Friday, July 30, 2010

Partnership with Oxygen 4 Energy

Last year I was reading The Perfect Mile about Roger Bannister's (and others) quest to be the first person to to ever run under 4 minutes for a mile.  While very good high school runners do that every so often, and very good college runners do it on a routine basis these days, it was at one time considered impossible for anyone to do so.  And if they did, they would assuredly die from the effort.  How's that for a deterrent? This always reminds me of those famous quotes that say guitar music is on the way out and the Beatles are a fad or that the president of IBM only sees a worldwide market of maybe 5 computers.  The lesson here is, never be caught giving a quote ever, apparently.  But I digress.

In the book, Bannister, who was in school to become a doctor, did incredible amounts of tests on his own body to see how certain workouts affected him.  He did numerous tests using a veritable plethora of different methods of training as well.  One passage that stuck with me was how he discovered that a running speed that exhausted him after about 8 minutes when he inhaled "normal" room air (which contains about 21% oxygen) could be sustained for 16 minutes or more when he inhaled oxygen-enriched air (60-100% oxygen content) even at his breakneck pace, increasing the oxygen content to his lungs allowed him to double his effort.  Furthermore, he also noted that switching from room air to oxygen-enriched air immediately reduced the sensation of fatigue when running at high intensity.

This stuck with me because having recently moved to Salt Lake City and its much higher elevation that my previous home of Washington DC, I was curious how the thinner air would affect my training.  Even though SLC is hardly sitting on the top of Mt. Everest, with my constant travel schedule traveling I could definitely feel the effects.

What really sent this into overdrive was how this year, after finishing the major training for my 202 mile run, I began to work in far more speed workouts than I had done, maybe ever.  I knew that most of my workouts and races had previously been of the aerobic nature, or "with air." I would soon be getting to experience anaerobic exercise with all of my races becoming of the shorter variety.  With 9 half-marathons, a sprint triathlon, a 5k and 15k (to name just a few races) under my belt this year, I was creating the perfect testing ground to see if sir Roger was right.

Fortunately me for me, while I was doing this training, I had been introduced to a product called Oxygen 4 Energy which contains 90-95% oxygen.

In my own personal experiments (and really, when it comes to our own performance, these are the only ones which really matter) I found I was able to work harder and recover faster when I used Oxygen than when I did not.  I used it at the beginning and end of workouts, immediately prior to races and in both running and swimming events. I was extremely surprised how well it worked.  Sure, I trusted Bannister since he would have lapped me in a mile (or close enough that it would have been embarrassing) but what really made the deciding factor was real-life testing.

As such,I am happy to announce I will be partnering with Oxygen and seeing how far it can take me on my quest to continue to push my boundaries.  I invite you to go to their website, check out the product for yourself and see if it helps you as well.

I will be surprised if it doesn't!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Adding more to the Summer of Short Stuff

Even while I ready for a marathon personal best attempt this weekend, help put together the final touches on the Drake Well Marathon and Half in three weeks, I am still adding more races to my summer schedule.  As I put the finishing touches on my next book, I have gone back to research all the races as I have done in the past few years.  I noticed that I had done a grand total of 11 half marathons.  My half-marathon this weekend will be the 9th of the year.  The tenth?  America's Finest City Half Marathon in San Diego on August 15th.

I had such a great time working with the girls at at the San Francisco Half Marathon last weekend, that I will be working with them again at the expo here where I will be doing a book signing both days.

After which I look forward to taking part in an event that sells out long before the actual race day year after year.  With a downhill start and a crushing uphill finish, I eagerly anticipate running with some of the world's best and doing my best not to get utterly smoked by them (even though it is probably going to happen anyway!)

If you have signed up, I am looking forward to seeing you there.  If you haven't, well, the race website already tells you that next year's race is on August 21, 2011.  I think that is a sure sign that you better register early!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

San Francisco Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 22nd Edition
678.3 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010

Race: San Francisco Half Marathon
Place: San Francisco, CA
Miles from home: 738 miles
Weather: 50-60s; Overcast with slight humidity

This was a weekend filled with eventful happenings.   First, my friend Audra was able to crush her personal best in the marathon by 13 minutes and qualify for Boston for the first time. I was expecting her to be able to get that coveted BQ but I don't think either of us thought that it was going to come so easily!

Second, I received a copy of John Ball's book, Living Well, Running Hard.  It is an inspiring story about his life of running and beyond while dealing with Parkinson's disease.  Look for a review here on my blog soon.

Third, I spent some time conversing with Martin Parnell who is running 250 separate marathon distances this year hoping to raise money for Right To Play. This organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world.  I had been following Martin's quest all year so it was serendipitous that we would meet here.

I also ran the entire half-marathon in a skirt.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Crandall Canyon Memorial Run

Three years ago a horrible accident occurred in Crandall Canyon, just two hours south of Salt Lake City.  On august 6, 2007, a mining accident trapped 6 miners 3.4 miles from the mine entrance and 1500 feet  underground.  When a rescue effort proved nearly as fatal and three more workers were killed and 6 others injured, the efforts to rescue the original 6 were suspended after 10 days.  The Crandall Canyon Memorial Run, which consists of a half-marathon, 10k and 5k and is  put on by the people at Mammoth Marathons, is meant to honor the those who are still entombed to this day in the mine.

With nearly 1500 feet of downhill running in the half-marathon, one would think this could produce some fast times.  However, one has to take into consideration that this race is the highest half-marathon in the entire state of Utah, beginning at 8,800 feet above sea level.  And then it goes up!

But for those who love challenges, this is definitely the race to give yourself some bragging rights. As this will be my 5th half-marathon in 49, I hope that this will be the culmination of my efforts to shoot some speed back into my legs, in spite of both the high elevation and subsequent lack of oxygen.  If the event is like any of the other events I have done with the Mammoth Marathon people, it will be a beautiful race with top-notch people putting together an event that will only continue to grow in the future.

If you haven't signed up yet, I can think of fewer better ways to close out the month of July.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

San Francisco Half Marathon and Happenings

For the third time in five years I will find myself in San Francisco for the San Francisco Marathon weekend. And I have a feeling that just like the previous two times, I will have a blast. Doing a book signing at the expo while I work my booth with LIN socks, I am also pleased to be one of the featured speakers at the event as well, sandwiched in between Dean Karnazes and Bart Yasso on the Saturday before the race.
In 2006, the San Francisco Marathon was one of the 52 Marathons I ran in 52 weekends.  Last year I ran the first half of the marathon traversing the Golden Gate Bridge.  This year I will run the second half of the marathon to see what it is like to run through Haight-Ashbury and not be tired by the time I get there.  And even after I finish this year, I still will not have run in all the races that San Francisco has to offer for this weekend.  I guess I will have to keep coming back and sample them all.

The Wall Street Journal recently wrote an article about the San Francisco Marathon and how it is "The Race Even Marathoners Fear." Perhaps, but I can barely think of better publicity for this race than such an article.  Why?  Because runners are, if anything, ones who like a challenge.  Tell them they cannot do something and chances are better than great that they will then spend all the energy time and money they have proving you wrong.  Is this a good or bad trait?  Debatable.  I just know that sure the race is far from easy, but it almost always enjoyable.  Weather-wise it is almost perfect.  Mark Twain reportedly once said: "The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco."  As far as marathoners care that is music to our ears.  While the rest of the nation bakes away in July-August heat, San Francisco keeps us cool.

People-wise, it is a well-supported race by the locals, especially in the latter parts of the race when you need it most.  The first part of the race keeps you entertained by running over the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge and within a glimpse of Alcatraz.  All in all, there may be "only" 8,000 or so marathon finishers for this race but those finishers have really been able to enjoy one of the great marathons this country has to offer.  I look forward to once again crossing the finishline in the City by the Bay.

In addition, I am pleased to announce I will be doing a book signing at The Running Revolution store in Campbell on Thursday from 4-7PM.  

As my travels take me south of San Francisco prior to the race, I was happy to hook up with a store that more than a few runners at the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon mentioned was their favorite local running store. I hope San Jose runners will venture down and say hello as I make my first ever visit to this sunny city. 

Otherwise, I will see you all, bright and early, on the streets if San Francisco on Sunday!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 21st Edition
665.2 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010

Race: Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon

Place: Sonoma, CA

Miles from home: 720 miles 
Weather: 60s; Overcast then sun with slight humidity

Sometimes you cannot ignore the scenery.

I have often stated, I do not care what the course looks like as long as it doesn't run near a rendering plant.  My focus is usually on the ground 10 feet in front of me.  However, at the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon, one would have to shut off all of their senses to not enjoy the view deep in the heart of wine country.

Even as a teetotaler, I had a glorious time both at the expo the day before and during the race itself.  The thing with a race of this nature, and one Destination Races fully embraces, is that people are there to have a good time.  Sure they are there to run fast (as is evidenced by three African's running blistering times for the top three places) but the emphasis is on the enjoyment.  And enjoy we all did.

Just as Team in Training has seemed to adopt the marathon in San Diego, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America almost took over the race here just north of San Francisco. With almost 1/3 of the finishers having the distinctive Team Challenge orange singlet on, there was a carnival type energy coming from those here to run for the CCFA.  Always great to see so many people out there running for a reason which is personal to them.

Personally, I wanted to see if I could get under 1:25 for the day and maybe, just maybe shake some speed back to into my legs after running the 202 miler back in April.  I figured I would start out shooting for a 1:23 and see what would happen.

First 5k: 6:22, 6:42, 5:45 (18:50)

We were delayed at the start by about 12 minutes are so as a bottleneck of cars of runners who eschewed the free (and very nice) bus transportation made the narrow road to the start quite congested.  But these extra minutes just helped grow the anticipation and runner-friendly atmosphere a little more.

I knew the race began with a quick downhill and then the most significant hill of the course all in the first half mile or so. As such, seeing a slightly slower than what I was going to try and average for the race (6:15) for the first mile was not a problem.  The second mile was obviously a little long in where it was marked but when the third mile evened things out I was pleased. As mile markers need not be certified, I wasn't too bothered y tis.  It as just a hindrance as my body has not adjusted to running speed again and I wasn't 100% sure if I was hitting my marks where I wanted to.  Then again, if in doubt as my Dad says, just run fast and get it over with!

But by the third mile, the clocks, mile markers and my body told me I was right on pace.  The morning had started bright and sunny and forecast was for over 90 degrees later in the day. However, as we left the valleys of Napa we quickly ran into the morning fog which would stay with me for the vast majority of the race.

I was feeling a little sweaty but did not mind at all.  It was no where near the heat and humidity of a week ago in Utica and I was a happy camper.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Partnership with Nuun

Learning things about one's body is the most important thing in sports.  You cannot move forward if you are not constantly learning what works for you.  For me, the biggest revelation I had when it came to running long-distances was that I sweat profusely.  Heck, I don't even have to run long-distances for that to happen.  Throw in humidity and forget about it.  You can wring me out like a washcloth.

Finding a product that really helps you replace the electrolytes you lose in this process while adding as few negative things to your body as possible is a hard thing to do. Fortunately, I have happened across just such a product- NUUN.

I had tried NUUN on and off again for years but it was at the Boston Marathon this past April where, as luck would have it, my booth to sign books was across the aisle from NUUN.  With a long three day expo I was often quite thirsty and couldn't go far for liquid refreshment.  The NUUN people kept me quite quenched and this began a long discussion about their products and what it does for runners.  You can read more about what NUUN's science is about HERE.  For me, the proving grounds were just around the corner.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Boilermaker 15k Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 20th Edition
665.2 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010

Race: Boilermaker 15k
Place: Utica, NY
Miles from home: 2110 miles 
Weather: 70s; Sunny and humid

When you are just one mile into a race and you know for certain that your performance is going to be far below the level you were hoping, the best thing that can happen to you is that the rest of your weekend was enjoyable.  I was unfortunate to have the sub-par race performance but far more fortunate to experience the latter this past weekend at the Boilermaker 15k.

I continue to try and get my legs back underneath me for shorter distance races the best way that I know how which just happens to be by racing myself back into shape. One of the biggest drawbacks to trying to regain speed this way is that I have been dealing with an achy Achilles tendon for about two years now. When things are clicking right (as they were last summer when I set a new marathon PR during my 6th marathon in 5 weeks), it is super sweet.  When they aren’t, (as has been the case after I finished my 202 miler 3 months ago and have been in a mini-slump since), they are sour.  More than most runners, I simply cannot afford an injury.  So, heeding the advice I give as the best way to continue to race and make sure you do not get injured, I have to pull back when the potential for an injury rears its monstrous head.

 Sporting my Beef singlet and sweating in the heat and humidity.
When the Boilermaker 15k started Sunday morning, the weather was far better than it had been earlier in the week.  Not quite the “perfect day for running” the obviously ignorant-of-what-“ideal weather”-for-a-race-is-weather person mentioned on the news later in the day called it, but better.  As such when the first mile was over, I was already covered in a fine layer of sweat.  Nevertheless, I felt like I was right on pace to give it a go for my goal of the day until I looked down at my watch and was shocked to see how slow I was moving.  A few more miles of uphill running, followed by finally getting down to my goal time around the fourth mile (but only with the help of a nice strong downhill) set the stage for the pullback.  Seeing that it was going to take a herculean effort to get my goal time, and neither thinking I had such a herculean effort in me nor wanting to push the limits of the cranky aforementioned Achilles, I went into my thoughts to reflect on the weekend itself and the race I was running in.

Sure, I wanted to run faster.  My goal had been to run a 55:00 15k.  I ended up running 6 minutes slower in 1:01. Disappointment and surprise accompany that time.  Disappointment because I obviously do not like missing goals. Surprise because when you give up running “hard” halfway through a race, you most assuredly do not expect to be so relatively close to the goal.  I was fully expecting myself to take 1:03 or 1:04 to cover the fabled Boilermaker course and given the whirlwind weekend, such a time actually would not have been much of a surprise. So there is still room for hope that my speed will return, especially when I am not so involved with the pre-race activities.

Of course, these were the types of pre-race activities I would not wish to miss.  First of all, as the guest of the New York Beef Industry Council, I was able to not only sign book and meet people in their spacious tent on the expo grounds, but was able to educate many about the common misconceptions of beef and the benefits of such a protein-rich diet.  I was shocked at how many people did not realize there are nearly 30 different cuts of beef which are just as lean as chicken – the meat which so many people who are trying to eat healthy think is the most healthy source of meat out there.

It is very hard to combat ingrained notions that have taken hold in the public imagination.  It is also just as surprising when those who know much more about the exact scientific studies of beef than myself are not taken at face value. Fortunately, I am given a pulpit in many different ways to not only show the benefits of a certain diet that I partake in but also have people also listen to me as well.  Studies may be true but when you run 52 Marathons in 52 weekends people tend to want your advice on how to stay healthy.  It also didn’t hurt that after three strenuous days of a variety of activities that at a health screening tent my vitals showed I possessed a 120/64 blood pressure, a resting heart rate of 40 and a sugar level of exactly 100. Science and sport together. Even the biggest jackass can’t argue with that.  (Well, yes they can but that is what makes them a jackass in the first place.)

On a running front, seeing both Miki Gorman, a Japanese-American woman who is the only woman ever to win both the Boston and New York Marathons twice and the legendary Dick Beardsley inducted into National Distance Running Hall of Fame was an exquisite feeling.  I got to spend a good amount of time with Kathrine Switzer and her husband Roger Robinson as well, who were on-hand to commentate on the race.  For the first time, I also got to meet Nina Kuscsik, who because of the efforts of many (including Switzer), became the first official female winner of the Boston Marathon in 1972.  Last but certainly not least, I spent some time with my friend Bill Rodgers who I had to, for the first time, decline to go for a run with because I had a radio interview to do.  Bill, like myself, is hardly a fan of working out in the morning, and because of my busy schedule I had to miss our normal run together.

However, every bit of promotion and lost sleep was worth it this weekend at the Boilermaker 15k.  Even before I was much of a runner, living in my hometown nestled in the corner of NW Pennsylvania, I had heard of this large race up in, of all places, Utica, NY.  Growing exponentially by leaps and bounds it has surpassed 13,000 runners for the 15k this year (as well as close to 4,000 for the 5k.)  I would not be surprised if the race must either set some sort of cap on participants or do some sort of lottery system in the future as the race has become so popular.

And why does a 15k, on a challenging course in a semi-remote place, get such large attention?  I noted in a previous post that having a legend like Bill Rodgers in his prime visit your race surely doesn’t hurt.  But I can see that the reason the mystique and allure continues to this day is because of the hard work and spirit of the people of the city of Utica itself.  A race ending at a brewery with an all-you-can-drink theme is obviously going to attract a few people to the starting line. But for those who really don’t give a darn about beer, it is the attention to detail, the clockwork-like precision and the spectators who care which make this event a must-do.

After snaking through a few throngs of people after the starting cannon is fired, the course slips by a golf course for probably the hardest hill of the entire course.  As the crowds thinned here, I thought perhaps the fabled masses of humanity I had heard about were a little overstated.  However, no sooner had we crested the hill at the top of the golf course did the people return in force (my guess is that the golf course may frown upon screaming people on its outskirts and may have said something about this in the past. This is, I reiterate, a pure guess on my part.) From there on out, hardly an inch is covered where there are not hundreds of people cheering you on. Hula dancers, bagpipes, and a newly added drum corps are mixed in with the crowd signs and homemade aid stations (which while nice, are completely unnecessary given the 20, yes 20, official aid stations along the course) to create a carnival atmosphere for the runners.

Just a small taste of the crowds.
After a final push uphill around mile 6, runners then get about 2.5 miles of downhill and a slight uphill before finishing on a quick downward slope to the permanent finishline erected outside the brewery. From there, the already packed festival continues.  My intended goal of running in 55 minutes (a modest time considering not one, but three, male runners broke the course record and ran in a time in the 42 minute range) was out the window but my intention to return year after year is now solid.

Make a note for the second weekend in July in 2011 and I hope to see you in Utica as the clock downtown, which has already reset and is counting down until the next Boilermaker, hits zero. If you miss it, you will regret it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Off to the Boilermaker

As my Summer of the Short Stuff continues, I find myself in Utica, NY this weekend. As anyone who follows running to some extent, the name of Utica should automatically make you think of the Boilermaker 15k and 5K Road Race. 

Started in 1978 with just 800 runners and a minuscule budget (seriously- the budget might just cover your full Ironman registration fee- maybe) this event now brings nearly 13,000 finishers in the 15k alone to the finishline!  How does a race go from such an inauspicious beginning to being one of the premiere world-class 15ks in the world?  Well, it helps when Bill Rodgers pays your race a visit (as he did in 1983) and win in a time of 44:38.

I have been asked by Tim Reed, the race director of the weekend’s race and festivities to be a presenter at this fantastic race and it is with great honor that I do so.  In addition, I get to see good friend Dick Beardsley (as well as Miki Gorman) get inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame!  At the expo itself, I will be partnering with the New York Beef Industry Council to talk about the benefits of protein not only for recovery after running, cycling and swimming but for helping to build a stronger athlete from the very beginning.  But don’t take it from me alone about the power of beef.  Bernard Lagat, who has set numerous American records said in Runner’s World in 2008:

"I love steak, and I have to have steak the day before I race. Some people are afraid to eat steak before a competition because they think it'll make them too full and slow them down. But in Osaka [at the 2007 World Championships], before I raced, I went to Outback and ordered the biggest steak I could, and I won. You have to do what works for your body."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Partnership with Lin Socks

One of the most obvious pieces of equipment we as athletes (more specifically, runners) need is our shoes.  (Granted, the barefoot runners would disagree but they still buy the Vibrams now don’t they?)  We spend plenty of time finding the perfect shoe for us, the proper weight and size and, perhaps if we care a little about style, might look for the snazziest colors and bells and whistles.  Research and hard work done on our feet coverings, we are sated.  Then we go and jam just about any sock we have in the drawer onto our foot without so much as thinking about how proper sockwear matters just as much as the shoe.  Seems pretty illogical but humans are, on the whole I have found, a pretty illogical species (and for those who call it the “male species” when you are trying to make a funny gender joke, please consult a dictionary.)

I spend a great deal of time product testing.  Not necessary at the behest of any company or product in particular but because I am always looking what fits me best for my athletic endeavors.  And by “fit best” I mean a balance between performance and cost.  For things that will last hopefully years (cars, bikes, etc.) I can swallow my frugal pride and lay out a few more dollars.  Items which last far less, and take a severe beating and therefore are needing to be replaced more often require me to look at both how they work and how they make my wallet lighter.

Fortunately for me, I found the perfect combination between substance style and cost when it comes to that piece of material between the oh-so-researched shoe and my oh-so-pounded upon foot.  From now on, when I reach into my sock drawer I don’t need to worry much which pair of socks I am pulling out as I will always be pulling out Lin socks.

I am beginning to diversify my athletics.  Primarily a road runner for years, I am taking to trails more often now.  Just a “marathoner”, if you will, I am testing the waters in sprints and ultras to balance out the scale.  Basically I was previously looking at nothing but running, but now I am venturing into triathlons, adventure sports and the entire gamut.  And with me will be my Lin socks.  I find them to be comfortable, lightweight and breathable.  I find myself never thinking about them when I wear them and really, isn’t that the point of socks?

Fortunately for me, my path has crossed with that of those at Lin socks and I am proud to be a sponsored Lin Socks athlete.  After trying a plethora of brands these appear to be the ones I will not be deviating from wearing anytime soon.  You too should get them a test run.  Not only is there free shipping with orders of $20 or more, if you use the promo code “DANE” you get an additional 10% off. Now I am speaking to not just your feet but your wallet and/or purse (or in the case of The Hangover, your satchel)!

Your feet deserve it.  Think of all they do for you.  Pay them back and get some Lin socks!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Freedom Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 19th Edition
655.9 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010

Race: Freedom Half Marathon
Place: Salt Lake City, UT
Miles from home: 3 miles 
Weather: 50-70s; Sunny and warm

Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way first, as I am sure you will read it elsewhere on some other blogs and recaps.  There were some small inconveniences with the first running of the Freedom Half.  Most noticeably were not all of the packets being available the day prior to the race (making some runners pick up their packet on race morning) and he race starting late as a result of that.  Sure, this was nothing any of the runners would want and I can attest that the race director most assuredly did not want it either.  But as I said to the RD, as he pulled triple duty doing his own job and that of others who apparently hadn't shown up, I honestly feel that every runner should be required to volunteer at a race before they ever run one.  It would be amazing how many yappers would stay shut if they all had to be the poor sap behind the table taking the business end of a hissy fit from some person with an over-inflated sense of entitlement. It stinks the race started 20 minutes late.  Oh well.

There, with that out of the way, let's talk about the race!

I had a pleasant surprise for me at the start of he race when I randomly ran into a running friend from my days of living in DC.  Andrew just happened to be in Park City for a few weeks and deiced to run this race.  As he warmed up next to me, I thought: "Nah."  But sure enough it was and we used the time of the delay of the race to catch up.  See? Effective use of a minor inconvenience.  I knew with Andrew's speed he would definitely be in contention for the win.  I gave him the lowdown of the course and we both prepped for the gun.

First 6 miles:

The oft used for racing Emigration Canyon gave us runners just shy of 6 miles of gradual downhill running (~700 feet of total loss) to get the wheels moving.  For the first quarter of a mile I was in third place but knew that wouldn't last.  Andrew soon passed me and then about a mile later another runner did as well.  I thought 5th would be a nice little place to stay and stay in that position until about the 4th mile.  It was then that one runner really put on the speed and passed me and began to make an assault on the runners in front of us.

Around mile 5 another runner passed me but his speed ebbed and flowed so much I did not know if he knew what he was doing or, like me, ran to what his strengths were.  Whenever the course became more downhill, i would catch and pass him and when it leveled he would do the same to me.  I envisioned a long day of cat and mouse.

In either case, hoping to maintain a 6:15 mile pace through this downhill, I hit the 6th mile at 37:28 or 6:14.6.  Pretty spot on.  But Emigration Canyon was over and the hills and trails began.

Miles 7-10:

Almost immediately after leaving Emigration Canyon Road we made a sharp turn up a hill that was fairly steep.  I walked for about 5 seconds as I downed a PowerGel and had to drink the water to help it go down.  The hill became less of a grade of an uphill but lengthened in total distance.  Right near the top, I again took a quick 5 second walk break as I was sucking wind.  This just so happened to be the same place where I filmed a little run in the snow back in April (you thought I was going to say December!)  Soon we were given a spectacular view of the valley below.

However, just as soon as it was given it was taken away and we hit a series of abrupt up and downs on trail that would test the semi-technical running skills of all runners.  In this stretch I had been passed by one young runner wearing clothing that reminded me of the Zubaz pants from the 1990s.  (Sweet lord were those awful.) we too played a little cat and mouse until, like the previous fella, he also pulled away.  I was happy with my effort so far and just wanted to keep the pace. I figured a 1:23 was probable but it depended how many more quicker risers on the trail we had to contend with.  Unfortunately for my 1:23 hopes, it was a few more.

One more short and steep hill brought me to a quick walk as did it the one runner (who had been in second originally) in front of me.  We exchanged Hellos and I kept on going.  The first woman was right behind me and I could feel her beating down my neck.  Another steep downhill had me putting a little pace between myself and my pursuers but I could tell there was not much gas left in the tank. This female and another nice runner who said that this must be "just a jog in the park for me" passed me.  He must not get how and 13.1 run really fast (relative to your ultra training) is never easy!

To the finish:

I knew the last few miles fairly well having run then on numerous occasions.  However, even the familiarity did not allow for me to speed up much. I was locked  into a pace, as were the other runners and some of them were increasing there's.  Not me.  Test run, Dane.  Test run.  this race was only to see where I was at in my fitness level, nothing more. 

As I hit the final mile (the mile markers were off here and there, which was a little frustrating but at least we had them!) holding myself back was not going to be a problem.  I could tell I was waning and there would be no strong finishing kick.

Coming off of the road which is commonly called City Creek Canyon Road, we burst out onto the right hand side of the Utah State Capitol Building in all its grandeur.

A few steps more to go and a 1:25:24 and 9th place overall finish was mine.  Not a bad morning's work.  I stayed around for a bit, signing books and meeting some really sweet people.  Then it was off to catch a plane to go ho---wait a minute! I only live like 3 miles away! Woo-hoo!

I enjoyed the race and look forward to doing more events put on by USA Endurance. I mean, any race director who actually buys a 1962 Hearse to promote his Halloween Half Marathon and then drives its rickety carcass across two states to get it back to home is a-ok in my book.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Some Book Reviews

While I have been reading, but not as much as I would like this year as I have been writing my second book, I haven't done many of my usual book reviews.  That said, I did want to give some old reviews a chance to come to light as I have had a few people ask me what running books are out there.

So, here are some links to some older reviews. Hope they spark your interest and get you out there moving!

Staying the Course by Dick Beardsley

Strides by Ben Cheever

26.2: Marathon Stories by Kathrine Switzer and Roger Robinson

The Last Pick by Dave McGillivray

Boston: A Century of Running by Hal Higdon