Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Mother Road Trifecta

On October 10, 10.10.10, I ran the Mother Road marathon from Commerce Oklahoma to Joplin Missouri.  It is called the Mother Road because part of it is run on Old U S Route 66.  The original super highway that ran from Chicago to Los Angeles.  The Mother Road ain't what it used to be.  Most of it is now state highway or even just under local care.  Which is to say the road is in many places in disrepair.  Nevertheless I had decided that if I was successful in finishing the Mother Road 100 run, then I would attempt to finish all 3 Mother Road races being run, at least partially, in Oklahoma.  This would mean that if I was successful in the 100 mile run, I'd have to run a marathon a week later.
Well I finished the 100 mile race in 24 hours 30 seconds on Sunday, November 14th.  Sunday was also the last day to register online for the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa.  You could still register at the expo, but I didn't want to leave it to chance, or give myself a reason to back out.  I registered that night when I got home. 
I didn't attempt to run until the Thursday before the marathon.  That didn't go well, every muscle in my legs was still sore, and I really couldn't run.  I "jogged" for two miles before giving up.  Still on Saturday I rode with some friends to the expo and picked up my packet, bib, and timing chip.
I decided that I would just see how it went the next day.   The next day I rode with Willie, Adi, and Willie's son to Tulsa.  I had thought about getting a room and spending the night in Tulsa, but Adi said they were going up both days, so I decided to just ride with them.  We got to Tulsa in plenty of time before the start, parked and walked down to the "Race Village."  This year Tulsa had 3 corrals, and they had stated that your bib would be checked before you were allowed to enter a corral.  They were based on your estimated finish time, so you could say whatever you wanted as an estimate.  I was truthful and entered over 4 hours.  This put me in the 2nd corral, but when we entered there was no one checking and I was in the 1st with Willie.  I decided I didn't want to be there, and moved back to my correct corral.  There was about a 5 minute delay between corral starts so I watched the first one start and waited for my start.  We're off and I'm running around a 9:30 pace.  I usually take a few miles to get going so I just settled into a comfortable pace.  I never lost sight of the 4 hour pace group and as I felt better, I dropped the pace below 9 and slowly gained on the pace group.  I passed them but then settled into a 9:05-9:10 pace so I wasn't pulling away from them.  I didn't feel bad, but never felt good enough to pick up the pace.  Around mile 14 I started feeling pain in my legs, both ITBands were hurting and I knew it was time to back off.  I started walking some and trying to fuel up to see if that would help.  As we entered the worse part of the marathon, South on Riverside into the wind, I recognized a park area which was the start/finish for the 50 miler I had done in Tulsa back in July.  I knew they had a full bathroom there, so I left the course to go spend some quality time there.  Upon reentering the course, I felt like a new man, and began to run again.  My pace was still slow, over 10 minute miles, but at least I was running steadily again.  Once I made the turn around on Riverside and had the wind at my back I was able to drop the pace back below 10 minutes and felt like I might be able to finish under 4:25.  I ran the rest of the way in and finished just under 4:25. I finished the Route 66 Marathon thus completing my "Mother Road Trifecta."  For the record, the first Route 66 Marathon in 2006 was my first marathon.
What did I earn by doing this?  Nothing above what anyone else earned in each race.  Why did I do it?  I wanted to push my body to the edge.  I did do that.  I have run twice since finishing, and feel like I have made it with no permanent damage.  I may have an ITBand problem.  But I have run up to 5 miles without pain, so I'm not sure.  I will gradually increase the distance to see if it triggers the ITB pain, but so far so good. 
I have no plans to race anymore this year, but a 5k near the end of December isn't out of the question.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Mother Road 100.3 - Final Chapter

This past Saturday, November 13, 2010, I ran in the Mother Road 100.3 one hundred mile run.  This was the third and final version of this run.  The race is put on by Thomas Hill and Bret Sholar.  Anyone that knows them knows that they put on first class quality races.
The first Mother Road went from Oklahoma City (Arcadia) to Tulsa (Sapulpa).  The second version went from the western border to Oklahoma City (El Reno).  And this final version went from Baxter Springs KS, to Tulsa (Catoosa).  Thus completing races that covered one end of the state to the other.
I remember the first run, but was not ready to run that far yet.  When the second Mother Road came along, I still wasn't ready for the whole thing, but good friend Joel McCarty asked me to pace him the final 35 miles.
My experience pacing him was invaluable.  I remember him persevering through the cold, darkness, and pain to push on to a finish.  I told him I had never cried after finishing a race, but I was close to tears watching him push on to a 100 mile finish.  So when this opportunity came along, I knew I had to run.
I had run one other 100 mile run, Rocky Raccoon in Huntsville State Park, Huntsville TX.  I finished that run in a little over 27 hours.
This race was to be similar to Rocky in that I really didn't have a crew up until the week before the race.  While Cara and Randy Nance had agreed to crew me, I knew they had other people to crew also.  And in a race of this distance, the runners would really get spread out as time passed.  The week before the race Bill Goodier offered to crew me.  The week before Rocky Raccoon Willie and Bill offered to crew and pace me and without their help I'm not sure I would have finished.  I already had Joel lined up to pace me for the Mother Road from around midnight to the finish.  Everything seemed to be falling into place.
Bill got me to our hotel the night before, and to the start line the next day.  It was cool but a storm front had passed through the day before with rain.  So we were fortunate that the rain was over. 
The National Anthem, a prayer, Don shoots the gun and we're off.  I started at an easy pace and felt pretty good.  There were aid stations every 6 to 11 miles, but besides resting a bit I wasn't eating much there, Bill was taking care of my nutritional needs.  I did the first 30 in right at six hours which was my goal.  Bill was concerned that I was drinking plenty, but might not be eating enough.  He was right.  In almost every ultra I run, there comes a time around 30 miles where my stomach gets queasy and nothing appeals to me.  So I stop eating, and mostly drink water because the sports drinks are sweet and by this time I'm sick of them.
But I was still making good time.  I had aches and pains but none that grew bad enough to concern me. 
As darkness approached my pace began to really slow down.  I was tired, but I knew the problem was I hadn't eaten enough and now I was paying for it.  I came into Vinita and passed a Sonic as I approached the next aid station.  While they were certainly appreciated, there were problems at several of them.  In at least three they either didn't have soup, or it wasn't warm.  When I saw Bill, I asked him to go to Sonic and get some Tater Tots.  When he got back with them I thought I was living the good life.  I scarfed up the tots and felt like I could go on.
I arrived at the Chelsea aid station which was where Joel would join me.  This was in a warm hotel room and Randy and Cara were there also.  I had some more soup, picked up some Gator Aid and Joel and I headed out.  I had given up on a sub twenty four hour finish and was planning to just walk it in.  Joel convinced me that I was making good time and still had a shot.  We started running as much as walking and I began to think it was still possible also.  We both knew from experience that when daylight came, we would experience an additional boost. 
Bill continued to keep us fueled and updated on our pace.  As daylight came I still could run so I kept running as much as possible.  Joel would encourage me but not push me.  As we approached the finish I knew it was going to be close.  I was running as much and as fast as I felt I could but was really hurting now.  Not injury hurting, but tired and sore from running so long.  The last few miles were very hilly and despite that we continued to run.  As we approached the running track which was the finish I started running as fast as I could.  Bill was already there and ran to read the clock.  As I entered the track he said fifty eight minutes.  I thought I can do two minutes, but then he said fifty nine minutes and I knew I was just going to barely miss sub twenty four.  I continued around the track and saw the clock turn to twenty four hours.  Final time, 24:00:30. 
I am very happy with my finish.  I felt that I was running as hard as I could near the end and know that I would never have finished that fast without Joel encouraging me.
Many thanks to Bill who had to have had the hardest job.  Trying to meet my needs and drive a little bit at a time.  To both Bill and Joel for giving up more than a day of their time to help a friend reach his goal.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A First for Me - Literally

Saturday, October 23, 2010 I ran a 12 hour race which was part of 24 The Hardway, and the Dirty Double Dozen. These are combined trail and road races. Since I ran a road race, I'll just explain how those worked. On Saturday three different races were run on the same one mile paved loop. The 12 hour race started at 6 a.m, the 24 hour race started at 9 a.m. and the 6 hour race started at 12 noon. Last year I ran the 24 hour race. This year because I want to run the Mother Road 100 (Nov. 13, 2010) I decided I'd run the 12 hour race as a training run for the 100 miler.
We started right on time, 6 a.m. It was still dark, but this is a smooth track so I didn't take a light with me. A friend of mine (Kelly) was running her first ultra marathon. She had done one marathon before this but she is a very strong runner. She asked me some questions about doing this run, and I told things I thought would help her. And even though she is a faster runner, we felt like in a run of this duration, we would spend some time running together. She asked me about how to start, and I told her it takes me a while to get going so to feel free to take off, but not to overdo it.
I had a goal of running over 60 miles during these 12 hours, but first and foremost I wanted to run smart and within myself. I started out feeling pretty good and was running mostly sub 9:30 miles for the first 20 plus miles. I started slowing into the 10's after that, but all I needed to do was keep my average under 12 minute miles. Kelly and I didn't run together much during this period, in fact she lapped me twice.
As the day wore on the weather started getting a little nasty. As you can see by the pictures above I was wearing a singlet. The wind really picked up, and those with tents were having to either secure them better, or take them down. It got cooler and started to rain some. I was never cold, but had a jacket and thought if it gets any colder I'm putting the jacket on. I never did use the jacket and eventually the weather calmed down and began to warm up a bit.
As with any long race I had my ups and downs. I just had to keep powering through the downs with the knowledge that an up would be coming.
As the day wore on I passed Kelly and she was also going through her own ups and downs. We found out that we were leading the race. When someone first told me that I thought they were joking with me. But Kelly confirmed that we were leading. We knew that others had started faster than us but they had either dropped out or slowed down. We began to think about what we would do if it came down to the two of us at the end. I told her to do her own thing, if she wanted to pick up the pace to go ahead. We both did run our own races for a while and I think I was leading her for a time. I didn't know if she had slowed or stopped. While I did want to win I also didn't want to be a jerk. Plus I knew when it came right down to it Kelly was a faster runner.
To digress for a moment, one of my running goals was to win a race outright, not just my age group or the masters category. But here is how I pictured that happening. In the next year or two I was going to start running in small town 5 k's. I'd noticed that occasionally I'd see a winning time of 22 minutes or more, so I thought well I could have won that race. It just goes to show that things don't always happen the way I picture them happening.
With about 30 minutes to go Kelly caught back up to me. I have to tell you she looked good for having run almost 60 miles. You'd think this was just a afternoon jog for her. So we again started talking about what we were going to do. I said feel free to take off and do what you can do. She said no, she didn't feel that great. So we started talking about tying for first. At first we thought about slowing down so that we would cross the timing mats right at the 12 hour mark. But even though we had slowed, we knew we'd have to slow down a lot more to time it just right.
One more small explanation. Since this is a timed and not distance race, the race ends right at 12 hours, regardless of how far you've run. The way they handle the end of the race is on your last lap, you get a flag with your number on it, and when they shoot the gun ending the race you place your flag where ever you are at that time.
We talked about it some more and decided we would tie for first. We also decided that rather than trust the timing mat to record our finish times as being exactly the same, we would simply place our flags side by side when the gun sounded, and that's what we did. The first picture above is beside our flags and our actual finish spot. the second is us crossing the timing mat together. Final milage for both of us 62.35 miles.
This was a great race for me. It taught me more about focusing during a race. It also taught me some things about myself. From the time they told me I was leading the race, I had to start thinking about what I would do if Kelly caught back up with me. What should I do? What should we do? I haven't asked her, but I suspect she had some of the same thoughts. The main advantage I have over some of the newer runners is experience. All other things being equal, Kelly would out run me most of the time.  But when it came down to it we both made a decision to defer to the other person. During the time I was thinking about this, I thought about what it would feel like to actually win a race. But that does not compare with the feeling I had sharing the win with a good friend.
Thanks Kelly for a great run.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tri-State Mother Road Marathon

My running club sponsored a road trip to the Mother Road Marathon in Joplin Missouri. This marathon was to run through three states. Starting in Commerce Oklahoma, through Baxter Springs Kansas, and finishing in Joplin Missouri. I was running this as a training run for the upcoming ultras, but also felt like I was in shape to run sub 3:50.
I arrived at the pick up spot late Saturday (October 9th) morning. The bus left on time and it was nice, equipped with DVD, and wi-fi. I knew almost everyone on the bus, and it was a festive ride. We arrived at our hotel, I got checked in and then on to the packet pick up and "pasta feast." These two events were not up to par. The "expo" was nothing more than packet and t-shirt pickup. The "pasta dinner" was ok, but not worth eight dollars.
Some of the runners ate again at a local chain restaurant. I went to my room to finish off the sandwich I had brought for the ride up, arrange my running apparel, and retire to watch football. Next morning I boarded our bus for the ride to the start. We decided to use our charter rather than take the race shuttles to the finish line, and then other shuttles to the start. We arrived at the start with more than an hour to kill. There were plenty of port-a-potties, and water seemed to be the only choice for drinks.
Showtime, we start just after 8:00 a.m. I had decided to run this race by feel. I had talked with a friend, and she said she planned to run an 8:30 pace. I thought about it for awhile and while I wanted to do the same, I said I wouldn't push to do it. I started out running near 8:30's and it felt ok. The roads were sloped or cambered most of the time during the first half. The race really could have started at 7:00 and we wouldn't have had as much problem with the heat as it ended up. I pushed to the halfway point in about 1:50, right on pace. The race ran us into this parking lot, I can only imagine to get the mileage right and to cross us over a timing mat. While exiting the parking lot I tripped over a speed bump and fell. Guess I was going too fast. I scrapped my right shoulder and hands, but only my pride was hurt. I jumped up, and the guy behind me told me my shoe had become untied. I stopped to tie it back, and then promptly tripped on another speed bump, this time I only stumbled, but didn't fall. I pushed on determined that this little incident wouldn't affect my race, and it didn't. The second half of this race is more uphill, and had a steep one at eighteen. While I knew I was faltering, this is where it was all over. I was tired, probably dehydrated, and just knew that I was going to be walking a lot from here to the end. If I could have kept a 11/mile pace, I still could have come in under 4 hours, but I had the "I don't cares" by now. So every time I would start running, and then my head would spin and I'd feel nauseous, I'd slow back down to a walk. I did not run for a non-stop mile from this point on. I never got over the wall but when I saw the finish line, I ran all the way in. I finished in 4:04 and suprisingly took third in my age group.
My critique of this marathon is that the run itself was done well. There were plenty of aid stations, the city police/state police/sheriffs dept handled traffic well. The expo was not good, nor was the pasta dinner. The race should have started an hour earlier, but the weather was unseasonably hot, so I can see where they thought it would be ok. I won't return to this race unless we do another road trip.
As I said this was really a training run. In two weeks I'll be running a 12 hour race in Oklahoma City. And in five weeks I'll be running the Mother Road 100 which will run on a small part of this marathon course, but in the opposite directon.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

In the Mean Time

I've continued my running, racing, and training. Since my last post about running, I've run at least three races. Two 5k's and one half marathon. Both 5k's my time was about 21:25. No where near my best, but good times. The second 5k I did feel better at the end than I do after most 5k's. That let me know that maybe my training is paying off. At the half marathon, I was running very well the first half, and out and back course, but really struggled coming back. That didn't bother me because it told me some things. Mainly that I am able to run long at a higher level, but need to mesh my pace with the distance. The half was a training run anyway.
Coming up all my runs/races are long. In two weeks, 10/10/10, I have a marathon. Then on the 23rd of Oct. I'm running a 12 hour timed race. And in November I'm running the Mother Road 100. I also have signed up for a very famous race, but more about that later.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Internet Emotions

There have been several reasons I haven't posted in some time. Most of them are related to negative events in my life. While negative they are all part of life. I have had severe property damage related to tornadoes. Negative experiences dealing with the insurance companies related to this damage. Negative experiences related to the contractors fixing this damage. And the death of someone very close to me.
The reason for my title is that I don't like "Internet emotions." That is compassion's, condolences, sympathies etc. from people who either don't really know me, or didn't know those around me. I'm not saying they aren't sincere or heartfelt. I'm just saying I don't like them. I've always felt that I'm part of a crossover generation. I'm comfortable with technology, in fact I enjoy it. But I don't accept that I can have a best friend, someone who can share in whatever we're feeling, and we've never met. I like the people that I "talk to" correspond with on the Internet. But I don't feel like we're truly "good friends." Nor do I expect them to feel like I'm their "best" or even "good friend." Some of my younger friends on Facebook or like areas seem to be more comfortable baring their souls here. For me, it is hard to even confide in face to face friends, let alone my "cyber buddies."
I'll get into my running in another post, but on my run this morning, I decided it was time to come back.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Midnight Madness 50 Mile Race

Friday, July 2nd was the date for my second ultra of the year. My first was the Steal the Seal 50k (31 Miles) which was really a training run for this race. This one was called the Midnight Madness 50 Mile run. Put on by the TATURS (Tulsa Area Trail Ultra Runners). The race was directed by Brian Hoover, Head TATUR. The TATUR's are known for putting on quality events.
This race was another midnight start. I met up with two friends in OKC at 8 P M for the ride to Tulsa. It rained hard on the way, remnants of a hurricane, and we were a little worried about our race. It was still raining when we arrived at the park for the start/finish, but it stopped before our midnight start. This race was 5 loops on the paved Tulsa River Trails. We would cross the Arkansas river twice on each loop. The loops were also reversed each time. Three times counterclockwise, and twice clockwise. I didn't think I would like this at first, but getting to see everyone on the trail turned out to be nice.
I had an outside goal of finishing under 10 hours, but really just wanted to run smart. I started around a 10 minute mile and ran fairly well. While it wasn't raining, the humidity was very high, and it was warm. First loop no real problems. I didn't stop in the aid stations long, and moved out for my second loop. Again no problems, but my energy did start to drop. Third loop of course I began to slow down. I still had a chance to beat 10 hours, but knew it wasn't likely. On my final loop, I really began to feel a bit better. I was into the walk/run mode, but since it was now daylight, cloudy so the sun wasn't shining, I was somewhat energized. That coupled with the fact that Chuck started running with me helped me increase my pace a bit. My new goal was now to beat 10:30. It was also starting to rain again. But the rain was actually welcome, it cooled things down some. I finished around 10 hours 26 minutes for an official distance of 51.5 miles.
Thanks to all the aid workers, pacers, and to Chuck for hanging with me the last 6 or so miles. Thanks to Mary for helping me get something to eat at the end. Thanks to the TATURS for a well run race especially considering the conditions.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Steal the Seal 50k (31 miles)

Midnight (June 12th) Friday night/Saturday morning I started my first official ultra marathon of the year. Official because I did run past the marathon January 2 in an unofficial ran.
This race is called "Steal the Seal" because early in Oklahoma State history the first Capital was Guthrie. The story goes that the State Seal was stolen in the middle of the night and taken to Oklahoma City to make it the new Capital. So the premise was that we would symbolically return the seal to Guthrie.
At midnight we started our journey to Guthrie from the State Capital in Oklahoma City. Down Lincoln to 50th and then to Martin Luther King Dr. This street has several names as it passes through Oklahoma City to Edmond and beyond. I started with three other friends and we ran together for about six miles. One surged ahead and the other slowed down a bit after the first 10k. When we left Edmond it was very dark and the fireflies were putting on quite a light show for us. It was probably the most enjoyable part of the race outside of the finish. Bill and I stayed together until around 2o miles when I was starting to fade. Bill was still running strong, so he went on. It was about this time that we left pavement and hit a dirt road. It was very dark on the road and at this point I started to use my head light. The dirt road part wasn't bad except when cars would pass and then the dust was a problem. Since most of the cars were supporting us though, I'll take some dust. There were too few aid stations in the second half for the heat and humidity during this run. When I saw Cara and Shay on the dirt road it was like an oasis. I was out of water and knew there were no more aid stations until the finish. Another small change I'd make would be to put more signs on the dirt road to confirm that we're going the right way. Although I did not go off course, I was afraid I had. I ran for over 5 miles without a sign and couldn't see any lights letting me know that I was near Guthrie. My Garmin was reading 30 miles and I was still on this road. Just as I was about to panic that I had gone too far, the road curved and I could see pavement and houses, Guthrie. I knew I was near the finish and picked it up a bit. Now there were people at the turns to let you know where to go. Three blocks to the finish. I crossed the finish line in 5:36:21. Fifth male and sixth overall. This was not an easy run but neither was it really hard. There were hills and the heat and humidity made it difficult. But it should be good training for yet another ultra, 50 mile, July 2nd with another midnight start.
Thanks to Bret, Bill, and Mary for the time we ran together. Thank you to all who manned the aid stations in the middle of the night. Thanks to all of you roaming the course with aid to anyone who needed it. Those that I remember were, Dave, Keith, Cara, Shay, Chuck, Vaden and friends, and special thanks to Brandi and friend for the aid, and Brandi for the ride back to my car.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Vibram Five Fingers.

I have said I'd review these for some time now. Almost a year ago I purchased the Vibram Five Finger KSO's. I have over 100 miles on these. I bought the Five Fingers to hopefully make my feet stronger. I had run a couple of races over 50 miles and the thing that hurt the most was my feet. In the later miles of my 100 mile run, my feet were really hurting. There was no damage to them, they just hurt from being on them so long.
I must say the verdict is still out on whether they are helping. I have two road ultra's in the next month, and I may know more after that.
I have done most of my running on pavement or grass. I don't feel comfortable running trails in these. I have some friends that do, and Barefoot Ted has run hundred mile races in them. But I feel that I'd be courting injury running trails with these. I've stubbed my toe hard running trails, and if I hadn't been wearing trail shoes with their extra toe protection, I would probably have broken one by now.
Lately I've been combining heart rate training and running in the FF's. My heart rate training entails keeping my HR under 130. I usually do 5 to 6 miles in this range at a nearby paved loop. The most I've ever run in the FF's is 12 miles. Whenever I run hard, my calves hurt for several days. It's not a injury hurt, just a sore hurt that tells me I'm using muscles I don't usually use.
I guess I would say that these are fun shoes, but whether they are worth the money depends on what you want from them. But as most people advise, if you do get them, don't rush into long mileage with them. I would suggest no more than 5-8 miles a week for several months.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Andy Payne Pt. 2

I'm only calling this "Pt. 2" because this is the second time I've run this marathon. I first ran it two years ago. This year's version was run Sunday, May 30th. It is a very low key marathon, less than 100 finishers this year. And it is almost always hot and humid. This year was no exception. I ran this race as a training run for my next two ultra marathons, 50 k on June 12 with a midnight start, and 50 miles July 2 also a midnight start.
It was in the low 70's at the 6:30 AM start of the marathon. I had a somewhat loose goal of running this under 4 hours. But my main goal was to run it smart. I started out running with a friend from the running club. We separated after about 7 miles and I ran the rest of the marathon alone. The race starts in a park where we run about 2 miles and then it's 3 times around lake Overholser. If it weren't for the hot and humid conditions, this would be an easy course. It is boring, but there is very little elevation change. I started feeling the loss of energy around mile 15, which is on the last part of the second loop. I was still able to maintain a sub 10 minute mile, but I had to use the walk run strategy for the final lap. It was now into the high 80's and too far between aid stations. Still when I finished in 4:05:45 I didn't feel bad. I won my age group and am ok with the time. As a training run I got what I needed, a nice finish, heat training, and no injuries.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Boston Marathon & Goals

This was my second time to run Boston. Last year my only goal was to enjoy the experience, and just try to beat 4 hours. I finished in 3:59.35. I qualified at Tucson, 3:43.01, Dec '08 and that gave me two years. I hadn't run that fast since. I tried to P R at CIM, 3:52.26, in Sacramento back in Dec '09, but in retrospect, would have been better served to simply try to B Q. I have no regrets about that though, I went for it and paid the price. This year I had a goal of re-qualifying at Boston. That meant I had to run 3:45.59 or faster. That was my only goal outside of the always backup goals of finishing and not hurting myself.
In the days leading up to the marathon it rained. I flew in Friday because I wanted to just take it easy. The Red Sox game was rained out in the 8th inning and it rained some Saturday and Sunday. Some friends and I went for an easy 4 mile run Sunday morning, and it was misting. The forecast for Monday was almost perfect. Cool, mid 30's and partly cloudy in the morning, and warming to the 50's in the afternoon.
I made it to the Athlete's Village with no problems. Sat by a nice young lady from California and we had a good conversation all the way. Once in the village, I walked around for a while looking for some others from the running club but never found them. It was chilly, so I looked around for a spot out of the wind and in the sun and sat down.
I was in the 2nd wave starting at 10:30. I walked to my corral and waited for the start. Boom, and we're off. Walking at first, but once you cross the timing mat you can start running. It's still crowded, but it didn't slow me much. Plus since the start is downhill, I needed to hold back a bit anyway. Once I got going at my pace, really a bit under, I felt pretty good but as with any long distance race I was apprehensive about being able to hold pace the entire race. I was to go through many ups and downs, but keep going in the knowledge that the down would soon give way to the up. From miles 8-11 I was in a zone like I've never been in. It was like I was in a bubble, no one around me and able to do anything I wanted. I felt like I could really pick up the pace here, but resisted the temptation. I was unable to maintain that feeling, but was still keeping pace. Boston is strictly a chip timed race except for the elites. I knew I had about a 3 minute cushion over gun time, but decided I wanted to meet my goal on gun time. Every mile had a clock so I knew where I was in relation to the start. Mile 20, fatigued but still on pace. Newton hills, still running and while I was hurting, I was running strong. Many were falling by the wayside, some having hit the wall, others with one pain or another. I ran up Heartbreak hill at pace, and once I topped it felt like I was going to make it. I did slow for one mile at an aid station. I decided I needed to get hydrated so I slowed to a light jog and drank both Gatoraide and water. Ramp back up for the finish. Under the Citgo sign and just a little more to go. Once I turned onto Boylston street and could see the finish in the distance I really picked it up. I could see the clock just turning to 3:44 and knew then that I would meet my goal by gun time. I finished and the clock read something like 3:44.40. I slowed and then started walking. Extremely happy I had met my goal. Later when I saw my chip time, 3:42.07. Not only did I re-qualify for Boston at Boston, but I had P R'ed at Boston. I trained hard for this race, and am so pleased that hard training paid off. Those of you who run know that training alone doesn't do it, you have to have other things fall into place also. Monday, April 19th, 2010 Boston MA, it all fell into place.
Thank you to all who wished me well, thought about me and the others you knew running there, and for all your congratulations also. I appreciate you all.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Sanctuary is one of those words I've always liked. There is so much contained in that one word.
There are many definitions of sanctuary. But the one I like best is "A place of refuge or asylum." Asylum is another word I like, Leon Russell had a group called the "Asylum Choir." And another called the "Shelter People." All of these words have a similar meaning to me, Asylum, Shelter, Sanctuary. Running is my Sanctuary. Not a physical place, but a place. I can go there other times, but running has the added benefit of lowering my resistance. Like when you stay up far beyond time to sleep, not under the influence of drugs, just going beyond time to sleep. Fasting is another way to get there. But for me, it is usually running, running beyond the comfort zone. Whether it be by pushing your speed, endurance or time limits. I run alone a lot, not so much by choice, but because I work in a place away from people of a like mind. I have never seen another runner during my weekly runs near my job. But this is fine with me. I get my communal runs on the weekend. But sometimes even that is not possible. I was out of state on business last week, and missed the club run. So I did my long run, 21 miles, alone last Easter Sunday. It was a wonderful time. I did see a lot of other runners, even a few I knew. But our paths simply crossed, and were not joined.
When I got home the house was vacant, everyone was already at church. I had promised to go, so I went. I was still in sanctuary, a place where I can be alone with myself, even among the hundreds who surrounded me.
From the Song "Million" by Paul Kantner

"And yet there were some of the men and ladies
Who remembered that in the beginning we were one
A body and one spirit in all of our bodies
Whoa... oh sanctuary
Come and sail with me ... revelation
Standing on the edge of civilization"

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Road Trip - A2A Half Marathon

My running club planned a road trip to a new marathon/half marathon about 100 miles from Oklahoma City. We chartered two luxury buses for the trip. This was to be a test of my Boston Marathon training. I was running the 1/2 and wanted to do my first sub 1:40 time. I just missed it at Tulsa in November, 1:40.22. My training has been going well, I've been able to meet all the speed work times and have resisted the temptation to overdo it.
The bus left Sunday morning right on time. It was a festive atmosphere and I was cautiously optimistic. This was a point to point race for both the 1/2 and full. We got to the start and it was cold and windy. But we all knew that we'd warm up once we started. I had just a short sleeve on, and decided to put a long sleeve under. We started and it was a steep downhill for the first couple of miles. I let the hills take me and was running faster than I needed to. As the road leveled off, I started keeping the pace I needed. I felt fairly good the whole time, and took a Hammer Gel every 20 to 30 minutes. For a first time race this one did everything right. Plenty of aid stations, good traffic control, and a nice finish. The wind was at our backs most of the way, but when we neared the finish, the wind was in our face. I was also starting to fade, but knew I was near my goal. As I entered the stadium and got on the track, my watch said I had close to a minute to spare. We did one lap on the track to finish, and I started sprinting like I was just starting a speed session. I passed several people, and as I neared the finish, saw I was going to make my goal. 1:39.19. I reached my goal, and won my age group by 4 seconds. That means that I passed the 2nd place male on the track. Of course I didn't know that at the time.
The ride home was nice. The entire trip was very well organized as was the race.
A couple of weeks earlier I won my age group in the triple crown of racing.
Next up, Boston April 19th.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Jack Rector 25k & Creek Classic 10k

There is a group of races here called the Triple Crown. This consists of a 25k/5k, 10k/5k, and then a St. Paddy's (Day before) 8k. The 25k is named in honor of Jack Rector, the man I'm pictured with. He and his wife started the Oklahoma City Marathon training group years ago. Jack has since passed, and the race was named in his honor. I had only run this race once before, and since it was the only time I'd run 25k, it was my P R. I wanted to run it this year to see if I could improve on my "P R." I also felt it would be a good test of my conditioning for the Boston Marathon. My goal was to hold 5 minute k's. This would give me a 2:05 time, and about a 10 minute P R. I started out holding this pace, and while I would go over by 3-5 seconds, I was able to average this almost the whole race. I finished just over 2:05 and was pleased to be able to reach my goal. I also won my age group.
After the 25k, I decided to go ahead and run the Creek Classic 10k. I've run this race a couple of times before, and swore I wouldn't run it again after two years of poor after race activities. But then a friend took over the race, and I felt like she would make improvements. The race itself had been fine, but the awards ceremonies the last two years took way too long. Last year they ran out of medals and said they'd mail them to us. I never received mine, and when the previous race director emailed me telling me I was going to be charged for not turning in my chip, I pointed out to her, one, that I owned my chip, and two, that they hadn't sent my award. She replied to me that "I don't know why runners care so much about those medals." I told her that I didn't care about the medal, but that it was more about doing what you say you're going to do. Enough of that. My goal for this 10k was to try to hold 4:30 k's. This would give me a 45 minute time, not a P R, but not easy for me. I started holding this, but was letting it drift a bit after 4k. I was probably averaging 4:35 k's through 8k, but got a second wind and ran the last 2k under 4:15 each. I finished just over 45 minutes, and won my age group again. The awards ceremonies was better, but still needs some work. I know it is not easy putting these races on, and hope they can improve next year. They had a great turnout and say they raised more than they had hoped for for their cause.
Next up, 8k.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Whatever happened to Lucy

My sophomore year at the University of Oklahoma I had a professor, Dr. Temerlin, who taught psychology. It was the most interesting class I had in college. And we had to read a book called "The Person" that basically covered the person from birth to death. It was the biggest text book I had all through college, and the only one I read cover to cover. You could sell it back, but I still have that book.
Dr. Temerlin and his wife were raising a chimp, Lucy, from birth to be as much like a human child as possible. Many of his lectures would be about their progress with Lucy. He even brought her to class a couple of times. They taught her sign language and she was able to learn over 140 signs. This was fascinating to me, and from time to time, after college, I would hear news of Lucy and how she progressed. But like a lot of things, I didn't really seek out news, just moved on. Saturday, after leaving a brunch I had to attend, it was terrible, I was listening to NPR's This American Life, and they were telling the story of what happened to Lucy. The short version is that they put her in a rehabilitation center in Gambia, but she did not adapt to the wild. The story is much more interesting than that. Janis Carter, a grad student under the Temerlins, actually lived with Lucy and other chimps trying to re-introduce them to the wild. Again, the short version is that Lucy finally left sanctuary and when Janis returned after about a year, she found Lucy dead.
The story was both interesting and of course sad. I was fascinated by what Lucy learned, one thing is she would lie. Something they thought was unique to humans. But the sad thing is that Lucy had never lived in the wild, and then they tried to introduce her to it, and you know the result. Isn't that just like humans? When they're through with you, they basically throw you away. But I'm able to say I know what happened to Lucy.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sooner State Games Trail Run

Yesterday, Saturday the 13th, was the running of the Sooner State Games Trail Run. This is a race held on trails within Oklahoma City. The course is a 3.5 twisty hilly rooty trail. For the record, that picture is not from this course. This race had 3 distances, 3.5, 7, and 14 miles, 1, 2, or 4 loops of the course. The starts were staggered 5 minutes apart to keep it from being crowded. This race had been postponed two weeks because of the big ice storm we had. The day was almost perfect, the trails were a bit muddy with small water crossings, but not bad. I decided to run the 7 mile race because I felt like that was a distance I could push all the way. We started and I ran fast to not get caught behind slower runners once we hit the single track. After about a mile you come to a fork in the trail. I've run these trails before, but I don't run them often. Needless to say I took the wrong turn. I ran for awhile, but noticed I wasn't seeing anyone else. Then I passed a marker, and it was meant to be read from the other direction. At this point I left the trail and got on this paved path that is nearby. I started running a loop of it, debating whether to drop, or take my lumps and go back to where I made the wrong turn. I ran a mile on the pavement, then decided, what the heck, I probably won't medal, but I'm going to complete the race. I saw someone who knew the trail better than I and she explained to me where I went wrong. I picked it back up there and went the right direction. Almost an hour to finish the first loop, but I was over 6 miles according to my Garmin. I was really feeling good, so I started pushing the second loop. Many of the people I knew thought I was lapping them, but I told them I was just catching them. I finished around 1:37, 1st loop 58 minutes, 2nd loop 39 minutes. Oh, and 1st place in age group. The 2nd guy finished about 3 minutes after me. I told the timer what happened in case I should still be disqualified, and he said as long as I returned to where I went off course I was OK.
Today our marathon training group was scheduled to run 16 miles. The weather forecast said the temperature would be dropping below freezing, it was around 58 yesterday, and we would likely get sleet and snow. When we started it was cold but nothing was falling. Within a mile a light sleet started and by mile 7 it was coming down hard and stinging my face. A friend said she was only doing 14 so I took the shortcut with her. I wasn't tired, but I was tired of the sleet hitting me, and we were running right into it. With the turn around it was now at our back. But it soon turned into a light snow, and it was just a beautiful run. As I got closer to the end I was feeling like I could pick up the 2 miles I had cut with no problem. I had been running by myself for some time now, so I decided to keep straight where I should have turned to get the extra mileage. I felt good and did an out and back to get the total to 16. A great start to Valentine's Day.
Congratulations to all my friends that ran the Austin half and full marathon today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Danman 50, 26.2, 13.1, 10k

Danman is an unofficial race held at a man's (Dan's) land down near Madill in southern Oklahoma. It's almost a Fatass, but it probably has too much support to qualify as a FA. As the title suggests, there are multiple distances to run. And I didn't run any of them. I signed up for the 50 miler, but with the snow and rains we've had, I knew I wasn't going to run 50 miles. You didn't have to pre-register, but I did. I rode with some friends who planned to run 13.1 miles. So I had to keep their schedule in mind also. So I went with plans of trying to do at least the marathon distance.
Dan has a large "ranch" with a beautiful house on it. Large, plenty of room, this served at the headquarters for the race. The race is two loops, 6 miles, and 7 miles. You do these loops as follows, 1st loop only for 10k, both loops for 13.1, and both twice for 26.2. The second loop has a 3 mile plus offshoot for the 50 milers to get around 17 miles per two loops.
I started on the first loop, and it was very muddy, and somewhat hilly. But I made it through ok. Second loop was a bit easier, although it was shoe sucking muddy right near the end. I decided to take the 50 mile extra loop to get to 17 miles. I also decided that I would take the 2nd loop again, rather than the first. The 2nd time I just did the 7 mile loop, ending up with close to 24 miles.
This is a nice run, and if I ever do it when the conditions are better, I will attempt to go the full 50 miles.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Before I get to the reason for that title, just a few words about training. I've run both trails and the road lately and things seem to be going well. Our cold snap seems to have snapped, at least for the time being.
I commented on another blog that was about what the author felt was an overemphasis of fighting tobacco use at the expense of other worthy endeavours. I expressed a dissenting opinion. The author and I have no problem. We do not always agree, but we are always civil. Another person commented that I was egocentric, or rather my blog is egocentric. Here are his exact words;
"I looked over your egocentric blog brother and I find it amusing, this comment of yours, because connected to what you write about (me, me, me) your concerns are not for public health but rather for your own desires in your own little world. "
Now his comment didn't really bother me. However, he sent me a very childish email. But the purpose of this post is to look at whether what he said is true. Of course it is. This subject has been covered by me in the past, and by many blogs that I've read. We allow ourselves to boast, if we so choose, about what we do or accomplish. Those who have read this blog for any amount of time know that it is primarily about my running. But is running all there is to me? Of course not. I simply choose not to talk about the other things I do or am involved with. Nor am I going to talk about them now. From time to time I do, but not often. If I am to be judged solely by the content of this blog, then so be it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Goals - Past and Future

January 2009 I set 4 running goals. 1. To run my first 100 miler. 2. Run the Boston Marathon under 4 hours. 3. Run a sub 20 minute 5k. 4. P R in the marathon.
I achived two of them. I ran 100 miles, and I completed Boston in under 4 hours, barely.
For 2010 I am carrying the two that I didn't achieve over to this year. And I'm adding two more. My running goals for 2010

1. Qualify for Boston at Boston (3:45:59 or faster)
2. Run 100 miles again.
3. Run a sub 20 minute 5k.
4. P R in the Marathon.

I didn't specifically train to run a sub 20 5k. I plan to do that this year starting past July or August. Vamos a Ver.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A New Year - Short Ultra - Met Blog Friend

A New Decade is here. And like a New Year or a New Day, what is the difference between today and yesterday. I guess in this case a lot more hung over people.

For my first race of the year I ran a Fat Ass race. For those who don't know what this is, it's a very low key minimal support informal run/ultra. This one has a maximum distance of 50k (31 mile), but you were welcome to run whatever you wanted. I haven't run much since the CIMarathon early December. Several reasons, one - I wanted to rest a bit, two - a very busy time of year, 3 - relatively cold here. We had a blizzard Christmas Eve which stranded me in the DFW Airport trying to get back home. Anyway I decided to run the race and just do it by feel. This is a 17 mile out and back, then a 14 mile out and back. I would guess around 30 people started, but many turned back at the only water crossing. The temps were around 20 at the start, and while there was a makeshift bridge, some just didn't want to chance it. I started out very slow, and was in nearly last place for some time. I pressed on and made it to the dam which you only had to do once. While I had warmed up some on the trail, the dam is elevated and open to the elements. It was cold and windy and my hands started getting cold again. I made it to the turn around and continued back, still undecided if I would go beyond the 17 miles. The trail was snowy, icy, and muddy. After making it back to the start, I sat down, had a sausage with chili and some hot chocolate. I decided to go back out, but since I figured I'd be the last person on the trail, I told the director that I would turn around when I encountered the last person returning. There were only three people who had headed back out to do the full 50k. I just wanted to get past the marathon distance. The second time out I was much slower, not feeling bad, just low on energy. I encountered what I thought was the last person returning, decided to continue just a bit more so I would get over 28 miles, and then headed back. I finished feeling ok, ate a little more then headed home. A nice way to get back into the swing of things.

On New Year's Day I met one of my blog friends. She was headed back to California from Tennessee, and had stopped in Oklahoma City to rest for the night. The next morning we met at Starbucks, and chatted like we were old friends, which we now are. Nice meeting you Penny, look forward to the next meeting. Below is our picture, and here is a link to her blog.