Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Laveen Turkey Trot race report

I know this is a little late, but what can you expect from a guy who has only posted twice in like the last three months. The tardiness is worsened when I mention that this race took place the Saturday before Thanksgiving, not the week of!

I had been looking forward to this race all year long. I volunteered to help out at the race last year because my knee was acting up. Had I ran, I would have won by about 4 minutes. So, I was really looking forward to this race not anticipating this year's field to be much more competitive. Plus, my top runner from the high school time I coached this fall (we'll call him Pedro, who made huge gains over the season) was running, and I wanted to see if I could still beat him.

The course consisted of a lap around the high school, then over to the park and around the lake (which, by the way is one of my favorite places to run), and then back to the school. I knew starting out that the course was going to be long because we were starting on the track about 150 meters from where the map showed the start, and ending about 50 meters after the marked finish. The map indicated the course was 3.11, so we were adding about another 1/10th of a mile. Oh well, not a big deal. I always like getting more for my money.

Pedro and I took off in the lead, and stayed there for the first mile, with another high school kid right on our heals. At the one mile mark, this kid passed us and quickly took off. I didn't think he'd be able to hold it, so I let him go. Not long after that, Pedro dropped off, and I was alone. Running around the lake was so quiet. There were a few people fishing, but not much else going on, and the distance between me and Pedro was increasing. I reached the 2 mile mark at 13 minutes, which was right where I wanted to be. I was hoping I'd be able to start making up some ground on 1st place, but he was too far ahead. I finished in 2nd place, about 30 seconds behind 1st. Pedro crossed about 20 seconds later.

I ended up getting a medal for placing first in my age group (30-54). When they called me up, I disappointed another runner who happened to have the same first name as me, and actually looks over 30. He obviously thought I was as young as I look. Sorry, Reed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Frank Kush 5k Race Report

Who is Frank Kush? That was my question when I first heard of this race. He is a former ASU football coach, and is now an advocate for youth fitness. The race took place at Tempe Town Lake, a place I have wanted to run at since we moved here over two years ago. The lake is actually a dammed portion of the Salt River. The course starts at Tempe Beach Park, runs east along the south side of the lake, crosses a bridge to the north, heads west along the north side of the lake, and crosses another bridge to finish back in the park. I had a heck of a time finding a map of the course, so I'll include my map from RunKeeper below.

I registered the whole family for the race. The plan was for me to run under 19 minutes, turn around and meet Lani and the kids, take over pushing the stroller, and finish with them. That was the plan. Things didn't quite go as planned, however. We were running a little late, so once we parked the car, Lani told me to just go to the start, and they wouldn't do it. I felt bad for the girls because they were really excited to run.

So, I jogged to the start, picked up my number and my shirt. I made my way through the crowd as close to the start as I could, but got stuck behind a bunch of what looked to be high school kids. I figured it must be a cross country team since they were all right on the start line. Once the race started; however, I quickly realized that they were likely not a cross country team, and had to weave in and out to get past them. Once I did, though, I was able to settle in to about 8th place and find my rhythm. I really wanted to run under 19 minutes, but was actually hoping for a time around 18:50, so I was pleased to see my first mile right under 6 minutes. A little fast, but a good first mile. I was feeling ok, but was thinking I should have had more water before the start. After I crossed the bridge, I passed a couple people, and was caught by another. He and I ended up running together the rest of the way. By mile 2, I was starting to feel it, and really wishing I had some water. I couldn't let myself slow down though. I was not going to let this guy beat me. Coming across the bridge heading back to the park, he started picking up the pace. I wasn't ready for my final kick, but I stuck with him. After the bridge, there was a sharp right turn into the park. That's where I turned it on and flew right by him. I expected a race to the finish, but he wasn't able to stick with me. I was shocked to see the time as I approached the finish. 19:31. Was that right? I thought for sure I'd have been faster than that.

Once I caught my breath, I called Lani to see where she was at. Turns out, as she first got to the park, there was still a crowd at the start line just about to start. She hurried and got her and the girls' bibs, and jumped in the queue just in time. She didn't realize this because nobody said anything when she picked up the bibs, but this crowd was starting the mile run. On the phone, I told her to just turn around at the 1/2 mile marker with everybody else, but my oldest really wanted to run the right race, and they had actually gone about a full mile before they turned around. I eventually met up with them, and we finished the "mile" together. The girls both got medals for running, and they were both excited to finish the race (even though they spent a lot of time in the stroller).

After we got some water and fruit, we had to hurry back home. I later found out that I placed 4th overall, and 1st in my age group. That's kind of surprising, because I thought I counted about 5 people ahead of me. Maybe there were a few unofficial runners. My time was only a little disappointing, but at least it was faster than my last 5k, and I did the outkicking at the finish this time. Overall, it was a pretty good run.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Laveen Fun Run 5k Race Report

Last Saturday, was the first annual Laveen Fun Run put on by The Runner's Store. The event was held at the Bougainvillea Golf Club, and it was a beautiful morning for a run. I was excited to get a couple of my cross country kids to come out and run it as well. They were excited to be there too (although I think they were most excited about all the freebies). The course started out in the parking lot and headed out to a dirt road that ran alongside the golf course. After the first mile, which seemed very long, we entered the golf course, ran along a few fairways, and then followed cart paths to the finish.

After a quick start, I settled into 3rd place and watched the top two guys quickly vanish from sight. I knew there were several high school kids right behind me (unfortunately, they weren't my high school kids--they'll get there though!), but I managed to stay ahead of them for the next 1.9 miles. After making my way through the fairways, and heading down the path, I started wondering when this thing was going to end. It kept going and going. I finally rounded a corner and could see the parking lot off in the distance. It was then that one of those high school kids caught me. I thought it was a little early to start my kick, so I just stayed with him. Then, to my frustration, I saw that the finish was not where we started, but much sooner. And there wasn't enough space to catch him again. Fourth place overall aint bad though. I knew I'd still be getting an age group award. Turns out that the top 2 guys were both in my age group, so I still got third. (Age groups were kind of odd. I was in the 24-30 age group rather than they typical 30-34. I probably would have been 1st had it been the typical division. Oh well.

After the race, awards were given, and a Garmin was even raffled off. I ran into some friends who confirmed my suspicions with their Garmin that the course was quite long. I later mapped it out online and found it to be closer to 3.25 rather than 3.1. Knowing that, my 19:40 wasn't so disappointing. Had it been 3.1, I likely would have finished in about 18:40, not to mention a third place overall finish.

Oh, funny/random side note: My insurance provider was one of the chief sponsors for the race, and my agent was there with a booth. I don't know if he really knows who I am, but I did chat with him for a few minutes afterward. Well, yesterday, in the mail I got a card from him saying "Congratulations on your run this past weekend! I've been bragging about you all week to other clients!" Weird. But kinda cool. That was thoughtful of him. Too bad he wasn't pleased enough to lower my rates!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Last the best of all the game!

Otherwise known as Wrightsock Review #2

I wore the SLTs Monday morning on a 3 mile tempo run. The first thing I noticed was that they were really thin. Even thinner than the SLRs. A lot thinner than I prefer, but they did a good job at keeping my dry, and were quite comfortable. I really liked how they hug my feet. Not too tight, but very supportive.

Monday was also the first day of cross country practice. I've moved up from the middle school to coach at the high school with a good friend of mine. We are really excited about the season and the group of kids we have. We are at a brand new school (in it's first full year), so there are only freshmen and sophomores (another grade level will be added each year until there are seniors). Since these kids will be competing against schools with juniors and seniors, we are really focusing on the kids having fun, with the hope that they will enjoy it and continue with cross country throughout high school. And hopefully the team will grow with each year.

For practice on Monday, I wore the SLXs. I didn't know how much running I'd be doing the first day of practice, so I was planning on having another run with them later in the week. I ended up running some intervals with the kids on the track, and it was HOT! 105 degrees here in Phoenix. My feet were very happy, though, in the SLXs (wish I could say the kids were as happy as my feet, but everyone came back the next day, so it must not have been too bad for them. ). The socks kept me quite dry and comfortable out there on the hot track.

Tuesday, I gave the SLRs another try at practice. It was an easy practice, but still very hot. I must say that they did a much better job the second time around. It probably helps to follow the directions to wash before wearing. And they are so comfy! I didn't want to take them off when I got home.

Wednesday morning, I ran a tough interval workout in the Running IIs. Again, I was surprised by the double layers and how comfortable they are. They did a good job keeping my feet dry, or at least keeping me from noticing the moisture. When I wiggled my toes while I was running, I could tell that they were wet. But how often do I wiggle my toes like that when I run, right? During the rest of my run, I didn't notice a thing.

I'm not kidding when I say it was a tough workout. I had planned to do a ladder workout of 400m, 800m, mile, 800m, 400m. I wanted to do them pretty fast, but I was so tired when I got up that I didn't think I'd be going very fast at all. But after the warm up, I surprised myself with a 1:20 for the 1/4. Not bad at all. Exactly what I originally wanted to run, actually. I was able to do the 1/2 in 2:45, and the mile in 5:48. Now that really surprised me. Last time I did this workout, I ran the mile in like 6:45. And I was still feeling pretty good, so I wanted to run the last two intervals faster than the first two. I did the 1/2 in 2:45 again, and the 1/4 in 1:15. Like I said, that was tough, but it felt so great to accomplish that after waking up thinking I'd be running pretty slow. Maybe it was the socks.

At this point I had tested out all the socks except for the Coolmesh, and as you can guess by the title of this post, I kinda liked them. I ran an easy 5 mile run this morning with a friend. We got a ton of rain last night, so it was really humid. We felt a few sprinkles on the run, but it didn't really rain on us. Taking all that into account, plus the wet sidewalks, these socks kept my feet dry as a bone. I really liked that they are a lot thinner than the other double layer socks I've tried--similar to the rest of my socks. These are by far the best socks (at least my favorite) of the bunch. I just wish they were a little lower. They come up a little higher on my ankles than I prefer, but I really enjoyed running in these socks.

This little experiment has been a lot of fun, adding a little novelty to each of my runs over the last couple weeks. I am excited to make the rounds again and see how each pair does the second time around. Thanks, Wrightsock! I've got some happy feet.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wrightsock Review #1

This last week, I've had the opportunity to run in my new Wrightsocks. I've only tried out 2 pairs on one run each so far, so this post is only my first impressions, so my opinions could possibly change over the course of the month.

On Wednesday, I had scheduled some mile repeats. Four by 1 mile repeats with the goal of 6 minutes each. I knew this was going to be a tough, fast workout, so I wanted some fast socks to help me get through it. I thought the SLRs fit the bill. These socks were oh so comfy when I slipped them on. I really liked how they snugly hugged my feet. Because they are pretty thin, I kind of felt like my feet were sliding around in my shoes on my warm up. Not too bad though. One thing I did notice, however, was how wet my feet felt. I really don't think they did a better job at keeping my feet dry than my C9s. Later that night though, I noticed on the package the recommendation to wash before wearing, and thought maybe that had something to do with it. I'll give these another try with a clean slate now that I've washed them.

By the way, in case you were interested, the workout was killer. I was able to keep the first 2 miles under 6 minutes. Just missed the third one by a couple seconds, and the last one was agonizingly slow (at least compared to the first two. Overall, a great run though.

I had planned to test out the Coolmesh on my easy run on Thursday, but I woke up to lightning and a downpour. I would have loved to have run in the rain, but decided against it when I saw the lightning. Hopefully I'll get to run in them this week.

Saturday I wore the DLXs on my long run. I ran 8 miles, and didn't notice the socks at all. These did a much better job at keeping my feet dry than the SLRs did. I was a little worried about the double layer. I know about their anti-blister technology, but when I first tried them on (prior to washing), the inner layer was all creased under the toes, which made me wonder how they would hold up on a run. I must say that I was very pleased with how they did. They were comfortable, supportive, and an excellent choice for my long run.

I still have four more pairs to try out. I'm not sure which ones I'll wear this week, but more reviews are still to come.

And here's a sweet picture of Phoenix at sunrise from South Mountain at the start of my run on Saturday morning.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Socks Galore

The topic of running socks is something to which I had never really given much thought. It actually wasn't too long ago that I started wearing socks that were made for running. I made the switch from my cotton Hanes and Fruit of the Loom socks to performance socks when I got tired of dealing with the bulky seams that would frequently give me blisters. I've tried a few different brands, mostly the cheap stuff--Target's C9s, Wal-Mart's Starter socks--and haven't had much to complain about. A few months ago, I got a couple pairs of quality socks from Sof-Sole to review, and I started to see the value in the more expensive/higher quality socks. Not enough, however, to go out and replace the cheapos, though.

A couple weeks ago, I got an email from the good folks at the Runner's Lounge introducing a partnership with Wrightsock, and asking me to participate in the Wrightsock Challenge. Today, I finally received my anxiously awaited package in the mail, which contained six different pairs of socks that I will test out over the next 30 days. I'll be posting frequently over the course of the month with reviews on each pair. Here's a rundown of what I got (product summaries provided by Wrightsock.com):
  • Cushioned DLX: The newest update to the WRIGHTSOCK™ line. The Cushioned DLX provides a light amount of cushioning for added comfort. Dri-WRIGHT II™ wicks moisture away from your feet and the two layers absorb all the friction and foot shear. Stabilizer Zone™ helps lock the sock in place. A great addition to the WRIGHTSOCK™ line.
  • Coolmesh: Our lightest, most breathable Double Layer. Features 30% lighter weight than the Running sock along with a mesh panel across the top of the foot. This panel allows for maximum “wicking” action away from the foot, keeping you drier and cooler than other socks. Designed for all activities where lighttweight is preferred. Perfect for Running, Cycling, Hiking and Walking on or off trails.
  • Running II: Our new Running II sock is a variation on our Original sock. The Running II sock is still a flat knit (no cushion) midweight sock designed for all running activities. This new style also has a bit more Lycra® and a Stabilizer ZoneTM for a snug (but not tight) fit. Features the perfect combination of moisture management and friction-free control. This sock provides all the protection you need without shoe sizing issues. Perfect for the Running sock user who would like just a slightly snugger fit.
  • SLR: A premium performance sock featuring a midweight cushioned footbed that adds comfort and protection from shock for all athletic activities. This sock provides all the protection you need without shoe sizing issues.
  • SLT: A lightweight premium performance sock that provides a second skin feel. Perfect for all running activities.
  • SLX: This premium performance sock is ideal for all athletic activities. It features dense terry cushion in key stress zones to provide exceptional comfort and shock absorption. The SLX also has venting channels for added breathability.
Now, to decide which pair to wear first.

To read more about my experiences and those of others participating in the Wrightsock Challenge check out the Forum at the Runner's Lounge.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

If I were an Inca...

I'd be a mailman.

I recently discovered a little nugget of information that I thought was pretty cool and wanted to share. It is believed that the Incas had no form of written language; however, they had a very sophisticated system for delivering messages, which enabled them to send messages across the mountainous empire at a rate of 150 miles per day! Chasquis were messengers, trained from a very young age to run long distances through the 4,500 mile long expanse of the Andes Mountains, whose peaks reach upward of 20,000 feet. It was a sort of relay where the message was passed from one messenger to another, who would have to memorize the message, and run to the next exchange point. How cool would that job be?! As long as you had a good memory. One account I read mentioned that the penalty for an incorrect message relay was execution. One minor drawback, but can you imagine running through this for a living?
Along the Inca Trail
Runners' stopping points

I definitely have to plan a vacation here someday!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Exciting stuff (at least for me)

The last couple weeks have brought about some exciting running-related events into my little world. A new running store (The Runner's Store) opened up not too far away. The owner has started a running club (it's still really small right now, so if you live close by, you should come check it out Saturday mornings--see website for details). I also got an email the other day announcing a 5k race the store is putting together to support a couple Phoenix charities. The 1st Annual Laveen Fun Run will be held on August 22 at 6:30 AM at Betty Faifax High School (59th Ave and Baseline). I'm really looking forward to this race as I am currently training for a fast 5k. We'll see what I can do in 4 weeks. 19:15, maybe? 19:00??

I started work last week after an much-too-short summer break. Not so exciting, but my school district provides me with a district cell phone since I work at multiple schools, and this year, they upgraded to the iPhone 3G. Very exciting. I've done a little playing around with it (by that I mean I've spent a major amount of time, umm... "working" with it). I discovered a sweet running app called RunKeeper. There's a free version and a $10 version. I downloaded the free one, and I think it is so cool. The iPhone has an internal GPS in it and the app allows my phone to track my stats and route. The first time I used it, I was extremely surprised at how accurate the map was. There were a couple corners it cut, but once you end the session on the phone, your data is sent to RunKeeper.com and you can edit the route and view your stats online. Very cool. The paid version has a few more features than the free version like programmable workouts and audio feedback (tells you your stats, intervals, etc.). I think I would happily shell out 10 bucks if I knew I'd have an iPhone next school year. Who knows what the district will upgrade to next year?

You may remember me posting a couple months ago about me having high blood pressure. I'm happy to report that it hasn't been a problem and I haven't had to go back to the doc. At my last appointment though, the doc told me that I'll probably end up needing meds someday and that he'd probably prescribe a beta-blocker. I did some research and found out that I really don't want to take a beta-blocker because of it's potential effects on athletic performance. So, I turned to the experts at Running Times magazine. Just out of curiosity, I did a search on their website today and found this. Yes, "Reid, Arizona" is me. Pretty cool, huh? I was published and didn't even know it. Add that to my impressive list of publications which also includes a comment published in Runner's World magazine a few years ago (I didn't have my blog back then, so I wasn't able to brag about it... so I'm doing it now).

There you have it. Exciting stuff from my world.

UPDATE: I guess I was published again. Well, I don't know if you can really call it published, but my name is on the Running Times website with a question I had about vegetarianism. Here's a link.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Arizona Road Racers Summer Series #4 5k

After the Freedom Run, I was dying to run another 5k, so last Saturday I got to. This was the Kiwanis Park in Tempe, Part of the Arizona Road Racers Summer Series. I ran this race a couple years ago and remembered how humid it was. This year wasn't as humid, but quite a bit warmer.

A few minutes after I finished my last race, some passerby made a comment that I wasn't even breathing heavy. That got me thinking... I ran that first mile under 6 minutes. How would I have done if I hadn't known that? Would I have run the last 2 miles harder? What time could I have gotten? So, this time around, I was determined to not look at my watch, and just run by feel. That took some major will power as I'm pretty anal about my splits, but I was able to do it (aside from there being someone at mile 1 calling out times).

As I was getting ready at the start line, an announcement was made that there was a big puddle of water about 30 yards from the line, and that we "will get wet." It wasn't as bad as the announcer made it sound. The course was a little different this year, with no running along the canal. There were a lot more hills around the lake than I remembered, making this course a little more difficult than my last race.

There were some really speedy runners out there, so I was not expecting an age group award at all, I was just approaching this race as an experiment, and hoping to beat my most recent 5k time. When I got to mile 1, where the guy was calling out times, I was a little disappointed to hear 6:35. Was I really going that much slower? Once we got around the lake, there were fewer hills. As I approached the 2nd mile marker, I was sorely tempted to look at my watch. But I stayed strong. Unfortunately, I was so focused on not looking at my watch, I didn't think to hit the split button, so I don't know what that mile was.

From there, the course looped back around retracing our steps around the lake and home to the finish. I was able to pass several people along the way, and finished definitely breathing hard (and avoiding the puddle). My watch read 19:37. Not bad at all. Twelve seconds faster that a couple weeks prior on what I felt was a more difficult course.

I grabbed some Gatorade, watermelon, and bagel and hung out until results were posted. I finished 72 overall, and, much to my surprise, 3rd in my age group! Sweet!

So, when's the next 5k?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Provo Freedom Run 5k

Yes, I am still alive, and still running. We went out of town for a little while to visit family over the 4th of July, and I just haven't gotten back into the swing of things as far as this blog goes. Hopefully, I'll start posting a little more regularly now that we are back. Although, just last night I was talking with Lani about how my new hobby might get in the way. My cousin gave us her old piano a couple months ago, and I've started learning how to play and absolutely love it. We'll see if this turns into a piano blog. Until that happens though, I have a race to report.

The Freedom Run is a race I've done several times already. There is a 5k and a 10k. I've done the 5k several years ago, and Lani and I ran the 10k last year. I decided to do the 5k again this year since I am still being very cautious about my knee. I've been able to run 5-6 miles with no problem at all, but longer runs don't always agree with it. And besides, I want to run fast. The race started just south of Brigham Young University, the ol' alma mater, and followed the 4th of July Parade route, then finishing uphill at Kiwanis Park.

I had previously checked out last year's results, and thought that if I could run about 19:45 I'd have a pretty good chance at an age group award, so that was my goal. As I waited for the start, I was scoping out the competition. I spotted a few possible 30-somethings, but couldn't tell for sure. I had some technical difficulties with my watch at the start, but got off the line pretty quickly. I quickly settled into what I thought was a comfortably hard pace, and one of those 30-somethings came along beside me. We were together for most of the 1st mile. But when I got to the mile marker, I looked at my watch and saw 5:50, I knew I was going way too fast. Knowing I had a hill to climb at the end, I pulled back a bit.

The next mile passed with at 6:40 split. I was hoping for something closer to 6:20, but oh well. Once I turned off the parade route, the hill loomed ahead. I could see the 30-something just a little ahead of me. I've always been pretty strong on hills, but living in flat Phoenix for the last two years hasn't given me much opportunity to train on hills, so I really didn't know what was going to happen on this hill. But, one by one, I started passing people, including that 30-something. It was really cool cruising past so many people. I then turned the corner, entered the park and sprinted to the finish where I met Lani and the kiddos.

I finished with a 19:49, almost a full minute faster than my New Year's Day race, and more than 2 minutes faster than my run at the zoo, so I was pretty pleased. I didn't think it was good enough to place though. Turns out it was, actually. In fact, it was good enough for 1st place in my division. Definitely was not expecting that. I received a nice little glass trophy with an eagle and American flag etched inside.

The rest of our trip was filled with some incredible runs through my old stomping grounds. I definitely miss the hills, canyons, trees, water, cooler weather, and trails of Utah.

Friday, June 12, 2009

5 years ago today

On June 12, 2004 I ran my very first marathon. I have very fond memories of that race, even though it was by far my slowest time, I got injured, and it was a very difficult course. Today, on the anniversary of this race, I wanted to re-post one of my very first entries on this blog. Memories from my first marathon...

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.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Mile Story

You may remember my 5-minute mile quest last year. I've spent some time reminiscing this week, and finally wrote this post about my overall experience. Down below, I've inserted links to all my mile reports. I figured it's about time I removed it from my side bar. Besides I may need to start a new quest this summer and need the space.

Speed. It’s something I had always wished I had. Actually, when I was little, I thought I had it. Some of my friends even called me “Speedy Reidy.” Then, when I joined the track team in middle school, that perception was smashed to pieces. I couldn’t believe it. Everyone was faster than me! Sprints, distances, you name it. I just couldn’t keep up. Luckily, I loved to run enough that it didn’t discourage me too much, and I ran on the track team all the way through high school. Over the course of the next six years, I was determined to get stronger and faster, and during my junior and senior years, I actually started winning a few races.

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” Those are words that most runners are probably familiar with, and they describe most of my life as a runner. It was in the fall of 2007 when I first discovered the author of this quote, Steve Prefontaine, in the film Without Limits. His dedication and determination inspired me in a way that I had never imagined. After watching the movie with my wife, we discussed my running goals, and where I could take my running. I decided I really wanted to get faster over shorter distances like the mile. So the next morning I went out for a mile run just to see how fast I could do it. 5:36. Hmm, that’s only 10 seconds slower than my all-time fastest mile. Was a 5 minute mile possible for me?

Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t right as I was just starting my Boston Marathon training. However, after the marathon, I would be able to spend the summer working toward that 5 minute mark. And that’s when the quest began. As soon as I recovered, I went out for a time trial, and, what do you know, I ran a 5:36. I was picking things back up right were I was with that first mile.

After a few attempts thrown in with my regular runs, I realized that I needed to focus my workouts and approach my goal less casually. Once I started some intense interval training, I saw my times drop from the 5:20s to the 5:10-5:15 range. I was really seeing the benefits, which motivated me to do more of my workouts at the track. And I was really enjoying it!

While training, I learned about an inaugural 1 Mile Race. Whoa, perfect timing! How cool would it be to reach my goal at this race? I worked harder and harder and was able to get down to 5:09 before the race. I was feeling pretty confident that I’d get it with the added competition and emotions inherent in the race atmosphere. The race was awesome. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make it. In fact, it was pretty slow compared to some of my recent times. What happened? Was I getting burnt out?

I needed to do something different, so I called on my blogging buddies to come together and run a mile with me in the form of a virtual race. What better way to reach this goal than with dozens of friends from around the world. I received an overwhelming response from so many, even people I didn’t even know. How could I fail with so many people pulling for me and believing in me? I couldn’t let them down!

After a couple weeks of excellent workouts and words of encouragement from many new blogging buddies, my confidence was brimming. My wife and kids accompanied me to the track this time, fully expecting today to be the day. After a slightly nervous warm up, I was ready to go.

I took off at what seemed a comfortably hard pace, but ended the first lap 6 seconds ahead of schedule. I didn’t think I could keep that pace up, but I didn’t want to slow down too much. After adjusting my pace, I was still 4 seconds ahead at the half-way point. I was still in excellent position to break that 5 minute barrier, but I could feel my strength waning. After 3 laps, I had dropped to 1 second behind pace, but, based on my recent workouts and previous mile attempts, I had confidence that I could pick up the pace and finish strong. With a half a lap to go, I was right on pace, but was exhausted. I was sprinting as fast as I could go. As I came around that final turn, I could see my family waiting for me at the finish line. I was almost there. All I could think about was crossing that line. As I did, I stopped my watch and slowly looked down. Trying to keep from falling in exhaustion, I turned to my wife, and with a huge smile on my face, simply said “I did it.” 4:59.95. But it wasn’t just me who did it. My wife did it. My kids did it. My blog readers did it. Their friends did it. We did it together, and I couldn’t have done it without all that support.

Speed. Did I finally have it? Sure, I got tons faster than I was before. But I gained much more than that. Pre was right. If you’re not giving it your absolute best, you are definitely sacrificing the gift. But I think more is needed to reach some goals. You need motivation, dedication, and inspiration. For me, the thing that helped the most was knowing it wasn’t just me out there. I was no longer giving my best for myself. I was giving my best for others. And that helped me learn that maybe my best is a little better than I thought.

Attempt #1 - 5:36
Attempt #2 - 5:26
Attempt #3 - 5:25
Attempt #4 - 5:29
Attempt #5 - 5:26
Attempt #6 - 5:40
Attempt #7 - 5:21
Attempt #8 - 5:13
Attempt #9 - 5:10
Attempt #10 - 5:09
Attempt #11 - 5:14
Attempt #12 - 5:16
Attempt #13 - 4:59!

Mission Accomplished.

This post can also be found at the Runners' Lounge by following this link.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My boy's first run (and mile attempt #1?)

I took my boy out for a run for the very first time this morning. Well, technically, it wasn't his first run, but first with me, and first in the stroller. I think he had a pretty good time after we got going. After a couple minutes, he started crying, but I think it may have been because he didn't know what was going on. He's probably not used to going fast or being alone in the stroller, and didn't know where I was. But after I came around to the side where he could see me and I started talking to him more, he calmed down, and we had a nice run together. You can see how much he enjoyed it by looking at the picture. :-)

I've recently been thinking a lot about my 5 minute mile quest from last year, and how fun it was. Now that I'm getting over my knee and hamstring issues, I'd kinda like to do it again. So, as we were running, I figured I oughta just go for it and see what I can do with the stroller. I was able to run a 5:58. I kept a pretty even pace throughout the entire mile, but it felt like I was running with a parachute. There wasn't much wind, but what there was was blowing in my face and filling the stroller. I'd like to see what I can do without the stroller.

So, I may be spending some more time at the track this summer. I'd really like to run under 5 again, but I think I'm gonna focus more on 2 miles and the 5k. I've said before that I'd like to run 2 in less than 11 minutes, and a 5k under 17. We'll see what happens. I've still got to be careful so that I don't aggravate that knee again. Stay tuned...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Progress. I love it!

It seems like it's been a long time since I've written about how my running is going. After taking pretty much all of February off, and half of March with my knee injury, I've been taking things really easy and slowly working back into things. I started out running once or twice a week, only a couple miles at a time at about a 9-10 minute pace. I eventually worked my way up to 3 runs a week, at about an 8 minute pace. I am now running 4 times a week at a pretty decent pace, and it sure feels good. This morning I ran 4 miles in 27 minutes. I think my monthly mileage is a good indicator of the progress I've made over the last several months.I'd say I'm getting back to normal, although I'm still being very cautious. I've been icing my knee almost daily, not doing more than two tough workouts per week, and very gradually increasing my long runs on the weekends. I've also done some strength training for my quads, hips and hamstrings, although not as regularly as I should.

On my calendar, I've got a 5k on the 4th of July. I'm hoping to get down to about 19:30. I think if I can do that, I'll have a good chance at placing in my age group. Placing would be cool, but my goal is getting the time. I also hope to run a half marathon in October, and a full marathon in January. Hopefully some other 5ks or 10ks as well, as long as time and finances allow. I'm looking forward to getting faster, but I really want to run long again. Every time I walk by my marathon medals, I keep thinking to myself how I want more of them. I can't wait!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Running From The Devil

Not to be confused with Running with the Devil, which is an intriguing marathon, Running from the Devil is an intriguing book that I just finished tonight. I was one of the lucky winners of a recent Runners' Lounge Free Stuff Giveaway, and received a copy of this book by author and runner Jamie Freveletti.

Running from the Devil is a novel about Emma Caldridge, a chemist and ultra-marathoner, and passenger on flight 689 headed for Bogota, Columbia. The plane is high-jacked and crashes in the jungle where a group of guerrillas are waiting for them. What do they want, and why are they so intent on capturing Emma, and who is really behind it all, are just some of the thrilling story lines in this book.

The book arrived in the mail last week, and I started flipping through it, and started reading the first page while my wife was getting dinner ready, just to get a feel for it, and I couldn't put it down. It kept me up late a couple nights turning the pages and reeling me in more and more. It's not so much about running, (ok, it's not at all about running), but it was fun to read a story with a hero/heroine I can relate to, as she relies on her physical fitness and endurance to survive in the jungle, all the while being hunted by the "devil."

It's a great read. I'd definitely recommend it. Although, I wonder if there will be a sequel as a few questions were left unanswered at the end.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Non-Sunday marathons in the western US

This is a project I've been working on for a while. I love marathons! There are so many that I want to do. I see advertisements in magazines and on websites about various marathons, but when I look them up, many of them are on Sundays. I don't run on Sundays, so I wanted to compile a list of Saturday and holiday marathons just to have as a reference. I figured I'm probably not the only person who doesn't run on Sundays, so I thought I'd post it here as a reference for anyone who needs it. If you have run any of these marathons, please leave a comment and/or send me a link to your race report. That could be useful in helping someone decide which one to sign up for.

Without further ado, here is my list of non-Sunday marathons in the western US (if you know of any others, please let me know):

Desert Classic Marathon, Phoenix, AZ
Running From An Angel Marathon, Lake Mead, NV
Snowshoe Festival Marathon, Midway, UT
Diamond Valley Lake Marathon, Hemet, CA

Sedona Marathon, Sedona, AZ
Death Valley Trail Marathon, Death Valley, CA
Buzz Marathon, San Miguel, CA

Run Through Time Marathon, Salida CO
Red Rock Canyon Marathon, Red Rock Canyon, NV
Yakima River Canyon Marathon, Yakima, WA
Napa Valley Trail Marathon, Calistoga CA
Catalina Marathon, Catalina Island, CA
Valley of the Sun Marathon, Mesa, AZ

Labor of Love Marathon, Lovell Canyon, NV
Moab Marathon, Moab, UT
Salt Lake City Marathon, SLC, UT
Wenatchee Marathon, Wenatchee, WA
Easter Marathon, Elma, WA
Muir Woods Marathon, Stinson Beach, CA
Golden Gate Headlands Marathon, Sausalito, CA

Shiprock Marathon, Shiprock NM
Whiskey Row Marathon, Prescott, AZ
Idaho Potato Marathon, Boise, ID
Grand Valley Marathon, Grand Junction, CO
Ogden Marathon, Ogden, UT
Windermere Marathon, Spokane, WA
Newport Marathon, Newport, OR
Wild Wild West Marathon, Lone Pine, CA
Ayala Park Marathon, Chino, CA
Palos Verdes Marathon, San Pedro, CA

Teton Dam Marathon, Rexburg, ID
Running With The Devil Marathon, Lake Mead, NV
Bear Lake Marathon, Garden City, UT
Utah Valley Marathon, Provo, UT
Seattle RNR Marathon, Seattle, WA
Green River Marathon, Kent, WA
Nisene Marks Marathon, Aptos, CA
Dog Valley Dog Marathon, Dog Valley, CA
Pacific Crest Marathon, Sunriver, OR

Leadville Trail Marathon, Leadville, CO
Foot Traffic Flat Marathon, Portland, OR
Deseret News Marathon, Salt Lake City, UT

Run With The Horses Marathon, Green River, WY
Grizzly Marathon, Choteau, MT
Mesa Falls Marathon, Ashton, ID
Park City Marathon, Park City, UT
Provo Marathon, Provo, UT
Crater Lake Marathon, Klamath Falls, OR

Flagstaff Marathon, Flagstaff, AZ
Salmon Marathon, Salmon, ID
Pocatello Marathon, Pocatello, ID
Little Grand Canyon Marathon, Price, UT
Top of Utah Marathon, Logan, UT
Mid Mountain Marathon, Park City, UT
Timberline Marathon, Mt. Hood, Oregon
Lake Tahoe Marathon, Lake Tahoe, CA
Big Sur Trail Marathon, Big Sur, CA
Big Bear Marathon, Big Bear Lake, CA
Shore to Shore Marathon, Chelan, WA

Hoover Dam Marathon, Lake Mead, NV
St. George Marathon, St. George, UT
Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon, Leavenworth, WA
Golden Hills Trail Marathon, Berkeley, CA
Napa Wine Country Marathon, Calistoga, CA
Columbia River Power Marathon, Umatilla, OR

Grand Canyon Marathon, Grand Canyon, AZ
Valley of Fire Marathon, Overton, NV
Mesquite Marathon, Mesquite, NV
Stinson Beach Marathon, Stinson Beach, CA

Death Valley Borax Marathon, Death Valley, CA

New gear and a major shout out

Let's start with the shout out, shall we? I just spoke to my brother-in-law on the phone today who ran the Ogden Marathon this morning. This was his second marathon (first without spoiled egg salad sandwich in his belly) and was really flying. Get this, he ran it in 3:08! Nice Job! That's about a minute better than my PR. He's only been running for a couple years now, but he is totally hooked, and one heck of a runner. He told me once that since he was so new to running, he didn't know what a good race time was, so he took my PR list and based his goals on that. I've still got him at a couple distances, but he is quickly passing me up. I'm glad I can provide a little motivation. As soon as I get back into shape, he's gonna be motivation for me, too.

On to the gear. You may recall my pratfall from a year or so ago. That incident, for some reason, resulted in some really tight hamstrings for a while, but the tightness eventually went away. The last couple weeks, I've had some tightness reminiscent of that period of time. So, I started looking into compression shorts to see if they could make a difference and speed the recovery process. I found a pair of Adidas Techfit compression shorts (I must have gotten an older edition of the shorts as they are slightly different than the ones you see on the Adidas website) at Ross last night (another steal--only $15 as opposed to the original $80 price tag), and got to try them out today. I must say, I really like them. They took a little getting used to because they have these "Powerweb" bands that support the muscles and increase blood flow, and I'd never worn anything like it before. After warming up, I didn't feel a thing in my hamstring. I kept them on several hours after the run while I was outside trimming our killer spikey Arizona desert trees. I didn't get to my stretching until after the yard work, and when I bent over to stretch out the hammies, there was hardly any of the regular discomfort! So, Adidas, you have officially won a new fan. Maybe someday, Ross will have the newer version, and I can pick up another pair.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Walk in the Wild 5k

Ever since the first time I visited the Phoenix Zoo a couple years ago, I thought it would be an awesome course for a race. So, when I saw this event a few months ago, I got real excited and knew this was a race I wanted to do. I was also excited to participate in the first annual event. I've never been able to do an inaugural event, and I definitely had a good time. 

The 5k course consisted of two laps around the entire zoo, and took me on a little desert trail I had never been on before. There were quite a few hills on the course. That's something I grown unaccustomed to considering most of Phoenix is pretty flat. I enjoyed it though, simply for something different. The course was also pretty well shaded, which was especially nice since temperatures are on the rise here in the Valley of the Sun.

I didn't see too many animals. Guess they were all sleeping, or not interested in all the people running and walking by. I had to laugh when I saw the flamingos. They were all standing together in a group, on one leg of course, with their heads under their wings, apparently sleeping. After the race, I also saw an ostrich running across the hill. I thought that was appropriate.

I finished with an unofficial time of 22:07. Not bad, considering the hilly course and the sea of walkers I had to wade through on the second lap. That was pretty poor planning on the organizers part, if you ask me. Not a big deal though, since I wasn't running for time.

This being my first time participating in an inaugural event, I don't know how it compares to others, but I did notice a few things that could be improved on. Only 30 minutes into the registration and packet pick-up, they only had large shirts left, and they were out of safety pins. I had to carry my bib relay baton style. There's gotta be a better way to make this a run/walk. My suggestion, have the 5k walk go at the same time as the mile walk (which started an hour later). That'll save a lot of congestion on the tiny trail and the rest of the course. There was no timer, and no one taking our bib numbers, so no official results. That's my biggest complaint. I don't care to much about the shirt or the safety pin shortage, but I would like to know how I faired with the rest of the field.

This was definitely a nice run though. I loved the course. Plus, it's always fun to go to the zoo.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hello, friends!

Time sure flies, doesn't it?! I can't believe it's been a month since my last post. It's been a busy month. Here's what I've been up to:
  • Life with 3 kids is pretty busy. Our baby boy had a pretty scary infection a few weeks ago, but after a trip to the doc and some powerful ointment, he's as good as new. And, man, is he getting big! He eats a lot, sleeps ok, and is so stinkin' cute. I'm definitely a proud pop.
  • I had my follow up visit with the doc about my blood pressure last week. I had been monitoring it all month long, and was very pleased to see that most of my readings were in the normal range. I was really excited to see a few under 120. I thought I was doing a pretty good job managing my stress. Then, the day of my appointment came, and of course, I had to have a stressful day at work. When he checked me, I was 180/90. "Great!" I thought, "Meds, here I come." I pulled out my chart with all my readings, and he was a little relieved to see the normal readings. Relieved enough to not prescribe anything yet. He wants me to come back in 6 months and see how it is. So, that was good news. But, he also said that even if I can get it under control in the near future, I will probably need to be on meds within the next 10 years, and stay on those meds for the rest of my life. At the end of the check-up, he checked me again, and it was down to 140/70. So, it was a positive visit, but not as positive as I was hoping.
  • I have a new favorite BP friendly breakfast. It's really tasty, and each ingredient is supposed to help with lowering blood pressure. I cook some oatmeal, throw in a handful of almonds, sunflower seeds, frozen berries, bananas, dark chocolate, and some honey to sweeten it a little. Mmm mmm. Good stuff.
  • The track season ended this week. It was a good season. Definitely better than last year. We had some really good athletes, and grades didn't even take too many away. We did lose a couple to behavior problems at school, some moved, and others just quit, but we did end the season with 9 kids as opposed the the 4 for last year. The conference meet was this week, and we had a couple athletes place in the finals (we would have had another, but he didn't come to school the day of the meet, so he couldn't compete). That was great for them. They did an awesome job. I am really proud of the kids. 
  • I've got a 5k next Saturday at the zoo. Ever since the first time we went to the zoo, I thought it would be the perfect course for a race, so I am really excited to run this race. Just gotta get myself registered. Running has been going really well. My knee is behaving, so that's definitely good. I'm taking it really easy, and kind of enjoying starting over again. I've really gotten out of shape, and each run is tough, but I still look forward to each run. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Boston and the Epic Run

Hey all you prospective 2009 Boston Marathon runners, I have a cool announcement from the people at the Beyond the Epic Run movie!! Serge will be at the Boston Marathon expo and they want you to have a chance to meet him and see the film. Here is an excerpt from an email I got from the movie promoter about the event:
It would be great if you could let your other running bloggers know that Serge and the film will be at the Boston Marathon. If they are interested, I can arrange a time for them to meet Serge at the expo. Something special we are only doing for media and bloggers. He will also be hanging out at the Runner’s World and Beyond the Epic Run booth. We will be showing the film in room 200 at Hynes Convention Center:
  • Friday April 17- 5:30- 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 18- 4:30 to 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 19 – 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Going back to meeting Serge, we might be trying to arrange a blogger lunch with Serge at the Marathon during the Expo. Let me know if your bloggers are interested in meeting Serge and who they are and I will send them the details.
So if you or someone you know is going to Boston and would like to meet Serge and/or see the film, let me know and I'll get you more details. I so wish I was running this year! This would be such a cool opportunity!

BP news

I had my appointment with the doctor this morning regarding my high blood pressure. It has come down quite a bit over the last week or so. I guess the game plan is working. We borrowed a BP monitor from Lani's aunt, and I have been checking it multiple times a day all week long. I was pleased to see that my BP had come down quite a lot. In fact, a lot of my readings were in the normal range. That was a relief. I brought a copy of my spreadsheet with all my data (BP, pulse, date/time, activity prior to reading, and food I had eaten).

This morning, the doc said I was quite a conundrum. I am healthy, I eat well, I exercise, and he couldn't find anything wrong with me, but my BP was still a little high. My worst fear was that he'd go straight for the meds. I really do not want to take drugs, so I was relieved when he said he was reluctant to write a prescription. However, if he can't figure anything out, he didn't seem to have a problem with putting me on some. Based on my spreadsheet, he thinks I am very stress-sensitive. We decided to do some blood work and do a follow-up in three weeks. Between now and then, he recommended that I look into meditation, visual imagery, biofeedback, or anything else that might help deal with stress. Does anybody know any good books/videos/cds, or have any recommendations?

Our new arrival

Wednesday after work, I was at the middle school getting ready for our 2nd track meet. I was getting out some equipment when my wife called: "Umm, I think my water just broke." So I said, " I guess I'm not going to the meet then." I got my other coach all set and the kids on the bus, and then headed straight home. This was about 4:00. I got home as fast as I could, but she hadn't starting having any contractions yet. But, later while we were eating dinner, they started coming at pretty regular intervals and the intensity was increasing. This was about 6:30. Labor progressed pretty quickly, bet everything went very smoothly, and my son was born at 10:55 pm. An April fool's baby. 7 lbs, 8 oz, lots of dark hair. I can't wait to take him running!

I am so amazed with Lani. I can't imagine what she goes through during birth, but man is she tough! She handled it so well and did such an incredible job (completely natural, by the way. She's very in to natural birth and even has a birth blog, if you're interested, where she writes about research, news, and just about anything related to birth.).

Here are a few pics:
p.s. I heard the track meet went well, but I don't know any details. I'll get back to work sometime next week and find out.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Game Plan

I really haven't been motivated to blog much lately. Maybe it's because I haven't been running very much over the last few months, maybe life has just been too busy, or maybe I've just gotten lazy. I actually think it's a combination of the three. 

I recently discovered that I've got high blood pressure. Like really high blood pressure. Like 170/80 high blood pressure. What's the deal with that? I run (well, not so much at the moment, but still), I eat well, I don't smoke or drink. I'm only 30, and I'm definitely not overweight. Sure work can be stressful at times, but that stressful? I was really caught off guard with this, so Lani and I have been doing some research on natural ways to lower blood pressure because I definitely do not want to be stuck on meds for the rest of my life.

Below is our game plan to get me down to a more healthy level. Lani typed this up and posted it on our family blog the other day, and I thought I'd copy it here (I'm too lazy to go in and edit it to make it sound like I wrote it) and see if anyone has any other helpful ideas or experiences to share. And who knows, maybe this will be helpful to someone else with the same problem. 

1) Get a personal blood pressure monitor.
This wasn't exactly the way he wanted to spend his 30th birthday money, but it just might have to be. I think we'll feel better if we can keep an eye on his levels and see what works to lower them.

2) Increase days of running.
He's actually taken a temporary break from running of late because of issues with his knee, but he's gone back out a few times in the last week and felt good. Based on some internet research, we're thinking that increasing the number of days he exercises and slowly increasing the distance he runs is a good plan.

3) Increase sun exposure.
His vitamin d levels ought to be fine (living in the valley of the sun and all), but it may be that they've gotten low since he's been on a running hiatus and spending more time indoors? Increasing vitamin d levels is supposed to lower blood pressure, so we might as well give it a try, right?

4) Increase consumption of key foods.
We'll be pumping up his intake of oats, raw garlic, dark chocolate, omega-3s,  folic-acid-rich foods, nuts and potassium-rich foods.

5) Early to bed.

Some studies suggest that getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night can lead to high blood pressure. Poor Ax. His BP was probably relatively low before he met me. :-/ I'm a night owl, and I'm always keeping him up too late... i.e. he's always sleep-deprived. He'd probably go to bed by 10:00 every night if I wasn't around. So... he'll be glad to know things are going to change. 

I've also got an appointment with the doctor on the 3rd, so we'll see what happens then (if we're not having a baby at the time, which could really happen any day now). Hopefully, I'll have good news to report.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bullets: Some running-related, some not

  • It's been almost a month since my last run. The knee is feeling fine, but if it is a stress fracture, I know it's gonna take longer than that to heal. 
  • I was hoping to do a 5k on Saturday as sort of a final race in my 20's. I'm turning 30 next week and therefore changing age divisions. But with this knee of mine, I had to back out.
  • Track season started last week. It's looking like we are going to have a good team. I'm kinda wondering where all these athletic kids came from. Big change from last year. Now, if they can only keep their grades up.
  • If you haven't seen my last post about the film Beyond the Epic Run, check it out and leave a question for Serge in the comments. Also, check out the movie website.
  • This weekend we are participating in an emergency preparedness activity where we don't use any electricity, and make use of the food and water we have stored as a way of seeing how well we could survive in case of an emergency. Should be fun.
  • We've got about one more month until our family grows by 1. Lani is doing well, but is getting a little uncomfortable and achey. We have been busy making preparations for the new arrival and stocking up on diapers. You should see our closet!
  • I'm a big Utah Jazz fan, am thoroughly enjoying their current 10-game winning streak and climb up the rankings. Go Jazz! They're coming to Phoenix in a couple weeks. Can you guess what I want for my birthday?
  • Taking so much time off from running has surprisingly not been too tough to handle. I miss it, and get a little jealous when I see people out running, but it hasn't been nearly as awful as I had expected. I still can't wait to start up again, but I'm definitely going to be careful about it.
  • I hope your running is going well. Sorry I haven't been much of commenter on your blogs, but life and work have been pretty busy lately. I'll try to catch up sometime. Good luck with your training and upcoming races!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Beyond the Epic Run

What does it take to run around the world? In February 2000, that's what Swiss couple Serge and Nicole Roethleli set out to do. This epic run took them from Europe, across Africa, through the Middle East and Asia, and finally the United States. Can you imagine the dedication, the drive, and endurance necessary for such a feat? Over 25,000 miles in 5 years. What a way to see and experience the world! If you haven't seen it already (and even if you have, it's worth watching again), here's the trailer:
Now, if you'd like to know more about this intriguing film, I have some connections. Annie, my contact person with the film, mentioned to me that should I have any questions that I'd like to ask Serge, she could make a phone call and ask. So, I am opening this up to all of you. Here's your chance to get more information straight from the source, Serge himself. Leave a question in the comments, and I'll email them to Annie, and then post the responses in another post.

Here are a couple more videos to keep you entertained until then.

Dean Karnezes on the Epic Run

A montage of some of Serge's misfortunes

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A weekend with my girls

It's been a busy weekend (well, a busy week altogether, but we've had a lot of fun this weekend). I've been volunteering at the NBA Jam Session--games and activities for fans as part All-Star weekend. For volunteering, they gave me tickets to the festivities. Last night, I brought my girls out for a little fun. We played at the Kids Zone, shot the sling shot, caught a glimpse of Gary Payton, and even got a picture with one of my basketball heroes, Deron Williams. So what if he was just a life-sized cutout.

Today, since Lani was at a meeting/training all day today (she's starting down the path to her dream of becoming a doula), I took the girls to the park to play at the playground, and to participate in the Freakishly Flexible 5K. It's a good thing this "5K" is so flexible because, due to my knee, I wasn't able to run it. We walked the 1.1 miles around the lake in 17:28. It was a beautiful day for a walk. Would have been an even better day to run, but I won't go into that. We had a fun time playing in the park, feeding the ducks, swinging, sliding, digging, and climbing. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

911. What's your emergency?

I'm sitting here with ice on my knee wondering what is going on. I originally hurt it back in October and took a couple months off, only running a few times. In the middle of December, I started running again without any problem, and was pleased to see that I hadn't lost much fitness. Things were going really well until a couple weekends ago when my knee started hurting again. I took the next week off and ran the following weekend. It felt ok on that run, but I wanted to keep playing it safe, so I didn't run again until last night. About 3 miles into the run, I started to feel it again. I made it home after walking and stretching a for a minute. I was able to pinpoint the pain just below the knee towards the outside. I'm starting to think it might be a stress fracture, but I'm not sure. Whatever it is, I think I need to do what I should probably have done a long time ago--find a doctor. Does anyone know how to find a good doctor knowledgeable in running injuries or is a runner him/herself? I really just want to get this taken care of. Thanks for your tips!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Freakishly Flexible 5k

If you don't know Non-Runner Nancy, you are missing out on one incredibly awesome runner/blogger. She's the ever-supportive, funny, inspirational virtual race director who happens to have some crazy problem with her hip that is putting her future as a runner in jeopardy. In order to show our support for her as she prepares for surgery to repair the damage in her hip, USJogger is putting together a virtual race in her honor, The Freakishly Flexible 5k on (or around) February 14th. Please spread the word and join us in supporting Nancy!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Only in my dreams

Have you ever dreamed about other running bloggers? I hope this doesn't weird anybody out, but last night I did. It kinda weirds me out, because I have never met any of these bloggers (I have actually met one running blogger in person, but he wasn't in this dream).

So, this dream involved RazZDoodle, Vanilla, and some other nameless runners. The only reason I can think of why these guys is the half dozen post-marathon posts each of them has written over the last couple weeks and the multiple pictures of each other in them. Come to think of it, I think they were wearing the same clothes in my dream. The pieces are beginning to come together...

So I was meeting up with Razz and Vanilla (and the others) at some place for a run. It reminded me of a college campus... lots of people, courtyards, old buildings, etc. While we were waiting for everyone to get there, I had to use the restroom so I excused myself. When I came out of the restroom, I walked into a large theatre. I had to walk between rows of seats to get out. Just then, people started filing in for a symphony wearing tuxedos and fancy dresses. I had to squeeze past them as I was trying to get through and even had to climb on the seats to get out. Needless to say, with the small delay, my running buddies left without me with no indication of where they went. I decided to start running and see if I could track them down. I concluded that there were only two ways they could have gone. Either into the city, or down the country roads into the mountains. I chose the country roads because they would have been better to run on because there would be more traffic in the city. After running for a while, I realized that I must have gone the wrong way (surely I would have caught up to them by now), and decided to turn around. That's when the doorbell rang and woke me up (at 5:45 AM). How disappointing! I wanted to find out why the left me. Were they in danger? Were they kidnapped? Was a loved one kidnapped and/or in danger and they had to go in a hurry? Did they just not like me? Where did they go, and what adventures were they having? And what happened to me along the way?

Now, if I was really creative, I'd make up an ending to this dream, but since I'm trying to quickly eat my lunch at work, I'm going to make this a "choose your own adventure" and let you finish the story for me in the comments. I can't wait to read your ending!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Quick update

Hey folks, sorry about the delay in posting. Here's what I've been up to...
  • The running group hasn't panned out so far. No one showed up that first Saturday, and I wasn't able to do it the next Saturday. I haven't gotten a response from anybody, but I am not giving up. I think I'll have to talk to people in person and let them know about it and spread the word.
  • I volunteered at the RNR AZ Marathon Expo the Saturday before the race. That was a lot of fun. I couldn't believe how busy it was the entire 5 hours I was there! I was at the tables handing out the goodie bags. I was hoping to see some fellow blogging buddies, but there were so many people, the chances of that happening was very unlikely. I sure had a blast though! I'll definitely do it again.
  • My knee has started bugging me again. I've been icing it almost everyday, sometimes twice. I've been taking it pretty easy. Not a whole lot of running lately. Hence the lack in posting here. It's been pretty frustrating, but I'm trying to stay optimistic about it.
  • Lani and I have been taking a lot of walks lately with the girls. We are loving the Arizona sunshine and just soaking it up. I feel for all you folks who have to deal with the cold, cold winter, but it really is perfect here. Sorry.
  • We're down to about 2 months until the baby is due. Lani says he seems a lot more active than the girls were. Hopefully, we'll be able to channel all that energy into running and exercise as opposed to other mischeif little boys get into.
  • Since I haven't been running much, I've started some strength exercises. Whenever we take the kids to the park, I always look for some bars on the playground to do pull-ups and dips. I'm also doing push ups and working on my core in hopes of being a stronger runner when I get over this injury.
  • Things to look forward to: I get to volunteer at the NBA All-Star Jam Session next month. I've never been involved in anything like that. It should be a lot of fun. Track season will be starting in about a month, I think. I'm hoping we'll have a lot of our kids return and bring along some new faces.

That's about it. Thanks to everyone who is still keeping tabs on me. I appreciate the comments and support.