.

However, I checked the prices on this race and was dumbfounded. $20 for a 10k AND a long-sleeve technical shirt? Holy crap! There was no way I could pass that up. So, even though I have only done one other 10k in the past 3 years, and I would hardly think I was in 10k shape right now, I figured I had to give it a shot (even though I was unsure what the 4400 feet elevation would do to me once I tried to sprint).

A 10:00 AM start time was later than I expected but appreciated. I was not 100% sure how to get where I needed to go, had a late night before the race and was just tuckered out from all the events of the past week plus. I showed up, decided to both sign-up for the race and the club at the same time ($15 for the year-long fee knocked $5 off the price of the race) and was ready to go. Too bad I still had about 45 minutes until gun time.

So I milled around the Saltair Pavilion where the registration was and took it all in. It was really quite a nice place. Set right up against the lake with the mountains on one side and what looked like some sort of paper mill off in the distance, it was definitely clear to me I was no longer on the East Coast.

I went out for a small jog, remembering I did not have 6 miles to warm my legs up and better do it now. The weather actually was not too shabby so I went back to the Pavilion and transferred my bib number from the jacket I had on (and intended to run in) to the long sleeve shirt I had on underneath. One last potty break and back out I went.

I could see for sure there were handful of people at least that were going to clean my clock. No matter. I was just here to test out the legs. The countdown started and we were off.

Mile 1: 5:53

I had designs to stay behind and not make a move to the front at the beginning but when I darn near tripped over a girl at the start who obviously was not supposed to be that close to the front, all bets were off. The course looked like it was going to just be a flat stretch of road adjacent to Route 80. Flat as a pancake and with a few twists and turns. I was quite pleased with my first mile time.

Mile 2: 6:07

Hoping the second mile would be under 6 as well, I was a little bummed. Oh well. By now there were three packs of people in front of me: two front runners, a pack of four about 100 yards behind them and a pack of 4 about 100 yards behind them. I was in 11th.

Mile 3: 6:18

The only wind to speak of hit us during this mile. Nothing too bad but you knew it was there.

Mile 4: 6:12

At the turn-around people were a little closer than I expected, but the girl I had tripped over, and who looked quite fit and fast, was forever back. I wonder if she was just out for a jog or if her physique came from pilates and not running.

I heard footsteps and a guy fell in right behind me for about 50 yards. I picked it up to make him work for it and the 4 mile sign appeared on the side of the road. I figured he was going to pass me but not until 4 miles.

Mile 5: 6:09

Passing me at 4 miles and like 3 inches, I now got on his tail for about a quarter of a mile. I was hoping that when I hit mile 5 it would be a 6:05 split. I knew I had a pretty darn good chance to PR but I wanted even more.

Mile 6: 6:04

A tad slower than I was hoping for, I had fallen behind the only guy who had passed me, but I undoubtedly had used him to pull me along. I needed a 1:12 in the last .2 of a mile to break 38 minutes .

Mile.2: 1:09

I gave it all I had and crossed in 37:57, a new PR by 40 seconds. I almost immediately dry-heaved. Thank goodness I had nothing to eat before the race.

Having set a PR at altitude (although not the highest of altitude that is for sure), I was quite pleased. That lasted about 5 seconds until I heard the winner's time. Well, I heard the first part and then my brain shut out the rest with an "Are you effin kidding me?!" While I had placed a respectable 12th (out of an unknown amount at this time; I say 110), the winner had come home in 31:xx. Dang. Like I have said many times, the faster I get, the slower I realize I really am.

But I will take a new PR (even if I was 3rd in my age group; damn I hate this age group!) any day of the week.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My first few runs in Salt Lake city

So I am in Utah. Finally.

After a trip that started out smooth as butter and then went to hell in a handbasket (not quite but it could have) when weather closed down Route 80 in Wyoming, I arrived Saturday morning in my new home.

Between unpacking and trying to do all the things necessary to live in a brand new state, I have, of course, got some runs in.

When I first moved to Arlington, VA in July nearly four years ago (wow), I was not really the biggest runner in the world. I had only run 2 marathons, neither particularly impressive. I was in training for my third and was wondering where I run in the "big city". Little did I know of all the trails and running paths that are abound in the greater DC area. I most assuredly did not expect to find a paved running trail in my backyard that was an artery to miles upon miles upon miles of other running trials all throughout the city. I will not say that this trail helped turned me into the sort of runner that I am today but there is something to be said about stepping out your door and not having to worry about traffic or mile markers or anything else. Just go run.

So, having become so spoiled by this trail one of my main concerns in moving to Salt Lake City was to find something as convenient. Well, I have.

I now currently live across the street from Liberty Park, smack dab in the heart of SLC. With a 1.5 mile paved loop around the outside of the park it is simple as pie to crank out 6 miles then run a few feet home and call it a day. While my runs so far in my stay in SLC have not been very imaginative (and I know there are many more trails and paths to run and I can't wait to discover them all), they have been convenient. And there is much to be said for convenience.

For example, if I had to think about it, I may not have ventured out into the 15 degrees today to get a run in before work. Having never been a chap who enjoys to exercise in the morning, I simply cannot pass up this opportunity. Plus I would miss some fun exchanges. For example, this morning, as I neared passing a woman running in front of me (who was no slouch herself), I tried to come up with a little phrase of niceness to say as I passed her.

Me: "I wouldn't mind if it was a little warmer!"
Her: "I wouldn't mind running as fast as you but ain't neither happening today!"

She made a good point.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Pacer feedback

Wen things are low because you just wasted 6.5 hours in Laramie, WY, waiting for Route 80 to reopen so you can finish the last leg of your trip (which you won't get to until tomorrow because it was too dark to continue on) it is nice to get an email telling you that you did your job as a pacer right.

Here are a few of the excerpts sent to the pacing coordinator of the Carlsbad Marathon last week.

Hi Jim,

I had the pleasure of running with Dane Rauschenberg as my 3:10 pace group leader
at Carlsbad Marathon this past weekend. I managed a 3 min. PR and a 2nd place
finish thanks in no small part to Dane's even pacing and constant words of
encouragement. Although I dropped off the pace around mile 19, I know that I
would not have done as well without the support of a pace leader.
Thanks to you for coordinating the pace groups. This was the first time I've ever run
with one and it was a great experience.

Alison Meadow

Hi Jim and other pacers,
I just finished the Carlsbad Marathon this morning and met you at the finish line with the pacer I ran with, Dane Rauschenberg. I hope that you can get this message to
Dane because I owe my final time to him. He was such a great help mentally. No
way would I have done as well as I did without him. Dane was a really nice guy to
run with - he kept a great attitude and gave us tips here and there about how to run
the course. It was great! Oh yeah, and he kept a perfect pace. :-)

Around mile 23 I really started to hurt and fell back a little, but Dane was looking
around for me and shouted back a few times - I kept my eye on him and reeled him
some in the final mile, and qualified for Boston with a minute to spare. Thanks Dane!
This was my first time running in a pace group, and it was a great experience to run
with the support of others. Tell Dane I will pitch in for his carpal tunnel medical bills for holding the pace sign if he promises to run the SF marathon too. :-)


Now pray for good weather and roads tomorrow so I can end this godawful trip. Thank goodness for Annie's singing or this would have been unbearable!