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.