Monday, August 25, 2008

Announcing the 1 Mile Virtual Race

That's right folks. Forget about those looong 8 mile, 9 mile and 10k virtual races that another blogger puts together. It's time for a short virtual race! I have been working on breaking the 5 minute barrier, and I'd love to do it with all of my running blogging buddies.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. So many of you have been such a wonderful source of encouragement in this quest of mine. It only seems fitting that we experience this milestone together. All you have to do is run 1 mile as fast or as slow as you want anytime between September 1st and 7th. You are welcome to write a race report about your own mile. Then just leave a comment once you've finished. You know the drill.

Feel free to snag the logo for your blog or the widget countdown in my sidebar. I'd really appreciate you spreading the word and getting this race out there.

So please let me know if you'd like to participate and kick out this monumental mile with me. This will be so amazing knowing I've got all of you out running with me. Let's break through that barrier together!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mile Attempt #12 slash Race report slash Virtual Mile Challenge

If you haven't noticed already, the countdown to my 1 Mile Race is complete. Lani, the girls, and I drove down to Tucson, the land of Lani's nativity, yesterday afternoon. It was a nice trip. The weather was great (about 15 degrees cooler than Phoenix), and there were beautiful mountains which made us a little homesick for Utah Valley. We got to see the neighborhood and house where Lani spent the first couple years of her life, but the purpose of the trip was the race. I was feeling really good, despite the fact that I helped with a church service project that morning clearing out tons of weeds for a community garden, and then trimming the tree in our own front yard. I was also feeling very confident and rested after an easy week.

We got to the track around 5:30, got registered, changed into my running attire, and started watching the other age group races unfold as I waited for my heat. The youngest group was first, and then they continued from the oldest down to the high school age kids. There were some pretty impressive runners out there. It was fun to watch. As the time passed, and my race grew closer, I started running some laps to warm up and check out my competition. Although my real competition was the clock.

By the time my race was to begin, it had gotten pretty dark. The stadium lights were on, producing a sort of erie green glow from the football field, and leaving the world outside the track in darkness. We were called to the line, and the race began. I jumped right out to the front, and by about 200m I couldn't hear the footsteps behind me. I was hoping there would be someone sticking with me to help push the pace. As I completed the first lap, I saw Lani and the girls on the infield cheering me on, and heard the the time of 1:15 called out. Right on schedule, I thought. Things were looking good. It was during the second lap that I noticed my mouth was really dry. I thought I had been drinking plenty of water throughout the day, but maybe I needed more. I didn't feel like I was slowing down much though. But when I finished lap 2, I was at 2:37. If I was going to beat 5 minutes, I'd need to pick things up a bit. I still wasn't hearing any footsteps behind me, but I could hear people cheering for other people, so I knew they weren't far behind. Lap 3 was another relatively slow one. I crossed the line at about 4:02 realizing that the 5 minute mile was out of reach. I didn't slow down though. But as I turned onto the back straightaway, my lead was diminishing, and I was passed. He seemed to be flying. I turned on the juice, determined not to let him blow me away. With about 150m to go, I was sprinting all out. My fastest finish ever. But it wasn't enough. I crossed the finish line with a time of 5:16. I couldn't believe it. I thought for sure I had been faster than that. I felt like I was definitely going fast enough to at least PR. But, alas. It was not to be. Don't get me wrong, second place is still good, and I had a great time doing it. I was just expecting a little more from myself.

Maybe I had taken too much rest during the week. Maybe I wasn't properly fueled since I'm not accustomed to running in the evening. Maybe it was my altruistic service and yard work out in the sun and heat earlier in the day. Maybe it was that extra 9 meters they added to make it an accurate mile. Who knows? The fact is, I didn't make it, and there will have to be at least one more mile attempt before I start my winter marathon training.

This is where I need your help. I'm going to borrow Nancy's virtual race director's cap (hope you don't mind, Nancy!) and plan a 1 Mile Virtual Race for September 6th, the weekend before I start my marathon program. I suppose you could do "1 on the 1st." That would be Labor Day. Any time that week is cool with me. I know it's pretty short notice, but that 5:16 under my "personal record" heading is a little depressing. I'd love to challenge all of you to a virtual mile to help push me under that 5 minute barrier. So many of you have been a huge support for me and a wonderful source of encouragement. Wouldn't it be awesome to experience it together?! I know I can do it, and I'd love for you to be a part of it. Let me know what you think, and spread the word. I'll try to get a nifty logo made up in the next day or so for you to post on your blogs. Thanks again for your support. I look forward to breaking that barrier with you!

Stay tuned for attempt #13.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I did the hundred!

I didn't really want to post about this because I don't want to sound like I'm bragging or anything, but I've noticed tons of traffic on my sitemeter from the 100 Pushups Challenge website, so I thought I'd better acknowledge it.

Like just about everyone else in Blogland, I jumped on the 100 pushups bandwagon. I've always been pretty good with pushups, and I have a pretty small frame, so I knew I'd be able to get it eventually. When I signed up, I noticed a group of Arizonans doing the challenge, so I joined with them in a sort of virtual support group. I managed 44 on my initial test, and started from there. Weeks 1 and 2 were a challenge, but I made it through pretty easily getting up to 60 by the end of the week. Strangely, I was only able to do 62 on the week 2 exhaustion test. Week 3 was a big jump up, but it wasn't a huge struggle to get the numbers. Then week 4 came along, and I saw huge gains. I ended each workout significantly higher than the previous day. I jumped from 57 to 73 to 87 on the final sets. And the gains I was seeing were not just in the number of pushups I was doing. I noticed that I was starting to get some meat up there in my pecs. That's pretty cool.

Another exhaustion test was scheduled at the end of week 4. I knew I'd was getting close, but I wasn't expecting to be able to do much more than 90. Remember the week 2 exhaustion test? I was only able to do 2 more than my previous max. I was able to make it past 40 without pausing. Then, I started doing 10 at a time. Then 5, then 2. By the time I got to about 70, I could only do one at a time with a short pause and a deep breath between each. I slowly climbed up closer to the magic number. Then past it, all the way to 104 (and about 3/4 of the way to 105). Then I crashed to the floor, and my dog ran over to lick my sweat (he loves it when I get home from a run, too). Once I was able to get myself up off the floor, I went upstairs with a big smile on my face and told my wife.

So now I can proudly display my "I did the hundred" badge. Good luck to the rest of you taking the challenge. You can do it!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mile Attempt #11

Not much to say about today's attempt besides what I need to do to get better. Last time, I was overflowing with confidence. I really believed I'd be able to do it (didn't happen, but I set a new PR), but this week, for some reason, I just wasn't feeling it. My speedwork sessions this week were less than extraordinary. Tuesday's workout was pretty good, but I had to cut it short because I had to get to a meeting before work. I did 6x400m, four of which were at or under 1:15, and I cut my recovery time by about a minute. Thursday, I did 4x800m, and I was really struggling. I wanted to keep them all under 2:30, but was only able to manage one at exactly that time. So, I arrived at the track this morning with much less confidence than I needed. Plus, there were tons of people on the track, including a couple friends from church. Luckily, I didn't have to dodge anybody, but it was worrying me the entire time.

Lap 1 was really good at 1:13, but I wasn't able to keep it up, and slowed to 1:23 for lap 2. I was able to do the third lap only slightly faster at 1:20 and the final lap in a disappointing 1:18. Even though that lap felt faster, it wasn't much of a finishing kick. My final time was 5:14, 5 seconds slower that my last attempt.

So, what do I need to do to get better? First and foremost, I need to believe I can do it. I think my lack of confidence today was my biggest obstacle. If I can see myself achieving my goal, I will be much more likely to do it. A little confidence can go a long way.

I also need to adjust my interval training. I've been doing a lot of 400s at pace, and have gotten pretty comfortable. I've managed to cut my recovery time, but I think I need to do them faster. Maybe around 1:11 or 1:12. The 800s I've done could really use some work. I need to be able to consistently do them in 2:30 or better. Maybe doing some 600s would be a good step up toward the 800s.

I really appreciate the interest many of you have shown in this little quest of mine and the encouragement you have given me along the way. Does anybody have any suggestions for me? I'd love some new ideas!

Say tuned for attempt #12.

Monday, August 11, 2008

8 On The 8th Olympic-sized Race Report

This weekend, I participated in Nancy's Olympic kick-off event, the 8 on the 8th in the 8th month of '08. Like her other virtual races, this was an incredibly fun experience. My run wasn't that great. In fact it was kinda painful. Let's just say that training for a 5 minute mile is not very conducive to running a good 8 miles. I made it through, though, in 1:03:32. Better than the virtual 8 mile race back in December.

Rather than bore you with a report on 8 miles of discomfort, I thought I'd have a little fun with my Mac's iMovie program.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Lifestrides Productions proudly presents a sequential image, stereophonic, multi-media event...

I hope nobody minds that I used your pictures. I wanted to include everyone, but I couldn't find pictures on some of your blogs or you hadn't posted your results before I finished the video, so I apologize if I missed anyone.

If anyone is interested, I uploaded the video to YouTube. Here's a link.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mile Attempt #10

I went to bed last night really believing I could do it this morning. My plan was a little different than my last attempt. Earlier this week, I tried slowing down on my first lap of a 1200m run thinking this would leave me more energy to go faster the following laps. Well, I did slow down for the first lap, but I slowed down even more on the next one. So I scrapped that plan and decided I'd go for a 1:15 first lap, knock the next two down to 1:17, and then if I could run a 1:11 for the last lap, I'd be right at 5 minutes. So simple. It was bound to work.

When I got to the track this morning, I was full of confidence. I had some good carbs for dinner last night, and got to bed relatively early, so I knew today would be a good run. Like usual, though, I started out too fast. My first split was 1:13 (I really need to work on that). I intentionally slowed down for the next lap. Unfortunately, I slowed down more than I wanted. That split was 1:22. I was able to pick up the speed a little on the third lap and cut it down to 1:19. At that point, I knew a 5 minute mile was very unlikely, but I wouldn't give up. I was able to turn in my strongest kick so far and finished with a new PR of 5:09.

Although I didn't make it today, I wasn't disappointed. PRs are always awesome. I was a little surprised that I was only able to go 1 second faster than last time. But improvement is improvement, and I still have time for at least one more attempt before my race on the 23rd.

Stay tuned for attempt #11

6 Word Memoirs

The latest Runner's Lounge Take It and Run Thursday challenge is to create running memoirs using only 6 words. This was a fun challenge. It brought back some good memories, and forced me to get creative. I've put some thought into it and came up with a few. Without further ado, here are some of my running memoirs.

My first marathon:
That really hurt... Gotta do another!
My second marathon (and near BQ):
Forgot my watch. 2 minutes shy.
Wow! That was A.Maz.Ing.
My worst running injury:
Don't tease kids by running backwards.
My current quest for a 5 minute mile (see my side bar for more details):
5:09 this morning. I'm nearly there.
Earliest running memory:
My friends call me "Speedy Reidy."

Saturday, August 2, 2008


I guess I'm sort of on a running book kick right now. I've been reading Pre: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine by Tom Jordan, and just finished last night. Like many runners, Steve Prefontaine has been a hero of mine ever since I first learned anything about him. I finally picked up this book about him at the library a couple weeks ago.

I enjoyed reading the book and learning more about this incredible athlete. His ups and downs, his triumphs and disappointments. The author had interviewed many of Pre's friends, acquaintances, and competitors. Much of the book is taken directly from those interviews to provide a unique description of his life and career.

Many people viewed him as cocky and arrogant, but those who knew him described him as very sincere, down to earth, and at times, even lacking confidence. He was a fierce competitor from his high school days, to the Olympics and college, to his last race in 1975.

Although a good book, I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as another book I recently read. It was informative and interesting to read the words of those who knew Pre, but it lacked the excitement I was expecting. If you want to learn more about Pre, this is a great book, but if you're looking for more entertainment, I'd check out the film Without Limits.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Marathon Plans

Over the last week or so, I have really been looking for a winter marathon to train for. Locally, there aren't many possibilities as most are on Sundays, and I don't run on Sundays. I started looking in southern California since my brother lives in LA, and there were a few Saturday marathons, but not really at convenient times of the year. Yesterday, I thought I'd check Nevada since I have a sister near Vegas. A quick search on led me to discover a new racing company called Calico Racing, and they have organized several races around Las Vegas, and most of them are on Saturdays!

They have the perfect marathon for me. It's called the Running From An Angel Marathon, run along the western edge of Lake Mead, and it is on January 3, 2009. Don't ask me where the name comes from. I haven't figured that out yet. This will be the second running of the event. Reasons for me to run this:
1. It's on a Saturday.
2. The drive wouldn't be too bad. Vegas is about 5 hours from PHX.
3. It's got raving reviews on Marathon Guide. All are 4.5-5 stars. The organization, the scenery. It sounds like a great run.
4. January 3 is during my Christmas break. Granted it is the last weekend of the break, but otherwise, it's great timing.
5. It is a Boston Qualifier. That'll have to wait until 2010, though.
6. We'd get to see my sister and her family who are only about 30 minutes from the start. And I'd imagine she'd let us stay with her.
7. Last year's winner finished in 3 hours 22 minutes. I'm thinking I could be ready for a sub-3 hour marathon by then. Hmmm...
All in all, this looks like it will be an awesome race. I am looking forward to training for another marathon. I can't wait to run it!