Thought for the Day

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Desert Classic 30K 2004

t was beautiful cool morning out in the desert east of Scottsdale. No mile markers no splits. I set out thinking anything under 2:30 would be great considering I ran the Tucson Marathon 13 days ago. But I had no idea what my pace was. I knew I wasn't doing too bad because:
a) I didn't feel like I was dying.
b) I didn't get lapped on the loop we did 3 times.
c) I lapped a few people.
Yeah, we didn't really do what you'd really call a loop. We ran back and forth over the same section of canal bank six times, one way, then the other, then back the way we came...
Not the most exciting course. The canal bank is basically a wide dirt road, cotton fields on one side, the canal on the other. Pretty much a straight line, absolutely flat.
We started out at the college, ran down the street to where we could turn onto the canal, out and back and out and back.... I was really glad when we finally got to go back onto the pavement toward the school.
One of the things about a course like this that doubles back over itself is that you see almost everyone in the race, the speedsters in the front, and the people struggling in the back. Today I was proud to be a runner, proud to be in the same competition with some very athletic people, proud to be ahead of a lot of people who were well and truly racing. It was good to be out there.
Great weather, sunny and cool, but the sun was in your eyes at least half the time. I know my pace was really falling off in the last couple of miles. That's the thing about a race this long. It ends at about the point where, when I'm in a marathon, I start to ask myself, "Isn't that long enough? Why's it have to be 26.2? Why not 20? 18?"
Anyway, only three people passed me in those last miles. There were only a little over 200 runners.
My legs were complaining, and I just told myself that this was not my goal race.
I had nothing to prove and I didn't want to do anything that would take a lot of recovery time. So I didn't really try to kick in. I finished knowing I was going slower than I could.
I finished in 2:27:44, which I'm very happy with.
I was 6th in my age group, but I got a very nice finisher's button. Not a medal, button, or maybe you'd call it a pin, a little round piece of tin or aluminum with a pin on the back. I didn't expect a medal, so this was cool.

Sunday, December 5, 2004

Tucson Marathon 2004

Well,
This marathon was about par for me, which is really depressing because I had high hopes. My training and racing has been going well. I thought I had put in enough long runs. I trained with a Galloway group, and was trying walk breaks for the first time. I hoped they would leave me with enough energy to have a good finish.
I had some issues which may have had an effect on my race.
I ran a pretty good half marathon, but was struggling by the end.

3:50:28

You folks who love the cold and the snow are welcome to it. It was freezing in Tucson yesterday. There was snow visible in the hills just a couple of miles away from the road. I'm sure some of you would have been fine with it, but I'm acclimated to Phoenix weather now.

These splits seem terribly inconsistent, but the only reason for that early in the race is the uphill and downhill sections. This course has a lot of downhill in the first half.

1 7:43
2 7:20 15:03
4 15:52 30:54 (2 miles at 7:56/mile)
5 7:14 38:08
6 7:41 45:48 (had a Carb BOOM)
7 7:37 53:25
8 7:37 1:01:02
9 7:49 1:08:52
10 8:19 1:17:10 (checked blood sugar: high)
11 7:40 1:24:50
12 7:37 1:32:27
13 7:58 1:40:25
14 8:26 1:48:52
15 8:22 1:57:14
16 10:09 2:07:23 (pit stop)
17 8:01 2:15:25 (feeling better, no more walk breaks)
18 7:58 2:23:24
19 8:45 2:32:08 (checked blood sugar: high)
20 10:53 2:43:01 (struggling again)
21 9:34 2:52:35
22 11:15 3:03:50 (only goal is to finish now)
23 9:39 3:13:29
24 12:22 3:25:51
25 9:57 3:35:48
26 12:42 3:48:30
26.1 1:55 3:50:28

Saturday, September 25, 2004

I-Did-A-Run 10K 2004

I went to the I-Did-A-Run race this morning thinking I would run the 5K. I had registered a few weeks ago, and when I got my bib, it said I was running the 10K. I forgot what I signed up for.
I didn't expect much because I was as sore from last Sunday's Grand Canyon crossing as I would have been from a marathon. But I felt fine warming up, and when the race started I cruised pretty easily at a good pace through the first mile. Here are my splits, but you can see that the course measurement was all messed up.
The 10K was just once more over the same loop as the 5K.

mile time split
1 6:37
2 13:42 7:05
3 19:24 5:42
3.1 20:06
4 26:43 7:19
5 33:39 6:56
6 39:29 5:51
6.2 40:49 1:20

The third mile (also the sixth) had to be short. The whole course had to be short. I was thrilled to run close to 43 minutes in February. Most of my recent 5K times have been around 21 minutes. There's no way I ran a 10K in that time on a dirt trail a week after crossing the Grand Canyon.
A volunteer near the finish said that the course was 2 tenths of a mile short.
That would still put my time between 42 and 43 minutes.
I got third in my age group. I finished with a good kick. I know I could run faster if I was more rested.
I feel pretty good about this, but I have to wait to see if I can do well in another race, because I'm so uncertain about this one.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Grand Canyon Crossing 2004

The plan was to start out around 5:30 am on Sunday morning down the South Kaibab Trail.
Saturday night it stormed all night. There was constant thunder and lightning, often close enough to shake the building. At 5 am we met and decided that heat, the primary reason for going early in the morning, was not going to be an issue. It didn't make sense to start out in the dark in a storm without any certainty how far we could get on the trail.
We decided to meet again at 8, look at what our options were, and decide what to do.
Some people went and got a good breakfast at the cafeteria when it opened at 7. I wish I had done that, but I only had a Clif bar around 5, before plans changed.
At 8 it seemed like everything was decided by the time I got there. I had turned my insulin basal rate down when I thought we were running at 5:30 and turned it back up to normal when I didn't know when we would start.
We were about 24 altogether, and 7 people were only planning to go one way. All 7 of those who were going one way and 3 who didn't want to risk the trail on Sunday were going to take one of our vans around to the other side.
Someone told someone that the South Kaibab Trail was blocked by a boulder, so we would have to take the Bright Angel Trail. We found out later that several people hiked past the boulder and the trail was cleared fairly quickly. There were many times that day when we simply had to go around or over rock slides.
So 14 of us started out straight from the lodge and down the trail in pouring rain, with the other side of the canyon obscured by thick fog.
At the trailhead we met two hikers who had been standing at the edge trying to decide if they should cancel their plans to go down to Phantom Ranch. We took them with us and started in.
It didn't seem like anyone wanted to run. The trail was often a stream, and there were lots of minor mud and rock slides, but the footing wasn't too bad.
I guess a few people felt like they were warmed up enough and started jogging down. Most remained in the back and kept walking. I started running about a mile in.
I was concerned about my blood sugar because I had left my pump at the normal basal rate instead of turning it down. When I checked at the second water stop, 3 miles down, it was actually too high, 260. I was sure that it would start to drop and I would be okay, but I needed to monitor it.
Two guys were coming up, soaked to the skin, one in a tee shirt and one in a flannel plaid shirt. They had hiked down the night before, gotten caught in the rain, and spent the night in the restrooms at Indian Garden.
At Indian Garden, 4.5 miles in, my blood sugar was still higher. I remembered that the same sort of thing had happened when I hiked into the Canyon in April. I am thinking that this has something to do with the pressure and my pump. As the air pressure rises while I am going downhill, the working of the pump to deliver a basal rate is really only equalizing the pressure. That's a guess, anyway. Anyway, I bolused some insulin.
Some hikers coming up with trekking poles told us we should abort, that we weren't going to be able to cross some of the streams they had crossed.
But the rain had pretty much let up, and the run off had to be much less by the time we got to whatever they were talking about.
There was no way to keep your feet dry. I had to wade through a couple of places where I couldn't find any other way. I was frequently running at the edge of puddles that filled the trail.
By the time we got through the Devil's Cork Screw, it wasn't raining, and it was warming up as we crossed the Silver Bridge over the Colorado River.
Someone later said it was 92 in Phantom Ranch, at the bottom of the Canyon. My blood sugar there was still 280, so I bolused again. I got a cup of coffee, but I still didn't eat anything. Everyone else in the group I was with was fueling up.
My quads were hurting pretty much by that time, but I wasn't worried about finishing that day. I was worried about how much I would have left for the second day, though.
This has gotten way longer than I intended. Anyway, the descent was the fun part. I can summarize the rest of the trip.
I jogged pretty well through Cottonwood. My blood sugar was finally down to 90, so I ate a pretty good meal, some crackers and a Clif Bar.
After that I was walking more than jogging, especially that nasty hill right before you get to the bridge to Ribbon Falls, I had enough energy to take the detour to Ribbon Falls, although in hindsight, I could have used that energy later.

Note of actually useful information:
When Bright Angel Creek is not high, it is possible to hike around that hill right before the bridge to Ribbon Falls. Watch for the sign if the Creek is low, and you can save yourself some unnecessary pain.

Anyway after that I walked all of the uphills, which is virtually everything.
My blood sugar was consistently good when I checked it until right after the last bridge. Then it was 74, a little low, so I ate some more.
I actually jogged across that last bridge, but it was painful to do that, and I was finding it hard to imagine going back the next day. I walked slower and slower toward the top.
I got some more energy after going through the Supai Tunnel, but I started to cramp with less than a mile to go. I had to walk fifty yards then stop for a minute before going on, over and over.
It was clear but cool that night, and freezing the next morning. I opted not to get up at 5:15 to run back. Instead I rode around in the van after sleeping until 7 and eating two breakfasts.
All of the fastest people were already out when we got to the South Rim, but I was able to walk down a mile and meet the stragglers coming up.
I know, I wimped out. I will regret it for at least a year.

My excuses are:

a) stupidly raced a half marathon the weekend before.
b) didn't get started when I was ready.
c) wasn't able to eat anything until 17 miles into it, only a Clif Bar for breakfast hours before starting.
d) I'm a wimp.

But it was a great adventure. And while I didn't do a double crossing, I did cross in a day, (something around 9 hours) in the more difficult direction, (North Rim is 1000' higher altitude than South) in a storm.

PS: That's a pretty long post. Maybe it's a good thing I didn't go both ways.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

3000 euros

I know we were all just about done discussing this, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. So here are some of my thoughts. Forgive me for rambling.

3000 euros.
How do you put a value on training to be one of the best in the world at one of the most grueling sports in the world?
How do you put a price on years of running, early mornings, late nights, through the heat, through the cold, dozens of long, slow miles some days, dozens of intervals of near top speed around and around a track on others.
We cannot hope for the bastard in a skirt and a beret with matching stockings to understand the magnitude of his crime. It is tempting to say that for several months we should yank him from bed every Sunday morning at 4 am and pull him down empty streets, over rocky trails, up and down hills for four hours. We could drag him around a track at under 4:30 per mile for up to 20 miles, giving him a brief rest between each mile, and repeat this every Wednesday for several months.
We could do things like this, but he still would have no concept of what it would take for him to put himself through it, to drive himself through it with his own will.
Even those of us who have run a marathon can only imagine what it must have been like for Vanderlei de Lima to be running the race of his life, at the front of a field of some of the world's best athletes who have all worked very hard, for months and years, to try to beat him on that one day. His body, mind, and soul were committed to one goal. Then he was violently, senselessly, heartlessly attacked, and he was chosen for attack for the very fact that he was in the lead.

I've heard people analyze the look on de Lima's face, his stride, every nuance before and after the attack, to try to determine whether he could have won.
We always talk about how much of this physical competition is mental, and de Lima was physically assaulted, emotionally disrupted, and mentally distracted at a critical point in the race.
No one knows how the race would have ended.
No one should dare to say that he would not have won.

What value does the world place on the Olympics? Millions are thrown about for media contracts, endorsements, rebuilding ancient arenas, building modern ones. But that's all only money.
When we try to put it in terms of money, we cannot place a high enough value on the Olympic spirit.
3000 euros?
Something is out of balance.



Sunday, June 6, 2004

Sacred Mountain Prayer Run 10K

Yesterday I ran the 21st Annual NACA (Native Americans for Community Action) Sacred Mountain Prayer Run 10K at Thorpe Park in Flagstaff, AZ.

The temperature was 76 F when I left my house in Chandler about 3:15 am, and it was about 46 F when I arrived at the park in Flagstaff around 5:50. The sun was already up, and people were setting up for registration. I was the first late registrant to get a number, then I went back and took a nap in my car.
It was nearing 7 when I got out again, and with the race scheduled to start at 7:30, I thought I should start warming up. I could feel that it had warmed up quite a bit already. It was probably in the 60s. I took a jog along the first mile of the course, a pretty significant hill. I went slow, just jogging along, but it still was making me breathe a little too hard. Flagstaff is at about 7000 ft in elevation.
After I turned around back toward the start, a guy who had passed me on the way out was going out again. I thought he must be crazy, not just because he was doing that hill again, but because it was getting close to time for the race to start.
I found out later that this race has many traditions, including that it never gets started on time.
I checked my blood sugar and it was 119, which is high normal. That would be fine for me, but with all of those hills, I was a little concerned that it might drive my blood sugar down too steeply. I considered having a little gatorade before the race, to be on the safe side. I even grabbed a paper cup and got some, but i just held on to it, planning to drink it when I saw them getting ready to start.
Half an hour later, there was still no sign that they were going to start soon.
I could feel my heart pounding, from the adrenalin in anticipation of the race.
Adrenalin can drive the blood sugar up. I checked my blood sugar again, and it was 188.
Well, I thought that would be okay, once I started burning it up out on the course.
This being the "Prayer Run" I thought there would be some sort of ceremony before the race, but there wasn't one, or I missed it. I told myself I should say a prayer, but I forgot until after I was racing.
The temperature was continuing to rise. I'm not sure how hot it was, but I heard it was in the 90s in Prescott that day, a few miles away.
They finally started the 5K, then had the 10K runners line up for their start.
The race director said, "We're going to start this with 3 and two and then go. Okay, Ready? 3-2-GO!" and that was the start of the race. I was reminded of the knife fight in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
I was breathing hard through the whole race. There was nothing I could do about it.
The hills drove me to pant, and there was never enough level ground for me get control of it. I'm sure the elevation affected me. I was also crusted with sweat by the time I finished, and I'm sure I was dehydrated. I was starting to cramp in my calves and hamstrings in the last mile, coming downhill.
I checked my blood sugar after the finish, and it was 353, which is outrageously high, even for me. I also had a headache which hit me like a wave, but didn't stick. I think it may have been some mild effect of the altitude.
Here are my splits:

1. 8:19 - that first steep mile
2. 8:57 - it didn't get any better
3. 8:24 - still rolling hills
4. 9:02 - same, but I am feeling beat
5. 7:42 - coming down finally
6.2 8:15 - feeling awful

So I ran a 50:49 10K on a hilly, dirt trail course at 7000 feet in 80 plus temperatures.
That's a slower pace than I ran on a very hilly half marathon at altitude 4 weeks ago. I am more sore today than I was after the half marathon, too.
Oh, well, It wasn't my day for racing well, but it was a challenge, which is what I had gone looking for. It's a beautiful area to run through. I saw a grey fox walking through the park before the race. I may do it again next year. I'm not going to let it beat me.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

ARR Summer Series 5K #1 2004

I ran the first of the five Arizona Road Racers Summer Series 5K races.
It was held in beautiful but weird Papago Park, on a very nice morning for Phoenix. It was 68 F when I left the house at 5 am, and only in the 80s by the time the race was over.
I had agreed to help out at this race, so I ended up being used as a runner, running batches of filled out race entries from the registration tables to the timing table where the timer was doing his level best to get them all entered into the computer. It was interesting, and kept me warmed up and occupied while waiting for the race to start.
This race is especially complicated because it is age and gender handicapped.
Each person is given a starting time based on how old they are and whether they are male or female. As a 45 year old male, my starting time was 12:19 after the gun.
This starting procedure, and the popularity of this race, and the fact that the course doubles back on itself, makes for a very crowded race from start to finish. You are always weaving through slower people who started ahead of you. Then, near the turnaround, there are runners in both directions. there is no clear marking of which side runners should stick to, so there was a lot of dodging and stutter-stepping.

Still, it's a very fun race. Because of the crowding, the rolling hills, and the loose dirt on part of the course, it is not a place to run a PR. but I didn't race really well. I ran a 21:37.
That was much better than I did last year, though. I can't believe I've been in Phoenix that long.
So the result of this handicapped start was that a 14 year old boy won, a 41 year old woman finished second, and a 53 year old man came in third.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Sara Courtney Memorial 10K/Scottsdale Night Run for the Arts 8K

Sara Courtney Memorial 10K

The sun was just coming over the mountains when I got to Sabino Canyon Saturday morning. I had enough time to get registered and loosen up a bit. Someone gave a speech about how this event would benefit the community, and a woman with a very nice voice sang the Star Spangled Banner a capella with no amplification. It was very impressive and moving. I later heard there were more than 600 participants, so there was a pretty good crowd at the start, and she reached us all.
The start was tame. I knew it would be hilly, and some of the front runners were folks who had been talking before the start about how often they ran this road. So I thought I should let them set the pace. It was slow enough so that if I had wanted, I could have taken the lead for a few hundred yards.
We hit a marker that said "5 miles" at about 3:30 into the race. It may have been the half mile mark. There were markers later in the race set half a mile apart. The uphill at the start was gradual, but it seemed that the lead group had just been warming up earlier, and they sped up as it got steeper.
I saw no marker for the first mile. I was still close to the leaders when the first 5 K runner came back past me. He was the only person I saw in the 5 K until later in the race. I found out at the end that I could have easily taken second overall in that race, just running the same pace I ran in the 10 K. I passed a couple of runners who had gone out too fast, and I was pretty much alone when I got to mile 2 in 14:59.
The next marker said "3 miles 10K turnaround," which makes me doubt the accuracy of the measurement of these distances. My time at the turnaround was 23:13, an 8:14 mile, or 1.2 miles.
Back to mile 4 was downhill, still running alone. 29:55 and the same 1 or 1.2 in 6:42.

4.5 (The 5K turnaround) 33:18
5.0 (A different 5 mile marker) 36:54, 6:58 from the 4 mile marker.

It had been cool at the start, and it was shady through most of the canyon. But coming out of the canyon, after the sun had been up for a while, and I was getting out of the shelter of the canyon walls, it was hot.
There was one steep hill right after the 5 mile point, and as I was chugging up it, I was caught from behind. The other runner gave me a word of encouragement, and I had to ask him, "How old are you?"
He said he was 32 and asked if that made me feel better. It did, and I told him so.
I reached the finish in 43:56, 7:02 from the 5 mile mark.

That was good enough for 8th overall, but I don't know how I did in my age group. At least one, and probably more of the runners ahead of me were in the same group.
Even though the web site had said that there would be awards for the first three in "different ages," there was no apparently no effort made to do that.
They gave awards to the top three men and women in each of the two races, and that was it.
But they apparently raised about $50K for diabetes research and education at U of A.

I made a point of wearing my Team Diabetes racing singlet for this race, but I was surprised not to see any other Team D shirts, or anything anyone was wearing that related to diabetes.
Oh, well.
I had driven down that morning starting at 4:15. My car was all right on the way down, but the radiator gave out on the way back. I stopped to refill it on the way back, but it was overheating again by the time I got home.

Scottsdale Night Run for the Arts 8K

The Night Run for the Arts was a great event, but the crowd was a little too much at the start of the race.
Here's why I say it's a great event:

Chip-timed.
Night race through Scottsdale, galleries, museums, nightclubs, bars, parks, suburbs.
Food.
Live entertainment, a very good cover band playing 80s/90s hits.
Results scrolling on a large projection screen.

I went into too much detail in the previous race, so I'll just give the vitals on this one.

2.0 13:48 (6:54)
3.0 21:01 7:13
4.0 28:25 7:23
4.96 35:29 7:04 (7:09 pace)

I think I was 50th overall. I can't remember. I was definitely 5th in my age group.
In both of these races I was extremely overheated, feeling like my car, when I finished. I struggled to get some water, but I don't drink very well during these shorter races.
Anyway, I think I put in two fair races and got some good speed work done.




Saturday, May 1, 2004

Whiskey Row Half Marathon 2004

I had toyed with the idea of running the Whiskey Row Marathon this weekend, in spite of not having trained for it. Some time in the past couple of weeks I decided just to do the half. The Whiskey Row Marathon was included in a Runners world list of the toughest five marathons in the country.
The Half would be a challenging run, but I was sure that it wouldn't kill me. I decided to "train through it" more or less. I didn't do anything especially tough the past week, but I did my doctorvals on Tuesday and a six mile tempo run on Thursday.
Saturday I got up at 3:15 am, had a little breakfast and some coffee, and drove the 120 miles North to Prescott. Prescott, AZ is at an elevation of about 5200 feet, and the marathon climbs to 7000. The elevation reached by the half isn't much less. The marathon goes over the top of the mountain, down the other side, then back over again. The half just goes up almost to the top.
The weather was beautiful. It was chilly in the early morning, but not so I had to wear more than a tee shirt and shorts, and I don't think it got up to 60 F all morning. The course gets out of town very quickly, and goes into the forested mountain roads, so there is more shade than for most of the local Phoenix races.
There was no chip timing, so I started pretty close to the front, but I managed to contain my enthusiasm, running it as if it was just a long traing run, and hit the first mile in 8:02. Those first couple of miles were just gently rolling, as much down as up.
I thought to myself that as soon as I started having to work hard, and I got a feeling of how the altitude and lack of real preparation was going to affect me, I could decide if I wanted to really race, or just take it as a training run.
We hit the first steep climb at about 2.5 miles, and I started to chug up it.
About five people passed me, and I started to think, "Training run..."
But after that, most of the climbing was more gradual. I passed more people than passed me. I was feeling as good as could be expected, and I didn't see anyone doing any better. I was racing it.
Right before mile 5 it got very steep again, and stayed that way. But I knew we were close to the turnaround, and it would be all gravy after that.
These were my first half splits:

1. 8:02
2. 7:36 15:38
3. 8:22 24:00
4. 8:10 32:10
5. 9:14 41:24
6. 9:38 51:02

halfway 56 something

On the way back, I was just cruising downhill, trying to let gravity do all of the work. I passed the 6 mile mark going in the other direction before I realized that the only mile markers on the way back were the same ones we had on the way out.
The mile from 5 miles left to 4 miles left I did in 7:02. The one from 6 to 5 was steeper, and I'm sure it was faster, but I didn't get that split. Here's how it went downhill:

5 miles left - 8.1 miles out: 16:07 1:07:09 (7:40 pace from 6 to 8.1)
4 - 9.1: 7:02 1:14:11
3 -10.1: 7:31 1:21:42
2 -11.1: 7:33 1:29:15
1 -12.1: 7:27 1:36:42
0 -13.1: 8:19 1:45:01

I was 5th in my age group, but 1st and second in that age group were 4th and 5th overall. I was 36th overall out of 353 runners. That was a very respectable time for that course, and I'm very pleased with my race.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Foothills YMCA 5K/Run For Literacy 5K

This past weekend I ran the Ahwatukee Foothills YMCA 5K on Saturday and the Run For Literacy 5K at the Glendale Public Library on Sunday. Both of these races were timed by the Arizona Road Racers, a club that handles many of the races out here and usually does it well. the timing in both of these races was botched, so they gave awards on the days of the events based on order of finish instead of chip time.

Ahwatukee Foothills YMCA 5K

The YMCA race started at 8 AM. I had gotten there with time to jog over the course. It was a gradual uphill for the first half, at which point there was a 40 yard steep rise, then all downhill back to the finish. All of it is in suburban Phoenix blacktop streets.

In hindsight, I shouldn't have jogged the course. It's usually fine for me to do that, but it was a hot day already at 7:30 AM, and there were hills. I'll say it before anyone else points it out. It's hot, but not humid in Phoenix, so the conditions were nothing like Boston on Monday.
I started toward the back, mainly because I didn't feel like swimming through the crowd. I felt okay about being able to pass the slower runners once the race started, but it may have cost me some time in the first mile. I ran a disappointing 21:20. I ran a 5K on a tougher course in 21:34 at the end of March, and I thought I was in great shape for a PR this weekend.

splits
1. 6:37
2. 6:51 13:28
3. 7:18 20:45
3.1. 0:35 21:20

That third mile split is very strange, because as I said, the second mile had the big hill, and the third mile was all downhill. And I was pushing it. So I think the third mile was long.

Run For Literacy 5K

The next morning was cold, probably in the 50s. I know, to many of you, that doesn't sound cold, but remember it was in the 80s the morning before. We get used to being warm.
I didn't warm up very much before the start either, because I got there kind of late.
Once again I lined up toward the back of the pack. It was a smaller crowd in this race, and I was able to move at my pace once the race started.
The course was perfectly flat, paved streets around Glendale Community College and the library. I never saw the 1 mile marker, but someone told me it was probably placed at about the 1K point in the race, because his split there was 4:39. I reached the two mile mark in 13:20.
Shortly after that, I passed a 10 year-old girl, Nathalie Nguyen. I didn't see her again until after the finish, but I heard people cheering for her every time she came around a corner behind me.
She ran the 5K in 21:33. (gun time since the chip timing was screwed up)
My gun time was 21:22, but my watch time was 20:56. Still disappointing, but at least I can blame it on having run a race the day before.

I haven't run since Sunday. Lots of things going on is all. I feel like I have no time to breathe.
I'll take another shot at the 20 minute 5K this weekend, then forget it for a while.

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

ARR Open Mile

I know I was supposed to do my Doctorvals, and I said that was my plan, but I wasn't thinking about the fact that the Arizona Road Racers were having one of their Open Miles yesterday.
Monday I bought a pair of racing shoes, Brooks Racer STs, for my 5K on 4/17, and this was going to be my first test of them, whatever I ran. I decided to go ahead and do the mile and see if I could still do the Doctorvals after.
These Open Miles are pretty neat events. They are just a little more formal than a track work out, and a little less than a real race. They have a group start, call out your splits on the quarter miles, have a big, digital clock so you can see your time as you come down the starting straightaway on each lap, ring a big bell for the last lap, and record your time. No charge except club membership.
There are two heats, the first for folks who expect to finish in over 7 minutes, and the second for sub-seven minute milers. A lot of the faster people use the first heat as a warm up. I ran the first three laps of the first heat at two minutes a lap, then stepped off and just moved around to stay loose.
I started the mile a couple of steps back from the line. I knew a lot of the guys there were much more serious about the mile than I was.
One of them did a sub-5 mile as a warm up.

The mile:
1/4: 1:26
1/2: 2:54 1:28
3/4: 4:31 1:37
1mi: 6:07 1:36

I'm very happy with that, much improved from the last time I did this, and for the first two laps, I felt great.
Then I started jogging around, waiting for the crowd to thin out so I could start my scheduled workout. After the miles, a large group of people usually run descending distances to complete a track workout, 1200 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters.
At the same time, other members of the club are getting together in the parking lot for pizza and drinks. (no beer since the school doesn't allow it)

I decided to slip into the 400, and did it in 80 seconds.

Then i jogged another lap and started my 200s. the track i usually do these on is sand. this one is rubberized. i've been doing these intervals in training shoes. Last night I had on my new racing flats.

1. 34.06
1:29
2. 36.38
1:29
3. ???

At the start of the third 200, I pushed the stop button instead of the split button, so I got no time. Then I walked off and got some pizza. I don't know why I stopped. I was tired. I goofed up my time. I was self-conscious because the timer and some of the volunteers were still hanging around and I felt like they were watching me. I told myself it was two weeks to my race, so I could do the workout another day, like maybe Thursday.
Last night I was pretty jazzed. After a lot of hard running, including the fastest mile I've run in years, I easily whipped off a faster 200 than I have in a while.
But I should have gone ahead and finished the workout. I just let one little thing throw me off track.
However, I am fairly certain I can break 20 minutes on 4/17.



Monday, April 5, 2004

Mummy Mountain 10 Mile 2004

It used to be the Mummy Mountain Madness, but now they're calling it the Roy Hay Memorial Mummy Mountain 10 Mile Run. Roy Hay was a popular local runner and the director of this race until he passed away. The race still seemed like madness to me.
I think I told you it was billed as having "just enough hills to make it interesting." It was interesting enough for a mountain goat. Sir Edmund Hillary would have found it interesting.
But it had lots of flat, too. Really, it was a great race with lots of variety. The weather was fairly close to perfect. It was slightly overcast, and early in the morning it was sunny but cool, a very rare combination in Phoenix.
The first 3 miles were fairly flat, with long, straight stretches, but I was anticipating the coming incline, so I reined myself in.
Mummy Mountain was looming overhead.
I didn't get the first mile split.
2. 14:26 (7:13)
3. 21:31 7:05
Then there was some climbing. At the same time, the streets became curvy, following the contours of the terrain, hiding ups and downs, mostly up, around each bend.
4. 29:16 7:45
Then we came back down out of the hills.
5. 35:55 6:39
6. 43:08 7:13
Just before mile six, the runners could see the school where the race started and would finish, just a couple blocks away.
Then we turned back up into the hills.
7. 50:38 7:30
8. 58:10 7:31
These last two miles were fairly flat. It seems from my splits that the last mile marker must have been off, mile 9 must have been long, and mile 10 short.
But I was darn tired going into mile 9, and I concentrated on putting everything I could into the last one.
9. 1:05:46 7:37
10. 1:12:40 6:53
This was a really good run for me over a hilly course. I'm very happy with my time. It was a very competitive race, though. I was 7th in my age group in spite of running a pace which got me 3rd in a 10K the week before.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

DC Ranch 5K/10K Double 2004

Earlier I said if I went to the DC Ranch Run, I'd run the 10K. If not, I'd run 20 with the East Valley Runners.
So I thought about it, and decided that doing both the 5K and 10K would be almost as good as doing a long run, but I would get to race, too.
The 5K would start at 8:25, and the 10K was at 9. Plenty of time for both.
I felt very tight in the 5K. I wasn't sure what the course would be like, and it turned out to be all rolling hills. Steep rolling hills.
My quads felt pretty tight the whole race, and the late start made it very warm. I could see a couple of runners in my age group pass me near the first mile point, but try as I might, I couldn't catch them. I finished fourth in my age group in 21:34.
It turns out it was a very competitive age group, and by that, I don't mean that we were all fast. I mean that there were seven of us within a couple of minutes of each other. There were runners in my division 2 and four seconds behind me. So it's good that I kept pushing to the finish.
My splits:

6:45
14:02 7:27 (This mile marker had to be wrong.)
21:34 7:32 6:51 (For 1.1 miles.)
6:57 pace

The 10K included the entire 5K course, the first half at the start, and finishing along the same route, but with a long trip into the foothills, part way up a mountain, and back down.
Where the 10K course split off from the 5K course, a volunteer was saying, "Turn right and take the sidewalk." Well, some of us went on the sidewalk, and others stayed on the street. The sidewalk had more turns and dips than the street, so some of us did a little more than others. I was a little bothered by it, but I don't think it mattered much since it was only for a few yards.
It was getting very hot out, too. I drank as much as I could while running and threw water over myself at every water station.
I didn't feel as tight as I had in the 5K. I was able to settle into a more comfortable race pace. You can see some of the uphills and downhills in my splits. I held my own on the uphills, and did very well passing people on the downhills.
I ran a 45:09, and took third in my division.

7:17
22:23 15:06 7:33
29:28 7:04
36:45 7:17
43:49 7:04
45:09 1:20 6:40
7:17 pace

There were no awards or medals, just a discount at the local running store. I got $10 off for finishing 3rd. First and second were worth $25 and $15 off. It's all right, I got a nice shirt off the clearance rack, but I would've like to have gotten some race junk to
put on my shelf.
Oh well, it was a great way to spend Saturday morning.
I was pretty tired the rest of the day, and a little sore this morning.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Valley of the Sun Marathon 2004

I'm sure some of you are asking yourselves things like, "Isn't Jerry ever embarrassed to report on his marathons?" or "When is Jerry going to wise up and train correctly for a marathon?" or "Why doesn't Jerry pace himself better so he doesn't have to hobble in to the finish of a marathon?"

Well, yeah, I am kind of embarrassed to post my marathon results sometimes. I swear I'll train for a marathon before the end of the year. I don't know if I'll ever get the knack of pacing myself properly for 26.2 miles.
Leading up to Valley of the Sun, I knew I needed to get in some long runs, but there were too many little races going on every weekend. I have a limited amount of time and energy. I'd tell myself I could run a race and a long run in the same weekend, or a long run in the middle of the week, but I'd do the race and not the training.
Lack of discipline killed me. Between the Pacific Shoreline Marathon and Valley of the Sun, I ran six races, and no long training runs. On one occasion other than the half marathon race, I ran 13 miles.

2/8 Runners Den Classic 10K
2/15 Desert Classic Half Marathon
2/21 Foothills 10K
2/24 ARR Open Mile
2/28 Run to the Sun 5.5 mile hill climb
2/28 Diamond Run 3 mile
3/13 Chandler Gold Medal 5K

So I didn't train for the long haul, and I got used to racing at a faster pace. That last 5K, the day before the marathon, was just the final disrespect to the distance.
The Valley of the Sun is a very fast, downhill course. The downhill is all in the first half, and after that it levels out. There is one steep uphill near mile 16, but it's just a bump in the road, and it really is just giving back what we had gained in a steep downhill near mile 15.
Results posted for this race include an interesting statistic you don't usually get, your relative place at the chip splits along the course.
Here are the gruesome details:

SPLIT TIME PLACE PACE
10k: 0:46:44 64 7:31
Half: 1:38:37 55 7:31
20 Mile: 2:40:06 68 8:00
FINISH: 3:58:41 116 9:06

I have plenty of other excuses for a bad performance. It was getting very warm in the second half of the race, high 70s to low 80s.
My blood sugar wasn't bad at the half, but was out of control when I checked it at 21 miles. It most have been rising steadily for those seven miles. I had decided to cut my insulin basal rate even more than I usually do, and see if I could do with eating less, then during the race I forgot about that adjustment.
My calves were cramping during the last mile. I would jog a few blocks, start to cramp, walk a little, then start jogging again.
The finish line was on the track in the stadium at Red Mountain High School. I jogged as far as I could, then stopped and started walking while I was still a few yards from the end. Someone in the crowd yelled at me to run. I can't imagine that anyone who knows what it's like to do this would yell something like that. I knew my priorities at that point. It wasn't worth it to me to make my legs cramp up just to cut a few seconds off my time.

So here's my trouble. I haven't committed to training to run a great marathon. Similarly, I haven't committed to training to run a great 5K.
About all I'm committed to doing is running for fun.
If a race sounds like fun, I'll probably do it, marathon or 5K.
This works fine for short races if you enjoy competition but you don't really care if you get a medal. But it's a painful way to run marathons, especially if you feel compelled to compete, which I do.

Marathoning well takes discipline. I know. Out of 24 marathons, I've run three or four in which I was somewhat comfortable.

I'm looking at training to run the Whiskey Row Marathon, May 1.
But I'm also looking at the other races around town before then.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Chandler Gold Medal Run 5K 2004

They held a race in my neighborhood on my birthday, Saturday, and I couldn't resist. It's little race around Desert Breeze Park, which is less than a mile from where I live. It was almost completely un- promoted, and a friend of mine said that he and his wife had finished first in their age groups for the past two years. He wasn't running it this year because he and his wife were going to run the Valley of the Sun Marathon on Sunday.
So Saturday morning I jogged over to Desert Breeze, registered for the run, and did this 5K in 21:28. It's all very flat, blacktop through suburbs around the park.
The weather was perfect. It had just rained earlier in the morning.
It was overcast and cool for the race.
I started off running about 90%, not wanting to go all out. For the first mile and a half (no mile markers) I was in about sixth place and didn't see anyone close to my age ahead of me. At close to half way, a guy my age caught up with me, and I dueled with him for about fifty yards, then decided I didn't want to work too hard.
I didn't want to be too sore for Valley of the Sun the next day.
In the end, I got 10th overall, and 2nd in my age group. It was a cherry-picking race. While I'm sure I could have gotten a better time, I'm not sure I could have moved up a position in my age group. The guy who took first ended up with a time very close to my PR, and I'm not sure he couldn't have run faster if I pressed him.
Anyway, I had fun on my home track, and came away with some race junk.

Friday, March 5, 2004

Running in the Rain

A local running store, the Scottsdale Running Company, holds group runs on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I had planned on going to the Thursday night run, and headed over there after work, even though the weather wasn't looking too good. It was raining on and off all day.
When I got there, it was raining, and only a few other people had shown up. A couple of them decided not to run, but five of us started out into the rain.
I tried to run around the deep puddles at first, but within a mile that was obviously futile. I was wet through, from my hair to my toes.
It was just raining as we started about 6:10 pm, but there were soon some bolts of lightning across the sky, followed in two or three seconds by crashes of thunder. It was getting very dark, both from the sun going down and from the clouds thickening. It was really pouring after about three miles.
As we started back towards the store, along Hayden Road, we were going into the wind. The lightning had come closer, and I saw it come toward the ground. Often you will see a lot of lightening out here, but it will all stay in the sky.
For a couple of minutes, we were pelted by tiny pieces of hail that melted quickly on the ground. They added just a touch of sharpness to the cold rain.
Passing cars on Hayden couldn't help but throw water on us from the flooded road. I ran to the far right side of the sidewalk, but a couple of times the water would splash over me as high as my left shoulder. I don't know how, but the water from the road felt even colder and wetter than the rain.
Within a couple of blocks of being finished, everything went white, brighter than sunlight, so that I couldn't see. That was followed immediately by a crash of thunder. I stopped in my tracks. Another runner passed me and I shouted, "That was scary!" He just said, "Yeah!" and kept going full speed.
We all survived. It was quite an adventure for a workday.



Monday, March 1, 2004

Run to Sun/Dog Jog/Diamond Run Report

Run to the Sun, Climb to Conquer Cancer 5.5 mile hill climb

So it was nothing our Canadian associates would call cold. It was still cold enough for me to be shivering in my hat, gloves, long- sleeved shirt, vest, and tights. It was probably in the 30s or 40s before the start around 6:30. The glow of dawn was just starting to lighten the sky. The mountain was just a silhouette above us. The race is entirely on a blacktop park road. Dobbins Point is at 1200 feet, but we weren't starting at sea level. Someone said that it was a thousand foot climb, but that may have just been a round number
estimate.
I jogged back and forth to stay warm, then lined up a few rows back from the front before the start. In the early going, I was close to the front, too close, I thought, so I eased up. The first mile and a half are rolling hills, ups and downs, inclines and declines of 20 to 100 yards, not amounting to much increase in elevation.
I got a split at a roadside marker at 1.5 miles: 11:15, a 7:30 mile pace.
The hill starts in earnest after that, and with the sun now up, you could see it coming from a long way off, a diagonal slash across the face of the mountain. That long, gradual rise continues for about two miles.

2.0 3:55 15:10
2.5 4:21 19:30
(combined for an 8:16 mile)
3.5 8:38 28:08

I had planned not to let anyone pass me after the three mile mark. My weakness in several races has been to go fast at the start, lose focus in the middle of a race, and finish strong. I thought if I focused on the middle of the race, the start and finish would take care of themselves.

4.5 8:49 36:57

In that mile from 3 and a half to 4 and a half miles, there is one long, steep climb, a curve around a corner where it levels off a little, then another long, steep climb.
I was gaining on one runner ahead of me, but someone caught up with me from behind. I hung with him for a while. We both continued to gain on that runner ahead, but after 30 yards I let him go. I kept him close enough so that I had a hope of catching him at the end.
The last mile is lots of up and down again until you get to the final steep climb of about 150 yards. I closed on the runner who had passed me, and he closed on the runner ahead of him, but once we hit that final incline we were in the positions we would finish with.

5.5 8:24 45:21

The runner ahead of me was a 40 year old who took 3rd in our age division. I took 4th, 14th over all out of 110 finishers.
I felt I had a pretty good race, and the view of Phoenix from the top is worth the trip.

Dog and Jog Furry Fun Run 2K

The organizers of the Run to the Sun had told us that we would be able to get a bus ride down from the top, and I was counting on that to be able to make it to Papago Park by 9 am for the next race. After waiting for a long time, though, I had to decide if it would be wiser to wait for a bus or to just run down myself.
I ran down and got to the parking lot in time to see the first bus starting up to the top. It was already too late for me to make it in time to run the Dog and Jog, but I did get there in time to seem my wife, Sue, finish with my bitch, Penny. They had a good time. Penny enjoyed it more than Sue, who got pulled down by Penny and bruised her elbow.
So I missed competing in that one. From the times I heard, it's pretty likely that Penny could have gotten a medal if I had been able to take her.

Diamond Run, 44 Home Runs, 3 mile run

This race was scheduled to start at 5 pm, but was delayed for about 20 minutes, apparently waiting for all of the gates at the Peoria Sports Complex to be opened and for all of the race volunteers to get in position. As it turned out, the wind, which had been blowing hard, started to die down, so it worked out.
This was partly through a parking lot, but mostly on the warning tracks of the seven baseball fields where the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners hold their Spring Training. It was a little like a track race, in the fact that it was absolutely flat, the surface we were running on was mostly red grit, and a lot of the time you could look across a field and see your competition.
I wasn't sure how I would run, so I just pushed hard the whole way.
There were no mile markers, so I got no splits. I ran most of the race a few steps behind a guy who looked to be about my age. I finally passed him probably in the early part of the third mile.
I ran a 20:42.
That's a 6:54 mile pace or 28 seconds per home run.
I've had a better time in a 5K, and I'm sure I could have done better if I hadn't run up a mountain that morning, but what I did was good enough for 15th overall and 3rd in my age group.
I got a souvenir baseball that says, "2004 Diamond Run Winner." Pretty cool.

So I had a busy weekend. I didn't do the MBA 5K that I was thinking about doing on Sunday. I had really decided to run those three races on Saturday because they were all unique. The race on Sunday wasn't that special to me.
Hope the rest of you had a great weekend.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Foothills 10K 2004

In July of 2002, when I was 43 years old, I ran a 10K in 43:41, and I thought I could easily get my 10K time under my age. I ran six more 10Ks that year, all in less than 45 minutes, but all over 43:40.
Until yesterday, I'd run four 10Ks at the age of 44, and all of them were over 45 minutes.
Yesterday's race was predominantly downhill, a very fast course, but with lots of ups and downs. I wouldn't describe it as easy, but i have to admit it was fast.

Downhill first two miles:

1. 6:17
2. 6:47 13:04

Mile 3 it starts to be rolling hills:

3. 7:10 20:14
4. 6:58 27:12

Mile 5 has the longest uphill, and my quads are feeling like stone.

5. 7:42 34:54

During that fifth mile, someone has latched onto me and is running on my heels.
He isn't really drafting, because there's no wind. I try to step to one side, but he follows me. I try to lose him on a downhill, and he drops back a little, but catches me on the uphill, even though I'm trying to pull away.
Sixth mile is more typical of the rest of the race, rolling, but with more down than up.
With about half a mile to go, the guy behind finally passes, and it's a highschool kid in a spiderman tee shirt. I'm relieved he's not in my age group.

6. 7:03 41:57

Coming into the finish I'm trying to kick, but I'm suddenly in a crowd of people catching up with me. I must have worn myself out because there's not much left as I cross the line.

6.2 1:19 43:16

I finally beat my age. I set a new masters PR. I ran a pretty good, even, fast pace. I know it was gravity-assisted, but it wasn't easy. I flew downhill, but I fought uphill, too. I was sore today. This is a USATF certified 10K course.

If it's at all possible, I think I'll run this one again next year.



Sunday, February 15, 2004

Desert Classic Half Marathon 2004

I got up Sunday morning and couldn't find my race watch. Couldn't find my favorite race shorts. Couldn't find my favorite pump pack for my insulin pump. Couldn't find my power gel.
Well, at least I knew that it was just a few miles up the 101 freeway to get to this race.
So I drove the one mile west to the freeway to find that it was closed. I had to take surface streets. I got there in time to hear the starting instructions and the gun go off as I was approaching the registration table. I walked over to the table and asked if it was too late to get into the half, and they said it was fine. A woman had just registered before me. Another guy came over and registered after I was heading to the start. I stopped and put my sweatshirt next to a lamp post, put the chip on my shoe with a plastic cable tie, crumpled up and stuffed my race number into my pocket, and started to run.
This was a very flat course, the first part looping through farmland usually used for cotton, but currently barren, and the later miles along the top of a canal bank.
The canal portion is loose dirt, and slows you down a bit, but it's a pretty fast course.
I had a lot of fun. I was passing people through the whole race, but it got harder and harder to catch them, and they looked more and more athletic, as I moved up through the pack. I had no clear splits. There were mile markers, it seemed like every two miles, but I wasn't sure when I started, and I wasn't using a stop watch. I was sure I was running a pretty good pace for me.
I ran this race as a training run for the Valley of the Sun Marathon next month.
I ran a ten mile hill run the day before, and I thought doing this race after that would be almost as good a long run. And more fun.
Anyway, I passed a runner near the 10 mile point, and he said, "That's the way to do it." Then he stuck on my heels as I kept trying to push it to the finish. I kept picking off other runners, but he stayed with me. Finally with about half a mile to go, he passed me, and said, "That's the way."
I tried to keep up, but consoled myself with the fact that by chip time I was probably five minutes ahead of him.
When I crossed the line, the clock said 1:45 something. I knew that wasn't right, but I didn't know until today that my official chip time was 1:38:58.
I'm pretty happy with it, knowing I can run a faster half. I think this was a good workout, and good for me psychologically.

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Guilt and Passion, Running and Racing, Sucking and Not

A lot of similar thoughts floating around here.

There's no reason for feeling "guilty" or like you are any less of a runner because you prefer one kind of race to another. That's a little like thinking you're not really an artist if you draw with charcoal but you don't sculpt in marble.
Actually, though, it doesn't matter if you even ever want to race at all. For a lot of reasons, I like to race, but if I could never race again, I would still run, and enjoy it.

I don't really like the comparisons made between marathons and 5 and 10 K races. It's apples and oranges. But apples and oranges are still both fruits.

By most ways of measuring it, of course it is harder to run a marathon. Assuming you are trying to get the fastest possible time, a marathon takes longer to run, longer to prepare, and longer to recover.
You can say that you've run a very hard 10 K. You might say it was as hard to do as a marathon. But imagine running that 10 K after running 20 miles. Would that make it easier?
It's interesting to me that elite marathoners will often comment on how tough it must be for those who are running hours after the leaders finish. I don't think there is the same sympathy for 30 and 40 minute 5 K runners. It is just easier to run that distance.

From running track, cross country, and 5 and 10 K road races, I know that other distances present their own challenges. Racing a mile, you try to squeeze every fraction of a second out of every stride.
Running a 5K, a loss of focus for a few yards can make a noticeable difference in your time.
Running a marathon, at least at my pace, is completely different. I'm not at all concerned about the seconds passing early in the race.
What's important is that I feel comfortable. There's no time to be that comfortable in those shorter races.
If the first lap of a mile is easy, you're not racing. When you come to the end of a 5 K, you should be out of breath and exhausted.
But then when you get 20 miles into a marathon, you have a different kind of exhaustion, something you will never experience in a shorter race, and you will have miles to go.

But I was a runner for about 25 years before I was a marathoner. I'm really not much of a marathoner now. And I'm not an ultra-marathoner.
I'm not less of a runner than I would be if I ran ultras. I wasn't less of a runner than I am now before I ran a marathon. I'm not less of a runner than I would be if I was faster.
It's all just different races, or different kinds of running. Marathons aren't for everyone. Racing isn't for everyone. It's all good.



Sunday, February 1, 2004

Pacific Shoreline Marathon 2004

time
--------
3:51:09

overall
--------
251/768

men
----
198/516

div M40-44
-----------
53/113

My wife pointed out that I've done a lot of marathons on the same road, what they call the Pacific Coast Highway or PCH in Southern California, or Highway 1 or the Coastal Highway in Northern California. It's the highway that hugs the coast from Mexico to Canada.
The San Francisco Chronicle Marathon, which I've run twice, usually has a stretch on the Great Highway, that part of Highway 1 on the edge of the beach on the west side of San Francisco. I say "usually" because that marathon course is always changing. I've run that marathon twice, on two different courses. It has had at least 10 variations since the 70's when it was first run.
Big Sur is essentially all on Highway 1, from Big Sur to Carmel, one of the most awe-inspiring roads in the world. I've run that twice.
Late last year I also ran the Long Beach Marathon. It isn't run on the PCH, but crosses over it and back again. And I've run the Golden Gate Headlands Marathon, on trails, dirt roads, and minor side roads between the Coastal Highway and the coast.
Then, of course, this past Sunday I ran the Pacific Shoreline Marathon in Huntington Beach.

It was just cool in the morning, not really cold. The prediction was that it would be in the 40s F, and that seems about right. I checked in my sweats and went down to the start with about 5 minutes to spare. The start was about ten minutes late, but I was just starting to get a little chilly, hopping up and down and tucking my arms into my t-shirt to stay warm.

* marks time at timing chip pads

blood sugar 180

start north on PCH

1 mile
8:07

Hoping to run 8 minute miles to run a 3:30 and qualify for Boston. 8:07 was a good, relaxed start.

2 miles
7:32
15:39

3 miles
7:25
23:05

4 miles
7:40
30:45

I knew I was going a little faster than I wanted, but I think there was a slight downhill grade. The speed I was going felt very easy.

onto beach multi-use path

power gel

Local school kids were manning the water stations. For the most part they did a great, enthusiastic job. There was a problem the whole day, though, with over-eager volunteers crowding out so far onto the course that runners had to go farther to get around them.

6 miles
15:13 (7:37)
45:58

* 10K, 6.2 miles- 47:28
pace = 7:39

The lead runners passed going in the other direction. Because this course is back and forth, this happens several times. It's exciting and provides a boost. I probably didn't need to get any more excited, still exceeding my pace.

7 miles
7:30
53:28

9 miles
15:27 (7:44)
1:08:54

turnaround

10 miles
7:44
1:16:38

power gel

11 miles
7:51
1:24:29

I noticed I was slowing down. We were out of the crowds of spectators and running a long, straight path by the beach. No real distractions, but I thought I was losing my focus.

12 miles
8:19
1:32:49

back onto PCH

13 miles
8:05
1:40:54

* 13.1 miles, 1/2 mar.- 1:41:44
pace = 7:46

14 miles
8:00
1:48:54

I felt really good about my pace over those two miles around the half marathon and the turn back onto the highway. 8 minute miles were going by like no big deal. I hadn't checked my blood sugar, but had been fueling based on previous experience. I decided to test to verify I was okay.

blood sugar 115

glucagel

My blood sugar was okay, but it wasn't even a little bit high, so I knew that I was burning glucose as fast as I was taking it in and I would go low if I didn't do something.

15 miles
8:28
1:57:22

I had been ahead of pace the whole race, got my blood sugar and ate a gel during that mile, so a little over 8 minutes was fine for me.

into hills

There was one short, steep rise on the highway, then around the corner inland into neighborhoods, and hills.

16 miles
9:03
2:06:25

17 miles
8:53
2:15:18

I wasn't happy with what was happening to my pace, but it was easy to blame it on the terrain. I was thinking to myself, "It's not supposed to be easy. Focus. Pump your arms. Keep up the pace."

into the park

19 miles
16:44 (8:22)
2:32:02

I thought there were a lot of kids on the beach, but there were even more in the Huntington Beach Central Park. There were way more kids than were needed to provide water. Most of them were just cheering and shouting encouragement. It was really helpful at this point in the race.
I was able to run pretty well over the slightly undulating, curving trails through the park. It always seems like I'm going faster in a park like that anyway. I was happy when I finally saw a mile marker and could check my time. I thought I had a chance if I could run fast coming down from the neighborhoods back to the highway by the beach.

20 miles
9:07
2:41:09

out of park

At 2:41 just before leaving the park, I had was behind my goal pace, and feeling like I was just hanging on. I tried to tell myself it was possible if I was just tough enough, but I didn't feel tough.

22 miles
20:34 (10:17)
3:01:43

There was probably a fast mile and a slow one in the 20 minutes between mile 20 and mile 22. There was a significant hill approaching mile 22. It was making it hard to imagine finishing close to 3:30.

hammer gel

* 22.1 miles- 3:02:48
pace = 8:16

23 miles
11:06
3:12:49

This was a mostly downhill mile, but the best I could do was not good. As my goal time disappeared, my motivation faded, too.

back onto PCH, headwinds

When I got back onto the highway, there was a fairly good headwind that would have been annoying if I was just out for a run. At this point on this day it was like the final insult, the last straw. I ran into it for a minute before I gave in to the urge to turn around and force my way through it running backwards. I had four empty lanes ahead of me, so there was no danger. People were catching up and passing me, but I don't think I could have run faster going forward.
I counted off a hundred steps, then turned around and started trying to run again. I thought about tucking in behind someone and drafting, but no one was going slow enough for me to stick with them.

24 miles
13:40
3:26:29

At some point while I was trudging along, someone came along from behind me and started to pass. I decided to try to run with him for a while. I quickly found that it was too easy to run with him and I left him behind and started passing some of the other runners.
I probably ran part of this mile at a 9 minute pace or better, because I know I started it at a 13 minute pace. I don't know where that energy came from, but I will try to remember where I found it in the future.

25 miles
10:24
3:36:53

* 26.1 miles 3:51:09
pace = 8:53

blood sugar 106

I've never been to a marathon where providing food and water at the end was handled so cavalierly. One year at Silicon Valley, they made us walk more than a hundred yards to get to the food. But the water was right there, and they told us where the food was.
At Pacific Shoreline this year, I walked out the end of the chute looking for water and there was none in sight. I asked an official who gave me imprecise directions. ("Over there.") I didn't find out where the food was until after I had gotten a shower and come back to get a shirt for my Mom.
I would heartily recommend this race, though, for the weather, the scenery, the crowd support, the lack of a huge crowd, the presence of a moderate crowd, great organization in general, just a couple of rough spots. Looking at reviews in MarathonGuide.com, every year people complain that the course map doesn't show the mileage at any points along the course, and there's no elevation map. But they don't change it.
I can't be too unhappy with this. I still haven't qualified for Boston, and this was the last chance to do it for this year. But this was my third fastest marathon, and it was only 3 weeks after the last one.
I had fun. It was a beautiful day in a wonderful little city. And I have that incredible Medal.
This race does leave me believing that I can run 3:30 if I take more time for the preparation and do it right.
I'll have to think about my pacing, too. It just feels so comfortable to run around 7:45, and so uncomfortable to force myself to slow down more than that in a race.

Oh, well, I will run the Valley of the Sun Marathon in six weeks. It should be good.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Lost Dutchman Half Marathon 2004

I hadn't planned on racing at all this weekend, but the Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon was such a bust for me that I wanted to do something to feel like I could still run. I want to run the Pacific Shoreline Marathon on February 1st, the last possibility for a Boston qualifier, but I wasn't sure I could be recovered enough. So I decided to test myself with the Lost Dutchman Half. I decided that if I could do better than the first half of R'N'R AZ then I would be okay to run Pacific shoreline. If I crashed and burned in this half, I would just forget any more marathons this season.
This course was rolling hills, some of them steep, with a little more pavement than dirt road, but some of both. Not fast and flat.
I felt great through the whole run. I hit the eight mile mark at almost exactly one hour, then started to fall off the 7:30 pace, but still finished in 1:41:54. I'm really happy with that time for a half on a tough course the week after a marathon.
I'm going ahead with the Pacific Shoreline Marathon at Huntington Beach in two weeks. Let the chips fall where they may, I'll give it a shot.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon 2004

A tale of two days.
It was a glorious day. It was a sh***y day.
Because of my goal finish time, I was put in corral #2 of 16. I felt lucky as I passed all of the other corrals and got closer and closer to the start.
The start was half an hour late. Rumor was they had trouble getting everyone shuttled from the parking at the finish to the start.
Standing around waiting, I met a type 1 diabetic from Martha's Vinyard. This was his 13th marathon. He had the same goal pace as me, but he has run many faster marathons. We talked insulin and glucometers and such before the national anthem. The anthem was played by a jazz trumpet soloist, and it was as moving as any rendition I've ever heard, especially standing within yards of the nearest flag, hanging from the mast of the USS Arizona.
I felt great for the first 8 miles. I enjoyed the bands and the cheerleaders for the whole race. It would have been great. I was actually peeved around mile 10 to pass an empty stage. We're out there running for hours. I wasn't an hour behind first place at that point in the race. But one of the bands was already taking a break. Hardly rocking instead of rocking hard.
Anyway, I guess my GI tract wasn't fully recovered from whatever I had earlier this week. At around mile 8 or after, I started to have the runs. I couldn't go very far without stopping to try to restrain myself from crapping my pants.
Eventually it was futile. I made a 4 minute pit stop right after the half marathon point. Tried to clean up in a portajohn.
I know the stories of elite marathoners finishing and even winning marathons in spite of this problem, but I didn't have that much to gain. I finished the race, but I took several long stops along the way.
It was a fantastic race. Not ideal for me, but certainly great for thousands of others.

Here's my splits from the results. I have mile splits, but you don't need any more gory details.

10K: 48:33
Half: 1:44:35
20 miles: 3:12:21
Time: 4:27:54