Thought for the Day

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Summary of 2006

Running achievements in 2006.

No PRs.

1500+ miles run.
292 race miles run.
35 races, more if you count ARR Open Miles.
4 marathons, 4 half marathons, 6 10Ks, 13 5Ks, and other stuff.
Age group medals in 10 races.
I was second overall in the ARR Grand Prix Series.
In May I ran rim to rim in the Grand Canyon, two days in a row.
In October I went to the Twin Cities Marathon as a guest of the title sponsor, Medtronic.
Six days after Twin Cities I ran the St. George Marathon, two marathons in a week.

So the year had its ups and downs. Even though I didn't achieve things I put on my list of goals, I did a lot of things I didn't know would be possible. It was a good year.

Place Sex   Div   Div   Age Time    Pace Date     Race Name
      Place Place
    4    --     1 40-49X 47 2:17:36 7:24 12/17/06 ARR Desert Classic 30K Relay
  557   411    83  45-49 47 3:56:50 9:02 12/10/06 Tucson Marathon
  140   122    13  45-49 47 0:43:19 6:59 11/23/06 Mesa Turkey Trot 10K
  285   245    28  45-49 47 0:45:34 7:20 11/12/06 Phoenix New Times 10K
  122   101     9  45-49 47 0:21:18 6:52 11/12/06 Phoenix New Times 5K
   37    33     6  45-49 47 1:36:46 7:24 11/05/06 Phoenix YMCA Half Marathon
   43    35     6  45-49 47 0:58:27 8:21 10/14/06 Cactus Cha Cha 7 Mile Trail Run
 2739  1797   247  45-49 47 4:18:50 9:53 10/07/06 St. George Marathon
 1095   911   132  45-49 47 3:38:18 8:19 10/01/06 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon
   33    26     3  45-49 47 1:54:05 8:43 09/09/04 Tour De Pee Vee Half Marathon
  103    96     6  45-49 47 0:21:50 7:02 08/05/06 ARR Summer Series #5 5K
  121   112     6  45-49 47 0:21:21 6:53 07/22/06 ARR Summer Series #4 5K
   65    55    16  40-49 47 0:46:11 7:26 07/04/06 Run For Your Life 10K, Flagstaff
  114   103    10  45-49 47 0:21:24 6:54 07/01/06 ARR Summer Series #3 5K
   86    84     4  45-49 47 0:21:23 6:53 06/10/06 ARR Summer Series #2 5K
   63    61     5  45-49 47 0:21:33 6:57 05/27/06 ARR Summer Series #1 5K
   18    15     7  40-49 47 0:21:58 7:05 05/13/06 PAHH Home Run 5K
   32    26     3  45-49 47 1:46:09 8:06 05/06/06 Whiskey Row Half Marathon
   51    --     8 open-m 47 3:44:01 8:38 04/30/06 Big Sur Marathon Relay
   20    20     5  45-49 47 0:19:54 6:24 04/22/06 Walk to End Domestic Violence 5K
  133   125    10  43-49 47 0:28:48 6:51 04/15/06 Pat's Run 4.2M
   26    22     6  45-49 47 0:21:11 6:50 04/08/06 Ahwatukee YMCA 5K
   24    22     3  45-49 47 1:13:31 7:22 04/02/06 Roy Hay Mummy Mountain 10 Mile
   39    36     6  45-49 47 0:44:35 7:11 03/19/06 DC Ranch Run for Life 10K
   94    76    14  45-49 46 1:40:39 7:41 03/12/06 Valley of Gold Half Marathon
   --    --     3  45-49 46 0:21:47 7:02 03/04/06 Litchfield Park 5K
   18    18     3  45-49 46 0:43:28 7:01 03/04/06 Litchfield Park 10K
   10     9     1  45-49 46 0:44:56 8:11 02/25/06 Run to the Sun 5.5 Mile
    6     6     1  45-49 46 3:34:09 8:11 02/19/06 ARR Desert Classic Marathon
   17    16     2  45-49 46 0:20:30 6:36 02/11/06 Chinese New Year 5K
   61    49     9  45-49 46 0:44:20 7:09 01/29/06 Runner's Den Classic 10K
   48    43     7  45-49 46 0:21:01 6:46 01/29/06 Runner's Den Classic 5K
   39    33     7  45-49 46 2:12:54 9:42 01/07/06 Christiansen Trail 13.7 miles
   30    29     6  45-49 46 0:21:55 7:04 01/01/06 New Years Day 5K


Saturday, September 9, 2006

Tour de Pee Vee Half Marathon 2006

Tour de Pee Vee Half Marathon, Prescott Valley, AZ

I had a good run, but a lousy race.
It's a hilly course at close to a mile in altitude, and it was raining the whole race, but none of that spoiled it for me.
There just were not enough volunteers out on the course. There was water every couple of miles. The first water stop had only two people working there, handing out cups of water and Gatorade as fast as they could, but not fast enough. Many runners had no chance to get anything unless they stopped and waited. The second water stop had only one girl working there, even more overwhelmed. The third one had no one there, just a bag of cups and a couple of big orange jugs.
I ran pretty well up until about seven and a half miles into the race, then the group ahead of me missed a turn and I followed them. A lot of other people behind me followed along too. I don't know how many people stayed on course and how many got lost. I heard some others got a shortcut.
I ran over 14 miles. I heard from other people who ran 15 plus. It was totally random at the end. Your place in finishing had more to do with how far you ran and how long you were lost than how fast you ran. I lost more time asking for directions than going a mile off course.
I know that if you run enough races then sooner or later you get lost. It's happened to me before. I'm just disappointed because this race was part of the Grand Prix Series, so it affects my results for the year.
I can't complain too much. It was probably difficult to get volunteers out there in the rain.
Like I said, it was a good run. I actually like the course and the race, and I'll probably do it again. I like a course with challenge and variation more than something flat and boring.
The rain just kept it cool. When I did this race two years ago, it was hot. There were only a couple of times the wind kicked up enough to be a problem, so the storm wasn't a big deal.
I got an age group third, but out of only 5. The two ahead of me in my age group are faster than I am, so I can't claim I would have finished farther up without all the confusion.
1:54:05 for 14.1 miles, including time spent wondering which way to go and asking for directions.
Because no other runners in my age group in the Grand Prix ran this race, I moved into age group first place in the Grand Prix. I need to run at least three more of the five remaining Grand Prix races this year. I have a pretty good shot at it.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Cherry Picking Races

This is an article I wrote back in 2006 for the East Valley Runners club newsletter.

Cherry-Picking Races

If you already have a wall or a drawer or a closet full of medals and trophies you’ve won running, then you can skip this little article. You either already know everything I’m about to say, or you don’t need to know it.
But if, like me, you usually finish somewhere in the middle of the pack, and those age group medals always seem out of reach, let me give you some suggestions on how to find the low-hanging fruit.
Runners like us need to find the “cherry-picking” races, the races where just about anyone might walk off with a medal. These are the things I look for:

1.far from population centers
Is winning a medal worth the drive to Miami, AZ? I think so, but I’m semi-obsessed.

2. no long history
“Inaugural” is almost always a good word to see in a race description, with the notable exception of enormously over-hyped musical extravaganzas.
Races that have been around for a long time have collected a lot of loyal, hardcore runners, who come expecting to win each year.

3. not on all the major calendars
If you heard about it from your church flyer, but it’s not on the Arizona Road Racer’s online calendar, that’s a good sign. Keep it a secret.

4. on the same day as at least one other race
This goes for races at the same event. For races at the same event, remember, the longer the race, the tougher the competition. This is not to say that some fast guy or gal won’t sometimes spoil your day by choosing the 5K.
Even better than races at the same event are more popular races elsewhere. For example, if you can run an unpopular race out in Surprise on the same weekend as popular races in Cave Creek and Apache Junction.

5. not on a holiday or weekend
All of the big races will be on weekends, but that’s not what you’re looking for. And even the small races can get a good turnout near a holiday.
However, these holiday weekends often have too many races going on, so if you pick the right one, it works out.

6. five year age groups
One of the problems with smaller races is that sometimes they have age groups of ten years or more, or they do not give out any age group awards at all. It’s nice to find out if they will have five year age groups.

Well, those are my tips for finding the races where you can occasionally come away with some hardware. I hope this helps you, my fellow EVR members, but if you’re a male, 45-49, I hope it doesn’t help too much.
There are other methods to increase your odds of winning, but they are much more strenuous than this. And they require spending a significant amount of time running at the track.

Good luck, and see you at the races,

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Desert Classic Marathon 2006

I have to get this race written up before I run another one, so here goes.
This was a small race. It has usually been small, with maybe a hundred runners, but last year there were a lot of organizational problems.
This year it was the same day as the Lost Dutchman Marathon on the other side of the Phoenix metropolitan area, which was much more promoted.
So there were only about fifty marathoners, and a little over 150 half marathoners, at the Desert Classic.
It was a nice morning in Surprise, just a little cold. I know many of you are more used to freezing temperatures than I am, so it might not have seemed that cold to you. But it was cold to me. I stayed in my car as long as I could.
I got to the start with just two minutes to go and started moving up through the pack toward the front. Then they delayed the start while trying to figure out a mixup that had happened with a few of the numbers and chips. The announcer kept calling out names of people they needed to come forward and show their numbers. This took about 10 minutes, and before the end of it, people were shivering and shouting to start.
It was just a little crowded in the first quarter mile, then I had room to go my own pace.
The course is uphill 350 feet to mile nine, then down 170 feet to the turnaround, then back up 170 feet to mile 17, and downhill, more or less, from there.
I had decided to stay close to my goal pace of 8 minutes per mile even on the hills. Chugging along at close to that pace near mile 5, a guy in a red singlet came along side me and asked what my goal was. I was in a long sleeved shirt and gloves, and was still cold. I told him I was trying to break 3:30, and he guessed that I was between 45 and 49 years old. He was, too.
I mentioned that we were in the same age group, and he said he didn't care about placing in his age group, just about getting 3:30. The runner just behind us said, "Me too."
I said we were going about the right pace, but within a few minutes, the guy in the red shirt pulled away. I figured he had decided to beat 3:30 by a lot instead of a little. The other guy ran with me for a while, but dropped away. I knew that I was a little under the pace, so I thought maybe he was smarter than me, running a more conservative pace going uphill.
Both of those guys looked like serious runners, lean, rhythmic, focused.
While I was running with those guys, another runner came up. He seemed to be chatting everyone up like he was just out for a morning stroll.
He was kind of broad around the middle with skinny legs. He did not look so much like a runner.
But he was moving along effortlessly, and quickly left me behind. Then a few miles later, he caught up with me from behind again.
I said, "You must have taken a potty break."
He said, "No, but that's a good idea." and went off into the bushes.
I reached mile 9 where Jen was waiting to help me get a blood sugar reading, but I couldn't get the test strip to work. I have had that happen a few times with this meter I've been using for the past month. Jen went to get another strip and said she would catch up to me.
He caught up with me again and ran my pace for a while and told me some stories about running in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
I kept wondering where Jen was. I thought she and Sue would come driving up any minute. Then I heard her voice behind us talking to the guy at the water stop we had just passed. She had run a very fast mile to catch us!
While I was finally getting a reading, the guy from Indiana left me behind behind right before the halfway point.
I had no blood sugar problems the whole race, but testing was a pain. We had planned to test again on the way back, but gave up on it after the first try didn't work.
I caught the guy in the red shirt around mile 17.
I said, "We're going to get this thing." and he said, "Yeah." but he wasn't keeping up with me.
I really thought it was possible for me to finish in 3:30 at that point, because I was only a little behind the required pace, and the rest of the race is mostly downhill. But it was like I described when I ran the 30K here a few weeks ago, it was like the earth had tilted in the other direction, and it was uphill both ways.
A young, energetic, guy came up from behind at near 19 miles and said, "Let's get that guy ahead of us."
Because it is just a long, straight road, you can see far ahead. The runner he was talking about was at least a quarter mile up there.
I said, "You get him and hold him for me."
It turns out that young guy finished in 3:29.
I finished in 3:34. I could have cut a minute or two off of that, but I really had no ambition to get extremely close to running my BQ time again. When I passed the 25 mile point and I could see I would have to run a 6 minute mile to reach my goal, I eased up. I would have kicked more if anyone had been near me, either in front or behind, but I was running alone at the finish, as I was most of the day.
The round guy with skinny legs from Indiana was third overall in 3:27.
The red shirt who went out fast and came back slower ran it in 3:53, and the other guy in my age group ran it 4:18.
So my 3:34:09 was worth 6th place overall and first in my age group. I don't do that in a marathon very often.
I found a lot to learn in this race. I hope you got something out of it.
One thing I've been thinking about is how far I've come. I want to thank the Roads Scholars for their support and help over the years. It wasn't that long ago I was happy to break four hours in a marathon. I am now quite certain I can break 3:30. I just have to be ready at the right race.

01 7:51 0:07:51
02 7:58 0:15:50
03 7:47 0:23:37
04 7:42 0:31:20
05 7:58 0:39:19
06 8:07 0:47:26
07 7:59 0:55:25
08 8:07 1:03:32
09 8:04 1:11:37
10 8:03 1:19:40
11 8:05 1:27:46
12 7:44 1:35:30
13 7:49 1:43:19
14 7:53 1:51:13
15 8:03 1:59:16
16 8:34 2:07:50
17 8:15 2:16:05
18 8:26 2:24:32
19 8:20 2:32:52
20 8:18 2:41:10
21 7:59 2:49:10
22 8:20 2:57:31
23 9:03 3:06:34
24 8:51 3:15:26
25 8:18 3:23:45
26 9:46 3:33:31
26.2 0:37 3:34:09

Garmin said 26.09