Friday, October 16, 2020

Prairie Fire Marathon

 


Prairie Fire Marathon – Wichita KS
 
I decided to run my first marathon this year in Wichita. I had several planned before, but COVID had other ideas. I’d run the half there about 9 years ago, but hadn’t run a marathon in KS.
I drove to Wichita the day before (Saturday October 10).  It's only about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Oklahoma City and straight up I-35.  I went to packet pick up first because it was just after noon and only about 4 blocks from my hotel.  Pick up went quickly and I soon checked into my hotel.  I had taken a small cooler with food and drink so I settled into the hotel, watched the Sooners (OU) beat Texas in 4 overtimes.  Boomer Sooner.
I saw the forecast said that it would warm up and be windy. I didn’t have high expectations because no matter how much I train, it seems I do better after running several marathons.
Started and stuck to my plan of nice and easy, let the race determine my pace. I gradually picked up the pace and was running decently until I hit mile 15. I could feel my energy dropping until 20, then it was survival mode. More walking than running just doing my best not to have a medical issue. Good news, finished, rested, drove back to Oklahoma and 4 days later feel mostly recovered.
The only slightly downside was the hotel would not give me a late check out.  I felt since they were the featured hotel for the race, that shouldn't have been a problem.  I won't blame the race though, the desk clerk was a bit of a jerk.  I sensed that before he said a word.
The race was well run, plenty of water and friendly people. There were some volunteers on 4 wheelers checking on people and I’d just give them a thumbs up and they’d keep going. Some drivers were not happy with the road diversions and the best show of the day was a policewoman jumping on the hood of a convertible sports car telling him to stop. Thanks to all of them helping to keep us safe.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Songs in the Key of Life

 

Songs in the key of Life // Nate Galloway on Vimeo 

On a run this morning I was thinking about music.  I occasionally post music I like and I never get the response I expect.  I think other people will respond or feel the way I do about the song.  But they don't and that's because they don't associate the images and memories to the song that I do.  I've also listened to other peoples music, and sometimes I don't think much of it.  For the same reason.
I know that title is from a Stevie Wonder album, but it's not one of my favorites.  I just like the title.  To me it explains why we like the music we do.  We associate it with, usually, pleasant memories.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Atlantic City Marathon

Sunday, October 20 I ran the Atlantic City Marathon. 
This is a small race, almost 900 in the half and just under 650 in the marathon.  Since they had the stats, I'll pass on that they had a few more women in the half and almost twice as many men in the marathon.  Being a small race, it also had a small expo.  The expo, start line and post game "festivities" are at Bally's Hotel and Casino.  This made everything convenient and you could park at the hotel so I didn't have far to go once I finished.
It was cool and partly cloudy at the start, but the forecast was 100% chance of rain in an hour or two.  They got that right.  The start was on time and it wasn't so crowed that you had to walk much after the gun, this even though both races start together.  Much of the race is on the boardwalk, and while it's not bad, it's not my favorite surface.  We started on the boardwalk, but run on the city streets quite a bit also.  Crowd support was so so, but enthusiastic.  The race has a few hills, but I wouldn't call it hilly.  The race finishes on the boardwalk also, and it was raining pretty good by then.  However, it was not slippery and I didn't have any issues.  I finished the race, but didn't hang around since I was heading home right after.  Lucky me got to spend the night at Love Field in Dallas last night since my flight was cancelled because of the severe weather they had.
This is not a bad race, but I am not impressed with Atlantic City.  I'd been there over 20 year ago, and remember not thinking much of it then either.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Bay of Fundy Marathon

The Bay of Fundy International Marathon is a marathon between Lubec, Maine, United States and Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada.
I traveled with a group of 4 other running friends.
This is a beautiful part of the country and Lubec is just across a bridge from New Brunswick Canada.
At least 24 hours before the race we had to clear both sides of the border otherwise we wouldn't be allowed into Canada without stopping. They check your bib off a list and put a sticker on it.
This is a very small race, less than 160 people participating in the marathon. Despite that it is well supported.
The race is also very hilly. We drove the course the day before and after seeing it, I decided I was going to be doing a lot of walking on the uphills.
We were bused out to the start which is at Quoddy Lighthouse and is the Eastern most part of the continental United States.
The day was partly cloudy but it heated up quickly. We ran 6 miles in Maine before entering Canada, then it's 10 miles out and back into the US for the finish which is another .2 miles in the city of Lubec. My strategy paid off and I finished in what I considered a decent time.
The finisher medals are hand made by a local artist.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The World Majors Completed


Tokyo Marathon

After achieving my goal of running on all continents, I searched for a new goal. I came upon the Abbott World Majors. This consists of running six specific marathons - Boston, Chicago, New York, Berlin, London, and Tokyo. I had already run the U S marathons, so that left the international ones.
In 2017 I ran the Berlin Marathon and in 2018 I ran London, which only left Tokyo. With all of the international marathons, I first entered through the Lottery, then signed up with Marathon Tours. Marathon Tours had a guaranteed entry should I not be able to get in through the lottery. It turned out that I needed the guaranteed entry for all three races.
My travels to Tokyo took me from Oklahoma City to Dallas, and then direct to Tokyo. I left on February 28, and arrived in Tokyo Friday evening, March 1. I didn't have any travel problems.
Saturday morning I had to make my way to the expo. To do so meant that I would have to navigate the Tokyo subway. It was fairly easy to use, with color coded maps and instructions in both Japanese and English.
Because Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics, the exposition center the marathon normally uses was under renovations. Therefore the expo was held in a series of tents. Once again things went smoothly and I returned to my hotel to prepare for the marathon on Sunday morning.
I got up Sunday morning, went outside to check the weather, and it was overcast and looking like rain. I went back inside for breakfast in the hotel. While talking to a man at breakfast, he asked if I had a poncho. I said no, and he offered an extra I could use if I wanted. I gladly accepted.
After breakfast, I left to find my starting corral, which was within walking distance from the hotel. I was in position with about 45 minutes before the start. It was already raining and I was thankful for the poncho.
The gun went off at 9:30 and it took about 10 minutes for me to cross the starting line, as there were approximately 38,000 runners. There were a lot of out and back portions to the race, but there was always a timing mat at the turn around to catch people who might cut the course short. I ran at what I considered a moderate pace, and the constant rain did not affect my running. The course was well managed, and there was little possibility of missing a turn.
The race takes place completely within the city. Some of the sights we passed were The Sensoji Temple where they were playing traditional Japanese court music. We also ran past the Tokyo Skytree, and the Tokyo Tower, which looks a lot like the Eiffel Tower.
As with any international race, my primary goal was to finish in a reasonable time, but not push it and risk injury. While I was trying to keep a steady pace,around mile 18 I started to feel fatigued and began to slow down. I was still able to keep running, and managed to finish in four hours and forty-three minutes.
After finishing I was directed to pick up both my Tokyo Marathon and World Majors Finisher’s Medals. I made my way back to my hotel, attended a ceremony for the finishers and had dinner.
During my stay in Japan, I toured the city, took an all day excursion to Mt. Fuji, sampled many different foods, and took in as much of the culture as I could.
Once one decides to do the World Majors, you have to go to their web site and create a profile. You then fill in the race or races you’ve already completed. After that, you update it as you finish others. When you’re ready to run your sixth World Major, you email them and let them know. In my case when I picked up my bib in Tokyo, it had a QR Code on it, and when I finished, I was directed to a tent where they were passing out the six star medal. They scanned my code, give me the medal, and took my picture.
All the World Majors are excellent races, well run and supported. Some people complained about the tight cutoffs in Tokyo, but I felt like they were fair. If I had to pick a favorite overall, it would be Boston, because of the tradition and support. My favorite outside the USA was Tokyo, because of the city, the sights, and the support.
Now that I have finished an ultramarathon on all seven continents and the six World Majors, I’m asked what’s next? I’m not sure yet. It seems as though finishing a marathon in all fifty states might be a candidate. If I make that my next goal, perhaps 100 marathons might happen along the way.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Boley Rodeo 2018

Yes, nothing to do with running.
The Boley Rodeo is the biggest event of the year in this tiny town of less than 1,000 permanent residents.  Why do I distinguish permanent?  Because a prison is located within the city limits, and they are included in the population.
When I was in High School, we couldn't wait for rodeo weekend, always Memorial Day Weekend.  To us it was a time to look cool, drink, or whatever your drug of choice was, and chase the pretty women.
Now, in the last two years, as a member of the Chamber of Commerce, I've been involved in the actual production of the rodeo.  And this year I was the chair of the committee in charge of choosing a contractor and making sure everything at the rodeo grounds was ready for the event. 
All of this was taken care of through our committee and on the day of, it was quite hectic.  But the main reason for my post is while I've attended and even worked at several rodeos before, this was the first time I was actually behind the scenes.  After we stopped charging people to enter, I moved to the announcers stand.  This is where the cowboys and cowgirls either waited for their event, or came to get paid if they placed.  While observing all of this, I came to the conclusion that they are just like runners.  Enthusiastic about what they do, speaking their own language that most outsiders wouldn't understand.  And psyching themselves up before the event.
I would never want to try any of these events, but I get it now.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

So Much Things To Say

This post has nothing to do with Bob Marley, other than the title is from one of his songs.
I know it's been forever since I've blogged, and there are many reasons, but the biggest is I just haven't felt inspired.  And one reason for that is both injury and I've slowed down.  I haven't run sub 4 for the marathon in two years and that bothers me.  I assume one reason is that I'm older, I turned 64 in 2017, but the other is I'm less willing to suffer.  And I'm going to work on that this year.
After running on 7 continents I needed another goal.  And I chose to run the world majors.  This consists of 6 marathons, Chicago, New York, Boston, Berlin, London, and Tokyo.  I had already run the 3 in the USA, so I had the 3 outside to do.  I completed Berlin in 2017, I am scheduled for London in April, and have to try to get in Tokyo in 2019.  Along the way I hope to qualify for Boston this year for entry 2019.  Since I will be 65 this year, my qualifiying time is now 4:10.  Still, I haven't run 4:10 in a while either, but did run 4:17 at Grandma's, so I think it's possible.
Well, at least I've written something, so hopefully this won't be the last post of 2018.