Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hangang Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 3; 6th Edition
137.2 miles raced in 2008
Race: Hangang Marathon
Place: Seoul, Korea
Miles from home: 5870 miles
Weather: Started good; Ended bad!

I am not a fan of sitting still. Being in a confined space is definitely something to raise my BP. So 13 hour flights are my own personal hell. But when I am doing it at the invitation of the MBC Hangang Marathon, I found a way to deal with it.

I felt like I had only been home a day from the Boston Marathon before I left again to go to Korea. The main reason I felt that way was because, well, I was. I got home Tuesday evening from Boston and left Thursday morning. With a layover in San Francisco, I had just enough time to get comfy before jumping on a United flight to Seoul. This was my second straight year running the Hangang Marathon and I was both honored to be invited and exhausted at the idea of it all. Just four days earlier (it would have been five if not for that blasted International Date Line) I was finishing up my second run from the streets of Hopkinton to Boston. And a week before that I had capped a month long road trip off with an impromptu marathon in Utah. Needless to say, I was a bit peeked.

Never one to sleep much on a plane (being 6'1'' impedes that some when you are jammed into a tiny seat) by the time I arrived in Seoul and go to my hotel I had been up for about 26 hours. I think this was actually good as it allowed me get to bed in the evening. But not until I gave a quick interview to the Korean ESPN.

While far from an "elite" runner, I have gained some fame overseas for the running of my 52 marathons in 2006. this always made me laugh given the dearth of the same in the greater DC area that I lived in for four years. I think I need to get a "I’m Huge in Korea" t-shirt and David Hasselhoff can wear his similar Germany t-shirt and we can be best of buds. But I digress.

As it was now Friday night, I graciously hoped I did not look too bad from the travel and did my best to say the very few words of Korean I had learned for the cameras. I am sure my annunciation turned "I love Korea" into "Ducks boldly eat broomsticks." But everyone smiled and nodded so I think I nailed it.

Morning on Saturday broke early as we had a tour to go on. Being the only native English speaking person on this morning tour (two Australian chaps, one whom I met last year) forewent (is that the past tense of forgo?) the tour, I settled into just watching the scenery. We soon arrived at a Royal Palace.

I walked around with an device in my ear explaining all of the buildings and the like until it was time to go. We then shuttled off to the Leeum or Korean Museum of Art. Inside, amongst many Asian artifacts (which I loved) was a contemporary exhibit as well.

I was surprised to see an Andy Warhol painting in here and was glad to know this talentless hack had not just fooled Americans. If I offended anyone with that comment, well sorry but that’s my opinion on most pop art. How this "artist" convinced so many that taking a picture that someone else had actually made and then simply reproducing it several times on silk screen was so tremendous and avant-garde is beyond me. But that is probably why he made millions and I am struggling to pay grad school loans!

Before I knew it I was back on he bus and heading to the N Seoul Tower for lunch. In a rotating room that gave us a view on all of Seoul once every hour or so, I broke bread with the two Aussies, Trent and Daniel.

A change in the remainder of our schedule allowed me some well-needed rest time. I spent it watching the movie "300" in Korean. I wish I had rewind on the TV as I wanted to perfect "This is SPARTA!" for the next day’s race. I thought that would be a good way to frighten a few competitors prior to the gun firing. Nevertheless, I was able to enjoy the movie in any regard as Swords and spears disemboweling Persians translates well even when you don’t know the language it is being spoken in.

As evening drew nigh, I wanted to make use of a few cans of food I had brought with me to Korea. Having experienced a couple of bouts of the "Shouldn’t-have-eaten-that"s in previous trips abroad prior to races, I wanted to eat something I knew was ok . But with no microwave in my room (which was both ultra-cool and baffling at the same time) I took the elevator downstairs in search of one. At the restaurant in the hotel I asked if they had one I could use. Ushered to a seat, the perfectly affable server took my food and disappeared. A few minutes later, my pasta and meatballs was served to me in a fancy bowl on a tray with a side of pickles to boot. Can you imagine an American restaurant doing that? I was shocked.

I ate my prepared meal and said thank you in my most polite Korean. I think they were delighted with my attempt which made up for the inconvenience of bringing me my own food.

Now I just had to wait until my contact for the entire event, Chris came to my room with the apparel for the next day. Breaking the cardinal rule of never wearing something you haven’t tried out first was nothing new for me. I have lucked out previously and was hoping I would again this time. And when someone flies you to their country to run a race, you wear whatever it is they ask you to wear. Even I am not that rude. Plus, well, I am lucky enough to be able to run in just about anything and with this being basically my 4th marathon in 13 days, I was not expecting to set any land speed records.

Marathon morning

6 AM wakeup call. 7 am bus ride to the start; get there at 8 AM and have to kill an hour before he 9 AM guntime. There are few things I like more than sleeping until about 2 minutes before the start. No stretching, no warm-up no nothing. While my other invitees did little workouts to get blood flowing, I sat under jacket and pants reveling in the chilly temps. You see, last year bright sunshine and warm temps doomed me before the gun even fired.

With dense fog in a nip in the air, I was quite pleased.

The time finally came to head towards the starting line. We lined up behind flagbearers holding our respective flags and I welled with pride. Love it or not, I am VERY proud to be an American and thank Lee Greenwood for giving me a song to quote.

The previous evening I had run into the only other English-speaking (native) runners, both from Australia, Trent and Daniel. Trent had been here last year and took second. Daniel was supposed o join him but injury prevented him to do so. Here at the start I wished them both good luck and readied myself.

The flagbearers stepped aside, a man raised his arms and dropped them. A shower of fireworks went off in the distance and away we went. About 100 yards later, the shrapnel and smoke from the fireworks hit us face-on and we all chuckled.

Knowing the course would only consist of kilometer markings, I had done a little research the night before to know what pace I wanted to run. My main goal for this race was to break 3 hours. I knew it was a tough course but this year I at least KNEW it was a tough course. As such, I realized what time I had to run per K to break 3 hours. When I passed the first K, I was WAY ahead of that time. So much for not getting pulled along by the speedsters. I quickly settled down and got into a groove.

The kilometers zoomed by pretty quickly. As those of us who were invited started a few minutes before the rest of the field, every once in a while a team of four runners or so would fly by me. My headstart only helped so much for guys planning on running a 2:35 or so.

The course contained a few more ups and downs in the first 10k or so then I remembered. But I felt good and was sticking to my times. Well, sorta. Every once in a while a K marker would not be there and I would have to run 3k before getting a marker to go on. Usually, as I am a pretty good predictor of my pace this would not be a problem. But with all the traveling and racing I had done recently, it was hard to know my body as well as I would have liked.

It was not until 14k that the course went from urban running to a moral rural setting.

This also began the biggest downhill section of the course. I used it to my advantage and held a few runners at bay until we crossed the 15k timing mat. I was about a minute slower than I was the previous year but held no worries at all. I was feeling tired but knew I would not crash like I did in the heat of 2007.

Passing through the halfway mark, we turned left to do our first and only crossing of the Han River. An expansive body of water, the Han was visible form a good ten miles of the course on our way out and again on the way back. Here is where I saw the leaders returning from the out portion and not only was Trent in 2ng again but David was in 3rd. I was stoked and gave them both high-fives.

After turning around and heading back myself, I found that I was feeling pretty good. I knew around 27k I would begin the longest climb of the race and was prepping myself for it. However, the tired feeling I had felt just a few miles before had evaporated. I was feeling damn good.

As I traversed the hills, the weather decided to get nasty. While there had been sprinkles all morning, we had not been hit with anything too bad. Plus, we expected the win in our faces on the way out to be helpful on the way home. Unfortunately, the win did an about face and blew right into us and the rain picked up. And up. Soon pouring rain and fierce headwinds accompanied what would have been perfect running temps in the 50s. But now it was just downright chilly. Yet somehow, I kept hitting each kilometer well under what I thought I would. I just wanted to get to 32k and use the last real downhill to push me on.

While the bad weather continued my energy level soared. I knew not to count my chickens before they hatched but I was flying. I was passing runners left and right and ticking away each K. Holy mackerel, I have never felt this good running this fast this late. I allowed myself to dream of an excellent finish that I knew was WAY out of grasp.

With a 5k to go, I knew barring a cramp I was finishing under 3. The only other question was how far. I knew coming into the race if I ran faster than a 2:57:40 I could bring my average for the year to 2:59:59. (Damn you, 3:10 pacing job at the Carlsbad Marathon!!) It became my focus to not only make that time but make sure I did not cramp in the process.

Unfortunately, the elements and the course were conspiring against me. While the profile below is mostly accurate, I do not recall stepping off a cliff at mile 25.

Moreover, I could not find anyone to break the wind and rain for me, as I was passing people in a fast manner. Catch up; pass; leave behind. That was my method.

Nevermind. Just run. I turn the corner with a quarter-mile to go and a spectator aimlessly walks out in front of me. *CRASH*. Down goes 90 lb girl. "Mother effer, that hurt!" goes Dane’s brain. Somehow, on this slippery downhill I maintain my composure, look to see the girl is not dead and keep going. One last turn and I am onto the homestretch. It hits me these two turns are almost equidistant to the last two turns of Boston. How ironic.

I see a guy ahead of me and decided to try and pass him. As we get closer to the finish, I feel I am pushing too hard and things start to churn in my belly. Forget that. No repeat of last year. I ease off a bit and slide in under the banner in 2:56:39. My third fastest time ever. I am elated. Now all I had to do was walk forever back to our tents at the "Championship Shelter" from the finish.

It ends up that Trent finished second in 2;22 and Daniel in a "training run" took third just squeaking under 2:30. I think I was more happy for them then they were. Laid-back Aussie blokes!

After a long bus ride back to our hotels and a much needed shower, the Aussies and I went to grab a bite to eat. I convinced the them to go to Outback Steakhouse which I thought was the funniest thing in the world. On our way there we saw a huge gathering for the torch-carrying ceremony for the Beijing Olympics. Flags waving everywhere we saw banners which said: "Tibet WAS, IS, and ALLways will be part of China." Not too much of a politico myself, all i could think was how unbelievably arrogant, controlling and full of venom this statement was. It was almost a dare of sorts for someone to TRY and free Tibet. Even more so, for anyone who knows there Asian history I found this VERY ballsy on the Chinese citizens part. You see, Koreans are not big fans of "occupation" by other Asian countries. In fact, in the 1936 Olympics, known for Jesse Owens more or less putting a big black foot up Adolf Hitler's Supreme Race ass, there is a lesser-known subplot to illustrate this.

Sohn Kee-chung became the first medal-winning Korean Olympian when he won the gold medal in the Marathon at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. But he did so as a member of the Japanese delegation, under the name of Son Kitei, because Korea was occupied by Japan as its de facto colony. So when the Japanese anthem was played at the medal ceremony, Sohn, who had always refused to be called by his Japanese name, bowed his head to show completed disrespect for the anthem.

But I digress.

I finally get a few weeks to rest as I make my way back home tomorrow afternoon. in ~3 weeks I run the Ogden Marathon in Utah and will make my first solid attempt at a well-below 2:50. Stay tuned!

The start of 2nd Boston in one day

Here are a few pics from the start of my second go-around from Hopkinton to Boston last Monday. This is the closest I will ever be to the start line!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Two more book reviews

Anyone who has read my blogs knows I am a fan of the Marine Corps Marathon. So when I saw The Marine Corps Marathon: A Running Tradition by George Banker, I jumped right on it. Written in 2007 I knew it would have all the most up to date info and hopefully be a good read. To be quite honest I was a little disappointed.

Let me list the cons of this book just to state why I was a little let down. Until the book gets into a year by year recap of each race, it seems quite disjointed. Paragraphs do not flow well into each other and sometimes facts and quotes just seem to appear as if there was a collection of information the author had which he wanted to get on paper but did not know how to tie together. The beginning few chapters made for some hard reading and if I was not such a fan of the race I would be tempted to turn the book away right there. But I continued.

Once the book got into the yearly recaps, it became a plethora of knowledge about the top placers for both the male and female race. You really felt you got to know some of the runners who consistently placed near the top and struggled year after year to gain overall victories. Some succeeded, some did not.

In an interesting twist, I learned even more about my friend Holly Koester. You may recall me mentioning Holly a few times in previous blogs. she is humble, inspiring and a wonderful lady who was recently featured on a Cheerios box (of which I am a proud owner!). Well, I learned in the reading of this book that Holly took the first 3 female overall wheelchair victories for females. In all our emails and talks, she never once mentioned this. You can imagine my surprise learning it this way. Way to go Holly.

So, the book is good for factoids and learning brief histories but not for much more than that. Most of the information could be found on the internet but at least this puts it in one handy place. I can only hope to find a more focused and lucid history of this great race soon.

Recently, I purchased a slew of books on running at a store that was having a great sale. Some of the purchases probably would not have been made if not for the price. I had nothing against the books per se but they all seemed to be along the lines of "How to get started" and "Channeling your Energy", neither are things I really need to know at this point. But then I realized it is always good to learn as much as you can about what you want to do with your life, so I snatched them up.

The book that caught my attention first was entitled Running Within: A Guide to Mastering the Body-Mind-Spirit Connection for Ultimate Training and Racing.

When it comes to the "zen" of running, or tying the mind and spirit to the body, I can say that I am all for it, but too much thought going into all of it is a little bit of a waste of time. At nearly 200 pages, I felt Running within could have said exactly what it said in about 1/3 of the pages. I certainly agreed with some of its philosophies. There were several passages, in fact, that I found to be not only truthful but helpful. However, the book often seemed to be repeating the same message in an attempt to flesh out ideas that really did no need to be fleshed out.

I can definitely see the book as a useful guide for the beginner; the person looking for a little extra oomph to get out of the door. The affirmations and life-affirming statements seemed a little hokey to me but might just be the cup of tea for others.

One thing I found odd was that there was a plethora of pictures of runners in the book but none had any captions. Perhaps this is just me but when I see a picture, I want to know the particulars. Even if it is Betty Smith age 53 from Missoula, Montana running in the local snowflake 3k, I want to know that. Who knows, I might meet Betty on a plane and have something to talk about!

All told, both of these books added a little to my knowledge and love of running but left a little to be desired. I am sure many will find them both to be adequate or exactly what they were looking for. I unfortunately did not.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Utah Valley Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 3; 4th Edition
84.8 miles raced in 2008
Race: Utah Valley Marathon
Place: Provo, UT
Miles from home: 45 miles
Weather: 20s at the start (brr). Sunny.

Having spent the past month on the road, I knew I was probably shooting for the stars with this marathon. I was tired from travel, work and sundry other things as well. Also, I usually stay away from inaugural races. While it is "neat" to say you ran the first of something, for the most part my feeling is: so what? First run races usually have some growing pains they must go through and I prefer those pains to be someone else's.

But I was hoping for one last shot at a sub 2:50 before my own personal schedule of running and my work schedule more or less made a shot at a VERY fast time something that would have to wait until later this year. Plus, who can turn down a $45 marathon? (well, 49 something or other when you add on's ridiculously exorbitant "handling" fee. Seriously, I can mail a check. Costs 41 cents.)

So I got back to Salt Lake City late Thursday night, went to work Friday and after all was done there, headed down I-15 to Provo, home of BYU university to run the Utah Valley Marathon.

The course itself was a point-to-point course which meant I was going to have to take the shuttle to the start. I had told no one about this race so I could not even have a friend drive me there. With a 6 AM start time (why?!), I was up at 4 AM to catch the bus. Unfortunately, the bus arrived at the start way earlier than I had wished and that meant nearly an hour of standing around. Throw in the 20 degree weather and a wind whipping down the canyon and it was brr indeed.

The race directors had put out some fire barrels and the few runners there were huddled around them. We exchanged banter and one guy said : "So Dane, what are you hoping for?" Andy Browning was his name and we had run the Park City Marathon together two years prior. (His 3:21 left my 3:24 in the dust) What a pleasant surprise this was! I told him my goal and asked his. We both hoped to break 3 hours.

Standing next to me was a stunning visage. It finally occurred to me who it was. The Utah Valley Marathon had mentioned that Miss Utah would be joining the runners. Out of curiosity, I looked her up on the odd chance that I might see her. Well see her I did. Her name is Jill Stevens and you are welcome to read her bio here. But let me add something to that bio.

As an observer of people to begin I watched her interact with the various other runners there. She exchanged witty banter, warmed herself and basically was just "another runner". If anyone else recognized her they never mentioned it. Finally, right before the start, I asked her in a low-key voice if her name was Jill. When she replied in the affirmative I followed-up by asking if she was Miss Utah. While you could see pride in her eyes for having been selected to represent this state, you could also see that she was happy I had not made a big deal out of it amongst the other runners. She was just there to run. Awesome stuff. This picture below doesn't even do her justice.

When he race started at promptly 6 AM, I soon found I was in the lead. This lasted for all of 250 yards. Then two gentlemen passed me. There goes any thoughts of winning the $1,000 first-place prize. The course

consisted mostly of the Provo River Parkway. As we traversed down this bicycle/running path, I could tell it was very similar to the Custis Trail that I ran oh-so-many miles in DC. Here is what we would see on a normal day.

However, at 6 AM this is what we saw:

At mile 2 another person passed me. Now I was in 4th. Well, crap.

Around mile 4 or so we left the trail and hit the streets of Provo. In the distance I could see 2nd and 3rd place. First place was long gone. Nondescript miles followed before an unexpected hill at mile 5. Looping through parking lots and the occasional construction site, I was confused as the 2nd place runner disappeared and then reappeared behind me. I think he made a restroom break. He quickly distanced himself from me.

Around mile 9 I could see the cushion I had built on first few miles of downhill was eroding.

While my "address" is Salt Lake City at an elevation of 4400', I can hardly say I have lived here much. As such, the elevation was taking its toll. The minute cushion I had when I hit mile 5 was now gone. Even the relatively flat sections of the course (with the occasional risers) was sapping time away from me. I was unsure if the sub 2:50 was going to happen.

A course snafu sapped some more energy and another unexpected monster of a hill appeared in front of me. I got through that and was back on the Parkway soon for almost the remainder of the course. When I hit the halfway point at 1:26 or so, I knew a sub 2:50 was in serious jeopardy. A few 6:55 minute miles confirmed that as I was giving all I had and losing time.

However, in front of me appeared 3rd place. I had been tracking him down since mile 12. Here at close to the 18th mile, we was just a few yards in front of me. Wearing headphones I knew he couldn't hear me so I wanted to wait until an opportune time to pass him and possibly demoralize him. I did not think I necessarily had the kick left in me to race him all out at the end. but at mile 18, he stopped at the aid station and I had to pass him. Um hello? Follow MY plans, please!

Now I had to be the front runner and cut the wind (what there was of it). For the next 4-5 miles, the course followed a dirt road with plenty of ruts and stones. It skirted the outside of an airport to our left and Utah Lake to our right.

Speaking to the race director afterward, he asked me what I thought of this section. I told him while I was sure it was pretty to see (he seemed very proud of this section) with my mind on the course and its ruts I wasn't viewing the scenery too much.

At mile 22, with my head on a swivel the man I had passed had caught up, a volunteer said: "Way to go!! Fourth place!"

FOURTH?!?! What the hell happened to third? Now let me add here that at mile 20 I had seen the guy who I thought was in second place, scramble up off of the trail 10 yards ahead of me. I have no idea what he was doing laying on the trail but I don't think he was cheating. there was really no way to get out there on the narrow course unless he had driven with a volunteer. Now the reason I was concentrating so hard on third place was my other goals were shot. As I pulled away from the guy I passed, it was only because I was maintain speed and he was losing it. I thought I was crushing 6:30 miles and they kept being 7:05s.

Rounding a bend at 23, I looked back and saw that another runner had passed the runner I had at 18 and was gaining ground. I literally said, outloud, "Hells no!". While my previous miles had slowed all the way to 7:30 ish (I say "ish" as mile 21 was obviously in the wrong place as it was way fast and 22 was WAY slow) I hit the next mile in 7:10 and then the final mile in 7:17.

More importantly, I held off the guys behind me and came in third place (the volunteers at 22 obviously miscounted). I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief (I know NO place worse than 4th and experienced that at the Washington's Birthday Marathon last year).

While the winner (who ran away with the field in 2:37) received $1,000 for his work, 2nd place (who ended up beating me by 2 minutes) and I received "just" gift certificates. While very nice and I would never poo-poo any award, I think it would serve the race best if some sort of distribution of the funds was given to the top three ($600, $300, $100 for example).

Having said that, my third place trophy/plaque is a treasure I will be glad to share with all. In my 75th lifetime marathon, I finished well under my goal with a time of 2:58:50 (awaiting official times) but took home some hardware. While my final kick made 4th and 5th finish a little further behind than my constant imminent terror described above may reveal but there was stiff competition out there.

And no, I did not stay behind to get Miss Utah's number. I have a feeling she has a suitor or two. Or 90.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

100 days

Today is the 100th day of the year. Nearly 1/3 of the way through 2008. How the heck did that happen?!

Time to check on my goals for the year.

* First goal is to run sub 2:50. With a 2:51:49 at the National Marathon, I am close. Stay tuned.

* Second goal was to set new PRs in many major distances. Well, I have only run 2 marathons and a 10k so far. But I am 2 for 2.

* Third, I wanted to get sub 36 in the 10k. This will be one of the hardest as I rarely race short distances. Same with my sub 17 minute goal for the 5k. But that is why they are goals!

Another semi-goal was to run 3,000 miles. As of today I am about 80 some miles off that pace. But with 52.4 on one day, 12 days from now, I should make up some of that. To be honest, I will not sacrifice any of the above goals to just make mileage goal. While I think one will beget the other, I do not care about the quantity tis year.

Unfortunately, there will be no run for me on the 100th day of the year. I am in New Mexico and it is snowing. What the heck? I did not bring any snow gear to run in whatsoever. After a road trip that took me to Atlanta, then DC, then New England, I did not expect the one place where it would snow to be in New Mexico! Live and learn.

However, I did get a nice little run in the Santa Fe area. Needing to shake out a lot of carlag, I knew that my tired body needed to go out and get some air. I pulled up a quick map and saw a neat little reservoir which looks a reasonable distance away.I of course forgot I was close to 7,000 feet of elevation the moment I stepped out the door. (How do I always find the big hills?)

Nevertheless, I had plotted a route and wanted to check it out. When I go to the Two Mile Reservoir, I found that it was rather dry. (I am shocked and saddened that the only pictures I could find of the area were from one person who was documented the vandalizing and graffiti that had taken place at the dam. Hence no pictures).

There I learned from signs that the reservoir had once been he main source of water to Santa Fe but after it became outmoded and was breached for safety reasons, the Public Service Company of New Mexico gave it to the Nature Conservancy, which maintains it as a wildlife preserve. That said, there was still a nice little body of water with ducks swimming in it, a beautiful trail to run around the gaping hole in the earth and bright sunshine to make me feel good (obviously this was a run far from where I am today). It I had not already been winded from the climb to the dam, I might have explored the trail a little more. But I had more work to do waiting for me back at the hotel, so I turned around.

On the way up to the dam, I had just randomly picked a road that sorta of winded its way up the hill. I could have chosen any number but went with Canyon Road. simple enough, right? Well I was in for a treat. This narrow road which barely had room for a car to pass a parked car

is completely abutted by over 100 art studios, galleries and their ilk and many were on display for the average person to walk by and enjoy.

And Enjoy I did. Here are just a few shots.

These and many ore galleries made for a great distraction on the way up the climb and even more eye candy to witness on the other side of the street on the way back down. Almost made me forget I crested 7,300 feet at the top of my run. A 6.7 mile run in 52:22. not too shabby given all the circumstances (some of which I will mention more about later).

Here's hoping you are close to your goals for the year,be the about running or life in general.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Duel in the Sun video

As I nationtrot (I don't "globe"trot until two weeks from now) many things are hard to keep up with. The running is a little in the tubes during this month as my butt is in a carseat for 10 plus hours a day. Once I finally get to a hotel, it is email catch-up time and plan for the next day. As such, I have not had as much time to keep my readers entertained. Rest assured I have two reviews of books coming up for your reading pleasure.

In the meantime, my good friend Judith sent me this video. You may recall my review of Staying the Course, the about Dick Beardsley's life. I read that book after reading about the epic battle for the Boston Marathon in 1982 betwixt Beardsley and Alberto Salazar, called The Duel in the Sun.

Well, Judith has provided me with a link to the video of the thrilling last 9 or so minutes of that race.


After picturing that last mile or so in my head many times while reading the book, it was exhilarating to see how it actually unfolded. Hope this tides you over for a bit.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Boston times 2

Many friends have known for quite sometime that I had something up my sleeve for the 2008 Boston Marathon. However, until I had all my ducks in a row, I did not want to reveal my plans. Now that everything is lined up, I will finally spill the beans.

If my review of Dave McGillivray’s Book HERE inspired you to purchase and read it, you would have learned much more about Dave than the few things I said about him there. One particular thing about Dave caught my interest a few months ago. You see, each year after the running of the official Boston Marathon is long over, Dave heads out to Hopkinton to run the course alone. He does this in order to keep a personal streak of running Boston alive. He has been doing this for years now. So in other words, he runs the race and then he runs the race!

Well, I thought that it would be a wonderful personal experience to accompany Dave on his run. To see what “Boston” is like after the race would be rather surreal. No screaming women at Wellesley; no crowds of thousands lining the streets; no support tables; nothing that the average person experiences at Boston would be there for me to see. Heck, I am pretty sure we have to wait for traffic too at all the lights.

Now, while this is something that I think will be quite neat and I hope to possibly learn so much more from Dave on the run, I knew I could not just go to Boston for this alone. Having moved to Salt Lake City, I can’t just hop on a cheap flight from BWI to Boston for $120 bucks. No, I have to shell out significantly more to fly across this entire country. As such, I had to make the trip more worthwhile.

As such, I will toe the line as a Boston competitor just like over 20,000 other runners who have worked hard to get there and run the race. Then I will grab a quick shower, hop in a van and go out to do it all over again just a few hours later with Dave.

One marathon and one 26.2 mile recovery run.

Having come off a full straight month of travel and having an overseas trip following right on the heels of this trip to Boston, there are probably MUCH better days to do this. But I have no idea what 2009 would hold. And I realized that it was hard to believe that it had been three years since my last trip to run Boston in 2005.

Therefore, carpe viam. Seize the road.

See you all there!