Sunday, July 29, 2007

What I miss about running in Utah

Don't get me wrong. Arizona is great, and I have had some really good runs. But there are some things that I miss about running in Utah. The main thing is the hills. It was pretty easy to find hills in Springville to run up or down. They make it a little more interesting. Phoenix is pretty darn flat. There are some mountains close enough to drive to, but I can't just run out the door and find a hill.

Springville seemed like one really big community. I could run from my house to the mouth of the canyon and the only main road to cross would be Main Street. Out here, there are main roads every mile in all directions, and most don't have sidewalks to safely run down. The housing developments have tried to make jogging paths through the houses which is really nice, but I feel sort of confined to the square mile block around my house.

The final thing that I miss is the cooler weather. I used to be able to get up in the morning and take my time getting ready to run without the temperature being too high. I have found it necessary to hurry out the door by 6 AM in order to beat the heat. Even then, the humidity right now makes things really uninviting. I miss the big shade trees along the streets in Springville and the cool canyon breezes.

Now there are some things that Arizona provides that I couldn't find in Springville. I have joined a fantastig running group that runs together on the weekends and does races together (see West Valley Runners at right). I have found some canals and other paths to run along that keep me off the road for miles at a time. And, I am really looking forward to training for Boston this winter in Arizona. Comfortable temperatures, no snow. I get excited just thinking about it.

Even though I miss these things about Utah, I as still very glad to be here in Arizona. It feels really nice feeling like this is the place my family and I need to be. We are excited for our new adventures, not just in running, but in our lives as well. We feel like we were led here and are blessed to be here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Marathon Memories

It was a cold and rainy morning in Park City, Utah in mid June 2004. My wife and daughter, as well as my aunt, drove with me to a mountainside school where I would join about 250 other people for my first marathon. Excitement and anticipation bubbled inside me as we headed toward the start line to join the throng. I was actually doing it. I was reaching my goal.

The race started, and I took off at a comfortable pace. Before long, I realized I was passing a lot of people. My confidence was rising, and I knew I would be able to do well in this race. After a few miles, I met up with a couple guys and began running with them. Tracy and Don were their names. They were both experienced marathon runners, and it was nice to talk with them and listen to their advice and experiences. It was then I realized that we were talking. I never imagined that one could talk through a marathon. Talking wasn't even making it more difficult, it was actually energizing! I was with them for about 10 miles, until about the half-way point. It seemed they were beginning to slow down a little. I was feeling great, so broke away from them. And I kept feeling great, even when the course became more difficult. It was about mile 17, just after I reached the highest point on the course, that I felt a sharp pain in my right knee. I thought I'd better walk for a while to give my legs a rest. It felt funny, but I thought it would be alright. I started to run again, but the pain persisted. I walked some more and soon Tracy and then Don both passed me. They both told me to take it easy, not overdo it. I still had about 8 miles to go, but I was not going to give up. I accepted the fact that I would be walking most of the rest of the way.

The sun had come out and it began to warm up. It was really a beautiful day. And even though I was walking, I was still having fun! This was so awesome! I was still doing a marathon--a little different than planned, but I was still doing it. I made several attempts to start running again, but the pain was still there, still as bad as ever. Eventually, I could see the finish--about a quarter of a mile away. I forced myself to run. I wasn't going to walk across the finish line. As I got closer, I heard the announcer say, "Here comes Reid from Springville, Utah." I then saw my family standing just before the finish cheering me on. It felt great! I had done it! And boy was I glad it was over. I finished with a time of 4 hours 30 minutes. Less than an hour slower than the time I was hoping for. I started thinking about how fast I could have been had the injury not occurred. I was getting excited to do it again. I had to do another one. And then another. I was addicted.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Race Report

This morning I ran the Arizona Road Racers Summer Series Run #4 at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, AZ. Temperatures were only in the mid-80s, but man was it humid. I was covered in sweat before the race even started. To make matters worse, I didn't wear my headband because it really needed a wash. Beautiful morning though, and the course was pretty nice--weaving through the park and around a little lake and finishing along a canal. I ran the 5K in 19:23. Not too bad. My mile splits were almost identical to my splits in the Summer Series Run #3 on the 4th of July, only I didn't have as strong of a kick at the end, so my time was about 5 seconds slower. After the race I met a guy who had just moved to the east valley about a month ago after finishing his master's degree at BYU. He actually lived in Springville! It was nice to run into somebody since I couldn't find anybody from the West Valley Runners. The final Summer Series race is coming up on August 11 at South Mountain Park. I am looking forward to it, and hopefully I'll get a faster time.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

'To-Do' List

About 8 years ago, I told a friend of mine that I would love to run a marathon. I have now done five. After training and learning more about the running world, to run the famed Boston Marathon became my next goal. Last October in St. George, Utah I qualified to run Boston, and will do that next April. Recently, I have been thinking about what I want to accomplish after I do Boston. I have been feeling a little homesick for Germany lately, and thought it would be way cool to run another marathon there, or run a marathon in any other country for that matter. So, these thoughts have prompted me to create a running "to-do" list.

Run a marathon -- check
Qualify for Boston -- check
Run the Boston Marathon -- check
Compete in a triathlon
Run an ultra-marathon (just a 50 miler)
Run a marathon in another country
Run a marathon in under 3 hours
Break 1:20 in a half-marathon
Become a track and cross-country coach -- check
Run a sub-5 minute mile -- Check

Like I said, this is a running to-do list, so I am sure I will be adding to it.

Why I Run

Ever since I started running in middle school people have asked me why I run. Why would I want to do something that wears you out, makes you sore, can cause injuries, make you sweaty and stinky, and requires so much effort? Back then,all I could really say was that it is fun. Now, 15 years later, when people ask why I run, "It's fun" is still at the top of my list. It also feels good. It is a great stress reliever, a way to wind down, an excellent time to think (or not think at all). I get to experience nature and witness the beauty of God's creations. I get to spend time and share the joys of running with my kids. Running gives you an opportunity to make new friends. It provides a healthy dose of competition (not necessarily with others, but with yourself). Running has been shown to be effective in treating depression. It can actually strengthen your joints rather than damage them (that's what the research says, Mom!). It increases your metabolism, helps you lose weight. There are tons of medical and physical benefits to running. But that's not why I run. I run because it makes me happy.

Welcome To My Blog

Well, Lani has been having so much fun with her blogs, I thought I would give it a go. Anyone who knows me knows I am crazy about running. So this site is dedicated to my long-time passion.