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!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Our First Meet

Our team of three had our first cross-country meet yesterday. We traveled to another local middle school and faced three other teams, one of them being our in-district rival. Since we have such a small team, we actually had to share a bus with the other team--a potentially awkward situation, but the ride was fine.

I wish I would have brought my camera. The three black jerseys in the sea of green and red was quite a sight. When they started one of our kids took the lead and kept going (and going). When the runners circled back to where I was standing, I had to remind him he still had almost two miles left of the two-mile course. He was able to stay with the leaders for most of the race. With less than a half mile to go, I saw him again and cheered him on. As he ran by he simply said, "I'm tired." He was still able to finish with a strong kick (and with a great time good for 5th place).

The other two also had a great race. They paced themselves very well, and still had strong kicks. I've told them before that no matter how hard they run, and no matter how tired they think they are, they will always have something left at the end. And they did.

I am so proud of our boys! They all did so well. So much better than the estimated race times (based on their mile times in practice) that we discussed prior to starting. As we were walking back to the bus, I said to them that with times like they are going to have to work a little harder in practice. They just smiled and said, "Yeah, we know."

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Some Words from Pre

"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement."

"A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways they're capable of understanding."

"Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, 'I've never seen anyone run like that before.' It's more than just a race, it's a style. It's doing something better than anyone else. It's being creative."

"A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more. Nobody is going to win a 5,000 meter race after running an easy 2 miles. Not with me. If I lose forcing the pace all the way, well, at least I can live with myself."

"I don't just go out there and run. I like to give people watching something exciting."

"I'm going to work so that it's a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it."

"What I want is to be number one."

"Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it."

(By the way, I would love to have the poster pictured above. Unfortunately it is out of print. If anybody happens to come across one, please let me know.)

My New Hero

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."
-Steve Prefontaine

Last night I watched Without Limits, a movie about the life of the man known as Pre. I have been a runner since about the age of 12, and I always knew the name Pre, but until watching this movie, I never really knew anything about who he was. I learned that he didn't just run, he gave it his all. "Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts." He was cocky and arrogant, but he didn't just care about winning, he cared most about the way he won. If he won without giving everything he had, he wouldn't be satisfied. He believed in effort. He believed in putting it all on the line. Pushing the envelope. Achieving more.

This attitude has inspired and motivated me to become better, to reach my potential, to push a little harder. And not just in my running, but in other aspects of my life. Sometimes I feel there is more that I can do, whether it be on a run, at work, at home. In those times, I may not be giving my best, just hanging back, coasting, taking it easy. It's times like these when I'm sacrificing my abilities, my talents, "the gift." Pre commented that "A race is a work of art." A life can be that way too. Thanks to Pre for reminding me of that.

For more info on Pre visit the official Steve Prefontaine site.

Another cool Pre site at Nike.