Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 Memories

No, I don't mean that I'm going write about 2007 memories (that would be quite a post!), but I do want to share some of my memories of 2007. This year wasn't a big year for me in terms of running. I did do a lot of running, but after qualifying for Boston in October 2006, I promised my wife (and my body) that I'd take a year off from marathoning and run Boston in 2008. So, I didn't do a whole lot of racing, but I did run enough to stay in pretty good shape, and have some good memories.

I got to participate in a relay race at Rock Canyon Elementary School in Provo, Utah (I worked there last year). It was the teachers versus the 6th graders. I ran the third leg of the 4x100m race, the same leg I ran in high school. That brought back some good memories of my track and field days. And, we kicked the students' trash.

For the past five or six years I've done a fun run 5k in Springville, Utah. It is a huge event, part of a week long summer celebration, complete with HUGE prize drawings (like BBQ's, trampolines, bikes, etc.). My wife has done it with me a couple times, and I've brought my girls along with me last year. This year, we all did it, along with some other family members. And this was to be our year to win something. The only thing we've ever won in the years we've participated was a dirty water bottle and pen that didn't work. This year was no different as we once again went home empty-handed. Oh well, maybe next time.

A couple weeks after that race, we made the big move to Phoenix. I had to get used to running in the crazy heat and the August humidity. I ran a few 5k's after the move and joined a running club. I also got my first coaching job with one of the middle schools in the district where I work. That was a great learning experience. I am looking forward to coaching the track team in 2008.

So, even though my running wasn't as intense as other years, I still had some great memories. I am looking forward to 2008 and the awesome experiences to come. I hope you all have a happy and successful new year.

P.S. I've added a few "running partners" (blogs I read regularly) on the right. I hope that's alright with everybody. I'd like to add more, so if you're not on my list and think you ought to be, let me know, and I'll gladly add you. It's been great running with all my new RBF's this year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Week in Review

This week definitely wasn't as exciting as last week. I had a good workout on Monday, an ok tempo run on Thursday, and a real tough long run this morning. I planned for a 10-miler up and back down South Mountain. I made it to 9.5, and my ankle started bugging me. I decided I'd better listen to what it was saying, so I walked the rest of the way. That was extremely frustrating. The aching reminds me a lot of the pain Topher was experiencing a couple weeks ago (Is that still bugging you, Topher? Has anything helped?).

On a brighter note, I picked up some new ASICS Gel-Nimbus' today. I usually run in the Cumulus model, but I couldn't pass up a sweet clearance deal on the older model Nimbus. They are a half-size smaller than I usually run in, but still a half-size bigger than my regular shoes. The fit still seems to be pretty good. Anybody else run in these? What do you think of them?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

What a week!

This week was such a great week for me. I am on Christmas break (I'm a school psychologist in a local district, so I have three (!) weeks off for the holidays), and I am loving it. If you haven't read any of my recent posts, the weather is so perfect. I love the Arizona winter! I won the "Time for some lovin'" clock from Topher in the Runner's Lounge virtual white elephant gift exchange, and my training has been going so well. It's got me feeling very confident that I will be able to reach my goal of breaking 3 hours in Boston (less than 4 months to go!).

My week started out with some speedwork on Tuesday. I did 4x 1200 meters each at 4:30. That was really tough, but it sure felt good to run fast again, and to be able to keep it up over that distance. Wednesday wasn't a scheduled run, but since I didn't have to work, I thought I'd take my littlest daughter out for a few easy miles. Thursday was a great tempo run. That had me feeling so good that I wanted to go out on Friday, but I thought I'd save my energy for my 9 miles on Saturday. That run only made me more excited for my training. I ended up with an average pace of 7:12 per mile, and a total time of just a few seconds over my 8 on the 8th race time. I really don't know what has made the difference in the last couple weeks, but I am totally on a high, and it feels so good. I can't wait to get out there this week.

On Saturday, my older sister and her family from Las Vegas came to visit for the weekend. My older brother from north Phoenix also came for the evening. We had a lot of fun hanging out, playing at the park, having dinner, opening some early Christmas presents, and our kids had a great time together.

p.s. I hope I'm not sounding cocky or arrogant or anything, but I am just kinda proud of how my training is going, and want to share my excitement.

p.p.s. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I Love Running!

Isn't it so awesome to come in from a run with that feeling? That you just love to run? I had an excellent tempo run this afternoon. It was a beautiful day, 59 degrees, lots of sunshine, Christmas break. Can't get much better than that. I did 5 miles on a route I ran a couple times about a month ago, so I was expecting to finish in approximately the same amount of time. Last time, I struggled to keep a 7:30 pace. Today's run started out with mile one at 6:33. Here are some of my thoughts throughout the rest of the run: Wow, a little too fast, better slow it down a little. Mile 2: 6:43. Still faster than planned, but I'm feeling good, I wonder if I can keep it up. Mile three: 6:46. This is getting tough, but mile four usually seems to go by faster than the others: 6:35. Awesome! One mile to go. I can do this. Whoa, this is getting tough. Almost there. Mile 5: 6:30. Yes! Oh man, that was tough.

I walked in the house with a big smile on my face. I told my wife that I just can't get over how good of a run that was. This is one of the reasons I run. It just feels so good. Well, for me, most of the time. Having a good run like this goes to show that all that hard work and training is really doing something. I am getting somewhere. I am getting better. I will reach my goals.

Don't you love to run?!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I love winter!

I never thought I'd say that. But after the run I had yesterday, I can no longer deny it. I don't know where that photo was taken, but it was definitely far, far away from Phoenix! Holy cow! That looks freezing! Beautiful... but freezing! It was 64 degrees yesterday afternoon, and I don't think it's going to get too much colder any time soon. I ran out in a t-shirt and shorts and did some speedwork. It was great! I don't mean to rub it in to those who have to deal with the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures, but Topher asked for some sunshine, so I just wanted to share the love.This isn't where I ran yesterday, but this is the beautiful scenery I get to enjoy. Don't get me wrong. I moved from Utah this summer, so I know what it is like to run through the snow and cold. And this is the type of running I have been looking forward to. It certainly makes up for the 30-some odd consecutive days of 110+ degree weather we had this summer. I hope you are staying warm this winter.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My Virtual White Elephant Gift

I saw this and immediately thought of Amy over at Runner's Lounge. It's the perfect solution to keep your nose from being your "running" partner. Simply strap this comfortable, light-weight, hands-free, one-size-fits-all apparatus on your noggin and off you go. Say goodbye to using your sleeve as a tissue, and say hello to the Portable Snot Squelcher!

For those not knowing what this is about, the Runner's Lounge community is having a virtual Christmas party with white elephant gifts and all.

A Christmas Greeting

This might not have a whole lot to do with running, but it sure is cute. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's a Miracle!

The Chicago Cubs needed a miracle. At least that was the premise of the 1993 film "Rookie of the Year?" Henry Rowengartner, a huge Chicago Cubs fan, has some sort of accident (I can't remember how it happened--it's been too long) and hurts his shoulder. Somehow after it healed, his shoulder became incredibly powerful and the Cubs pick him up as a pitcher. His new-found ability ends up taking the Cubs to the World Series.

That's sort of how I felt yesterday on my 8 miler. That dog bite from the 8 on the 8th must have done something to me. I felt great! I haven't felt that good on a run in a long time. Now, I'm not claiming to have become an elite runner as a result of my little accident, but I ran a different 8 mile course (a more difficult 8 mile course), and I ran over 3 minutes faster than the race last week. I even had to stop to get a rock out of my shoe.

Can I attribute such a difference in one weeks time to the effects of that dog bite? Probably not. But it makes for a more entertaining post than just saying that my cold is gone, my hamstrings are feeling great, and I've started running more this week. Plus, my run caused me to reminisce about the fun movie that I went to see with my best friend when I was a wee lad of 14.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Getting Ready for Christmas

My wife and I have been having tons of fun making cute Christmas ornaments for friends and family out of Sculpey oven-bake clay and other things. We have made Christmas trees, a snowman, colored lights, etc., but tonight I had run out of creative ideas. As I was sitting and staring at the clay, I envisioned my running shoes. I thought, "Wouldn't be be cool to have a running shoe ornament?" Of course it would! So I made this, modeled after my older, Boston-qualifying Asics.
You might not be able to see all the detail, but it's pretty sweet! I even put shoelaces on.

Back in 2003, we started a tradition of purchasing or making ornaments for each other. The year I ran my first marathon, my wife got me a ball ornament with "26.2" painted on it. Last year she made an ornament with a picture of me running the St. George Marathon when I qualified for Boston. This year, my she made me a cool ornament with my new hero on it, Steve Prefontaine.It is really just one of those picture keychains with Pre and a card with a quote inserted. Like I said, we've been having a lot of fun and getting pretty creative this holiday season.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

8 on the 8th Race Report

It was a cool 53 degrees when I stepped out the door this morning to warm up for this highly anticipated event. I was alone for my warm-up jog. Well, at least I thought I was. Little did I know there was a vicious canine lurking beneath the black SUV in an upcoming driveway. The dog sprang, narrowly missing the reflective lettering on my lower pant leg. It retreated, and the moment I thought it was gone, it attacked again, this time nipping my calf. Luckily it didn't break through my pants, but it did give me a good sized bruise with some matching teeth marks. Thinking it would be fine though, I finished my warm up and headed toward the start line. I made it just in time for the 9:13 AM start.

I tried to keep a nice easy pace as I haven't run for nearly two weeks because of my cold and my sore hammies. It was pretty quiet out there on the race course. I only saw one other runner, and she was going the wrong way. The course wrapped around and through some housing developments on paved paths and horse trails, but I did have to wait for traffic at a couple locations. The race finished at the park where my wife and kids met me at the finish line (my girls actually were the finish line). We embraced, enjoyed some post-race refreshment, and walked back home.

This was a very enjoyable race. The best virtual race I have ever participated in. I finished in a time of 1:04:48, a little slower than I was hoping for, but hey, I got bit by a dog, for cryin' out loud! Thanks to Nancy for organizing a great event!

The official results are in. Pictures, awards, and everything.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cross-Country Season Review

I've been wanting to make this post for a while, but I wanted to wait for our team picture (kinda sad that we only had 3 kids make it through the season). Coaching the cross-country team was a fun and challenging experience. Great to see the kids having a fun time, frustrating to see so many of our kids not able to participate because of bad grades. Great to watch them progress, frustrating when they didn't put in the effort. The season ended with one of those great moments. The championship meet. One of our runners cut about 3 minutes of his best time, and kept an awesome pace. Another, also improved on his time and showed himself that his effort really pays off. Our final runner had a harder time, but he was all smiles after he crossed the finish line.

The boys did a great job this season. And I learned a lot of lessons about coaching and working with kids. There are some things I will do differently next time, and hopefully that will make a difference in motivating the kids to put in the effort needed to progress. Track season is just a few months away, and I can't wait!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Off to a good start...Well, not really

Well, my first week of Boston Marathon training didn't exactly go as well as I had planned. I did my first workout on Tuesday, some speedwork. I don't know if I was still sore from the Turkey Bowl Thanksgiving morning, or if it was some residual soreness from my pratfall, but my quads, and especially my hamstrings were really tight. It was really annoying. I didn't want to risk any injury on that chilly 53 degree Arizona morning (yeah, I am sort of rubbing it in. I just moved from Utah, and am really not missing running in the snow.), so I cut the workout a little short and didn't do my last 800. They are feeling a lot better now, though not 100%. Later on that evening, I started coming down with a cold that has stuck with me since then, and haven't been able to run. I was really bumbed about missing my long run this morning. So my workout consisted of cleaning the house, doing dishes, baking some oatmeal raisin cookies (Lani wasn't home to insist on putting in chocolate chips instead of raisins! Ha ha!), and making paper boats and floating them with my girls in the little puddle in our natural, Arizona desert, landscaped backyard.

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Creation!

Here it is, folks. My Boston Marathon training program. Click on any month for a larger view. I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

5 Months to Go!

Five months from today I will be crossing the finish line of my first Boston Marathon, and I have, technically speaking, officially, kinda sorta, informally started my training plan. I'm still about 21 weeks away, but I can't wait to get started. I've had Boston on my mind a lot lately. I had been thinking that I would start training after Christmas, giving me about 4 months to get in shape, but I don't think I can wait that long. Plus, I'm getting tired of explaining to people that I am running the marathon, but haven't started training yet, but will start soon, and that's still enough time, etc.

Enough of my rambling, this is what I have planned so far:
For my last marathon, I kind of followed the FIRST marathon training program from the Furman Institute of Running, the plan I first read about in Runner's World magazine a year or two ago. In a previous post, I explained how this plan worked for me. I was very pleased with the results--PR and Boston qualifying time. I have now set the high goal of breaking 3 hours in Boston this year. I think this plan (or a slight variation thereof) will get me there.

This plan is 16 weeks long, so between now and the first week in January (16 weeks from the race), I plan to work on my speed and get my long run to about 10 miles. At that point, I will begin the FIRST plan of running three days a week (speed work, tempo run, long run). Last night, I started working out some of the details, and I hope to have things written down and a specific plan made in the next few days. And, of course, I will post the plan here for all to see. Maybe it will work for you when you formally, unofficially start your own training.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Virtual Race

Looking for a race to run? Don't want to pay those expensive registration fees? Don't want to travel far? Here is the race for you!

A couple fellow running bloggers (Nancy and Vickie) came up with this awesome idea--the 8 on the 8th Virtual Race. No matter where you are in the world, on December 8th (or the 7th or the 9th) go out and run 8 miles, on your own or with others, competing against other running bloggers (and anyone who would like to participate), and then blog about it, indicating your finishing time, sharing highlights, pictures, your route, etc. For more info and to "register," click on the link above or log into Runner's Lounge.

Here is the route I intend to use. Since there aren't any hills around where I live, it will be a pretty flat and (I hope) fast course. It's going to be a lot of fun, so run on out and join us!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Anyone Can Run!

I recently watched the latest Disney/Pixar movie, Ratatouille, with my wife and kids. The main character, a rat named Remy, is inspired by the great chef, August Gusteau, who asserts that "anyone can cook!" It takes effort, though. And drive and passion. Remy must team up with an awkward human in order to follow his dream of becoming a famous chef. It's a fun show. I recommend it.

Last night, I finally got around to watching a PBS/NOVA documentary that I recently heard about, called the NOVA Marathon Challenge. As part of some research from Tufts University, a group of 12 sedentary "non-athletes" are recruited to train for and run the 2007 Boston Marathon. NOVA documents their 40 weeks of training, injuries, personal triumphs and disappointments, and, of course, the marathon itself. The science and physiology of exercise and endurance training are also examined as the participants take strides toward reaching their goals and achieving what they had previously perceived as impossible.

The documentary is almost an hour long, broken into 5 chapters, each about 10 minutes long. I was inspired by watching it, not only because I will be training for my first Boston Marathon this winter, but also because, similar to Gusteau, it has always been my belief that running is something anyone can do if the desire is there--"Anyone can [run]!"

To check out the film or to read more about the Challenge, click here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

2008 Olympic Trials Marathon

I know this is old news for just about every one out there, but I wanted to share this video. Maybe you've seen it, but I hadn't. I don't really watch TV, so this is the first I've seen of any of the coverage for the marathon. I know these guys are fast... but WOW! These guys are really moving! It is amazing that they can keep that pace for 26.2 miles. And they make it look so easy! I can't do that for even 1 mile (although, I plan to break a 5-minute mile sometime in the not-so-distant future). So, sit back, relax (in a state of awe and amazement, of course) and check this out:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Feeling Sore

Isn't funny how a runner, who regular logs in the miles or trains for a marathon while never getting really sore, but then goes out and does a short sprint and can't imagine being more sore? Luckily, I've already learned this lesson, and remembered to stretch a little last night.

Last night, I went to a church activity (BBQ and ultimate Frisbee). If you're not familiar with ultimate Frisbee, it is sort of like football with a Frisbee but everybody is a wide receiver as well as the quarterback. This game requires a lot of sprinting and play doesn't stop until a team scores a touchdown. It is an interesting game, and a lot of fun. But really tiring. I woke up this morning feeling a little sore, but not nearly as bad as the last time I had to do some sprinting.

That was at the end of last school year. Field Day at the elementary school where I worked. 400 meeter relay. 6th graders versus the teachers. I was running the third leg, just like I did in high school. Well, we destroyed the students in the race, but the next few days were awful! I couldn't believe how sore I was. It's funny because I could go out and run 15 miles and not feel a thing the next day, but running 100 meters was painful.

As I said earlier, I stretched a little last night so I am not too sore, but it brought back memories of that fun and short race.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A For Effort

In terms of effort, today was probably the best practice of the season. My assistant coach and I have been frustrated at the lack of effort that has been shown the last couple weeks. Today was a different story.

This is the last week of practice. Our last meet, the Championship Meet, is this Thursday. The boys are really excited. (Although, they may be more excited about the season being over :-)) I had to tempt them with a day off on Wednesday for them to have a good practice. By "good practice," I mean putting forth a good effort. The kind I've been wanting to see all year. And, I'll tell you what, they definitely earned that day off.

On a less positive note, one of our kids got suspended on Friday as a result of a moment of poor judgement, so unfortunately our trio is now down to two.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Return to Running

Well, after about a week and a half of restraining myself, I went for a short jog yesterday. I was actually in Utah with my family celebrating the birthday of my mother-in-law. It was great to be back and to see everyone. Though I wasn't planning to run on this trip (I didn't even bring any running clothes--luckily I wore a pair of recently retired running shoes), I couldn't resist the temptation. I headed out with my wife's 13-year-old little brother (who, by the way, has recently started running). We made our way to a short trail near his house. It is not even a quarter of a mile long, but it is still one of my favorite places to run. A dirt trail with trees on both sides, and the Hobble Creek running alongside the path. It is a beautiful trail, made even more beautiful by the falling leaves. I hope you enjoy the slideshow tour of this gorgeous trail.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


"Pronunciation: præt-fawl (-fawl)
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A fall on the bum, bottom, rear, butt. 2. A mortifying blunder, an inexcusable act of stupidity." (

Because of a pratfall last week, I think I will be taking some unwelcome time off. In response to my humbling experience (see Humbled), I wanted to have a fun game day for the boys, so we ran over to a nearby park and played tag. Of course, the boys tried to chase me, so I was teasing one of them by running backward. I don't know if a sprinkler jumped out at me or if I just tripped over my own feet, but I fell right down (hard) on my gluteus maximus. It hurt pretty bad, but I was able to get up and keep playing (though not quite as fast, and definitely not backwards), without too much discomfort.

I was a little sore the next few days, but I didn't think it was a problem. So on Saturday, I went out for an easy 5 miles. It was a little sore, but after about a half mile, it felt fine. Then on Monday morning, I went out again, and the back of my whole left leg was really tight. Since then, my rear has been even more uncomfortable, so I am deciding to take some time off to recover. My wife and I have joked that not being able to run would be my own personal hell. Hopefully, it won't last too long.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Check it out!

Check out this new website! Runner's Lounge is a new social network/resource site just for runners. It's a place where you can find and share running advice, find or create running groups, and connect with other runners in your area. It is just getting off the ground, so let's help them get started by joining the free network and getting to know other runners.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wanna try something new?

I recently stumbled across a really yummy post-run breakfast idea. We were out of cereal one morning (my usual breakfast). I remembered when I was little and I used to eat a bowl of oats and milk when my family was out of cereal. So I pulled out our oats and poured a bowl. I wanted a little more flavor so I threw on about three small spoonfuls of sugar, and dumped in some frozen fruit. And then poured on the milk and mixed it all up. It was very tasty (and really cool because a small layer of milk immediately freezes around the berries). I have now tried frozen raspberries, blackberries, and mixed berries. I think my favorite is the raspberry. The berries also make the milk turn pink and fruity, which my daughters think is really fun. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Raisin Bran Update

For those of you following my adventures with Raisin Bran, I just finished a box (my first since my last unpleasant Raisin(less) Bran breakfast--see previous posts), and the last bowl had just as many raisins as the first. :-)

Another Meet in the Books

Our fourth meet is now history. We were technically the hosts of the meet, but that only involved us bringing stopwatches. It was a pretty good race. The kids finished pretty much how we expected them to. We raced at the same park a couple weeks ago on the same course. The boys did a pretty good job, and they had a good time, but they are not really improving much. My assistant coach and I were talking about this on the bus ride back to school. These guys have a lot of potential, and if they would put in the effort they could be really good. But they are young and want to have fun, and are not motivated enough to do more than what is necessary to get through practice. It is hard with such a small team. Hopefully, as they grow and mature, the motivation will be there and they will still be able to have fun.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Yesterday was a rough practice for me. I stayed back run with a couple of the slower kids and was getting really frustrated by how much they were goofing off. And the excuses they were making for not running. And the comments they were making about not wanting to practice, and not caring. It's frustrating to me because I want so badly to help them improve. It's frustrating because I know they can run the distance, and I know they can run faster than they were. I want them to get better, and they're not going to improve as runners by walking. I had to yell at them a few times to get moving. And encourage them and push them to even finish the run.

After practice, I ran a little more with a friend of mine who teaches at the middle school. While we were running, I began expressing my frustrations. He told me that I need to remember that these kids are only 6th graders. He said they are really more like elementary kids. They are still maturing and growing. They are not out there to torture themselves in the heat (although it has cooled down significantly over the last several days!), they come out to have fun.

So, I was humbled. I need to remember to keep it fun. I don't want to push the kids away and make them not want to keep running in the future. If they are having fun, they are going to enjoy running. They will want to come out for the team next year and the next and the next. And as they mature, they will be more motivated to push themselves and have a greater desire to improve.

Does anyone have ideas for fun games for the kids? I remember some of the games I played on my cross-country team, but I am definitely open to other ideas. Just remember I only have four kids.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Running for Ron Paul--Shirt for Sale

As of May 30, 2008, this shirt is still available.

My wife and I are supporters of Ron Paul for president. I'm hoping some of my readers might be, too. I wanted to get the word out or at least pique some interest, so I had this moisture-wicking running shirt made from Running Banana. What could be better, promoting a cause I support, and at the same time doing what I love--running! Unfortunately, the shirt is a little big on me. So, I am asking other Ron Paul-supporting runners if anyone might be interested in purchasing this shirt from me so I can get one that actually fits me. Don't worry, I haven't gone running in it. I've only tried it on. Still as good as new. It is a men's size medium (chest 38"). I paid $36 with shipping. If you are interested, I would sell it for $20 plus shipping. So, you're getting a deal on a quality shirt. You can contact me at reidaxman at g mail dot com.

Ron Paul resources:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Back and Better than Ever!

Not only did we have another meet this week, but we also had grade checks again and got two boys back. They were so excited to be back on the team. Unfortunately, we lost another boy to bad grades, but we're confident he'll be back for our last two meets. Still, that's a net gain of one runner. Can't complain too much about that. So, we had four runners at our meet this week.

It was a nice course and another park here in Phoenix. They raced around a lagoon, over a bridge, around some softball fields, and through a section of park that was fenced off and supposed to be off-limits. Oops.

One of our boys was one of the front-runners and was within reach of the leader the entire way, but the boy from the other school had a stronger finish. He still came in second for us, which was very exciting! His brother was not too far behind (it was his first race). The other newcomer was surprised how difficult the race was, but still had a fun time. Next came our most improved runner. He cut over nine minutes of his time from last week! It is so much fun to see these kids progress. The smiles on their faces after the race is an awesome sight.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Run Around the World!

I recently came across a forum on the Runner's World website about the different places people have run. This got me thinking. How many different states or countries have I run in? Now, my list is by no means long, but I thought it would be fun to write about anyway.

This is where it all began. Twice. I always loved to run, even in elementary school. In fact, my friends often called me Speedy Reidy. I never ran any races, but I loved to run around at recess with my buddies. That was my first beginning. Jump ahead 15 years. It wasn't until I was about 23 that I ran my first race outside of high school. It was a 5-mile run down the Provo River Trail in Provo Canyon (perhaps the subject of a future blog post). I was surprised to see how well I did with mediocre training. That race motivated me to get back into shape, and was the catalyst for my passion.

I moved from Utah to Washington in the 6th grade. Unfortunately, 6th graders weren't allowed to run on the track team, so I had to wait a year. It was then that I realized Speedy Reidy wasn't all that speedy. I started out doing the short sprints, then moved to the long distances, and then found my niche with the hurdles. Not because I was great, but because I was one of the few who was able to overcome the fear of jumping over the waist-high pieces of wood on a gravel track. I ran track all the way through high school (perhaps another blog post idea), and started cross-country my junior year (see my previous post).

Hong Kong and China
During my high school cross-country days, I was invited by the Washington Cultural Exchange to travel to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China and participate in a couple running events with some of the native kids. It was a great experience and a lot of fun. I only wish my camera would have worked better so I could have more pictures.

During my freshman year of college, I drove to San Diego with my brother and some buddies for a wedding. While we were there, our van broke down and we had to stay a few extra days. During that time I was able to go for a run through the neighborhood just outside of San Diego.

Many of you know that I am a member of the LDS church. When I was 19, I chose to serve what is called a mission to share my beliefs with others over a two year time period. I was fortunate enough to be sent to Germany. It was an awesome experience, a chance to see another part of the world, and a bit of my heritage (my dad is from Germany), as well as a chance to run. I wasn't able to run as much as I would have liked, but I was able to get out once in a while in Kassel. I definitely want to go back and get some more runs in.

I didn't think I would get a run in on the way home from Germany, but I was wrong. We flew from Frankfurt, Germany to Dallas-Fort Worth. There was a group of us homesick missionaries. I think we had a layover of only an hour and 15 minutes, and we had to get our luggage, go through customs, check our luggage back in, and race to our terminal, which was literally on the other side of the airport. And this is a huge airport. But, just like race, when we crossed the finish line (i.e., boarded the plane, which had been waiting for us), everyone started cheering.

After my mission, I returned home to spend the summer with my family (they moved from Washington to Idaho while I was Germany). They were living in a very small rural town in eastern Idaho. Being out in the middle of nowhere, there was not much to do, so I ran a lot. The blocks are a mile long, so most of my runs were just around the block, a nice 4 mile run. It was nice to get back into shape and see my 4-mile time decrease from about 40 minutes to about 25 minutes by the end of the summer.

At the end of that summer, I went back to school, did some running, and, best of all, met my wife, who is (sort of) from Massachusetts. We went back east for a reception, and had a chance to run along the very narrow, tree-lined (and busy) streets of New England. It was a beautiful place to run and relieve some of the stress that comes from preparing for a wedding reception.

After finishing school, and working for a couple years in Utah, we made the big move to Phoenix. A new adventure. A very hot adventure as we moved in the middle of June in 115 degree weather. I joined a running group that meets together every Saturday, and ran some races. I am enjoying running here, but miss the hills and trees.

My list of places run is pretty short right now, but I am confident my running shoes will take me to new and interesting destinations in the years to come.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

High School XC Memories

Since starting to coach, I have often thought of the experiences I had while on my own high school cross-country team in Bremerton, WA. I had run track starting in 7th grade, but I didn't start running cross-country until my junior year. I don't know why. I sure wish I would have started sooner. I had some great experiences running (and playing) with my team.

New Runner Initiation
Bremerton lies on the Puget Sound is western Washington, and many of our practice runs ended at a Evergreen Park right on the water. Each year, the seniors and others who had been on the team in previous years would round up all the new folks, carry us (kicking and screaming) out on the pier and throw us into the chilly water to swim back to shore. Some tried to get away, some fought back, others just accepted the inevitable, and others skipped practice that day only to be thrown in the next time.

Ultimate Frisbee
All of our meets were on Thursdays, so Fridays would almost often be an easy practice. For us, we spent practice playing ultimate frisbee, or frisbee football as we called it. It actually is a really good workout. We always had a great time, and I learned how to throw the frisbee really well.

My Hardest Workout
We had a lot of hard workouts, but the one I remember most was on the track during my senior year. We had to run 250 meters 10 times (I can't remember how fast we were supposed to do it, but it had to be super fast), and the only recovery we had in between was the amount of time it took us to jog from the finish back around to the start where coach was yelling at us.

The Swings
I already mentioned that a lot of our runs ended at Evergreen Park. At the park were a few swing sets. I was usually in the first group to get there, so while we were waiting for the rest of the team, I loved to jump on the swings. You'd be surprised how it helps your legs after a long run. I always felt great after jumping off.

The Rain
A lot of people believe the myth that it "always rains in Washington." As a cross-country runner, out in the elements, you get to know the truth. This is not to say that it doesn't rain a lot, because it does. And some of those showers can be really torrential! Bremerton is split in half by an arm of the Puget Sound, and connected with a couple bridges. I remember one day on a run, it started pouring on us. We were running with a strong headwind across one of the bridges. The wind was so strong, that when we got back to school, the front of me was drenched, while my back was almost completely dry!

Thinking about the fun experiences I had during those years gets me excited for the kids I am coaching. I also look forward to the time when (hopefully) my girls will want to join the ranks of cross-country runners.

1996-97 Bremerton High School Cross-Country Team

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Our 2nd Meet

We had our second meet this afternoon. The course was a little longer than last week's, but the boys worked really hard and had a good time. We had a new boy come out today. He hadn't practiced with us yet, and he injured his toe last Friday, but he wanted to run anyway (and we're not turning anyone away!). We still only had three boys because one was unable to come today. We have grade checks again this Friday, so hopefully we will have some teammates back next Monday.

Here are some pictures from today's meet.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Swim Lessons

A friend of mine recently talked me into doing a triathlon. Although this is something I have wanted to do for a while (see my to-do list), I was a little hesitant because I am not a swimmer. I guess this is what has kept me from thinking much about doing one in the past. But I agreed to do it with him.

We went swimming tonight with this friend and his family, and I got my first swim lesson. I was pretty confident that I would be able to make it through the swim, but now I am starting to realize how difficult this is going to be. I know how to swim, but have never really tried to swim for 'real.' I guess I did pretty well. At least he said my stroke looked pretty good. He gave me some tips to work on. And I definitely need to do some work. It's going to be a challenge, but that is part of the fun.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Boston Bound

The time to register for Boston has finally come (it will be nice to have the money to actually register ;-)), and I am getting really excited. I still won't be starting my serious training for another couple months, but I have been thinking lately of how I got here. The time and effort, not to mention the support from my family all paid off last October in St. George, Utah where I qualified with a time of 3:09:41 (I had to beat 3:10).

Many of you know that I have a beautiful wife and two sweet little girls who are all very important to me. Looking at most marathon training programs, one can see the extensive amount of time it takes to train for a marathon. Family support is crucial because the time you take to train is, in most cases, time away from your family.

Inspired by an article in Runner's World magazine called "The Less-Is-More Marathon Plan," I began to train only three days a week. I didn't really follow the plan to the T, but I used it as a rough guide to keep me on track. This plan was perfect for me because I really didn't want to take more time away from family (I was also finishing up graduate school and working a full-time job at the time).

When I say I used this training plan as a rough guide, it literally was a rough guide. I am in no way advocating that others follow my training plan (like the experts say, you should check with your doctor before starting any intensive training program). I am simply sharing it because interest has been expressed, and I'm kinda proud of myself. I did run three days a week, like the training plan suggested, but instead of doing a tempo run, a track workout, and a long run each week, I ran most of my miles at my marathon goal pace of about seven minutes, with the occasional tempo and track workout thrown in. My mid-week runs ranged from two to seven miles, and my long run only reached about 16.5. This kind of miles allowed me to spend more time with my wife and kids. And, I think they appreciated having me around.

Some people may think I was crazy to train the way I did, and there are plenty who don't understand how I was able to run the way I did in St. George. But it worked for me, and I plan to train in a similar way come time for Boston.

Another factor in helping me run a qualifying time was some of the lessons I've learned running other marathons. I definitely ran a smarter race in St. George than I did in my previous marathons. No matter how good I was feeling early on, I kept to my goal pace (remembering to bring your watch is helpful with this). Approaching the finish line and seeing the clock still under 3:10 was such a wonderful feeling. I had finally reached my long-time goal. I was going to Boston!