Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Inspiration in Sunriver

I spent a wonderful few days in Sunriver, OR this past weekend at the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival. To say i had a wonderful time would be a gross understatement.

First, after three years of friendship with one heck of a runner, I finally had the opportunity to go running with Patrick Materna. Patrick is know by many as the affable and knowledgeable VP of Sales & Int'l Marketing at The Stick.

We have seen each other at numerous races but usually we are too busy to do much other than chat for a few minutes and then head back to our respective booths. This weekend, however, since I wasn't racing, and the super fast Patrick (a 2:30 marathoner in his prime, just missing the 2:20s by a few seconds) was just coming back from injury, which means I might possibly be able to hang with him, we made time to go for a run. We realized mid-run, that it was this exact weekend three years ago that we had first met and started our friendship. Quite ironic indeed and a perfect time to hit the trails in nearby Sunriver.

Patrick had been here previously and took us over hill and dale to a point overlooking the Deschutes River. After a brief respite we began to head back, passing over a cute footbridge in the process.

It was great to pick Patrick's brain, not only as an experienced fast runner who has dealt with many of the great names in the sport, but also as a business person as well. Patrick thanked me for the run afterward but I told him it was I who should thank him. Manniversaries are so nice. (I just invented a word, I think.)

What is even more nice is to continue to be inspired by those around me. Staying in the same cottage that was provided to me by the wonderful people at the Pacific Crest Festival of Races was the Browder family. I will let Jim Browder, the patriarch of the family, tell the story in his own words, when asked what he was overcoming to finish this marathon:

"With me, Dystonia (a neurological movement disorder) has affected my left leg and foot. in my case, any type of exercise causes it to "kick in" with walking and running the most pronounced problems. Basically, my brain tells my legs to go forward but my body does not respond in the normal way, causing my gait to be awkward and difficult.

Though my Marathon time has gone from under 3:30 to over 6 hours, I set a goal of finishing all 50 States. The marathon in Sunriver will be my 51s marathon (1 in each state)l I am very excited in choosing Sunriver for my final marathon in the quest for my goal and look forward to spending a wonderful weekend in such an incredible place."

Well, not only did I get to hear this story in more detail I got to spend time with Jim and his family, all wonderful people whose southern charm would make anyone smile. I am happy to report that not only did Jim finish this Marathon but he also bested 6 hours, crossing the finish line in 5:56:37. Not bad for a 55 year old man coming from sea level to race at 4400 feet, let alone with a disorder that would make most of us couch potatoes.

As Jim looks onto his next goals (swimming and cycling do not have the same effect on him that running does), I hope we can all take this to heart how even the most major of setbacks can be just that: a setback. Through perseverance and grit, we can achieve more than we can imagine.

Push forward, friends.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame award

I am both honored and thrilled to make the announcement that I have recently been selected as a Finalist for the Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame award.

Created “so there would be a place where the extraordinary stories of everyday people can live” the Hall of Fame is, according to Energizer “…a place where Energizer could honor those who match the enthusiasm and passion of the Energizer Bunny.”

Originally selected as a semi-finalist a few weeks ago, the people at Energizer have informed me today that I was chosen by their panel to be one of the Top 10 Finalists for this wonderful award.

Now, from here on out, the winner will be determined by vote. What happens if I win the overall award? Well, I will receive a $5,000 check, which I will get to donate to the charity of my choosing. As you well know, in 2006 I ran 52 Marathons in 52 weekends all while raising money for L’Arche – an international network of faith-based communities centered around people who have developmental disabilities. With all the proceedings of my fundraisings going to the Mobile, Alabama Chapter of L’Arche, my goal was to raise $52,000. Currently, I sit at $44,000raised.

If I win, the $5,000 check I receive will go directly to L’Arche Mobile, bringing me that much closer to reaching the $52,000 mark.

From now until August 7th, everyone can vote one time EVERY DAY for the person they feel is most deserving of this honor. I hope you can find the time to go to the website HERE and vote every day. Please also send this to all of your friends as well and ask hem to bookmark and return to that we can all help bring that much more assistance to an organization which so richly deserves it!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Run in Sunriver, Oregon

After the 9 plus hour drive back to SLC from Mammoth yesterday, I was not looking forward to the short rest I would be getting before heading out to Sunriver, Oregon this morning. I was, however, looking forward to spending time with the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival people. As one of the 52 Marathons I ran in 2006, the Pacific Crest Marathon held the distinction of being the race held between the two toughest marathons I did that year- Estes Park and Leadville. As such it was sort of a breather of sorts and a chance to enjoy a nice run. As I mention in my book, with the cornucopia of events being held that weekend (look below under the banner) one would expect one if not more of the races would not get the best treatment.

From personal experience I know the running events did not suffer and from word of mouth, everything else seemed to go just as well. It was hard to believe it had been three years since I had been here last but when the opportunity arose for me to travel here again for a book signing and potential speech, I was happy to do so.

I was greeted with a hug by Race Director Carol Anderson who immediately made me feel at home. Even with a cellphone in one ear and three people waiting to ask questions, she was cordial and sweet and directed me to her Director of Marketing & Logistics, Jessica. I was then told where my booth would be and where I was staying. I checked into a gorgeous home, unpacked and got ready for a run. It was just a beautiful day and one I did not want to waste. I figured a nice 13 miler (or once around the course which doubles up to make the full marathon distance) would be great. but then I realized I hadn't packed any running socks. How the heck did I do that?

No problem. It is just 13 miles. Let's go for a run!

I was trying to think back to see how much I would remember of the course and here and there little parts of the run, which followed a bike path around a good portion of the private planned vacation community of Sunriver, would jog my memory.

Unfortunately, rather early on I could tell that the lack of socks was going to cause me some problems. I also felt unduly tired. And for whatever reason I could not discern if my pace was fast or not. I just felt a little winded. I was making mental notes along the way of any signs out of place or any thing that looked like it may have been moved by nefarious types to mess up the runners, but just about everything looked on the up and up.

Around 8 miles or so, I looked at my watch for the first time with any sense of trying to figure out my pace. I realized I was running far faster than I had thought I had been running. At least I felt pretty good about feeling winded!

A few miles later I picked up a runner in the distance and to take my wind off my now bleeding feet, I decided to try and track him down. With the twisting and turning of the path, he would flit in and out of my sight, teasing me with the appearance of getting closer only for me to realize that a little loop in the road rounding a clump of trees of body of water made him appear closer than he was.

About a mile later I finally passed him and then immediately had my shoe untie. I bent down to rewind the unruly sneaker and noticed I was turning my right foot into quite a bloody mess. Shoe tied, I stood up and the guy had caught me. We fell into step and began chatting. Mark was his name and both he and his wife were going to run the half marathon. Mark is gearing up to run the Portland Marathon and needs to drop about 5 minutes from his current PR to qualify for Boston. His wife, Cynthia has at least a 3:12 to her credit and seems to be a pretty darn good runner. I found out we all ran Tucson last year and thought about how nice it must be to have a spouse who shares your passions.

Mark turned off to finish his run in a different direction when I came to a very familiar finishline area. I now vividly recalled running as hard as I could to this finish with my friend Bob snapping some video footage of me as I crossed the line. I was running hard because I had about 90 minutes to shower, drive the 30 minutes to the Bend airport and catch my flight to go back to Virginia. My 3:16 time was, at that moment, the 3rd fastest time of the year and one of my fonder memories from the entire adventure in 2006.

Somehow, today, I ran this loop in under 90 minutes. I had no intention of going out in a sub-3 hour marathon pace and upon finishing felt that my slightly out of breath nature was somewhat justified.

I soon realized how dehydrated and hungry I was so I went and scarfed down an entire pizza (it was only a 12 incher!) and have not stopped drinking water since. Felt good to buts out an unexpected good run and I can only hope that all the participants of all the races have the same good experience in their race as I did on my training run.

After my shower found all of the cuts and tears I had administered to my feet I made a promise to buy some running socks at the expo tomorrow. Probably some really ugly ones, juzt cuz.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ending my time in Mammoth Lakes

All good things must come to an end and my running in Mammoth Lakes ended last night. However, not before I was able to get some great new runs in and make some more wonderful running friends.

Jimmy and I treated ourselves to pizza on Monday, as we got ready for a day of doing nothing. It was my appointment by Jimmy's wife to make sure he did nothing stupid to hurt himself in the days leading up to his Western States 100 Mile run, that had us sleeping in and going to scarf down our first meal of the day around 2 pm. And it was yummy!

After lunch, we saw a store that had a LA Dodges Pinata outside next to the pizza place. Jimmy is a Giants fan so we inquired about the price of the pinata just so Jimmy could beat it. The owner of the store handmade the pinata and one conversation led to another and soon Jenn, Jimmy and I were planning a run for that evening. It seems Jenn was looking for some motivation to get back on the trails and we pushed and prodded enough that we soon had a guide.

Meeting in the evening, with the temperature just right, Jenn led us onto the Shady Rest campground for a nice easy run which was just what we all needed (for different reasons.) Jimmy ran ahead and snapped a picture of us jogging through the trees.

And I fell back and got the rear view!

The irony of Mammoth Lakes being one of those places where runners who are really trying to excel go to live and/or train is that it is not really a running community. Skiing, mountain biking and fly fishing all take precedence in this wooded wonderland. We encountered very few other runners on our trek that day (or any other) and chalked it up to maybe just missing the runners on their own trail runs as their were hundreds of miles to run on in and around Mammoth.

We did make a stop in Footloose Sports upon the suggestion of a friend and within seconds of talking to the one of the owner's (Andrea- a Kiwi who was just the nicest lady!), she was buying a few copies of See Dane Run for her store.

We spent some time chatting and getting to know Andrea's husband (the other owner) and could tell hey just flat out cared about their customers and sports in general, regardless of the genre. I highly recommend paying a visit to their location right on the corner of Main and Old Mammoth Road. (Ironically, when looking at Google Maps for the exact address of Footloose Sports, the picture that showed up on the street level map was a bunch of runners across the street from the store!)

Tuesday came and upon suggestion from my friend Erin, Jimmy and I made the short trip up to June Lake. The suggestion from Erin was well-made. What an absolutely beautiful scene waited us!

The water was the sort of blue you only read about in descriptions of places you never get to see and I knew after our run I would be diving into it (regardless of the fact that it looked like about 12 hours ago it had been ice on the top of a mountain nearby!)

Again doing my best to reel Jimmy in, we hit the nearby trail circumventing the lake and made our own own trail when it ended at the lake itself.

[Waiting for picture from Jimmy]

I finally convinced Jimmy to hit a road nearby and we were treated to even more wonderful views.

[Waiting for picture from Jimmy]

After sucking wind up the hill to around 8,000 feet or so we began to cruise on down to my car situated right by the lake. I showed Jimmy my enthusiasm for jumping into the lake and readied myself for cryogenic freezing.

[Waiting for picture from Jimmy]

Shoes off, shirt eschewed and time to dive in.

[Waiting for picture from Jimmy]

Three runs in three days in Mammoth Lakes and it was time to head back to SLC. I had to leave the next day to go to Sunriver Oregon to the scene of my 25th marathon of the year in 2006: the Pacific Crest Marathon for a three day book signing. If you are in the area, stop by and say hello!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Mammoth Lakes jog

Running at 8,000 feet isn't easy. Throw in a horrific travel day on Saturday wherein the airlines incurred my wrath for their ineptitude and then an 8 hour drive from Salt Lake City to Mammoth Lakes, CA on about 5 hours of sleep on Sunday and they are even more difficult.

But worth it.

Running one one of the two major running meccas in the US came about for me as my buddy Jimmy was here to get some altitude acclimation for his shot at the prestigious Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. With just a few days left in his stay, his schedule fit mine and away I went. Eschewing the seemingly faster Route 80 from SLC that cuts through northern Nevada I decided that I would go the road less traveled- literally and figuratively. I am speaking of US RT 6.

What should be known as the loneliest road in America, Rt 6 goes through only two towns in 306 miles of driving. Of that travel time there is about 4 plus hours of absolutely no cell phone reception. But I knew there would never be a reason I would feel the need to go through Tonopah or Ely ever again in my life (although going back to get a picture of me in the Inyo National Forest is tempting - this is a LOL Cats reference -feel free to email me if you don't get this) I decided there is no time like the present.

And I will tell you this: the drive was actually pretty darn fun. Great scenery, lots of long straight highways that make 15 miles go by in the blink of an eye and the feeling that I might actually be the only person to pass through a certain section of road for hours upon hours made the day fly by even if I saw a lot of this:

With my cell phone not working in any way, my GPS completely telling me I was driving about 300 yards to the right of the actual road, I was praying I did not get a flat tire or the West equivalent of Dueling Banjos would begin to play in my head and I would probably cry.

However, tragedy was averted, a trip that was supposed to take 10 plus hours took far, far less (and I also saw at one point that my car can go really fast) and I soon found myself in Mammoth Lakes, CA. Thirty minutes after arriving, Jimmy, a local collegiate runner and I donned our trail shoes (yep, I actually own a pair of those) and were heading up towards Mammoth Rock.

I was sucking wind fast. Besides the fact that at sea level it usually takes me 4 miles to even feel like I will enjoy the run, here I was on very little rest immediately hoofing it up the the Mammoth Rock Trail. As I mentioned above, it was well worth it. Here is the shot I took of Jimmy and Lindsey (who you WILL be hearing about, believe me) as we got ready to head back down the the valley below.

Just as I finally started to feel good the run was about to be over. 8.6 miles later we returned from where we started with 1,200 calories burnt, 1,500 feet of vertical climb and smiles from those who earned their dinners.

Time to eat! Five. Five Dollar. Five Dollar Footlongs!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Book Review - Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer

I am come to a grudging acceptance that people do not like history. It routinely ranks at the bottom of all subjects in high school, people lament how boring it is and what use can knowing dates and places so far back be to them today. As a History major and a lover of factoids, trivia, and all sorts of knowledge (you can ask any of my friends - there are few people who love the proliferation of the Internet and easy assess to the answer of any question you may have more than me and I do apologize to those same friends for my frantic searches for instant info for no reason at all and at random times) I do not get this but I accept it.

A subset of that is accepting that vast, VAST majority of runners and marathoners know so damn little about how we got to where we are today. I will be speaking to a novice runner or marathoner and mention Dick Beardsley, Bill Rodgers, Steve Prefontaine, Paula Radcliffe, Emil Zatopek, Abebe Bikila, Naoko Takahashi, Song Ke Chung or Lasse Viren and get blanks stares on 90% of them and maybe a hint of recognition on one or two.

(FYI, here is a quick Dane-tutorial for those of you who are curious but cut and paste and google is too wearisome for you.

Dick Beardsley - staged the epic Duel in the Sun with Alberto Salazar at the 1982 Boston Marathon.

Bill Rodgers - won four NYC Marathons and four Bostons.

Steve Prefontaine - Jimmy Dean of running. Brash, unreserved and killed in a car crash far too young

Paula Radcliffe - Faster than most male marathoners can ever even dream of being. Ran a 2:15 WR marathon in 2003

Emil Zatopek - remains the only person ever to win the 5,000, 10,000 and marathon gold medals in the same Olympic games (1952 in Helsinki)

Abebe Bikila - won The 1960 Rome Olympic Marathon - withe no shoes

Naoko Takahashi - First female marathoner to break 2:20

Song Ke Chung - Korean who won the 1936 Olympic Gold but because Japan was occupying Korea at the time, he was forced to run as a member of the Japanese team.

Lasse Viren - Prefontaine's foil; FELL DOWN during the Olympic 10,000 in Munich in 1972 and still set a new WR.)

Again, I get it. We are obsessed with the "I". But when I get to one particular person who some may or may not know, I feel it is their duty to know more about this person. Their name?

Kathrine Switzer

I had the pleasure of first meeting Kathrine a few years ago at a marathon but it was last year at the Akron Marathon where we shared some stage time that I was able to actually converse with her for more than few seconds. since then we have exchange a smattering of emails. I am also the proud owner of a hand-written letter from Kathrine wherein she told me how much she enjoyed my book. Hard to explain how much that means to me. Why should you care about Kathrine Switzer? Let me break it down for you by gender.


You should care about Kathrine Switzer because without her chances are you would not be running a marathon today.


You should care about Kathrine Switzer because without her chances are the marathons you do get to run in would still be rinky-dink little affairs with no amenities, no crowds, little to no prize money and a complete lack of anyone giving a damn.

Am I being a little dramatic? Perhaps, but not much. You see, in 1967 Kathrine became the first women to "officially" run the Boston Marathon when she donned bib number 261 under the moniker of KV Switzer and made national headlines when Boston's irascible race director Jock Semple politely requested she remove herself from the race because he thought perhaps she may not be welcome by other runners that day. I am, of course, kidding.

Jock leapt from the press trunk, Scottish Brogue barely intelligible as he yelled and clawed at Kathrine in an attempt to forcibly rip the bib number from her sweatshirt. Only Kathrine's boyfriend at the time, a hammer thrower from Syracuse who was running with her in the race, saved her from being assaulted when he lowered a shoulder into Jock and sent both the angry Scot and the marathon world reeling.

The rest, both pre- and post-Boston is history and history well told by Kathrine herself in her book, Marathon Woman. From her earliest days, Kathrine did what she could to show that women were athletes, not just female athletes. To say she is solely responsible for the female sports movement would be incorrect, short-sighted and rob so many others of deserved attention. But to say that she has made the running world an exponentially better place, not only for women but for men, is something that can be said without hesitation. Reading her book will show you why.

You know those precious finishers medals we all so crave? Well, the first marathon to ever include them for all finishers, first to last, was Kathrine's Avon International Marathon Series. Do you think all the amenities we enjoy today (albeit I think both Kathrine and I may agree that some of them may be a little too much) would be available if only the gruff and tumble, 2:50 and under marathon set were the only ones running marathons? Would the marathon still be the premiere Olympic event (closing the Games ever four years) if there was no female component added until 1984?

What? You didn't know there wasn't a Women's Olympic Marathon until just 25 years ago? Well, (and obviously others were involved) you can thank Kathrine Switzer. Making an undying priority in her life, Kathrine made sure that the ridiculous notion that women could not handle the challenge of running anything over 1500 meters was torn asunder when the first female Olympic Champion ever, Joan Benoit (now Samuelson) burst through the darkness of the LA Coliseum tunnel and into the massive cheers of nearly 100,000 people there and millions worldwide.

Want chills? Click HERE and fast forward to about 2:15. No Switzer? No Benoit in 1984 as the host country hero in an iconic event which launched a million female runners.

Throughout Marathon Woman you are viscerally hoping that Kathrine is able to overcome the odds both in her own life and with the Olympics, even though you know the outcomes of both. For the same reason people flocked to Titanic when the ending was clear (Spoiler Alert: The boat sinks) runners of all distances should add this book to their library.

I have a list of famous runners whose times I want to best. As I tick them off (e.g., first Olympic Marathon winner, certain former cyclists, etc) I feel good because I was able to pass a milestone runner. When I broke Kathrine's PR of 2:51, I was just as happy not because I ran a faster time than that upstart female runner who started all this hullabaloo back in 1967 but because I ran a faster time than a runner who ran pretty darn fast and just happened to also have breasts. Kathrine's exuberance upon breaking the 3 hour barrier for the first time is echoed in so many other of us who have broken our own time goals as well, regardless of gender. And she happened to look super pretty doing so as well. (This is not a slight whatsoever. Kathrine took pride in looking good while she ran.)

Marathon Woman should be read, if for nothing else, than for Kathrine's energetic writing style. Truthful and with no pretenses, she became one of my favorite authors ever when she says , on page 84, how she enjoyed the Boston Marathon because its later start allowed for her to, among others things, take "a significant poop."

If you can say that, and still remain 100% lady, as Kathrine does, you are something special.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


This one is taking a little while!

I guess that makes sense since not only did I run 62 miles on Saturday but that was just two weeks removed from a nice stretch of 8 marathons in 7 weeks. However, I went for a run yesterday after two days off and I am feeling surprisingly well. A bit tired but well.

You may recall that I wrote an article on Marathon Recovery Techniques for Running Times Magazine last June. Well, I am happy to admit that my advice continues to work for me.

First off, while I did not go for a run the exact day after the Sawtooth Relay (I had a 4 hour drive after the race and then a 5 hour drive back home the next day, that left me quite sore and stiff) I did go for a short run on Monday morning. A local ABC affiliate was doing a segment on me (and the reasoning why I will be announcing in the next few weeks), so they needed some footage of me running. After I laced up the shoes and did a little trotting back and forth for their cameras, I fit in another mile or two before calling it a day. For me, there is nothing like getting back out there, even for the shortest of distances, to begin the repairs on the body. Note however, this may not be the best recovery technique for you. I have just found that it works well for me.

With my newly acquired blender, I am doing step 2 which is to eat healthy. The desire to really pig out is huge after such a long race but this is where you get to really attack the crap in your system and take advantage of your hard work. When people say they have "earned" the right to eat bad I always think that they have earned the right to continue on the healthy path as well. Take advantage of that and repair your body with good food (yummy banana and strawberry and blueberry shakes made with 100% apple juice are doing it for me!)

Finally, I am getting a massage today. Making sure that I did not get it too soon after finishing the race, which I think is detrimental (note: a post-race quickie rub down is ok) this full-length massage will really put the finishing touches on getting me ready to run again.

And since I am going for a run with Dick Beardsley Friday morning, I better be ready! (And if you read my article, you will see Dick likes the post race recovery jog too!)

Monday, June 15, 2009

(Solo) Sawtooth Relay Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 4; 14th Edition
384.3 miles raced in 2009

Race: Sawtooth Relay
Place: Stanley to Ketchum, ID
Miles from home: 357 miles 
Weather: 30-50s; mostly rainy

I did not even know the Sawtooth Relay existed until I was doing a book signing at Shu's Idaho Running Company back in April. I saw a flyer for the race and noticed it was "only" ~62 miles. Figuring this would be a fun adventure to try solo I was curious how much convincing of the RD it would take to allow me to do so. I then realized there was a solo option for the race already on the flyer. I guess it won't take much convincing at all! I looked to see if it would fit in my schedule, and it did oh so snugly between an aqauthlon in California and the Mt. Evans Ascent in Colorado on consecutive weekends. The question was whether I could handle three such extremely different events in such a short time span. After figuring that you only live once and I should just give it a whirl I mentioned to Shu's I wanted to give this a try. Shu's then offered to be my "sponsor" for the race and I was only happy to help advertise such a wonderful store. And like that I was signed up!(Ironically, unforeseen events had me cancelling both my aquathlon in June and the Mt. Evans Road Race. Silly life. Always getting in the way.)

My biggest fear on race day was the potential for heat and sunlight. The entirety of the race course would be run out in the open with no tree cover to mention. I have well-documented my struggles with running in the heat and am greatly jealous of those who handle it far better than I do. However, as the days approached, the entire Idaho and Utah areas were dealing with unprecedented chilly and rainy weather. I remember last summer (my first in UT) how I commented to a friend that I hadn't seen rain in 33 days (thank you, trusty running log!) Well, now I was going on two straight weeks where it rained at least once every day. I know people love Seattle, but I am sorry - I could not deal with that constant threat of rain.

So now I had to figure out how I was going to stay dry and non-chafed through nearly 100k of running. (I mentioned previously I was hoping to turn the 61.9 mile race into a 62.1 miler for purposes of running an official 100k but alas, it was not to be.) I had given thoughts to running the race unaided but rules stipulated I needed a support crew. A friend in Idaho mentioned to me she had a co-worker who was always up for adventure and would ask to see if she would wish to crew for me. Presto change-o, Jessica and her sister Melody were my two-person crew! Now all I had to do was run 62 miles, in the rain up to 8,701 feet.

Race: I had a scheduled 4 AM starting time. Yuck. Double yuck when that calls for a 3 AM wake-up call. You get the triumvirate of yuck when, try as you might, you cannot fall asleep until after 1 AM. Oh well, 2 hours of sleep should be enough, right? Right?!

After picking up my packet at the Stanley Elementary school and seeing how remote this little location actually was, I was still perplexed how we couldn't add .2 of a mile to its beginning. Oh well. 61.9 miles promised to long enough.

With teams leaving every 15 minutes starting at midnight and going all the way until 9 AM, there promised to be plenty of opportunities to get to know several different groups of teams along the way. As they counted down until the 4 AM start time, an announcer read off all of the team names. Part of the fun of running a relay like this is the creativity put into the creation of your team's name. "We've Got the Runs" and "Tortoises in Training" were just a few of the various humorous names in my starting wave. Then the announcer said "Dane Rauschenberg. Oh, that's a solo guy! Let's hear it!" and those in attendance gave me a hearty cheer that warmed the air (~38 degrees at the start of the race, just an FYI). I was ready to get rolling.

Leg 1: 5.96 miles
Time: 54:26

Pace: 9:08

Pit-stop: 1:30

The first leg was going to be nothing more than trying to see how well I could keep myself in check for the entire race. My desire was to finish right around 10 hours for the day but this was just loosely based on a few different races I had run. In a 12 hour race at the Presque Isle Endurance Classic, run in weather that was more or less perfect for me (and is probably my greatest running achievement to date) I had run 84 total miles. But that was on flat ground at no elevation. So I did some extrapolation and figured that 62 miles in 10 hours at elevation was totally doable. That worked out to around 9:45 minutes per mile for the entire distance. Now, I simply had to decided if I was going to try and hold that earlier in the race (very difficult to go that "slow" so early on) or go slightly faster knowing I would tire later. Throw in the fact that when I had more energy and would be more fresh here in the beginning would be where I would be dealing with 90% of the uphill. Lots of factors to, um, factor in here. So I just decided to run!

I hooked up with about three different runners during this first leg and either pulled away or got pulled away from as I maintained as steady a pace as possible. Inevitably the discussion would turn to teams and I would have to admit that I was indeed doing it solo. One of the runners had mentioned they had heard me speak at the Ogden Marathon and were very much looking forward to getting my book. That was flattering indeed as you are talking to a person who is out there doing the same tough running you are, even if they are doing it in relay form.

For this first leg, I told my crew to simply go ahead to the relay exchange as I would not need any food or fluids for the first leg. As I approached the exchange, I realized that it was still pitch-black out and I had no idea where they were parked. Even though Melody snapped a picture of me, I was clueless as to where they may be.

Finally they flagged me down as I looked around the parked cars and I was able to grab a quick drink of water and sneak a peek at the race program to get an idea of what was ahead. Jessica came armed with a huge bottle of water, a huge bottle of Gatorade and food in both hands. I laughed and told them that from this point on I would simply meet them at the car, after the relay exchange point, and grab whatever I needed. They needn't bring the entire pantry to me, no matter how sweet that was!

I could see the next leg was shorter than the first and with less uphill. Even though I felt I had gone out a touch too fast, I decided it would be good to take advantage of some energy here and go where I could. I swallowed an energy gel and headed off into the darkness.

Leg 2: 5.83 miles
Time: 49:40

Pace: 8:31

Pit-stop: 0:55

More of the same running in surreal settings in gorgeous areas was what I had in store for me on this leg. The sun was beginning to tickle the darkness out of the night sky and hints of the mountains I had seen the previous evening were developing in front of me. I was eagerly anticipating the beauty that the day would bring and knew that once the sun was out, this would be a site to see.

I ran mostly alone in this leg, passing a few people, with me wondering when they had started, and whether I was going too fast this early in the race. With no mile markers to help gauge me and only a watch on my wrist, I needed to rely only on my own pacing. My crew met me at around the halfway point and I could tell I was faster than the previously leg but felt quite good. A swig of energy drink and I was on my way.

As I approached the second exchange, my girls were in position and we wasted no time throwing some cheese crackers in my mouth, downing a nice cool swig of water and heading on down the road. I told them to ready my sunglasses for the end of the next leg. Oh how cute that idea seems right now.

Leg 3: 5.03
Time: 43:00

Pace: 8:33

Pit-stop: 0:46

The third leg called for a little more uphill than the second but was a shorter distance overall. What would become the norm for almost the remainder of the race, my crew would drive about 2 miles ahead and hand me anything I needed before moving on to the next exchange position. About halfway through this third leg, I could see the idea of sunglasses was a premature one. Cloud cover had begun to move in over the mountains to my left and while the sky was brightening, all it showed was that what lay ahead was nothing but dark and menacing clouds. Well, crap.

About halfway to the middle of first half of the race, I tried to pick out what peak was Galena Summit in the foreground. However, with no geographical knowledge of the area and parks of the peaks shrouded in mist, I had no such luck. But at least I was dry, was able to remove my headlamp and soon would be tossing aside my reflective vest as well.

And now, with it not as dark, I was able to assuage my fears of getting mowed down from behind by a passing car. I am not sure why we ran on the right-hand side for the entire race but after thousands of miles run on roads facing traffic, it was very counter-intuitive to do the opposite.

I was expecting to possibly need to shed my under layer long sleeve shirt as the sun came out and the temperature rose but since neither happened my pit stop was short and sweet. The 4th leg was the shortest leg so far and I was looking forward to passing more teams ahead. I was not looking forward to the misting rain which had begun to fall, however.

Leg 4: 4.43
Time: 38:00

Pace: 8:35
Pit-stop: 1:55

I was most assuredly into a rhythm as my pace for the last three legs showed. Almost exact minutes per mile kept me humming along even as I rapidly approaching the foreboding skies ahead. At my quick interlude with my crew I put on my jacket for the first time of the day. Mere minutes later the rain really started to pour down. I told the girls to simply go ahead to the exchange and I would meet them there. I had brought another jacket (fortunately) and would spend the rest of the day alternating between the two jackets with the car heater warming and hopefully drying the one I was not wearing at the time.

The visor that Shu's had given me was proving to be extremely effective at keeping the rain out of my face and unfortunately I missed a great deal of the surroundings in this area. I could see babbling creeks and fields probably as green as they have been in decades with the sudden and constant influx of rain this area had seen in the previous few weeks. However, at the time, I could not care less about Mother Nature watering her garden and cared a whole bunch about not being soaked.

Leg 5: 5.83
Time: 52:00

Pace: 8:55

Pit-stop: 5:12

Mother Nature, however, didn't give a damn what I wanted. The rain would slow, or sometimes even stop altogether but never for very long. Into the thick of the darker clouds I had passed and there was really no end in sight to the wetness. While I was happy to not be baking in the sun I could have done without the drenched body.

The 5th leg of the course was probably the second hardest leg of the day. With zero feet of downhill and over 310 feet of climbing of the less than 6 miles runners would take this leg to the foot of the Galena summit before passing off to the unlucky sap who had drawn the short stick and had to tackle the leg 6 monster. Unfortunately, I was the only one who I could pass my slap bracelet onto here (which I did much to the delight of other runners as I handed off from myself to, well, myself shown here earlier in the race.)

I finished the 5th leg and called for my chair. I sat down, and took my soaking wet shoes and socks off. For a few minutes, the rain actually stopped as if to even the odds a little by at least allowing me to get the new dry socks and shoes on before unleashing the water demons again. I did not mind the rest and here tried to take in a PB&J sandwich, some crackers and a bite of an Energy Bar.

With a break here that lasted as long as the other four legs breaks combined, I was ready to get to the top of Galena Summit, not only the highest point of the race but over halfway mileage-wise to the end of the race (32.43 miles).

Leg 6: 5.35

Pit-stop: 3:50

I could tell right away that there would be points where power walking would be just as fast as running as I began the 1331 foot climb to Galena Summit. When I would pass someone or get passed, I would always have the same exchange: "What bet did you lose to get this portion of the course?" It always got a laugh and made me smile as well.

Two miles up, my crew stopped and grabbed quick shot of me motoring up the hill. I was already quite ready to take a quick break.

If they had simply panned to their left a little bit, and the fog and mist had abated a touch, they could have captured what us runners had already climbed.

I continued to climb and was surprisingly warm. I figured as we approached 9,000 I would feel a chill. Heck there was still plenty of snow on the cliff walls around us. Then I realized it had finally stopped raining for the last mile or so and my body temperature was finally coming back up. As it probably never reached the 50 degree mark for the first half of the race, I had visions that once we crested the summit and headed back towards the finish line in Ketchum, that perhaps the mountains were holding back all the rain and crappy weather on one side and the beautiful weather on the other. This made me smile. That and the fact that I can fake happy even at high elevation.

A few well-timed power walks and running surges had me gaining on just about everyone in front of me. I passed one gentleman at the peak and with .15 of a mile left from that peak until the exchange; he must have been bothered by this too much as he sprinted towards that point with reckless abandon. I simply ran through the exchange point and onto my waiting crew at the car.

Leg 7: 6.02
Time: 52:10

Pace: 8:40
Pit-stop: 5:30

Doing a systems check I noticed I was now a little cooler than I had been and threw on the lighter weight of my two jackets. I fueled up here with some more crackers and some fluids. I was quite surprised how little sweating I was doing and also quite pleased. I had brought what I thought was ample drink and could tell I was not going to come close to consuming even half of it. Hindsight always has perfect vision but I can see now I should have been taking in more calories, regardless of the lower sweat rate. But I was 52% done with the race and ready to get home.

I began to run the backside of Galena Summit with its 1,401 feet of downhill in this leg and almost immediately was hit with a chill. I flagged down my crew as they passed me and asked for my heavier jacket. Who says you need to stop running (or even see for that matter) to change clothes?

This section began the part of the race where I was passing less runners and getting passed by more. Even knowing they were relay runners and had run, at most, 6 miles hours ago, it was still difficult to keep myself in check. Plus, even though I expected to float down the hills here, I was working harder than I expected. My quads were more sore than I thought they would be and with no runners in sight very often I was only guessing that my pace was good.

Two miles in I was dying of thirst and quickly stopped to grab a drink from my crew.

The next few miles were tough on me as I could feel my energy bleeding from my very rapidly. Granted I was running at an enhanced clip down the side of the mountain but I was finding it harder to keep my legs moving.

When I fit the relay exchange I flipped onto the hood of my crew's car and cursed the rain which had begun to come down again.

Leg 8: 5.09
Time: 49:00

Pace: 9:38
Pit-stop: 3:30

I tried to get out of the exchange station sooner but simply could not find the energy to do so. I had put on an ear warmer as the temperature had seemingly dropped again. This worked two-fold as it cut out all sound around me and allowed me to focus inwardly. Of course then I had to be extra careful not to swerve into the road and get plastered by a vehicle behind me.

As I continued down the hill from Galena Summit, this time going down another 360 feet, I was all alone. No one in front of me and no one behind me. After a few miles I saw my crew pulled over to the side and I desperately needed a break.

I leaned against the roof of the car and just stood there for a few seconds trying to catch my breath. I knew when I finished this leg I only had 17 miles to go. Even with my slowing pace I thought I might have a chance to break 10 hours. I would be nowhere close to the course record which I thought was 9:32. This was both liberating and maddening. Earlier I felt that if I had a good day I might have a shot at breaking the course record. However, the lack of sleep and the rain made sure I was not going to have a good day. On the other hand, with no record to break I felt free to walk more, stop more and make sure I simply kept moving. Fortunately, I did not know that the course record actually had a pace of 9:32 per mile and that the time for the whole course was 9 hours and 43 minutes. If so, I might have made an attempt to break that and today was not my day. But I digress. It was time to move on.

Leg 9: 4.64
Time: 49:00

Pace: 10:34

Pit-stop: 8:00

I was really looking forward to this leg as it was one of the shorter ones of the day and when it was all done I had about a half marathon distance left to run. Much to my chagrin, however, this is where the rain really picked up again. After a mile or so, it stopped but mentally it was taking its toll.

I was using the stops with my crew in a bad way - as a reason to stay stopped. I am glad that it was difficult to bring out my chair from their car or I would have asked for it more often. This is the death knell for a runner and my crew was sweet enough and inexperienced in crewing enough to probably have let me sit there as long as I wanted when they should have prodded me forward. But like I said, the chair was not out and I could not linger forever. No matter how tired I was, I always left the small stops with my crew with a smile!

However, at the end of this leg, I was done. I called for the chair, asked for a Strawberry Quick and my box of cheese crackers. I needed calories and I needed them bad. Spending eight minutes sitting, resting, drinking and eating were crucial here. I spent some energy exchanging some banter with a few runners as well as we all enjoyed the fact that no matter how hard the day may be, we were out enjoying life. I finally goaded myself into action but the time sitting had made the legs stiff. As I needed to walk for a bit to make sure the food stays down this wasn't a problem at all.

Leg 10: 6.13
Time: 1:10:00

Pace: 11:25
Pit-stop: 5:00

The start of the 10th leg, which just so happened to be the longest leg of the whole course, began with a quick downhill and then what seemed like a mountain of an uphill. I decided to walk until the base of that hill and then begin my jogging. Well, I underestimated how long it would take to get to that hill and after 11 minutes of walking I had only gone about .75 of a mile. Time to get going!

Even though I knew the lighter jacket would not be warm enough for the long haul of this leg, I put it on for the start simply because it was warmer than the heavier (and wetter) one.

Before long I was soaked in this one as well and figured that even the one that was more wet would be better at cutting the chill of the day.

This leg seemed to go on forever. As I saw my crew waiting for me around halfway through, I decided that stopping was something I needed to avoid and waved them on to the end of the leg. If I was tired I would simply walk, not stop, and keep moving forward. The day was getting long. Little things were getting annoying for no reason (or little reason.) This is when you know, as an ultra-runner, you need to be done for the day.

Crankiness is a sure sign of energy levels fading. However, soon the calories I took in during the last break took hold and I began to move again. Even with the long walk break to start the leg off I was once again moving along at a good pace. Soon I saw the telltale "Caution: Runners on Road" sign which preceded every exchange point and my spirits lifted. Just under 8 miles to go!

Leg 11: 4.97
Time: 52:50

Pace: 10:38

Pit-stop: 2:30

I made this stop as brief as I could, even though I did sit down again. I polished off a bottle of Mountain Dew and realized for the first time how few calories I had taken in during the day. Live and learn.

One of the more peculiar portions of the race happened about half way through this leg. As I began to gain ground on one particular runner I decided to take a small walk break. I knew I was going to need one soon so I felt it was best to do it now, pass the runner and then keep on running. I did not want to pass him and then begin walking. I might not necessarily be competing with this relay but I have always felt that if you wish to get in someone's head as a competitor you can never let them catch you once you have passed them.

So, I took the little walk break, just as this runner came out of his own break. When I began running again, he had gone around a curve. Once I was able to make a visual on him again he had begun to cross the road. He now hopped into a van and another male runner who had not been there before, seemed to be running in his stead. As we were running the same pace I could not make up any ground on him (about 100 yards in front of me) to make a query into what had happened. About a mile later, again around a turn, I saw this runner hop into the same van and then a woman appeared where he had been. I was completely stunned. Were they really cheating in leg 11 of a race where it was quite obvious they would be finishing in the bottom third of runners anyway? Not to mention that there were no real prizes given out for teams that won, let alone finished umpteenth in their division.

I never got an answer to my question as they were able to put further distance between me and themselves before the end of the leg. At the very least they kept me thinking about something else for a while and the huge drop in my pace for this lap shows the results.

As I came into the final exchange, I knew I would not be able to see my crew until the end. I yelled to Melody to grab my hand-held water bottle and some drink for me. (Note the completely cloudy skies and all-around uckiness just a mere 2.64 miles from the finish.)

I then went through the exchange and leaned against a pole as my crew filled my bottle. I mentioned that I think a team had cheated and they both nodded their heads in agreement. Apparently, they had been quite confused themselves how certain runners they had not passed while driving would pass them when they were sitting. I would like to think that we all just misunderstood what was happening and for the time being I am simply going to believe we did.

I took off my jacket, ear warmers, and gloves and handed the dripping garments to the girls. I wanted to carry as little weight as possible over the last few miles. Thanking them for everything I told them I would see them in about 30 minutes.

Leg 12: 2.64
Time: 28:42

Pace: 10:52

Within half of a mile, every single cloud was gone from the sky. The rain stopped, the sun beat down and I laughed out loud. Literally. I mean it. How could it go so quickly from crappy weather to a beautiful day? And with 2 miles left to go?! Regardless I found myself quite spent. Running along a bike path, the small but abrupt undulations brought me to a slow walk every time. Four of five teams passed me in these final miles and most I recognized as teams that had started at the same time as I had about 10 hour earlier. I was bummed I had not been able to hold them off but was getting elated to be done.

The final miles were a reflection on the day's work and how I was quite pleased with my efforts. Nevertheless, my tired but was ready to be finished. Entering Atkinson Park I could hear a band playing in the distance. Some helpful volunteers guided me across the street and stopped traffic.

Here I would like to pause to say that the volunteers and race people did a wonderful job of cheering on runners, providing assistance and just generally being cheerful, in spite of the fact that they too were stuck out in the rain for hours and hours. Kudos to you, Sawtooth Relay volunteers and workers. We all appreciate your hard work, even if we didn't have the energy to thank you then.

Some flags appeared ahead and a cruel ankle-breaking 270 degree turn revealed the final 50 meters. As I approached the finish, someone had radioed ahead my number and the announcer let everyone know I was a solo runner. A cheer erupted from the large crowd assembled near the end and I smile and waved to those in attendance. A few steps later and I was done.

10 hours, 36 minutes and 59 seconds after the odyssey began it was done. I won the solo race and beat my fair share of teams as well (exact numbers to be posted here later).

Only now, after the race is done and I look back do I wish certain things had happened differently. If I had know that the 3rd fastest time ever run here was just 5 minutes faster than mine, I am pretty sure I would have sped up some. However, even when we have regrets, and with running there are few races where we don't think we could have run just a little faster we can still be pleased with our efforts. And truth be told, I was quite pleased with mine.

For my efforts, I was fortunate enough to best the weather, the elevation and the other solo runners this year to take first in the Solo runners’ category. More importantly, I got to test my limits again to see what I was made of, see a beautiful part of the country I had never before laid eyes upon and meet some really great salt of the earth type people.

So for those who asked, "Did you do anything fun this weekend?" I can say, "Yep."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sawtooth Relay Approaching!

About a month ago I revealed plans to run the Sawtooth Relay solo HERE. While I was unsuccessful in my attempt to persuade the race director to increase the race distance from 61.9 miles to 62.1 to make it my first official attempt at a 100k distance, I am excited nonetheless. And to be honest, given the elevation at which this 100k takes place, and the highest point to which it rises, I will be happy to take it "easy" as this race takes me through the Galena Summit of Central Idaho.

The "break" I had in racing last weekend was sorely needed. I was absolutely whooped after finishing my birthday run in San Diego. The 8 marathons in a row really but a hurting on me. However, I am feeling upbeat and excited about taking on teams of 5 (and a few other solo runners as well!) through what promises to b a beautiful run through the Sawtooth Mountains.

An unusual cold and rainy front is striking the area in the days before the race. I am looking forward to the chillier temperatures (high of 59 degrees) as 10 hours of running in direct sunlight through the desert could just decimate me. However, I am hoping the rain holds off to keep me and the other runners nice and dry.

All in all it should be a wonderful event. check back here sometime this weekend for my recap!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

No race this weekend

For the first time since April 4th, I have a weekend without a race. I had originally scheduled an aqauthlon in California for this weekend but a variety of circumstances caused me to cancel that. and to be honest, I am 100% fine with that. Eight marathons in 7 weeks in 7 states with all that came with it really took a toll on me both mentally and physically. As I prep for the second half of the year (how the heck has my birthday come and gone and we are already about to start the second week of June?!) I needed the "break."

Still feeling the effects of my birthday run of 33 miles on Sunday, I decided to test out a new run here in SLC. Recently I had hiked to the top of Ensign Peak, which provides beautiful views of the SLC Valley.

After checking out the vistas, I noticed a road that lead up to some weather station towers behind Ensign Peak and further up the hill. (EP denoted with red arrow and weather station with blue arrow).

Well as with most runners, if I see a nice curvy road, closed to traffic and winding up a challenging hill, the first thing I want to do is give it a run. So this morning, I plotted out a course and had myself a nice challenging 11.5 mile run to tackle.

We have had uncharacteristically chilly and rainy weather in SLC the past few days and the forecast calls for more of the same for the next week or so. Most places you venture in this great country all have a saying akin to "If you don't like the weather, just wait an hour and it will change." Everyone thinks their weather is special, and honestly, for the most part, it isn't. that is what weather does - it changes. But I am no longer surprised with how quickly weather does indeed change in the mountains. For the 4th day in a row, a day that started out beautiful quickly turned ugly. While I had put off my run for a little while trying to see if I could kick my lethargy into action, the dipping temperature and ugly skies finally cajoled me out into the daytime air.

After a warm-up of about 2 miles of mostly flat running, the climb began. I knew I had about 5.75 miles out before turning around and retracing my steps, and only 3 of those 5.75 would be really hard. But oy, was I not prepared for this run today! 1650 feet of climbing later I found my winded body cresting the peak at around 5600 feet above sea level. (click to enlarge the graph)

Salt Lake City behind me and the Great Salt Lake in front of me I was in a nice little place. I could see the Bonneville Shoreline trail snaking out before me, going up over the next mountain. "Maybe next time" I said.

I turned my shoes for home and arrived back 1:35:10 after I left. I earned lunch today.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

At The Races: Karsten Brown vs. Dane Rauschenberg

The other day I asked my friend Karsten Brown "Have we ever figured out our lifetime head to head stats? We need to."

His response?

"Let's take a look, shall we? I may have missed some races from pre-2004 (particularly if the results weren't online), but this is what I got out of a few minutes of research..."

What follows is his solid hard work in finding the races we have ran against each other. The ironic thing is that Karsten and I have rarely seen each other outside of a race. Plenty of other friends who were in my running club have never raced me or rarely done so. Take my friend Dan Simonds, w(ho I saw probably three times a week for 3 years) has raced against me exactly twice - both in Boston at the Marathon (we are tied 1-1!)

I think Karsten has found all the results. The only racing I did pre-2004 was small races in Pennsylvania. So the below are the results, Karsten's comments and my retorts. However, the unwritten contest is how just two weeks after I better my PR to put distance between me and Karsten in the marathon, he drops FOUR minutes and now has the lead by 2 over me. The gauntlet has been thrown. Enjoy!

MCRRC Riley's Rumble Half-Marathon
7/25/04 - Poolesville, MD
29. Dane Rauschenberg, 1:29:29
97. Karsten Brown, 1:39:59
Dane 1, Karsten 0. I had quit smoking seven months earlier and was racing a lot but not training very well. I have a photo of me from after this race looking completely wiped out.

Dane's retort: My second half-marathon EVER.

MADD Red Ribbon Run 5K
12/31/04 - Alexandria, VA
46. Dane Rauschenberg, 19:25
54. Karsten Brown, 19:47
Dane 2, Karsten 0. I had sprained my ankle in October, so I'd only been running again for about a month at this point, and I think I was pleased with my time here.

Dane's retort: Nearly 90 seconds slower than my 5k PR I was more consumed with the party I was going after directly after this race.

Lower Potomac River Marathon
3/12/06 - Piney Point, MD
11. Dane Rauschenberg, 3:22:29
12. Karsten Brown, 3:22:35
Dane 3, Karsten 0. Tight finish! I don't remember how this went down-- whether I got caught near the finish or whether I was catching up. The former is more likely, given that I was once again coming back from injury and had been off from mid-November through mid-January. Pretty sure I was satisfied with my 3:22!

Dane's retort: I did not pass but barely held off Karsten at the end. Heard him coming even though at this time we were not even acquaintances. Oh yeah, it was also my 10th marathon of the year.

Frederick Marathon
4/30/06 - Frederick, MD
15. Karsten Brown, 2:57:55
58. Dane Rauschenberg, 3:20:01
Dane 3, Karsten 1. This was my first time under three hours, so I was pretty excited!

Dane's retort: I was the 3:20 pace group leader. Not an excuse but a fact. It was also my 17th marathon of the year.

DCRRC Belle Haven 8K
7/20/06 - Alexandria, VA
8. Karsten Brown, 30:28
25. Dane Rauschenberg, 34:30
Dane 3, Karsten 2. It was about 85° at this one, although the photo I have of Dane finishing shows him looking cool as a cucumber.

Dane's retort: I look cool as a cucumber because I was 4 minutes behind Karsten. I was also in between my 28th and 29th marathons of the year. Besides the half-marathon run the day before the 1st marathon of the year, this was my only other non-marathon race. However, it spurred me onto to my first "placing" ever in a marathon as I took 3rd in that 29th marathon.

Johnstown Marathon
10/1/06 - Johnstown, PA
5. Karsten Brown, 2:57:44
7. Dane Rauschenberg, 3:05:10
Dane 3, Karsten 3. I believe I've run every Johnstown Marathon since 1996, and I used to tell myself that I could finish in the top five if I actually trained. Well, this was the year! It only took eleven attempts. :) I was very excited.

Dane's retort: With a 2 minuted PR in my 39th marathon of the year, I think I may have been more excited.

Northern Central Trail Marathon
11/25/06 - Sparks, MD
9. Karsten Brown, 2:55:41
18. Dane Rauschenberg, 3:09:56
Karsten 4, Dane 3. And Karsten takes the lead! Had a really good run at this one; it was an accidental PR.

Dane's retort: My 47th marathon of the year.

Washington's Birthday Marathon
2/18/07 - Greenbelt, MD
4. Dane Rauschenberg, 3:14:33
12. Karsten Brown, 3:27:59
Karsten 4, Dane 4. I recall this one as being really cold and very windy. I completely fell apart on the third loop.

Dane's retort: Karsten remembers correctly. Horrible day for racing. Also mass confusion at the top as I somehow became the 4th finisher when I had been third for miles and miles (and at one point 2nd). Still have no idea what happened to this day but if I had known I was in 4th, would not have let the guy just in front of me beat me.

Frederick Marathon
5/06/07 - Frederick, MD
12. Karsten Brown, 2:55:30
20. Dane Rauschenberg, 3:06:40
Karsten 5, Dane 4. This was the year of Dane intentionally starting at the back of the pack for charity, if I'm recalling correctly, so he was at a disadvantage from the get-go. My "win" here should probably have an asterisk!

I actually ran a 3:03 with the chip time and yes the running around people didn't help but I never would have run a 2:55 on that day. I was not that runner yet.

Rockville Rotary Twilight Runfest 8K
7/21/07 - Rockville, MD
93. Karsten Brown, 28:10
146. Dane Rauschenberg, 30:13
Karsten 6, Dane 4. I don't know how I ran a 28:10 on this evening after having run another 8K that morning!

Dane's retort: I don't know how Karsten did it either. A little bummed I didn't break 30 minutes but since I ran timed mile in 5:16 in the blistering sun earlier in the day I was pleased.

Leesburg 20K
8/12/07 - Leesburg, VA
17. Karsten Brown, 1:18:19
22. Dane Rauschenberg, 1:19:55
Karsten 7, Dane 4. A little faster than I'd run the previous year, so I'll take it.

Dane's retort: I wanted to break 1:20 and I did. That's all I cared for here!

DCRRC One Hour Track Run
8/16/07 - Alexandria, VA
2. Dane Rauschenberg, 8.931 miles
4. Karsten Brown, 8.759 miles
Karsten 7, Dane 5. I seem to remember this one as being quite hot, and I wilted (and got passed by Dane) after about forty minutes.

Dane's retort: Very hot. And at noon the day of this race I was vomiting in the bathroom at work from sickness. But by evening I was ready to at least see what I could do.

Abebe Bikila Day International Peace Half-Marathon

9/3/07 - Alexandria, VA
11. Dane Rauschenberg, 1:28:26
15. Karsten Brown, 1:30:35
Karsten 7, Dane 6. This was my fifth race of the long Labor Day weekend-- I had run a 20 miler AND a 15K the day before!-- so I'm surprised I was even close to 1:30!

Dane's retort: I am surprised as well, Karsten. Another superior effort.

So there you have it. A super friendly rivalry where I wish Karsten the absolute best but also hope I beat him every single time. Rock on!