Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pocatello Marathon Race Report

I wanted to run a late summer marathon for several reasons.  Mainly to try and better my Boston Qualifying time by more than five minutes.  While I've qualified for Boston, it's only by about 3 minutes.  And that may or may not get me in.  I also wanted to keep up my general long distance training, and while I don't have to run an official race to do that, a race does keep me more accountable.  Thirdly I'm on an unofficial 50 states journey.
I had narrowed down my choices to two races in Idaho, Pocatello and the Freakin Fast Marathon in Boise, both downhill races and both run on Sept. 5.  I finally decided on Pocatello because it's a more gradual downhill, and a more established race.  That turned out to be a better decision than I thought as the Freakin Fast Marathon cancelled with less than a week to go because of road construction.
My travels to Pocatello included flying into Salt Lake City, then driving to Pocatello.  There were no problems with that, and I went straight to packet pickup/expo which was held in the host hotel.  I was staying across the street so I was near the pickup/drop off area.
The morning of the race I walked across the street to catch the bus to the start.  It was somewhat cold at the start area, but part of the race swag was a backpack that served as our drop bag.  So I wore warm clothes to the start, put them in the backpack and picked them up at the finish.  This was just one of the little extras that made this a well run race.  The start was fairly normal, Star Spangled Banner then a gunshot.  The time I was hoping for was sub 3:50, there were pacers, but no 3:50.  So I ran with the 3:45 pacer for a while.  In retrospect, it would have been better to just keep my 3:50 pace.  I ran with the pacer for about 5 miles before I decided I should slow down.  Besides, the pacer was really running a 3:35 pace and he planned to slow up once the course evened out.  I passed the 1/2 mark around 1:51, but could tell I was starting to fade.  The first 13-14 miles are downhill, then gently rolling terrain after that.  Around mile 20 I was beat.  I started walking/running.  My pace dropped to 11/mile and I watched my sub 3:50 go out the window.  Around mile 24 the 3:55 pacer passed me.  I thought I'll try to keep up with her.  I was able to start running without stopping, and ended up finishing just under 3:55.
The finish area had plenty of food and drink, but I'm seldom hungry right after a long distance run.  I did get the "Steak on a Stick"  by Sizzler, but it was cold and tasteless.  I decided to go back to the hotel for my car and clothes and head back to Salt Lake City.  Again, no problems getting back home.
This is a nice small marathon that doesn't skimp on extras, I would recommend this race for almost any reason you run marathons.  The state, the swag, a fast time, a good time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Win For The Ages

Quite a lofty title for what really wasn't a big deal.
For some time I've felt that I could win a small or out of the way race.  I wanted to do it and spotted one in which I thought I might have a chance.  It was a race in Spencer OK, a suburb of Oklahoma City, called the Faded, Educated and Fit 5k .  The race was to benefit an organization that give free haircuts, maybe hairdos, and supplies for school children.  Because it wasn't a typical runner's race, I felt that I had a chance to win.  I did tie for 1st in a 12 hour race, but didn't win it outright.
I arrived at Spencer High School which was the finish line and they had a bus to take us to the start.  Since the start was only about a mile away, I decided to run there.  It appears I was the only one to do so, which only solidified my belief that this wasn't going to be a runner's race.
After a warm up workout, we went to the start.  A young man, 16, approached me and asked me how fast I planned to run the race.  I told him I hoped to finish in the low 22's.  He said he had run a 16 minute 5k and I thought, oh well, I guess second will be ok.
We start and a bunch of kids take off.  I know this won't last long so I just hold my pace.  By the first block most of them have slowed down.  At the one mile point only 2 people are ahead of me and one guy is running with me.  I pull away from him and start to gain on the only female ahead of me.  I pass her by mile two, but the young man I spoke with is still more than a block ahead.  As he begins climbing a hill, he starts looking behind every few seconds.  I think "he's slowing down," I have a chance to catch him.  I pick up the pace a little, and he starts walk/running.  I catch and pass him with about 1/4 mile to go.  I turn it on and don't look back least I see him gaining on me.  I cross the finish line first.
I win the trophy in the picture, and a $50 gift card to Red Coyote running store.
They treated me well after the race, and I let the director know that they ran a great race considering it was their first time.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Gold Coast 100 - Australia

To continue my goal of completing ultras in different parts of the world I decided to do one in Australia.  This one wasn't my first choice because it's a multiple out and back.  While I have done this type of race before, I don't like the format, I call it multiple chances to quit.  But the first race I tried to get in was a lottery and I wasn't chosen.  As it turns out this was for the best because at the last minute the other race did not get the proper permits.  While the race ran anyway, it did so without insurance.
The Gold Coast of Australia is south of Brisbane.  I flew into Brisbane, about a 12 hour flight from Los Angeles, the Friday before the Sunday start.  I arrived with no real problems.  I took a shuttle to my room at  Tallebudgerra Recreation Centre.  While inexpensive, this was not a good choice.  The room was like a dorm room, no wi-fi, no heat, no radio television etc.  A bare bones room.  It was however only a short distance from the ocean.
I arrived in the morning, but Brisbane is 15 hours ahead of CDT and so it was late evening/night at home.  I did my best to stay up, but by 4 pm I was asleep.  I woke up in the middle of the night, but stayed in bed.  The next morning there was a knock at my door at 7, it was the race director inviting me to breakfast.  I went and talked to her about the race.
There was a dinner before the race and I met the owner of the race who used to direct it, but moved to Bali and hired the young lady I'd met that morning.  He talked with me some and told me that he gives an award to the first finisher over 60, and I had a 50/50 chance of winning it.  I wish he hadn't told me that, and also introduced me my competition.  As it turned out, I was no competition for him.  
I was not feeling well while there, had some stomach and equilibrium issues, so I decided to drop from my planned 100k to 50 miles.  I was told that was not a problem. 
For 50 miles it is a 3 time 25k out and back, and then a 5k to finish.  At the start I didn't feel bad, but didn't feel great either.  I started the race trying to hold 10 minute miles.  In retrospect I should have dropped that to 12 and then if I felt better, try to pick it up.  Oh well, hindsight and all that.  Still I passed the marathon in under 5 hours, but was feeling bad and almost no energy.  There's no need to drag this out, from about 50k on, it was simply survival mode.  One problem is I didn't take my own fuel, it's a white power, and I didn't want to explain what it was to customs.  Again, in retrospect, I should have bought small packets and that shouldn't have been a problem.  The energy drink they had did not agree with me, it tasted like a heavily sugared water but with an odd after taste.  I just quit drinking it after a while.  I did survive, finished in about 10:30, rested at the finish line before I made the one mile walk back to my room.
I rested the next morning, then headed back to Brisbane where I spent the night in an airport hotel.  Ah, back to internet access and civilization.
This is a well run race, although it runs on both city streets and some along the ocean.  
I made it back to Oklahoma with no problems.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Running Across the Panhandle - 42 Miles

In preparation for my 100k race in Australia, I decided to run a revival of the Okie Relays.  This is a race across the Panhandle of Oklahoma, from Texhoma TX to Elkhart KS, about 41.5 miles.  You can run this race solo or as part of a relay team.  For my purposes, I decided to run it solo.  It's over 300 miles to the race, so I felt that it didn't make sense to drive it alone.  So I joined two friends for the almost 5 hour drive.  We made it with no problems, went to the spaghetti dinner and race instructions.  I had a hotel room to myself, so I slept well and got up the next morning to preapare for the bus ride to the start and the race.
It was chilly at the start, and the forecast called for cloudy to partly cloudy skies.  We start and I run with a couple of friends to the first aid station.  I felt good and decided to try to pick it up some.  I ran to the second aid station still feeling good with less than half the race left.  The sun would peek out, but it stayed fairly cool the whole race.  I reached the third aid station and begin to run/walk with more walking than in the past.  I was making a effort to keep my miles below 12 minutes and was mostly successful.  A friend who was driving a support vehicle told me that it would probably rain soon.  I told him I hoped to be done before then.  I came into Elkhart and had a little over a mile to go.  I finished in 7:31 and was happy to be finished.  I went to the friends car to rest a while and talked to other friends who were finishing.
Shortly it began to rain hard and they were bringing some of the runners end.  The rain didn't last long and I took our other rider out to when he had been picked up so he could finish.
Nice awards and then it was time to go home.  We stopped in Guymon to eat at Mr. Burger, I thought it was pretty good.
All the way home we were just behind storms.  But we made it with no problems and I was finally able to shower and then rest.
A great race that I would encourage others to run.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Boston 2015

So once again I decided to do Boston.  This would make my 5th time overall, but 2nd in this cycle.  I missed two years of qualifying, 2012 and 2013 which was the year of the bombing.
I'm going to back up a little bit because it's been almost four months since I last wrote here.  I've run one other marathon this year, Myrtle Beach, and didn't write about it.  Nothing really special, it was a good run, I had but one goal and that was to finish under four hours.  I finished MB in about 3:53.  Back to Boston.
I waited trying to find good deals on air and hotel and never really did.  I ended up flying out of DFW which saved me over $200 per person, I took my wife with me, and booked my hotel through Hotwire.
The hotel was the best bargain, overlooking the course right at the one mile to go mark.
Everything went according to plan as far as getting to Boston, and picking up my bib and shirt.  The weather forecast was for rain and I hadn't planned for that.  I looked up the nearest bargain store, Goodwill, and went to buy sweats and a jacket, $9.00.
I rode the bus to Hopkinton wit a lady from Duluth.  I don't recall, but I think it was her first Boston.  It rained off and on during the ride, but when we reached the village, the rain had stopped.  I got in line for the port-a-potties and by the time I got out it was time to head to my corral.  It started raining just as the gun sounded and it was to rain off and on, sometimes heavily, for the entire race.  It was also windy and cold.
My initial goal was to try to run sub 3:45, but with the rain I settled on a sub 4 hour goal.  I hit the half around 1:57, still felt good, so I decided to go for  a BQ time, which for me is sub 3:55.  I was on track the rest of the race, and as always had ups and downs, but I never hit the wall, and finished in 3:53.10.  When I stopped running I started getting very cold.  They had really good finisher blankets, but still I had to step inside a building to warm up before heading back to my hotel.  All and all a successful Boston.  I hope to be back next year. 

I suppose I'll just segue into my next running adventure which was to run the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon a mere 6 days after Boston.  Ordinarily I wouldn't do that, but I had volunteered to participate in our running club's "Oh What A Ride" program.  This is where someone pushes a person who is otherwise unable to participate in a running event like this.  I and a lady agreed to push Mary.  It was a great time, I enjoyed both the company of my co-pusher and Mary, our talkative rider.