Monday, April 27, 2009

The Lottery, and At Least It Waited....

.... until after the marathon. That's what people tell me when I tell them how sick I was last week. Tuesday I went out for my first post-marathon run, which went alright. It was just a quick 4-miler outside at lunch. When I got back, I started to eat my leftovers-lunch, and just wasn't all that hungry. For some reason, it just wasn't at all appetizing, so I left half of it on my plate (and in my trashcan). By the time I got home that evening, I had pretty much hit the wall. I choked down dinner and ran some errands, but by the next morning I had a 101° fever. Wednesday and Thursday I was pretty laid out. By Friday I was pretty much over it, but still really weak, which lasted into Saturday as well.

Part of all this downtime gave me time to think. I really really want to run a sub-5 hour marathon. I got really really close last week. I don't know when I'll be ready to try again, but I decided to go ahead and enter the lottery for the St. George Marathon in October. This was my first marathon back in 2007. As you know, I didn't get in through the lottery last year, so this would be my second running of it. They've upped the limit of runners this year, as well as eliminated the "second chance" option, so hopefully the odds will be better than ever. I know what to expect this year, I'm starting in a much better position, fitness-wise, and I know what to train for. I'll be ready this time. I'm going to shatter that sub-5 goal.

...... if I get in.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Oooooh so close.

For those regular readers (yeah I know there's like 2 of you), you'll know that it is my (seemingly never-ending) quest to run a 5-hour marathon. Yes, I can run faster than the 11:20-something average pace needed to accomplish this feat (feet?), but not for 26+ miles. At least, not yet.

The race started off well. I got to the starting line with about 5 minutes to spare, just in time to hear them send off the wheelchair/handcart racers. I didn't have time to meet anyone that I knew was running in one of the two events that started when mine did (the half- or full-marathon), other than my neighbor. I basically had just enough time to turn on my garmin, take off my sweatshirt and warm-up pants and stuff them in a bag for later pickup, and that was it. They boomed the cannon, and 5 minutes later I crossed the starting line in the middle of the back of the pack.

Mile 1 - 10:44. I was trying to start off slow, slower than this.
Mile 2 - 11:09
Mile 3 - 10:52 - I started settling into a groove here, feeling pretty good.
Mile 4 - 10:40
Mile 5 - 10:45 - This is where the half marathoners split off for a bit while the marathoners make a loop of Sugarhouse Park. That's a hilly little loop, but nothing I couldn't handle at that point. I let 'er rip on the downhills and just tried to maintain form on the short but steep uphills. At this point the sun was still behind the clouds and it was a GORGEOUS morning.

Mile 6 - 11:08 - most of Sugarhouse park actually occurred during this mile.
Mile 7 - 11:15
Mile 8 - 11:02
Mile 9 - 11:19 - This is the area where I think I could have/should have gone a little faster
Mile 10 - 10:49
Mile 11 - 10:56
Mile 12 - 11:06
Mile 13 - 11:15

Halfway split: 2:28:05 (garmin) - should have known at this point that I wasn't likely to hit 5 hours, but I knew most of the hills were behind me.

Mile 14 - 10:50 - This is really very good because I saw the family just after the halfway point and stopped for hugs and kisses.
Mile 15 - 10:57
Mile 16 - 11:29 - Van Winkle is a long, boring place to run.
Mile 17 - 11:31
Mile 18 - 11:15 - I think these miles should have been a little faster too, but this is where I faced my first realy mental battle when I was trying to convince myself not to walk. I was leapfrogging a couple of Gallowalkers repeatedly, but eventually left most of them behind.
Mile 19 - 11:25
Mile 20 - 15:14 - This is where I saw the family again and stopped and talked for a few minutes. I don't know how the boost I got from that rest and the emotional lift of seeing everyone there compare to how I would have done if I hadn't stopped for so long (probably around 3 minutes... yeah, I know...)
Mile 21 - 11:42
Mile 22 - 12:00
Mile 23 - 13:00
Mile 24 - 12:07
Mile 25 - 12:45
Mile 26 - 12:32
Mile .18 (Garmin) - 3:12. My 2 girls ran in with me at the end... not that I would have been any faster without them there. I had nothing left.

Total time: 5:03:09 (Garmin). 5:03:13 chip. I'm pleased, but not satisfied. The sub-5 marathon is going to have to wait. But I know what I need to do to get there. At least I ran the whole thing, minus about 45-50 feet at one guy's impromtu aid station around mile 21-22.

All in all, I loved the Salt Lake Marathon. I seriously don't know what all the fuss is about (minus the flak about the organizer dude).

Organization - 8/10 (not enough food in the finish shoot when I got there, but at least there was still plenty of chocolate milk. Yum!)
Course - 7/10 -- that d*** hill they threw in going up State St. to South Temple this year really needs to go. Bad bad bad.
Medal - 8/10 -- Nice size, very attractive, but it doesn't have the year on the medal, just on the ribbon.
Crowd support - 7/10 -- Sparse in parts, but great at the end, and my wife and kids made it great at mile 14 and 20 as well. Also there were lots of residents that came out of their homes on the route to cheer on runners and put up impomptu aid stations.
My training - 6/10 -- I think I did pretty well, but a few more miles wouldn't hurt, and I need to do more long tempo runs / interval runs in the last couple of months. This is going to be key.

Friday, April 17, 2009

T-minus 15 hours

By this time tomorrow the Salt Lake City Marathon will be but a happy memory. Tonight, I have quite the "to do" list, including charging the iPod, new batteries in the Garmin, find my white running hat, blister-proof feet with liquid band-aid, pin bib to shirt, cut my hair and shower, make 2 peanut butter & honey sandwiches for pre-race nourishment, gather GU and powerade for the fuel belt, ad nauseum.

So, hopefully I'll have good (that is, sub-5 hour) news to share tomorrow. Either way, I'll write up a race report when I get back, after I've showered and possibly napped. The good news is there's no hotel bed to toss and turn on tonight. No, I get to toss and turn on my very own bed. This will be wierd. At least I slept well last night.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Where I'll be...

Okay, so I know dozens of people running in one of the events at the Salt Lake Marathon. Most I know will be running the half marathon, but since we all start at the same place, I thought I'd post where I'll be in case you'd like to meet up at the starting area. I will be under the last tree as you exit the runners staging area and head up the road to the start mat. I labeled the map below as best as I can remember from last year, so I hope it's about right and they don't change much. Worse case, I'll have my phone on me and my number is 801-755-9628. I can't believe I just posted that on the Internet.

Disclaimer: I may leave said post to hit the porta-loo or get some water, etc. But I'll be back.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pretty dang perfect

Admittedly, it's still 6 days out, but this is looking just right...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Updates, a Podcast, and a Taper

So the last long run is in the books. It was a grueling, bonk-infested 21 miler last Saturday. My fueling plan was off, to say the least, but it's done. Now I'm smack in the middle of tapering, which I'm finding more enjoyable than ever, having run three times this week, 4 miles each, all outdoors. The thought of a treadmill just does not sound appealing at all right now. Fortunately Spring is here and I don't have to worry about it.

This past Wednesday I was honored to co-host the Runners Round Table podcast. That was a blast. We talked about running, cross-training, swimming and biking, and yoga. It was so fun, and I hope I get another chance to host again.

In other news, Devine Racing, the organizers (and I use the term loosely) of the Salt Lake City Marathon are proving their doubters correct and cementing for themselves a very questionable reputation in the eyes of runners everywhere. It seems they have a hard time paying their bills. Here we are, 8 days from the marathon, and they have yet to file an event permit with South Salt Lake, which houses about 2 miles of the marathon route. They haven't paid the police department there either, so who knows if we'll have course security support for miles 19-20. All that said, let's hope as a runner on April 18th, that all I notice is the news stories, and that I don't see any evidence of the apparent incompetence of everyone involved at Devine. I don't want to feel ashamed to have that name on my shirt and my medal, ya know?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Last Long Run... and it's gonna snow

Okay, sneak preview. Tomorrow is my last long run before the marathon, and it will be something in the neighborhood of 22 - 24 miles. And it's supposed to be crappy weather. My aim is to start out around 5:00 a.m., so I can be done by 10:00 a.m. allowing for plenty of time for traffic lights and a possible re-fueling stop.

Alternatively, I could head over to our clubhouse gym, which has a treadmill with a 30 minute time limit, and try that out... maybe put on a movie or something (or two or three)... however I'd have to restart that thing like 8 times, and 4+ hours on a treadmill does not sound like fun. There's also a nearby indoor 1/4 mile track I could run on, but 92 laps? I have no idea how I'd keep track, let alone how I'd stay sane. And it doesn't open until 8, so I'd be running until after noon, and I have something I want to do at 10...

So, I'm going to go ahead with the original plan, and head out the door -- rain, shine, snow, darkness, or otherwise -- at 5-ish a.m. and run from home to work, the long way. Why? Well, because I really need to get this last long run in, and because the marathon is in two weeks. You never know what April weather is going to throw at you, so I'm going to run in whatever I get tomorrow so that I'll be that much more prepared to run in whatever weather I get on the 18th. Get it?

Now, it will be just my luck that the 18th will have 85° sunshine and high humidity. And I didn't do any long training runs in my dryer.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's gotta be the shoes!

As someone who runs, and who makes it publicly known that I run (see twitter, facebook, this blog, etc.), I often hear from people phrases such as:
  • "I wish I could be a runner."
  • "Running hurts, why would you do that to yourself?"
  • "I tried running once... my shins hurt so bad I had to quit."
  • "I don't have the knees for running."
Oh, the shame! If these people only knew! Running doesn't hurt. Well, it doesn't hurt that much. Not if it's done right. And the first step is to GET THE RIGHT SHOES.

I'll tell folks this and they'll say "But I did! I went and got $150 running shoes!" And I'll ask where they bought them, and they'll say something like "Big 5" or "Sports Authority" or perhaps even, *gasp!* "the mall!"

Here's the thing... when you run, your foot goes through a certain motion called pronation. Pronating is the action of your foot's arch collapsing to absorb shock, your ankle rolling slightly inward, followed by the rolling outward as you push off with your toes. People pronate to varying degrees, based in part on how high the arch of the foot is. People with low arches tend to over-pronate, which can cause excessive stress on the ankle, shin bones and tendons, knee, and hip -- and various other muscles, tendons, and bones in that general area of the body. Fortunately, the running shoe companies have figured this out, and they now manufacture shoes specifically to counteract these biomechanics (big word, I know). These shoes are called stability shoes, because they provide extra support to keep the foot and ankle properly aligned while going through your natural gait motion.

I'm not going to go deeply into the different styles and purposes of running shoes here. The point here is to emphasize that until you have someone look at your foot who knows what they're looking for, you're very likely running in the wrong shoes for your foot, and that's what makes it hurt. If you need a stability shoe and you're in a neutral shoe -- or vise-versa, not to mention the intracacies of motion-control shoes, cushioned shoes, lightweight racing flats, etc. -- you are going to hurt yourself. So... GET THE RIGHT SHOES. And to do that, you need to go to your local running-specialty store so they can analyze your gait. Trust me here. I'm about to complete my third marathon and I've never had any significant running injury.

Feel free to email me or comment if you'd like more information on this topic. :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The latest

Here's the latest... I decided to make last week a de-facto cutback week, and bagged the Saturday run. I tell ya, if I do crappy at this marathon, it will be from not doing semi-long runs on my cutback weeks. Oh well. So this week I'm running 6 miles four times and then a long 22-24 mile run on Saturday -- and the weather's horrible, but that's part of the fun. Once this week is over, the taper starts, and let me just tell you how excited I am for the taper! Next week I'll run 6, 5, and 4, then two bike days, then 12 on Saturday. The following week will then be 4, 4, 2, one bike day, one rest day, then the MARATHON.

I'm so ready for this. Sub-5, baby.