Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Great Crash of 2007

It is a crash that is far less memorable and the effects are far less wide spread than the Crashes of 1929 and 1987, but it was a crash non the less. I feel fortunate that the crash happened now rather than in October as those other crashes did. October would have put a serious crimp into the Marine Corps Marathon.

I ran an easy 3 miler today on the dirt of the equestrian trail in Via Verde. I won't run the next two days in preparation for the Fontana Days Half on Saturday. Today's run concluded my mileage for May 2007. The grand total is: 44.6 miles. This represents my lowest mileage month ever, except of course all those ZERO months the first 42 years of my life. I even ran more than that in January 2006, 49.7 miles, when I spent the first two weeks of the month in India.

I find it a little ironic that two months ago I was celebrating my highest mileage month ever and yet that probably had a lot to do with the current state of my right foot. The bummer part is I didn't even get to cash in on the high mileage at Eugene. I missed my chance to "sell high".

I've been working up my schedule for MCM. I usually do an 18 week buildup to the big day so I don't' officially start training until June 25. I am going to take it pretty easy until then and even then ramp up a little slower than usual depending on how the foot holds up.

The whole ankle/foot is kind of stiff and overall my legs are tighter than usual. During tonight's run I didn't feel anything out of the ordinary. I also continue to ice the foot and I where shoes all the time to keep the arch supported. And as much as I dislike the idea, I'm staying away from Bonelli or other trails to avoid the down hills for awhile.

I feel fortunate that I've had a good long run (pun intended) of 4 years without any major injuries. So now it's a couple of days rest then off to Fontana to complete my So Cal half marathon tour.

Monday, May 28, 2007

You Knew I Would (Didn't You?)

I returned to So Cal on Tuesday evening, to weather that looked incredibly like the weather I had just left behind in Seattle - cool and cloudy. I had scheduled the remainder of the week as vacation so that I could join our friends camping in Carpinteria.

Wednesday, I kept the appointment with the orthopedic doc. The anti-inflammatory seemed to be doing a good job of controlling the arch pain, especially considering that I was on my feet much since last Friday. He was encouraged with no swelling and no trigger point pain and was in agreement with my plan to try an easy run, assess the situation and then to run the half easily.

Thursday to Sunday I spent in Carpinteria. The weather wasn't ideal for lazing at the beach. The temps were in the 60's with a pretty substantial breeze. We were lucky to see the sun for about an hour each day from 2:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon. We still got in most of the usual activities; a walk to the seal habitat, the tide pools, softball, local area hikes, campfires and songs, s'mores, lots of food and fellowship. The lack of sun did not dampen our spirits, it just prohibited sun bathing. The trip normally lasts to Monday, but we had the wedding to attend so came home Sunday afternoon.

The wedding was beautiful, but it is hard to imagine that we have friends with children old enough to get married. We first met the bride and her family when she was 3 years old. I realize that my own children are growing up and I easily accept that fact, but I still think of our friends children as the youngsters they were when we first met them.

Back to running and the foot. Friday was the day to officially test out the foot. I had planned an easy 3-miler along the Carpinteria Bluffs trail from the campground heading east to the ball fields and back. I was really nervous about the run. I actually walked the first half mile on pavement to get to the dirt path. Once I hit the dirt, I took off at an easy pace and was pleased that everything felt good. There were some other twinges elsewhere; I hadn't run a step in nearly two weeks so that was completely unexpected. I hit the ball park, stopped for a drink at the water fountain and headed back. This time when I hit the pavement I kept going all the way back to the campsite. Everything felt good for the duration of that short run. Later, the ankle felt a little stiff but no aches to the degree after Malibu Creek.

Monday morning I was up at before the sun to make my way down to Laguna Hills for the Saddleback Memorial Half Marathon. This year was the first year that I would have the chance to run this race, thanks to the wedding. Memorial Weekend is special to me in terms of running in that it was at this campout in 2003 that some fellow campers finally convinced me that I could run marathon. I ran my first miles within days of that campout. The Saddleback race is highly publicized and has a positive reputation. I have seen many race t-shirts in my hometown, nearly 45 miles away from the race site. The race has always been unavailable to me because of the same camping trip that got me into running. The race has further allure to me because of its proximity on the calendar to a favorite race, the Fontana Days Half. These two events allow runners to get in two half marathons within a week.

I showed up early and immediately ran into fellow Cruisers Dr. John, Dorothy, Mary, Cathe and Cass. Soon we were joined by 6:42 runner Jay. Jay and I are nearly evenly paced. I had decided that I would likely run with Dr. John in part to keep my pace on the slower side to insure a pain free run. Jay offered me the opportunity to run a little faster but still somewhat under control. At the starting line I ran into Greg and his son.

The first mile of the race took us for a lap around the Laguna Hills Mall (I missed the split). At mile 2 Jay and I were at 18:10, about where Jay wanted to be, but he urged me to go on ahead whenever I was ready. I wasn't ready yet. I really wanted to take it easy and just get through the race pain free. The course is not flat but I would call it gently rolling. During the first significant up hill section I had a couple of little twinges which I found odd because it almost never hurts going up. It is going down that is the problem.

Jay and I continued to hang together for the next 6 miles. They went down like this: 8:25, 8:50, 8:50, 8:57, 8:55, 8:49. Jay continued to encourage me to go ahead. I stubbornly stayed with him. Around mile 6 the course enters Aliso & Wood Canyon Park. The course doubles back on itself twice here. The first leg is higher than the second. It was fun to see runners coming and going on two paths. It reminded me of ants at a picnic. Somewhere in this section we came upon Tom going the other way. Before I would shout out to him, Jay had already shouted out. I had no idea that Jay knew Tom. I met Tom through my friend Terry from work. Tom knew Terry from a training program in Chino Hills. I'm still not clear how Tom and Jay know one another, they live in cities about 30 miles apart. The running world is indeed a small world.

During Mile 8, I told Jay that I was going to make a stop at the big blue boxes (port-o-johns). He suggested I run up ahead and then catch up with him on the other side. So I took off and was amazed at how good I felt. It was fun picking off people of the slight grade to the johns. Soon after leaving the johns I had to make another stop to tie my shoes. Mile 9 was 9:51 including both stops. I caught back up to Jay within a half mile. He again suggested I go on ahead, adding that there were only 4 miles left and it was time to kick it in. My foot was feeling good and that last mile felt good (actually running time had approached 8:00). So I finally took off.

During those last 4 miles, miles that are gently, yet continually up hill, I passed runner after runner. No runner passed me. Compared to a trail hill this was nothing but it was just the kind of grade that I enjoy. It was a really good feeling to be passing people at this point in the race. Starting out slower and speeding up later is a good race strategy, but I had never put it into practice before. I hadn't intended on putting in into practice today either. I owe Jay a huge thanks for encouraging me.

The next three miles went down in 8:09, 8:22 and 8:17. Mile 13.1 was 9:13 (8:23 pace). I was passed by 2 guys in the last 0.1 mile of the race. The race finishes up hill with a couple of twists and turns. I heard the announcer but couldn't see the finish line. After the last blind left turn the finish line is less than 100 yards away, leaving little time for a finishing kick. My final time (by my watch) was 1:54:49. Not too bad, but I wasn't expecting a PR. The best part is that my right foot/ankle held up fine. I iced it once I got home just as a precaution.

Many times during the race, especially during those last 4 miles when I ran alone, my thoughts turned to Jeff, smsmh and TC. Jeff had commented on my "Past, Present and Future" post. I was aware that TC's arrival was imminent. I was happy to read earlier this morning that he made his appearance a few days ago. TC is healthy and I trust that Jeff and his wife are adjusting to their new roles as parents with skill and grace. Even though my own boys are well into teenage and young adulthood, the news of a new baby brings all those early emotions, apprehensions and excitements flooding back. Congratulations to the Amazing Hip Family.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Runless in Seattle

I've been in Seattle since last Friday for work. Seattle is the site of this year's trade show for the orthodontic industry. Our team was fortunate enough to pull off the launch of our newest product, so I was lucky to get to attend. Being on your feet in a trade show booth isn't all that glamorous but I was just very happy to be in Seattle.

I really love the Pacific Northwest. I've mentioned before that I've always thought I would want to live there. Last year when I ran the SEAFAIR marathon in Bellevue, I fulfilled my wife's requirement that we at least visit before I pack up my belongings like the Beverly Hillbilly's.

As much as I disliked the idea, the trip offered the perfect respite from running. Whenever I travel I really look forward to finding somewhere to run. It is required planning for any trip I make. But to help whatever is wrong with my foot heal up a little, I was committed to not running while I was gone. I didn't even bring my shoes or my gear so that I wouldn't be tempted. I wasn't exactly sure how eight hour days standing around the booth would effect the foot, but I wasn't going to run.

Surprisingly my feet have been tired, as expected, but the pain in my arch has subsided considerably. The rest from running combined with the anti-inflammatory seem to be working quite nicely. It has been a mental challenge to not run. It seems that everyday I've seen at least one of the sales reps on their way out for a run. I even found out after I got here that the trade association conducts a 5K fun run complete with race bibs and t-shirt. This year's event was held at Myrtle Edward Park on Elliot Bay. Under normal circumstances I would have for sure taken part in this event. Instead I slept in Sunday morning.

I have gotten out to some good eats in downtown Seattle. I've had lunch at Virginia Inn, a small laid back bistro, and at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar, a hip wine bar (no wine was drunk since we had to return to the show floor). We've had dinner at Palace Kitchen, a fresh PNW grill. Quite by accident we also had drinks at the Dalia Lounge followed by Pizza at Seriously Pie, all restaurants under the same management. Tonight we are having dinner at a much acclaimed and anticipated, Wild Ginger. I sure hope it lives up to the expectations.

The unfortunate effect of no running, standing at a booth all day and a food tour of Seattle is an expansion of the waistline. Moderation doesn't come easy. I'll be back home Tuesday evening and am scheduled to see the doc on Wednesday. So far things look good. I will stay the course at least until next Monday.

A huge congratulations go out to two of my favorite Canadian bloggers, Mark and Robb for completing to very colorful marathons, the Red Deer Marathon and the Blue Nose Marathon. Mark celebrated his return to the marathon and Robb ran his first.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Better Than 50/50

Now I know why I hate going to the doctor. Once I finally admit that I need their services it is nearly impossible to get in to see them. Admittedly part of this is my own fault due to work schedules and a planned vacation.

I called a doctor in the clinic I usually use. They had an orthopedist/sports medicine guy. He had an appointment on the May 24; 10 days from the day I called. That wasn't going to work because I was planning on being in Carpinteria camping. But then the scheduler found an opening on the 15th due to a cancellation. I took it, but I would be seeing one of the docs PA's first as the doc was in high demand.

Later that day I got a call from the clinic. That appointment "was made in error, could I reschedule for Friday?" Friday is my travel day to the big annual trade show for my industry, so that wasn't going to work. The next time that our schedules coincided was Tuesday, May 29. I wasn't thrilled about that but I took the appointment. I figured two weeks off the foot would probably do it some good anyway.

Later that day Celeste suggested that I give her orthopedist a call. (As a side note, Celeste came back to work for us just last week. So now I'm not a lone soldier in my department anymore and I have a running buddy to commiserate with, Yeah!). Her doc was able to see me on Wednesday at 9:45. I snatched that appointment up.

The doc seemed pretty knowledgeable. He asked about how long it has hurt, whether I changed shoes, etc... He took an x-ray just to see. Of course stress fractures aren't usually found in an x-ray but it is a place to start. The x-ray were unremarkable, no sign of fracture as expected. He also prodded and poked my foot. There was no pain associated with this. Normally the point of the fracture is quite sensitive. Since I'm able to walk without a limp and from everything else he heard and saw he thinks I may just have tendonitis. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory and said he wanted to see me in two weeks. If I still had pain he would send me for a bone scan or MRI to definitively rule out the stress fracture.

I'm pretty much OK with taking the two weeks off. Over the weekend and until Tuesday, May 22. I will be at the trade show. Then I will be in Carp camping until Sunday, May 27. Then things get a little bothersome. The first of the two half marathons is Monday the 28th, Memorial Day. The doc wants to see me on the 30th. So instead of waiting two weeks I have an appointment set up with the doc on Wednesday the 23, the only day I'll actually be home before the race.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the meds will improve the pain (and they should if it is just tendonitis). If the darn thing is still aching then I have a decision to make.

What do you think the odds are that I'll run the half marathon on Memorial Day?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Suicide is Painless

The Malibu Creek Trail Challenge

This was the second time I’ve run this race, the first being 2005.Earlier in the week Matt had posted about this race’s connection to M*A*S*H. I actually did see the Jeep this time around; I don’t remember seeing it the first time. I was looking forward to this race for several reason; I really enjoy being off road, I was hoping to better my time from 2005 (2:24) and I was going to get a chance to see Jessica and Matt in person. (thanks to Jessica for the photo of Matt and me)

I did see both of them at the registration area a few minutes before the race started. Matt and I were doing the 14 miler (Matt had already run 13 miles on his own) and Jessica was doing the 4 mile option.

Just before the Jeep the race goes through about a mile of single track. Last time I spent considerable effect overtaking and passing people in this area. This year I just fell in behind a few people and ran conservatively. I knew that once we hit Bulldog, a wide fire road, there would be plenty of opportunities to pass.

One of my pet peeves about running up and down hills in a race is all the people that I pass on the way up that just barrel past me on the way down. The negative side of me thinks “anybody” can do that, why don’t they tough it out and run UP the hill as well. In theory I’m not opposed to walking, it is the perfect strategy for an ultra or someone that isn’t a strong hill runner. I guess it’s just my stubborn pride that makes me want to run up the hill as well, even though at times I realize I’m not “running” all that much faster than some people are walking. I also think that if we are all on the same hill at the same time that they must be at least as strong a hill runner as I, so why not run? For me the race is always lost on the downhill since I’m not a very good downhill runner in the first place. So who am I really frustrated with?

I’ve mentioned my right foot hurting lately. Because of that I took most of this last week off. I was a little concerned about how my foot would hold up on the trails at Malibu Creek. At the start of the race, the foot ached a little but then gave me no problems on the climb up. Unfortunately on the first few short down hills I could tell things were not going to be good. The three mile climb up Bulldog from mile 3 to 6 is followed later by a nearly equivalent continuous down hill from mile 9 to 12. By mile 9 my foot was pretty uncomfortable. I even felt like things were moving around in there, things that weren’t supposed to be moving. Each step down was pretty tentative. I was reduced to nearly a walk on the down hill, I sure got passed a lot this time. The occasional uphill section offered some relief.

During a run my head gets filled with all kinds of random thoughts. A lot of those thoughts make it here; many of them are left behind on the trail. During those painful miles I started to question why had I signed up for a trail race knowing the condition of my foot – not very smart. Why did I insist on running the race – just plain stubborn. For some reason the M*A*S*H theme song popped into my head – Suicide is painless.

It wasn’t really painless but I thought I had probably just committed the equivalent of running suicide, jeopardizing at least the near future. I was sure that I was doing damage that I hadn’t really needed to do, but I keep moving forward. With each painful step down hill I saw my 2:10 goal disappear, then 2:24, then even 2:30. After the long descent there is one final hill that seems bigger than it really is because of its placement at mile 13. That hill is a demoralizer, but I was looking forward to something other than down hill. Just to keep the negative thought train going here, I thought “this trail sucks, I suck!” And finally at 2:37:55 it was over.

Thankfully I have a short memory and after having some food and chatting with Jessica at the finish line, I was back to my normal self. My foot ached, but walking was not that uncomfortable. After Jess left I decided to walk back out the road about ¼ miles to the end of the trail and wait for Matt to come in. He was about 30 minutes behind his projected time, but was still upbeat. I walked that final stretch with him. He grabbed some food and we sat, talked and cheered the half dozen or so people that finished later. I probably mentioned my foot about a hundred times during that hour, sorry Matt. Matt is such a laid back guy, it was good to spend some time with him.

Many people, especially my wife, have suggested to me that I have a doctor check out my foot. I’m not much for visiting the health care professional. I pretty much subscribe to the “ignorance is bliss” school of medical prevention. It’s that whole stubborn, stupid thing.

After being home and bare foot for a couple of hours my foot ached pretty badly. I had some errands to run so I decided to wear my running shoes for the best support. I kept them on the remainder of the day and things felt better, sore, but better.

Tomorrow morning I will make a doctor’s appointment. If I don’t’ I’m going to need more than my foot looked at (right, Lisa?). Today my quads are sore, but it’s the good kind of sore that I enjoy. I will live to run another day, I just don’t know when right now.

Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see...

That suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

"Suicide is Painless"
Music by Johnny Mandel
Lyrics by Mike Altman

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

From the Halls of Montezuma

Registration opened today, so I wasted no time getting myself signed up. I immediately called Dr. John to make sure they had signed up as well. Although it won't officially be another state, I'm sure it will be quite the experience. June 25th will begin the official training. I still hope to sneak something else in there, but it is less of a priority now that I have an official goal.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Past, Present and Future

Here's a summary of the results from Eugene as posted at

number of finishers: 1497
number of females: 660
number of males: 835
average time: 04:21:43

Darrell James
bib number: M509
age: 45
gender: M
location: Covina, CA
overall place: 444 out of 1497
division place: 44 out of 113
gender place: 344 out of 835
time: 3:44:39
pace: 8:35
half: 1:46:15
20mile: 2:45:42
last10k: 58:57

I'm amazed at all the number 44's in my placing and that I wasn't very far off the mark when I hit the half way point. The photos are up at ASI. Check me out on the way to the finish. Lisa said I was leaning way to the left and looked like I was about to fall over. This picture (-035) shows that pretty clearly. This is the picture she took of me on the way to the finish line, not looking too bad there.

Another interesting story about the marathon that I forgot to relate. Just as we were about to board the flight home I notice a guy sitting across and down in the waiting room wearing the fluorescent yellow Maniac jacket. I approached him and asked him the obvious question and yes he had. He was Maniac #184, Eddie Hahn. It turns out his seat on the plane was just across the aisle from mine and he regaled me with marathon stories the whole way home. It sure made the trip home go really quickly. Eddie has run a lot of marathons all over the world, thanks to his 20 years in the Army, including 27 states.

Past (Part 2):
I can't let a month go by without updating the mileage stats. I ran 146.6 miles in April, my lowest total so far in 2007. April would have been the lowest mileage month accounting for the taper but the cold just made it a little bit lower. The week of the marathon the only miles I ran was the marathon itself. I've still got some miles in the bank if I want to complete the 2007 in 2007.

This week was a recovery week. I almost always take off after a marathon until the following Saturday. This time I really didn't have much choice, the cold had me pretty wiped out all week. I was able to get over to Bonelli on Saturday morning. The weather was very much like the weather the prior weekend in Eugene, partly sunny in the 50-60 degree range. I ran the trails around the perimeter of the park for 9 miles. I took it nice and easy. Right from the get go my right foot hurt. It hurts across the top on the inside below my ankle, the navicular bone, based on my web search. It has hurt off and on for awhile now. It hurt from the get go at Eugene as well. I was hoping that after a week off it would feel better. It is especially sore on the down hills. My calves were also in knots most of this run. Later in the day I was pretty spent.

Miles for the week: 9
M: 0
T: 0
S: 9 miles, 1:35:17 (10:35 pace)
S: 0
This weeks numbers make last week look like a high mileage week!
Earlier in the week I firmed up some plans for a couple of local races. I signed up for the Malibu Creek Trail Challenge. I ran this race in 2005. I missed it last year because it fell on the same day as race #2 in the 5k series. My original goal was to surpass my 2005 time. Now I'm a little worried about the foot instead.

I also signed up for the Fontana Days Half Marathon. This will be my third running of this event on June 2.

Our family usually goes camping over Memorial Day weekend with a group from church. This year they way things fell together we didn't get a spot, which turns out to be a good thing because we are invited to a wedding on Sunday the day before Memorial Day. We may spend a couple of days sharing a site with some other families. All this means I will be home on Memorial Day for the first time since I began running. The Saddleback Memorial Half Marathon is run on Monday. I've wanted to do this race and now I have a chance. The cool thing is the two races, Fontana and Saddleback are only 5 days apart. Many people run both. I think it will be fun.

Tyler wants me to find another 5k for us to do. That's a request I will be happy to take care of.

Still no definitive marathon plans, but I will be looking. Wherever I go will likely be without Lisa, so all I have to do is find a state she has no interest in. How hard could that be? Marine Corps registration opens this coming week and Rocket City with Joe and Wes seems darn inviting. I've doubled my number of states in the year and a half that this blog has been on-line, so I've got to keep the momentum rolling. With 40 more to go, I'm looking at a good 10-15 years before I'm done.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Eugene - A Step Forward, A Step Backward

Three days since the big race, the Inaugural Eugene Marathon, and the details are starting to get a little fuzzy but here goes.

My wife and I flew up to Portland early Saturday morning. So much for getting a good night's sleep two nights before the race. The flight to Portland from LAX took about 2 hours followed by a 2 hour drive down I-5 to Eugene. We were immediately struck by the trees and green everywhere. The PNW is just beautiful. Eugene is home to the University of Oregon. Team spirit is obvious everywhere. The one way streets in Eugene gave us some problems but I got to the expo around noon on Saturday and enjoyed lunch at the 6th Street Grill. We drove over to Hayward Field to assess the starting area. I had heard that Hayward Field was open to the public and thought to run a mile for Drew, but there was a meet going on (sorry, man). Later that afternoon we met up with Michelle and Jenny and a whole host of Washington runners. Rob and Eric had finished Capitol Peak Ultra but were still in Washington, hours from Eugene. We were joined by Sarah, Mark and her little guy before long. It was certainly fun getting to meet the person behind the blog.

I woke up Sunday morning to a beautiful day. I couldn't really believe that I was about to run another marathon. I was happy to be feeling much better considering how I had felt earlier in the week. On Friday at work many of my (non running) co-workers were questioning the wisdom of running a marathon with the cold symptoms still obviously hanging on. I tried to explain to them just how much I had invested in this little endeavour - training time, plane tickets, hotel reservations, etc. They were afraid that I would make myself sicker and end up with bronchitis or pneumonia. I guess the possibility exists but it was sure going to take more than a cold to keep me from running this, or any, marathon.

I drove over to the start, a 15-20 minute drive from our hotel. I got a good luck kiss from Lisa and walked toward the starting area and realized I didn't have my fuel belt. I always run a marathon with my fuel belt. I like having fluids when I want them and it had my gels in it. The start was still 40 minutes off so we drove (quickly) to the hotel and back again with 10 minutes to spare. Thank goodness for a small race field. As soon as I joined the masses I ran into Rob, Eric and Sarah. The others were in the port-o-john lines. It was good to see Rob again and to finally meet Eric. We discussed my primary race tactic as just trying to stay ahead of Rob and Eric. I also ended up running into Denis and John from the CA Cruisers, again thanks to the small race field.

The race started on the street just east of Hayward Field. It would have been cool to run a lap on the track but at the start of the race that probably would have caused quite the log jam even with the small field. At mile 5 we ended up on the west side of the field and were a little more spread out, but a lap on the track was not to be.

Rob ended up lining up in the back of the pack. Eric was near the 3:30 pace group. Things were a little crowded so I decided not to work my way up to him. After the start I caught up to him and we ran about 1/2 mile together before I decided to ramp things up a bit. Mile 1 went by in 8:28, a little conservative but probably not too detrimental to the 3:30 goal.

Mile 2 - 7:18
Mile 3 - 7:41
Mile 4 - 7:55

Mile 2 I went a little overboard on the downhill but got things back in control by mile 4. Just after mile 4 I made my first port-o-john stop, mostly as a preemptive measure. Having not run all week the system wasn't quite where I'd like it to be. I decided to get things taken care of early before I reached a panic situation.

Mile 5, 6, 7 - 24:43

I still felt that I was on track considering the bathroom stop. In yet another episode of poor planning I didn't have a pace band to determine my cumulative time. I was going simply by the time at each mile and up to that point I believed I was still under 8:00 miles (turns out I was right on at 8:01).

Mile 8 - 7:51
Mile 9, 10, 11 - 24:05
Mile 12 - 8:00

During Mile 12 we were in the town Springfield. One man outside his home hollered out "Welcome to Springfield, you won't be here much longer." I'm not sure if that was supposed to be encouraging or just wishful thinking on his part.

Mile 13, 14 - 17:53

Somewhere along in this stretch I had stopped to take bathroom break #2. I noted my time in there at just over 2:00. I was happy that even with the 2:00 minute break I had maintained roughly an 8:00 pace. Later I figured out that I was at 1:53:53 at that point, I needed to be at 1:52:13 to make my goal.

Mile 15 - 8:14

I wasn't sure what had happened here. I hadn't felt like I had slowed down but the watch clearly showed that I had. After this marker I saw Lisa for the first time. She asked how I felt. I told her I was slowing down.

Mile 16 - 8:18
Mile 17 - 8:24
Mile 18 - 8:41
Mile 19 - 8:57

At this point the half marathoners were no longer with us, they had departed at our mile 13, so the field had thinned considerably. At one point there were people within striking distance ahead of me but no one within a couple hundred yards behind me. Mile 18 to 20 were a very tough section for me. Much of these miles were also on concrete bike path. I really dislike running on concrete. I think it effected me more mentally than physically. At Mile 19 we crossed over the Oswosso bridge into a really cute neighborhood of Eugene. I marveled at the rhododendrons and other flowering shrubs. I came upon a guy that had been reduced to walking. He would run a few steps and start walking again. I could feel his pain. I took my first and only walk break as well. I walked for about 30 seconds and then convinced myself not to give in and ran on.

Mile 20, 21 - 18:16

Somehow at mile 20 I started to feel a little better but didn't really pick up the pace. Just after mile 20 I was passed by the 3:40 pace group, about 8 people. It was at that point that I conceded for sure my 3:30 goal and wasn't even sure I could hang on to 3:40.

Mile 22 - 9:05
Mile 23 - 10:47

During Mile 23 I had to stop for the 3rd time at the port-o-johns. I've been having a lot of trouble lately with this during my long runs. I'm not sure if its a byproduct of age or diet or if there's something medically wrong. But getting this under control would have saved me about 6 minutes on my overall time.

Mile 24 - 9:32
Mile 25 - 9:11
Mile 26 - 9:16
Mile 0.2 - 2:05

Final chip time was 3:44:39. So although my hopes of a BQ weren't realized I was pretty happy with the race. Possible problems could have been the effects of the head cold. The potty stops definitely had an effect. Making the boneheaded beginner mistake of going out fast, may have also contributed to my demise after mile 14. My PR is 3:40:52 at St. George with the assistance of the downhill course, so I don't feel too badly about adding 3:47 to my time on a flat course. Sorry Terry, but my race time has nothing to do with something as noble as administering CPR.

It was a beautiful day for a race, the temps were in the 50's most of the way, the sky was partly cloudy and there was only a light breeze. The people of Eugene were fantastic about encouraging runners; we had our names on our bibs. I wore my Marathon Maniac singlet and that got me a lot of extra love from the locals. At the finish line I got a Maniac Hug from Lenore Dolphin. In addition I had achieved my goal of staying ahead of Rob and Eric. Eric was less than 3 minutes behind me. As runners were passing me in the last miles I kept expecting to see his yellow Maniac jersey going by. So yes, Eric, I did hear your footsteps coming and that kept me moving forward. Rob had a tough day, but he's still an inspiration. I ended up running into Denis and John again in the cool down area. They finished just after 4:30. I ran into Sarah too and got to chat for a while.

Later that afternoon we enjoyed lunch with Michelle, Eric, Rob, Jenny and George before they left for the long drive back to Washington. Saturday night during dinner, #1 son called and asked me about the race. When I told him my time, he asked what happened to the 3:30 I wanted. I told him that I really didn't think I could do it anyway. He told me "Well it's no wonder you didn't make it if you had already decided that you couldn't." I couldn't really argue with that logic. It seems to me that I had a similar conversation with him in reverse several years ago. I guess they really do hear what we tell them. A little later we checked in with son #2. Less than a minute after hanging up with him he called us back to ask about the race. It is pretty cool that they were both interested and thinking about me.

For Lisa and I these trips are as much a mini vacation for us as they are a chance for me to run a marathon. It is nice to get away from work and home for a couple of days to be alone together. We like to check out the local area and enjoy the sights and food. Saturday night we enjoyed dinner at Koho Bistro, a little place in a strip mall off the beaten path with very good food. I had the Maple Butternut Squash Ravioli.

After lunch with the WA Maniacs we headed down to Cottage Grove for the covered bridge tour. The route took us around the Dorena Reservoir, a very scenic drive. The Row River Trail runs between the road and reservoir. I was excited about it as a great place to go for a run. On the way back we stopped and got some really good coffee drinks at one of the little trailer coffee shops that are everywhere in Oregon. We stopped at the Sweet Life Patisserie in Eugene and picked up a Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake tartlet, a piece of Peach crumb pie and a peanut butter cup to enjoy later. We had dinner at the Steelhead Brewery.

No trip would be complete without finding a good local pancake house for breakfast. We discovered Ye Olde Pancake House for Monday morning. We spent the rest of the day at the Oregon Garden in Silverton. It is a fairly new garden but has some wonderful displays. The problem with taking my wife to these places is that she wants to have the gardens recreated in our yard. Unfortunately gardening in SoCal is not quite the same as gardening in Oregon. I do enjoy gardening, but haven't put much effort into it since we moved to this house, although I really don't like the landscaping we inherited. Since I've taken up running the lawn and garden have definitely been neglected. I've got my priorities you know.

Drew and many others have asked what's next. Drew specifically asked about my Colorado plans. Currently Boulder Backroads is my choice based on magazine reviews. It looks like I will be joining several of the CA Cruisers at the Marine Corps Marathon in October. I feel like I have time to squeeze in at least one more state before then. I'm certain I will count MCM as my DC marathon. I have Richmond planned as my VA marathon.

As far as the cold goes, I can't say for sure that it affected the marathon. But I can say that the two things have had a synergistic negative effect on recovery. I feel worse three days later than I can ever remember feeling after a marathon (is that runner's amnesia) and the cold symptoms have worsened. I expect to be running by Saturday at the latest.

So Donald, there's the Eugene race report and more. Thanks to you all for hanging in there to the end and for the support in person and via the blog. Time to firm up the plans for Number 11.