Monday, June 30, 2008

311 miles

A little bit of a milestone for me today. For the first time ever, I went over 300 miles in one month breaking my previous high of 290 set last month. In a month with one less day, I ran 311 total miles. Nothing groundbreaking or Earth-shattering but I am pleased.

Now comes July with much racing and hopefully many PRs.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

6 more miles of DesNews Marathon

After my bike ride yesterday night left me feeling so good, I decided to tackle a section of the Des News Marathon this morning in my little public service to those who are running this race but can't make it to Utah beforehand.

The section I would be tackling this time would be the long steady downhill that runner will experience from miles 9.25 to 15.5, through the pass called Emigration Canyon.

On a nice, bright and sunny morning (of which we have had 13 straight and the forecast calls for two more such weeks; holy no rain Batman!) I drove my car a few miles to the base of the pass and prepared for my run. already many cyclists and runners were in varying stages of going up and down this pass. I quickly joined them.

I knew the pass would not be as bad as the City Creek Canyon run I did last week which went up 1,500 feet in 5 miles. At "only" 983 feet in 6 miles, the climb would be a much more manageable 163 feet of up per mile. Now take note, the below elevation profile is my run for today but runners will only have to deal with the down part.

I still have to check out the first 8 miles, but that is going to require a driver. I have no desire to finish my run on an 1,500 foot, 6-mile climb.

Anyone interested in being my chauffeur?

Friday, June 27, 2008

One for my cycling / tri friends

Ok, let's get this out front: I know next to nothing about cycling. There you go!

A year ago for my birthday I was presented with a bicycle. I realized the last time i had ever put my butt on a bicycle seat was almost 5 years prior when I ended law school and rather than cart my very old bike home with me in the U-Haul, I donated it to the local Goodwill. I found this hard to believe. I had just turned 31 and it had been nearly 1/6 of my life since I had even ridden a bicycle. Wow.

So, I promptly hopped on my new Scwhinn Frontier mountain bike and went for a ride. I went for one more ride that summer and then that was it. I changed jobs, moved across the country and had other forms of exercise that took up my time.

Well, I recently decided I was going to do a local, low-key triathlon. the reason? Well, it was super-cheap and unlike every other triathlon I have seen, it not only favored mountain bikes, but it required one. Well, good. I have one! So, last week, I saddled up the bike and took it out on three or four separate occasions. I remembered how sore my butt gets riding and now know why my tri friends talk about "time in the saddle".

Well, after a sluggish week of running this week in which I never once got on the bike, I got some good news in my personal life and I felt like a ride. I decided to go over to my old Faithful, Liberty Park. With a 1.5 mile loop around Liberty Park, it is the one place I know I can run unimpeded without stoplights or traffic. Well, for the most part.

You see, at the top and bottom of this 1.5 loop there is a concrete barrier to keep people from driving through. There are two holes cut in the wall about 6 feet wide which allow pedestrians to pass. so while a runner (or in this case cyclist) is pretty safe, they still must slow down and look for other traffic coming behind them or form the opposite direction. Plus there is the occasional idiot who comes in the wrong way or does not look at foot/cycle traffic from their left when they speed into the park or, (my favorite tonight) comes in, talking on her cellphone and precedes to drive ON THE SIDEWALK for 50 yards before nearly hitting a pedestrian and pulling back onto the road.

But I digress.

I used to think this loop was as flat as could be but found out different once I started riding the bike. The Southwestern end and middle of the eastern side contain a slight grade. I can't tell you how many miles I have run on this and never noticed it. But put me on a bike and it was very apparent. This made me decide to map out my next bike ride and give you all an elevation profile which I know you love!

My trusty bike (I am unsure how much she weighs but the shipping weight is 40lbs) and I headed over to Liberty Park. I decided to see how far I could go in an hour but was in on way trying to do a timetrial. Heck, it is a hefty mountain bike, there are pedestrians abound, I had ran 10 miles earlier in the day and well, I am no a cyclist. but I had an idea what I could do.

I took off and one hour later had done 17.25 miles. And sure enough, take a look at this little elevation profile!

Now, that is funny!

But what made me more happy than my 17.25mph was my consistency.

Here are my 1.5 mile loop splits:

In fact, any deviation from the 4:48 was because of said disturbances at the gate interchanges. It was pretty uncanny how exact the splits were.

With a smile on my face for a job well done, I headed back to my house with my girl, Schwinnie Cooper. Yep, I named her after any 30 year old guy's favorite girl next door from the Wonder Years. And if you were curious if the years have been good to Winnie, I mean, Danika McKellar well...

Deseret News Marathon Course...further testing

After a very sluggish week of running, I did not know whether I even wanted to hike up the big hill from my apartment to a middle section of the Deseret Morning News Marathon. My Achilles tendon had been aching and all I have read told me to keep off of hills in oder to mend it. Well, doing so was not helping, so I decided I might as well test it on some hills, I thought

If you read my post from the other day, I ran the last 10k or so of this marathon to test it out last weekend. The closest section of the race I could run today was miles 15.5 through 20.

I knew this particular section, starting right outside of the Hogle Zoo, was mostly downhill, but once again, I wanted to see for myself. The hardest part of the whole run would be getting to the part of the race course. Before I was even properly awake, I was climbing a hill. My Achilles did not protest, so I happily (perhaps an overstatement of my emotion) progressed up the hill.

There were some really nice house up here on Wasatch drive and the view was pretty nice as well. There were also some REALLY odd stylings of house and some that were not too nice to look. I am sure real estate on this particular section isn't cheap, and whenever I see a shoddy house on expensive land, I am always baffled. At least ti kept my mind off of the run.

By the time I exited Wasatch Drive and started to head home on Foothill Drive, the sun was hig and warm in the sky. hopefully FAR more warm than it will be come race day. As I have mentioned, I am going for a personal best this day. Very few personal bests are run in the desert in July, that is for sure. But the irony of having my personal worst (Leadville in 2006) and personal best in the same month (albeit separated by two years) would be quite nice.

10.2 miles, 1:19:57 and one only slight sore Achilles tendon later, I arrived home.

Now if I can just get someone to drive me out 10 miles,so I can run the 10 mile downhill INTO town, I will be set!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Larry Herman - Running All Day!

On July 19th-20th, my good friend Larry Herman will be competing in the 20in24 race in Philadelphia.

Larry asked me if I could help pace him at this event as he attempts to run 100 miles in a 24 hour period in the Ultra Marathon Option known as The Lone Ranger. Following an 8.4 mile loop, his goal is to complete 12 of these loops along the Schuylkill River near the famed Boathouse Row in downtown Philadelphia.

Normally, it is one the hardest things in the world for me to contemplate going to a race and not competing. But for one, I have my own race coming up just 3 short days after this one, and as such am able to keep my desire tempered.

But a reason even greater than that is my desire to help Larry. Larry and I have know each other for well over two years now and he is one of my favorite people on this pale blue dot. I do not get to see Larry as often as I would like but every time I do it is like he has dropped a few more dress sizes (No, Larry does not wear dresses but if he did, he would have dropped them).

You see, Larry has been on a quest to lose weight, get healthy and keep it off for as long as I have know him. His drive started before we even met. He estimates that in 2001 we weighed at least 315 lbs. He says it might have even been more but he never found a scale that went beyond that or tried to get on one that did.

Here is a shot of him in May of 2002.

As of today, while he is not the absolute lightest he has ever been ( he said he dipped briefly below 200 before a trip to Las Vegas), he is very close. His guess is that he is around 210 right now. More importantly, he is racing and running and feeling great. Here is Larry just a few weeks ago sprinting against a much thinner man at the end of a triathlon. Look at the determination!

So, if you are out and about Philadelphia on July 19th-20th, stop by and cheer Larry on to a stellar finish. And bring the music from Rocky.

I am sure you will be the only one doing that. :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Testing the marathon course

With the Deseret Morning News Marathon just a month away, I figured it only made sense to take advantage of the longest stretch of time I have spent at once in zipcode 84105 by getting to know the course.

There is no doubting the overall downhill nature of this course is appealing to me. I mean, look at this for heaven's sake!

However, while there is 3,846 feet of downhill, there is indeed nearly 700 feet of uphill in this puppy. And as the race ends just a block away from my home at ~4,300 feet that means this race starts at 7,500 feet above the good ole ocean. As such, I knew I needed to not take the downhill for granted and needed to see for myself what this race had in store.

I thought about running up into Emigration Canyon and testing some of that huge downhill. But after one of the hardest weeks of training I have ever done, I did not have the energy to run all the way up and then turn around to come back.

Instead, I decided today I would check out the last 10k of the course. As this section starts just a few miles from my house, I could get a good solid 9 miles in and call it a day.

My morning run was delayed by some important phone calls, so by the time I started, the summer sun was bright and full in the sky. However, I will take this desert heat over the warm humidity sweater of Washington, DC weather almost any day.

I soon was summiting the hardest climb of my run and a good halfway through when I realized I had done portions of this same run before on a previous training run. Familiarity is indeed good when you are racing. Of course, I also knew there would not be just downhill and flat in the final 10k. Nothing horrendous awaited me today and subsequently the other racers come July 24th, but I already know the little uphills in this last 10k will indeed test weary legs.

The tree-lined streets of South Temple provided some solace from the warm sun and they should do the same come race morning.

As I wound through the streets of Salt Lake City, getting closer to both the "finish line" as well as my home, I had a feeling that this race will be quite fruitful for me.

Now the only thing between that thought and reality is 26.2 short little miles.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Antelope Island Run

When I first arrived in Salt Lake city in February I wanted to see as much as I could. I always do my best to experience the place I live in as quickly, as thoroughly and as deeply as possible.

One of the places that intrigued me was Antelope Island. A large island situated in the Great Salt Lake and connected to the mainland by a 7-mile causeway, it drew my attention immediately.

Although it is a good 35 mile drive away (even though the southernmost tip is just a few miles away for Salt Lake city proper and connected by a sometimes submerged sometimes not causeway through some mudflats) I decided one afternoon to make the trip up from SLC to the island itself.

I should have checked the website because as I got there I realized it cost $9 to enter the island ($3 if you are on foot or bicycle; this shocked me since it is a SEVEN MILE run simply to get to the island but I digress). In the waning sun I decided I would save the island for another day.

Well another day arrived. A good friend and I decided we would go for a run on this island this past weekend. I thought running on the island would be a great way to check out its splendor and get a tough run in as well. I knew that there were a few races on the island (including a 12k I may or may not do here in a few weeks) so I should be able to find some running trails. Luckily I did and we had our route mapped out.

Following a 25k race course we decided we would start around halfway between the mile one mark near the mile one trailhead. We would then follow it up until nearly the mile 4 markers before turning left and following the trail all the way around the hills until we completed a full loop. Give or take a jaunt would be a 7 mile run (see below).

Normally I would not care how beautiful a run would be, I won't drive 70 miles roundtrip to do it. but I knew this run would be worth it. Besides the discovery of a new island, we would be giving ourselves quite a workout. Below is the elevation profile of the entire looped course.

But if you take out the part we were going to skip, it would look like this.

So we knew we were in for a nice hard run!

Getting up early to avoid the warm projected sun, by 9 AM we were ready to run. We found getting to the exact place we wanted by using the signs on the island alone was not nearly as intuitive as we had hope. But we found the trailhead, grabbed our water bottles and away we went. Within a mile we were 30 feet away from 5 or 6 bison lounging lazily in the sun (There are no buffaloes in America other than zoos; my poor running partner had to listen to my diatribe about this common misnomer, which following the day before's rant on how they are called "Canada Geese" not "Canadian Geese", might have been too much to bear!). Besides the two horseriders who were coming off the trail when we started, we were the only other humans in this entire section. It felt like a safari! One stirred as we passed and I ran a good half a mile with my head of a swivel just in case Mr. Bison had intentions on trampling us.

We then began the hardest climb of the day. Up approximately 900 feet in less than 2 miles on soft-packed sand, dirt and loose rocks, we were earing our sweat. There was the one lone tree up ahead that we kept our eyes upon. If we could just make it to that, we could stop for a second and take a breather.

Finally there, we stopped, grabbed a swig of our drinks and looked back down. We were not lucky to see this many bison but this picture shows the hill we were looking down from.

We turned our attention to the ever steep trail in front of us and took off. To make a long story short, we continued to climb and climb and snake our way up the mountain. we soon ran into a level area and found that we were not nearly as out of breath as we had been climbing. It felt easy and good. we could see forever! We were running in the wrong direction!


Yep. I am no Native American tracker but I know positions of the sun and I knew there was no way we were following our designed course. We should have been running Northeast by now and we were running west or southwest. so we decided to turn around and head back. As we got to an overhand, we looked down and saw the Lone Tree again. snaking out from under it was a trail that led in the direction we needed to go. We were so focused on the tree that we missed the trail that headed off to the left! More accurately, we saw the trail but thought there was no way we had already conquered the 900 feet we had to in order to get to it.

So down the hill we scampered, dodging the occasional snake here and there and making sure to make lots of noise to scare away any other critters lurking in the spotty underbrush. Meanwhile we were commenting on how, while we were sweating, the greatest thing about running in the desert is that as soon as you stop, the sweat evaporates and you are dry. All the gnats which had plastered themselves to my body I could easily brush away!

We were now able to basically follow the trail back to our starting point. We had asked at the gate if the trails were well-marked and apparently there we had a different definition of what well-markedmeans. We were hoping that every once in a while a sign would tell us which of the various trails we were on (e.g., Split rock, White Rock bat, etc). Instead, about every 500 feet or so there was very prominent, very solid marker sticking out of the ground which said in its entirety, and I do not kid you:


Well, thank you Captain Obvious. This made us chuckle every single time. we concluded it was useful only when you were running in the snow and could not discern where the trail itself was located. Other than that, it really served no purpose other than to mock you when you wanted to know exactly sure which "trail" you were on!

However, by running that extra mileage we were able to see the western slope and beaches that we would not have seen otherwise. Visages such as the one below made the trip worthwhile.

And when a lone antelope bounded by, we both stopped for a second and said: "Ok, this is just awesome".

10 miles and approximately 90 minutes later we were climbing into our cars to head off the island. It was worth all nine bucks.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

302 miles of running; 508 miles of biking

From my good friend Lisa Smith-Batchen:

"Hi Dane!

On July 9th I will start my 302 mile run from Las Vegas to Badwater and then Badwater to summit of Mt Whitney! (135 miles of it are the official BW race) and then in Oct. I will bike 508 miles in the Furnace Creek 508 mile bike race.

We are working hard to get the press release out, the web site and tons of money is coming in. As of today we have raised over $140,000 since May 1st. We hope that a few press releases have are being sent out by companies and are going to get it out to all Big TV and Magazines for us. Our goal is the O show!!!!

My hope is that wonderful people like you will help us get the press release out to anyone and everyone :) "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much."

I have a team of 8 people on my crew and one is a Nun straight from Rome, this is a first time for her to be part of anything like this:) Sister Marybeth and I have been raising money together for many, many years!"

If any of you would like any more information on how you can assist Lisa in her momentous quest, please contact Dreamchasers at :

Ted Archer
Press Relations


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Speaking Tour over

I just wrapped up a week-long trip through Southern California on the aforementioned speaking tour hitting all of the Road Runner Sports stores in the area. First and foremost I want to thank Road Runner Sports for making this possible and for promoting this speaking tour to their employees, customers and runners city-wide. But without a doubt, I want to thank all the runners and walkers who came out to hear my story about how you needn’t know what your limits are to try and go beyond them. I hope to be collaborating with Road Runner Sports more in the future. Stay tuned!

I met a plethora of wonderful people at the stores and was also fortunate enough to catch up with many good friends at the same time. I want to say that I am flattered that all of you have been clamoring for the book chronicling Fiddy2 to come out and it will be on the shelves as soon as possible. In the meantime, I can only hope everyone continues to email me with their questions, thoughts and comments.

In addition, be sure to keep your eyes here for the marathons that I will be both running and speaking at this summer and fall and beyond. A more comprehensive list will be placed here once details are finalized.

For now, I am going to enjoy the comfort of my own bed. I am pretty sure I have one. I better go check.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Chris Douglass

I am saddened to report news today that a running friend of mine, Chris Douglass, was killed in a car accident this weekend in Colorado. As is often the case in these events, the driver of the other vehicle was reportedly under the influence of drugs and alcohol and survived the crash unscathed.

Chris was preparing to begin a walking excursion from Denver Colorado to his home state of Maine in the upcoming weeks. In fact, Chris was heading to the campsite from which he was going to be starting his three month walking journey when he was involved in the crash. While Chris and I only met a few times in real life, we were able to communicate online far more often than I do with people who live just miles away from. While I was celebrating my birthday, Chris lost his life.

More information about his quest can be found HERE.

My thoughts and prayers go to his friends and family. In addition, with his girlfriend Amy still in the hospital, I hope we can lend a second to keep her in our prayers as well.

Condolences may be sent to his parents: Jerry & Linda Douglass, sister: Bethany Douglass and brothers: Dennis & Jerry Douglass Jr. at 2 Mockingbird Lane, Lisbon, Maine 04250.