Friday, December 26, 2008

50/50 by Dean Karnazes - Book Review

I just finished reading this account of Dean Karnazes' running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. I have already seen the movie and saw that the book was in the library, so I checked it out. This is an interesting book, but having read his first book, Ultramarathon Man, this book is not nearly as interesting. While I felt that non-runners might enjoy U M, I can't say that about this book. In fact, even Dean seems to have had to throw in tips and observations to try to make the book more of a how-to guide. This book is mainly 50 race reports. So if you like reading those, you'll like the book.
I have had a wonderful Christmas. Wonderful because I have been around family. Joy is watching the light of happiness in a child's eyes.
My training is going well, I'm starting to ramp my miles back up. My upcoming races are mainly trail runs, so I will try to get more time on the trails. I have several goals for 2009, but will write about them next week. I will tell you that I did register for the Boston Marathon, and my application has been accepted.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Christmas rifle

The Christmas Rifle by Rian B. Anderson

"Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving. It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity. Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what..Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me." The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on. After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood - the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?" You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I'd been by, but so what? Yeah," I said, "Why?""I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt." That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand. "What's in the little sack?" I asked. Shoes, they're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy."We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern. We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?" "Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit? Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp."We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children - sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out."We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said. He turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up." I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before, filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people. I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it. Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes. Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine. At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will."Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children.For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life Merry Christmas Everyone Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Time off in the Dominican Republic

For the last week, my wife and I have been in the Dominican Republic celebrating our 29th anniversary. During that time my running miles have gone way down. Less than 25 miles a week. But that is a good thing. I'm not sure I could have wound down my mileage otherwise, although the cold weather in Oklahoma may have been able to accomplish the same thing. We enjoyed our time away, but travelling at this time of the year is a huge headache. While we stayed at an all inclusive resort, within the D R people always have their hands out, and I detest that. I'm not singling out the D R, every country I've been in has been this way. And it was the same way in Miami, where we stayed a couple of days. More and more I'm convinced that customer service is almost dead. We had several occasions where we were lied to about why things didn't happen the way they were supposed to. But tis the season, so I'm not going to dwell on that. We are home, safe and sound and all is well.

Feliz Navidad Próspero Año y Felicidad!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Route:--Elev. Avg:3819 ft
Location:Oracle, AZElev. Gain:-1762 ft
Date:12/07/08Up/Downhill: [+692/-2454]
Time:07:29 AMDifficulty:4.1 / 5.0

Distance: 26.17 miles
Speed:7.0 mph
Pace:8' 32 /miHeart Rate:163 bpm (Avg)
Calories:2778182 bpm (Peak)
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
Heart Rate (bpm)
Heart Rate Zones
In Zone
In Zone
Zone 5167 - 1851h 22m36% 9.67 mi
Zone 4148 - 1672h 34m69% 18.14 mi
Zone 3130 - 1480h 00m0% 0.07 mi
Zone 2111 - 1300h 00m0% 0.01 mi
Zone 193 - 1110h 00m0% 0.02 mi
(none)out of range0h 00m0% 0.00 mi
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Heart
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 00-0' 327.5+0.5161-220 ft
28' 27-0' 057.1+0.1164-36 ft
38' 19-0' 137.2+0.2164-43 ft
48' 40+0' 086.9-0.1164+6 ft
58' 25-0' 077.1+0.1162-39 ft
68' 24-0' 087.1+0.1153-170 ft
78' 24-0' 087.1+0.1153-144 ft
88' 24-0' 087.1+0.1154-118 ft
98' 25-0' 077.1+0.1155-121 ft
108' 31-0' 017.0+0.0156-76 ft
118' 47+0' 156.8-0.2160+23 ft
129' 14+0' 426.5-0.5164+65 ft
138' 28-0' 047.1+0.0159-78 ft
148' 43+0' 116.9-0.2161-55 ft
158' 29-0' 037.1+0.0159-91 ft
168' 32+0' 007.0-0.0163-72 ft
178' 29-0' 037.1+0.0164-114 ft
188' 23-0' 097.2+0.1166-85 ft
198' 30-0' 027.0+0.0166-82 ft
208' 29-0' 037.1+0.0168-59 ft
218' 29-0' 037.1+0.0169-56 ft
228' 35+0' 037.0-0.1169-49 ft
238' 27-0' 057.1+0.1170-62 ft
248' 31-0' 017.0+0.0171-49 ft
258' 47+0' 156.8-0.2173-3 ft
268' 36+0' 047.0-0.1173-32 ft
end8' 45+0' 136.8-0.2175+3 ft
Versus average of 8' 32 min/mile

Posted from

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holualoa Tucson Marathon

Well it's over. My purpose in running this marathon was to qualify for the Boston Marathon. For me to qualify, I needed to run 3:45 or better. This is an 8:35 average pace. Since Tuesday, I've been writing this blog in my mind trying to figure out how I could explain not achieving my goal. Why?, because I haven't run what I've felt like is a good long run. Sure, I've run over 30 miles three times, but saying "run" is to use the term loosely. All of those runs were really in preparation to pace a runner in the Motherroad 100 miler. And they were all run at a pace over 12 minute miles. But I had also been running pretty good tempo miles, so I knew I still had a chance. Anyway, my trip to Tucson was uneventful. Planes on time, no problems renting a car and finding the marathon expo. The expo was very small, but everything went smoothly. This race used one of the new style chips that tears off your bib and loops through your shoelaces. It's a throwaway. On my way to the expo I passed a Trader Joe's. So I knew where I would be buying dinner. I stopped there on my way back, got a sandwich and salad and went to my hotel to settle in and watch football. First I watched Florida take care of Alabama, which I figured they'd do, and then I watched Oklahoma take care of Missouri. I slept pretty good considering that I usually don't sleep well the night before a marathon. I got up at 4 and got dressed, got some coffee and headed to the parking lot to pick up the bus to the start. Got to the start and it was cold, but not as cold as I had expected. I decided not to wear anything other than shorts and my running club t-shirt top. I had gloves and long pants on but just warmed up in them, and then threw everything else into my drop bag. A countdown from 10, a horn and we're off. If any one plans to run this in the future, email me. I'm not going to go into all the ins and outs of this course, but let's just say that if you expect to be running down hill all the way, you're mistaken. But it's still a fast course. After reading other peoples experience with this course, I decided that I would let it take me along, that is bank time where I could and give it back where I needed to. I settled into my pace, still with doubts in my mind. Could I hold this pace and not crash and burn around 18-20 miles. My heart rate was running higher than I liked, but it was do or die. Also my Garmin will sometimes read high at first, but if I stop, let the rate drop, then start again it will usually stabilize. But there was going to be no stopping for that in this race. So I just pushed on with it running high. Eventually it did drop to where I wanted it, but after 12 miles it went back up. This race takes about a 4 mile detour into an area called the Biosphere. While I'm not sure I ever saw the Biosphere, this is where you have to give back time you've banked, and trust that you will bank some more after you leave here. This is a very hilly area, and I dropped to over nine minute miles based on what I had read from previous runners. Around mile 4, a lady asked what my goal was, then said that was hers also. She said maybe we can help each other and I said ok. We pretty much stayed together until after we left the Biosphere. Then she started dropping back. I had to keep pushing if I was going to make my goal. My left calf started hurting, not much but it made me think I might have problems up ahead. I remembered that I had some Endurolyte capsules, but also I have problems swallowing pills and capsules when I've been running for a while. I decided to chew them rather than swallow them whole, and after a while they seemed to work. I kept holding my pace, and when I hit mile 20 with about 3 minutes to spare, I started thinking I might be able to do this. But I also knew the wall generally resided in this area. But I kept pushing. Mile 21, 22, 23, I hit 23 with about 27 minutes to go to make my goal and I was thinking, I'm going to do this. My pace was faltering, but it was still just below 9 minute miles, and that was good enough to get me in. I started pushing near the end, you know it starts getting good to you when you smell victory, and I saw the clock was reading 3:42 plus. As I was nearing the finish line, I heard the guy was calling out names and cities, then I heard him call my name and Oklahoma City. I crossed in 3:43:01 chip time, 2 minutes to spare, sweet. I got my medal, some water and walked around for a bit. Then I went back to the finish line in time to see my new friend finish. She was beat, but said she felt ok, just couldn't maintain the pace. I then walked around some more and decided to wait to see a friend who had moved from Oklahoma to Colorado. I knew she was running, and had seen her during the out and back to the Biosphere. She was running with the 4 hour pace group, and I figured she'd be able to hold that. I saw her come in, talked to her for a while and then headed to the bus back to my car. Before I got to the buses, I saw a guy whose blog I read named Dane. He's a pretty fast runner, and is famous for having run 52 marathons in 52 weeks. He did it to raise money for a charity, and called it fiddy2. I have linked to both his blog and charity. You also might want to read his race report , since it gives more course information than mine. I then took the bus to my car headed to the airport and now I'm home. Hurting and sore, but I've felt worse. Happy to have achieved my goal, and in the next few days will decide if I will register for the Boston Marathon.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Trot 8k

Yesterday I ran the 8k Turkey Trot. It was good weather, and one of the largest crowds I've seen there, over 800 people. As has been the trend lately, more women than men ran the race.
I wanted to run well, but didn't have that "great race" feeling. I warmed up and then got ready to start. We were off and I was feeling tired within 1k. But I pushed on. I had set my Garmin to record my pace in k's and I wanted to try and keep a 4:15 to 4:20 pace. I was doing that and hanging on through 7k. I faltered a bit near the end, and I averaged 4:21/km or right at 7:00/mi finishing in 34:47. I took 3rd in my age group, 53rd male and 61st overall.

After that, I went to Stillwater for dinner. It was ok, my sons and granddaughter went with me. We ate, came back and I took it easy for the rest of the evening. This morning I went to Arcadia lake to meet with 3 other people for an easy 9 miles on trails. This was a very relaxing run, and I felt great afterwards.

I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Racing and Life

Before I started blogging on Blogger, I blogged on Myspace. The title of this post is from a Myspace post from Dec. '07. Here is the first paragraph:

"This past weekend (Fri Nov 30-Dec 2) I was in Dallas visiting a couple I've been friends for many years. The friends moved from OK to TX about 3 years ago. The man was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) about a year ago, and is starting to go down hill. He can't walk, can barely talk, and gets around in a motorized wheelchair. Since I knew I was going, typical me, I had to see if there was a race nearby, there was,"

I stopped there, because I went to Dallas again this weekend, and again I found a race.

So now I will talk briefly about the race. I found a 5k in Weatherford TX about 45 miles from where I was staying. My appointment in Dallas was for 1:30 Saturday, and I couldn't just hang out in my hotel until then. So I went to the "Coyote Chase" and ran, came in 2nd in my age group. Well run race, they gave you a nice trophy instead of a medal. Back to last year.

Here is the last paragraph from that '07 post:

"Back to my friend, some people I've talked to about this situation ask me "how can you deal with his illness?" "How can you stand to see this man that you used to hang out with, run a business with, and travel with in this condition? I reply, me? All I have to do is treat him the same as I always have for 3 days, then I'm back home preparing for work or my next race. But he has to deal with things like his wife or caregiver having to wipe his behind and feed him every day. He had to deal with knowing that there is no cure for ALS and it is almost 100% fatal. I got the easy job."

Well Anthony died last week, he was 48, and I went to Dallas to help his wife celebrate his life. She had a wake Friday night, and it was as close to a party as you can get in a funeral home. I spoke very briefly "I look over you all and know that many of you knew Anthony better than I did, and I know that I was not his closest friend, but whenever I was around him, he made me feel like I was his best friend." Everyone who spoke of him said the same thing, they would call or visit to encourage him, and he would turn the tables on them every time. He would always end up encouraging them. He will be missed, but as someone else said, his influence will always be with us.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Putnam City Cancer Classic 5K

I wanted to keep the speed work up after my very long slow distance last weekend. Many of my friends and co-runners are off to run in either the Tulsa Route 66 Marathon or the San Antonio Rock n Roll Marathon.
The only race nearby was this 5k which was perfect as far as I was concerned. It was cold this morning, and even colder at the race site which is on the lake. My car was showing 40 before I got there, but I know it was in the 30's with a wind chill in the 20's. I did my best to stay warm until the start. This was a moderate sized race, 212 finishers, and a fairly flat course. We started and I was looking at a couple of people ahead of me that I knew I wanted to get ahead of quickly. I did, and as the course turned north we were going into a strong headwind. I had my Garmin set to alert me when I was going too slow and it was beeping constantly. But I knew I wasn't going to use all my energy fighting the wind. This is an out and back course, so I knew the second half would be with a strong tail wind. I made the turn around and none of my age group rivals were anywhere near me. Still I was giving it all I had. As I passed the 4 k mark I was fading fast. I heard someone breathing heavily behind me and thought it was a rival. I sneaked a peek as I made the final turn and saw it was someone much younger. He passed me and I crossed the finish line. I had a finish time of 21:27. That was good enough for first in my age group, and I was fine with that. Today was not a day for p r's.
I will run an 8k on Thanksgiving Day and then it's the Tucson Marathon for my B Q attempt.
Good luck to all that are running marathons and half marathons tomorrow.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Motherroad 100 Miles - Pacing duties

This was a first for me, a race that I was running for someone else. Throw ego to the side, and realize that you are there for the runner you're pacing, not for yourself. Some time ago, a friend of mine announced he was running the Mother Road 100 Part 2. I told him if he did, I wanted to pace him. He said, "I sort of had you in mind." This was to be his longest race ever. I won't go into his ups and downs before the race, you can read his blog if you care for the background. If I had not had pacing duties, I would have run a 12k yesterday. I thought I could do both, but I decided to check my ego, and not run it so as to be well rested when my pacing duties started. The 100 mile race started at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning. The plan was for me to jump in at mile 67 and basically run with him through the night and on to the finish line. I woke up that morning very early, and decided to go out to the 12k and volunteer. I had a great time there and for one of the few times got to see a race from start to finish. It was inspiring to see both the front runners kicking butt, and the back of the packers just enduring to the end. After that, I went home to piddle until that night. I knew I needed to nap, but just wasn't tired. I watched football, but again was getting restless. So I decided to find my way to finish line parking and see if I could find a ride to the meeting place aid station. I waited in my car and listened to the end of the OSU-Texas Tech game. I saw someone picking up a pacer, turned out I knew the pacer and they agreed to take me to my meeting place. My runner was running a bit behind schedule, so I went out to meet him. He was in good spirits, this is around mile 65, and was actually assisting another runner. He whispered to me that he was going to make sure this runner made it to the 72 mile aid station, and leaving it up to him whether to continue. We did that, and the runner stayed at the aid station. I don't know if he finished. This aid station was a weigh in point, and Joel was right at the limit, so he hustled out before they had time to do the math. He said he was really a little heavy at the initial weigh in, and he was not concerned that he was not taking in enough calories. We pushed on to the loneliest part of the race. This was a 6 mile stretch of dirt road that crew vehicles were not allowed on. Did I mention that it is now around 2:00 a.m and cold cold cold. I had dressed warmly enough, but I always have issues with my hands. This night was no different. It was hard to navigate this section, there were several forks in the road, but we finally figured out that they had thrown ribbons on the correct road. This would be a very hard section by yourself, and after that many miles you'd be a bit punch drunk. I would guess that several people dropped after this section because of that and the cold. Joel decided that when we finished this part, and got back to our crew vehicle, we would have to sit inside for a while to warm up. He had put together the perfect crew, this guy, Michael, was the right man for the job, and assisted Joel with his every need. The car was showing around 35 degrees. Joel was also starting to have some foot issues, 78 miles by now, go figure. He took care of them, and we headed out for the next section. It was a low point for Joel again, but again he persevered. By the time we made the next section, the sun was coming up, and so were his spirits. We started running more than before, and made our next section in good time. Joel had goals, but in my mind my only job was to listen to him, and get him to the finish line safely and under the 30 hour cut off. I gently pushed him, but this was not a kick him in the pants for some unimportant time goal. Joel was really hurting on the last section, but he smelled victory and kept moving. Our pace was slowing, and quite honestly I was getting a bit sore. We were going slow, but over 30 miles is still a long way. However, I knew I wasn't going to get any sympathy from a man on his 95th plus mile. Joel's family started showing up as we neared the finish. He was hurting big time, he didn't give me all the details, I'm sure by this time just talking is a big effort. But it was clear he was just pushing the pain aside and concentrating on the finish. I honestly gained more and more admiration for him as he pushed on. This race has a cruel finish, you turn through a gate and think the finish line is not far and then you see a sign that says "only 1.5 miles to the finish."

Nonetheless he persevered until the end. I am sore after my 35 miles, but so glad that I got to be a small part of this impressive showing by Joel. Great job man.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Very Historic Day - Un Día Muy Histórico

When I started this blog, I made a conscious choice to keep it non political. Not that I'm not political, I'm a very political person. And I will admit that for the first time in my life, I contributed to a presidential candidate. However, I didn't want the blog to be political. Politics has gone beyond civil reasonable discussion and disagreement, to nasty dirty lies and innuendos about people. Nevertheless, I cannot stand silent on the historical nature of, and the statement made by the people of the America I live and vote in. I will leave it with "we can only hope that the promises become reality." "Esperamos que las promesas serán realidad."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Race With Stars - Training Runs

This past Saturday, Nov. 1st I ran the Race with the Stars 5k. I like this race, it is run well. There is plenty to eat before the race, hot coffee and chocolate and they don't give medals, they give gift certificates to local business. I think I won one to Outback last year. Also, the weather was perfect, too cold before you start running, but just right after. Which also makes the coffee and chocolate taste so good. I saw only one rival that I thought would give me a problem, and I was right, he will be great motivation in my new age group. Nice, get older and the competition gets faster. I finished in 20:48, good enough for 2nd place in age group and only my second ever 5k finish under 21 minutes. The prize was a gift certificate to a Chinese restaurant. It was a good run and afterwards I went to a friends home who served breakfast to many of the runners.
Sunday I did a double run. First, in the morning I ran 8 miles with the running club. While I ran the first miles easy, I ran the rest slightly below MP to bring the overall average to MP. I cut the run short because my granddaughter was spending the weekend with me and I didn't want her uncle to have to deal with her too long. After she left I went out to the lake and did 11 miles very easy. I won't bore you with the rest of the week, but it was good with a mixture of runs.
This weekend I'm scheduled to pace a friend in his 100 mile run. The weather looks good and I'm feeling good about his run.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

50k's and a Birthday Party

Yesterday, Saturday, was a very busy day for me. I had plans for running in the evening, but I wanted to do sort of a warm up run in the morning. Around 9:30 a.m. I went to a local park. My plan was to run 4.5 miles, it's a 1.5 mile loop track. I started very slow and ran the first mile around 11:30, this included stops to stretch. I ran the next two at 8:30, this gave me three miles, and I decided to go ahead and make it an even six, so I ran the next two at 8:00 and ran a cool down mile at 9.

Next up was a date with my granddaughter. She had asked me Friday evening to take her to a classmates birthday party. I wasn't clear on the details, but I knew I had to pick her up at 12:30 for a 1:00 start. I got to the address and it was a place called "Pump it Up." It's a well run party place for kids but appointment only. They start you out with a safety video, then take you into the first play room. A lot of air pumped up play areas. Slides, jump areas, ball play areas, and in the 2nd room more of the same but including a obstacle course. After watching the kids for a while, I had to do the slide myself. It's a good workout getting to the top of the slide, but then the fun begins. I did it about 4 times, then in the next play room I did the obstacle course twice. After about an hour playing, and getting the kids good and tired, they take you to the party room. Pizza, vegetable trays, and plenty to drink. I was hungry now, and the pizza was as good as at any of these type of places I've ever been. But I think they bring it in. Cake, open the presents and then the show is over. About two hours total, perfect. My granddaughter wanted to go somewhere else, but as soon as she got in the car, she went fast asleep, perfect. I took her home and then prepared for the rest of my evening.

A friend, Joel, is running his first 100 miler in a couple of weeks, and he wanted to get in a long night run. I had not promised to run it all or any of it with him, I wanted to see what plans my granddaughter had for me first, but since things seemed to be working out, I decided to go for it. I got there, and there were two others there to run one loop with us. A loop is about 10 miles. It was daylight when we started, but it was dark before we finished the first loop. When we finished, the two dropped, and we gained another runner for one loop. We finished that one, and then Joel and I did the last loop together. We finished after midnight, and did just under 31 miles. So I'm calling it our midnight 50k.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In all Fairness

I want to be fair about experiences I've had with different companies. I dogged O'Reilly Auto Parts in an earlier post about the way I was treated there. Now here is an encounter that had a different ending. I mentioned in my previous post that I had to rush home after running Saturday for an appointment with an appliance repair man. I had purchased a new dryer from Best Buy one week before. It was new, but a floor model out of the box and discounted over $140.00. I hooked it up and within about two days it started making this grinding sound. I couldn't meet anyone at my house until this past weekend, so I scheduled an appointment for Saturday, and they were to call me by 10:00 a.m. By 11:00 still no call, so I call them. They have me down for an appointment two weeks later. I said you've made a mistake, there is no way I would have scheduled an appointment that far out for a new appliance. She said let me see what I can do, but you may have to hold for about ten minutes. I said no problem. She comes back, and says I'll have someone there within ninety minutes. The guy gets there, and says the machine is damaged, you should get a replacement. I say, ok, but in my mind I'm thinking there's no way they are going to let me replace a floor model they discounted with a brand new one. Well, not only did they replace it with a new one, they never once said anything about the fact that they had discounted the first one for being out of the box and on the floor.

I condemned O'Reilly, I want to commend Best Buy for their customer service. And before I get carried away, I know that individual experiences will vary from time to time and depending on the customer service rep you get.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

That's What I Get

Training has been going well. Last week, I did a little of everything. Long runs, speed work and tempos. I seem to be able to hit my marathon pace fairly easily, although if there are any hills at all my heart rate climbs a bit higher than I'd like. From what I've read you can hold about 85% of maximum heart rate for some time. But go above that, and it's the same as going past your lactate threshold. So I've been doing some long slow runs to try to strengthen my heart.

Now, to the reason for my title. This Saturday the running club was doing fourteen miles. I decided I wanted to do 18 miles, but that I wanted to do the 14 at sub-marathon pace. Around 8 to 8:10 miles. My plan was to get to the lake an hour early and run a very easy 4 miles to warm up. Well when I got there, two of my friends were there, planning basically the same thing. So I take off with them, but a warm up for them is a bit faster than I had planned, but I ran with them. So then we start the 14 with the group. I start out running sub 8's and it feels OK. So I decide to hold on to them for at least the 7 miles turn around. I ended up holding them for 8 miles. I made my first water stop, then continued trying to hold at least 8:35's. This was now difficult, but I also wanted to finish the 14 miles in two hours or less. I was slowing, and it didn't look like I was going to make it. But with around 2 miles left I see I can make it if I hold around 8:30's. So I go for it. My gait is now not right, but I push on. I finish in 1:59. Mission accomplished. I had to leave almost immediately for an appointment with an appliance repairman. That's a story for another day, but it ended well. I feel very sore and like I might have pulled something. Later in the day I can barely walk. I'm starting to get worried. I have been relatively injury free for several years now, and I'm really afraid I've hurt myself. Sunday, I get up a little late and decide to go to this park to see if I can run at all. If nothing else, I can walk one loop, 1.5 miles. I get there, stretch, walk, stretch, walk, then try to run. Can't do it, can't run even a few steps. OK, no need to panic, you may just be real sore, you did run 18 miles harder than you've ever run a marathon. So I finish the loop walking, and go home. Monday I'm starting to feel a little better, and I can run just a little. Tuesday, much better, I can run, but I'm still not back to normal, but I'm now convinced that I'm just super sore. That's what I get for over doing it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

SOS Marathon - Emergency Rooms

One more note on the Spirit of Survival Marathon I ran on my birthday. They made a big deal out of it being my birthday. When I finished I checked my time and saw that I was 4th in age group. The next day when I checked the online results I noticed that they had me in my old age group. I was actually 3rd in my new age group. I didn't get my medal, my companions told me the medals were generic so I didn't bother with trying to get it mailed to me. But it is a first for me, a top 3 age group finish in a marathon. Mind you my time was not great and it was a small marathon but I take my victories where I find them.
Today I did a very easy 11 mile run/walk. I was running, and ran into a friend who was walking. He had raced yesterday, and was just taking it easy today. So I walked with him for awhile, and when he turned back I started running again. It was an easy recovery week.
Yesterday, Saturday October 11th, I was taking it easy, watched OU lose to Texas and preparing to "chill" for the rest of the day maybe run a few light errands, when my granddaughter calls and asks me to take her to the emergency room. Now my granddaughter is 5 so you know who was really asking. So I speak to her mother and her mother says "yes, we do need to go to the emergency room." So I go get them and take them. My granddaughter is in a great mood and just glad to be around "pa pa." And of course I'm thinking "is this trip really necessary." But of course error on the side of caution when it comes to children. So, the short rest of the story is I was in the emergency room from around 2:00 p.m until around 11:00 p.m. A nine hour stay for about thirty minutes of actual interaction with medical staff. And they treat you like crap, even though she has insurance. Thankfully my granddaughter is doing just fine.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

They say the mind is the first to go

Today is my 55th birthday. It's on a Sunday, when most marathons are run, and it's a new age group birthday. So what do I decide I want to do on my birthday? Sunday, football, how about lay around the house being waited on hand and foot while I watch football in my underwear and eat as many empty calories as I can? No? Ok, how about letting my family take me out to lunch or dinner, and then watch Sunday Night football? No, ok, how about finding a marathon, oh look, there's one just around 80 miles from Oklahoma city. Let's do that on your birthday. Duh, ok. So that's what I did. Willie , David, and I carpooled down to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge for the Spirit of Survival Marathon. I told everyone that my goal was to just treat this as an easy training run, and not try to go too fast. But deep down inside I hoped to run under 4 hours. This is a very hilly course and not conductive to running real fast. Nonetheless I was trying to hold around 8:45's for the first half. Even though I knew that I needed to keep my heartrate below 160 I consistently let it climb above that. I ran as hard up hill as I did down. You see where this is going. I ran the first half in around 1:55, I ran the second half in 2:23. Nice little positive split for a finish time of 4:18. Not my worse, but not a great time. About a mile from the end, I was walking at this point, this young lady passes me and says "run with me." Well being a sucker for a pretty young lady, I start running, then it starts getting good to me and I go off and leave her. I hear the speakers ahead, and keep pushing even though my body is now saying slow down and walk some more. I push on to the finish, cross the line and almost pass out. I slowly walked to find somewhere to sit down, and get something to drink. I really felt bad and was a little worried. But after about 5 minutes, I started to feel better. The two guys I rode with both finished top 3 in their age groups so we waited until they could get their medals. I'm grateful for this as I still needed some recovery time. We left the race to find the world famous "Meer's Hamburger" stand. We found it, and had to wait about 30 minutes to get in. I was still a bit unsteady on my feet, so I sat outside until they got a table. After I ate, I felt much much better. I was not impressed by the hamburger, it was good, but not great, a bit dry to me. Anyway, I got home, took a shower and then weighed myself, down 5 pounds, and this is after eating and drinking quite a bit. So I hit the wall because I was not eating enough, but I was feeling full, and really thought I was drinking too much. Anyway, it was an enjoyable day, mainly because of the great company of Willie and David.
Happy Birthday to me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

St. Gregory's 5k - Birthday Marathon

Yesterday I ran the St. Gregory's 5k. St. Gregory is a Benedictine college. I like the place because you see monks walking around in robes. They blessed the race last year, but we had a less colorful blessing this year. I sized up the competition and saw that I only had one running club age group rival. They moved this race date, and there were fewer people this year. We took off and he was ahead. I decided that I'd better get ahead of him right away because I know near the end of a race I get the "I don't cares." I don't care if he beats me, I don't care who passes me now, I don't care that I'm near a P R. So I speed up and pass him within a few blocks. I had set my Garmin for a :21 minute race. This would be a P R for me. I was ahead of pace the whole time, and I felt as though I might get under 21 minutes for the first time. But on the main street we pass through this underpass and the Garmin lost the signal. This is an out and back on that portion, so I lost the signal twice and I wondered if the Garmin picked up correctly. Anyway I felt like I had first in age group locked up and was starting to gasp for air near the finish. When I was in view of the clock, I saw that it was just passing 20 minutes..... WOW. So I held pace and finished in 20:28. A new PR for me by 47 seconds. I felt pretty good about that, and feel pretty good about either this year or next year being able to get below 20 minutes.

I'm planning to run a marathon this coming Sunday, Oct. 5th. I'm only doing it because that's my birthday, and I just thought it would be cool to run one on my "new age group" birthday. I have no big expectations, it's a wildlife park marathon, and not conducive to a fast race. So my plan is to treat it like a long training run.

My granddaughter called me yesterday and wanted to spend the night again. Since I was home alone, I said yes. So that took care of running this morning. But I got her back to her mom by noon and decided to do an easy trail run. I went to the Draper trails and did an easy 5 miles.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Redman Tri & Training

Yesterday I worked in my running club's aid station for the Redman Full and Half Ironman. This is my second year and I love doing this. For one thing it is a nice party for friends from the running club. And it is always inspiring for me to see these multi-sport athletes. Our aid station is at the turn around for the marathon. So we see the half's first, then we see the fulls who have to come through twice. The lead male and female breezed through like they were just starting their marathon. Forget the fact that they had already swam 2 miles and biked 112 miles. Awesome.
Yesterday morning I wanted to run with a group that ran 16 miles at Overholser. But I missed them by about 10 minutes. Since I knew there was no way I would catch them, I decided to just warm up, then do about 8 miles at marathon pace, 8:35. I started at mile 6 and ran 8 at pace, then backed off and cooled down for the last 2 miles. I saw the group pulling out from the parking lot, so depending on how long they stayed after finishing, I wasn't too far behind them. Today I planned to really burn it up. I ran with the running club at Hefner for a planned 12 miles. I got there thirty minutes early and did a real easy 1.5 mile warm up. By the time they got there I was ready and when we took off, I hung with the lead pack. We started running 8 min/miles and picked it up to 7:30's to the 6 mile water stop. I was amazed that I still felt pretty good. We took off again, and we backed it off to 8 min/miles. Since my pard and I decided to just finish the loop instead of an out and back. I needed another mile. He said he was done, so I took an easy cool down mile. All seems to be well.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

GEICO Race for Freedom - Granddaughter Visit

Yesterday was the Geico 10k. I was running late, by my standards, and couldn't park as close as I would like. This meant that I didn't warm up the way I like to and that bothered me a bit. It wasn't a bad morning, despite worries about the remnants of Hurricane Ike disrupting the race. It was overcast, but very humid. We start and I start sort of fast. By the first turn-around, about a mile and a quarter I realize I'm going to have to slow down. I was hurting from almost the beginning, and was worried that I would have to walk some of this race. After we split from the 5k runners I had scaled back my pace into survival mode. I knew it wasn't a P R day, but still hoped to finish in the top three age group. After about 4 miles I started to feel a little better. I picked it up a bit, but we had an out and back hill to climb. I hung on to continue to hold off anyone behind me. I finished in 46:45, well over my best time. Oh well, you can't P R every time you go out but I did finish 3rd in my age group. One more medal to throw into the drawer.
Today I ran 10 miles around Hefner at a very easy pace. I wanted to run with the running club but after the race yesterday, my granddaughter called me and asked if she could spend the night with me. All other plans went out the window, and I went to pick her up. We had a great time together yesterday and today.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Makin' Tracks 5k & Training

Training is going well. I've been feeling pretty good. I did a 12 mile run on Wed and felt pretty good. I did have an issue that has only happened to me once before. That "I've got to find a bathroom and fast" issue. And since I'm a guy, you can guess it wasn't number one. Anyway, I'll spare you the details, but I was able to take care of business, and felt so good after that the rest of my run went very well. Today I did a 16 mile run with 8 miles from mile 6 at 8:30 or better, my Boston qualifying pace.
Yesterday was the Makin' Tracks 5k race and I was a bit apprehensive since I hadn't run a short race in some time. But when I got to the site, and after a short warm up, I was really feeling pretty good. I felt like I might have a P R in me. I sized up my age group competition and decided there was only one person I had to worry about. We took off, and I was feeling good and taking it kind of easy. I was passing people but wasn't at maximum velocity yet. There are some small hills in this race, and I felt really good climbing them. After 3k I only saw the one guy in front of me and decided I might have a chance to catch him. I picked it up a bit, and after passing the 4k mark I was really starting to hurt. The last k is also uphill and I wasn't in love with it as much as the earlier ones. But I was determined to catch him, and hopefully win first in my age group. It also helps that I know this guy slows a bit near the finish. I caught him with about a block to go and won my age group by 4 seconds. I also P R'ed by 20 seconds. A good morning all in all.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Follow up and Moving Foward

Just a few more comments on the Green Lakes 100k. I have been informed that I won the "Courage of Trying" "Inspiration Award." Ok, thank you. I didn't feel courageous and very inspiring while I was whining about not being able to finish in under 14 hours, but I do accept this in the spirit in which it is given. Moving forward, I had to go to work immediately the day after this longest run of my life. And it was difficult, but day by day it got better. I was working a trade show in New York, and had to be on my feet all day. During the week after, I ran 5 miles on Tue and 5 miles on Thur. I think it was a bit soon, but I had committed to run 30 miles on Saturday with a group that was running the first part of the course for the Mother road 2 100 mile run. And I thought that some short runs would speed my recovery. I have agreed to pace a friend in this race. I will probably pace him on the overnight part of the run, so I will not be running this part, but I felt like I needed to run part of the course with him in training. Up until Thursday, I wasn't sure whether I would be ready to run this far so soon. I really didn't feel ready, but knew I needed to let him know something, so I decided to say yes, and hopped I would feel better by Saturday. We drove to Elk City on Friday night in a storm, and wondered what the morning would bring. We got up early, and it was calm and really a bit warm. It was not 6 yet, and I think it was in the upper 70's and humid. We met up with two other people, several others had backed out, and started our journey. I felt pretty good, but this is on old Rt. 66 and the highway is mostly concrete. My knees didn't like that, but it wasn't too bad. When the sun rose, it began to get hot fast. By mile 24 folks were starting to feel it, and we slowed to more walking than running. One of our group agreed to run on ahead and get the car, and we would call it a day wherever he picked us up. He got back to us at mile 27 just when we were starting to feel better. In any event it was a good run, I got to know two new runners, and as always, they are good people. I'm going to take it easy for the next week, and probably race a 5k next weekend. It has been months since I've raced one, and I'm curious to see where I am speed wise. Enjoy the holiday weekend everyone.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

100k - Almost

Almost dnf'ed. Story follows.
First let me say I'm just getting in to my hotel room. I started not to do the report until tomorrow, but what else do I have to do besides deal will all these aches and pains.
I made it to the race in plenty of time and waited around for the start. Pretty low key, ready set go. My plan was to hold my heart rate in the 140's and not worry about pace. On a level surface that would be sub 10 minute miles anyway. However, I was soon to learn that this course was anything but level. After about 2 miles you start this wicked ascent. No one was running it but the eventual winner, Valmir Nunes of Brazil. Last years Badwater winner. Many of us wondered why he was at this race, turns out he has a connection with the race director, and is training for Spartathlon, a 152 mile race run in Greece. The ascent is so steep that if it had rained, you wouldn't have been able to get up without holding on to trees. The first two loops went well, I did them both in under 1:30. Each loop was 7.77 miles, and I had to do eight. Also, it was unseasonably hot with no cloud cover. On loop three, the heat was starting to slow me down. If you look at my splits, you'll see that they got progressively slower. After finishing loop four, I seriously thought about dropping. But after staying in the s/f area for a few minutes, I decided to go back out. From here on out, I thought about dropping after finishing every loop. This race had a twelve hour cut-off for starting the last loop, and I finished loop seven in 11:57. I was the last runner allowed to start the 8th loop. I left, and a lady left with me since I was going to be the last runner on the course. I thought there was a fourteen hour cut-off, and I knew I was going to be cutting it close. So I took off on the last loop mostly running until I got to this steep ascent. I thought I could handle it one more time, but when I finished the climb this time, I was dead on my feet. I had to sit down at the aid station. this is an unmanned station, and is about a quarter through the loop. At this point it is closer to go back the way you came than to finish. I told the sweeper, I was going to drop here and head back. This lady, Carolyn said, why don't you think about that, maybe walk for awhile and see if you feel better. You know that climb took a lot out of you, and maybe you'll feel better in a bit. I said, I'll never make the fourteen hour cut-off. She said, they let you continue, you'll be listed. This perked me up a bit and I started walking. But after a little while, I had made up in my mind I was going to drop at the half-way aid station. I was dead on my feet, and could manage to run only a tiny bit on downhills. We made it to the half-way, and these guys had been nothing but great to me the whole time. When we got there, they said they were hoping I had made the last loop cut-off. I said I've got to sit down and make a decision here. While there were no more significant up hills, I just didn't think I could make it. But I sat for a few minutes, ate a bit, and said let's go. By now it was starting get a little dark, we were back in the woods, and I was glad Carolyn had loaned me her flashlight. And she had her headlamp. There was no more running to speak of, and we just powered on. I was now feeling better, I hadn't been much of a conversationalist during the first half, and Carolyn sensed that, and didn't try to engage me. But now we were getting to know each other. We went down the significant downhill, and made it to the bottom where it was pretty much flat to the finish. The crew at the finish line saw our lights, and started yelling my name. I told Carolyn that it was a double edged sword, it was nice to hear my name, but I knew they knew it because I was the only runner left on the course. We took it on in, everyone was great, taking our pictures, making me feel like a star. I finished in 14:25 It turns out I was also the second place Veteran, read old man, so I also got an award for that. While I was the last person to finish, I will say that there were people behind me that didn't make the cut-off. Also, 36 people started, and only 11 finished. I made sure Carolyn understood how much her encouragement meant to me. And this also underscores the value of a partner late in a race like this. Had she not been there, I would have dropped. I am so thankful to have finished this race. Apparently with no injures or illnesses.