Sunday, October 29, 2006


The La Jolla Legend races were postponed due to "Fire Danger & Red Flag Warnings" There are no specific fires in the area that I'm aware of, but with the dry hot Santa Ana winds blowing the conditions are right for a fire and for it to spread rapidly. The new race date is next weekend, which makes a little better sense schedule-wise anyway.

Thursday, I came home from work in a crabby mood. I was frustrated about the way a couple of things at work are going, about my darn hip bugging me most of the day and number #2 son procrastinating with his homework. I started to change into my running stuff and then decided the heck with it. Instead, I stayed home and shared my crabbiness with my wife and son. That was nice of me, huh?

Because my running plans for Saturday were postponed, I decided to go for a run in Chino Hills State Park. Friday evening I tried rounding up a partner. I gave Terry a call, but she was suffering from a pretty bad cold and had missed work the last two days. I tried Jesse, but he had an appointment at 9 on Saturday morning and had hurt his knee just a couple of days before.

My schedule (self imposed) called for 18 miles. With the planned 18k race that day, I originally thought I might make up the difference later in the afternoon with a jaunt through Bonelli. Last time I had run Chino Hills with the Cruisers and Jeff was a pretty tough effort at 16.2 miles so I didn't think I really wanted to go that far. I decided to just play it by ear, or I should say by legs, and determine the mileage as I went.

I got a slightly late start at 8:00 a.m. and headed into the back end of the park. I started up the North Ridge Trail. Within a mile, I ran into a runner heading out. He turned out to be the only runner I saw for the rest of the day. The North Ridge Trail is a relentless uphill for a good 4 miles before even a hint of down hill. After that there are a couple of down sections but overall the trail continues to climb. The last time I ran this with Jeff, Jesse, Michelle and Jim we headed down Sycamore Trail. Today I decided to keep on going out North Ridge until it eventually descended into Four Corners, the central hub of CHSP. This section of North Ridge had the steepest ascents yet, followed by a pretty steep decent into Four Corners. My efforts were rewarded with some amazing panoramic views of the valley and the mountains to the north. It was worth the steep hill. On this whole section I hadn't seen another soul for 3 or 4 miles. It was quite peaceful. I figured I had gone at least 6.5 miles. It had taken me 1:10, nearly 11 minute pace. I wasn't exactly sure how I felt about that.

My legs still felt really good at that point, much better than they had felt last week in Aliso Woods at 7 miles. I contemplated continuing east on Telegraph for a couple of miles before making the trip out, but ultimately decided that I should get out while the getting was good. I took a little break and talked to a couple of mountain bikers. They headed up Bovinian Delight to South Ridge and I headed back up North Ridge.

I intended on making my way out of CHSP down Telegraph, but before I did I added the little section back up the steep single track at the end of North Ridge and connected to McDermott Trail which led right back to Telegraph and added about a mile onto the run. Once I hit Telegraph it was a straight shot, roughly 6 miles out through the canyon back to the car.

Telegraph was way more popular than North Ridge. There were probably 20 or so bikers on the way in, in groups of 1 to 4. Near the end of the trail I came upon at least two groups of people hiking in. One biker I came across commented, "Hey, what happened? Did you lose your bike?" I thought that was pretty funny, maybe a little lame but better than being ignored. At one point I heard a pretty loud rustling to my left. More rustling than the birds would make. I looked up in time to see a deer crossing a small clearing. I stopped and ended up watching two more deer cross the clearing before I continued on.

My legs held up pretty well. They began to get tired but never to the state that they had the week before, i.e. no walk breaks required. I was a bit surprised at my time,at 1:14, on the way out considering the relatively flat to moderately downhill nature of Telegraph. This makes two weeks in a row that I've done the second "easy" half of a run in longer time than the first "hard" half. This doesn't make me feel too good about my current level of stamina. All together, I figure I covered about 13.5 miles at about 10:40 pace, way slow for my normal flatlander pace.

Sunday morning, I beat the alarm out of bed thanks to the end of daylight savings time. I drove over to Bonelli and got started at 7 PST (8 PDT). There was a significant line of cars trying to get into Bonelli. Some of them were parking in the Park & Ride lot. I was able to find a space. I asked someone in the line what was going on in Bonelli. It was the Muddy Buddy. They told me the race was scheduled to start at 8:30. This gave me plenty of time to get my run in and be out of there before it got started. The race route was marked and was only on the northern half of my loop. I got done today in 49:59, nearly 2.5 minutes faster than last week. By the time I left Bonelli around 8 there was still a significant line of cars waiting to get into the park. The backup extended onto the 57 freeway as well.

Someday I would like to try the Muddy Buddy. I've talked with two friends - both Bills, both better bikers than runners - about teaming up to do this thing but we never get anything solid together. Maybe next year. At the very least maybe I'll volunteer, since it is so close to home.

Miles for the week: 28.5

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Preview

Dean Karnazes ran the Tecumseh Trail Marathon today as #39 in his 50 state challenge. Reading his blog entry gave me a better idea of just what Joe and I are in for in 5.5 weeks. Challenging and fun, but then I already expected that. Don't think I didn't take notice of his finish time of 4:45:21.

Check it out here.

So far this week its just been an easy 4 on Tuesday over in Via Verde on the horse path and an easy 6 tonight on the Santa Fe Dam bike path. Mile 2 came in at 8:08, closer to marathon pace than I wanted to be. I forced myself to slow down a little and ended the run with a 8:24 overall pace. I've got another easy 4 tomorrow then the Xterra Scramble La Jolla Canyon Legend 18k on Saturday.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


It seemed like a good idea at the time. Bryan, our son, wanted to spend the day at the NPPL tournament at the Orange County Fairgrounds on Saturday. He wanted to be there about the time that I would normally be in the middle of my run. My wife would also be at her yoga class. I can run anytime so I got him there around 9:00 and then drove on down to Laguna Niguel for my run in Aliso & Wood Canyon.

I was surprised at the number of cars there around 9:45. I had thought that maybe a lot of people would have gotten out early and been done. I had checked by log and blog entry from the last time I ran this with the Cruisers and Jeff. The trip from the parking lot up the canyon trails, up Cholla and Westridge to the Top of the World was 14 miles roundtrip. My schedule called for 12. Since I wouldn’t be able to tell where the 6 mile turnaround was I decided to do the whole 14.

About 3 miles into the run I came upon a lady runner. We exchanged greetings and I commented on our late start. It was at least 10:00 by then. She asked me if I was going to Cholla and back. I told her my plans to make it to Top of the World and back. She commented that I had a long day ahead of me. I wouldn’t realize until later just how long.

It was pretty warm out there. We are having a pretty typical heat wave for October in SoCal. When I got to Cholla, I determined to make it all the way up without a walk step this time (Jeff!). I made it and then took a nice little break at the top. Up to that point I had only seen about a half dozen runners, most of them heading out and a couple dozen bikers. I’m not sure who was in all those cars in the parking lot.

On the way up Westridge, I started feeling the toll of the heat and the up hill. Basically the run is 7 miles up, from the canyon to Top of the World, followed by 7 miles back down. I crested what I thought was the last hill, even walking part of it, to find that I still had another section and hill to go before I got to TotW. I thought about calling it 6 but kept going. I really needed to refill my water at the fountain at the Top. I walked part of that hill too. Last time I commented that the hills on Westridge weren’t too tough. Saturday I’d say they were a lot tougher. I took another break at the top and then headed on down.

The run down was pretty uneventful through Cholla and about halfway down the Canyon trails. About 11 miles into the run, I was getting really tired. I began to take 1 minute walk breaks and then shuffled along. The walk breaks stayed at a minute but came closer and closer together. Finally, the last mile I think I walked more of it than I ran. I had absolutely no gas, no steam, no nothing left. I remembered feeling like this at about the same point on my runs after SEAFAIR. Here I was two weeks post SGM with nothing in the tanks. I promised myself that after Tecumseh, I would take some time off.

As I approached the last 100 yards of the trail or so, I began to run again. It was a joke. I wasn’t fooling anybody that would have seen me. I certainly wasn’t fooling myself, but I just couldn’t “cross the finish line” walking. My time up was 1:11; my time down was 1:22, pretty pitiful. I had expected to negative split considering the downhill return.

I learned that Aliso & Wood Canyons are more challenging than I first remembered. There is almost no tree cover so running in the middle of the day is not the best idea. Having a partner along would have kept the motivation level up. I was also happy to find out that my legs didn’t end up with that shredded feeling of the last run.

I followed up today with my usual Bonelli loop (clockwise). I woke up on time and contemplated going later in the day to ease the Sunday morning breakfast/church crunch. Then I remembered how warm it got yesterday and jumped up to take advantage of the morning coolness. I’m glad I did its 85°F right now at 4:30 p.m. I didn’t break any land speed records this morning (52:21), but my legs felt good.

Miles for the 31.

On a random note, on the trail Saturday, I came upon a couple walking the coolest dog. It turns out it was a Labradoodle. It looked like a curly haired Lab. It had a super easy going personality. I like larger dogs. We currently have a German Shepherd mix, Boomer. I doubt that I would actually seek out this breed, especially since they are considered designer, but this particular one was intriguing.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Back at It

Did anybody notice that my oldest son, the one off at cooking school in San Diego, commented on the blog after SGM. Very cool. That brought a big old smile to dear old Dad's face.

Well, this week I'm back at it, albeit, with a fairly relaxed attitude. December will be here like tomorrow.

Tuesday I had planned an easy 3 miler. I had already determined not to wear the watch. My back and neck have been kind of all tweaky since the marathon. I hate to keep harping on it, but I think this hip/muscle thing has everything a little tweaked. Before I even started the run, I had the twinge of a head ache. I sometimes get these nasty headaches that start on the right side of my neck and then circle my head and make my eyeballs feel like they are going to burst. Sometimes these are brought on by dehydration, but I had tried to drink a lot of water throughout the day. Once I get running everything usually loosens up and I'm alright. Tuesday's easy 3 turned into THE worst run EVER. Even before I hit the first mile the pain in my head was so severe, each step felt like my head would explode. I finally had to walk for about a quarter of a mile. I was too stubborn to turn back early. I finally was able to start "jogging" again and finished up most of the run. I ended up walking the last quarter as well. Its a good thing I hadn't timed this one, I hadn't "run' this slow ever. After a couple of acetaminophen when I got home and dinner I felt a little better.

Wednesday, my back and neck were sore most of the day. Wednesday I headed over to the Dam right after work for a 6 miler. The multiple marathon schedule called for 6 miles at marathon pace. I've never really tried to do a pace run so decided to give it a try. I had just been reading about them here when I was figuring out my schedule. I decided to see how my head would feel after yesterday to determine just how far I would go at pace. I also had planned on a mile warm up and another cool down. The first mile I took it easy for 9:30 which includes the hill to get up on top of the dam. At the mile marker I ramped up the speed, attempting to get to 8:00 miles. I hit that 2nd mile in 8:08. Not too bad, I thought, since I don't have a really good feel for this. I kept going on pace for mile 3 and finished that one in 7:32. Whoa, how did that happen? I actually felt pretty good. A headache did not appear. At this point its a turn around to retrace my steps back to the car for 3 more. I opted for mile 4 as a recovery mile at 8:54 including a 30 second walk break at the beginning. Mile 5 I jumped back into the pace part and finished that one in 7:30. I finished up the last cool down mile in 8:23. I was pretty happy with the way the whole thing worked out. I think next time I'll try to put 3 miles together in the middle with 1.5 miles on either end at a slower pace. Eventually kicking it up to a full 4 at marathon pace over the next few weeks before Tecumseh. Since I'm not focusing on speed there, I thought this relaxed cycle would be a good time to try something new. Ultimately I need to extend those pace runs farther and farther. I need to string together 26.2 miles at less that 8:00 to get that BQ.

Tonight I went out for another easy 3 over in Via Verde. Everything felt pretty good. After the run I picked up Veggie burritos from Taco Ready. That definitely hit the spot.

I'm not sure what Saturday's run will be. Bryan needs a ride to a paintball thing in the OC so I may head out to Aliso and Wood Canyon late in the morning.

My check for registration for Tecumseh cleared the bank today. Everything is coming together.

In reply to some of your comments:
Wes: me worry, no way! and I'll pretty much guarantee I won't be spending that kind of change on a pair of aluminum running spikes that I'll wear once.

Rice: I actually love hills. Although I'm more of a mule than a mountain goat on the way up.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Prediction of Things to Come

I track my runs in one of those spiral bond running journals. The top of every week has a motivational quote. This week's is:

You entered a marathon with hills? You idiot. - Don Kardong (American writer & Olympian).

I thought that was pretty curious timing since today starts the "official training" for Tecumseh, which reportedly has its fair share of hills. Ironic? But wait, to top things off in today's mail I got a flyer for this snazzy little item. Should I start worrying? It hasn't snowed on Tecumseh in its short 3 year history, but the northern and eastern part of the country have been experiencing unusually early snowfalls this year. Makes a 24-year So Cal transplant shiver to think about it.

With only 8 weeks between marathons I had to work up a schedule. I took the first week off as recovery from St. George, so now I've only got 7 weeks left. I've decided that I will take this cycle easy. I took my cues from Hal Higdon's multiple marathon schedule. During the week I'll be putting in 14 miles over 3 days, with a long run on Saturday and my favorite Bonelli 5-mile loop on Sundays. I plan on keeping the pace easy during the week and hitting as many trail runs as possible for the long runs.

I got an email the other day about the La Jolla Canyon Legend 18 and 11K races next weekend and am considering running it. The 18K is less than the 18 miles I had planned for that day but I can hardly pass up the opportunity to run the trails. This race is put on by the same people that put on the Malibu Creek Trail Challenge I did in 2005. I enjoyed that one, I expect that I'll enjoy this one too.

Maybe I am an idiot, but I intend on enjoying the next 7 weeks. I'll start worrying about the weather around week 5.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My Aching Calves

Hate is a strong word,
but I really, really, really don't like you.
- Plain White T's

This song came on the radio within minutes of reaching the Rio Java Cafe, our designated run start today. With my propensity for replaying the last song I hear over and over in my head during a run, I changed the channel as fast as I could to blot that one out. To me that song has the lyrical depth of a third grade poem. When someone has to resort to using the same word three times in a row they apparently don't have much to say. The station I switched to was playing "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol. I don't really care for that song either, but it was far less objectionable than the first one. Too bad the CD player in my car doesn't work any more.

The Cruisers were a small group today, only 7 of us. I ran for 3 miles with Cecil before he turned around. I was planning on 10, so finished the last 7 on my own. One week post marathon, I had no time goals. I started out slow, >10:00 miles and finished up around 8:30's for an average pace of 9:00 (90 minutes for 10 miles). By mile 2 my right calf was giving me the business. The left one caught up a couple of miles later. I've never experienced this kind of stiffness and tightness before. By mile 6 or so, my quads were complaining too. They were saying "Hey, we just ran a downhill marathon last week, what are you doing to us?". Luckily they didn't let me down.

So, if you've seen the new title of the blog you know that I'm off to Indiana next. When? Where? Why? you may ask. Well Indiana is a state right and they have a marathon there right? So of course I would eventually end up there. What follows is my attempt to explain the answers to the 5 W's of any good story.

Who: Me of course. And Joe from Run with Perseverance.

What: the 4th Annual Tecumseh Trail Marathon

Where: Bloomington, IN

When: December 2, 2006 just 8 weeks after St George. From the FAQ's on the website: "How difficult is it really? Hmm... Pretty difficult. Try it and find out!" Since this will be my first trail marathon I won't have a time goal. I'm just going to enjoy the run.

Why: Here's the long part. Why this race and why now? Way back in the fall of 2003 when I was training with Snail's Pace for my first marathon, Dr. John completed his 50th state. I hadn't even completed my first marathon yet, but I was enchanted with the idea of doing this myself. I spent hours that fall scouring the internet, especially for races in every state. I started a list of the races I wanted to do. I first picked the states where I had relatives. Ohio would be Cleveland to visit my parents. I planned Hartford, CT to visit my in-laws. Now they live in PA so I've got Harrisburg on the list. In Florida I've planned Clearwater or Tampa and my parents will come down to visit my aunt there. Of course, Chicago and NYC are on the list as well. I got SEAFAIR in Washington this year as a birthday present.

Anyway back to the original story, during the fall of 2003, I came across an article about the inaugural Tecumseh Trail Marathon. I just sounded really fun and challenging, something different to do rather than a road race. It made it onto my list as my Indiana marathon of choice.

Back at the end of this July, I commented on Joe's blog after he had hiked up Pike's Peak with his son David, asking when he was going to run the marathon version. He replied it was a serious maybe and in preparation for it was considering a trail marathon in Indiana in the late fall. Another email confirmed that the marathon in question was indeed Tecumseh. Joe graciously offered to be my host in Indiana, so the plans started brewing. Joe was running the Portland marathon just a week before I would be running St George so we both had about the same amount of time to rest and prepare. While Joe was in Portland, I bought my airline tickets and mailed in my race entry and state #8 was officially on the schedule a week before #7 was on the books.

So, in December I'm off to Indiana to run what looks to be an unforgettable marathon along with Joe who I've come to admire and respect through the blogosphere. I'm looking forward to it. Now if I could just get my calves to catch up with my brain, I'll be good to go.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Some More of SGM

Here it is Tuesday evening and my legs feel almost normal again. I mentioned that my right quad was sore even before the race was over. There was this strange discrepancy the rest of that day. By Sunday morning that had pretty much evened out. Monday the quads and calves were still sore, big time. I think this is pretty much how they felt after my first marathon. In July I was ready to run the next day. Not this time! I think I'm going to take the whole week off and then join the Cruisers somewhere on Saturday morning. I was able to get an adjustment and massage on Monday night. Very well timed and deserved, I think.

This picture is me almost to the finish line. I'm all stoked about the fact that I'm actually up on my toes mid run. I never did resort to the dreaded marathon shuffle in this one.

Here's a one of me and Dean. I'm not exactly sure what's up with me and the "attitude" pose. Say what you will about Dean, but he's a pretty darn nice guy. He was getting a little panicked at this point. He needed to get back to his bus for a 12 hour drive to Albuquerque for number 22.

There's something about the St George marathon that keeps people coming back year after year. There is a large 10 year club and even a 20 year club. The volunteers at the expo pasta feed was super nice. The starting area was very organized. The bonfires were a really cool touch that I've never seen anywhere else. Those clothes that I was so worried about; my wife picked them up for me at the end of the race in about 30 second flat. The course was breathtaking. Starting in the dark and witnessing the day begin was very memorable. Because the course is not spectator friendly, the people of St George hang signs of encouragement on every road sign along the way. It was fun to read these messages. Someone had scrawled a marriage proposal in chalk on the road. I wonder if she said yes? At one of the ranches along the way I saw the most magnificent dark gray horse running along the fence. I saw a sign that said "Run, Bee-otches, Run". That one made me laugh out loud. I've got to admit that running 26.2 miles is a pretty absurd hobby. The sign seemed appropriate. The medals are really unique. They are a stone medallion with the race logo each one is slightly different from the next.

After some Blue Bunny ice cream at the finish line, and a shower, Lisa and I headed over to Zion National Park for a quick drive through. We didn't really have enough time to take the scenic tram tour but we did drive through the mile tunnel and then back through again. We took a lot of photos. The rock formations are just incredible in size, texture and complexity. It is amazing the difference in the rocks on opposite sides of the tunnel. It is almost as though you've left one park and entered another. Someone said "They're just rocks" but they are some pretty amazing rocks. On our way out we stopped in Springdale at the Bumbleberry Inn and had a slice of Bumbleberry Pie, ala mode of course. I just ran a marathon, I could eat pretty much anything I wanted. I love that!

We met up with all the CA Cruisers for dinner and had a great time reliving the events of the day. After dinner Lisa and I got to see a production of Cats at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre in Ivins, about 25 minutes outside of St George. Tuacahn is an outdoor amphitheatre nestled into the red rock canyons. At dinner and at the show there were many people sporting their long sleeve technical burnt orange shirts. Kinda cool. Sunday morning we went for breakfast at the Bear Paw Cafe. You know how much I love breakfast. I would definitely recommend this place. It was full of runners, too. Very large portions. I had the Bear Paw omelet. It came with home fries and a biscuit. Yummy. We made the drive home in 5.5 hours. We did stop for ice cream at Diary Queen in Barstow. I was still giving myself permission to indulge.

As some of you have commented, now I need to update the name of this little blog. I could go with the obvious "Seven Down, Forty Three To Go". I've also contemplated something like "The Countdown Continues" so I'd never have to change it again. What do you think? I've got #8 planned but I'll save the reveal for another day.

Y'all come back now, you hear! Don't go a-losin' me just 'cause I change my name.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Saint George Marathon Report

The Facts
Finish time: 3:40:52 – a PR! No doubt helped by the downhill course
Average pace: 8:25
Place in field: 1240/4761, just outside the top 25%
Place in gender: 950/2731, 35% of the guys were ahead of me
Place in age group: 152/384, 39% of these M45-49 beat me to the finish

The 30th Saint George (Utah) Marathon Report
This was my ninth marathon in 3 years and it has me stumped in more ways than one. Maybe I’ll figure it out as I write this report.

I turns out that Lisa was able to get away from work on Friday so that she could join me. St. George is just about a 5.5 hour drive from the LA area and somewhat difficult to fly into so I had planned on driving. When I had booked the hotel back in June, I found the cheapest place I could close to the race start. I was a little worried that the room would not be wife worthy. It turned out to be fine, nothing special and certainly not on par with Mandalay Bay where we stayed for the Las Vegas Marathon, but comfortable and clean. Our drive to St. George was smooth; free of traffic congestion, accidents or construction.

At the expo I picked up my gels. I was forced to switch over to Clifshots since PowerGels have gone to the 4x sodium formulation. Clifshots was going to be offered on the course as well. I have used them in the past so I was pretty confident they would get me through with no stomach issues. The expo featured a neat display of all the t-shirt and medal designs over the 30 years history of the race. I think the first race had a total of 42 finishers. It has grown a little. The 4761 finishers this year was the largest yet.

One thing that had me stumped for this marathon was a time goal. SEAFAIR was all about breaking the 4 hour barrier. Where was I going to go from there? Of course, Boston Qualification is my next big goal, but a 3:30, even with a downhill course seemed like too much of a stretch. Couple that with the hip ache and I didn’t really know where I should aim. Of course this week, being the end of the taper, the hip or more precisely the glute muscle flared up on Monday as bad as ever. I tried not to worry about, chalking it up to taper madness and pre-race jitters. I ultimately picked up a 3:40 pace band at the expo and tucked it into my Fuelbelt pack. Our group of Cruisers and friends, 10 in all, decided to take part in the pasta feed at the expo rather than looking for a restaurant in St. George. It was just spaghetti with vegetable marina or meat sauce, salad, roll and cake. All you can eat for $8, simple but satisfying. We sat around and talked for quite a while and ended up meeting Spencer. He was there solo from Ogden, UT running his first marathon. He picked our brains. I hope we shared wisely.

Race morning or I should say race middle of the night came after a somewhat restless sleep. We had set 3 alarms to make sure I didn’t over sleep. Lisa gave me ride over to the finish and went back to the hotel for couple more hours of sleep. SGM is point to point so we had to catch buses at the finish line to take us to the start. They were giving away incentives to ride the early buses from 4:00 to 4:30 a.m. I missed the cutoff by one bus.

The starting line is at an elevation of 5240 ft. The finish line is at 2680. All but 2 miles of the course is straight down State Route 18, so it was interesting to ride the bus up and up to the start. Man, was it cold at the start. They were predicting temperatures in the mid 30’s. The sky was clear and we enjoyed a full moon. There were portapots lined up on one side of the road and camp fires along the other. There must have been 40 or so fires. They were a very welcome addition to a marathon start. I was somewhat concerned about checking clothes. I had never done this before, but I definitely needed sweats while we waited for an hour and a half for the race start at 6:45. Even with the sweats, I shivered uncontrollably whenever I wasn’t near a fire. Ten minutes before the race start I peeled them off and put them in the bag they gave us, threw them in the Uhaul truck. Nothing to it. I donned a garbage bag at that point for warmth.

About that time they played the National Anthem and everyone stopped where they were in respect. I could hear many people singing along. It was a cool moment by the light of the full moon. As soon as it was over it was back to the last minute frenzy of ditching extra clothes and lining up. I lined up along with Cathe from our group right between the 3:40 and 3:45 pace groups.

After that familiar sound of the horn we were off. Three minutes to cross the starting mat. The start didn’t catch me off guard like it did in SEAFAIR. I thought I might stick with the pace group for awhile but because it was dark, they were off and not easy to see. I had been warned to start off easy, to not let the initial downhill miles pull me out too fast. I decided I didn’t need the stress of trying to follow along, so I ran my own race with the aid of the pace band. Cathe and I ran together for less than a half mile before we got separated, she was shooting for something less than 4:00.

I ran the first mile still in my garbage bag at 9:11, well off the 8:24 pace. It was far too early worry about it. I was confident of making it up later. I ditched the trash bag and it was really great running weather, even in a sleeveless shirt. I had planned for the later miles as we descended into the valley and the day warmed up. The expected high at the finish line was 80 degrees.

Mile 2 clocked off in 8:34. This put me just about a minute behind pace. Again I wasn’t really too worried at this point.

Mile 3, was the first water stop. The water stops were located at mile markers throughout the race. It would be Mile 4 before I got another gage on my progress. By mile 4 the sun was up enough that we could see well. Up to that point there were these little green glow stick beacons on the side of the road to mark the way. They may be there for other reasons but it was still cool. I hit Mile 4 in 33:36, just 11 seconds off pace. The last two miles were run in 8:00 pace. I was on target but it was still too early to get excited. I had yet to hit the uphill section of the course.

SGM is a net downhill course. You hear all kinds stories about the downhills. PR’s are set on the downhills. But dang the course is not all downhill. There are uphills and plenty of them.

Mile 5, I missed the marker again. Mile 6, I was at 49:22. Nearly a minute ahead of schedule, but still no uphill. Mile 7 – 57:02, 1:45 ahead of schedule. I was happy to have gained back my slow start but Mile 7 marked the beginning of the hill, the Veyo hill, the really big mile-long hill. I’d done hills last time and trained hills, so I trucked on up.

I missed the Mile 8 marker. The course flattened somewhat but continued to climb through mile 11. Finally at Mile 9, I caught the clock at 1:16. I had only lost about 30 seconds halfway through this uphill section. My pace had slowed to 9:30.

I missed Mile 10 and 11. Finally at Mile 12 I had the presence of mind to get my time again. I clocked those three miles at 8:23 pace for total time of 1:41, only about 15 seconds behind. I was actually pretty proud for not losing more time on the uphill. In SEAFAIR I used a hill adjusted pace chart. Here at SGM I had to try to maintain a consistent pace to be able to judge my progress. So far, so good.

Mile 13 was downhill and finally I got two consecutive mile splits. Mile 13 in 8:09 for 1:41:25, still 15 seconds off pace. Still no worries. I was about this point in the race that I realized that even though I was on goal, I wasn’t having any fun. I was just blah, there was no joy, no inspiration. I even thought to myself that if Lisa had shown up offering a ride I would have taken it. I couldn’t really understand why I felt like this, but I kept running on.

Mile 14, missed the marker. Again. Do you see a trend here? Mile 15, I was at 2:05:46, 9 seconds under pace. I had run those last two miles at 8:10 apiece. Mile 16, you guess it, missed again. Mile 17, I was at 2:21:30. This gave me a 1:15 cushion on the goal pace. I had run those two miles at 7:53 pace. Mile 16 was a good mile for me. Because of the course design in a canyon there are very few places for spectators to easily access the course. Mile 16 in Snow Canyon was the first real display of support other than volunteers. I high fived as many kids as I could. This boosted my mood.

Then things went into the unknown again. I missed Mile 18, 19, 20 and 21. Was I on goal, was I behind goal? I had no idea. There was no lack of uphills from 16 to 20 so I didn’t know if I’d maintained or not.

Finally at mile 22, I hit the marker at 3:04:29. I was 15 seconds ahead of goal. Only 4 miles to go and I had no cushion to spare. After 5 miles of not really knowing how close I was to goal, I was overcome with emotion. Could I keep going?

Mile 23 and 24, ugh. How do I keep missing the markers? I know since many of them were right at the start of the water stop, I would be so focused on getting my fluid, I missed hitting my watch nearly half the time.

Mile 25- got that one! I was at 3:30:17. I was 22 seconds in debt on the goal time. All I could think was just keep going. Don’t slow down. Since Mile 22 my right quad was aching badly. The downhill had taken its toll. The good thing is my left hip/glute was doing fine. At mile 24 the course enters the town proper so the crowd support picked up as well. Up to now we had been on SR-18; one long stretch with no 90 degree turns. Once we entered town we had to make several turns. I couldn’t remember quite how many. After the first two turns I was sure that the finish line would be just around the corner. Nope! One more corner. Finally, those balloons. I knew Lisa would be here somewhere in the crowd, but I focused all that I had on getting to those balloons. She called out to me, but I couldn’t make out her voice.

I missed the 3:40 by less than a minute. But, I had set a PR by nearly 12:00. Physically I was beat but I never felt like I hit the wall. I ran strong to the end. I just can't imagine being able to go much faster especially without the aid of the downhill. 10 more minutes and I'm Boston bound. I've got to believe that I can do it.

SGM does not supply split times. I was at 13 miles at 1:49:25 running 8:05 miles at the time. I estimate my half marathon time to be 1:50:14, which puts my second half at 1:50:38. That’s about as close to even splits as anyone can ask for! First time that’s ever happened. Thank you, downhill finish. I think I’ll split the difference for the Phedippidations World Wide Half Marathon.

The Dean Corollary
Dean Karnazes was at SGM running the 21st of his 50 marathons. One of my goals was to beat Dean to the finish line. This seemed doable. He had announced 4:00 finishes as his goal. At the 7 mile mark I had to make a stop at a portapot. When I jumped back onto the course, there was Dean. I trailed him to about mile 10 where he stopped to get some water. I kept on going and didn’t see him again for miles. I thought I might actually get to the finish first. At mile 17, Dean passed me up and I just couldn’t keep up with him. Dean finished in 3:20:04. My wife ended up talking to him at the exit chute for a couple of minutes before I got there.

Other Interesting Tidbits
Cathe ended up qualifying for Boston while Dorothy got 4th place age group in the F65-69.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Loose Ends

Well, it took two days, but I got Tyler moved in and pretty much set up. We packed his truck up about midnight on Wednesday. Thursday we drove down to San Diego, about a 2 hour drive. The actually moving in didn't take very long. We went over to IKEA to check out a desk. Tyler decided to hold off buying anything until later. I made one trip to the store for some groceries. I spent the night with some friends in Oceanside.

Friday morning we attended orientation meetings and he picked up his schedule and supply kit. I bought his parking pass, he tried to resolve a schedule issue. The culinary students got their first homework assignment at orientation, school doesn't officially start until Monday. We made a trip to B&N to buy the book he needed for the homework assignment, a trip to the grocery store, back to IKEA to actually buy the desk and a trip to Target for black shoes and a 2" white binder. He still has to figure out how to get his computer hooked up. I decided that was one thing he could do on his own. I think he was a little overwhelmed with the whole process. I finally left San Diego at 5:00 pm on Friday. This was bad timing, it took 3 hours to get home with some major traffic delays.

As for running, I had pushed my runs up this week figuring Thursday, move in day, would be my day off. I had planned a 4 miler on Friday, but after running around in San Diego all day and the long ride home, I scrapped that idea.

On Saturday, my youngest son and I rode our bikes down the San Gabriel River Bike Trail with 9 friends. From Arcadia to Bolsa Chica Beach was about 35 miles. Our group ranged in age from 13 to 62. We took three breaks along the way and just generally enjoyed the ride. One family had staged a car at the end of the ride with a cooler full of food so we enjoyed a weenie roast on the beach for lunch. We loaded up the bikes on other cars that were conveniently staged or planned to pick us for the ride home. I had originally thought that I might get that 4 miler in sometime after the ride but ultimately decided that the 35 mile ride was enough for the day.

I ended the month of September with 134.7 miles, not what I had planned but decent enough to carry me through the St. George next Saturday. I'd say the hip is about 90%

This morning I did my "long run" 8 miles on Robert's Loop with the addition of the Via Verde hill. I kept the pace easy. There are a couple of decent inclines on this route including the VV hill. I just let it go on the downhill and had a blast flying down. My overall pace was right on 9:00, definitely not a blockbuster effort but pretty much exactly what was required 6 days out. I ended the week with a whopping 22 miles, having missed those two 4 milers on Friday and Saturday.

On the home front, apparently September is a very popular month to get married. Just on blogger alone I read about Nattie's parents 46th anniversary on Sept 16, the Shoreturtles celebrated their 8th on the Sept 19 and Michelle and Eric celebrated 27 years on the Sept 22. My own parents celebrated 47 years on Sept 19. On Friday, September 29, my wife and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary. We'll we haven't actually celebrated it yet, but it happened none the less. As you know I spent Friday in San Diego. My wife was at work until 9:00 pm. She is fortunate enough to have a job that is only 3/4 miles from home. Unfortunately their fiscal years ends right around our anniversary. She spends the two weeks around that time working 7 days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day doing inventory and all those accounting things she does so well.

She's hoping to wrap up most of the work so she can join me next weekend in St. George. We'll get our celebrating in then! ;-)

Happy Anniversary, Lisa! I Love You!

P.S. While I was typing this I got a text message from the Portland Marathon. Joe was at 20 miles at 3:14. Only 10k to go Joe, keep it up and finish strong, or in your words Persevere!

I got another message just minutes later that Rob finished in 3:32! Woot! Nice job Rob.