Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lunatic Triathlon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 18th Edition
642.8 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010

Race: Lunatic Triathlon
Place: Price, UT
Miles from home: 120 miles 
Weather: 70s; ZERO humidity

Sitting at the packet pickup, signing books and meeting my soon-to-be fellow competitors I definitely had a little bike envy.  No fewer than half a dozen athletic looking chaps would roll in on a bike that probably cost as much as my rent for a year.  As much as I love Schwinnie Cooper (my monstrosity of a mountain bike) I knew I was going to be at a severe disadvantage when we hit the roads.

However, one must ride what brought you.  Ironically, the fact I had not ridden 10 feet on my bike since August of 2009 when I was hit by a car didn't seem to bother me any.  I was just looking forward to getting out there for my second triathlon ever.

5k Run: ~19 minutes

Given that the swim was to be done in an outdoor pool under the full moon, the race directors opted to hold the swim portion last - definitely an interesting twist to an already interesting race. The gun was fired and a pack of about 12 bolted forward.  One man sprinted for about 50 yards and I felt for sure this was going to be someone who was going to run a 15 minute 5k.  However, almost immediately, he fell back with the rest of us.  When we made the first turn a few blocks in, a few tentative runners seemed to fall back and I used my inside position to fall in directly behind the leader.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Summer of the Short Stuff

My intention to take a relative break from racing longer races and trying to diversify my sporting desires as well as try to kickstart what remains of the few fast-twitch muscles fibers which remain in my body (there weren't many to begin with) begins tonight with the Lunatic Triathlon in Price, UT. As I will be writing a recap about that very soon, there is no reason to go into much more about it right now.

But a plethora of half -marathons this summer and fall will be kicking off next week right here in my backyard with the Freedhom Half.

When you travel as much as I do, and virtually every weekend, you don't really look at the local racing schedule that much.  There really is no point in doing so since, well, you aren't going to be here.  But with an unprecedented amount of consecutive days in my homestead, I thought I might as well look around and see if there was anything local that looked good. Well, the Freedom Half looked great! 

First , the race runs through areas I am extremely familiar with utilizing a section of Salt Lake that a plethora of races do (and for good reason): Emigration Canyon.  The Canyon is a long gently sloping downhill with beautiful vistas on both sides and a wide shoulder for runners to traverse.  Following that, to even things out a bt after the downhill, a couple of risers after mile 6 allow runners to utilize some other muscles for a change.  Finally, ending at the State Capitol building in Salt Lake (a beautiful structure if you ignore, like with most political buildings, the goings-on inside) this promises to be a fun race. 

I also hope it is one where I can really see where I stand in shocking the system and ramping some speed back into my life.  Enough of this long, moderately slow stuff!  Now it is time for short and, ok, well, still moderately slow stuff.  Come on, I am not an Olympian!

Also in the mix, I will be doing a book signing at the packet pick-up at Dick's Sporting Goods at the Gateway Mall from 3-9 pm. This will be a great chance for me to get to meet all the local runners for a change.  I love meeting people from all over the country but it will extra special to mingle with those who run in the same neighborhoods that I do.

I can't think of many other better ways to kick off not only my Summer of the Short stuff but also the 4th of July weekend.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Maui Marathon - Featured Speaker

For 33.5 years of my life, I knew where Hawaii was.  Being a geek for information, I knew when it was admitted to the Union, its state bird, and how Mauna Kea is technically the tallest mountain in the world (if measured from the sea floor.)  By virtue of being a history major, Pearl Harbor’s significance was burned into my memory.  But I had never actually been there.

That changed in December of last year when I touched down in Hawaii and took part in the Honolulu Marathon, knocking another state off in the process.  This time, however, I do not need to wait long for the next trip as I have been asked to be the featured speaker for the 40th anniversary of the Maui Marathon to be held September 19th, 2010. I graciously accepted. (Insert “Duh” comment in your head right…now.)

Starting with the sunrise over the Haleakala volcanic crater and finishing at the world famous Kaanapali Resort at Whalers Village I expect to enjoy the beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean almost from start to finish.

Sure it will be warm and humid (it is Hawaii) but with winning times well under 2:20 in its past, apparently it is not the slowest race out there. The 5:30 AM start will be a big help as well. And for a race called “the Best Run in Paradise” by Runner’s World, registration is within the very doable price range of $75 for the full if done before October 1st (even less for military and members of the club who put the race on.)

I hope you will join me in running in paradise.  This might be the first time ever I wouldn’t mind if my plane was a little late in leaving.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine Article: Runners Have a New Acronym

My latest installment of "Running Matters" is now up and ready for reading on Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine's website.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

2010 Drake Well Marathon Dedication

If you read my blog posting about the Renaissance Half-Marathon Recap, you saw that it was one posted with more than just a touch of unhappiness. When Lisa MacDonald Lee succumbed to cancer, the world lost a good person.  Nothing we can do can change that.  However, the Road ID Drake Well Marathon  has decided to do what it can and this year will be dedicating the races run that weekend to honor the memory of Lisa. We hope that her family will see how much of a lasting impression she made on many of her friends from Titusville and beyond.

In addition, we have extended the low cost of the entry fee until June 21st to allow those who wish to sign-up to help honor Lisa's memory a few more days to make their decision to run either the full or the half marathon. Click on the logo below to register for either of these races.

We were told that one of Lisa's last runs was just a few weeks before her passing. We hope that all of you who feel you could never complete a race of any distance keep in mind how even the longest journey begins with just one step.

Please stay tuned as we plan to do even more to honor Lisa's memory after we brainstorm with her family about the best ways to do so.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine Article: Running Hope Through America

My latest installment of "Running Matters" is now up and ready for reading on Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine's website.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Renaissance at Colony Park Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 17th Edition
639.7 miles raced in 2010

Race: Renaissance at Colony Park Half Marathon
Place: Jackson, MS
Miles from home: 1735 miles 
Weather: 80s; HUMID

This report begins with a heavy heart.  On the eve of the race, I found out a friend from high school, who I had unfortunately not seen in many years, passed away from cancer. Lisa MacDonald (Lee) was a track and cross country runner a year behind me in high school.  Always quick with a laugh and vibrant until the end, Lisa will be sorely missed by more people than I could even begin to count.  I decided to dedicate my run to Lisa - a small and basically worthless token but when faced with events out of your control you do what you can.

Lisa in a Turkey Trot back in 2008, with her ever-present smile.

 Race Day:

After a rather sleepless night, bothered obviously by the lost of a friend, I woke with my alarm at 5 AM for my 6 AM race. I then promptly fell back asleep. I then woke up again at 5:55 AM. Oh my.  If I had not made the decision to run this race for Lisa I would have just stayed in bed.  However, that was not an option so as fast as probably humanly possible, I dressed and left my hotel room and subsequently the entire hotel by 6:01 AM.  I knew I had about a mile to run to the start of the race so I began hoofing it.  Praying the race would not begin on time I sped towards the timing mast at the Renaissance outdoor mall.  Upon getting to the area I could see I was too late.  Or was I?

Up ahead, runners gathered toward the finishline.  I saw the race Director, Mark Simpson and we made eye contact.  I shrugged and he quickly yelled into the walkie-talkie: "Hold on.  We have one more half marathoner!"  It turns out the people gathering were those running the 5k. Ugh.  With the 80 plus degree weather and 100% humidity, I was already completely soaked.  I jumped a bush, ran around the timing mat, turned around, crossed the mat and began my actual timed race.

First 5k: 6:55, 7:25, 6:42

I spent the first 3 miles of this race catching up to, weaving through and then passing as many people as I could.  Before reaching the third mile I could see the leaders coming back at us.  Well, I should say "leader" as the young guy leading the race was running all alone.

As the second mile marker was was off, I was hoping that further such markers would be more close to proper placement.  However, all I could really think about was how exhausted and sweaty I already was.

To the halfway: 7:13, 9:36, 5:12

As the course doubled back on itself and went up and down some winding hills, I expected some slight fluctuations in my time.  However, mile 5 was extremely far and mile 6 was very short.  A slight inconvenience for sure but one that plays on the mind of a weary runner.  The hundreds of runners I had passed was now become a runner here and there as the crowd thinned more and more.

To mile 10: 7:22, 7:37, 7:35

It is extremely difficult to rate a course like this on a day like this with all going on in my mind.  It was simply a brutally warm and humid day where all goals were thrown out the window.  I was beginning to feel a little bit better and have my pace even out but now the energy ebbed even more.  I thought of Lisa and felt a major twinge of sadness.  The morning sun was beating down from above and baking my skin.  I had forgotten to grab my sunglasses and was squinting in the blinding light.  "Hi Lisa." I thought.

To the finish: 8:05, 22:57

As the race reached its end, the miles seemed to get longer.  And as a quick rerouting of the course shows, they were.  I was a little disappointed to see that the race was much closer to 13.3 miles than the actual 13.1 distance.  to non-runners, .2 of a mile doesn't seem like a great deal.  but depending on your speed, you are looking at anywhere from 1.5 to 5 minutes of extra running.  I have a feeling this will be remedied in the future.

Getting into the last quarter-mile, I quickly thought back on the race.  As i have said, the weather was atrocious.  Some of the mile markers were off and the course was long.  However, the volunteers for this race were top-notch, the course direction allowed not a single person to take a wrong step and somehow all of the energy drinks were kept close to ice-cold in spite of the searing heat and humidity. In addition, there was a random drawing where five individual each won $1,000. What a great way to end the day for 5 different people!

I personally finished 12th overall with a time of 1:36:38  I hesitate enormously to use phrases like " I know Lisa was there helping me through a race" mostly because if there is an afterlife, I have a feeling she had much better things to do with people she was much closer with. However, as things got tough, my memory of Lisa spurred me on and really, that is all that matters.

Live your life the best you can.  As I have always said, there will come a day when you cannot do this.  Today is not that day.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lewis and Clark Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 16th Edition
626.6 miles raced in 2010

Race: Lewis & Clark Marathon
Place: Bozeman, MT
Miles from home: 411 miles 
Weather: 50s; cloudy

Well, I really wasn't expecting to do that.

The long and the short of my race in Bozeman, Montana at the Lewis and Clark Marathon is that
a. I am still quite energy-depleted from the 202 miler in April
b. Wrong turns adding mileage to an already tough marathon do not help.

Yep, I made two wrong turns in this race (well technically, two no turns when I was supposed to) that added significant mileage to my race in the beautiful environs of Bozeman.  On a day made for fast running with low temperatures, low humidity and a cloudy sky keeping out any of the ELSO (evil, life-sucking orb, aka "the sun") I was bummed from the beginning.  I knew I was not only in no shape to run fast but that this particular course at this particular elevation would not allow me to even come close to it. What stinks is that you rarely get weather this perfect and I could not utilize it. So, instead, I decided to bring along my camera and try to capture the beauty of the day.
I normally break down my splits here but since they are pretty much thrown out the window by my extra mileage running, I will eschew doing so. Pretty sure few people even look at the time anyway.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lewis and Clark Marathon

I love keeping stats of things in my life.  Places I have been.  Books I have read.  Races I have run.  My speadsheets often get made fun of but when I need to recall something that there is no real "need" for, I do have it readily at hand. (e.g., Average time for the 13 lifetime marathons I have run in May, including last weekend's sweatbox in Stillwater: 3:10:01)  I know I am not alone in this love for stats, especially in the running world.  But I even keep track of other people's stats as well, if what they are doing interests me.  That might be a little too much but hey, numbers rule.

I also have lots of running goals, most of them made specifically to keep me interested when I know that racing or running may not be the number one priority.  Perfect example of this is how, after completing my 202 mile run in April, I have definitely felt a slight case of the blues when it comes to running long distances.  When you accomplish something which takes up such a large part of your life for so long, there are the inevitable letdowns. this weekend was open for me to just enjoy some well-deserved downtime and focus on numerous projects (my second book, for example is close to being completed.)  However, yesterday, the opportunity to hit one of those goals presented itself and before I knew it I was signed up to run the marathon and do a book signing at the store of title sponsor for the Lewis and Clark Marathon in Bozeman, MT.