Saturday, October 25, 2008

YMCA Half Marathon & 5K (Volunteer) Report

I've never written a volunteer report before. This was my first time volunteering for a race. I've wanted to do one for a long time, but never got around to doing it. So, I was excited to have this opportunity, even though I had to get up super early. I was assigned to the race-day registration table. It was kinda fun to be on the other side of the table. I got to meet a lot of people, including fellow RBF, Pat. We didn't have much opportunity to talk because there were a lot of people registering, but he seemed like a real nice guy. After he walked away, I thought, "I should have gotten a picture with him." Maybe next time.

When it was time for the half marathon to begin, I happened to be bringing some supplies over and got to see the unique start. Wyatt Earp, complete with shotgun started the runners. With a BANG, they were off. It was pretty cool to see all those runners fly by! Something I'd never experienced before. I've always been one of those runners.

My next assignment was to keep the 5K runners in order as they crossed the finish line. I really enjoyed seeing the runners cross the finish and be the first to congratulate them. This didn't last too long as I was given a new assignment of running the results over to the results board. After my first run over, I was given the new assignment of official timer. And I spent the rest of my time clicking a button when the participants finished. That doesn't sound too exciting, but I really had a good time seeing everyone as they reached the finish. It was interesting to observe them. Some were completely exhausted, some were as thrilled as can be, some were relieved it was over. There were families running together. I think the youngest finisher (not in a stroller) was 5 years old. And I was surprised to see how many people were running with their dogs! I guess the "Family 5K" includes pets.

Volunteering was so much fun! There really is a lot going on that we don't really see as runners. The amount of work it takes to organize, set up, direct, take down, etc. etc. is incredible. I really respect the race directors and everyone behind the scenes for doing what they do for runners. Race day must be a crazy day for them. This was a great experience, and I can't wait for another opportunity to volunteer again. I highly recommend it!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Non-running running happenings

I haven't done much running in the last few weeks due to my knee. I'm not sure what's wrong, but I'm playing it on the safe side, and I'm starting to get that itch to get back out there. Even though I'm not doing a whole lot of running, I am still doing running related stuff. So, here's what I've been up to.

The cross country season is almost over. Our last meet is on Tuesday. It has been fun for me and for most of the kids, but I think we'll all be glad when the season is over. This season has had different challenges than last year. I had a lot more kids turn out, but a lot of the kids weren't really into it. I don't know how many times I heard "I don't feel like running today." That's a little frustrating, especially coming from some of the faster kids on the team. But for the most part I have enjoyed coaching again.

I got my Stick in the mail on Monday (thanks, Tom!), and I am loving it! I got the Original Body Stick. I have been using it multiple times a day on my legs, shoulders, and back. After every use, my muscles just feel light and energized. I just wish I could go run and see how it's helping. I've been hoping to see some benefit for my knee. We'll see how it goes.

I decided to volunteer at a race this weekend. If I can't run it, I might as well volunteer and get involved somehow, right? I've always wanted to volunteer at a race, so this should be fun. It's the YMCA Half Marathon and 5k at South Mountain, here in Phoenix. I'll be helping with registration and at the finish. I've already talked to Pat, who will be running it, but if anyone else will be there, stop on by the registration table. I'd love to meet some RBFs in real life. I'll post about my experience sometime this weekend.

I'm getting kinda jealous reading all the race reports that my RBFs have been posting the lately. It's a lot of fun reading how your races have gone, but I wish I had my own share of race reports to post. But alas, it is not my time. I'll continue reading, and hopefully get back into running really soon, and have something to report on in the near future. Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Seen any good movies lately?

Hey everyone. I need your help. In order to keep my cross country kids motivated to keep working hard this season, I set up a points system and promised them a movie if they earned enough points. This has worked pretty well. At least once a week I have kids asking how many points they have or how many more they need. The season is winding down, and I still need to pick out a movie for them. I need some help selecting a movie. Here are my criteria:
  • The kids are 6th and 7th graders, so to play it safe, I'd like a PG movie. 
  • It would be cool to have a running-related movie, but not necessary.
  • The movie can only be about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or have some parts we can easily skip.
I'm planning to ask the kids for ideas, but I'd love your help if you have any ideas. Thanks!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Believe and you will achieve

I'm not sure where that line comes from, but that is the theme of my contribution to the Runner's Lounge Take it and Run Thursday. The theme for this week is running quotes and sayings.

Over the last few years, I have really become a believer in the power of believing that I can accomplish something great. Not just in running, but in life as well. Your attitude and the way you view yourself and approach your goals is a strong determining factor in your success.

I've been receiving the Runner's World Quote of the Day emails for a year or two now, and I love it. It's so cool to open my email and read something positive and inspirational. Occasionally, I "star" and email that I especially like. Coincidentally (?), all but two have been along the lines of believing in what you are capable of. I've assembled here some of my favorites.

"Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance."
-Bruce Barton

"Thus I urge you to go on to your greatness if you believe it is in you. Think deeply and separate what you wish from what you are prepared to do."
-Percy Cerutty

"Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success."
-Dr. Joyce Brothers

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."
-Lou Holtz

"I've always taken the philosophy that you have to dream a little in this sport. If you stay in your comfort zone, you're not going to do anything special."
-Deena Kastor

"On Saturday night, I said to myself, 'Are you ready to deal with a victory?' I decided I was."
-Joan Benoit on her thoughts prior to the 1984 Olympic Marathon

"A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory."
-Arthur Golden

"Anything is possible, but you have to believe and you have to fight."
-Lance Armstrong

"Don't listen to negative influences. Believe in yourself, and show others what you can do. Only "you" can find your potential."
-Marla Runyan

"Training is principally an act of faith. The athlete must believe in its efficacy: he must believe that through training he will become fitter and stronger."
-Franz Stampfl

"Obstacles are those frightening things that become visible when we take our eyes off our goals."
-Henry Ford

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ode to my headband

Last night, I was about ready to file a missing person's report. Well, I suppose it would have been more of a missing headband's blogpost. You see, I had been neglecting my headband and one day about a week ago, it just disappeared. I had let it go for sometime without getting it in the washer. I should have realized something was amiss when it ceased to soak up my sweat as efficiently as it used to. I thought everything would be ok when I thoughtlessly tossed it in the hamper. A few days later, I did the laundry, and was excited to pull it out of the dryer on the morning of my run. Quickly shuffling through the clothes, I didn't come across it. No problem. I could manage the run without it. Later on, when I was folding the laundry, I still didn't see it. That's when I started to worry. Not too much though, it couldn't be too far. There were still some clothes in the hamper. Maybe it fell a little lower than I thought. It'll turn up in the next wash. Well, yesterday was the next wash, and it still wasn't there! Where could it be? It couldn't just vanish! Could it? Perhaps there was some foul play? I've had that headband since my junior year in high school. We've been through a lot together...

(Commence sentimental music and black and white flashback sequence.)

I bought you for something like 99 cents plus tax at Fred Meyer. It was mostly out of fun with some of the other guys on the cross country team. Little did I know that I'd be the only one to continue wearing one throughout that season and seasons to come.

You came with me on my mission to Germany, although I wasn't able to get much running in.

You were right there with me when I started running again and entered my first race since high school.

You helped me get through my first marathon and stuck with me as I walked the last 8 miles with a knee injury.

You supported me as I came within 2 minutes of qualifying for Boston in my next marathon.

You eventually accompanied me through the streets from Hopkinton to Boston.

You kept me dry during my summer of training for my sub-5 minute mile and were with me on that memorable day.

You have made many a training run more enjoyable with your many absorbent fibers.

(Jump back across time to last night.)

Oh, headband, how I missed you this last week or two. Something had to be done. So last night, I went on a desperate hunt. I looked through the laundry room, under the washer and dryer, in the hamper again, through my daughters' laundry, and even in their sock drawers. With what hope I had left, I went back to my closet and looked on the floor. No luck. Then, without even realizing what I was doing, I was looking behind the hamper, and what to my wandering eyes should appear, my beautiful, trusty old headband... in desperate need of a wash.

So, into the wash with my kids' socks, underwear and tees it went. And this morning, we were once again reunited. Oh happy day!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Change in Plans

A couple weeks ago, I read that the Los Angeles Marathon was purchased by the owner of the Dodgers and the date changed to President's Day. This was great news for me since I don't run on Sundays. There was another marathon I could do someday. I never thought I'd be doing it next year since I was already planning on one in January. That all changed this afternoon (well, the idea came to me last night).

My brother-in-law recently started his own marketing business, and I thought he might be interested in "sponsoring" me. Turns out he was real excited by the idea--enough to pay my registration fee, and provide a way for me to get paid to run. Sweet! I figured L.A., with it's 17,000+ runners and however many thousand spectators, would be a better location to advertise than along the shore of Lake Mead where there would probably only be a handful of spectators (although I still want to do this one the following year). I'll let you know more of the details as we work them out, and how you may be able to get involved as well.

I've heard read some negative comments about the last couple L.A. Marathons. Hopefully, with the new ownership, the race will change for the better, and maybe change the course. I'm also a little relieved that I'll have an extra month and a half to prepare, which will give my knee more time to recover.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My week

Until last night, I was feeling like my current marathon training was going incredibly well. I was surprised at how easy the transition between mile training and marathon training was. All of my runs so far have been really good. And now, with the weather cooling down, there hasn't been a better time for some quality runs.

I got up Tuesday morning for my usual interval session. I stepped out the door and felt the 75 degree air on my skin. It was only 75 degrees! I actually felt a little cold for my warm-up! I loved it! The temps have slowly been declining, but this is a new low. After my warm-up, I proceeded with my workout. For some reason, I was measuring everything in kilometers. I felt like I was in a different country or something. The schedule called for 5x1K intervals at 3:37. It was kinda weird running 1 kilometer. I'd never done that before, but it was kinda fun. The first 2 were right on pace, but the last 3 were all about 10 seconds faster. I headed home feeling like I could probably do a couple more, but thought I'd better get to work.

Thursday I headed out for a 4 mile tempo run. I was glad it was only 4 miles because I had been really tired the last few days. The goal pace was 6:49, and surprisingly, I had no problem staying well under that. It felt great, in fact. The first 2 were just under 6:40, mile 3 was 6:21, and the last one was 5:58! I didn't realize I had picked it up that much. Things are going pretty well.

Yesterday, I headed over to South Mountain. I really wanted to do some hills. South Mountain is one big hill. I ran up to a viewpoint and back down for a total of 13 miles. The uphill miles averaged about an 8:15 pace, and the downhill miles were all around 7:15. I had slowed a little during mile 11 to chat with another runner. He was really friendly, and when he encouraged me to continue on, I felt totally energized. Mile 12 was done in 6:45, and 13 in 6:33. I guess I found that runner's high. I probably could have gone on for a few more miles, but had to get home before Lani started thinking I was dead.

I was feeling a little sore yesterday afternoon, but nothing too concerning considering I just ran 13 miles. I went to a church meeting in the evening, and when I stood up after it's conclusion, my right knee was feeling really uncomfortable. When I got home, I put some ice on it and did some stretching. It felt a lot better this morning, but still pretty sore. I've stretched a couple times today, and that seems to help a lot. I'm planning to take things real easy this week. It's kind of a bummer because I have the week off from work. Perfect for getting some extra runs in. Oh well.

On a related note, I was lucky enough to be selected for The Stick 21-Day Challenge with the Runner's Lounge. I am so excited to try this thing out. I've actually wanted one for some time now. With this latest little injury, now would be a great time to have one, too. Be sure to check out the forums in the Lounge to read about my experience and those of the other runners selected for the challenge. Here's to hoping for positive results.